Dec 21, 2005

Have You Read Tocqueville?

Me either. But, here are some excerpts from Michael Novak's speech about the 200th anniversary of Tocqueville's birth:
Tocqueville foresaw a new soft despotism coagulating around the lower classes, with their low tastes and their resentments of anybody supposedly better than they are. They will want everybody pulled down, controlled, regulated, to enforce a leveling equality. The passion behind this machinery of repression will be envy. Here is how he describes it:

I am trying to imagine under what novel features despotism may appear in the world. In the first place, I see an innumerable multitude of men, alike and equal, constantly circling around in pursuit of the petty and banal pleasures with which they glut their souls. Each one of them, withdrawn into himself, is almost unaware of the fate of the rest....Over this kind of men stands an immense, protective power which is alone responsible for securing their enjoyment and watching over their fate. That power is absolute, thoughtful of detail, orderly, provident, and gentle. It would resemble parental authority if, fatherlike, it tried to prepare charges for a man's life, but on the contrary, it only tries to keep them in perpetual childhood. It likes to see the citizens enjoy themselves, provided that they think of nothing but enjoyment. It gladly works for their happiness but wants to be sole agent and judge of it. It provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasure, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, makes rules for their testaments, and divides their inheritances. Why should it not entirely relieve them from the trouble of thinking and all the cares of living? Thus it daily makes the exercise of free choice less useful and rarer, restricts the activity of free will within a narrower compass, and little by little robs each citizen of the proper use of his own faculties. Equality has prepared men for all this, predisposing them to endure it and often even regard it as beneficial.Having thus taken each citizen in turn in its powerful grasp and shaped him to its will, government then extends its embrace to include the whole of society. It covers the whole of social life with a network of petty complicated rules that are both minute and uniform, through which even men of the greatest originality and the most vigorous temperament cannot force their heads above the crowd. It does not break men's will, but softens, bends, and guides it; it seldom enjoins, but often inhibits, action; it does not destroy anything, but prevents much being born; it is not at all tyrannical, but it hinders, restrains, enervates, stifles, and stultifies so much that in the end each nation is no more than a flock of timid and hardworking animals with the government as its shepherd. (Democracy in America, Vol. 2, Part 4, Chapter 6) [emphasis added].

That is why I'm against modern liberalism! And here's why I'm for America with its Judeo-Christian values fully expressed:

On yet one other count, Tocqueville should have been far happier to have been correct. He hit the bulls-eye when he wrote that the truly distinctive genius of America was to solve the riddle that Europe and Asia had failed to solve, how to incorporate the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom into each other, "forming a marvelous combination":

Religion regards civil liberty as a noble exercise of man's faculties, the world of politics being a sphere intended by the Creator for the free play of intelligence. Religion, being free and powerful within its own sphere and content with the position reserved for it, realized that its sway is all the better established because it relies only on its own powers and rules men's hearts without external support.

Freedom sees religion as the companion of its struggles and triumphs, the cradle of its infancy, and the divine source of its rights. Religion is considered as the guardian of mores, and mores are regarded as the guarantee of the laws and pledge for the maintenance of freedom itself.

Here's the rest of Michael Novak's excellent speech. He wraps it up this way:

All in all, Tocqueville has a right to take pleasure in getting a number of very important matters right — including a new form of despotism to worry about. Moreover, there are religions and civilizations whose God seems not be committed to liberty and the personal dignity of each. But is that only an appearance? Is it in fact true?

It is past time to put Tocqueville's "Democracy in America" on our reading lists.

Dec 16, 2005


I find conservatives to be so reasoned and contained that, sometimes, I'd like to see a Howard Dean outburst! So here's mine... YEEEEAAAGGGH! I want to adopt an Iraqi democrat! Betty Dawisha, the "go to hell" senior, would be a good choice. This is why I'm the Western Chauvinist. I'm passionate about the superiority of liberty and representative government over all other systems. Iraqis have had their taste of freedom now - they won't be going back. If there is a better justification for this war, I'd like to know what it is.

Dec 12, 2005

Jimmy Carter: Not Just Another Nice Guy

My first vote was for Jimmy Carter – when he lost to Reagan. I remember the feeling at the time. Carter had been a “new hope” after the Nixon/ Watergate corruption. He had that big grin and Southern drawl and he was the smartest president we ever elected (a nuclear engineer!) before Bill Clinton. Oh sure, he didn’t do hostage rescues very well and the economy was in an abysmal state and conservation wasn’t just a buzz-word – it was a way of life (my dad really did set the thermostat to 55 degrees at night). America was experiencing unrelenting Carter malaise, but he was such a nice guy – and his opponent was that “saber rattling, idiot actor Reagan” – ugh!

And then there was the Reagan term, which reinforced the idea of Carter as a really nice guy. After all, Reagan fired the air traffic controllers right off the bat. Then he set about invading various helpless little nations to the south like Grenada. He called the Soviet Union an evil empire and caused all sorts of international chaos with his “Star Wars” initiative and bombastic rhetoric. Meanwhile, Carter was starting up Habitat for Humanity. What a nice guy.

I’m ok friends. I haven’t lost my mind. I’m just giving you the back story so you’ll understand the degree of disappointment and contempt with which I now hold Jimmy Carter. I’m getting much of the inspiration for this article from Jay Nordlinger’s “Impromptus” on National Review Online. Here's a quote from Jay’s remarks on Carter’s op-ed in the L.A. Times:
For example, he writes that George W. Bush has implemented "a host of radical government policies that now threaten many basic principles espoused by all previous administrations, Democratic and Republican." Among these principles is "the rudimentary American commitment to peace, economic and social justice, civil liberties, our environment and human rights."

Where to begin! Here’s what us neoconservatives believe Carter means by these principles:

Peace = pacifism with dialog no matter how feckless or how dangerous the outcome.

Economic and social justice = minimum wage (living wage) increases no matter how many low wage jobs are lost, single payer (that’s taxpayer) cradle to grave health insurance no matter how poor the medical services become, affirmative action (preferential treatment based on skin color and gender) no matter how damaging to race relations or insulting to the meritorious, protection from torture (not having your A/C turned off) if you’re an “enemy combatant” held in Cuba.

Civil liberties = abortion on demand, the right to say and perform acts of treason in the U.S. Congress or as a former president without consequence.

Our environment = no exploration for oil resources anywhere and massive taxpayer investment in alternate energy sources, certainly no more nuclear power no matter how clean it is, expansion of species protection no matter how many people suffer/die as a result, agreement to Kyoto and follow-on even if it means destroying the American/global economy.

Human rights = the fundamental right to abortion, to health insurance, to not ever be offended, to state sponsored secular humanist education (gosh, if only the founding father’s had heard the poetry of these ideas – Jefferson would have amended the Declaration!).

You would think that anyone with half a brain who had run the most unsuccessful administration in the country’s history could learn something from failure (I know, that’s probably oxymoronic). But, no – not liberals - and particularly not Jimmy Carter. These people are delusional! As a service to them, I’ll address Carter’s principles from this neoconservative’s point of view.

Peace is a brief interval that occurs between major human conflict, assuming you don’t count “minor” flare-ups, civil wars and intra-national genocidal acts by tyrants like Saddam Hussein. Peace is only possible for us good guys to enjoy after defeating evil. And we are by far and away the good guys as the only people in all of human history to willingly sacrifice our blood and treasure for the liberty of others – whatever their race or religion. Now, that is a commitment to fundamental human rights. If you disagree – prove me wrong! I only ask that you do it using history and facts.

Economic justice is achieved through free-market capitalism with minimal regulations to ensure the honesty of bookkeeping and profit reporting. This system is amoral and all participants should understand that.

1) If someone wants to sell you dog droppings and you’re willing to pay money for it – that’s a free-market capitalist transaction. It is not the government’s business to keep you from buying dog droppings or to set the price. The government’s only concern with the transaction should be that the dog droppings seller honestly represents his product and his profits to his shareholders.

2) There is no such thing as an obscene profit. The profit incentive is what drives the whole system and creates greater efficiencies. Huge profits are followed by a market adjustment that usually benefits the consumer by lowering the price of the product. This occurs because the profits are so great that more people/companies want in on the action, therefore increasing the supply and – you got it – lowering the price.

3) By free-market we also mean that the government should stop subsidizing businesses such as farmers. This tampers with the price of products on the world market and unfairly affects poor farmers in the third world. Sugar is a case study.

But, what about the principle of “from those who are able to those in need”? That, my friends is socialism and it is immoral. It is immoral both because it encourages the unrealistic expectation that the government can meet your needs and fix your problems (not to mention the political corruption resulting from a party cultivating a dependent class), but also because it is stealing resources and virtue from the able. Those who are able to support the poor have a disincentive to work hard to get ahead (the government just takes it for someone else) and are less likely to feel generous toward the poor as a result. Helping the poor is a Judeo-Christian value (synonymous with neoconservative values), but it is to be performed by the individual, not by the government. If you want to help the poor, work at a soup kitchen or, better yet, become an entrepreneur and provide jobs! Paying your taxes doesn’t count.

Social justice is what happens when we adhere to our Judeo-Christian values and expect the same treatment of all Americans under the law. This means that we’re advocating a color-blind meritocracy. We want liberals to stop Balkanizing this country by promoting multiculturalism! We don’t care if you descended from African slaves or Italian princes. Your ancestors’ sins and/or suffering do not attest to your character or ability! Have you studied hard and tested well? Then you deserve to move up. Have you shown talent and initiative in your efforts, but have limited opportunities because of your family’s limited means? We want you to have a scholarship. We’re for equal opportunity – not equal outcomes. Liberty means the chance to succeed and to fail.

Civil liberties are alive and well in America as evidenced by the Left’s favorite mouthpieces still enjoying their liberty while committing sedition and treason during a time of war. Ted Kennedy – just a few days before the January 30 vote in Iraq – calling for a pullout of American troops! Who was this intended to benefit? Certainly not the Iraqi people who braved the threat of terrorists killing their children to go to the polls despite a high-profile American calling for us to abandon them to the killers. Certainly not the American military, which would suffer the loss of purpose on top of the loss of heroes by abandoning its mission. Kennedy’s position is so spectacularly repulsive because he is advocating the same fate for Iraq and America that he succeeded in achieving for Southeast Asia and America in abandoning Vietnam. He, personally, has the blood of innocents on his hands.

Have you noticed that anytime the Iraqis get close to an election, the liberals start their hysteria? Now the Democrats are continually quoting a poll indicating that “80% of Iraqis want us out”. These are serious times calling for serious thinkers. Does anyone seriously believe that 80% of Iraqis want the American military to pack up and leave today? I really want to hear what kind of distortion of logic and reality you can use to convince yourself of this. Don’t you find it more likely that the Iraqis answering the poll felt intimidated and gave the safest answer they could about the “occupiers” when they know that they’re more likely to be killed for the “wrong” answer by terrorists than they are by Americans? John Kerry, Howard Dean and Barbara Boxer are just a few liberals using the poll to lend support to our enemies. And yet – they suffer no consequences – not even hard questions from the media. I don’t want to hear any more complaints about loss of civil liberties from liberals! When Iraqis enjoy the civil liberties of American liberals, then it is time for us to leave!

What do neoconservatives think about environmental policy? Hey, if it is going to increase the number of caribou in ANWR by 300% (as it has elsewhere in Alaska) to have an oil pipeline running through there, I’m all for it. I like mammals generally and humans particularly as made in God’s image. Therefore, I’m not too keen on species protection for pests such as insects and rodents. I also don’t believe it is a good idea to reintroduce predator species among human populations once they’ve been eliminated, no matter how repulsive and inhumane the original means of elimination may have been. While limousine liberals are all too happy to have wolves back in the lower 48, I won’t advocate the return of them to Central Park.

As for energy production and global warming, I’m willing to accept that some global warming may be in progress. However, considering that the data seems to align more consistently with solar activity (and the sun is a way big thermonuclear reactor only 90 million miles away), I’m not prepared to buy the human fossil fuel/CO2 cause yet. On the off-chance that CO2 production by humans has some effect, I’m willing to go nuclear to try to reduce our emissions. I also believe that, if nuclear power is good enough for the French as a primary source of power, it is good enough for us.

How about human rights? I’m for them, unless you’re against them for me and others (think Islamists and other totalitarians), in which case I’m against them for you. I guess I should define human rights for me so as to distinguish them from what Carter means. Human rights to me are those so eloquently stated by Jefferson in the Declaration: the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately, Carter and other liberals have conflated these fundamentals with some rather obtuse un-articulated constitutional rights (like privacy) that we have to clarify somewhat.

The right to life is not the same as the right to a convenient or comfortable life. If you are inconvenienced by an unwanted pregnancy, you do not have the “human right” to deny the right to life to your unborn child. Killing an innocent is never a moral choice (with the exception of war casualties), whatever the underlying reason, and it does not improve you or your society to have this “right”.

Liberty is not license. The right to liberty is the God-given right to exercise your conscience (assuming you have one). You are free to choose your religion or no religion. You are free to associate with whomever you please. You are even free to think and say pretty much anything, as long as it doesn’t fall outside the bounds of your society’s social/ethical codes, which in our case are based on Judeo-Christian values.

You have the right to pursue happiness, but the government is not able to guarantee it to you. In a free society, you may sometimes/often be offended. Get over it! Having health insurance is not going to make you happy if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, but can’t get an appointment with an oncologist for 6 months – just ask the Canadians. Happiness is not guaranteed by God or government and is never provided by government.

What about human rights for terrorists in detention camps? They want to cut off your heads and consign your wives and daughters to the barbarity of Sharia law. They keep screaming it through video recordings sent to al-Jazeera! I think they’ve relinquished their human rights. Neocons aren’t advocating the torture of terrorists, but not because it would deny them their human rights. We don’t want our military men having to perform torture because it denies our men their human dignity. I’m all for the psychological and physical coercion of these animals if it will save innocent lives. Turning off the air conditioning in Cuba for people raised in 120 degree temperatures in the Arab desert is not torture. Neither is a gun shot past the head to get someone to reveal information about an ambush in Iraq. It is an honest way to say “your life is only worth the information you provide me – this is war!”

If what I’ve described as neoconservative ideals is not Jimmy Carter’s America – or yours – it is not because America has left its historic ideals behind. It is because, thank God, most Americans realize that the socialistic secular humanist theories proposed by liberals like Jimmy Carter are failures and against the interests of the United States and, therefore, human liberty around the world. We have to stop providing cover for proponents of leftist ideology as nice guys. They are not nice guys at all when innocents are forced to live with - or die from - the consequences of their ideology. Jimmy Carter is not just another nice guy.

Liberals Are From Venus; Conservatives Are From Mars

I guess this has been floating around for years, but I just recently read it and got such a good laugh, I had to share.

Remember the book "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus"? Well, here's a prime example offered by an English professor at Southern Methodist University, English 44A, SMU, Creative Writing [Professor Miller]

In-class Assignment for Wednesday: "Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her immediate right. One of you will then write the first paragraph of a short story. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth. Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached."

"The following was actually turned in by two of my English students:

Rebecca - last name deleted, and Gary - last name deleted."

STORY: (first paragraph by Rebecca) At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

(Gary) Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S. Harris to Geostation 17," he said into his transgalactic communicator. "Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far..." But before he could sign off a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.

(Rebecca) He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel," Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth -- when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. "Why must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.

(Gary) Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through Congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion, which vaporized Laurie and 85 million other Americans. The President slammed his fist on the conference table. "We can't allow this! I'm going to veto that treaty! Let's blow 'em out out of the sky!"

(Rebecca) This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic, semi-literate adolescent.

(Gary) Yeah? Well, you're a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium.



A+ - I really liked this one.

Happiness Through IM and E-mail?

Dennis Prager asserted on the "Happiness Hour" of his radio show today that technological means of communication such as instant messaging, text messaging and e-mail allow greater clarity during arguments and greater intimacy when expressing love. WOW! I think he is really on to something here!

He's right that in a verbal argument, the "bully" always wins. The person with better verbal skills has the upper hand and the whole point of the discussion is to wait until the other person shuts up so you can articulate your point, which frankly you seldom accomplish in a heated argument. Dennis recommends going to separate rooms and IMing each other! Really - it is not a bad idea!

The written word allows you to - really forces you to - think through your position. You're also less likely to say hurtful things if you write them down and think about them first. And many people feel too vulnerable expressing loving thoughts face to face, but could probably do it fairly comfortably with writing.

This is actually something I've been thinking about lately on the recommendation of a friend. One of my second-grader's assignments for the year is to keep a daily journal where she's expected to write a paragraph every day. She is not inspired. My friend recommended that I write questions to her in the journal every day and let her decide what to answer and when. What a great idea!

It got me thinking that, not only would this improve her writing skills, but it would also increase our knowledge of and love for each other. I can ask her what skills she would like to develop and why, what or who she loves and why, what she thinks I love and why, etc... The whole concept seems so obvious and beneficial that I'm shocked I didn't think of it myself!

I've also remembered that my parents advocated "love letter" writing as part of the pre-cana program they lead. And, as Dennis said, we wouldn't know nearly as much about historical figures such as John and Abigail Adams were it not for their love letters. He also took a call from a woman who lost her husband to cancer in August. He was an Air Force retiree and had many friends around the world. The friends kept track of his condition by e-mail and expressed their great love for him and how he had affected their lives. The woman kept the e-mails and is making a memory book for their nine year old son. Powerful stuff.

Prager also said that, while a mirror reflects our physical being, our writing reflects our soul. It is what we think and how we feel in physical form. So, here's to technology, the written word and greater happiness. Blog on.

Tom Bethell on Evolution vs ID

Tom Bethell is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science. He has eloquently stated here what I tried to articulate in my article on liberalism versus ID.

The underlying problem, rarely discussed, is that the conclusions of evolutionism are based not on science, but on a philosophy: the philosophy of materialism, or naturalism. Living creatures, including human beings, are here on Earth, and we got here somehow. If atoms and molecules in motion are all that exist, then their random interactions must account for everything that exists, including us. That is the true underpinning of Darwinism. What needs to be examined in detail is not so much the religion behind intelligent design as the philosophy behind evolution.

This is the point I was trying to make. Religious belief was not a pre-condition for the science brilliantly performed by Galileo, Newton, Darwin or Einstein. It simply was. But in modern science culture, disbelief in God is a prerequisite for consideration as a serious scientist. And the philosophy that has displaced God is not good science.

Irreconcilable Deferences

Did you catch the Sunday New York Times front page article about the resurgence of bed bugs in New York? Manhattan, no less! Oh yeah, the exterminators are doing a hopping business trying to relieve “hysteric” denizens of maternity wards, elite boarding schools and plush hotels of yea olde bed louse! Complaints are up from 2 to 375 or there abouts. What is going on here?

I should admit that I didn’t get the story from the NYT (I wouldn’t read that liberal rag except under extreme duress or on the recommendation of a trusted friend). I heard about this on Dennis Prager’s show today. As he explained, the NYT gave three possible reasons for the increase of bed bugs in New York: 1) increased immigration from “developing” countries; 2) cheap air travel in recent years (same as (1)); 3) banned pesticides. But the author really gave away the answer earlier in the article when he stated that the bed bug was virtually eliminated from NY after WWII due to the use of DDT. So, if you answered number 3, DING DING DING – you’re a winner!

Now, I’d be stopping this article letting us all enjoy the discomfort of the limousine liberals in NY if there weren’t some serious physical, financial and emotional ramifications for innocent people around the world due to the environmental movement. I’m sure you’ve heard the facts about malarial deaths in Africa, blocked development in Colorado due to the Prebles jumping mouse (which turns out to be genetically indistinguishable from your average western field mouse) and blocked development in California due to an insect species (don’t they out-number us billions to one?). Perhaps you even saw the Frontline where they interviewed a woman scientist from Africa who was developing a disease and insect resistant yam to try to feed her starving countrymen. But she was using – DUNH DUNH DUNH DUNH (you should be biting your knuckles now) – genetic engineering and so the extremist environmental group ELF torched her lab in Michigan. All very disturbing incidents, but what is the underlying cause?

I believe it is because environmental activists are “for Nature”, while those of us who espouse Judeo-Christian values are “for humanity”. This goes back to my previous article (Liberalism vs. Intelligent Design) where I stated the central tenant of J/C values that man is made in God’s image. This belief system requires deferential treatment of humanity where the environmental faith views man as an accident of evolution – no more important than any other animal, but a lot bigger pest! Now, as Dennis said, we are all environmentalists – it is absurd how liberals try to portray conservatives as against clean water and clean air – but some of us recognize the trade-offs! I know that DDT has been shown to thin the egg shells of large raptors. But, while the Bald Eagle has made a tremendous comeback since DDT was banned, tens of thousands of people are starving, suffering debilitating disease, dying and…well, being bitten by bed bugs. The moral choice seems pretty clear.

I'm Thankful for Jonah Goldberg!

Jonah Goldberg has a wonderful ability to distill some truths with wisdom and wit:
We'll have all year to gripe about the public-policy issues on both sides of the God divide. But since this is Thanksgiving, I thought maybe we could take the discussion in another direction. Thanksgiving, after all, is first and foremost about giving thanks (a close second is the tradition of lying on the couch eating super-nummy turkey sandwiches off your belly like a sea otter munching a crab leg).

Scientists often fall into a fallacious tendency, after studying and describing something according to the methods of their discipline, to believe that their appraisal of it is somehow more real than the thing itself.

If you'd like to savor the rest here it is.

And CNN wonders why we don't believe them?

For those who may have missed the Drudge report on it, CNN broadcast a speech Vice President Dick Cheney was giving live and somehow a big black X placeholder flashed over his face. CNN says it was a technical glitch.

Now, which scenario is more credible? The black X placeholder, used by hundreds of broadcasters thousands if not millions of times a day, suddenly developed a glitch in the middle of Vice President Cheney's speech? Or, some technician working at CNN who hates the administration thought it might be fun to try to humiliate the vice president in front of millions of viewers (reportedly a technician was heard laughing at the time).

CNN pegs the BS meter again!

ID Takes a Hit from the Vatican

It looks like IDers have a huge uphill battle. The head Vatican Astronomer just slammed ID as "not science". I don't think the pope's statements are completely in sync with his astronomer (a Jesuit - read liberal), so the conflict is even within the Church. I see ID as a call for honesty in the teaching of evolution and not as stifling the science of evolution. Oh well, it took the Church several hundred years to forgive Galileo - I expect we'll take nearly as long to figure this out!

Liberalism vs. Intelligent Design

Accolades to my fellow Neocon Planet contributor, Hodar, for his “Conservatism vs. Evolution?” post. I know you to be an excellent scientist and fine thinker. Your point is well-taken, but I’d like to discuss the other perspective for a bit. Please note, that I do not believe Intelligent Design to be an argument against evolution. Rather, I believe it is an argument for God and therefore not in disagreement with Hodar's premise.

In the interest of full-disclosure, I considered myself an atheist up until 10 or so years ago, then agnostic and recently I’ve returned to the Catholic Church. I was also a rabid feminist liberal and have an engineering background; so much of my criticism of the left in this area comes from personal experience. While I’m no evolutionary biologist, I’ve read and listened to some excellent thinkers (admittedly conservative) on the topic of evolution vs. intelligent design and here’s what I think.

Liberals, and particularly liberals in science, have a knee-jerk reaction against any possibility of a Creator. Does this make for good science? I don’t know. I do know that, despite what the Left would have you believe (and what it teaches in the classroom), Darwin and Galileo were great scientists and were not atheists. Indeed, much of human endeavor in the past centuries has been pursued in order to glorify God.

Why is this significant? Isn’t science the objective pursuit of truth? Well, I believe this would be true if humans were capable of an agenda-less pursuit. But, that doctorate received from the university says PhD – Doctorate of Philosophy for a reason. It may be for the Ph of physics or the Ph of biology, but it is scientific philosophy with a strong leftist bent.

I believe this because of the way science in general, and evolution in particular, is taught. Evolution is taught with a fundamentalist fervor that ignores the weaknesses of the theory and doesn’t even distinguish between scientific theory and scientific law. Scientific laws were theories until proven with absolute certainty within bounded conditions. Examples would be Newton’s Laws and the Laws of Thermodynamics. Theories, like evolution, may have mountains of supporting evidence, but are subject to further amendment because of persistent uncertainty under certain conditions.

And here’s some truth about evolution that is rarely, if ever, discussed in public. Evolution falls outside the standard scientific method because it relies heavily on “historical” evidence rather than laboratory experimentation. There are other theories that suffer the problem of missing lab results and repeatability, like String Theory, but only evolution is given such an easy pass by the scientific community. Parts of evolution have been proven in the laboratory, like mutation and natural selection, but – and this is the important part - trans-speciation has never been witnessed in the laboratory and is not clearly supported in the fossil record! There are missing links throughout the historical record, not just in the humanoid branches.

Whoa! That’s kind of heavy. Certainly, anyone interested in the objective pursuit of truth should acknowledge that, while this doesn’t begin to prove the existence of God, it does leave room for a Creator.

And here are a couple other interesting points. Some ID scientists argue that the statistical likelihood of life beginning from light (the Big Bang to matter to life) is practically nil. But, even more meaningful to me, is the evidence of “purpose” for life. What is the evolutionary force behind reproduction, particularly sexual reproduction? I can understand a single cell undergoing division spontaneously at some point, but sexual differentiation and reproduction seems rather extravagant – a bonus! Let’s grant the awesome transformation of light into life minus God. What business does Nature have insisting on the persistence of life?

Even the fossil record suggests instantaneous manifestations of complex animals. Trilobites and other early bisymmetrical species appear for the first time in the record with sophisticated eyes and eyesight. Maybe there were selective pressures on these creatures for this adaptation, but where are the intermediate mutations?

These and other questions remain unanswered by evolutionary theory. Will science ever allow this discussion in the high school biology class? I doubt it. Is it important to teach our children the openings evolution leaves for God? I believe so, and I plan to teach my children so.

Here’s why. I admit, this is an “ends justify the means” argument, but the Left should be very comfortable with the approach, as this is standard procedure for it. Judeo/Christian values teach that man is made in God’s image. This isn’t our physical manifestation. This is our spiritual being. It is what separates us from all the other “evolved” creatures. It is what allows us to recognize natural and manmade beauty and gives us the ability to appreciate it. It’s what makes you cry upon hearing a Mozart concerto or hearing a choir perform a hymn. It is what allows you, while understanding the science of light through atmosphere, to transcend all that while enjoying a sunset. It is what leads you to try to live a holy (opposite the animal) life. It is why Jews and Christians don’t lop off appendages for thievery or advocate for the slow starvation of the “brain dead”. It is what gives humans dignity. And the belief in people as God’s creations in His image can only benefit our society and the world.

Is Modern Liberalism Gene Roddenberry's Fault?

Anyone old enough to have seen the original Star Trek series created by Gene Roddenberry might recognize the utopian ideals of today's liberals in it. Think about it. On any major policy we debate, Star Trek is the fulfillment of the liberal playbook.

Start with environmental policy. No fossil fuels burned in GR's world. Nope - only dilithium crystals and warped space needed. Isn't it grand? No CO2 emmissions at all - no SUVs, no lawnmowers, no contrails. No mining or drilling, except for those resourceful Neanderthals on some distant planet mining dilithium crystals. And the federation has such a sense of social justice that we end up fighting for their liberty! Awesome.

Next up, how about economic policy? Capitalism or socialism? How primitive. As far as I can tell, no currency ever changes hands. Everyone in the Federation seems to "work" for the Federation (is this the U.N.?). And, of course, they're perfectly matched to their positions. I mean, Scotty was born an engineer. You get your food from this nifty device called a replicator - no charge! Housing, clothing, transportation, child care, education - all provided by the Federation. Whoopee!

How about health care? Well, Star Trek gives a whole new meaning to "universal healthcare"! I never saw Bones turn away anyone. He could take care of you even if your blood was green. With all the fancy technology at his disposal, he could develop an antidote to anything. What is wrong with our greedy drug companies today! This is the 21st century isn't it?

And finally, we can wrap up social policy, civil rights, race relations, international relations conveniently in "the prime directive". This is encompassed by today's liberal ethics of multiculturalism, political correctness and moral relativism. The policy of "non-interference" in evolving societies is analogous to the liberal's hands-off who-are-we-to-judge attitude. Of course, Kirk was wont to defy the principle just about every episode, but his phaser was judiciously set to "stun" most of the time.

There seems to be only one deadly sin among Federation members. It was always the guy in the "red" shirt (conservatives, don't get paranoid) that got killed. Remember, Bones would look up at Kirk with an arched brow and say, "He's dead, Jim".

Still, I'd like to believe Roddenberry knew he was writing fiction. He must have understood enough about physics to know the "no-free-lunch" principle. If only the same could be said of the bliss ninnies of the left!

Damn, the captain and crew on the bridge wore "blue", didn't they!

Scaredy, Scaredy France on Fire

I've been resisting the sense of shadenfraude while watching the riots in France. So, lets not discuss the international betrayal by France in the Oil for Food Scandal, at the U.N. Security Council, etc... No, lets just stick to France itself. Even on a stingy day, we have to admit that this is one of the top Western cultures. OK, they've had some problems with national defense since Napolean, but they're right up in the top five in literature, art, science, etc... It is disappointing and a little frightening to watch a culture fracture and dissipate from - what? Apathy? Inattention? Secular leftist materialism? Whatever the cause, the vacuum left by the French loss of identity is being filled by the barbarians the French left through the gates a long time ago. OK, barbarians is a strong term, but let's consider what the rioters are and are not.

1) They are not materially deprived. They enjoy the benefits of the world's third most genereous social welfare system. One reporter described the rioters he interviewed as wearing Nike sneakers, Levi jeans and Houston sports team sweatshirts. Their housing is less than ideal in that it is "public housing" provided by the French government, but they are neither homeless nor hungry. There are hundreds of cars in the neighborhood to burn.

2) They are not North African and Arab immigrants. They are second or third generation French-born Muslims with full French citizenship. Another significant immigrant group - the Indians - are not torching schools and cars.

3) They are not educated in the French public school system generally and therefore learn little about French history and culture (warning to America!). Their parents and grandparents arranged long ago to maintain cultural autonomy by having Arab/Muslim organizations negotiate with the French government to educate them in Islamic schools. One of these leaders characterized assimilation as "cultural rape".

4) They are unemployed because the French have rejected the Anglo-American free-market economic model in favor of a generous social welfare system with a stringently regulated labor market (read mandatory 35 hour work week and virtually guarenteed lifetime employment, if you get the job, whether you perform or not). This jobs protection scheme has made labor an expensive, anti-market commodity that discourages hiring (warning to America's minimum wage proponents). While France's national unemployment rate hovers near 10 percent, the areas where the riots have occurred have a rate between 25 and 40 percent.

5) They are unassimilated for some of the reasons stated above, but mostly because they choose to be. Here is something I understand about Muslim culture. They do not wish to partake of the hyper-sexualized, vulgar, debased, profane sludge that much of Western culture has become. This I understand. But Islam, and particularly Sharia law, is about as far from French liberte, egalite, fraternite as an ideology can get. Women under Sharia are unfree not just because of their headscarves, FGM, proscription from free association, but also, like all Muslims, are fundamentally unfree to exercise their conscience and leave Islam. Sharia demands the death penalty in this case. Perhaps there is an egalitarian ideal among Muslims, but I don't think they would extend that to us infidels. Which pretty much covers the fraternite part too. Thus, we have a group of people with essentially primitive moral and social codes living in one of the most culturally advancd Western countries without the desire or the encouragement through French governmental policy to assimilate.

6) They do not admire the generosity of the French government, nor the restraint of the French police (or government to call out the military). They see this as Western weakness and fecklessness. And here's another place I agree. Now in these parts in the real West, when somebody's looting stores and burning cars, why (ptew) the first day we call a curfew and the next day we give shoot to kill orders for them there looters. Yup, I know it seems a litte rough, but doggone if it doesn't work!

So, what is the French response to the problem? How about more of the same? My favorite little creme puff, Dominique De VillePAIN (yes, I know how to spell it) has admitted failure to assimilate as a problem, but he suggests we just throw some more money at the projects and see if that doesn't help. And now, the French "conservative" (read left of Hillary Clinton) government is getting grief from the French left (read left of Pluto - the planet, not the dog) for even suggesting curfews. Why, you can't impose curfews - it might incite them to violence! Huh? Scaredy, scaredy France on fire!