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  • Archive for July, 2010

    “The Decade of Envy”

    Posted by onparkstreet on 31st July 2010 (All posts by )

    “Were the 1980s really the Decade of Greed? There were stories of some people making lots of money, but did that make them or all of us a lot more greedy? Is resenting the success of others a reaction that people of goodwill should have? As Des would say, isn’t prosperity – even if it’s other people’s – a good, not a bad thing? Certainly during the eighties there were cases of behavior that looked “grasping” to an antisocial degree, but was this so widespread – was it in all our hearts – that the whole decade deserved that obloquy?

    Perhaps the notable feature of the decade was not that some people made money but that so many others were so bent out of shape by that. If some yuppie got a bonus, what was that to us? Rather than the Decade of Greed, wasn’t it really the Decade of Envy? Or the Decade of Envy, Jealousy, and other resentments there was no reason for those afflicted to sound so proud about?

    Subjectively, far from being a Decade of Greed, the early 1980s were years of hard work and maximum productivity, better in my opinion than any period that has come since. For me and a lot of other people, the eighties were the young-adult Wonder Years, when autonomy came to the fore and we could finally do the things we were in uncomfortable preparation for all the years before that.”

    - Whit Stillman, The Last Days of Disco, With Cocktails at Petrossian Afterwards

    Posted in Arts & Letters, Book Notes, Quotations | 4 Comments »

    An Interesting “Collapse” Hypothetical

    Posted by Zenpundit on 29th July 2010 (All posts by )

    Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, the famous Reagan administration economist and now an embittered and cranky paleoconservative social critic, penned a short but intriguing American “collapse” scenario set in the near future. Some of what Roberts writes fits neatly with the thesis in Joseph Tainter’s The Collapse of Complex Societies:

    The Year America Dissolved

    ….As society broke down, the police became warlords. The state police broke apart, and the officers were subsumed into the local forces of their communities. The newly formed tribes expanded to encompass the relatives and friends of the police.
     
    The dollar had collapsed as world reserve currency in 2012 when the worsening economic depression made it clear to Washington’s creditors that the federal budget deficit was too large to be financed except by the printing of money. With the dollar’s demise, import prices skyrocketed. As Americans were unable to afford foreign-made goods, the transnational corporations that were producing offshore for US markets were bankrupted, further eroding the government’s revenue base.
     
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Book Notes, Civil Society, Economics & Finance, Human Behavior, Politics, Predictions, Society, Taxes, USA, War and Peace | 30 Comments »

    Info Gathering

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 29th July 2010 (All posts by )

    I have a very important poll up at Life In The Great Midwest. If you have a keen eye for fashion (and I know most of the readers here do), please stop by and vote in my poll. Here is the link. Thanks!

    Posted in Polls, Style | 6 Comments »

    “Why are we so afraid to call socialists socialists?”

    Posted by Jonathan on 28th July 2010 (All posts by )

    That’s Rand Simberg’s question (following Stanley Kurtz).

    The answer is, we’re not afraid to call socialists socialists. We do it all the time. It’s the Republican leadership that’s afraid, just as they’re afraid to call Obama a liar when he lies.

    I’ll feel better about the country when Congressional Republicans become more interested in limited government than in maintaining cordial relations (and/or sharing the spoils) with Democrats.

    Posted in Politics | 11 Comments »

    Defeat in Afghanistan? The View from 2050

    Posted by Lexington Green on 28th July 2010 (All posts by )

    Taliban

    As previously announced, ChicagoBoyz will be hosting a roundtable discussion of the American campaign in Afghanistan, looking back from a forty year distance, from 2050.

    In the few weeks since the initial post went up, we have had several dramatic events occur: The end of Gen. McChrystal’s command, the rise of Gen. Petraeus for a historic second command of a very troubled war, the apparent abandonment of President Obama’s timetable, the appearance of the Wikileaks document trove … . These are major developments.

    Yet, looking back at any historical events from a long enough distance, all the details get ironed flat, the granularity milled to smooth powder, the larger patterns emerge, while the roles of key individuals sometimes come into clearer focus.

    But for now, we don’t know how this war is going to play out. We are doomed to live history marching backward, facing only the past, and not knowing what we will trip over next.

    Imagining possible outcomes, and possible explanations for those outcomes, can help us understand what is happening now, and help to clarify what we should be doing.

    Our Roundtable contributors will publish their posts and responses during the third and fourth weeks of August, 2010.

    Posted in Afghanistan 2050, Afghanistan/Pakistan | 2 Comments »

    And the Christie hits keep coming…

    Posted by Bruno Behrend on 28th July 2010 (All posts by )

    Chris Christie – Morning Joe

    Posted in Education | 2 Comments »

    Easy Come, Easy Go

    Posted by Shannon Love on 28th July 2010 (All posts by )

    Of course Senator Kerry will pay the $500,000 Massachusetts tax he dodged on his yacht. After all, why does he care? It’s not his money.

    Kerry is the only human being since Cleopatra to marry not one, but two billionaires. Heck, even his wives weren’t self-made. They inherited their fortunes from husbands. Unlike a self-made billionaire, Kerry didn’t spend decades risking everything to build his fortune. He has no clue what enormous economic creativity and persistence it took to create the fortune he so dearly enjoys. Kerry won his wealth in a gigolo lottery and he won’t miss a chunk of it.

    Perhaps if we could lay hands on a real reporter, we could get him to ask Kerry if he was paying those taxes from money that he personally earned or if he was just looting the Heinz family’s trust.

    Posted in Politics | 17 Comments »

    Sure Took Them Long Enough

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 28th July 2010 (All posts by )

    France says they are now at war with al Qaeda.

    Well, sorta-kinda. Retribution military raids, really. No one is saying that France is going to go full bore on this.

    Not that they really could anymore, considering how they have allowed their ability to project force rot on the vine in favor of social welfare giveaways to the voters. Unless they are conducting military operations inside their own borders, the options for France are kinda limited.

    Posted in France, Terrorism | 3 Comments »

    Swapping a VAT for failing income tax is good policy

    Posted by Bruno Behrend on 27th July 2010 (All posts by )

    Check out Bruce Bartlett on the VAT here. Rather than surrender, as Bartlett does, why not win?
    ___

    Premise 1 – As our Federal government runs away from the entitlement mess they themselves created, some states are starting to see bankruptcy looming on the horizon. As the left clamors for tax increases to feed the beast, the right sits back and says “no” to everything, ignoring the fact that the left is going to get their tax increases by simple operation of time and demography. This may be good strategery in the short term, but the right is setting itself up for miserable failure, as they will forced to become the “tax collector for the welfare state.”

    Premise 2 – The reliance on the income tax as a revenue generator has failed miserably. First, the right, since the 1980s, has been so successful in removing much of the working poor and middle class from the tax rolls. This makes much of the electorate immune to what is now pretty much a siren song for “tax cuts.” This has resulted in dramatically weakening one of the right’s most powerful political tools.

    Second, the income tax is a horrible way to collect revenue. When times are good, only the rich now pay, and when times are bad, revenues collapse, as we can see in places that rely on the steeply progressive income tax (CA and National Budget). Add to this fact the negative impact that progressive income taxation has on investment and incentives, and you have a very destructive tax.

    Premise 3 – The right, and this includes the libertarian and conservative think tank sector as well as the Republican party, is making a substantial strategic error in ignoring the potential (political and economic benefits) of a massive tax swap. By dissing every proposal for revenue increases (and No, tax cuts aren’t going to work with a $1.4 trillion deficit and a hangover from a 25 year spending/debt/tax cut binge), the right is falling for the trap of arguing for tax cuts for a shrinking class of people while arguing against a superior policy – namely broadening the tax base and making everyone pay for the welfare state that still has substantial political support.
    ___

    If the above premises are substantially true – and I can make an extended and extensive case that they are – then our “center-right” leadership is failing us in merely saying “no” to all tax proposals, and gambling on the ability to drag this cycle of stupidity around one more time.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Economics & Finance, Taxes | 60 Comments »

    Who would be a Nazi ?

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 26th July 2010 (All posts by )

    This essay is dated but very pertinent today. Dorothy Thompson is just a name to most who are younger than I am but she had things to say that still speak to us 70 years later. Of course, Nazis are extinct, at least in the classical sense. They survive, however, as a type. This is as up to date as a guide to personality as it can be.

    It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times–in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis.

    It is preposterous to think that they are divided by any racial characteristics. Germans may be more susceptible to Nazism than most people, but I doubt it. Jews are barred out, but it is an arbitrary ruling. I know lots of Jews who are born Nazis and many others who would heil Hitler tomorrow morning if given a chance. There are Jews who have repudiated their own ancestors in order to become “Honorary Aryans and Nazis”; there are full-blooded Jews who have enthusiastically entered Hitler’s secret service. Nazism has nothing to do with race and nationality. It appeals to a certain type of mind.

    It is also, to an immense extent, the disease of a generation–the
    generation which was either young or unborn at the end of the last war. This is as true of Englishmen, Frenchmen, and Americans as of Germans. It is the disease of the so-called “lost generation.”

    This part of the essay is an anachronism since Nazism and Jews were two sides of an argument at the time. Let us, however, rename the two sides “leftist and Israeli.” Makes more sense doesn’t it ?

    Sometimes I think there are direct biological factors at work–a type of education, feeding, and physical training which has produced a new kind of human being with an imbalance in his nature. He has been fed vitamins and filled with energies that are beyond the capacity of his intellect to discipline. He has been treated to forms of education which have released him from inhibitions. His body is vigorous. His mind is childish. His soul has been almost completely neglected.

    At any rate, let us look round the room.

    The gentleman standing beside the fireplace with an almost untouched glass of whiskey beside him on the mantelpiece is Mr. A, a descendant of one of the great American families. There has never been an American Blue Book without several persons of his surname in it. He is poor and earns his living as an editor. He has had a classical education, has a sound and cultivated taste in literature, painting, and music; has not a touch of snobbery in him; is full of humor, courtesy, and wit. He was a lieutenant in the World War, is a Republican in politics, but voted twice for Roosevelt, last time for Willkie. He is modest, not particularly brilliant, a staunch friend, and a man who greatly enjoys the company of pretty and witty women. His wife, whom he adored, is dead, and he will never remarry.

    He has never attracted any attention because of outstanding bravery. But I will put my hand in the fire that nothing on earth could ever make him a Nazi. He would greatly dislike fighting them, but they could never convert him…. Why not?

    Beside him stands Mr. B, a man of his own class, graduate of the same preparatory school and university, rich, a sportsman, owner of a famous racing stable, vice-president of a bank, married to a well-known society belle. He is a good fellow and extremely popular. But if America were going Nazi he would certainly join up, and early. Why?… Why the one and not the other?

    Anybody think of John Kerry just then ?

    Anyway, read the rest of it. It is startling and sobering to think how little has changed but the names. Credit for my finding it should go to The Anchoress

    Another brief thought occurs, maybe this is a repeating theme in our history.

    We think of ourselves as a meritocracy but we all know someone who wanted just a bit of a thumb on the scales. Maybe more than a thumb. I think my one complaint about Dorothy Thompson is that she might give more credit than is due to family and background. I think the blood of such families has gotten very thin the past 50 years. Many years ago, in Boston, I knew a few men who had used their family fortune to allow then to seek achievement in medicine and to ignore the necessity of earning a living that would support a lifestyle like that of John Kerry, although not so flamboyant. One such was J Gordon Scannell, chief of thoracic surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1965. As Scannell Moving Company trucks passed outside, he spent his life in a taxing profession. Another, who became famous (although unknown as a real person) was Edgar Kahn, whose life was fictionalized by Lloyd C Douglas in his novel, Magnificent Obsession, in 1929.

    I see the parallels today and wonder about human nature and how little it has changed.

    Posted in Civil Society, History, Leftism, Politics | 27 Comments »

    Scylla and Charybdis

    Posted by David Foster on 26th July 2010 (All posts by )

    Deflation: John Mauldin

    Inflation: Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

    Both of these well-written articles make for sobering reading. See also my March 2010 post an architect of hyperinflation.

    Posted in Economics & Finance, Germany, USA | 3 Comments »

    Monkeywrenching Socialism – More inefficiency please

    Posted by TM Lutas on 25th July 2010 (All posts by )

    If we were more inefficient about passing spending legislation, the government would shrink and Congress would grow more powerful at the expense of the bureaucracy. States would also benefit as federalism is renewed. Take your average spending bill, let’s say the defense bill. In the interests of efficiency there are a number of programs that go on autopilot and just ride along, largely unexamined. These program lives are largely determined by the executive.

    Instead of 1 bill, why not make it a thousand bills all dealing with much smaller subjects, ideally single line items? The system would have many advantages, not least of which the end of the disgusting practice of having vital spending held hostage, conditioned on passage of dubious items. Presidential vetoes would become meaningful threats.

    A further advantage would be that the system would force Congressmen and Senators to prioritize. You pass important spending up front and the also-rans end up at the rear. When you run out of time at the end of the year, the least important spending automatically is zeroed out.

    Executive departments end up having their very existence depending on the timely production of documents demanded by Congress. Stonewall Congress and you’re likely to find your program’s appropriation held up, perhaps to the end of the year and your own program’s budget death. Since the bills are pinpoint accurate, neighboring programs are not affected at all.

    The system would also tend to push spending down to the state and lower levels. If there’s an issue that could possibly be handled by the states, it’s much safer there under this system. But 50 state competition provides its own check on state level socialism as some states refuse to go along and reap the benefits of increased in-migration and booming economies.

    The only real challenge is how to elect a Speaker who would make the rule changes necessary to implement the system, forcing each Congressman to lay out their priorities, and illegalizing the practice of grouping spending items in mammoth bills that hide all sorts of chicanery.

    Posted in Leftism, Politics | 7 Comments »

    What Did He Say?

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 25th July 2010 (All posts by )

    Remember the 10 Russian spies that were recently returned to The Motherland? The people who had their lifestyles at least partially funded by the government that sent them over here to gather secrets?

    Putin just said that they lived “tough lives”.

    I think I’m tough enough to sign up for such duty. Just throwing it out there in case the US government has plans to send me off to a foreign land where I can shop, live in a nice house, go to cocktail parties, and fail to dig up any information that can’t be easily found with a 10 second Google search.

    Posted in Crime and Punishment, Russia | 7 Comments »

    Is “Liberal Guilt” a Myth?

    Posted by David Foster on 24th July 2010 (All posts by )

    Conservatives and libertarians often refer to liberals, especially those of the modern “progressive” variety, as being motivated by guilt. This view has a long pedigree: Robert Frost once defined a liberal as someone so high-minded that he won’t take his own side in a quarrel.

    At least as far as our current “progressives” go, I think this explanation of motivation is highly questionable. An essay by C S Lewis, written a little over 60 years ago, sheds some light on this matter.

    During the late 1930s and up through the time when Lewis wrote (March 1940), there was evidently a movement among Christian youth to “repent” England’s sins (which evidently were thought to include the treaty of Versailles) and to “forgive” England’s enemies.

    Young Christians especially..are turning to it in large numbers. They are ready to believe that England bears part of the guilt for the present war, and ready to admit their own share in the guilt of England…Most of these young men were children…when England made many of those decisions to which the present disorders could plausibly be traced. Are they, perhaps, repenting what they have in no sense done?
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anglosphere, Britain, Christianity, History, Leftism, USA | 13 Comments »

    TV-Ad Random Thoughts

    Posted by Jonathan on 24th July 2010 (All posts by )

    -I noticed that the ad for “Alteril” sleep aid ran immediately after the one for “5 Hour Energy”. There may be a message here.

    -Dear poet.com: We do not owe you our hard-earned “American dollars”, you sanctimonious subsidy whores. Drop your sense of entitlement and make your product competitive if you want us to buy it. Why should American taxpayers pay off a bunch of lazy rent-seekers, driving up grain prices and making life harder for poor people everywhere, when we can buy our BTUs in petroleum form more cheaply. What do you have against people in Dubai, anyway? Unlike you they don’t get the US Congress to pick our pockets. And their hard-working ethos fits American values a lot better than does your sleazy whining PR attempt to guilt us into buying your overpriced fuel.

    -Dear Land Rover: Your car looks like the fucking box it came in. Do you think we’re going to buy it just because you run ads with rock music every ten minutes on CNBC?

    -The women in the Yoshi Blade ad are really annoying, especially the big blond chick with the onion. Maybe I shouldn’t say “annoying”, I should say “empowered”.

    -Where are Carlton Sheets and Don Lapre when you need them? Today’s get-rich-quick infomercials just aren’t what they used to be, though Jeff Paul comes close.

    -Dear Comcast: If you invested 10% as much in improving your service as you do in slick commercials to lure new customers you might not need the slick commercials. Everyone knows your service is awful. By running these endless TV ads you are really rubbing it in to your current customers. Great, you can simplify my bill as compared to AT&T. Do you think I care about that, given my certain knowledge that switching to your service would guarantee me repeated frustrating phone conversations with incompetent tech people to fix problems your own system caused? Idiots.

    Posted in Advertising | 10 Comments »

    JournoList as Bait-and-Switch Fraud?

    Posted by Shannon Love on 23rd July 2010 (All posts by )

    The apparent collusion between politicos, advocacy journalists and supposed objective journalists on the infamous JournoList forum raises an interesting legal question.

    Could some of the journalists participating in the list have committed legal fraud against their readers?

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Media, Politics | 12 Comments »

    Photo

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 22nd July 2010 (All posts by )

    misc71910 008

    Don’t be a goat, be a hero. Read ChicagoBoyz daily.

    Posted in Photos | 5 Comments »

    The EU vs. Israel

    Posted by Jonathan on 22nd July 2010 (All posts by )

    From Israel Through European Eyes by Yoram Hazony:

    In these words, the tie between the Holocaust and what Ben-Gurion calls the “sin” of Jewish powerlessness is powerfully in evidence. The meaning of Auschwitz is that the Jews failed in their efforts find a way to defend their children. They depended on others, decent men in power in America or Britain, who, when the time came, did virtually nothing to save European Jewry. Today, most Jews continue to believe that the only thing that has really changed since those millions of our people perished—the only thing that stands as a bulwark against the repetition of this chapter in the world’s history—is Israel.[11]
     
    It is a little-discussed fact that the Jews are not the only ones for whom Auschwitz has become an important political symbol. Many Europeans, too, see Auschwitz as being at the heart of the lesson of World War II. But the conclusions they draw are precisely the opposite of those drawn by Jews. Following Kant, they see Auschwitz as the ultimate expression of that barbarism, that brutal debasement of humanity, which is national particularism. On this view, the death camps provide the ultimate proof of the evil that results from permitting nations to decide for themselves how to dispose of the military power in their possession. The obvious conclusion is that it was wrong to give the German nation this power of life and death. If such evil is to be prevented from happening again and again, the answer must be in the dismantling of Germany and the other national states of Europe, and the yoking together of all the European peoples under a single international government. Eliminate the national state once and for all—Ecrasez l’infame!—and you have sealed off that dark road to Auschwitz.
     
    Notice that according to this view, it is not Israel that is the answer to Auschwitz, but the European Union: A united Europe will make it impossible for Germany, or any other European nation, to rise up and persecute others once again. In this sense, it is European Union that stands as the guarantor of the future peace of the Jews, and indeed, of all humanity.
     
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Europe, International Affairs, Israel | 34 Comments »

    Thoughts on Codevilla’s “Ruling Class” article

    Posted by Bruno Behrend on 21st July 2010 (All posts by )

    Much has already been said about this excellent article.

    Rather than pile on the (deserved) praise, I want to ask the following question(s).

    How does one defeat this “class?” What strategies will succeed? What resources are necessary? I think these are important questions because the article succeeds in raising our consciousness to the problem, but doesn’t offer a game plan as to how to proceed. It is up to us (Country Class) to develop one. After developing it, we need to start executing, regardless of whether others come along with us.

    Let me start with a few observations.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anglosphere, Politics, Rhetoric | 16 Comments »

    “Let us go back to work!”

    Posted by onparkstreet on 21st July 2010 (All posts by )

    Hot Air links to this speech against the feds’ moratorium on drilling by Gov. Bobby Jindal and picks out the following key phrase: “let us go back to work!”

    Is there a better way to summarize the spaghetti-diagram of legislated rules and regulations that bind, hold-down, dampen, repress and retard the engines of economic growth? Why hire that extra person when you don’t know who will staff the latest alphabet soup regulatory agency and what the regulations will be? Because you know, it’s all so empirical and science-y, man, watch and learn:

    1. Legislate new regulatory board.
    2. Staff new regulatory board.
    3. New regulatory board writes new regulations.
    4. ?
    5. 10% GDP growth! Yeah for us!

    By the way, America’s biggest cheer-leader had the following to say in his press conference with UK PM Cameron:

    And, in fact, in the first G20 visit that I made, in April to England, I was very clear to the rest of the world that what they cannot rely on is an economic model in which the United States borrows — consumers in the United States borrow, we take out home equity loans, we run up credit cards to purchase goods from all around the world. We cannot alone be the economic engine for the rest of the world’s growth. So that rebalancing ended up being a central part of our long-term strategy working with the G20

    Mr. President, I know you mean well but you are ONE MASSIVE DOWNER.

    Posted in Economics & Finance | 3 Comments »

    Journalists, Suppressing Important Truths

    Posted by David Foster on 21st July 2010 (All posts by )

    Recently divulged information indicates that many journalists went to considerable lengths–individually and collectively–to downplay then-candidate Obama’s relationship with the odious Reverend Jeremiah Wright. For those who follow politics and media closely, it’s not exactly news that most old-media journalists have a strong bias to the Left, and often allow this bias to influence their work. What is a bit of a surprise is the degree to which collective orchestration–as opposed to “mere” social pressure–seems to have played a part. Much more on this affair from Robert Avrech.

    It should now be pretty clear that for a considerable number of journalists, the promotion of their personal political beliefs comes ahead of their obligation to honestly and objectively inform their readers.

    There are certainly many citizens who, had they been aware of the full story on Obama and his associations with Wright and other dubious characters, would have refrained from voting for him. Those among them who trusted the media were denied the information which they had a legitimate right to expect.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Leftism, Media, Politics, USA | 14 Comments »

    Pitchfork 2010

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 21st July 2010 (All posts by )

    Pitchfork is an annual music festival based in Chicago, which is presented by the Pitchfork music web site. I went to see the band LCD Soundsystem at the show at Union Park last Saturday night.

    Upper left – one thing for sure is that any festival will have long beer lines, especially in the hot sun. People were generally not too unruly and they deserve kudos for dropping the price of water to $1, and $5 for a Heineken wasn’t too bad. Upper middle – Union Park is on the near West Side, a place that you couldn’t run out of fast enough even 10 years ago. To have a big show there is an amazing turn about for the city, the vibe seemed to be like Wicker Park had about 10 or so years ago. You can see the top of the Sears Tower looking east towards the lake. Upper right – for some unknown reason someone brought a People magazine to the hipster show and it was on the ground while I sat down and had a beer in a bit of shade. At least they were smart enough to take their name off the mailing label. Lower left – that woman was wearing the hideous “visible backbone” shirt along with designer jeans that I was informed cost > $300 / pair. My inside joke to Dan is that she probably is from Baltimore and this is hiding her skull tattoos. Lower middle – if you look at the guy’s shirt in the middle of the photo it says “Do I look like a F*cking People Person?”. Nice. Lower right – I guess if you bring a baby to the show at least bring ear protection, but it seems kind of nuts to do that in the first place.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Chicagoania, Music, Photos | 8 Comments »

    Kindle Launch: The Handbook of 5GW

    Posted by Zenpundit on 20th July 2010 (All posts by )

    h5gwc_close.png

    The Handbook of 5GW- Dr. Daniel H. Abbott, Editor

    Self-promotion department…. :)

    Nimble Books has published the first authoritative book on the competing interpretations of the military and political theory referred to as “Fifth Generation Warfare“, edited by my friend and collegue Dr. Daniel Abbott. The many contributing authors include academics, journalists such as David Axe, and many blogfriends associated with the former theory site, Dreaming5GW.

    My chapter was entitled “5GW: Into the Heart of Darkness“. It is oriented more toward historical case studies than theory and is not in any way, shape or form, a “feel-good” piece. Here is a snippet:

    “….This brings us to the probability that for the aforementioned states, their actual options for their ruling elites for adapting to the threat of 4GW will be between accepting varying degrees of failure-from conceding a temporary autonomous zone (TAZ) to rebels, to being overthrown, to imploding into anarchy as insurgents encroach-or “taking the gloves off” and using the indiscriminate, unrestricted violence of genocide to annihilate real and potential enemies before the international community can mobilize to prevent it. History suggests they might well succeed.”

    The views within The Handbook of 5GW vary widely, as does the disciplinary approach of the authors, intending to stimulate thought, explore possible scenarios that range from the pragmatic and real to the imaginative and ideal.

    Hardcover launch in September, 2010.

    Posted in Academia, Announcements, Book Notes, Military Affairs, Politics, Society, Terrorism, War and Peace | 5 Comments »

    Angelo Codevilla – America’s Milovan Djilas

    Posted by Zenpundit on 20th July 2010 (All posts by )

    Older readers may recall the once famous but now largely forgotten Cold War figure of Milovan Djilas. While other dissidents from Communism like Andrei Sakharov, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Whittaker Chambers acheived a more epic historical stature, Djilas was the first high Communist official, the adviser and likely successor to Yugoslavian dictator Tito, to turn against Communism as a system. More importantly, Djilas wrote New Class in 1957, a damning analysis that accurately castigated the hierarchy of Communist Party and government officials an exploitive and tyrannical ruling class that in the Soviet context was later termed “Nomenklatura“. For this act, Djilas would suffer in Tito’s prisons, but he outlived both Tito and Communism and his Party enemies were never able to shake off the truth of his bitter critique.

    As related here in his post the other day by David Foster, Claremont scholar and Boston U. international relations professor Angelo Codevilla has published in The American Spectator a very lengthy, often brilliant, sometimes meandering, essay that is part analysis, part cri de coeur, but primarily the most devastating attack on America’s emerging, bipartisan, technocratic Oligarchy that I have ever read:

    America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution

    ….Never has there been so little diversity within America’s upper crust. Always, in America as elsewhere, some people have been wealthier and more powerful than others. But until our own time America’s upper crust was a mixture of people who had gained prominence in a variety of ways, who drew their money and status from different sources and were not predictably of one mind on any given matter. The Boston Brahmins, the New York financiers, the land barons of California, Texas, and Florida, the industrialists of Pittsburgh, the Southern aristocracy, and the hardscrabble politicians who made it big in Chicago or Memphis had little contact with one another. Few had much contact with government, and “bureaucrat” was a dirty word for all. So was “social engineering.” Nor had the schools and universities that formed yesterday’s upper crust imposed a single orthodoxy about the origins of man, about American history, and about how America should be governed. All that has changed.
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    Posted in Academia, Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Leftism, Political Philosophy, Politics, Society, USA | 7 Comments »

    “There is no law here…”

    Posted by Jonathan on 19th July 2010 (All posts by )

    Creeping Sharia, via a commenter on this thread:
     


     
    Richard Landes, in the post that began the discussion:

    Whenever honor-shame rules assert themselves in civil society, the forces are badly matched unless the police is firm. In cases where the aggressors operate with impunity (essentially the situation in France), the pressure on civic communities will be either to get tribal (i.e., self-help justice), or to back off (which is what most français de souche are doing).
     
    In this sense, it’s similar to the fall of the Roman Empire: tribal honor-shame, gang behavior coarsens the cultural scene and eventually brings down the rule of law as the areas where imperial writ runs retreat.
     
    The parallel goes further. In the “experiment that got a little out of hand,” the Romans “invited” in the Germanic tribes and allowed them a legal advantage (a Frank or a Visigoths wergeld [manprice] was double that of a Roman. Similarly, the unofficial acceptance of Sharia puts the Muslim community at a tactical advantage in the daily conflicts.
     
    This is how a civilization dies.

    UPDATE: Richard Landes responds in the comments to criticisms of his Rome parallel.

    Posted in Europe, France, Islam, Society, Video | 23 Comments »