Thursday, August 24, 2006

Mahmoud's Reply

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gives the world his answer to their demands that Iran cease production of weapons grade fissile material:

Willful Gullibility

Remember those news reports of Israeli missile strikes against Red Cross ambulances trying to ferry injured civilians to hospitals? Turns out that, like the doctored photos, it was made-up news. Michelle Malkin has the details.

It really is incredible that our media and many of our citizens have been prepared to believe everything that the terrorists say. They're completely skeptical of anything the Israelis or our own government tells them, but they're eager to accept anything, no matter how horrible, that a group like Hezbollah claims about the Israelis. These are people who hide behind children, for heaven's sake, and yet they have credibility with a segment of the American public willing to believe the worst about America and its allies.

Stone Cold Sober

Not receiving much attention in the tittering about The Princeton Review's Top Ten Party Schools in the U.S. is their accompanying list of Top Ten "Stone Cold Sober" Schools - a list that parents looking to send their child to a school where they won't become a character in a Tom Wolfe novel might wish to consult.

The top 10 were:

  1. Brigham Young Univ.
  2. Wheaton College
  3. College of the Ozarks
  4. Grove City College
  5. U.S. Naval Academy
  6. U.S. Coast Guard Academy
  7. U.S. Air Force Academy
  8. Queens College
  9. Wellesley College
  10. Calvin College

It's good to know that there are still some schools which have high expectations concerning their students' conduct and which resist the trend, to which so many other schools have succumbed, to turn the four years of a student's life spent on their campus into a perpetual bacchanalia.

I wonder, though: Where's West Point?

Making Peace in Baghdad

The U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Kahlilzad, has a very informative piece in the Wall Street Journal on the efforts ongoing in Baghdad to stabilize that city and to eliminate the sectarian violence.

Kahlilzad writes:

Although there has been much good news to report about security progress in Iraq this summer--the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the handover of security responsibility for Muthanna province, the fifth of 10 Iraqi Army Division Headquarters to assume the lead in its area of responsibility--Iraq faces an urgent crisis in securing its capital, Baghdad. Although Iraqi leaders and the Coalition have a sound strategy to turn the situation around, it is vital that Iraqis control sectarian violence and come together against the terrorists and outside powers that are fomenting the violence.

In July, there were 558 violent incidents in Baghdad, a 10% increase over the already high monthly average. These attacks caused 2,100 deaths, again an increase over the four-month average. More alarmingly, 77% of these casualties were the result of sectarian violence, giving rise to fears of an impending civil war in Iraq. While statistics should not be the sole measure of progress or failure in stabilizing Iraq and quelling violent sectarianism, it is clear that the people of Baghdad are being subjected to unacceptable levels of fear and violence.

Read the rest to see what's being done to stop it.

Del Ratzsch Interview

For those of our readers who have an interest in the philosophical issues surrounding the Darwinism/ID debate there's an excellent discussion with Del Ratzsch, perhaps the leading philosopher of science on this issue, here.

HT: Telic Thoughts

Meanwhile, Darwinians are up in arms over the forthcoming broadcast by D. James Kennedy's Coral Ridge Church in Florida of a tv special that draws a direct line from Darwin to Naziism. Bill Dembski has some background at Uncommon Descent and also shares a few of his favorite quotes from evolutionists which certainly appear to indict them for clearing the philosophical landing zone for the Nazis' views on eugenics and "survival of the fittest."

What is Conservatism? Pt.I

Ross Douthat writes an interesting and rather scholarly column in The American Conservative about the philosophical and historical differences between liberalism and conservatism and the difficulties involved in defining the latter. He concludes the essay with these words:

The picture is further complicated by the fact that because conservatism only really exists to say "no" to whatever liberalism asks for next, it fights nearly all its battles on its enemy's terrain and rarely comes close to articulating a coherent set of values of its own. Liberalism has science and progress to pursue-and ultimately immortality, the real goal but also the one that rarely dares to speak its name-whereas conservatives have ... well, a host of goals, most of them in tension with one another. Neoconservatives want to return us to the New Deal era; Claremont Instituters want to revive the spirit of the Founding; Jacksonians want to rescue American nationalism from the one-worlders and post-patriots; agrarians and Crunchy Cons pine for a lost Jeffersonian or Chestertonian arcadia.

Some conservatives think that liberalism-the-political-philosophy can be saved from liberalism-the-Baconian-project and that modernity can be rescued from its utopian temptation; others join Alasdair MacIntyre in thinking that the hour is far too late for that, and we should withdraw into our homes and monasteries and prepare to guard the permanent things through a long Dark Age.

Liberals, on the other hand, dream the same dream and envision the same destination, even if they disagree on exactly how to get there. It's the dream of Thomas Friedman as well as Karl Marx, as old as Babel and as young as the South Korean cloners. It whispered to us in Eden, and it whispers to us now: ye shall be as gods. And no conservative dream, in the 400 years from Francis Bacon until now, has proven strong enough to stand in its way.

Mr. Dothat serves us up some meaty fare in this article, but there's more to the meal than this, I think. Conservatism is not merely "standing athwart history and yelling stop" as Bill Buckley famously summed it up. Conservatives, as well as liberals, generally operate from a set of axioms, more about which in Part II tomorrow.