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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Complacency And Other Matters

A historical retrospective from the Blorg - Harry Reid's immigration bill of 1993. It makes you want to google recent Reid statements, doesn't it? He has a blog.

We must not neglect Tommy of Striving for Average's interview with Reid. More seriously, Tommy has only one request for immigration reform:
The only thing I really care about in all of this is knowing who’s here and having a system in place to make sure we always know who’s here. ... But we do the birth certificate, death certificate, SSN and immunization records on our own citizens and we should do at least as much on everybody else.
When you starting thinking about how to accomplish Tommy's goal, you realize that reaching it has logical prerequisites. Interestingly, neither the Senate or the House bill comes close to meeting those prerequisites.

Dust My Broom covers more riots in France. So what's new, you ask? That's one reason not to reward riots with handouts - such a strategy generates more riots.

Continuing the "So What's New?" theme, a man was roaming the streets of Key West dressed as a woman. He would approach tourists, flip up the skirt and expose himself, whereupon the tourists would take pictures. So far this sounds like a pretty normal day in Key West. But this guy was reported by a waitress for threatening a massacre, and when police caught up with him he had a flare gun. It sounds like the tourists were lousy tippers or made rude comments about his manly endowments. I guess he wanted to go out with a bang....

Shrinkwrapped's post about the paradoxes inherent in the war on terror is interesting, especially his warning against complacent hubris. It also provoked several extremely worthwhile comments about datamining and the call-mapping program. I heartily recommend the whole thing.

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred provoked a commenter with his post about the problems reform-minded Muslims face. I thought it was a good post:
The issue various reformists face is the kind of reform they will embrace. How their faith emerges from that free fall will be determined by the efforts of those who seek to not allow the politically generated Islam or radical Islam, to define their faith.

Reformists living in the west have their work cut out for them, because their frame of reference is very different from most reformists that are found in the Arab or Muslim world.

To begin with, they have to deal with many realities, all at once. They must address not only a radical Islam (that is remarkably well funded and influential), but also, they must address the regimes that that have for decades, proven themselves to be some of the most repressive and duplicitous regimes in the world.
Cultures, religions and societies are measured by what they build and what they contribute. They are not measured by what they destroy or by who theythreaten or by who they hate. In the comparison of cultures, moral equality is not drawn by measuring the lowest of shared failures or values, but rather, moral equality is drawn by the how much of the highest values are shared.
His commenter began with:
If terrorism or atrocity or “cruel regimes” could be measured just by body count, then we should consider the US as way ahead in cruelty.

Innocent Lives Lost in the “War on Terror”: (Round Numbers)
Because of Al-Qaeda: 6500?
Because of the United States: 50,000? At least?

The fact that the United States is vehemently hatred across many continents should not be discounted or overlooked. Nor that the United States holds no moral high ground and has resorted to despicable methods against others and their own civilians.

I am all for “Muslim” Countries living up to Islamic ideals, but we have to see if the problem lies solely with these countries, if Islam somehow drives the problem and actually needs some kind of reform (which I would call a major scapegoat), or if, in fact, there are other forces at work driving and exacerbating the difficulties which are already pressing down on these countries.
Yeah, you guessed it. It's Bush's fault. I'm not sure many of our cultural divisions can be bridged.

I started listening to Hannity on the radio on the drive home a month ago because The Anchoress made a comment about his "yappy Irish voice". Today a woman called into his show and said that Bush should never have invaded Iraq, because we believed Iraq had WMDs, and therefore provoking Iraq put US soldiers and citizens at risk. She included the words "Well, duh".

Aside from my amazement about the idea that our soldiers would normally not be at risk in a war (they are even in peacetime - it's a dangerous profession!), I was mesmerized by the irrationality of assuming that it is safe to allow a regime that had started two aggressive wars and had used WMDs against its own citizens to build up its WMD stocks under the theory that if we just wouldn't bother Iraq, Iraq would never use them. It's difficult even to summon up the wits to counter those who sincerely think that mass-murdering tyrants will not use WMDs if they have them or that the US is a much crueller country than Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

If I had been Hannity I would have asked her about her position on gun control, and whether she would want the police to come and remove the neighbor or the neighbor's guns if he had started threatening the neighbors while waving them. Well, duh.

Which brings me back to Shrinkwrapped's post on complacency and hubris, and the fact that people who are nutty are often very aggressive (even when wearing skirt and wandering the streets of Key West flashing tourists), and the reality that preaching hate and rage does generate hateful, wrathful actions, and the fact that rewarding bullies and rioters creates an incentive for others to riot and bully, and that a defacto open border policy is frankly insane at the moment.

At this point, I think those who do see a threat and those who don't see a threat are divided by a great epistemological gulf which cannot be filled in or bridged by compromises. This may be a point of divisiveness in our culture, but it's one that we will have to fight out using our votes. The majority will win, and if the majority does not believe there is a real problem, the next regime will ignore it.

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