Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Princess

In 1513 Niccolo Machiavelli wrote his famous essay on attaining and holding political power which he titled The Prince. His overriding principle was simple: Use whatever means necessary to hold on to your power, but, importantly, do it in such a way that no one knows how treacherous you really are. Assuming that Senator Clinton has studied her Machiavelli and is duly persuaded by his trenchant grasp of human nature, here's what I think will happen this summer:

Mrs. Clinton will do whatever she can, fair or foul, to persuade the superdelegates to support her at the convention, but should it become clear at any point along the way that she will lose the nomination she'll suddenly become a team player, drop out of the race, and endorse Senator Obama. Then, behind the scenes, she'll launch a determined effort to sabotage Obama's campaign and promote a McCain victory in November. She cannot do this overtly, of course, because it would destroy her standing in the Democratic party, but she can do it covertly, and I'm quite sure she will.

Why do I think this? Because if Obama wins the presidency he could well reside in the White House for eight years, but if McCain wins he's likely, because of his age, to serve only a single term. Moreover, if Obama loses in November it will likely finish him as a presidential contender, especially if McCain wins big. Having given the appearance of a gracious loser, then, Hillary will have the inside track to the nomination in 2012. It'll be "her turn" and her reward for having "played ball" this year, even though the knife in Obama's political ribs will bear her fingerprints.

If she can't get the nomination this summer, it's in her interest to see Obama lose in November, and I think the smart money would be on her advancing her perceived interest even to the detriment of the interests of her party. It'll work for her, however, only if she can pull it off surreptitiously.


Explosive Film

Israel Matzov informs us that there's another film on the way that may make Fitna seem tame by comparison:

A Dutch news service is reporting that amidst all the outrage over Fitna, which was released last week, a second, more explosive video is due out on April 20. That video will feature the 'prophet' Mohammed as a pedophile.

While the cabinet is losing sleep over MP Geert Wilders' unpublished Koran film ... Ehsan Jami plans to launch a cartoon film featuring the Prophet Mohammed as a pedophile.

Jami, born in Iran, announced that his film, The Life of Mohammed, is due for release on 20 April. On TV programme Netwerk, the young politician (22) showed a screen-shot in which the Prophet, with a visible erection, takes a child to a mosque to have sex. On the mosque is a swastika.

The fragment is a reference to the relationship between the prophet and the 9 year old Aisha as described in the Koran, according to Jami. His cartoon portrays all kinds of other perverse and violent verses, he added.

For those who think this crosses the line it must be noted that the Prophet was in fact betrothed to a girl named Aisha when she was six or seven. He consummated the marriage when she was nine. Not having heard anything else about the film I can't vouch for whether it's fair toward Mohammed or not. It may be trash for all I know. I can say, though, that Jami is one intrepid fellow.


The Atheist Delusion

The Guardian features a longish but generally interesting column by John Gray critiquing the New Atheists. In the course of the essay Gray quotes Martin Amis' claim that, "Opposition to religion already occupies the high ground, intellectually and morally."

It's not clear what Amis means by "religion", but if he's referring to the belief that there is a transcendent, personal creator of the universe who has invested the creation with moral value then he's simply wrong. On both counts.

There just is no good argument against the belief that such a being exists. There are, however, good arguments for believing that such a being does exist. I modestly suggest that one such argument can be found here.

The link takes you to an unpublished manuscript. If you wish to access it simply click on the "open" button.