George H. Smith is one of the best-read, most insightful libertarians living today. He is the author of most of the Cato University Home Study Course, which you should definitely download. He writes a weekly article for Libertarianism.org titled “Excursions into the History of Libertarian Thought.” He is the author of Atheism: The Case Against God (1974), Atheism, Ayn Rand, and Other Heresies (1991), and audio series on “Great Political Thinkers,” “The Meaning of the U.S. Constitution,” and “The Ideas of Liberty.” And finally – finally – he has been persuaded to write down much of what he knows about the history of classical liberal thought in a new book from the Cato Institute and the Cambridge University Press, The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism.
It’s a great study of classical liberalism and the relations among such liberal ideas as individualism, natural rights, utilitarianism, self-sovereignty, and what Lord Acton called “the polar star of liberty.” Along the way he answers such criticisms of liberalism as “atomistic individualism” and “social Darwinism.” It’s a college course in political philosophy in just 217 very readable pages. Buy it now for the low low price of $24.95.
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Benjamin H. Friedman
Thursday at 10 AM Cato hosts Richard Gamble to discuss his book: In Search of the City on a Hill: The Making and Unmaking of an American Myth. Historians Walter McDougall and Derek Leebaert will provide commentary.
Gamble’s book traces the “city on a hill” metaphor as American self-description. We follow it from John Winthrop, who may have used the term, following the gospels, to remind the other Puritans onboard the Mayflower of their faith’s requirements, to modern conservatives like Sarah Palin, who use it in a story about the inherent virtue of the United States—the version of American exceptionalism that sees U.S. foreign policy as the engine of liberalism’s global progress.
The forum should help us make sense of recent debates—or rhetorical posturing—about American exceptionalism. Its loudest advocates today claim that their opponents, starting with President Obama, deny that the country is exceptional. What they ignore, as Gamble shows, is that their exceptionalism reverses the old kind. What made the United States exceptional upon independence was its liberal government. Most early American leaders thought that form of government would suffer from participation in European power politics. They worried that entanglement in foreign troubles would produce domestic conditions corrosive to liberty— a large military establishment and consolidated executive power. So the liberalism that made the nation exceptional meant avoiding the crusading foreign policies that modern proponents of American exceptionalism say it requires.
Here’s how Gamble put it in the American Conservative last September:
The old exceptionalism was consistent with the ethos of American constitutional democracy; the new is not. The old was an expression of and a means to sustain the habits of a self-governing people; the new is an expression of and a means to sustain a nationalist and imperialist people. The old exceptionalism suited a limited foreign policy; the new suits a messianic adventurism out to remake the world.
McDougall’s Promised Land, Crusader State: The American Encounter with the World since 1776 concerned this revolution of exceptionalism’s meaning, so his comments should be telling. Leebaert’s recent book, Magic and Mayhem: the Delusions of American Foreign Policy from Korea to Afghanistan, is also quite relevant. As moderator, I will push the speakers to answer two questions. First, aren’t we discussing competing ideas of American nationalism? Second, are the ideas we generally see as drivers of foreign policies really just their PR and power the cause of both?
Register here or watch live online.
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From The Book Of Obama
POSTED AT 1:51 PM ON OCTOBER 26, 2012 BY DUANE PATTERSON
Barack said unto him, Verily I say unto Benghazi, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. – Oba 26:34
So the revelations continue to come forth on the events surrounding the terrorist attack on our ambassador and three special operators in Benghazi, Libya, and it continues to point in an ominous direction. According to Jennifer Griffin’s report at Fox News, our staff on the ground was denied help three times by the CIA at Langley during the course of the attack.
This raises a key question. Did General David Petraeus, the director of the CIA, make that call? Certainly, this wouldn’t have been done without his knowledge. And it certainly does not comport with the actions of David Petraeus throughout his storied military career. If Petraeus did not make the call to stand down, who did? There’s only one person Petraeus reports to directly – Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. And there’s only one person Clapper reports to – Barack Obama.
The details will continue to paint a clearer picture in the days ahead, regardless of mainstream media’s attempt to do the anti-Woodward and Bernstein and help Obama cover this up. But one glaring fact cannot be disputed. When the President appeared at the Univision forum, then on the View, and then on Letterman to claim that the attack was in response to the Muhammed video on You Tube, he was lying. There’s no way around it. It simply cannot be maintained that he had no knowledge of what was going on.
Those who continue to further the ”I didn’t know” hypothesis aren’t doing the President any favors, either. The last thing you want to project 11 days before an election is we have a commander-in-chief who isn’t informed when the country is attacked abroad for three weeks.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:56 pm
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Obama and Ahmadinejad singing from the same choir book
- Judi McLeod (Bio and Archives) Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Ever the Artful Dodger of Politics, President Barack Hussein Obama was a one-day wonder at this year’s perfectly useless UN General Assembly.
Just one day later, the uncrowned King of the World has been pushed off the front page by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who says New World Order is needed to get away from US dominance.
“Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that a new world order needs to emerge, away from years of what he called American bullying and domination.” (FoxNews, Sept. 26, 2012.)
Were it not for height and beard, Obama and Ahmadinejad would be one and the same.
The day before Obama told the UN Assembly: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam” and “Let us remember that Muslims have suffered the most at the hands of extremism.”
The millions slaughtered by radical Islam over the centuries got no mention, let alone a requiem, in the ramblings of this Hollywood-manufactured Pocket Messiah.
Though surprisingly eclipsed by news headlines when the media carried the words of Ahmadinejad full tilt, Obama and the Iranian president are both singing harmoniously from the same choir book.
Both Obama and Ahmadinejad make political careers out of marketing an image of America the Bully, an America that must pay.
The biggest news ignored by the mainstream media is that the UN, the Muslim Brotherhood and the socialists are now working in concert to deliver One World Government on a largely suspecting global population.
The only difference between the American president and the Iranian one is that the one who hails from the Mid-East is front and centre about what he wants. If ‘The Enemy Big Satan’ is crazy enough to give him a platform right in the Big Apple, then he’ll use it full scale.
Ahmadinejad comes right out and calls his mission One World Government, dodging from patriots in the cover of shadow, Obama calls his the “Fundamental Transformation of America”.
Ahmadinejad, finishing out his last term, has nothing to lose. Obama, facing a reelection bid within 41 days, has to be a lot more coy and to coach his terms, formulated for second guessing.
Despicable though he is, Ahmadinejad has bigger stones than the coy and cowardly Obama. Tough guy talk is easy to blare when you’ve already bowed to most Muslim leaders and framed your take on countries like Egypt in a heard-the-world-over speech. The bravest thing Barack Obama ever did was marry the overbearing Michelle LaVaughn Robinson.
Obama lobs all his bombs at the USA from the safety of lofty double entendre speeches and when he’s played out by golf, shooting hoops and other forms of recreation, doubles back to the Michelle/Valerie Jarrett coddle nest.
Sensible people can torture themselves by asking why the Manhattan headquartered United Nations provides a platform to enemies of the state, but for Obama it’s a convenient foil for distraction, better even than appearances with “the girls” on The View.
While Obama was waxing diplomatic at Turtle Bay, it was revealed that he had gifted Hispanic farmers and downtrodden women $1.33 billion—effective immediately—from an over strained public purse.
Hardworking, sun-up-to-sun-down farmers cut off from water in California now know how the families of loved ones massacred in the name of radical Islam must feel.
This is the time line in our upside down world in the last two days alone: Obama and Ahmadinejad were holding the floor at the UN General Assembly, Ahmadinejad, who will return today, on Yom Kippur.
At about the same time Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was paying handsome compliments to Bill Clinton (God help us) a few blocks away over at at the Global Initiative.
Why Mitt would venture into the enemy camp during a time when Dem trolls work so feverishly to frame him in the “they’re-all-the-same” category is a question only Romney’s campaign manager can answer.
Dreading the evil alternative, the Rooting for Romney crowd have no choice but to try to forget that their man Mitt went willingly into the enemy camp and will be there for him on November 6.
The entire world’s a stage and like the actors with alleged dubbed over lines in the trailer “Innocence of Muslims”, some of us are trying not to be part of the play.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Wed Sep 26, 2012 12:41 pm
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Some pundits have been saying that the whole derivatives game was planned with the purpose of bringing the current system down.
IOW this is not something that is ‘happening’ to JPM. It was planned to be.
The charade just goes on…
Statistics: Posted by Deo Vindice — Mon May 21, 2012 12:04 am
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MELTDOWN UPDATE: The JP Morgan Derivatives Book is Blowing Up
Statistics: Posted by DIGGER DAN — Sun May 20, 2012 11:41 am
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The Book of Obama: The Ganza Megillah
By Clarice Feldman
The story of Purim is found in the Book of Esther, a long, detailed story known as the "Megillah." In Yiddish, the term "Ganza Megillah" has a number of meanings — usually a long story — which is how I am using it now. This week was Purim, the start of the post-mortem releases of the Breitbart tapes on Obama. This is the beginning of the Breitbart effort to force the first open media focus on the racism at the heart of so called Critical Race Studies and an honest examination of who Obama really is.
I think all three — Purim, Breitbart and Obama — are related in this Megillah.
Let’s start with Purim and the remarkable account of the holiday by blogger Sultan Knish.
It is the story of how Queen Esther at the urging of her uncle saved her people from the slaughter urged upon the king by an evil vizier, but it is much more. In Sultan Knish’s telling — far more accurate a telling than one finds in most synagogues in America today or the Huffington Post or wherever New Agers congregate — it is a violent story about strategic preemptive strikes for survival and is a poor fit for liberal pieties. It’s about a God "less concerned about feelings and tolerance than with justice and truth." It’s about skin of the teeth survival, and in the end an event well worth celebrating:
[The Grand Vizier] casts a lot, [to decide when the slaughter shall begin] random chance in a random world where chance is supreme and the whim of every ruler outweighs the weight of history. The bills are signed, the laws are passed, the decrees go out, the officers from the vast imperial bureaucracy are assigned to inform every citizen that their new age will be inaugurated with blood. A people who are not a proper part of the multicultural empire of laws must be wiped out in a properly democratic fashion. Crowd-sourced genocide.
And then the Grand Vizier ends up dangling from a rope, the tanks break through to Berlin, the chariots fall into the sea, the mustachioed dictator dies in a bedroom in Moscow his clothes soaked in his own urine — and everything has gone completely wrong.
It’s an old story and a new story. We tell it over and over again because it is always happening. It is our story and the story of the world. It is the story we have accepted from our parents and it is the story that we will pass on to our children. It is the story of the blood sacrifice of the New Age that goes wrong. The sacrifice survives, bloodied and scarred, the New Age goes down to ruin.
Once again we are the sacrifice to be slaughtered on the altar of the Arab Spring, of peace with the Muslim world, of a global age of global government for which only a few million people need to die. The knife is sharpened, the Grand Vizier and his aides smile, and the time is almost here. But it is not here yet. Now we sit down to hear the Megillah and remember how the story always ends.
Breitbart’s Obama Tapes
The tapes of Obama supporting and embracing Derrick Bell at Harvard released by Breitbart’s staff after his untimely death, which were covered up by Obama’s friend Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree, the media and undoubtedly others, establish that the pre-election image of Obama as a post racial uniter was as accurate a description of the true Obama as the notion of the Grand Vizier as an enforcer of a Persian multi-cult paradise might be. In fact Derrick Bell was a barely disguised racist, an anti-Semite and an inspiration for Obama’s racist and anti -Semitic pastor of 20 years, Jeremiah Wright.
He was the creator of a school of thought known in academic speak as "critical race theory," a pernicious flimsy cover for anti-Semitic, anti-white, anti-Asian thought which contends that there is no real "merit." Merit in the eyes of Bell and his followers is just a cover, a social construct that maintains the power of dominant groups. If people achieve more it is not because they worked harder or entered life with more natural ability; it is, in this upside down destructive world proof that they obtained what they did unfairly. From this it would logically follow that the goods of the world ought to be stripped from them and given to others, that things like admission to prestigious positions and universities ought to be done on a racial basis instead of on demonstrated merit, that the truth of things is less important than the cause they advance. That there is no justice and free speech and debate must be stifled.
Some years ago two scholars got to the heart of the matter wading through the academic doublespeak:
"Would you want to be operated on by a surgeon trained at a medical school that did not evaluate its students? Would you want to fly in a plane designed by people convinced that the laws of physics are socially constructed? Would you want to be tried by a legal system indifferent to the distinction between fact and fiction? These questions may seem absurd, but these are theories being seriously advanced by radical multiculturalists that force us to ask them. These scholars assert that such concepts as truth and merit are inextricably racist and sexist, that reason and objectivity are merely sophisticated masks for ideological bias, and that reality itself is nothing more than a socially constructed mechanism for preserving the power of the ruling elite.
In Beyond All Reason, liberal legal scholars Daniel A. Farber and Suzanna Sherry mount the first systematic critique of radical multiculturalism as a form of legal scholarship. Beginning with an incisive overview of the origins and basic tenets of radical multiculturalism, the authors critically examine the work of Derrick Bell, Catherine MacKinnon, Patricia Williams, and Richard Delgado, and explore the alarming implications of their theories. Farber and Sherry push these theories to their logical conclusions and show that radical multiculturalism is destructive of the very goals it wishes to affirm. If, for example, the concept of advancement based on merit is fraudulent, as the multiculturalists claim, the disproportionate success of Jews and Asians in our culture becomes difficult to explain without opening the door to age-old anti-Semitic and racist stereotypes. If historical and scientific truths are entirely relative social constructs, then Holocaust denial becomes merely a matter of perspective, and Creationism has as much "validity" as evolution. The authors go on to show that rather than promoting more dialogue, the radical multiculturalist preferences for legal storytelling and identity politics over reasoned argument produces an insular set of positions that resist open debate. Indeed, radical multiculturalists cannot critically examine each others’ ideas without incurring vehement accusations of racism and sexism, much less engage in fruitful discussion with a mainstream that does not share their assumptions. Here again, Farber and Sherry show that the end result of such thinking is not freedom but a kind of totalitarianism where dissent cannot be tolerated and only the naked will to power remains to settle differences.
Sharply written and brilliantly argued, this book is itself a model of the kind of clarity, civility, and dispassionate critical thinking which the authors seek to preserve from the attacks of the radical multiculturalists. With far-reaching implications for such issues as government control of hate speech and pornography, affirmative action, legal reform, and the fate of all minorities, Beyond All Reason is a provocative contribution to one of the most important controversies of our time."
These two thoughtful scholars were not the only ones to raise alarm about this pernicious doctrine Bell advanced. Thomas Sowell spotted it for what it was at the time of the sit ins at Harvard where Bell harangues that "white boys got tenure" as he pushed for the hiring of an unqualified black woman. Sowell speaks with Brian Lamb on C-SPAN:
SOWELL:. Again, notice, that once, once you let in the students who cannot make, meet the academic standards, you’re going to end up having to let in professors who can’t meet the academic standards. You’re going to have to create courses that don’t meet the academic standards.
LAMB: Correct me on the, on the names and everything. Derrick Bell?
LAMB: Harvard Law School, black man.
LAMB: Threatened the law school if they didn’t hire a black woman, he’s going, he’s leaving?
SOWELL: Well, if I understand it correctly, he’s taking unpaid leave until such time as they hire a woman of color, as he says. Well, he’s also said that by black, he does not mean skin color, he means those who are really black, not those who think white and look black. And so what he is really saying is he wants ideological conformity in the people that are hired to fill this position. That’s not uncommon either. I know a black woman, for example, who had a Ph.D. — she’s had a book published, she has another contract on another book, she’s taught at a couple of very nice places, she has a devil of a time getting a job — not a job in a prestigious institution, a job teaching at a college. And the reason is that she gets shot down, blackballed, whatever, by people who don’t like her ideology. That’s happening not only racially, it’s also happening where race is not an issue. In a law school, I learned recently, there’s a woman who was being considered for a tenured position, and all the men voted for her and all the woman voted against her, because she does not follow radical feminism, and so you’re getting these ideological tests, so that at the very time that there’s all this mouthing of the word diversity, there is this extremely narrow ideological conformity that is being enforced wherever people have the power to enforce it.
LAMB: What did you think of Derrick Bell’s whole plan?
SOWELL: Well, his chances of success will depend on whether or not he has overestimated his importance to the Harvard Law School. I think it would be a tragedy if they caved in, and I was very pleased to see that they seemed to show some backbone, which is quite rare among academics.
LAMB: Now, what do you think of the press treatment of him?
SOWELL: It’s been quite gentle.
LAMB: You mean, is he a hero?
SOWELL: To me?
LAMB: No. Basically, I mean, from the press coverage, you’ve seen, is he a hero to the …?
SOWELL: Well, he’s looked at as an idealist who is self-sacrificing and so on. I suppose one could, if one wanted to look at it that way, have seen Hitler that way in his early days. It’s just a question of where that kind of idealism leads. He has launched a despicable attack on a young black professor at the law school who doesn’t go along with this. A young man named Randall Kennedy, who has written a very thoughtful, intelligent article last June in the Harvard Law Review, questioning some of the assumptions that people are making, people like Derrick Bell and doing it in a very gentlemanly as well as very logical way, empirical way, and that’s not what they want. They want the conclusion to be that — they want him to march in lock step and he won’t do it, and they’re doing their best to make life impossible for him.[snip] I was very pleased to see that Alan Dershowitz of Harvard had criticized this and that he picked up the fact that what Bell is really asking for is not only that people be hired by race, but that they be hired to fit Derek Bell’s ideology.
I imagine those who cannot defend Bell when put on the spot about what Critical Race Theory really stands for, like Soledad O’Brien, will fall back on the position that Obama was young and we are all rather feckless in our youth.
Breitbart reminds us that when Obama taught at the University of Chicago Law School he made his students read Bell’s "most radical and inflammatory writings" including a book which Bell himself described as reflecting his experience as follows:
Black people will never gain full equality in this country. Even those Herculean efforts we hail as successful will produce no more than temporary peaks of progress, short-lived victories that slide into irrelevance as racial patterns adapt in ways that maintain white dominance. This is a hard-to-accept fact that all history verifies. We must acknowledge it, not as a sign of submission, but as an act of ultimate defiance. (p. 12, italics in original) [/quote]
Bell did not confine himself to "scholarly works." He also wrote a SciFi novel called "The Space Traders," a crackpot, Farrakhan type work in which aliens negotiate with white Republican office holders to take all the blacks to use as their slaves and Jews who try to help them only do so to keep from being targeted themselves. calling Anne Frank "the symbol of Jewish hypocrisy."
Bell justified black anti-Jewish sentiment as backlash for "Jewish neoconservative racistsm. John Podhoretz writes in Commentary:
Bell denounced Henry Louis (Skip) Gates for writing a New York Times op-ed condemning black anti-Semitism:
I was furious. Even if everything he said was true, it was inexcusable not to mention what might have motivated blacks to feel this way, and to fail to talk about all the Jewish neoconservative racists who are undermining blacks in every way they can
It might seem nice of Bell to acknowledge the awfulness of anti-Semitism, but he didn’t mean it. The very same interview began as follows: "We should really appreciate the Louis Farrakhans and the Khalid Muhammads while we’ve got them."
Indeed, Obama’s fervid support of Bell and his poisonous notions that people of wealth and achievement did it at your expense is of a piece with his longtime association with anti-Semites and his belief in a world of white privilege and anti-black discrimination might as well explain why he called Ms. Fluke to offer sympathy and has kept still about the racialist burning of a Kansas City white schoolchild after apparent provocation by black teachers themselves undoubtedly sold on and propagating Bell’s divisive nonsense.
If you believe in merit, truth , justice and a post racial America you must do everything you can to defeat Obama this year. If you voted for him in 2008 ,recognize that you were duped by a bunch of fast talking political manipulators, academics and media enablers. If you don’t believe merit, truth, equality of treatment under the law and justice are anything but social constructs to keep the dominant class in power, be ready for more skin- of- your- teeth Purim- like survival tests.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:52 am
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Hey blog readers! Here’s my review of Charles Murray’s Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010. I found it nothing like (and much better than) what many of the detractors said, but I’m still not quite persuaded.
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