On Sharia Apologists

Robert Conquest, call your office:

Responses to Gingrich’s speech, when not ignoring the factual content of his presentation, or engaging in ridiculous casuistry (pretentiously, if clumsily put forth as [semi-]educated “nuance”), offered mendacious, bowdlerized portrayals of living Islamic doctrine and its historical consequences, past as prologue to the present. But a collective wealth of unambiguous evidence — readily available — reveals the breathtaking shallowness and intellectual dishonesty of these self-righteous attacks on Gingrich, and U.S. state anti-Sharia initiatives, including: objective, erudite analyses of the Sharia by leading Western scholars of Islam; the acknowledgment of Sharia’s global “resurgence,” even by post-modern, “anti-colonial” (i.e., against Western colonialism, not Islamic jihad colonialism!) academic apologists for Islam, combined with an abundance of recent polling data from Muslim nations, and Muslim immigrant communities in the West confirming the ongoing, widespread adherence to the Sharia’s tenets; the plaintive warnings and admonitions of contemporary Muslim intellectuals — freethinkers and believers, alike — about the incompatibility of Sharia with modern, Western-derived conceptions of universal human rights; and the overt promulgation of traditional, Sharia-based Muslim legal systems as an integrated whole (i.e., extending well beyond mere “family law aspects” of the Sharia), by authoritative, mainstream international and North American Islamic religio-political organizations.

Speaking of ad hominem attacks

I wonder how long it will be until the time is ripe for a book from Gingrich titled, “I Told You So, You F***ing Fools“? I hope that future generations will view Sharia apologists as they currently view Nazi apologists. In fact, it would be nice if they’d view communist apologists that way, even today.

Jeffrey Sachs

versus Victor Davis Hanson. It’s no contest. In theory, they invented the mercy rule for things like this, but Sachs is undeserving. As a commenter notes, it’s rare to see such a pure, nasty, unadulterated version of ad hominem, but when you do it generally comes from a clueless leftist.

Which brings up a general gripe, sustained for years both at blogs and, before them, Usenet, on the general lack of understanding of what an ad hominem argument is. Here’s what it is not. It is not a mere gratuitous insult tossed into the middle of an otherwise strong argument, whether accurate or not (I’ve often been accused of ad hominem for this — it might well be rude, but it’s not ad hominem). It is not saying “so and so is on the take by the Evil Corporation X, so we should take with a grain of salt things that so and so says in defense of Evil Corporation X,” at least when one has made a strong case against ECX and the defender has made a weak one, or lied about it, and this is pointed out. An ad hominem argument would be to say simply that you should not believe what he says for no other reason than this (and even then it’s not true ad hominem, because the information is relevant to the topic at hand), but stated properly, it is rather an explanation for why such a poor/mendacious argument is being made. For an example of this non-example of ad hominem, see my post yesterday about Loren Thompson. Note that I eviscerated his foolishness — the fact that he’s on the payroll of major aerospace corporations who favor the status quo was simply lagniappe for the benefit of readers who might wonder why he was making such absurd, unfactual and illogical arguments.

But as I said, what Sachs did to Hanson was a pure, logic-free, irrelevant and false attack on his character as an excuse to avoid having to deal with the substance of his comments, and I point it out as an example of the real deal.

So You Lost Your Election

Heartfelt life-transition advice for former Washington bigwigs:

At Iowahawk Congressional Outplacement Services our primary goal is to orient, retrain, and mainstream former employees of Capitol Hill for productive careers outside Washington. While we can’t get you back your seniority, your perks, or your mahogany-paneled office in the Dirksen Building, we can give you the tools you’ll need after your ignominious rejection by those bastard ingrates you’ll soon be living among. Follow this step-by-step guide and you’ll be back on your feet in no time! Probably.

Step 1: Assess Your Skills and Competencies

The road to your new non-Washington career begins with an inventory of your personal strengths and competencies. Read the critical skill list below, and circle the ones that you possess.

* Telling other people what to do
* Demanding money
* Peddling influence
* Talking loudly over others
* Condescension / arrogance
* Threatening, browbeating, arguing
* Narcissism
* Evading responsibility
* Spin control

As a former Washington professional, you probably circled four or more of the above. Yes, there are some private sector industries where these skills are valued – such as journalism, bill collection, professional wrestling, higher education, and carnival barking. Unfortunately, these are all declining industries with low wages and/or fierce job competition. In order to maintain your standard of living, you will probably have to seek employment in other industries where you will find surprisingly little demand for your skills.

I think he’s overoptimistic on how fast they’ll be back on their feet. But at least they’ll be off our backs.

He’s At It Again

Fresh from his previous escapade into unreality, Loren Thompson has another ignorant (or perhaps he’s just lying — not sure which is worse) post at Forbes about space:

The federal government is planning to spend $19 billion on NASA’s civil space program next year, and yet the agency’s signature mission — human exploration of space — seems to be in its death throes. The Obama Administration has canceled plans it inherited to send astronauts back to the Moon, the Space Shuttle is about to retire, and the only near-term human space flight initiative on the books is a handout to rich California businessmen to update old technology. You’d think that with the nation in the midst of an identity crisis, the White House could have come up with something a little more inspiring.

Congress has stepped in to stop the administration from destroying the human space flight industrial base, but it doesn’t really have a vision of what NASA should be aiming to achieve. So here’s a vision: send humans to Mars by the early 2030s, and do it without spending any more money than NASA was planning to spend anyway. Mars is the only other earth-like planet in the known universe. It has water, it may contain life, and it could eventually sustain a human colony. By organizing the human spaceflight program with Mars in mind, NASA can develop a near-term investment and exploration agenda that gets us somewhere interesting without any additional commitment of funding. And in the process, maybe it can help America get its sense of purpose back.

Emphasis mine.

Let’s ignore the silliness about Apollo to Mars. What in the world is he talking about? Who has gotten a “handout”? If he’s referring to Elon Musk, he has been delivering specified milestones on a fixed price, at a very low cost to the taxpayer relative to most other NASA human spaceflight activities. Why is that a “handout” but billions of dollars in cost-plus payments to Lockheed Martin (among others), who fund his Lexington Institute (among others) is not? And if he is referring to Elon, who are the others (note he used the plural)? How about Boeing and CST, out of Houston? Is that a “rich California businessman”?

And what does he mean by “updating old technology”? Does mean like building rockets and capsules based on Apollo designs, and thirty-year-old Shuttle hardware, and then planning to use the horrifically expensive results for the next half century, as Mike Griffin planned with Constellation? Is he completely bereft of a sense of irony and hypocrisy?

Why does anyone take people like him seriously?

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!

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