24. August 2006

I’ve been directed to a highly intelligent essay concerning the best way to combat terrorism: stop being terrorized. It’s at Bruce Schneier’s blog, here.

Here’s an excerpt:

I’d like everyone to take a deep breath and listen for a minute.

The point of terrorism is to cause terror, sometimes to further a political goal and sometimes out of sheer hatred. The people terrorists kill are not the targets; they are collateral damage. And blowing up planes, trains, markets or buses is not the goal; those are just tactics. The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act.

And we’re doing exactly what the terrorists want.

Kategorie anarchy, Free speech, Posts | Comments Off

Collectivist nonsense

19. August 2006

There has been a certain “meme” circulating in some right-libertarian circles, especially those with ties to Objectivism, which would have it that there can be no peaceful coexistence between Western Civilization and Islamic Civilization, that the latter is inherently violent and virulent and means to destroy us.

An article detailing this meme, and seeking to neutralize disagreement with it via pseudo-psychological calumny, was recently forwarded to me by a friend who, I’m sorry to say, seemed to agree with it. The article can be found at

Here is my response to that article:

This is collectivist nonsense and I’m surprised and disappointed that you find “insightful.” It denies individual differences — “The Jew’s word is his bond.” I know many Jews and most of them are honorable and some are not. I also know a few Muslims and I find some of them honorable and highly civilized, and others, not.

In fact, I know one devout Muslim who is also a highly-principled libertarian. His name is Dr. Imad-ad Dean Ahmad, and he runs the Minaret of Freedom Institute (

Muslims are no more a unified personality than are Christians, Jews, atheists, Pagans, Buddhists, Confuscianists, or any other theological grouping of people. The article seems to imply that Iranians were not Islamic until 1979, at which time Muslims descended on the country like locusts. In fact, the large majority of Iranians have been Muslim for centuries. Even the late Shah Reza Pahlavi, who was deposed in 1979, was a Muslim.

Interestingly, the most powerful secularist leader in the Middle East, between 1979 and 1991, was Saddam Hussein. It is well-documented that his rise to power through the 1970s and 1980s was encouraged by the U.S. government, which during the Cold War consistently preferred “strongman” allies in Third World countries who they believed they could manipulate and control, to democratic assemblies which generally proved more chaotic and therefore uncontrollable.

But sometimes loyal strongmen become liabilities, or get in the way, or rise up on their hind legs and refuse to pay obeisance, and they must be gotten rid of. Hussein became especially difficult to get rid of — it took two invasions to remove him from power and it’s taking an expensive and bloody occupation to keep him out of power.

I also note with dismay the characterization of anyone who disagrees with the author’s premise as “Useful Idiots” and proceeds to detail a complex and defamatory “psychological profile” of a large and broad grouping of individuals. More collectivist nonsense, and distressingly similar to the propaganda tactics of Josef Stalin. It masks the plain fact that the rise of “Islamofascism” (which the article interestingly attempts to deny exists under other names) is a nationalist movement driven by reaction against decades-long foreign government domination (the British and Americans being as foreign to them as the Chinese are to us) of their political and economic affairs, by means both corrupting and, increasingly, violent.

But the worst aspect of this article, in its depiction of Islam _qua Islam_ as a dire threat to the West, denying any possibility of a moderate and enlightened Islamic civilization, is that the only solution we are left with — and which the article cleverly avoids mentioning — is the utter annihilation of every Muslim man, woman and child — all 1.1 billion of them.

Not even the Communists murdered that many people.

Kategorie anarchy, Posts | 7 Kommentare »

Superduperman Reconsidered

3. August 2006

As I’ve been pondering what it is about Superman (and the superhero genre generally) which both attracts and repulses me so much, I’ve stumbled across an interesting article at Sequential Tart (a comics news and reviews webzine) which articulates a large part of the problem.

The article notes the similarities between Superman as the most powerful being on the planet, and the United States as the most powerful nation on the planet. The perspective is more liberal than libertarian but it still makes some very good points.

Kategorie comics, Posts | 1 Kommentar »