Category Archives: History

Remembering Auschwitz

It’s a little surreal to be in Israel (for my first time) during the seventieth anniversary. But considering the past (and the subsequent almost complete loss of all the Jews in that country), it was touching and poignant that Poland allowed Israel to do an overflight of that now-sacred ground. I’m sure they wish they’d had that kind of military capability seventy years ago. It would have been a bombing run on the chambers and ovens.

Israel Flyover of Auschwitz

Space Anniversaries

Yesterday was the 48th anniversary of the loss of three astronauts on the launch pad, in preparation for the Apollo missions. A child of the space age, I remember it particularly well, because it occurred the day before my twelth birthday. A little over nineteen years later, on my actual birthday, Challenger was lost. I recollected it on the sixteenth anniversary of the event.

Today is the twenty-ninth anniversary of that tragedy, and while I commemorate it, I also celebrate the completion of my sixtieth trip around the sun, over eight thousand miles from home. I’m in Israel to attend a conference named after Ilan Ramon, an Israeli hero who died a dozen years ago on February 1st, when Columbia disintegrated in the skies over east Texas. That anniversary coming up with Sunday, by which time I’ll be home, if all goes according to plan, to celebrate with friends and family, but also grieve for the losses. Yet as I point out in my book, such losses are inevitable, and necessary, perhaps even at a faster rate than once per generation, if we wish to accomplish much greater things than we have in space over the past six decades since my birth.

Thoughts About Being Wrong

about important things.

A little too close to home in my temporary circumstances of being in a country surrounded by murderous savages and religious fanatics whose Venn diagram has a high overlap, and want to drive its inhabitants into the sea by which I’m staying.

[Tuesday-morning Tel Aviv update]

Sorry, here’s the link. Posted that on ~27 hours sans sleep.

France

What can they do now?

The means by which France could defeat the terrorists are obvious: To compel the majority of French Muslims to turn against the terrorists, the French authorities would have to make them fear the French state more than they fear the terrorists. That is a nasty business involving large numbers of deportations, revocation of French citizenship, and other threats that inevitably would affect many individuals with no direct connection to terrorism. In the short term it would lead to more radicalization. The whole project of integration as an antidote to radicalism would go down the drain. The effort would be costly, but ultimately it would succeed: most French Muslims simply want to stay in France and earn a living.

As I said yesterday, this won’t have a pretty ending. For the first time since the Nazi occupation, French Jews were unable to observe Shabbat in their synagogues today. Because France has imported an ideology as bad as, if not worse than, the Nazis. In the banlieues, it is a new occupation.

[Update a few minutes later]

France rounds up 900 terror suspects.

Well, it’s a start.

[Saturday-morning update]

The (latest) exodus has begun:

Hang on to the West Bank, Israel, you’re going to need the room…They will also be subject to terrorist attacks in Israel, but there they can have a gun and shoot back. I hope they all leave. They can’t do any good there, the French can’t protect them and won’t let them protect themselves, but in their new countries they can be a hard-core element to stiffen resistance. It’s time for triage and France is in the walking-dead category, although they might have a miracle revival. However that France wouldn’t be a nice place for Jews either, if somebody like Le Pen is in charge.

They’ve been leaving for years, but I think this may be (or should have been) the last straw for French Jewry.

[Update in the afternoon]

Claire Berlinski: “I am a Jew, and I am not leaving“:

…if you want to talk about odds, I’ll tell you about odds: In my grandfather’s regiment of 1,250 men, only 250 survived. So don’t tell me about the odds: It just makes you sound like a hysteric with no sense of history or proportion.

And while we’re at it: Let’s remember who won that war.

I am Jewish. I am in France. And I am not leaving–not because of a handful of terrorist swine, and not even if there’s an army of them. This family of Jews will not be driven out of Europe twice. And as far as I’m concerned, the response a Jew should have to this outrage is the one we should have had before–when up against a far more fearsome enemy. We may die, but we’ll die fighting, and you’ll be amazed how many of you we take down with us.

So let me speak personally now to anyone who thinks he’ll get me out of here: We will always have Paris. I will always have Paris. As will all the people who belong here. You, however, will die.

I have much more to say. But there is one more thing that strikes me as more important than all the other things on my mind. There are also many terrified Muslims in France right now. And yes, some of them are my friends–and close ones.

They too are the victims of these savages. They are victims in a double sense: Terrorists are as eager to kill them as they are eager to kill anyone in France. One of the cops they killed happened to be as Muslim, as has widely been reported. And they are victims in the second sense in that they this is only country they have. They will be associated forever with those animals–but they are French citizens. They have no Israel to go to. They have nowhere else to go to. So they will stay here too.

[Bumped]

Charlie Hebdo

The publication faced the Islamists alone:

They offered high-handed but paper-thin excuses about not causing needless offense. Their cowardice ensured that publications like Charlie Hebdo and Jyllands-Posten stood alone and exposed, lightning rods for Islamist violence. But many others were targeted anyway — some 200 people were killed around the world in protests after Jyllands-Posten published its cartoons in 2005.

Yesterday, much of the traditional media doubled down on its shameful behavior by again refusing to show the cartoons. Many web outlets, including The Daily Beast, Buzzfeed, and PJ Media, did publish them. One of the first newspapers spotted keeping its head below the parapet was the UK’s Telegraph — its website pixellated out a drawing of Mohammed in a photograph of a Charlie Hebdo cover. The New York Daily News followed suit. CNN ordered its staff not to show the cartoons. The major networks refrained from doing so. The Associated Press claimed its policy was to “refrain from moving deliberately provocative images,” a policy which, it was quickly pointed out, hasn’t prevented it from selling photos of Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ.

Those organizations that bothered to offer an excuse fell back on the “offense” line, but it hardly needs saying that they’ve never felt compelled to extend the same courtesy to Christians or Jews.

The double standard can in part be explained by the fact that the liberals who dominate the U.S. media, and Britain’s globally influential BBC, believe that Islam is to be respected because it’s broadly the religion of brown people and victims of Western oppression, while Christianity can fairly be ridiculed because it’s the religion of white people and Western oppressors. And don’t, of course, get them started about the Jews.

But mostly, it comes down to the fact that journalists of every political hue have long been wary of provoking Muslims because they fear they’ll be murdered, while they know they have nothing to fear from Christians or Jews beyond strongly worded statements and perhaps a boycott.

They are cowards who will not defend western civilization against barbarians.

[Update a few minutes later]

Reminder: If there is such a thing as a moderate Muslim, we shouldn’t undermine them by treating the monsters who did this as Muslim.

[Update a while later]

Europe under siege: This was an attack on perhaps the greatest idea of the West.

Elizabeth Warren

No, she’s not a “populist”:

We are in the midst of a record wealth gap between America’s rich and middle class, according to the Pew Research Centers. That has fueled the populist opposition to Washington among Main Street Americans on both sides of the political line — and Warren is trying to cash in on it.

That’s fine; that’s what we do in America. But it isn’t populism, as will be seen when people do not rise up.
Populism is an ideology extolling the virtues of the people against the depravities of elites — such as Harvard Law professors like Warren, according to Baylor University political science professor Curt Nichols.

The notion that the Democrats are the party of the “little people” is insane. The two biggest donors of the 2014 election were Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg, who promoted insane green policies and gun restrictions that would be devastating for the majority of Americans.

[Update a while later]

Will Warren sell outside her bubble? No better than Wendy Davis, I suspect. I’m hoping that she’ll be this cycle’s Barack Obama, when it comes to knocking off Hillary and being the nominee.

The House Of Repeal

It’s not a new idea, but Instapundit is pushing it again, over at USA Today.

I’d like to see it happen, but I still like my idea of a Sunset Amendment. It would keep them so busy renewing the old laws that they wouldn’t have much time for new mischief. I had some related thoughts here a few months ago.

I would note, though, in thinking further, I’d probably make it a twenty-year sunset, rather than ten. That way, each law would be reviewed at least once per generation (assuming, of course, that “generations” still exist in a post-human future).

The War On Mammals

in New Zealand:

I’d come to watch the Adsheads poke at decaying stoats because they are nature lovers. So are most New Zealanders. Indeed, on a per-capita basis, New Zealand may be the most nature-loving nation on the planet. With a population of just four and a half million, the country has some four thousand conservation groups. But theirs is, to borrow E. O. Wilson’s term, a bloody, bloody biophilia. The sort of amateur naturalist who in Oregon or Oklahoma might track butterflies or band birds will, in Otorohanga, poison possums and crush the heads of hedgehogs. As the coördinator of one volunteer group put it to me, “We always say that, for us, conservation is all about killing things.”

It’s a bizarre story.

[Wednesday-morning update]

A number of commenters are wondering why I think this is bizarre. I guess it’s just because the notion of living in a place with no mammals whatsoever (other than humans) seems very weird to me. I understand that they’re not native, but I’ve lived with them all my life, and have trouble imagining their total absence. Would I even be allowed to keep a dog? Or a cat?

The Inherent Violence Of The Left

It’s no surprise that when you have an ideology that denies human nature, it can only be imposed by threats and force:

…(barely) deniable violence for purposes of intimidation is all part of the scheme. That’s what “no justice, no peace” means. As Richard Fernandez has written: “It is impossible to understand the politics of the Left without grasping that it is all about deniable intimidation.” That’s why they don’t want you to own guns, and that’s why they’re so panicked at groups, like the Tea Party, that aren’t intimidated.

Yup.

Chanukah

A dangerous holiday:

For those liberals who believe that Jewish identity should be limited to donating to help Haiti, agitating for illegal aliens and promoting the environment; Chanukah is a threatening holiday. They have secularized it, dressed it up with teddy bears and toys, trimmed it with the ecology and civil rights of their new faith. Occasionally a Jewish liberal learns the history of it and writes an outraged essay about nationalism and militarism, but mostly they are content to bury it in the same dark cellar that they store the rest of the history of their people and the culture that they left behind.

Holidays aren’t mere parties, they are messages. Knots of time that we tie around the fingers of our lives so that we remember what our ancestors meant us to never forget. That they lived and died for a reason. The party is a celebration, but if we forget what it celebrates, then it becomes a celebration of celebration. A hollow and soulless festival of the self. The Maccabees fought because they believed they had something worth fighting for. Not for their possessions, but for their traditions, their families and their G-d. The celebration of Chanukah is not just how we remember them, but how we remember that we are called upon to keep their watch. To take up their banner and carry their sword.

History is a wheel and as it turns, we see the old continents of time rising again, events revisiting themselves as the patterns of the past become new again. Ancient battles become new wars. And old struggles have to be re-fought again until we finally get them right.

Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.

The Wright Anniversary

It’s been 111 years. On the centennial, eleven years ago, I wrote three pieces. One at Fox News, one at TechCentralStation (which later became TCSDaily), and one at National Review on line. Unfortunately, the latter seems to have suffered from link rot. I’m trying to find out if it still exists on their server.

[Evening update]

National Review has resurrected my other piece.

Nice People

make the best Nazis.

Whenever I point out that Islam is a problematic ideology/religion, people say, “You bigot! I know many Muslims, and they’re very nice people!” Well, I also know many nice Muslims, and in fact most of them don’t necessarily agree with Al Qaeda or IS, but Al Qaeda and IS would (rightfully, in my opinion, though I’m no more of a Muslim scholar than Barack Obama) consider them apostates. The point is that most people are “nice” by nature, but that doesn’t prevent them from adhering to beliefs that aren’t very nice at all. I suspect that if you’d lived in Germany during the war, you’d have thought most Germans “nice,” except for that support-of-Hitler thing. Just don’t let them know you’re a Jew.

Empty Integrity

Thoughts on a declining culture:

…it’s hard to find a children’s cartoon or movie that doesn’t tell kids that they need to look inside themselves for moral guidance. Indeed, there’s a riot of Rousseauian claptrap out there that says children are born with rightly ordered consciences. And why not? As Mr. Rogers told us, “You are the most important person in the whole wide world and you hardly even know you.” Hillary Clinton is even worse. In her book It Takes a Village, she claims that some of the best theologians she’s ever met have been five-year-olds (which might be true when compared with a certain homicidal Ukrainian priest).

Such saccharine codswallop overturns millennia of moral teaching. It takes the idea that we must apply reason to nature and our consciences in order to discover what is moral and replaces it with the idea that if it feels right, just do it, baby. Which, by the by, is exactly how Lex Luthor sees the world. Übermenschy passion is now everyone’s lodestar. As Reese Witherspoon says in Legally Blonde, “On our very first day at Harvard, a very wise professor quoted Aristotle: ‘The law is reason free from passion.’ Well, no offense to Aristotle, but in my three years at Harvard I have come to find that passion is a key ingredient to the study and practice of law — and of life.” Well, that solves that. Nietzsche-Witherspoon 1, Aristotle 0.

According to Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the death of God and the coming of the übermensch was going to require the new kind of inner-directed hero to become his own god. As a result, anything society did to inconvenience the heroic individual was morally suspect, a backdoor attempt by The Man to impose conformity. This is pretty much exactly what Robin Williams teaches in Dead Poets Society. But that ethos has traveled a long way from Mork. When Barack Obama was asked by a minister to define “sin,” he confidently answered that “sin” just means being “out of alignment with my values.” Taken literally, this would mean that Hannibal Lecter is being sinful when he abstains from human flesh in favor of a Waldorf salad. As you can see, when you take the modern definition of integrity all the way to the horizon, suddenly “integrity” can be understood only as a firm commitment to one’s own principles — because one’s own principles are the only legitimate principles. Heck, if you are a god, then doing what you want is God’s will.

This won’t end well.