Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Around the World Wide Web 35

I found time as I did my day job to put together some links.

1. Andrew Bernstein on what makes a hero.

2. John Stossel on Al Gore's global warming propaganda. This piece is good not just because it refutes An Inconvenient Truth, but it shows how government schools are terrifying children with Gore's nonsense. The only thing I would question in this piece is that Stossel buys what "everyone agrees on" -- the idea that the Earth is warming. I wonder if the science behind even that assumption is good.

3. At first I thought Leave It to Dennis was a satire of Dennis Kucinich as the Beaver, but apparently it was made by Kucinich supporters. Have to give them credit, it's funny -- but will it persuade anyone to vote for their man?

4. Randex is a interesting site that collects mentions of Ayn Rand and Objectivism in media around the world. The top 10 countries in mentions:

United States (2515)
Canada (126)
India (96)
United Kingdom (89)
Australia (40)
The Bahamas (29)
South Africa (15)
France (7)
Hong Kong (7)
Israel (5)
New Zealand (5)

By my reckoning, all of those countries except France were once part of the British Empire. (Counting Israel as what used to be Palestine.) Am I wrong?

Maybe someday we'll see Mongolia on the list. That would be a sign of progress.

5.  Finding the Dino Killer. Speaking of extinction events, the biggest was the Permian-Triassic, some 250 million years ago.

6. Is Classical Liberalism dead in the Republican Party? If it's not dead it's on life support. According to one poll in that piece, 32% of Republicans think the rich should be taxed more to pay for health care. Or to put it another way, one in three Republicans is as dumb as a Democrat!


Richard said...

Thanks for the link to Bernstein's article, I somehow missed it.

I still wonder about the dinosaur extinction event. Some fossil evidence I read about suggests the extinction process took thousands to over a million years to occur --all compressed in a few inches of sediment. If that is true, and it seemed pretty absolute, the damage caused by the meteor strike(s) was not the only factor, unless it led to a long term cascade of events. I've not read anything that seriously considers such a scenario, the focus is all upon the big, sexy cataclysm. Which entails the same kind of one sided focus we see among the global warming crowd --they only find the evidence they want for their immediate pet hypothesis. It's bad science and it's widespread in many fields.

Finally, what "Palestine"? There has never been a "Palestine" nation. At most the Palestinian region has been an area where some people call themselves Palestinians, just as a person living in Napa valley might be called a 'Napanese' (the similarity to 'Japanese' is merely a coincidence). Can you imagine the 'Napanese' terror bombing other Californians --whom they hate for (say) tolerance of Gays (=Jews)-- and demanding their own state/nation? The Palestinians who think that way are absolutely vicious, religious, racist bigots.

Anonymous said...

The Randex list confirms one thing: that Ayn Rand has not penetrated the culture of Continental Europe at all. I wonder if its because of language. As you say, all the other countries were once connected in some way to the British Empire. Also, I think it suggests that the Anglo-sphere has a far greater degree of individualism than the rest of the world.

John Kim

Jim May said...

John: The Enlightenment notion of the morally sovereign individual never took hold in Europe the way it did in the Anglosphere (primarily America by far). I couldn't say whether language is the barrier responsible for this, but that's definitely the underlying historical reason for this division.

Instead of individual self-determination, the idea that took hold on the Continent was a stillborn mutation thereof: the idea of *national* self-determination (that's the actual payload behind the Left's substitution of "democracy" for freedom, btw). That idea is why communism, fascism and Nazism were born there; as early as 1793, the (natural) Rights of Man were rejected in favor of the (statutory) "Rights of the Citizen".

AFAIK Israel was never a British colony; its creation ended British sovereignty at that moment.

Yes, classical liberalism is dying; that's why I see American politics as Europeanizing (the rest of the Anglosphere is pretty much done). And for many reasons beside the one I pointed out above, that's a Very Bad Thing.

Anonymous said...

"...as early as 1793, the (natural) Rights of Man were rejected in favor of the (statutory) "Rights of the Citizen"..."

Excellent point. All you would have to do to confirm it is look at the constitutions of any European nation which number as high as 600 pages (!!!) and the American constitution. I can't think of a better way to concretize natural rights vs statutory rights.

John Kim

Wolfgang said...

I miss Germany, Austria or Switzerland on the list. I think Randex collects only articles in English and that's why articles in German are not included. But I have to say: There are not many of them.

Jim May said...

John: In actuality, what I is concretized there is the contrast between principled thought and pragmatism.

Anonymous said...

A side issue regarding this blog post, but here is an excellent article that discusses the history of Israel. Its got a great time-table. Note though, the author is a conservative, so all the applicable caveats apply:


John Kim

Anonymous said...

"John: In actuality, what is concretized there is the contrast between principled thought and pragmatism."

Yes, that is more fundamental. Thanks.

BTW Jim, I remember you saying that you were thinking of starting blogging again. Whether you do or not, here is a link to a conservative writer who is extremely articulate and philosophically knowledgeable enough to give voice to all of the anti-reason conservative arguments in clear, undiluted terms. I give it to you because you (along with Myrhaf) write frequently on the fundamental nature and history of conservatives vs. liberals. His name is Lawrence Auster :


His site is packed with over 5 years of archives so you can drown yourself in attacks against secularists and evolution and immigration, etc. But the reason which I read so much is because after reading every one of your posts at your old blog I was amazed to see just how right you are. You have the religious conservatives pegged. You manage to state their arguments so clearly and explicitly that when I read Auster's arguments I was able to predict his exact wording because I read it before at your blog!!

You write frequently that conservatism was a reaction against the classical (good) liberalism. Boy were you right. This guy hates all liberals, both modern leftists and classical 19th century liberals (which he lumps together). He is explicitly for tradition and even is an explicit racist although he doesn't call it that. He calls it "racialism."

Maybe you are already familiar with him but if you aren't I point him out to you just to give you further evidence of how right you are. I've read many religious conservatives before but this guy just states their arguments in such explicit philosophical terms that it took me by surprise.


John Kim

EdMcGon said...

2. For pure common sense, few people can match John Stossel.

4. Mongolia has a media? :P

6. There's a lot more than a third in the GOP that are as dumb as Democrats. Conservatives who continue to believe that you have to vote for one of the two major parties or "you're wasting your vote" are every bit as dumb as Democrats. Without Perot in '92, there wouldn't have been a "Contract with America" in '94.

Jim May said...


I have no current plans to begin blogging again, as I've gotten myself into a bit of a situation where time is much too short. In fact, commenting here and over at Gus' blog is conflicting with what my current career demands. Believe me, I'd like to jump over and become a specialist on conservatism and what it really is, but unless I find a way to make money at it, I can't.

Auster doesn't look like a worthwhile target; he's the effect. I want to target the cause -- men such as Edmund Burke and more recently Leo Strauss, Russell Kirk, Michael Oakeshott and Dinesh D'Souza. I want to show how conservatism is fundamentally anti-American (and while I'm at it, remind people of what "American" really means).

Speaking of Dinesh D'Souza, he's gone and laid out a paean to Immanuel Kant that I'd just love to take a week to thoroughly fisk (though Harry Binswanger did a great job of it on HBL). Head over to Noodlefood to see what I mean.