The French riots: About race, not religion

An interesting article by Martin Walker

… The young blacks refuse to talk to white reporters, turning silently away to spit and talk among themselves.

‘We still have to live here when this is all over,’ muttered Bakil Anelka, who came to France eight years ago from Ivory Coast and works as a cleaner for the Metro. ‘The police will not stay here forever, but the gangs will still be here, back in charge of this district. As soon as I can, I`m moving. I don`t want my kids to grow up here.’

One of the striking features of the two weeks of rage that swept France is that so many of the rioters are black rather than Arab, though North Africans from Algeria and Morocco and Tunisia make up more than two-thirds of the estimated 6 million immigrants, their families included, in France.

The fixed idea that French Muslims would sooner or later rise up to declare Jihad on Secular and Christian French society blinded many observers, including most representatives of the press to the fact that these are race rather than Muslim riots. This is the first article I have read that spells this out this clearly:

…in places where the rioters were ‘beurs,’ as the French Arabs call themselves, Islam and religion seemed to play only a minor role. A tear gas bomb fired into the mosque of Clichy-sous-Bois on the first day of the riots infuriated local Muslims, but there have been no Islamic slogans and no taunts against the French as Christians…

Local Islamic leaders who tried to calm the young mobs have been routinely ignored, as have the fatwas issued by the leading Imams saying rioting and attacks on innocent people are against Islam.

‘It was the people from this congregation who called for calm when the tear gas grenade was fired into our mosque,’ Abdel-Rahman Boubout, the mosque director, told United Press International. ‘This is not about religion, I think. It is about race and discrimination and unemployment and the police, not about Islam.’

In other words, these riots are a lot more similar to the riots in Watts in the 60s, or the one in LA in ’92, rather than the Palestinian intifada. Jonathan’s point that the rioters are keeping the violence below a certain threshold, in order not to provoke a truly drastic response by the French state, certainly remains valid to some extent, but they also have to excercise restraint on behalf of their adult family members, for most rioting happens in the quarters they live in.

The article is worth reading in full, especially for the amazing points about black polygamy in France.

Quote of the Day

The only sense in which OIF would have diminished both the nuclear and chemical weapons threats to America was to the degree in which it succeeded in sending a deterrent signal to states considering supporting terrorist groups. This is the consideration which is not only explicitly missing from the pre-war intelligence estimates but largely absent from the subsequent discussion about whether “Bush lied and people died”. The strange omission of geopolitical goals from the story of OIF will continue to have unfortunate results, because the measure of the war’s success or failure never lay in its ability to neutralize atom bomb manufacturing facilities — those are by all accounts operating day and night in North Korea — but the degree to which it has deterred ‘rogue states’ from sponsoring terrorist organizations.

Wretchard

Pulling Out of Iraq

On Tuesday, the Senate passed a resolution calling for regular reports and pushing for a handover to Iraqi primacy. The vote was 79-19. The argument on the right was that this would send a terrible signal to Iraq that we’re going to cut and run. On Thursday Rep. Murtha proposed immediate withdrawal. On Friday, the House voted on an immediate withdrawal resolution sponsored by the GOP that was stark in its simplicity “the deployment of United States forces be terminated immediately.” The measure failed 403-3.

Amazingly nobody, not the left or the right, seems to be analyzing this in terms of what this message sends to the people of Iraq. It’s all inside baseball, chickenhawk v cut & run, and US patriotism. Where concerns about what they’ll think in Iraq are brought up at all, it’s about our own troops in Iraq and how they’ll react. This doesn’t scan, not in the least.

What we should be worried about is the guy on the bubble, torn between joining up for the police or the Iraqi army and staying on the sideline. What will he make of these events? Did the Senate action dismay him? Did the House action buoy his spirits? Will the new week see him decide to join the long line of applicants or not? We should deeply care about that. Our chattering classes seem to have abdicated the only real, serious question that matters. Inside baseball, for them, is so much more entertaining.

News From the Front

A friend who is a former Navy pilot and is now a re-mobilized reservist is part of a large email network. He occasionally circulates very interesting things. Below are two long emails from a Marine and an Air Force Forward Air Controller currently in Iraq. Much detail on weapons.

A few points stood out. (1) Many of our modern weapons do not work in Iraqi conditions, and Vietnam and even World War II era weapons are considered superior. (2) The enemy’s infantry tactics are very poor, though their Soviet-era weapons are decent. (3) The enemy’s IEDs are “first rate”. (4) The Iranians are smuggling very effective armor-piercing shaped-charge IEDs into the country. “Each of these is individually machine milled in Iran and sent across the border”. (5) The “Former Regime Elements” are no longer a significant part of the insurgency – it is all Jihadis. (6) The troops believe they are winning, and are outraged by the media’s presentation of the war. (7) The Iranians have heavily infiltrated the Iraqi local government, police forces and the Army in the south. (8) We have far too few troops to block the Iraqi borders with Syria and Iran, hence the insurgency has permanent access to new personnel and arms. (9) Insurgents have no regard for civilian casualties routinely use civilian non-combatants as cover, and use schools, hospitals and especially mosques stage for attacks, cache munitions, etc.

Make of these facts what you will. I am still digesting.

Click for full text of the emails.

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An Iraqi “Tet”?

I started to write a comment to Ginny’s post, but decided to stick it up here instead.

The main thing a “Tet” scenario would need is a spectacular apparent success by the insurgency, to put strong and upsetting video images in front of the American public. This does not seem to be in the cards. Even with the active support of Syria and Iran which the insurgency enjoys, their capabilities are orders of magnitude smaller than what the Vietcong and NVA possessed in 1968. The war will continue to be one of attrition on the part of the USA and its Iraqi ally, and one of media theatre and intimidation focused on the local population by the resistance. Both sides seem to have the material means to continue like this for years.

The people who sincerely want the United States to be defeated — Leftists in the USA and elsewhere, Islamic fascists in Middle East and elsewhere — have been very consistent and very focused. The Left in the USA genuinely believes that the USA is a force for evil in the world and that anyone who fights against it should be supported or at least given the benefit of the doubt. The Anti-War Movement has had decades of practice in refining their methods and message. The way Cindy Sheehan was promoted into a major figure shows the capabilities of this community and its media allies. The Left as well as the insurgency can rely on the active complicity of the news media to be a megaphone for their messages and images. Both the Left and the insurgency can count also on the complicity of opportunistic politicians, both in the USA and abroad, who see opportunities in opposing “Bush and his War”. So, the anti-War movement will stay in the game and become increasingly effective as expenses and casualties mount. This will, in turn, give the insurgency the accurate awareness that they need only persevere to have a good shot at victory.

Moreover, public support for long and expensive wars is hard to sustain in the USA under any circumstances. After three years of fighting moderate supporters bail out and want the thing wrapped up. This is a consistent historical pattern. Exacerbating this factor, our President has done a miserable job of explaining the war and rallying support for it, so support is withering faster than would otherwise be expected. Nonetheless, Mr. Bush is Commander in Chief for three more years, or so. Congress is unlikely to vote down his budget requests for the war unless public support collapses entirely — since that would mean not “supporting our troops”. See, e.g. yesterday’s vote. So, the USA has until the end of Mr. Bush’s term to get the situation stabilized and hand off the war to the Iraqis. That’s not a lot of time. Successful counter-insurgencies take more like a decade, e.g. El Salvador and Malaya.

I think that both candidates in the ’08 election will run on varying plans to remove the USA from Iraq, where fighting will be continuing due to active and passive foreign support for the resistance and the slow pace of building an Iraqi army. This is due both to American mistakes and the low quality of the underlying human material we are working with — Arab armies are generally incompetent for deep-rooted cultural reasons and Iraq is a particularly bad example of these pathologies.

It is too early to say if a viable state and army can be left behind or if we will see Saigon II and the helicopters lifting the US embassy staff out of Baghdad during the ’09-13 presidential term. I hope not, but hope is irrelevant. I won’t even give odds. Too much of what you read gives disparate and contradictory information.

Why Do We Need An Anglosphere Historical Narrative, Anyway?

What do I mean when I refer to an “Anglosphere historical narrative”? I mean the study and understanding of the history of England, then its daughter polities such as the USA, and its former colonies notably India, and the global, networked Anglophone cultural and economic space which is emerging — as a unity. I mean looking at the development of these communities not from within the too-small boxes of national history, or the too large boxes of world history or Western Civ. I mean seeing that the legal, political and cultural ideas and institutions which arose in England and spread throughout the world have their own distinct identity, which is becoming more apparent in a world increasingly linked by technology. This may or may not lead in the future to a new institutional form for the dispersed-but-networked Anglosphere, perhaps the “Network Commonwealth” which Jim Bennett has sketched out in his book and in other writings.

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It’s Samizdata’s Question but I Suspect Behind Many of Our Thoughts This Week

Perry de Havilland at Samizdata is asking for comments on the topic Are we approaching a ‘Tet Offensive Moment’? He asks

Are the political opponents of George Bush, who are advocating cut-and-run in Iraq, about to take the attrition war there (which by any objective measure the USA cannot possibly lose on the battlefield) and turn gradual military advantage into decisive political defeat?

(I thought of putting up a category – “Patriotism” – but figure this is still “Iraq.”) Anyway, I’m not sure whose “political defeat” he means, but do know whose purpose is primarily self-serving.

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Quote of the Day

Preventing terrorists from gaining access to weapons of mass destruction must be elevated above all other problems of national security because it represents the greatest threat to the American people.

-Excerpt from one of the 9/11 Commission reports, as cited by Daniel Henninger (link requires WSJ subscription).

Freedom of the net is safe – for the time being

The outcome of the Internet Governance summit in Tunis was a compromise. Luckily for all users of the net, it was a compromise that left the management and administration of the Domain Name System in the hands of ICANN. This organization, though non-profit-making, international in its board and staff, and not heavy-handed in its control, seems to have acquired the aspect of the devil incarnate as far as the opposition to “American control of the net” is concerned.

The agreement in Tunis calls on the UN to establish an Internet Governance Forum next year. One hundred countries have signed up to the agreement and expect the Forum eventually to yield some kind of an international bureaucracy to plague the net users, whether they be big business or individual bloggers.

So far, the forum, according to the agreement,

“would have no oversight function and would not replace existing arrangements, mechanisms, institutions and organizations”.

Furthermore, the new forum

“would have no involvement in day-to-day or technical operations of the Internet”.

This, as the Wall Street Journal Europe points out, is a victory for the American negotiators, supported as they were by certain allies, such as Canada and Australia. Britain, alas, as a member of the EU, who negotiated on our behalf, was on the side of the unholy alliance of tranzi regulators and tyrannical dictators, such as the Iranian mullahs, the Chinese party gerontocracy and, among others, President Mugabe. A truly wonderful line-up.

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“Things are getting a bit sticky here”

Something Funny from Iain Murry:

The British are feeling the pinch in relation to recent bombings and have raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” Londoners have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorised from “Tiresome” to a “Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was during the great fire of 1666. [more…]

Ian comments:

The opening paragraph reminds me of the suggestion that the reason why the Glorious Glosters were put in such a precarious position during the Battle of Imjin during the Korean War was because American officers did not appreciate that the message “Things are getting a bit sticky here” was meant to convey a dire situation…

Wikipedia: Caveat Lector

I received an anonymous email from someone who was concerned that the birthdate of author Howard Zinn was presented inaccurately in this anonymous comment that was left on this old thread on this blog.

The emailer explained that the birthdate misinformation from the anonymous comment had propagated via Google, and that someone had used it as a source of biographical information for the Wikipedia entry on Howard Zinn. The email quoted a purported transcript of a message from Zinn himself, attesting to his real birthdate, which was not the same as the one cited by our anonymous commenter or, apparently, Wikipedia. (I have no idea which of these birthdates, if any, is the real one, but that doesn’t matter for this discussion.)

The emailer was eager for any Zinn birthdate records on this blog to be accurate, and I reopened comments on the old post so that he could leave a note. Let no one think that this blog would deny Howard Zinn his rightful birth anniversary.

All of the above seemed kind of wacky to me, but the serious point is what it reveals (or confirms) about Wikipedia. Here was a biographical entry about someone whose life is no mystery, who is probably available by email and who probably has a publisher or agent who can provide accurate biographical data. Yet one of the Wikipedia authors relied on uncorroborated assertions from an anonymous comment in an obscure online discussion, apparently found via a casual Google search, as a source of factual information. And now someone is making the Internet rounds in an effort to clean up the sources of the misinformation that was being spread by Google, lest other Wikipedia authors repeat the first guy’s error.

Whatever else I learned from this curious experience, it is obvious that Wikipedia cannot be trusted at all, not even as a source of routine biographical information that has no political or ideological significance. Reader beware.

Failed Heroes

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Lonnie Love, Summer 1965

Early one Saturday morning in August of 1965, my father left home for work.

He went to work on a Saturday because he needed the extra money. Nearly a year before, an evening of poorly planned passion in the front seat of his Chevy Corvair resulted in my entry into the world that March. My father’s college job as an oil field roughneck suddenly had to support a family, so when two friends of his offered him a fill-in spot on their oil-storage-tank cleaning crew, to take the place of third friend who was ill, he jumped at the chance.

He was 20 years old.

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Face-Recognition Web Search: Just a Matter of Time?

Groovy.

I think it’s prudent to assume that improved technology will eventually make it possible for anybody to read the encrypted documents that you send via email today. Similarly, you should probably assume that any photos in which you appear that are posted on the Web, even without captions, will eventually be searchable. (Being searchable by name is merely a matter of linking your image to one captioned photo.) Depending on the sophistication of the search algorithms and the quality of the images, this should apply to crowd photos, other people’s snapshots where you appear in the background, etc.

Search algorithms are Google’s strong point, and the Company already has a very effective text-based “Image Search” system. Improvements in that system seem certain, and I’m sure will bring widespread benefits that offset at least some of the costs. However, it’s increasingly clear that privacy as it existed before 1995 is a thing of the past.

From a business POV we are still in early days. Google reminds me of Microsoft in the early ’90s, except that I think Google has greater potential. The next few years should be interesting in many ways.

Boom or Bust

So the day that would never arrive has dawned. Open Source Media finally got off the ground with a great deal of schmoozing and feel-good speeches. That’s great, and I wish them all the luck in the world. I just don’t think it’s a great idea for the Boyz. There are a few reasons for this.

Steven den Beste is worried about all of this. (If there’s any way to link to an individual post at Chizumatic, I haven’t found it yet. Just look for the essay that starts “20051116: Single points of failure…”) The reason why is that it puts a great deal of blogs that he now reads on one platform, which means that a great deal of content is now on a single point of failure. This is proof positive that Steven is first and foremost an engineer.

Still, he makes a good point. The core reason that the Internet was created was to disperse communications so they couldn’t be destroyed in the event of a nuclear war. It wouldn’t take nearly as much firepower to down OSM. A few lawsuits would do it.

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Jewish Liberal Idiots

Of course! American Jews should focus on the threat posed by their evangelical-Protestant fellow citizens, who are among the strongest supporters of Israel and Jewish religious expression and self-determination, because the evangelicals might, one day, try to persuade the Jews to convert to Christianity. I guess that means there’s less need to be concerned about the people who want to kill Jews right now.

I suppose the ADL could have said something reckless and inflammatory, like the truth: Jews have never had it as good as they do in the modern USA. Pointing that out probably wouldn’t help the fundraising, however.

Great Moments in Unintended Secondary Effects

1940’s
With wages frozen by government edict, employers begin offering non-taxable health insurance to attract and retain scarce employees. The next sixty-odd years will feature numerous proposed government solutions to this unintended secondary effect of the original government solution.

1950’s
President Eisenhower successfully resists Democratic pressure to reduce the income tax rates originally put in place to finance WWII and the Korean War. The top tax rate on individuals was 90%. The modern tax shelter industry is born.

1960’s
The Interest Equalization Tax of 1963 and the Foreign Credit and Exchange Act of 1965 result in the birth and rapid growth of the Eurodollar trading system in London. With the currency market permanently placed outside of government control, the US was soon forced to abandon the gold standard (1971) and the Bretton Woods system.

1970’s
Following the collapse of the Bretton Woods arrangement, the Nixon administration tries to control inflation by imposing wage and price controls, while Arthur Burns at the Federal Reserve simultaneously cuts interest rates. The Federal funds rate went from 3.2% to over 10% within two years, and stagflation was invented.

1980’s
Automobile companies improve the anti-theft features of their products. As cars become more difficult to hot-wire, thieves increasingly turn to carjacking. The US Department of Justice begins keeping survey statistics for this crime in 1987.

1990’s
CAFE fuel economy requirements cause carmakers to build smaller, lighter vehicles. Consumers react to the space shortage and crash dangers by buying SUV’s.

2000’s
It ain’t over ’til it’s over.

How (and How Not) to Sell AOL

There’s been speculative discussion for a while about whether Time Warner would sell AOL to Google or Microsoft or someone else. I think a spinoff would make more sense for Time Warner.

Whatever AOL’s value as a business, if TWX wants to unload it to a single bidder it may be difficult to get full value. If you were Microsoft or Google and had a pile of cash, and AOL were worth $X billion by your calculation, would you bid X? I don’t think so. The rational thing, if you are one of a few bidders and everyone knows that the seller is eager to sell, is to bid low, perhaps at a level where you can’t go wrong if your bid is accepted. I suspect that that amount is significantly less than the total value TWX shareholders would gain via a well managed public offering.

After all, Time Warner is the company that bought AOL near the top. Wouldn’t you also expect them to puke it out near the bottom? That’s the course that this kind of corporate acquisition tends to take. Microsoft and Google know that too, and I doubt that they will be willing to do the deal without getting a big enough edge to make this trade an instant winner. TWX is fighting the tides if it thinks it will get a good price by selling AOL to a cash-rich corporate savior.

EGG-ON-FACE UPDATE: A commenter reminds me that it was AOL that bought Time Warner, a transaction that reflected very well on AOL’s Steve Case, who used inflated AOL stock to pay for it, and not so well on Time Warner’s then-management (but not its current management).

The Coming Google Classified-Ad Tsunami

This is a big deal. Guess what happens to newspapers if they can’t compete for local classified-ad revenue.

BTW, what happens to the supposed eBay monopoly if Google makes it free to list — and to search for — sales listings, including auctions?

We live in interesting times.

UPDATE: See also this column (requires WSJ subscription).

Medieval Origins of Anglospheric Freedom

From an American standpoint, what is most relevant about the medieval period is the experience of England, since this was the proximate source of our ideas and institutions. English and continental politics of the Middle Ages had much in common, but differed sharply at the outset of the modern era. On the continent, far from advancing the cause of freedom, the Renaissance ideas of kingship and related institutional changes almost destroyed it. In France and Spain, the chiefly German “Holy Roman Empire” and the city-states of Italy, neopagan concepts of absolute authority came to the forefront, denying the medieval view that there were, or should be, limits on the secular power. In England alone, the struggle would produce the opposite verdict.

We are used to thinking of England as the home of representative government; less familiar is the idea that England enjoyed free institutions at the on-set of the modern era because it had retained them from the preceding era. While Renaissance notions were triumphing on the continent, the English experienced, in Maitland’s phrase “a marvelous resuscitation of the medieval law.” That they did so was in large measure … the doing of the church, which in Britain produced a remarkable series of statesman/clerics — from Becket and John of Salisbury in the reign of Henry II to Langton, Grosseteste and Bracton in the century to follow. The doctrine that they imprinted on English constitutional theory was that “the King is under God — and under the law,” and not entitled to rule by personal edict. This was the essence of Christian teaching about the state and it became the guiding precept of England’s common lawyers.

M. Stanton Evans, The Theme is Freedom

Cross-posted at Albion’s Seedling

I Think I’m Going to Apply for a Job

According to this news article, the only official at the United Nations that was fired over the Oil for Food scandal has been reinstated. Not only that, but he’s been given back pay for the time he was out of work.

So that means that he was innocent, right? Someone made a mistake and this is how they fix it.

Not exactly. It seems that at least two separate investigations have found that he was guilty, but the UN still reinstated him and passed out the money.

Joseph Stephanides was the head of the corrupt and poorly managed Security Council Affairs Division, the UN agency which is at the heart of the Oil for Food scandal. It was while he was holding down the top chair in 1996 that he advised a British company on what they should bid in order to snag a UN contract. This is hardly as bad as loading up the trunk of his Mercedes with raw yellowcake and driving across the Iraq border, but it is a clear act of favoritism. The bidding process was tainted by his actions.

Stephanides maintains that he was simply acting on orders from the UN Security Council sanctions committee. He claims that singling him out is a cynical ploy to deflect criticism from those who are guilty of more serious crimes. This is almost certainly true, but it doesn’t detract from the fact that he contributed to the snakepit of corruption in his own little way.

I need to get my resume together and apply for a job at the UN. Looks like you can do no wrong even when it’s obvious that you did wrong.

Going Hard on Diamond

I read the first chapter or so of Jared Diamond’s book Collapse which Lex commented on below. I didn’t read much farther because I found his conclusions largely trite. Diamond essentially advances the old Malthusian idea that short-sighted over-consumption leads to resource depletion which causes civilizations to collapse. While vaguely true, this view of collapses ignores the fundamental issue of why any particular civilization runs out of resources while others in very similar circumstances do not.

I would argue that it is not over-consumption but rather under-production that causes collapses. I think three major factors cause under-production:

1) Lack of trade,
2) Static technology,
3) Concentrated political power,

or as we call them in the modern political context:

1) Anti-globalization,
2) Sustainable development,
3) International governance.

Yep, the most popular prescriptions of the far Left today are exactly those which in previous eras have caused civilizations to collapse. All the well-meaning warm and fuzzy leftists out there are, out of well-intentioned ignorance, working hard to slip a knife in between the ribs of our planetary civilization.

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Strict Liability or Negligence?

In Torts, we’re currently working on Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Co. v. American Cyanamid Co., 916 F.2d 1174. Judge Posner delivered the opinion, and in class, Professor Nockleby offered a critique of it. I thought Judge Posner wrote very lucidly, but Professor Nockleby also makes some great points. The professor challenged us to offer policy arguments against his, as a way of forcing us to learn the arguing skills we must develop as lawyers. I had a few thoughts, and I decided to share them with Judge Posner in an e-mail, which I have excerpted here:

Essentially, Professor Nockleby’s position is as follows:

1. The real issue in the case is, “In the absence of negligence (or proof of negligence), on whom should the presumptive burden of loss caused by the escape of a dangerous substance, acrylonitrile, while in rail transit be cast?”

2. The shipment of acrylonitrile is an abnormally dangerous activity. Therefore, the court should impose strict liability upon the Shipper. (Professor Nockleby cites Rylands, Siegler, and Spano as precedents that argue *in favor* of his position.)

3. Where a loss is created, and created non-negligently, someone must bear the loss, and strict liability is the best vehicle for assigning the loss.

[Here I have questions:
1) Does imposition of strict liability allow for later indemnification (Prof. Nockleby seems to imply that it does, but I’m not sure that’s so clear); and
2) In the instant case, isn’t the state agency which cleaned up the spill (and which charged Indiana Harbor Belt for the cleanup) essentially the way in which the liability is shifted? That is to say, if, as Prof. Nockleby insists, the danger of the case is in the future implications when, rather than a switching station, it is residents who are harmed, isn’t the fact that a government agency can clean up the spill an argument that “the people” have resources which are just as corporate as “big business”? Isn’t the government a sunk transaction cost, and what we’re doing then is simply doing the indemnification?]

4. Professor Nockleby insists that, in an abnormally dangerous activity such as shipping a dangerous chemical like acrylonitrile, it should be the agent which has control over the decision to ship which should bear the loss.

5. Professor Nockleby also takes exception to your analogy with people who build houses between runways at O’Hare. My understanding of that illustration was that the people built the houses after the runways were already there, in which case I think it is reasonable to expect people not to buy up land between runways and build houses. If, on the other hand, the houses were there before the runways, we have eminent domain issues.

I don’t expect an e-mail back from Judge Posner, but I invite you, dear readers, to leave comments, particularly if you’re familiar with this case and its interpretations and arguments. Thank you!

[Cross-posted at Law Law Stud]

[lawschool]
[torts]
[strict liability]
[negligence]
[Posner]

Debunking Diamond

These guys at the Commons Blog have read Jared Diamond’s new book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, so I don’t have to. I thought Diamond’s book Guns, Germs and Steel was good, but it stopped just when things were getting interesting. Sure, the people from the Eurasian temperate climate zone were pre-loaded to take over the world. But, then, why not China? And why did Western Europe surge ahead? And why then did America? Diamond’s explanation of stuff from the Stone Age, and about the settlement of the Pacific islands, was very good. But his application to the last few hundred years did not add much to my understanding. So, I was dubious about his new one, which reviews suggested was “timely” in a bad way. Everything I’d read about the sequel made it sound like it was rather conventional ecological apocalyptic fear-mongering. Sounds like I was right, based on the post I linked to. Check out the detailed debunking if this stuff interests you.