Friday, October 12, 2007

Peace Prize

A blog called The Daily Gut speaks for many (including us) in presenting the case for who should have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize yesterday:

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded this morning, and I'd like to congratulate Irena Sendler. Sendler was a former history teacher who rescued 2,500 children during the Holocaust and was a top contender for the wondrous prize. Back during the early 1940's, Sendler was a Catholic social worker who had gone into the Warsaw ghetto to rescue Jewish kids who were destined either to starve there, or die in death camps. She would sneak the kids past Nazi guards, sometimes hiding them in body bags, or would provide them with false documents - inevitably getting them to Polish families for adoption, or hiding them in convents or orphanages. She also made a list of the children's real names, put them in a jar and buried them, so that some day she could dig them up and find the kids to tell them their true names. The Nazis captured her and beat the crap out of her, but she later escaped, and she went into hiding. She's now in her late 90's , living in a nursing home in Poland.

I want to congratulate her, because she didn't win the Nobel Peace Prize. Instead it went to Al Gore, the guy who invented the Internet. Go figure.

Actually, it's not all that hard to figure. The Nobel committee swoons over liberal nominees who hold all the "correct" views and who also hold celebrity status. The Goracle is all of those and more. There's no way he wasn't going to receive the prize despite the fact that Ms Sendler displayed personal courage that Mr. Gore has never had to exhibit and has saved more lives and done more good for humanity than has Mr. Gore. Ms Sendler is now a feeble old woman and Mr. Gore is a famous member of the glitterati. Ms Sendler is yesterday and Mr. Gore is the future. Ms Sendler risked her life to save lives but Mr. Gore risks nothing to make millions lecturing a fawning world about global warming.

The Nobel Peace Prize is a joke.

HT: Hot Air


Dim Prospects for Social Conservatives

First Things has a series of fine essays by Nat Hentoff, John DiIulio, and Joseph Bottom on the current crop of presidential candidates.

Hentoff is the rarest of political commentators, a staunch pro-life atheist leftist. Every paragraph of his portion of the article is a gem. For example:

I wish - although I know it is not going to happen - that at least one contender for the presidency would repeat what Cardinal O'Connor asked at the Harvard Law School (not a friendly audience for him but a challenge he enjoyed) in April 1986: "How safe will the retarded be, the handicapped, the aged, the wheel-chaired, the incurably ill when the so-called quality of life becomes the determination of who is to live and who is to die? Who is to determine which life is 'meaningful,' which life is not? Who is to have a right to the world's resources, to food, housing, to medical care? The prospects are frightening."

Hentoff thinks Hillary would be a disaster for the pro-life cause, but DiIulio argues that, from the standpoint of meeting our obligation to help the poor, Hillary Clinton and Mike Huckabee are the best candidates in their respective parties.

Bottum dejectedly observes that we should "be honest and admit what we all know: The weakest set of candidates in living memory has taken the field, and we still have more than a year left of watching these people, lumbering and blumbering toward the goal line." He goes on to make a strangely contradictory claim. He argues that Hillary has a lock on the nomination but will almost certainly lose to any candidate the Republicans put against her except Ron Paul. But oddly Bottum then goes on to express doubt that Guiliani would beat her.

He makes an excellent point, though, about what Americans have to look forward to should a Republican win the presidency and the Democrats pick up more seats in the Senate:

Nonstop congressional investigations of everything the president does, rejections of Cabinet members and Supreme Court justices, the Democrats freed of responsibility for actually prosecuting foreign policy - all pushed by a netroots base of leftist activists convinced that, once again, the presidential election had been stolen from them. No wonder some conservatives seem to think it would be better to go ahead and elect Hillary Clinton.

Bottum concludes that 2008 looks grim for social conservatives:

A Fred Thompson nomination, a slim election victory over Hillary �Clinton, a stealth pro-lifer slipped on the Supreme Court through a Democratic Senate - that weak �scenario is about the best a social conservative can hope for today. Everything else is bad. Very bad.

In my opinion this is much too pessimistic. The right man in office can still prosecute the war on terror, enforce existing immigration laws, keep spending and taxes down, and appoint at least two good justices to the Supreme Court. This last may be difficult, but depending on who the President is, it may not be impossible.

The country may be Slouching Toward Gomorrah, to employ the title of Robert Bork's famous book, but the right man in the White House, though he may not be able to turn things around without a sympathetic Congress, can at least keep us from falling completely over until the American people, perchance, come to their senses.


Hubris and Stupidity

For sheer hubris and stupidity it may be hard to beat the letter from some prominent Muslim scholars in which they warn that the "survival of the world" is at stake if Muslims and Christians do not make peace with each other. This claim is true enough, of course, but then they go on to say that:

"As Muslims, we say to Christians that we are not against them and that Islam is not against them - so long as they do not wage war against Muslims on account of their religion, oppress them and drive them out of their homes."

I see. And this, one is expected to suppose, is what those evil Christians are doing everywhere one looks - waging war against Islam, driving poor Muslims out of their homes, teaching anti-Muslim hatred in their Christian schools, etc. Meanwhile, we find no mention in the report on the scholars' letter of the Muslim endorsement of executing Muslims who convert to Christianity or of the murders by Muslims of Christian missionaries in Afghanistan, Africa and Indonesia. Nor do we find mention of the fact that where Christians live as minorities among Muslims, as in Iran and Syria, they're being systematically driven from their homes and churches. There's no mention of the fact that in virtually every conflict being fought around the world Muslims are involved, often on both sides of the bloodshed, and that the hostilities are invariably initiated by Muslims. There's no mention of the fact that virtually every act of terrorism in the last twenty years has been perpetrated by Muslims, and virtually every case of murder and persecution involving actual Christians and Muslims has been perpetrated by Muslims against Christians.

For these scholars to suggest that Christians, qua Christians, are oppressing Muslims, qua Muslims, is ludicrous. Christianity does pose a threat to Islam, however, and it is this threat that probably provides the impetus for the scholars' letter. Wherever Muslims are actually free to choose between genuine Christianity and Islam, Islam is at risk, and it is this that the mullahs and imams interpret as an attack on their faith.

What Muslim scholars should be doing, if they feel compelled to compose such letters, is urging each other and their flock, if they really want peace, to emulate Christians instead of killing them.


Vestigial Structures

Darwinians ever since Darwin have pointed to structures like the human appendix to demonstrate that our bodies were once different from what they are today. The tailbone is a vestige of the tail that humans once possessed, we're told. Hip bones in whales are vestiges of legs possessed by the whale's ancestors which walked on land. And the appendix too, was believed to be a functionless appendage left over from some previous stage in our evolution.

Over time functions were found for many of these "vestigial structures" and they were quietly dropped from the textbooks. Now it looks like it has been shown that the appendix, too, has a function in the body, and must be added to the ranks of former vestiges which are no longer vestigial.

Maybe I'm wrong about this, but it seems that every new scientific discovery that bears somehow upon the controversy between intelligent design and Darwinian materialism either supports the ID position or counts against the materialist position. It's hard to think of any discovery of the last twenty years or so that actually supports the materialists.

But I might be uninformed. If anyone can think of a counter-example please pass it along.