Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ignoring Facts and Attacking Character

The Left finds its foes not just wrong, but morally repugnant

Thomas Sowell

One of the things that attracted me to the political Left as a young man was a belief that leftists were for “the people.” Fortunately, I was also very interested in the history of ideas — and years of research in that field repeatedly brought out the inescapable fact that many leading thinkers on the left had only contempt for “the people.”

That has been true from the 18th century to the present moment. Even more surprising, I discovered over the years that leading thinkers on the opposite side of the ideological spectrum had more respect for ordinary people than people on the left who spoke in their name.

Leftists like Rousseau, Condorcet, or William Godwin in the 18th century, Karl Marx in the 19th century, or Fabian socialists like George Bernard Shaw in England and American Progressives in the 20th century saw the people in a role much like that of sheep and saw themselves as their shepherds.

Another disturbing pattern turned up that is also with us to the present moment. From the 18th century to today, many leading thinkers on the left have regarded those who disagree with them as being not merely factually wrong but morally repugnant. And again, this pattern is far less often found among those on the opposite side of the ideological spectrum.

The visceral hostility toward Sarah Palin by present-day liberals, and the gutter level to which some descend in expressing it, is just one sign of a mindset on the left that goes back more than two centuries.

T. R. Malthus was the target of such hostility in the 18th and early 19th centuries. When replying to his critics, Malthus said, “I cannot doubt the talents of such men as Godwin and Condorcet. I am unwilling to doubt their candor.”

But William Godwin’s vision of Malthus was very different. He called Malthus “malignant,” questioned “the humanity of the man,” and said “I profess myself at a loss to conceive of what earth the man was made.”

This asymmetry in responses to people with different opinions has been too persistent for too many years to be just a matter of individual personality differences.

Although Charles Murray has been a major critic of the welfare state and of the assumptions behind it, he recalled that before writing his landmark book, Losing Ground, he had been “working for years with people who ran social programs at street level, and knew the overwhelming majority of them to be good people trying hard to help.”

Can you think of anyone on the left who has described Charles Murray as “a good person trying hard to help”? He has been repeatedly denounced as virtually the devil incarnate — far more often than anyone has tried seriously to refute his facts.

Such treatment is not reserved solely for Murray. Liberal writer Andrew Hacker spoke more sweepingly when he said, “Conservatives don’t really care whether black Americans are happy or unhappy.”

Even in the midst of an election campaign against the British Labour party, when Winston Churchill said that there would be dire consequences if his opponents won, he said that this was because “they do not see where their theories are leading them.”

But, in an earlier campaign, Churchill’s opponent said that he looked upon Churchill “as such a personal force for evil that I would take up the fight against him with a whole heart.”

Examples of this asymmetry between those on opposite sides of the ideological divide could be multiplied almost without limit. It is not solely a matter of individual personality differences.

The vision of the Left is not just a vision of the world. For many, it is also a vision of themselves — a very flattering vision of people trying to save the planet, rescue the exploited, create “social justice,” and otherwise be on the side of the angels. This is an exalting vision that few are ready to give up, or to risk on a roll of the dice, which is what submitting it to the test of factual evidence amounts to. Maybe that is why there are so many fact-free arguments on the left, whether on gun control, minimum wages, or innumerable other issues — and why they react so viscerally to those who challenge their vision.



Baltimore Mall Shooting: Black Shooter Kills Two White People, Wounds Five, Possibly After Being Rejected By A White Girl

In the recent Mall Of Columbia shooting,  a black teenager walked into a mall with a shotgun, killed two white people his own age, possibly because he'd been rejected by a white girl in favor of a white man.

The male shooter, who has been identified as Darion Marcus Aguilar, 19, of College Park, Maryland died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after the attack.[6][5][2] According to WBAL, the gunman was Brianna Benlolo's ex-boyfriend, and Tyler Johnson and Benlolo were engaged

Eric Holder has once again come out with his line about the US being a "Nation of Cowards" about race. This is true. The headlne above contains facts that won't even appear in most MSM stories, and will never  appear in a headline. And all the stories will be about gun control, mental illness, depression, and metal detectors in malls.

None of them will be about the real issue: that for a white girl to get into a relationship with a black or Hispanic teenager may be easier than getting out.

There are young women every year who don't get out alive. That's a "Talk" worth having with your daughter.



Restoring Israel’s Rights: The Levy Report

The Jewish people’s considerable rights to the land of Israel are founded upon several bases:

Jews have been on the land for close to 4,000 years, most notably within eastern Jerusalem (where the Old City and the Temple Mount are located), and Judea and Samaria – all places where ancient Israelite heritage is marked.  Jews, in fact, are the indigenous people of Israel, present not only historically, but with continuity over the centuries.

In modern times there are legal precedents for establishing the Jewish claim to Israel: This is with reference to the San Remo Conference, the Mandate for a Jewish Homeland in Palestine, confirmed in international law, and more.

These Jewish rights have certainly not diminished over the years.  Yet there is a prevailing perception that this is the case – that there has been a rethinking of what properly accrues to the Jewish State of Israel.  A revisionist perception, we might say.

This perception has been fueled by Palestinian Arab leader Mahmoud Abbas and his cohorts, who – in insisting ad nauseum that Israel’s proper place is behind the “1967 border” – reveal themselves to be major advocates of the dictum that, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

Of course this business of a “1967 border” is a lie: there was no border established to Israel’s east after the War of Independence ended in 1949, only a temporary armistice line.  The armistice agreement was not even with a “Palestinian people,” but with Jordan.  Nor did Security Council Resolution 242 require Israel to pull back fully from Judea and Samaria, which was secured defensively during the Six-Day War in 1967.

But why bother with facts when a myth more favorable to the political interests of the Palestinian Arabs can be successfully generated?  Today, a good part of the world believes that Judea and Samaria consist of “Palestinian land,” which Israel must “return.”  The president of the United States speaks in such terms.  Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, called “settlements” (pejoratively), are referred to either as “illegitimate” or “illegal,” and the stumbling block to peace. Eastern Jerusalem, today part of the united capital of Jerusalem under full Israeli sovereignty, is called “Arab Jerusalem.”

It must be noted, however, that this Palestinian Arab myth could not have been successfully generated had successive Israeli governments self-confidently and persistently presented truths to counter the lies. Regrettably, since Oslo, this has not consistently been the case.

While no Israeli government has ever declared Judea, Samaria and the eastern part of Jerusalem to be “Palestinian land,” some have skirted close to embracing this position by behaving “as if.”  (A subject that perhaps merits a whole other article.) Some Israeli leaders to the left have swallowed the notion in its essence, speaking in terms of what the Israelis owe the “Palestinians.”  Some others are ideologically opposed to any such concept but timid about bucking a position that is politically correct internationally. This requires a determined strength, as significant parts of the international community, e.g., Europe, are predisposed to a pro-Palestinian Arab, anti-Israel position.

The good news here is that we may be about to witness a shift in the situation.

The current Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, is not ideologically committed to a notion of eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria as “Palestinian land.”  He is neither Ehud Olmert nor Ehud Barak.

Rather – with the single notable exception of the Iranian nuclear issue – Netanyahu is a man whose style is marked by a tendency to play along, rather than making waves.  There is substantial reason to believe he has done this, again and again, in the mistaken belief that this will lessen the pressure on Israel and accrue favor within the international community. In point of fact, this is counterproductive.

In January, 2012, Netanyahu appointed a committee – popularly referred to as the Levy Committee – to examine the status of Israeli building in Judea and Samaria. Edmund Levy, former Justice of the High Court, headed the committee; its other members were Alan Baker, international lawyer and former adviser for the Foreign Ministry, and Tehiya Shapira, retired Tel Aviv District Court Judge.

The Committee’s Report, which was released on July 8, 2012, is 90 pages long in the original Hebrew.  (Only summaries exist in English.)  It consists of both conclusions and recommendations and provides legal arguments and research.

The accusations currently being leveled by the international community against Israel as a violator of “international law” because of building in Judea and Samaria are countered by the Levy Report conclusions.  That is, because of both historical and legal factors, the decades-long presence of Israel in Judea and Samaria is not “belligerent occupation.” Israel’s situation is unique (sui generis) and Israel has the legal right to settle in Judea and Samaria.

The Report then offers a number of important recommendations, consistent with the conclu­sions, regarding adjustments in Israeli policies and practices in Judea and Samaria. These recommendations would clarify the rights of Israeli citizens living in Judea and Samaria, who currently find themselves at a serious disadvantage: The Israeli legal system default there favors Arabs.

At present, law-abiding, tax-paying Jewish Israeli citizens who bought their homes in Judea or Samaria in good faith and with the assistance of multiple government agencies can be forced to abandon those homes, if ownership of the land on which their homes are located is challenged by local Arabs, before the issue of who actually owns the land has been properly adjudicated.

These and a host of similar situations are violations of basic rights for Jews that should not be permitted to continue. Levy Report recommendations speak to these concerns.

I have it from an impeccable source that when Prime Minister Netanyahu first saw the Report, he declared, “Ah, this is just what we need.”

But information about the report was leaked, and Netanyahu, confronting the international furor that would result from its official adoption, did an about-face.  He referred the Report to the Ministerial Committee on Settlements, where it was tabled without discussion.  To this day, it sits in a drawer somewhere, effectively never having seen the light of day.

And so, the Levy Report disappeared from the radar screen of public awareness.  But it was not forgotten by Israeli activists and politicians with a nationalist orientation, who understood its enormous importance.

In the fall of 2012, a small group of seasoned activists formed an ad hoc committee to pursue plans for securing the adoption of the Report by the government. International lawyers and politicians were consulted, the political climate was assessed and assessed again; and plans for a campaign evolved through several permutations.  Persons and organizations of prominence who would lend their names to the campaign were sought (FP editor Jamie Glazov and FP parent organization, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, are both listed).  Additionally, and necessarily, backers to provide funds were secured.

As the plans for the campaign have coalesced over the last few months, the Campaign Committee has become convinced that the timing is right.

This is, first, because of the farcical “negotiations” with the Palestinian Authority.  If there are going to be such negotiations (certainly not advocated by the Campaign Committee) it is important that Israel negotiate from strength, and this means stating Israeli rights without equivocation. There is scant time to delay on this. It’s one thing to concede that Israel “must” withdraw from at least part of Judea and Samaria, because this is “owed” to the Palestinian Arabs, and quite another to say that it is Israeli land by right and any concessions to the Palestinian Arabs would be a matter of choice and discretion.

Then there has been an encouraging shift within the government, with a greater number of ministers and deputies who are nationalist or who tend to be opposed to the notion of a Palestinian state, such as: Moshe Ya’alon; Naftali Bennett; Danny Danon; Yisrael Katz; Tzipi Hotovely; Ze’ev Elkin; Uzi Landau; Yair Shamir; and Uri Ariel. Add to this list Yuli Edelstein, Speaker of the Knesset.

Lastly, there is Prime Minister Netanyahu’s second Bar Ilan speech of October 6.  Instead of speaking of a “two state solution,” as he had previously, he emphasized Jewish rights in the land.  A change of tone that many consider significant.


Chris Brand is ill and hospitalized at the moment so no new news commentary from him this week.


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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