Up till now, it has been quite easy for conservatives to point to the obvious mistakes, not to say outright blunders, made by American and EU foreign policy in the Islamic world and specifically in the Middle East. Instead of safeguarding our interests and making sure Islamic fundamentalism, or simply the growing self-confidence of Islamic culture, would not gain power or be significantly promoted in any country, the Western policy makers have not only silently stood aside while Islamist groups gained the ascendancy in the Arab world, but even supported these groups directly or indirectly. Libya and Tunisia our examples of Islamic extremism coming to power through western default, as a consequence of naive western opinions; Egypt is the shameful example of a totalitarian revolution being bankrolled by the west, like the Bolsheviks in the past.
Europe’s dubious union and the democratic deficit.
On this side of the line, that separates us from nutsville, we agree on certain postulates. One is that in the modern world large markets are advantageous. Another assumption is that national means provide less security than committed communities can. With this in mind, we turn to Premier Cameron’s recent analysis of the European Union (EU). In a letter, a German reader called him a “British hero” for his stand that recalls Churchill’s in 1940 during Western Civilization’s moment of peril.
Before discussing Mr. Cameron, his speech, and the reaction of the European elites to it, let us clarify the situation in case the increasingly pro-European mainstream media has also confused the issue for the present reader. First of all, it was perfectly clear what David Cameron and a large segment of the British conservatives desire, and understandable to any mentally capable human being why Britain’s membership of the EU is no longer feasible as it is today: European regulations, and more generally, the habit of increasing centralization in the union, has proved unworkable and destabilizing to the British economy as well as destructive to its political independence and traditional position of aloofness from the European continent. No further discussion needed, there.
Notions prejudiced by experience.
There is a relationship between “weapons” and “liberty”. That is because “arms” and “liberation” are also linked. The matter fuels debates that reflect semantics, hidden agendas as well as pre-conceptions. Not often enough are the facts discussed. In the writer’s case, the bias is clear. It comes from running in Budapest bearing a pistol with six shots in the magazine with a Soviet T34 tank in pursuit. If one looks carefully, the legal access to weapons is not singularly an American controversy. However, the debate is defined and skewed by conditions said to be uniquely American.
In the blog magazine Dagelijkse Standaard, Joost Niemöller writes (15 december 2012, “Het Marokkanenprobleem is geen islamprobleem”, “The Moroccan problem is not an Islam problem”) that the reduction of all problems to Islam is stupid: “Look, this kind of thinking is not just dumb, it is also dangerous. Whoever can only think of Islam as the root of all evil, moves through the world blind with anger and has lost all ability to correct himself.” He calls this thinking “hysterical”.
An attempt to correct a manipulated image.
In its last edition, Duly Noted called attention to the deformations surrounding the granting of international awards. The case of Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize and Time’s Man of the Year played a central role. These illustrated the exploitation of the seeming impartiality of honors given to whip up legitimacy and to lend moral capital for tainted agendas.
Hot air from a global platform confirms the charge in another recent case. The attempt is energized by distortions presented under the cloak of objectivity to make an otherwise earth-struck balloon rise. The story meant is the European Union’s Nobel Prize.
Will 2013 be a better year? A number of economic commentators have been saying the worst is behind us. I think they are wrong, and here is why. In most major countries, including the United States, government is growing faster than the private sector.
As Mitchell's Golden Rule explains, when the private sector grows faster than government, prosperity increases, and when government grows faster than the private sector, misery increases.
Honors for good behavior.
Without intending to do so, real life produces more absurdities than the fantasy of the talented creators of fiction could conjure up. Alas, most of these abnormalities are as entertaining as they are ultimately harmful to those involved. Especially disturbing is that the clowns that cause these slip-ups are not in the humor business full time. That makes the jest, if you can discover it, unintended. That also means that no praise is due for the amusement provided. The chuckles provoked are unintended byproducts. They reflect bias, incompetence, and lack of realism.
Abused democracy fails the cause of liberty.
Statistics tell that your correspondent’s life will soon rate as being a long one. The blame does not rest upon the systems that made him their subject. There were years of unfreedom, first under the Nazis, then under Stalin. Thereafter, irrespective of formal education and the ensuing brain damage, then as the result of some reflection, this writer remains uncertain about a fundamental matter. Is freedom a natural, therefore instinctively striven for, condition of mankind? Or could servitude be imbedded in our genes? The latter case would make liberty a lucky escape from our natural condition.
Review of Yoram Hazony „The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture“, Cambridge University Press, NY: 2012
Well, not everyone is cherishes book review, so if you fancy a video instead, here is the talk between the author and the Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth, the flamboyant Sir Jonathan Sacks, chaired by STANDPOINT editor Daniel Johnson. But it doesn’t hurt to read this review afterwards. For Yoram Hazony is one of the founders of the Shalem Centre in Jerusalem, an academic research institute dedicated to the sustenance of the Jewish People and Israel. The book does not assume belief in God and also no previous background in the Bible and uses language accessible to everyone. This scholarly book is about the extended narrative of the ancient Hebrew Scriptures. It covers not only the Pentateuch, the five books of Moses, but all the additional biblical texts that make up the comprehensive History of Israel. The author is attempting to convince his readers that by looking at the context which the Mosaic Law is embedded into, we get a better understanding of the philosophy behind it. But above all it allows us to read the Hebrew Bible as a work of reason just like the great Greek philosophers.