Wednesday, March 29, 2006

AROUND THE WEB ON 3-29-06

Cross-posted from Gus Van Horn

On Being a Mistrusted Minority

Andy points out a small problem with a recent poll that named "atheists" as America's "least trusted minority".
The problem with this poll is that is it based upon a term which is a negative. Atheism simply describes what you are not. It does not describe what you are. Thus, when you ask someone what they think about an atheist, who knows what is in their head.
Amen, brother!

Accent Test

I run into one of these once in awhile. Although I grew up in Mississippi and have now lived in Texas for almost half my life, I scored only a "57% Dixie." (HT: Eric Scheie)

Fan Girl Returns!

In reaction to Nick Provenzo's recent posts on Jack Wakeland, Jennifer Snow does a very good job of presenting the essence of Wakeland's arguments concerning the prosecution of the war.
Mr. Wakeland's support of Bush's "Forward Strategy of Freedom", in my understanding, is based on the fact that it means Bush has recognized two truths: that the real battle here is an ideological one, and that we have to stick with it until we win. While Bush hasn't been fantastic about finding and applying the correct strategies to realize either of these goals, he HAS been consistent in maintaining that there is an ideological battle and that we have to stick with it. In that respect, his floundering efforts deserve our support.
I myself have been sympathetic to the Forward Strategy of Freedom until very recently, when it became increasingly apparent that the outcome might be that America ends up establishing Islamic states, and that Bush does not seem terribly bothered by that. In that last respect, Bush does fail to appreciate the ideological nature of this conflict. While we must battle multiculturalists at home, as Jennifer correctly points out, a result favorable to the Islamic Totalitarians is likely to backfire.

One thing I thought of during my own recent consideration of the Provenzo pieces comes up again now. It is the thing that both necessitated Jennifer's exposition of Wakeland's argument and got mentioned in the comments on Nick's blog: TIA Daily has very little of its war commentary freely available on the web. Given that Wakeland's position is not widely held among Objectivists, I think that TIA Daily is doing itself no favors by not at least publishing more of this material on the web, as it used to do regularly at its blog so people can more easily evaluate its commentary for themselves.

Much of the war commentary at TIA Daily seems more speculative to me, often being either (1) an exploration of how best our society, self-limited by incorrect philosophical ideas as it is, can fight the war or (2) along the lines of an exploration of how societies evolve from primitive tyranny to freedom. Given that Ayn Rand held that ideas move history, examining history as it unfolds can yield useful insights. This is how I have taken much of the commentary at TIA Daily, and I have never myself been under the impression that Wakeland or anyone else there preferred the Forward Strategy to a proper subjugation of our enemies.

Other bloggers who have commented on Provenzo's essays are myself, Jim Woods, and Mike N. In the last, Mike elaborates on a point that I made on whether we would, as the "Kerry Objectivists" held leading up to the election, be better off with Kerry in office now. (Specifically, I question whether we would have much access to the alternative news media we are sometimes in danger of taking for granted.) Also, Gideon Reich commented on the debate over Bush some time ago here.

On the "Kerry question" -- and speaking solely for myself here -- I have to say that I disagree with Nick when he says, that the "[D]ebate [over the '04 elections] was worth whatever the odds were that Objectivist votes could swing the election, which was somewhere between zero and nill." To the contrary, no matter who runs in the next race, it is a sucker bet we will be unhappy with his prosecution of the war. We would do well to learn as much as we can from the '04 race beforehand. Let's pay very close attention to which candidate will most likely continue to respect our right to dissent!

Allah to Moslem Mystics: Jump in a lake.

Michelle Malkin blogs about some British Moslems who claim to have seen the Arabic for "Allah" and "Mohammed" (justice be upon his minions) on a couple of tropical fish.
Leaders at the nearby Al-Rahma mosque in Hatherley Street, are in no doubt about the authenticity. Sheikh Sadek Kassem, the mosque's Imam, said: "This is a proof and a sign not just to Liverpool's Muslims, but for everyone." The fish were bought last week from a pet store in Speke by Ali AlWaqedi, 23. He spotted a squiggle on the side of one fish that mirrored the Arabic word for God - Allah.

Then he noticed another fish, in a different tank, that seemed to bear the Arabic spelling of Mohammed, known by Muslims as Islam's last Messenger. Ali said: "This is a message from Allah to me, a reminder, and now my faith is stronger. Everyone is so excited by the discovery."
I like to think that Allah is commanding his mindless servants to attempt to live in an aquatic environment.

Another Way to "Act White"

When one's peers deride a strong intellect and healthy relationships, who needs Whitey to keep him down?

Why France is in Trouble

Simon Patkin observes:
Over 500,000 students demonstrated in France last week against labour reform, but only a handful protested against Islamic threats to free speech.
(HT: Blair)

Death Worship

Amit Ghate improves upon a point I made recently.
[A] man's primary choice is to decide whether he wants to remain in existence, i.e. if he wants to live or not, and only if he does, is it essential for him to use his mind. I submit that the Palestinians and most Islamists have not even made the choice to live -- they are in fact self-avowed death worshippers. This is something that is very difficult for good people to grasp, precisely because it is so horrible, but grasp it we must if we are to win the war they are waging on us.
And be sure to stop by for a gander at the Musselman holding the "We love Prophet Mohammed more than our lives" placard.

Sleep-Divorcing

And speaking of loving a "prophet" more than one's life, here's a prime example of mere words not even spoken consciously trumping someone's lifelong commitment, according to the dim lights of Islam.

Everyone knows about sleep walking. Just the other day, I heard about the term "sleep eating". And now, courtesy of the medieval mentality, we have "sleep-divorcing".
A Muslim couple in India has been told by local Islamic leaders they must separate after the husband 'divorced' his wife in his sleep, the Press Trust of India reported.

Sohela Ansari told friends that her husband Aftab had uttered the word 'talaq,' or divorce, three times in his sleep, according to the report published in newspapers Monday.

When local Islamic leaders got to hear, they said Aftab's words constituted a divorce under an Islamic procedure known as 'triple talaq.' The couple, married for 11 years with three children, were told they had to split.
To remarry, the couple were told that she would have to sleep with another man and be divorced by him first -- after 100 days had passed.

I'm no Islamic scholar, but if we were to see a sudden rash of Moslem women claiming that their husbands "divorced" them while asleep, I have a crazy feeling that this ruling will fail to set a precedent.

If there is any doubt that Islam is all about erasing any vestige of independent judgement in the minds of its followers, this example should put it to rest.

Second Carnival of the Objectivists

Nick Provenzo plans to host the second Carnival of the Objectivists on April 1.

-- CAV