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I missed it. Wednesday was United Nations Day in the U.S. Had I noticed in time I might have observed it. By flying the flag of the United States.

Why is the U.N. granted some sort of moral legitimacy by so many? Because, Okie, it's a world council of nations. How many of those nations have legitimate governments? What do you mean? According to one of our nation's founding documents, the Declaration of Independence, a government is legitimate if it has the consent of the governed, and remains legitimate so long as it safeguards the God-given rights of the people. So, I ask again, how many of the governments making up the United Nations are legitimate governments?

Well, well, you narrow-minded pretentious blogger, who are you to impose your standards on other people? Do you think that you have rights, such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that your government cannot take away arbitrarily? Why, yes. What is your point? Are you the only one in the world with such rights? I see where you are going with this, you are trying to get me to admit there is a universal truth that applies to everyone regardless of culture. You are trying to make me blaspheme Political Correctness and the Moral Relativism that underlies it. You are trying to trap me with patriarchal, Euro-centric logic. Yeah, yeah. So, are you the only one in the world with basic rights or does everyone have basic rights? . . .

Shouldn't we grant moral authority to a body that is made up of delegates from all over the world? Wouldn't the decisions of that body have a moral superiority to the decisions of only one nation? Why? If all the people in my small town gather and vote to burn a small boy at the stake just for the fun of it, should I recognize their moral superiority over any opposing view, say that held by the small boy, and treat their decision as sacrosanct because the town meeting included all the people of the town? What? I see you are a journalism major, so I'll try to explain again. If the majority of nations in the U.N. vote to execute homosexuals, bar women from the workplace, abolish every environmental regulation, and end all aid to the poor, would you comply with their decision? Of course not. Why not, if you grant them moral authority? Because those would be bad decisions. So, the United Nations is not necessarily better than one nation doing the right thing? Wait a minute, you are trying to trick me again.
Muslims continue to riot in the Netherlands. Now also in Brussels. Story.

Take one large unassimilated immigrant group. Add a religion that teaches its followers that they are superior to infidels and destined to rule the world. Place in a dish that has no confidence in its own value, and is crippled by political correctness.

Night is falling over Europe, again.
Gotta love Hollywood. Watching Law and Order: SVU this evening. The setting was the war on terror, the themes torture and private military contractors. And the bad guys--us. (I will admit I did not watch the last twenty minutes of the show, way too preachy.

The dangers created by a large, unassimilated minority within a nation are on display again in the Netherlands, where rioting has lasted for days. Gateway Pundit has brought the news together.

I am unable to find anything in the English-language press about the riots. Most of the reporting in English seems to be coming through the blogosphere.
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Please note this brilliant Gerard Baker essay via the TimesOnline :

The US is a great place to be anti-American

"Al Gore...Nobel Peace Prize, an Oscar and an Emmy...Michael Moore...[the] Dixie Chick[s]...Sean Penn...[Jimmy Carter]...Bill Clinton."

"It has always amused me that the same people who denounce America as a seething cesspit of blind obscurantist bigotry cant see the irony that America itself produces its own best critics. When theres a scab to be picked on the American body politic, no one does it with more loving attention, more rigorous focus on the detail, than Americans themselves."

"I can only laugh when I see the popular portrayal of George Bushs America in much of the international media. Supposedly serious commentators will say, without evident irony, that free speech is under attack, that Bushs wiretapping, Guantanamo-building, tourist-fingerprinting regime is terrifying Americans into quiet, desperate acquiescence in the countrys proliferating crimes."

Read the entire piece here. I only wish I had written it. Thanks to Tocqueville for the heads-up.
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
New on the blogosphere, Politeia, comes highly recommended by Tocqueville.

From the Manifesto, an excerpt from a post entitled "Eternal Truths":

"We value the traditions and institutions, the legacy of good governance of those countries in which proper democracies have taken hold.

"We decline to make excuses for, and oppose those, who empathize with totalitarian regimes and movements for which democracy is the enemy, regimes that oppress their own peoples and movements that aspire to do so. We draw a firm line between ourselves and those voices today who offer an apologetic explanation for such political forces.

"We believe that bullies, terrorists, totalitarians and political blackmailers must not be appeased, but be made known, in no uncertain terms and deeds, where the line is drawn that will not be crossed.

"We are not warmongers. Nor do we harbour any perverse admiration for the 'aesthetics' or romantic notions over the triumphs of war or revolution. But we are not pacifists either. Real evil, and forces that strive for our destruction must be fought, in the last resort also with weapons. Nor do we wish to rule the use of ultimate force for out as a tool of negotiation."

Check it out and let us know what you think. I am extremely interested in the informed opinions of our reading community.
From the AP via Drudge:

"We solemnly demand that the U.S. cancel the extremely wrong arrangements," said [Chinese] Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. "It seriously violates the norm of international relations and seriously wounded the feelings of the Chinese people and interfered with China's internal affairs."

Full story here.

The "extremely wrong arrangements"?

Over the objections of the Chinese, President Bush met with the Dalai Lama today (Tuesday), entertaining the Tibetan holy man and celebrated dissenter in the private residence section of the White House. Beijing believed that the President ought to have avoided the meeting altogether--but, at the very least, they demanded that he wait for the conclusion of the Chinese Communist Party conference.

The President disregarded the request. As TR might say, "Bully!"

kowtow verb

1. to act in an obsequious manner; show servile deference.

2. to touch the forehead to the ground while kneeling, as an act of worship, reverence, apology, etc., esp. in former Chinese custom.

[Origin: Chinese, kutu; lit., knock (one's) head]

The Okie Gardener is the closest thing we have to a resident Sinologist (or, perhaps more precisely, a China-watcher), but it has been my intention for some time to comment on the ancient Chinese custom of the kutu (pronounced with the hard "o" sound), from which we derive kowtow.

The Emperor of the Middle Kingdom (China), when receiving "barbarians" (foreigners), required the kutu, a ritualized procedure in which the visitor bowed before the potentate, sweeping low enough for his forehead to scrape the ground. This act could be performed several times, and it was designed, rather obviously, to bring home the point of abject inferiority on the part of the supplicant.

I could not help but be reminded of the kutu recently when Matel Corporation went out of its way to apologize profusely for mistakes the corporation made that led to the Chinese manufacture of lead-contaminated toys--taking great pains to explain that the Chinese partners played absolutely no role in the debacle.

Excellent kutu.

Although the Bush administration has not always had a stellar record in standing up to Chinese intimidation (to say the least), I am happy that the barbarian from Texas refused to kutu today.

Food For Thought: Am I a hypocrite for applauding Bush's bravado and, out of the other side of my mouth, castigating Nancy Pelosi for her disastrously destructive Turkish intervention? I say apples and oranges. Feel free to share your comments.
Story. From the International Herald Tribune.

It is important to realize that Hirsi Ali may be the first refugee from Western Europe since the Holocaust. As such, she is a unique and indispensable witness to both the strength and weakness of the West: to the splendor of open society, and to the boundless energy of its antagonists. She knows the challenges we face in our struggle to contain the misogyny and religious fanaticism of the Muslim world, and she lives with the consequences of our failure each day. There is no one in a better position to remind us that tolerance of intolerance is cowardice.

Having recapitulated the Enlightenment for herself in a few short years, Hirsi Ali has surveyed every inch of the path leading out of the moral and intellectual wasteland that is traditional Islam. She has written two luminous books describing her journey, the most recent of which, "Infidel," has been an international bestseller for months. It is difficult to exaggerate her courage. As Christopher Caldwell wrote in The New York Times, "Voltaire did not risk, with his every utterance, making a billion enemies who recognized his face and could, via the Internet, share information instantaneously with people who aspired to assassinate him."

We who are not Islamic, East and West, must ask ourselves a simple question: Do we believe there is something worth defending from a totalitarian religion/culture/political system with an intrinsic expansionism? If we answer yes, then we must fight, with words and votes and weapons. If we answer no, then we must await the darkness.
Australia and The Netherlands to send more troops to Afghanistan. Contrary to the left-wing chorus, we are not acting unilaterally in the world. Though sometimes it may indeed be necessary to go it alone.
Details are emerging of a recent merger of a U.S. technology firm with a Chinese company that endangers U.S. defense technology. Story here from Bill Gertz of The Washington Times.

Unbridled capitalism has no moral compass: its creed is "Anything for a buck." Some regulations are needed, especially for anything that would endanger national security.
The Burmese democracy movement is being crushed by the bloody fist of the ruling junta this week. From Der Speigel online (in English). From The Times (UK) online. Gateway Pundit has this roundup, including links to video.

In a sinful world, talk alone accomplishes nothing. Only the credible threat of force or other unpleasant consequences dissuades evil governments. Just "being nice" to the bad guys of the world will not turn them into nice guys. Niebuhr was right.
2 October 2007

"Ahmadinejad controls no legions."

"The Iranian President's words had no practical, only symbolic, global import. He has very little real power in Iran, none over foreign policy or the nuclear program."
~~Joe Klein

Mostly, I read TIME Magazine for the laughs and fodder for the blog.

One of my favorite foils is Joe Klein, who is mostly a harmless kook.

To pass the time, I enjoy breaking down his blustering essays in search of logical fallacies and contradictions. It is sort of an intellectual version of "Where's Waldo." And, of course, Waldo is everywhere.

For your review, an extended piece in that vein from April here.

Since that particular rage against the machine, Klein has pronounced Mitt Romney a superficial phoney. Not long after that he praised John Edwards as a fellow with big ideas not afraid to laugh at himself. Somewhere along the way Klein asserted that bloggers were ruining the country. All this political stuff should be left to the pros (like Joe Klein). He has proclaimed Iraq a disaster for years--and then recently he went to Iraq during a time of widespread grudging optimism and found--drum roll, please--Iraq was a disaster. Most recently, he loved Hillary Care.

As I have said before, the crazy thing is that this guy made a good living for years posing as a marquee political reporter and dispassionate wiseman concerning national politics.

This Week in TIME ?

"Inflating a Little Man. The neoconservatives want you to think Ahmadinejad is another Hitler. That's dishonest, and plumps for war."

Full TIME article here.

Klein declares that Ahmadinejad (and presumably Iran) presents "no existential threat to the United States."

Why do so many misguided Americans think he is important?

Easy. The neoconservatives have created another boogey man, Klein reveals, by "taking him literally." That is, dastardly neocons like Norman Podhoretz (and other neocons like Mort Zuckerman) falsely claim that Ahmadinejad's myriad scary threats ought to be addressed as serious statements of intent. Klein calls foul: "This is incendiary foolishness." Klein knows better.

An aside: Klein assumes that if Bush said it, the neocons must have thought it, and if the neocons thought it, it must be wrong.

While that certainly works sometimes, it is a shaky assumption upon which to base your entire worldview.

Notwithstanding, I agree with Klein, at least in part. We have a tendency to exagerate the institutional power of the Iranian president when it suits our purposes. On the other hand, Ahmadinejad is the elected leader of Iran, he is the spokesperson for the ruling Mullahs, and, most importantly, no one really knows for sure how crucial his role will be in the future of Iran.

The two major themes from Klein:

1. Ahmadinejad is no Hitler. We are "inflating a little man."

2. He advises us to laugh him off. Laughter is our most powerful defense against the threat of Iran and its leader. Klein: "But to be found ridiculous? How devastating. How delightfully Western."

Ironically, Klein's certainty that Ahmadinejad is too dimunitive and ridiculous to be threatening is in itself laughable. Even as Klein bemoans the comparison to Hitler, his position invites another similarity: the reluctance of the West to accept that the "Little Corporal," in the early stages of his ascendancy, competing for power in a chaotic and depressed Germany half a world away, could possibly pose a "an existential threat to the United States."

As for laughter being the best medicine, I am not persuaded. Charlie Chaplin got some good ones in on the "Great Dictator," but Patton, Ike and Bradley ultimately proved more convincing.