Saturday, February 15, 2003

Perry de Haviland of Samizdata reassures us that he is really a moderate after all:

The only reason I am not out shooting people and putting bombs in cars is a purely utilitarian cost/benefit analysis that it is not the most effective way to secure my liberty and the liberty of others.

I don't know about you, but I'm certainly reasurred. All silliness aside, though, his point is a good one. Redistribution of wealth is morally indistinguishable from theft. Actually, it could be argued that it is worse, because it is a threat to the existence of civilization itself. You could therefore argue, and Perry cetainly does, that violence is therefore justified to resist it. Go read it all.
How to recognize the terrorist supporters.... aka protestors...

Friday, February 14, 2003

A few years ago I went to the American graveyard in Normandy. Everyone there was killed in the D-day landings. It's the sheer size that overwhelms you, so many thousands of men, hills of corpses undulating towards the sea and away into the forest.

Then you look at the names and the home towns. An enormous number were midwestern boys, farmhands, kids barely out of school, some looking forward to no more than quiet lives as store clerks, teachers, insurance assessors. For the overwhelming majority this was their first and last trip abroad. To them France must have seemed as distant as Ulan Bator does to us. More so, really; I expect there's an ad for Mongolian holidays somewhere in the Guardian today.

Yet they gave their lives: unwilling, terrified and resentful for the most part, I'm sure. And it wasn't entirely altruistic. If Hitler had won in Europe, they'd have been next. Yet it was an incredible sacrifice. It does not, of course, in itself justify the war in Iraq. But it would be apt if the French allowed themselves to ponder it now and again.

This is from a column that's running in tommorow's.... wait for it.... Guardian. Yes, that's right, the Guardian, the newspaper that makes the New York Times look right wing. A sign of the apocalypse? Maybe not, but certainly a sign of strange, strange times.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

While checking out the last page, I saw an ad for this site. While, as a general rule, I abhor banner ads, and never, ever click on them, how could I say no to Israeli Army Surplus? I mean, really? Where else can you find special offer package deals, like an IDF t-shirt, and Israel Army baseball cap, and an Israeli Army Kippa? Brilliant!
The United States' "unilateral" campaign to liberate the Iraqi people now has the support of Khazakhstan. That's right, Khazakhstan. Damn those Khazakh cowboys! Hmmmm, Khasakh cowboy.... I like the sound of that.
(via Drudge) Al Sharpton is running for the Democrat nomination for President, and Bob Novak says that means some people should be very, very scared. Not the administration, though. Novak's talking about the Democrats.

This is a problem waiting to happen for the Democratic Party thanks to reliance on black voters, particularly in the South. Democrats dodged the bullet when the Rev. Jesse Jackson ran for president (and succeeded in ruining young Al Gore's 1988 bid aimed at sweeping Southern primaries). This reliance is much stronger 15 years later, and a black candidate promises to distort an already confused contest for the nomination.
My good friend Adam Daifallah has some advice for the NDP in today's Globe and Mail, warning them not to let Jack Layton become another Stockwell Day.

To set himself on the right track, Mr. Layton must assert his authority early on and not let others dictate his agenda. His caucus must give him time. MPs who ran against Mr. Layton for the leadership, and the party's establishment figures, must support the neophyte leader. In its current state, the NDP cannot afford a debacle like the one caused by the Canadian Alliance's malcontents.
James Lileks writes of his day - working from home (he's a writer) and taking care of his 3 year old daughter:

That’s the winter of 03: she’s at her little table, concentrating hard at her iBook, dressing up Mr. Potato Man; I’m at the island working on my iBook, flitting around and soaking up data, and the TV volume is set low, the screen showing old men in good suits in elegant rooms. They say nothing. We sit, and work, and wait for war.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Via maderblog and Instapundit comes this interview with Mark Steyn. It further confirms my respect for the man, and it makes a very interesting read.
A number of readers (which could possibly mean all of them) have requested that I implement comments on this blog. Trust me, the reason that I don't have comments doesn't have anything to do with a fear of critiscism or debate. It has everything to do with a lack of time. Blogger is a very nice site, which makes it very easy to set up a blog - it only takes a few minutes. Comments, however, take a lot longer.

I do plan on setting them up, though, but I probably won't have a chance for a couple of weeks. Next week is exam week - 5 exams in 5 days. The week after, though, is reading week, so I should probably have some time then. Until then, if you're dying to post a comment, email me at the address posted on the blog - maderpunit -at- and I'll post them on the blog if you want me to.
Today's Wall Street Journal carries a very interesting comparison of conservatism and libertarianism that is well worth a read. I especially recommend it for all you conservatives out there (you know who you are) who think that we libertarians are a bit nuts. Ms. Lee, a member of the Journal's editorial board, thinks that a libertarian perspective is sorely lacking in many of today's political debates, where it would be very helpful.

I think that this is very true in the Ontario Conservative Party, where I am a deeply involved. We could really use some more libertarians promoting freedom. As Ms. Lee puts it:

To push my argument further, libertarian thought, with its fluid cultural matrix, offers a better response to some of the knottiest problems of society. It is, especially when contrasted with the conservative cultural matrix, a postmodern attitude. In fact, it is precisely this postmodernism that enrages conservatives who are uncomfortable with a radical acceptance that, in turn, promotes change and unfamiliarity. Yet no matter how scary (or irritating), libertarian tolerance provides a more efficient mechanism in dealing with those places where economics, politics and culture clash so intimately.

I've never thought of libertarianism as a post-modern philosophy before, but that's an interesting way to put it. She goes on to say that "libertarians tend toward an annoying optimism." I don't know what she means! The world today is better than its ever been before, and its getting better every day. What's could possibly be annoying about that?

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Leaders of the 67 locals of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) overwhelmingly passed a motion stating their opposition to war in Iraq.

Leaders of the free world overwhelmingly failed to notice. If they had, they would have overwhelmingly failed to care. Do these bozos really speak for 65,000 teachers? No. They claim to speak for 65,000 teachers who have been forced by an anti-democratic law to give their hard-earned money to these goofs, who then waste it sending out press releases on issues that relate NOT ONE BIT to the jobs their members do.

It cost them $500 to send out that press release. And guess who paid for that? The long-suffering 65,000 teachers, who, if they don't want to pay their union dues, will be fired. What they actually think doesn't matter.

If you need any more illustrations of the why mandatory union membership is undemocratic, stupid, and evil, this is it. Its high time the government of Ontario abolished the Rand formula, and freed the workers of Ontario from their unions.

Monday, February 10, 2003

Is it just me, or did France vote NATO out of existence this morning?

UPDATE: Its not just me. The Wall Street Journal sees it that way too:

We realize the end of NATO has been trumpeted prematurely before. It's also true that the three obstructionist countries hardly speak for all of NATO, which did vote 16-3 in favor of the Turkish request. NATO has also expanded in recent years to include nations to the east, most of which understand better than the French do that the U.S. is the ultimate guarantor of their own security.

But the Cold War is over, and the main threat to the West now is global terrorism employing nuclear and bioweapons. If NATO cannot adapt to this reality by moving its resources to meet that threat, then as currently constructed it has outlived its usefulness. What President Bush calls a "coalition of the willing" will become America's new security alliance.
Reuters strikes again:

U.S. forces failed to capture Osama bin Laden, the accused mastermind of the September 11 attacks in the United States, despite a massive effort in Afghanistan last year.

That's because he's dead.
Who's the worst actress - Madonna or Britney? Man, that's a tough choice.
Why I love the NY Post. They're not afraid to tell it like it is:

I'm standing in the American Cemetery. Gray clouds hang low as if in mourning for the nearly 10,000 young Americans buried beneath crosses and Stars of David that stretch as far as the eye can see.

The air is chill, but I feel an unnatural glow of rage - I want to kick the collective butts of France.

These kids died to save the French from a tyrant named Adolf Hitler.

And now, as more American kids are poised to fight and die to save the world from an equally vile tyrant, Saddam Hussein, where are the French?

Hiding. Chickening out. Proclaiming, Vive les wimps!

UPDATE: If you think that this is just the ranting of some crazy columnist, buried deep within the paper, you're wrong. Its actually the cover story. That's right, and its quite the cover. Instapundit is right - the "American Street" is none too happy.
For over ten years, bombs rained down on every village and hamlet in South Vietnam, and no one budged. It took the coming of a Communist ‘peace’ to send hundreds of thousands of people out into the South China Sea, on anything that could float, or might float, to risk dehydration, piracy, and drowning.

-Gen. Vernon Walters

Don't ever forget it. This is what you have to remember when you hear the "peace" movement wailing about Bush. A lack of open fighting is not an end in itself. Freedom and democracy must be the end. Without them, "peace" means tyranny, suffering, and death. Peace means thousands or Kurds dying from poison gas. Peace means the torture of the families of people who the leaders' suspect may not be 100% loyal. Peace means re-education (read concentration) camps. What's so good about peace?

(Note: I found this quote in Jay Nordlinger's latest Impromtus column in NR. Well worth a read.)