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Monday, July 30, 2012

Men of Business v. Men of Genius

"Wit and humour are the dress and ornament of the mind;  but honesty and truth are the soul itself, and the difference in a man's care of his reputation for one and the other is just in proportion that being robbed bears to being murdered."  Richard Steele quoted in Sir Richard Steele by Willard Connely , p.305 (1934)

The kind of elegant prose Estase refers to as Burkean should perhaps be described as Steelesque instead.  Richard Steele was probably not as well educated as Joseph Addison or Jonathan Swift, and his unfavorable qualities included trading on the labor of African slaves in the West Indies, gluttony, lechery, and what would today be seen as alcoholism.  That last characteristic was common to many of the great men of his time, notably Lord Carteret.  His educational deficiencies were the source of much malevolent fun for Dean Swift, who probably would have thought himself one of the first deserving of that title of Liberal aristocracy coined by John Stuart Mill, the "Man of Genius."  While not even seeking the title of a man of genius, Steele preferred to call himself a "Man of Business,"  meaning that though he was unable to make puns in Greek, what he possessed instead was a knowledge of things as they really are.  Even today, the Leftist intelligentsia disdains all forms of practical knowledge, and while precious few of those today could make puns in Greek, they ascribe great weight to such unpractical studies as Sociology or Law, which also explains why a higher percentage of faculty in fields such as Engineering or Economics are conservative.  The phrase "conservative sociologist" is nearly an oxymoron.  Indeed, the ranks of the Occupy movement would be empty but for the large number of college graduates with degrees in Sociology or Gender Studies who find themselves with no productive work, but $40,000 in debt to pay off.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Haj Amin al-Husseini, Part Three

"Arafat continued the mufti's legacy by recruiting Nazis and neo-Nazis for Fatah and the PLO.  In 1969, the PLO recruited two former Nazi instructors, Erich Altern, a leader of the Gestapo's Jewish affairs section, and Willy Berner, who was an SS officer in the Mauthausen extermination camp.  Another former Nazi, Johann Schuller, was found supplying arms to Fatah.  Belgian Jean Tireault, secretary of the neo-Nazi organization La Nation Europeene, also went on the Fatah payroll.  Another Belgian, neo-Nazi Karl van der Put, recruited volunteers for the PLO.  During the 1970s, German neo-Nazi Otto Albrecht was arrested in West Germany with PLO identity papers after the PLO had given him $1.2 million to buy weapons. 
     Like al-Husseini, Arafat was a ruthless murderer whose career was built on terrorism and violence.  In continuing this tradition, Arafat introduced his longtime PLO associate Hani al-Hassan to Romanian president Nicolae Ceausescu in October 1972, saying:  'This is my brother. . . He is the one who, just a few months ago, prepared our answer to the Olympic Committee's decision not to allow a team of Palestinian athletes to participate in the Munich games.  He is the brain who put our organization's name on the front page of every single newspaper.'
     Arafat was referring to the September 5, 1972, massacre of eleven Israeli athletes by a team of PLO terrorists during the Olympic Games in Munich, a brutal deed that shocked the world.  So did the murder the following year of Cleo A. Noel, U.S. ambassador to Sudan, and his charge d'affaires, George Curtis Moore, another crime executed by Arafat's PLO.  Arafat was directly implicated in the October 1985 seizure by Palestinian terrorists of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro, in which a disabled Jewish passenger, Leon Klinghoffer, was singled out for killing, a terrorist act that Pope John Paul II publicly condemned as 'a grave act of violence against innocent and defenseless persons(p134-35).' 
     In creating Hamas, the organization's founder and spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, a devoted admirer of al-Husseini, formulated the concept that Palestine should 'become the central battlefield' between the forces of radical Islam and Israel and its Western allies, in a radical Islamic jihad against Israel, America, and the pro-Israel West.  Participation in the intifada, argued Yassin, the first stage of this holy war, would bring about Israel's eventual destruction and the establishment of a nationalist pan-Islamic state in Palestine.  The creation of this state, the very type al-Husseini had envisioned, would in turn be the precursor of a global holy war, waged by Hamas and the leaders of radical Islam against Israel's allies in America and the West.  Thirty-two years after his death, the vision of al-Husseini was to be affirmed as Hamas assumed the leadership of the Palestinian people.  Following the victory of Hamas in the Palestinian elections held on January 25, 2006, Khaled Mashaal, the leader of Hamas, gave a speech in Damascus in which he declared:  'I bring good tidings to our beloved Prophet Muhammed:  Allah's promise and the Prophet's prophecy of our victory in Palestine over the Jews and over the oppressive Zionists has begun to come true.'  The leaders of Hamas continue to seek to undermine and reverse the work of the more moderate Palestinian nationalist factions, some of which have reluctantly accepted Israel's right to exist.  The opposition to Israel's existence is much more intransigent in Hamas than it is today among some secular Palestinian nationalists.  This is an intransigence that the mufti would have shared(p139-40)." From Icon of Evil:Hitler's Mufti and the Rise of Radical Islam, by David G. Dalin and John F. Rothmann  

Burkean Rhetoric?

The following is the kind of prose Estase would almost associate with Edmund Burke, and how he wishes he wrote.  It is from Some Buried Caesar by Rex Stout.  Nero Wolfe gave the kind of dialogue one would associate with Georgian Britain, where his investigator Archie Goodwin speaks like a film noir gumshoe.  It is this juxtaposition that makes the Nero Wolfe mysteries so much fun.

"At least he might have.  Let's say his proposal was that he should, with your consent, remove Caesar and put another bull in his place.  He would take Caesar to the Osgood barns.  You would, during Tuesday, help to guard the substitute so that no one who would be at all likely to notice the deception would be permitted to approach too closely.  With the substitute once butchered, on Wednesday, the danger would of course be over.  On Thursday, Mr. Pratt and his guests, with trumpets of publicity, would eat the barbecued bull.  On Sunday, with the week expired, Clyde would present Mr. Pratt with irrefutable evidence that it was not Caesar who had been sacrificed and that he had therefore won the bet.  Mr. Pratt would of course explode with rage, but in the end he would have to compose himself and admit his helplessness and pay the $10,000, for if the facts were made public the roar of laughter would obliterate him.  Customers in a pratteria would say, 'Do you suppose this is really beef?  It may be woodchuck.'  Mr. Pratt would have to pay and keep his mouth shut.  He couldn't even take Caesar back, for what would he do with him?  Clyde Osgood would get the $10,000, and doubtless a part of his proposal would be that you get Caesar.  I don't know how that would work out, since officially Caesar would be dead, but there might be a way around that difficulty, and as a minimum benefit you could breed his exceptional qualities into your herd.  That, of course, is merely the outline of the proposal.  Clyde had probably developed it in detail, including the time and manner of shuffling the bulls.  The most auspicious time for that would have been after 1 o'clock, when you would be the one on guard, but you might have refused to involve yourself to that extent;  and therefore one possibility is that the shuffling was set for earlier and had actually taken place.  Caesar may be alive at this moment.  The bull who died of anthrax may have been only a substitute.  I offer that only as a conjecture;  obviously it is tenable only on the supposition that you agreed to Clyde's proposal and entered into his scheme. . . and you know more about that than I do.  But leaving that entirely aside, what do you think of the scheme itself?  Do you detect any flaws?" (p160-61)

Monday, July 02, 2012

SCOTUS Observations

Reading the Roberts opinion in the challenge to Obamacare has convinced me of a couple of things.  One, stare decisis is killing the coherence of the law.  Wickard v. Fillburn, like Jason Vorhees of Friday the 13th, refuses to die.  As long as it keeps being propped up, there will exist no practical limit to the abuse of the commerce clause.  Two, Estase is very happy he did not become a lawyer, as the pedantry of these arguments makes one long for the forthright simplicity of medieval metaphysics.  Three, although many commentators have excoriated Justice Roberts for the claim that the government may not force you to buy insurance, but may heavily tax you for not buying insurance, the really scary person in the room was Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who not only believes in the broadly constructed commerce clause, but apparently also believes that the Federal Government has the right to coerce the states into expanding Medicaid into an entirely different program than what it originally was.  So, apparently, Justice Ginsburg does not see state governments and the Federal Government as relative equals, which is what federalism suggests, but she thinks that states are merely a dependent appendage of the Federal Government, which can compel the states to do whatever it bids.

Some commentators also act surprised that Roberts is a moderate.  I saw that right away when he was being confirmed, and said he believed in the right to privacy.  Anyone who is over the age of 13 knows that that meant that Roberts was saying by that that he would uphold Roe v. Wade.  So for people to now be surprised that Roberts isn't a Scalia is a little naive.

Catholic Church Conservation: Poacher turned gamekeeper put in charge of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Catholic Church Conservation: Poacher turned gamekeeper put in charge of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Not exactly encouraging.