Friday, December 21, 2007

Huckabee's Christmas Ad

As everyone knows by now Mike Huckabee has taken a lot of flak from the media for his Christmas commercial in which a bookcase in the background forms a cross. The media thinks this is very devious of the nefarious Huckabites. Ron Paul seems to think that subliminal swastikas will be next.

Here's the commercial if you haven't seen it:

Gary Varvel offers this amusing commentary:


Off With Their Heads

Casey Luskin at Evolution News and Views writes:

The producers of Expelled are hosting a contest where people submit videos discussing their persecution as a result of challenging Darwin.

Expelled is a forthcoming documentary which makes the case that the Darwinians are conducting an inquisition in the academy to weed out anyone who dissents from the accepted materialist orthodoxy on the matter of the origins of biological diversity.

Luskin posts this video as an example of how heretics are treated by the high priests of materialism:

The materialist clergy in the cathedrals of learning insist that even if alternatives to materialism like intelligent design are science they are nevertheless bad science and those who advocate those alternatives should not be permitted to teach the impressionable acolytes who sit at their feet.

Well. Marxist economics is certainly bad economics and Freudian psychology is bad psychology. Yet no one is excommunicating Marxists and Freudians, are they? Could it be that Marxists and Freudians are safe despite the quaintness of the ideas they teach because they are materialists? Perhaps, despite their adherence to deeply flawed theories of economic and human behavior, they're still on the right side of the only line that counts in the church of Darwinian orthodoxy - the line that separates those who believe that there is more to reality than just material nature from those who believe that material nature is all there is.

It's ironic that scientists are being harrassed and tyrannized, not for their scientific views, but for their metaphysical convictions. One expects this sort of thing in Middle Eastern schools run by the Taliban, but it truly is an outrage that this would be happening in American universities.


Worth the Cost

One of the current narrative threads concerning the situation in Iraq is that, even if we're winning, it wasn't worth the cost in blood and treasure. But how does one assess what price would be worth paying to accomplish what we have accomplished? Was the Revolutionary war worth the cost? How about the Civil war, or WWII, or Korea? How could anyone answer those questions at the time? They're difficult enough to answer even now. How do we assess how many American lives and how many American dollars are just the right price to:

  • Liberate 25 million people
  • Remove a bloodthirsty mass killer who was a threat to the entire region and a supporter of terrorism.
  • Induce Libya and, if the NIE is to be believed (I'm skeptical), Iran to give up their nuclear weapons ambitions.
  • Hand al Qaeda a crucial defeat on a battlefield of their choosing and kill tens of thousands of terrorist torturers and mass murderers.
  • Gain an important ally (or quasi-ally) in the region.

The nay-sayers counter with the claim that we've lost prestige around the world, but where's the evidence of that? The left-wing European media despises us, of course, but then they always have. The European people themselves, however, have chosen Gordon Brown, Angela Merkel, and Nicholas Sarkozy to lead their countries, and all of these are pro-American leaders, the latter two even moreso than their predecessors. In South America Hugo Chavez's anti-American rhetoric is not being particularly well-received even by the people who elected him in Venezuela. In Australia staunch ally Prime Minister John Howard was defeated, but his successor, Kevin Rudd, is also pro-American.

In any event, so what if we're not loved? It's a sad fact of human nature that people who envy or who feel indebted to someone tend to resent the one they envy. Machiavelli was right when he said that it's better to be loved than hated, but it's much better to be feared than loved. When people perceive you as strong and willing to use your strength they'll fear and respect you even if they don't love you. If they perceive you to be weak they will despise you, especially if they envy and resent your success, and will work to destroy you.

The important thing is to use one's strength to make the world a more just place and to do it with as much compassion as circumstances allow. If people despise us for our efforts to bring about justice that's unfortunate but it shouldn't dissuade us.

The question concerning Iraq, then, is not whether it was worth the cost. Anyone who gives a yes or no answer to that question at the present moment doesn't know what he's talking about. Only time will give us the answer. What we can ask at this juncture, though, is why, given what we presently know, anyone would be convinced that the answer is no.

Having said that, the most important question we need to ask about Iraq is whether we have increased the amount of justice in the world by doing what we did. If the answer to that is yes, then all the arguments over WMD, etc. are unimportant. What we did was good. Whether the good achieved in this instance was worth the cost only time will tell.