“On November 21, Iran conducted its second test of a nuclear-capable ballistic missile in direct contravention of two U.N. Security Council prohibitions, including one that incorporates the current nuclear agreement — which bans such tests for eight years.”
– From National Review.
Another report via Reuters
Can anyone be in serious doubt that the deal between the US/EU and Iran to lift sanctions against the latter over Iran’s supposed co-operation over being good on nuclear tests is a crock? Another blinding result for Mr Obama’s foreign policy. We have another year of this man in the White House.
In my book, Everything Has Two Handles: The Stoic’s Guide to the Art of Living, I argue that the values of the ancient Stoics can help us achieve personal happiness. I believe that these same values can help our children grow into strong, responsible, and resilient citizens. And what are Stoic values? It’s not just a matter of keeping a stiff upper lip, nor does Stoicism hold that you should tamp down all your feelings. Rather, Stoics believed that the good life is one characterized by virtuous beliefs and actions—in brief, a life based on duty, discipline, and moderation. The Stoics also believed in the importance of taking life on its own terms–what they would have described as “living in harmony with nature.” Stoics did not whine when they were passed over for an award, nor did they throw a hissy fit when they didn’t get their way. As the Stoic philosopher, Seneca (106-43 BCE) put it, “All ferocity is born of weakness.” Perhaps most important, Stoics understood the tremendous value of gratitude — not only for the gifts we have received, but also for the grief we have been spared. Maybe if more children were inculcated with these teachings, we would find our celebrities showing more gratitude and less “attitude.”
– Ronald Pies.
In another article, the author of this item argues that narcissism may explain the recent spate of mass shootings in the US; he seems to acknowledge, which is to his credit, that overall violent crime in the US has actually fallen in recent years, however.
For centuries, people have pondered the meaning of evil. But the solution to the riddle is that evil has no meaning. Evil is the absence of meaning; it is meaninglessness. To build, to create, to act in the world—these all have meaning. Evil cannot. It is only a black hole that can tear apart meaningful things, and return them to the hollow silence of the universe. This is what we mean when we say that evil is “banal.” It lacks the infinite grandeur of even a grain of sand, let alone of laughter, or of a kiss. In that sense, evil does not matter. It is incapable of mattering. It cannot live or mean things. The best it can do is look on in ire, envy, and despair. And the envious are always walled off from the world that we, the living, inhabit, by an invisible and impervious barrier that they erect themselves; they always have the deadly touch of King Midas. We defy evil and envy when we live. Living in this world sheds light into darkness. It is all we can do, and all that needs to be done, and it is more than enough. Therefore, we shall live. We shall be joyful, hard-working, silly, creative, and smart and sexy and brave and fun. Be a brief candle that helps spread another light.
– Timothy Sandefur, writing a long and moving item about a close relation who was one of the 14 people murdered in San Barnadino recently by Muslim terrorists. Read the whole, outstanding piece. I don’t know how Tim had the fortitude to write so well about such a terrible event to affect his family. The article contains links to charities and organisations well deserving of support.
It is indeed interesting, and worrying, that students are so sensitive and censorious today. But I have a question for the hand-wringers, the media people, academics and liberal thinkers who are so disturbed by what they’re calling the ‘Yale snowflakes’: what did you think would happen? When you watched, or even presided over, the creation over the past 40 years of a vast system of laws and speech codes to punish insulting or damaging words, and the construction of a vast machine of therapeutic intervention into everyday life, what did you think the end result would be? A generation that was liberal and tough? Come off it. It’s those trends, those longstanding trends of censorship and therapy, that created today’s creepy campus intolerance; it’s you who made these monsters.
– Brendan O’Neill.
The bigotry and oafishness of these places is now a well-known feature of life in the US and here in Europe. These places are causing damage; these young people are, remember, future voters and legislators. Have we perhaps reached a stage where not going to such a place is in fact a desirable state?
O’Neill argues that the current generation hasn’t arrived at its intolerance from nowhere:
The Yale snowflakes are pathetic, yes. But what’s even more pathetic is the ridicule of the snowflakes by the very generation who created this world in which words are seen as wounding, judgement is considered harmful, and everyone is treated as fragile. Having claimed for 30 years that offensive discussion, or porn or racist newspapers, create a ‘hostile environment’, can the older generation really be surprised that students are now setting up Safe Spaces? The Safe Space is the logical solution to the notion that words and images cultivate a ‘hostile environment’.
Item: Another example of just how messed up American education now is.
There can only be one explanation for the disgrace that is Donald Trump: he must have failed to realise that the film industry’s demonic portrayals of conservative politicians are politically motivated caricatures, not role models to be emulated. In Love Actually, the villain is a crude, lecherous redneck Republican president on a visit to London. He is keen not just to bully Britain but also to force himself upon Martine McCutcheon’s character. Prime Minister Hugh Grant – an anti-war version of Tony Blair – tells him to get lost, tearing up the “one-sided” special relationship in the process, to the cheers of a grateful nation. As an insight into the Left-liberal mind, this scene takes some beating; the US president at the time was George W Bush and the invasion of Iraq had just been completed. But Trump, who unfortunately remains in the lead for the 2016 Republican nomination, seems to be auditioning for the remake.
– Allister Heath.
Read it all. By the way, I have noticed in some other online forums that Trump fans get very annoyed at we Brits opining about his views. Well, he chose to refer to the UK as part of his recent remarks about Muslims, so he puts himself in the frame for criticism. If you cannot take the heat, etc. The same would apply if a Brit, such as the broadcaster Piers Morgan, chooses to bash America for its 2nd Amendment.
There are many weird and angry political movements in the 21st-century West. But it’s hard to think of any as ugly, vindictive and packed with prejudice as the Israel-bashing BDS movement.”
– Brendan O’Neill.
The “safe spaces” that really matter now, after Paris and Mali, are the concert halls, restaurants, cinemas, hotels, workplaces and transportation systems of the free world. The ISIS-held towns and villages in the Middle East need to be liberated so that they might be safe for families to live in peacefully. The real “trigger warning” comes from the guns of those who shot peaceful people in Paris. Those students immersed in a self-indulgent merry go round of protest need to go back to their dorms, turn on the television, absorb what’s happening in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Europe and engage their brains. It is time to put away childish things. We are up against people who don’t want there to be any colleges, who want women to be clad head to toe in black, to barely if ever go outside and to be slaves of men.
– Iain Martin, at the CapX website.
“Whatever its protestations, Corbyn’s far left is not anti-war. Pacifism may not be a moral position in all circumstances but, in my view at least, it remains an honourable belief, rooted in Christian teaching. Corbyn does not share it. He does not oppose violence wherever it comes from, as the BBC’s political editor claimed this week. When anti-western regimes and movements go to war, his language turns slippery. Corbyn never quite has the guts to support the violence of others, but he excuses it like a gangster’s lawyer trying to get a crime boss off on a technicality.”
– Nick Cohen.
For what it is worth, I would not be surprised if this evil man is toppled in a few months, possibly if the May local elections in the UK are poor for Labour. And yes I used the word “evil” quite deliberately. That is what he is. Corbyn is a bad man to the core.
Bond is driven by a lust for life — for adventure, for sleek luxury cars, for truffles and foie gras and martinis, and yes, for beautiful women. He is certainly out of place in our age of Neo-Puritanism. He probably eats processed meat, the scoundrel.
But this is not mere gluttony. Bond is a man of refined and expensive tastes. He manages to be both aggressively virile and suave and sophisticated. He’s a stone-cold killer in a tuxedo. The guy with the British accent and tailored suit is usually the villain.
That’s something that is missing from today’s movies, or rather something that has come to be associated with villains in American films. We’ve got plenty of knockaround blue-collar heroes (a Bruce Willis specialty) or wisecracking rule-breakers (the space now being filled by Chris Pratt). But the guy with the plummy British accent and the perfectly tailored suit? He’s usually the villain. Maybe this is the leftover reflex of a country founded in a rebellion against British aristocracy. When we see someone with the markers of aristocracy — fine clothes, expensive tastes, a posh accent — we instinctively distrust him.
– Robert Tracinski
By the way, his analysis of why Daniel Craig hasn’t quite got the part down perfectly is very true. He tries too hard at the gritty realism and “I’m the tortoured soul” angle, which I suspect has a touch of PC “we are all victims of our environment/genes” point of view . That’s not what Ian Fleming, a complex character himself, created.
Of course, one thing that genuine liberals will point out is that 007 is a government agent. But leave aside the ideological correctness for a bit (libertarians can be as big a pain in the butt about this as any socialist): the author of the quotes above absolutely nails why people like the James Bond character, quite as much as why social justice warriors and others don’t. He’s been attacked by the puritan left almost from the year when Fleming started bashing out his lines in his Jamaica home. Long may James Bond continue to give such folk a headache.
Right, I am in deepest Dubai, and heading off for an event which involves dressing in a tuxedo.
And also as ever, if you want to reduce inequality and also, not quite the same thing but close to it, raise the incomes of the working poor then what you should be agitating for is not more price fixing, but a return to full employment. Which, in this particular place and time, means arguing for less regulation of who may employ whom to do what and also arguing that the Federal Reserve should delay raising interest rates. For there are indeed things we can do to make the economy better but we do also have to make sure that they’re the right things.
– Tim Worstall, who is picking apart the thinking of the chief operating officer of Blackstone, the world’s largest listed asset management house. I have been to briefings where I have heard investment managers say that minimum wage laws are a good thing and have dismissed worries about unemployment, especially among minorities and the young, as unwarranted. What I fear is that there are now quite a lot of people working in the investment sector who have imbibed some “making water flow uphill” socialistic nonsense, and these folk now oversee our investment portfolios. It is definitely worthwhile spending time working out if the investment professionals in charge of your money subscribe to these ideas or not.
For a brilliant take-down of minimum wage laws, rent controls and other attempts to push up/reduce prices from where they might otherwise be, Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson, over half a century old, is still a classic of devastating argumentation.
(Author’s note: corrected from the original where I wrote BlackRock rather than Blackstone. Mea culpa.)
Wherever there’s an aggrieved terrorist or an undemocratic regime engaged in an existential struggle with the West, you can rely on Seumas Milne, Oxford-educated warrior for the Third World and former comment editor of The Guardian, to offer a full-throated, if slightly incoherent, defense. If your country’s constitution mandates the burning down of orphanages and the conscription of 6-year-olds in to the army, Milne will likely have your back, provided you also express a deep loathing for the United States and capitalism. So yesterday, in a signal to party moderates that he intends to burn Labour to the ground, Jeremy Corbyn appointed Milne his head of communications. It simply has to be a Tory plot.
– Michael Moynihan.
It is worth noting that among the many vile qualities of Milne was his extensive excuse-making for the people who murdered the Charlie Hebdo journalists. That is really going to go down great with those journalists who have to deal with this Stalinist fucker as part of their day jobs.
Licensing laws tend to have particularly harsh consequences on members of minority groups for a couple reasons. First, if a law requires a person to have, say, a college degree to practice the trade of interior design (which is the law in Florida), people who have less money and time to spend in college will find that avenue of opportunity closed to them. Since black and Hispanic Floridians are about 30 percent less likely to have a college degree, they will suffer more from this absurd licensing requirement than others will. Competitor’s Veto laws that forbid a person from practicing a trade unless they get permission from the businesses already operating in that industry are also very likely to create a sort of Old Boys Network, and to exclude entrepreneurs who lack political connections. Second, in a more general sense, any law that restricts economic opportunity for some to benefit others—as licensing laws tend to do—are likely to benefit those who have more political influence and can therefore get the government to regulate in ways favorable to them. Since members of minority groups have less political influence, they tend to be the ones excluded.
– Timothy Sandefur