Friday, February 03, 2006

Angry yet?
The Belmont Club hits the target again:
For who in Islam would believe in us if we did not believe in ourselves? Who in Islam could trust that we would fight at their side if we could not defend all that we were, all that we believed?

Would to God that attitude applied to "our" government. Yes, I'm angry:
Not only did "our" government say we should tolerate Islamic violent intolerance of free speech that mildly mocks Islam, "our" government gives these murderers billions of dollars of our money every year. And "our" government also gives money to "artists" who scurrilously and obscenely mock and defile the Christian religion. Then if someone were to get violently intolerant about that, do you imagine "our" government would tolerate such violence? Angry yet?
Crush, but tolerate
I responded to a post on the Belmont Club about the correct tactics to use against Islamic intolerance, perhaps because Wretchard was atypically mild:
No one can foresee where the Danish cartoon controversy will lead. At best both sides will return to their lines of departure after having made their points, each with a renewed respect for the other. The West should understand, if it didn't realize it before, that Muslims are willing to fight for their religion. And Muslims should understand, from the cartoon controversy, that whatever they had heard to the contrary it goes double ditto for the West.

I spake thusly:
Saudi Arabia is a good example of a place that has built a wall around its borders to "protect its culture". And they prohibit Bibles and churches and don't let their women drive. But radio waves and the Internet do not respect walls. The kicker is that we have no reason to fear contamination from Islamic culture. We are winning the culture war. That's why they have turned to violence. And that can be dealt with. But we must continue to propagate the winning ideas of individual freedom, reason and toleration while we utterly crush anyone who resorts to violence.
We must never forget: they are afraid of us. We have both the cultural and military might to exterminate them utterly. They barely have the ability to be a bother. And it is our collectivist fellow-travelers who give the violent Islamists what strength they have. These are indeed, as Wretchard says, interesting times.
Update: Just remember what FrankJ said:
...there is hardly anything people treasure more than not being annihilated.
(via Instapundit)
Last option?

Angela Merkel, in Debka:

Merkel says military force can be used as a “last option” against terrorism
speaking of Iran.

So, OK, what if she had said military force was the "second-to-last option"? What would that make the last option? Smothering the country in sauerkraut?
Disagreeing, but tolerating

Samizdata makes a good point about toleration of dissenting opinions:
Robin Koerner of Watching America thinks that the whole 'Satanic Cartoon' issue needs to be resolved with the straightforward notion that people must agree to disagree...
This entire furor is premised on the assumption that we can not dignify people by giving them responsibility for the way they choose to react to the things in their world - and especially things that they do not like. Just as I have the responsibility not to choose to get angry at all every Muslim when a few damaged individuals commit such evil acts as beheading of innocents.

I clarify the collectivist/individualist spinpoint:
One point of the Voltaire quote is that just because a particular expression of opinion is tolerated does not mean the tolerating person agrees with that opinion. The protesting Islamists have transgressed civilized norms by holding an entire society and culture responsible for the actions of a few. And their "multiculti" defenders insist that is exactly what we should not do in relation to the truly offensive idiocy emanating from a good part of the Islamic media.

As when in sixth grade the teacher would keep everyone after school because one idiot threw a spitball, collective punishment seems obviously unfair to Westerners.
Posted to Samizdata:
As to military deaths in the war on terror, the 1753 US combat deaths in Iraq in three years (the 2245 figure is overall deaths, including car accidents and suicides) should be compared to the over-2000 combat deaths in a single month in Vietnam. And that figure was exceeded in two particular months during the Vietnam War. So the War on Terror isn't causing historically significant casualties even in Iraq.
Asymmetrical warfare is an information problem. I think of Three Mile Island, the incident from which no one even took sick, much less died, but which destroyed the future of a clean, efficient technology we could really use about now.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Ethical - or not?
I posted this comment:
Stark's and Weber's arguments are, may I say, starkly different. Stark certainly does not discount the possibility of other cultures adopting real science after the kind of change of consciousness typified by the Meiji restoration. The thesis reminds me of Julian Jaynes' arguments in The Emergence of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind - stimulating even if not bulletproof.
on both GNXP and the Two Blowhards blog. Is it ethical to paste the same comment into two (or more) blogs? As long as the post is about the same topic, I don't see the problem. And I prize laziness as the mother of invention. At least on 2Blowhards I added this:
Stark's thesis isn't about religion writ large - it's about one particular part of one particular religion and why the people who adopted that way of looking at the world succeeded in creating a civilization beyond the wildest dreams of any other men throughout history while their closest theological relatives failed to develop much of anything.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Incomplete information

On Asymmetrical Information, one of my favorite blogs, Winterspeak addresses determining whether a particular individual shares the attributes of his racial or sexual group:
If you do not have detailed information on an individual, it is rational to evaluate them on group averages.

So I had to point out the irrationality of the usual job interview process:
Job interviews, which should be all about the individual's identification with those of his own race and sex and age, in order to clarify the individual's likely behavior, are forbidden from even addressing these topics. So it's no wonder that hirers are thrown back on their assumptions.
I suggest a new law requiring employers to ask specifically about the implications of an applicant's race, sex and age, so as to bring out any factors that may differentiate him from the collective mass whose outward characteristics he shares.

OT: Steve Jobs doesn't wear Chuck Norris pajamas; Chuck Norris wears Steve Jobs pajamas. Steve Jobs didn't invent computers. He just leaned over and breathed the breath of life into them. On the seventh day God rested after creating the earth and the heavens and all that lives within them, until Steve Jobs kicked him in the butt and told him to get back to work and create cyberspace.