Blackadder’s Lair

The home of many a cunning plan

Rules for Radicals

During last year’s election, much was made, both positively and negatively, of Barack Obama’s past work as a community organizer. Obama himself highlighted his community organizing, drawing parallels between his time organizing in Chicago and his hopes as a potential President. Others were more critical.

To learn more about the history of community organizing, I decided to read Saul Alinsky’s book Rules for Radicals. Continue reading

January 20, 2009 Posted by | America, Democracy, Politics | 46 Comments

I am the State, the State is Me

A few days back, as is often the case, folks were arguing in the Vox Nova comboxes about abortion, and the question arose of whether legal protection for the unborn or a minimization of the number of abortions ought to be the primary goal of the pro-life movement. Zippy spoke in favor of the former and stated his case thusly:

The illegality of murder is more paramount. If there were a law sanctioning the murder black people, it would be more important to eliminate that legal sanction than to decrease the number of murders. One is a question of basic justice, while the other is merely a matter of what it is possible to achieve as a practical matter.

As so often happens when reading Zippy, when I read the above I had, simultaniously, two seemingly mutually incompatible thoughts:

1) what this guy is saying is absolutely nuts; and

2) he kind of has a point. Continue reading

November 16, 2008 Posted by | Abortion, America, Democracy, Government, Law | Leave a comment

Prop. 8 Opposition Turns Ugly

Prayer had just finished when men and women stood up in pockets across the congregation, on the main floor and in the balcony. “Jesus was gay,” they shouted among other profanities and blasphemies as they rushed the stage. Some forced their way through rows of women and kids to try to hang a profane banner from the balcony while others began tossing fliers into the air. Two women made their way to the pulpit and began to kiss.

More. Nor, I’m afraid, can this just be written off as an isolated incident. As Natalie noted a few days ago, the success of Prop. 8 has stirred up a lot of anti-Mormon feeling, so much so that Bishop Weigand (who used to be Bishop for Salt Lake City) issued a statement defending the LDS church and calling on Catholics to “stand in solidarity with our Mormon brothers and sisters in support of traditional marriage – the union of one man and one woman – that has been the major building block of Western Civilization for millennia.” Last week at a rally to protest support of Prop. 8 by members of the LDS church, gay activities hurled racial epithets at blacks attending the rally (and who, ironically, were therefore on their side on the question of same-sex marriage) According to one account:

It was like being at a klan rally except the klansmen were wearing Abercrombie polos and Birkenstocks. YOU N*GGER, one man shouted at men. If your people want to call me a F*GGOT, I will call you a n*gger. Someone else said same thing to me on the next block near the temple…me and my friend were walking, he is also gay but Korean, and a young WeHo clone said after last night the n*ggers better not come to West Hollywood if they knew what was BEST for them.

And then there’s this:

(HT: Laudem Gloriae)

November 12, 2008 Posted by | Democracy, Election, Homosexuality, Marriage, Mormonism, Race | 1 Comment

The First Amendment vs. The Chicago Way

John McCain is no friend of the First Amendment. McCain-Feingold, the legislation that bears his name, is only the latest in a long series of attempts to restrict political discussion and debate regarding elections (for some examples of the pernicious effect that campaign finance regulations have had, see here and here). It would be hard, given Senator McCain’s history, for another candidate to show greater disregard for freedom of speech.

Barack Obama, however, seems to be giving it his best try. In Wednesday’s Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby recounts some instances of the Obama campaign’s disturbing tendency to try to use government as a means of silencing criticism: Continue reading

October 31, 2008 Posted by | Democracy, Election, Law, Politics | 2 Comments

What Caused the Peace of Europe?

After century upon century of periodic warfare, the continent of Europe has, for the last 60 years or so, enjoyed a period of unprecedented peace. Why is that? To hear many Europeans tell it, the recent spate of peace in Europe is due to the advanced moral sentiments of its peoples. After enduring centuries of bloodshed, in the 1940s Europeans finally grew up, and learned to settle their disagreements peacefully (unlike the warmongering Americans).

This explanation is only plausible to the extent one ignores just how fragile and limited the peace of Europe since WWII has actually been. One can say that Europe has known 60 years of uninterrupted peace only if one ignores the Cold War that left half the continent under Soviet domination with the other half under constant threat of total annihilation, as well as repeated wars in the Balkans, the IRA in the United Kingdom, ETA in Spain, Greece’s civil war and conflict with Turkey, French wars in Algeria and Indochina, the Suez crisis, British military engagements ranging from Malaysia to the Falklands, not to mention participation by numerous European countries in the Korean war, Afghanistan, and one or both of the Iraq conflicts, to give but a partial list. If what European peace does exist is the result of some moral advancement and conflict resolution skills developed by the Europeans, then it is unclear why the above mentioned conflicts occurred. Continue reading

July 20, 2008 Posted by | Democracy, History, Trade, War and Peace | 1 Comment

The Environmental Record of Communism

Via Darwin Catholic, I see that a couple of Australian professors have, after sober reflection, concluded that stopping climate change requires the abandonment of liberal democracy in favor of authoritarian dictatorship:

China has become, or is just about to become, the world’s greatest emitter of greenhouse emissions. Its economic growth suggests that it may soon emit as much as the rest of the world put together. Its environment is in a deplorable state, with heavily polluted rivers and drinking water, serious air pollution, both of which have a heavy burden of illness. Pollution and climate change are reducing productive land in the face of an increasing population which is compelled to import some of its foodstuffs. Its population centres will be candidates for early inundation by sea level rise and the melting of Himalayan glaciers will reduce its water supply.

All this suggests that the savvy Chinese rulers may be first out of the blocks to assuage greenhouse emissions and they will succeed by delivering orders. They will recognise that the alternative is famine and social disorder.

Let us contrast this with the indecisiveness of the democracies which together produce approximately the other half of the world’s greenhouse emissions. It is perhaps reasonable to ask the reader a question. Taking into account the performance of the democracies in the reduction of emissions over the past decade, do you feel that the democracies are able and willing to reduce their emissions by 60-80 per cent this century or perhaps more importantly by approximately 10 per cent each decade?

We are going to have to look how authoritarian decisions based on consensus science can be implemented to contain greenhouse emissions. It is not that we do not tolerate such decisions in the very heart of our society, in wide range of enterprises from corporate empires to emergency and intensive care units. If we do not act urgently we may find we have chosen total liberty rather than life.

Continue reading

February 12, 2008 Posted by | Democracy, Environmentalism, Global Warming | 1 Comment

   

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