Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Around the World Wide Web 24

1. It's nice here in California since the heat wave broke a few weeks ago. It was uncommonly humid and uncomfortable, but no longer. I'm playwriting regularly, so I'm happy. I'll be performing Richard III's opening monologue, "Now is the winter of our discontent..." at a charity function around Halloween. Perhaps I should not have, but I watched Laurence Olivier's excellent performance of the monologue on You Tube. I think an actor should do the monologue with some energy and wicked, villainous fun without lapsing into the Snidely Whiplash mustache twirling and "Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!" I like how when Olivier says "As I am subtle, false and treacherous," he looks away with some resignation on the word "treacherous" and underplays it. It's more effective and chilling than rubbing one's hands in glee on the word.

Also this fall I will have a small role in the LA production of "Monna Vanna" by Maurice Maeterlinck but I won't be in the cruise ship show. I'm delighted that I get to be in the show at all; as with my recent experience in Cyrano, I look forward to studying the writing.

2. Dennis Prager looks at the purpose of leftist judges, educators and reporters.

...I was the moderator of a panel of judges -- including a past California Supreme Court justice -- and lawyers connected to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. I asked the panel members to give their view of the role of judges. The response of the liberal former California Supreme Court justice opened my eyes to the left's view of virtually everything in society.

He said that the purpose of a California Supreme Court justice, and for that matter, every judge, is to fight economic inequality and racism in society. I responded that I thought the one purpose of a judge was to render justice in the courtroom.

3. When asked if the war in Iraq had made America safer, General Petraeus first said he did not know, then a few hours later said the answer is yes. Is it as significant as The Progressive thinks or a dumb question?

I wouldn't want to make too big a deal of it, but I find it interesting that in all the months of preparation General Petraeus put into this much anticipated testimony, he didn't think to prepare an answer to the question whether the war in Iraq has made America safer. Could this be because the war is primarily about helping Iraq become a "democracy," and the subsequent benefits from this for America are vague, long-term and theoretical?

No one would have hesitated during WWII to declare that the war had made America safer; it was obvious to all, experts and laymen. During Vietnam there would have been confusion over the question, for the war was the same package of America's interest smuggled in with the primary altruist interest of helping another country that we see in Iraq. In both Vietnam and Iraq the benefit for the foreign country was or is immediate and obvious (to all but the America-hating left), whereas the benefit for America is to come later, if it ever comes.

4. John Hawkins looks at the ideological conformity on the left. It all stems from the left's distrust of reason. Ideas to them are not an impartial identification of reality -- such a thing is impossible to the masses, whose thinking is determined by corporate interests; ideas and words are weapons to be used in the political struggle. So when a liberal criticizes the left, it is seen as giving the enemy ammunition. Truth is subordinated to politics.

5. Born Again Redneck notes that California is not all bad. As you can see from this map, it is split into three political regions, El Norte, Upper Coasts and Sagebrush. Basically, the coast, where the big cities and rich people are, is blue or Democrat; the interior is red or Republican. The "Inland Empire" where I live (Riverside and San Bernardino counties) is, last I heard, tied with Atlanta as the fourth fastest growing metropolitan region in America. Something like 500 people a day move here. I don't know if that number counts illegal aliens.

6. This Jimmy Kimmel bit on Miss Teen South Carolina's jaw-dropping response to the question of why one-fifth of Americans cannot locate America on a map is not just funny -- the show writes out her response on a chalkboard, so you can better see how muddled her thinking and grammar are. The poor girl is an ironic example of the American stupidity she was asked about.

And what is the correct answer to the question? Such widespread ignorance is a result of the decline of American education. The three biggest contributors to this decline are progressive education, which emphasizes "socializing" students over learning facts; government's near monopoly on education, which stifles competition; and teachers unions, a pressure group that serves teachers at the expense of students and supports indoctrinating students with New Leftist ideologies.

Any beauty pagent contestant who answered something like that would turn me on regardless of how she looked in a swimsuit.


Anonymous said...

"...but I find it interesting that in all the months of preparation General Petraeus put into this much anticipated testimony, he didn't think to prepare an answer to the question whether the war in Iraq has made America safer..."

I thought the same thing. Plus he said that he hadn't even thought about it in his first attempt at answering the question! It seems that he is totally myopic. His only concern is to make Iraq "work" whether or not it is even possible.

Hugh Fitzgerald has been commenting on this over at Jihad Watch:


Fitzgerald's main argument has been for quite some time that our enemy is Islam and that our strategy should be to "weaken the camp of Islam."

Now he is a conservative so he is not Yaron Brook and never advocates total war but he does advocate something interesting. He says that a regional Suni/Shite war would be a good thing, something we should encourage; ie divide and conquer. Instead of sending our soldiers to die fighting for an impossibility - ie a multi-national Iraq - we should exploit the tribal and religious fissures that are deeply embedded in Muslim/Arab societies. He makes some good arguments.

I learn far more from reading Fitzgerald than I do from reading Tracinski for example. Fitzgerald is far more sophisticated in his understanding of Islam; something many Objectivists are not but should be.

Also as you know, Iraq has been discussed recently on HBL and HB's recent posts on the foolishness of the Conservative's strategy hit home for me. I started out on the Tracinski side of this (as did HB himself) but I have gradually moved over the years to view this war as essentially altruistic. This is the kind of war you would expect a Christian like Bush to fight. The thing that fascinates me is how far we have fallen in this respect from the 1940s. Altruism is quickly permeating every area of our society. It took a while but it has utterly destroyed our ability to wage war.

Sometimes thinking about all this makes me very depressed.

John Kim

PS Your blog still rocks.

Myrhaf said...

Thanks for the link, John. Altruism and the New Left have permeated our culture and that is one of the most depressing things around. If the spread continues and intensifies, then America might pass the point of no return. 35 years ago the American sense of life demolished McGovern; I think he would get more votes today. As I've noted before, our culture is in a race: what will spread faster, altruism/New Leftism or Objectivism. You could add religion and make it a three-way race, except that altruism is a common denominator uniting left and right against Objectivism.

Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

Add another sane Californian - the judge who threw out the global warming case against auto-makers.