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  2. I actually shut down my photography twitter account because of all the political crap there...
  3. Today
  4. When you are called on the above toxicities, whine like a little girl who didn’t get her pony.
  5. Americans are more fascinated with the female wearers of the crown, Elizabeth the First, Elizabeth the Second and Queen Victoria. And Henry the 8th in a negative way. In the PBS theme to the show Victoria, the words, “Gloriana” and “Hallelujah” are used beautifully. Queen Victoria was born in 1819, just five years after hostilities ceased, and she died in 1901. The War started June 18, 1812 and ended Feb 17, 1815. By then I think we may have become friendlier with some friction during the Civil War. The reason for this call? I was thinking about how we treat prisoners of war compared to other countries. The War of Independence and the War of 1812 were not so hot for us or the Brits. Of course we were being invaded in 1814 but come on! It’s was the British, our predominant cultural ancestor and I am extremely happy, that was the case. Peter What are the English lyrics to “My country tis of thee?” God save our gracious Queen! Long live our noble Queen! God save the Queen! Send her victorious, Happy and glorious, Long to reign over us, God save the Queen. The War of 1812, was fought over issues that continued to plague relations between the United States and Britain after the Revolutionary War, like impressment of American sailors and trade restrictions on American shipping. From PBS: Military captives in the War of 1812 posed a particular problem for both sides. Neither the British nor the Americans could maintain large prisons – they lacked the military facilities and the manpower to hold soldiers for long periods of time. And, in a war that stretched along half of North America, prisoners posed a logistical nightmare – prisoners taken in battle were often hundreds of miles away from the nearest military garrison. The British often paroled captured militiamen and army officers, releasing them after they’d made a pledge to stay out of the war for the duration. Regular troops and militia officers were not paroled; they were imprisoned and often kept in filthy, vermin-ridden barracks, with inadequate food and almost no medical care. The American prisoners usually ended up in Quebec, the British were sent deep into US territory. Both were used as bargaining chips for the exchange of prisoners. Wikipedia: The two nations are bound together by shared history, an overlap in religion and a common language and legal system, and kinship ties that reach back hundreds of years, including kindred, ancestral lines among English Americans, Scottish Americans, Welsh Americans, Scotch-Irish Americans, Irish Americans, and American Britons, respectively. Today, large numbers of expatriates live in both countries. Through times of war and rebellion, peace and estrangement, as well as becoming friends and allies, Britain and the US cemented these deeply rooted links during World War II into what is known as the "Special Relationship". In long-term perspective, the historian Paul Johnson has called it the "cornerstone of the modern, democratic world order".
  6. Quite a cool demonstration ...


    1. Peter


      Did they steal our Coke recipe?

  7. Hawkish Robert Tracinski wrote on June 16th “If it were up to me, this is the moment I would tell the Iranians "nice navy you used to have." It is, after all, a longstanding mission of the United States Navy to guarantee freedom of navigation, particularly for such a strategic area as the Persian Gulf. So far, for all of this president's penchant for blustering on Twitter, his actual response has been much more cautious and timid.” end quote I am more cautious though I think Robert is spot on with what Ayn Rand would advocate. Isn't the Iranian military navy a bunch of speed boats? And weren't the boats used in these attacks part of the "Revolutionary Guard?" I suppose drones with small explosives could put a hole in every one of those without killing everyone on board, fanatic or not. A lot of expat Iranians are now Americans with families still there. So the use of force could be moderated. Iranians, especially the young in Iran have had protests to stop the theocratic dictatorship. Unless this becomes a *war* as with Nazi Germany or Japan I am for the use of retaliatory force beyond a fire cracker, but less than a kaboom that kills all aboard or near the vessel in dry dock. I remember President Trump warned the Russians and therefor the Syrians when we were going to bomb some of the Syrian facilities. If one more incident occurs I would support such action. Peter
  8. Old Glory was up at my house on Memorial Day. I remember raising and lowering the American flag at home and at my Dad’s house, and at the Ocean View VFW. It may have been a Federal and Delaware law that you never let the American flag touch the ground. Never burning the American flag is actually less onerous (or possible) to me because dropping or drooping it until it touches the ground is an accident while burning it, is intentional. If burning the flag is an over-reaction to political protest then initiating a ban on that practice is no skin off my nose. Because this is a special case, political freedom to protest may be curtailed, but that is fine since the flag is a special symbol to me and most Americans. It is a gray area but similar to the distinction given to legitimate protest and violent protest, or throwing a rock and desecrating the Rosetta Stone. In another way burning down a church or destroying a religious artifact is more than arson. It is a “hate crime” in America and I am glad they tacked on additional penalties in those cases too. Yes, one American and near universal right is free speech but cussing in public and slander are against the law. I am OK with that too. Peter
  9. Deep breaths. Uh. Uh. Thank's Nino. I read around 80 pages of it, long ago. I haven't watched the video but is it a likeable assumption that a dramatization with actors is a better way to appreciate this writer? Rand is the opposite. Now as to spelling, perhaps "Worthless Tooshy" would have been a more appreciated and remembered spelling.
  10. The combustion of natural gas produces one half the CO2 per joule of energy released by combustion as does burning coal. So if all our coal burning generating plants were replaced by natural gas burning plants the a amount of CO2 produced would be cut by a half. In addition burning natural gas is cleaner than burning coal and burning natural gas does not produce the horrendous poisonous ash heaps that burning coal does. In the ash heaps you find heavy metals (lead, arsenic...) and trace amounts of fissile elements. When the rain wets the ash heaps heavy metal compounds are leached into the the soil and find their way to nearby aquifers.
  11. I was almost not going to comment on this, but, the way I currently think, to not comment would be cowardice. I'm not even going to try to parse President Trump's words. Let them mean what he implies. As to my thoughts on the substance: I can't stand people burning the American flag. I know what it means. I can't stand the idea of living in a place where one could be punished by the government for burning its flag. I know what that means, too. Also, I'm fine with the current legal status even if it means I have to be fine with a contradiction in my deeper emotions. And as long as I am in this mood, let me go on record. President Trump is wrong--as wrong as wrong can be--to support legal punishment for flag burning. If I were ever to talk to him about it, I would tell him to knock it off. But... I clicked like on his tweet anyway. I'm fine with the contradiction. Michael
  12. Yesterday
  13. And Billy presents that as mainstream Christianity because he is a bigot.
  14. Joyce also published a book of short stories in conventional literary form: Dubliners. It contains a sublime "The Dead," which it might profit you to sample. "The Dead" was made into a film in 1987.
  15. This following item is going to get drowned out in the mainstream media and elsewhere else, but it sure as hell will not get drowned out in AG Barr's different legal teams investigating the gross official misconduct at the intelligence agencies. In fact, this is one of those items that is going to sink all the bad guys. It is so egregious, in my opinion, it may set up the means for the investigation to to implicate Clinton and Obama. US Govt's Entire Russia-DNC Hacking Narrative Based On Redacted Draft Of Crowdstrike Report The gist is this. 1. Crowdstrike is a private firm that investigated the DNC server hack. 2. Rather than the DNC turn its servers over to the FBI, it paid Crowdstrike one million dollars to do a forensic analysis. 3. The version of Crowdstrike's findings that served as grounds for a joint FBI/DHS report that claimed Russia did it all, muh Russians!, was not a complete report. Instead it was a draft report with redactions. 4. The DOJ never had and never used an unredacted Crowdstrike report on the DNC server hack. Instead, a redacted draft of the report served as grounds for all later official DOJ business where the Russian hack was taken as a certain fact and official position, including in court and in the Mueller Report. There has been no other primary source the DOJ used that claimed the Russians hacked the DNC server--all such claims ultimately derived from the Crowdstrike draft. 5. (Quoting the article): "... the Crowdstrike analyst who led forensics on the DNC servers is a former FBI employee who Robert Mueller promoted while head of the agency." 6. Crowdstrike has previously put out false information about Russian hacking. In one case as given in the article, it had to officially correct a report where it falsely claimed Russia hacked the Ukrainian military. In other words, Crowdstrike is known to make stuff up about Russian hacking. This is so inept it's breathtaking. But legally, it's a death blow to the defense of any of the future-indicted turkeys who abused their power. Guess who uncovered this thing? Roger Stone through a request in court for the full Crowdstrike analysis. It looks like Mueller's idea of nailing Roger was a real bad idea. And if this goes to where it legally has to go, Roger is going to be a very wealthy man after he sues. Michael
  16. It's anti-anti-Semitism. Have you actually read it? Sure, it features anti-Semitic people saying anti-Semitic things, just as Uncle Tom's Cabin is amply populated with pro-slavery characters. It's spelled Ellsworth Toohey. Try to calm down.
  17. You may think what you want, but there is no way to communicate with a speed faster than the speed of light. And as our own galaxy is already larger than 100000 light years...
  18. Non-perceivable is an odd phrase. Of course we cannot see gravity or subatomic particles and we need to have a theory about them, but hasn't their predictability and validity through experimentation "proven" their existence? "Hmmm. Gravity. Let me think about that," says the astronaut or passenger on those diving cargo planes who spend thousands to *experience* something very real: near weightlessness and a lack of gravitational sensation. Light is very perceivable but an individual photon is not. Gravity is very perceivable but a Star Trek "graviton" is not. Microscopes, telescopes and large sensor arrays are certainly worth their cost to boost human knowledge. However, the ideas and theory of multiple dimensions is something I don't expect to be proved or disproved . . . ever. Spatial dimensions and *time* are readily experienced but where is there a real "twilight zone," or 'Fifth Dimension?" I don't ask for much. No 10 dimensions. Just a fifth. An old question of mine, and others, is why haven't we detected evidence of life on the posited, tens of billions of humanly occupiable planets in the universe? My own theory on that is that we need to think of another way to communicate across vast distances. And when we finally figure it out . . . Hello. Is anybody really out there?Peter
  19. Peter, To William he's mainstream Christian. I didn't even watch the video. I did look on YouTube, though. He has 2,254 views, down-voted by a massive majority and most all of the comments are negative. And knowing YT, this video will be toast before too long. Wow, what a threat... Michael
  20. Although it is virtually-impossible to embed a Brighteon or Bitchute video here at OL (even with a Twitter sample), several dozen 'republishers' on the Youtube platform try to keep each of his broadcasts available. This is the slightly-longer version of the Bitchute video Michael linked to above.
  21. That guy is a Christian Nazi. He should stay away from the holy smoke if he wants to be a rational holder of public office. I despise people who want to wed their religion to public law. Even with a powerful Episcopalian entity in England, there was some separation of church and state going back to earlier times, which was reinforced in the U.S. Constitution. Back then, you couldn't be an atheist without being lynched or booed in the mid to late 1700's but you could be a Deist. And the more intelligent of the West's leaders and intelligentsia called themselves Deists.
  22. Just one more thought about JJ. He was an Elworth Tooey-ish Irish-ish huckster. He played the critics and his readers for fools because in the post WW1 and pre WW11 era when there was a movement to bring down Western, FREE Civilization and he was part of it. Remember some Ayn Rand maybe? His “stream of consciousness” technique was imitated and I think that because the reader has to think and even invent explanations as to what he is saying, so many people attribute their own rational explanations for his gibberish or to what the author is alluding to. He practically admits to being a Shyster, Gamer, and fill in the blank Framer of language. And you are lamer than thou if you ever praise him. When I was in college you could always tell the leftist, progressive professor by what they extolled. Only one of those professors at the time I went to college at Salisbury University, (George Walsh?) praised Ayn Rand. What does that tell you? Peter From ThoughtCo. Ulysses by James Joyce holds a very special place in the history of English literature. The novel is one of the greatest masterpieces of modernist literature. But, Ulysses is also sometimes seen as so experimental that it is completely unreadable. Ulysses records events in the lives of two central characters--Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus--on a single day in Dublin. With its depth and complexities, Ulysses completely changed our understanding of literature and language . . . . is endlessly inventive, and labyrinthine in its construction. The novel is both a mythical adventure of the every day and a stunning portrait of internal psychological processes--rendered through high art. Brilliant and sparkling, the novel is difficult to read but offers rewards tenfold the effort and attention that willing readers give it. Overview. The novel is as difficult to summarize as it is difficult to read, but it has a remarkably simple story. Ulysses follows one day in Dublin in 1904--tracing the paths of two characters: a middle-aged Jewish man by the name of Leopold Bloom and a young intellectual, Stephen Daedalus. Bloom goes through his day with the full awareness that his wife, Molly, is probably receiving her lover at their home (as part of an ongoing affair). He buys some liver, attends a funeral and, watches a young girl on a beach. Ulysses Quotes by James Joyce - Goodreads“Think you're escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.” ― … “History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.” ― James Joyce, Ulysses. … “I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or … “Love loves to love love.” ― James Joyce, Ulysses. Like. Fast Facts: James Joyce. James Joyce was born in Dublin in 1882 and died in Zurich in 1941. Joyce spoke numerous languages and studied at University College Dublin. Joyce was married to Nora Barnacle. Although most of Joyce’s works are set in Ireland, he spent very little time there as an adult. Joyce’s famous novel, Ulysses, was considered controversial when it was first released and was even banned in many places. James Joyce’s works are considered an example of modernist literature, and they use the “stream of consciousness” technique. JJ: "The artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails." (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man). "Writing in English is the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives. The English reading public explains the reason why." (letter to Fanny Guillermet, 1918) "A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery." (Ulysses) Ulysses - Shmoop James Joyce's Ulysses (1922) is, arguably, the single most influential novel of the 20th century. Written in a wide variety of styles, chock-full of an encyclopedia's worth of allusions, rife with enough puns and jokes to fill a comedian's career, the novel focuses on one day – June 16, 1904 – in the life of Mr. Leopold Bloom, a middle-aged Jewish man living in Dublin, Ireland.
  23. From Dara Sherif at The Root -- Alabama: Where You Can Be Forced to Give Birth After Being Raped and Maybe Have to Parent the Child With Your Rapist Almost right. Pretty little hearts ... This guy is going to have an interesting retirement ... ‘Freaks:’ Tennessee preacher-cop calls for execution of LGBTQ people during sermon
  24. Gibberish. The book is garbage. So who, who I say, who would promote such anti-Semitic crap as the world’s greatest literature around 1920? Who? Nazi sympathizers? Who? Left wingers extoling communism? And who to this day would say this unreadable book is great literature? And pleeeese, as you answer give me no pseudonyms. Peter from Wikipedia. Ulysses is a modernist novel by Irish writer James Joyce. It was first serialized in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920 and then published in its entirety in Paris by Sylvia Beach on 2 February 1922, Joyce's 40th birthday. It is considered to be one of the most important works of modernist literature . . . . At first glance, much of the book may appear unstructured and chaotic; Joyce once said that he had "put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant", which would earn the novel immortality. The two schemata which Stuart Gilbert and Herbert Gorman released after publication to help defend Joyce from the obscenity accusations] made the links to The Odyssey clearer, and also helped explain the work's internal structure. Joyce and Homer. Joyce divides Ulysses into 18 episodes that "roughly correspond to the episodes in Homer's Odyssey". Homer's Odyssey is divided into 24 books (sections). It has been suggested by scholars that every episode of Ulysses has a theme, technique and correspondence between its characters and those of the Odyssey. The text of the published novel does not include the episode titles that are used below, nor the correspondences, which originate from explanatory outlines Joyce sent to friends, known as the Linati and Gilbert schemata. Joyce referred to the episodes by their Homeric titles in his letters. He took the idiosyncratic rendering of some of the titles, e.g. "Nausikaa" and the "Telemachiad" from Victor Bérard's two-volume Les Phéniciens et l'Odyssée which he consulted in 1918 in the Zentralbibliothek Zürich. While the action of Joyce's novel takes place during one ordinary day in early twentieth-century Dublin, Ireland, in Homer's epic, Odysseus, "a Greek hero of the Trojan War ... took ten years to find his way from Troy to his home on the island of Ithaca".[18] Furthermore, Homer's poem includes violent storms and a shipwreck, giants and monsters, gods and goddesses, a totally different world from Joyce's. Joyce's character Leopold Bloom, "a Jewish advertisement canvasser", corresponds to Odysseus in Homer's epic; Stephen Dedalus, the hero also of Joyce's earlier, largely autobiographical, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, corresponds to Odysseus's son Telemachus; and Bloom's wife Molly corresponds to Penelope, Odysseus's wife, who waited twenty years for him to return.[19] Episode 1, Telemachus James Joyce's room in the James Joyce Tower and Museum. It is 8 a.m. Buck Mulligan, a boisterous medical student, calls Stephen Dedalus (a young writer encountered as the principal subject of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) up to the roof of the Sandycove Martello tower where they both live. There is tension between Stephen and Mulligan, stemming from a cruel remark Stephen has overheard Mulligan making about his recently deceased mother, May Dedalus, and from the fact that Mulligan has invited an English student, Haines, to stay with them. The three men eat breakfast and walk to the shore, where Mulligan demands from Stephen the key to the tower and a loan. Departing, Stephen declares that he will not return to the tower tonight, as Mulligan, the "usurper", has taken it over. Episode 2, Nestor Stephen is teaching a history class on the victories of Pyrrhus of Epirus. After class, one student, Cyril Sargent, stays behind so that Stephen can show him how to do a set of arithmetic exercises. Stephen looks at the ugly face of Sargent and tries to imagine Sargent's mother's love for him. Stephen then visits school headmaster Garrett Deasy, from whom he collects his pay and a letter to take to a newspaper office for printing. The two discuss Irish history and the role of Jews in the economy. As Stephen leaves, Deasy said that Ireland has "never persecuted the Jews" because the country "never let them in". This episode is the source of some of the novel's most famous lines, such as Dedalus's claim that "history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake" and that God is "a shout in the street." Episode 3, Proteus Sandymount Strand looking across Dublin Bay to Howth Head. Stephen finds his way to Sandymount Strand and mopes around for some time, mulling various philosophical concepts, his family, his life as a student in Paris, and his mother's death. As Stephen reminisces and ponders, he lies down among some rocks, watches a couple whose dog urinates behind a rock, scribbles some ideas for poetry and picks his nose. This chapter is characterised by a stream of consciousness narrative style that changes focus wildly. Stephen's education is reflected in the many obscure references and foreign phrases employed in this episode, which have earned it a reputation for being one of the book's most difficult chapters. Part II: Odyssey Episode 4, Calypso The narrative shifts abruptly. The time is again 8 a.m., but the action has moved across the city and to the second protagonist of the book, Leopold Bloom, a part-Jewish advertising canvasser. The episode opens with the famous line, ‘Mr. Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls.’ Bloom, after starting to prepare breakfast, decides to walk to a butcher to buy a pork kidney. Returning home, he prepares breakfast and brings it with the mail to his wife Molly as she lounges in bed. One of the letters is from her concert manager Blazes Boylan, with whom Molly is having an affair. Bloom is aware that Molly will welcome Boylan into her bed later that day, and is tormented by the thought. Bloom reads a letter from their daughter Milly Bloom, who tells him about her progress in the photography business in Mullingar. The episode closes with Bloom reading a magazine story named Matcham’s Masterstroke, by Mr. Philip Beaufoy, while defecating in the outhouse. Episode 5, Lotus Eaters Bloom makes his way to Westland Row post office where he receives a love letter from one 'Martha Clifford' addressed to his pseudonym, 'Henry Flower'. He meets an acquaintance, and while they chat, Bloom attempts to ogle a woman wearing stockings, but is prevented by a passing tram. Next, he reads the letter and tears up the envelope in an alley. He wanders into a Catholic church service and muses on theology. The priest has the letters I.N.R.I. or I.H.S. on his back; Molly had told Bloom that they meant I have sinned or I have suffered, and Iron nails ran in.[20] He goes to a chemist where he buys a bar of lemon soap. He then meets another acquaintance, Bantam Lyons, who mistakenly takes him to be offering a racing tip for the horse Throwaway. Finally, Bloom heads towards the baths.
  25. 12. Ignore their questions. 13. Do not acknowledge any gaps in your kowledge, or any inability of yours to address their questions or challenges. 14. Serve tasty steamed octopus. 15. Avoid their questions. Act as if they haven't been asked, even if they've been asking them for years. 16. When you don't have answers to their questions, change the subject. 17. Serve more tasty steamed octopus. Smile. 18. Give them information and advice on how to be polite, and how to influence people. Don't follow the advice yourself. Offer hugs. 19. Reward them with tasty steamed octopus, and a handjob if you're comfortable doing that. 20. Bring in meatpuppets who you think are ringers. Display gleeful anticipation. 21. More TSO. 22. Ignore the fact that your meatpuppets didn't do any better than you've done in addressing any substance. 23. Randomly choose one of the steps above and repeat. Then repeat it again. 24. Tee hee hee. Never forget to tee hee hee during any of the above steps! 25. All they can eat TSO, 24/7.
  26. Alex Epstein of the Center for Industrial Progress in conversation with Dave Rubin:
  27. It is interesting that Objectivists were thinking about our options with Iran, fifteen years ago. And of course Iran took a lot of our citizens hostage before that. Their leaders are evil and they initiative force. We owe them something worse than a black eye and sanctions . . . so obviously and objectively, their nuclear program must be halted. Presto! Below I made every mention of Iran turn bold. Peter 2004/ Liberty & Power: Group Peter Schwartz and the Abandonment of Rand’s Radical Legacy The Current War by Chris Sciabara. . . . . To some extent, it can be said that Schwartz retains some vestiges of Rand’s “isolationist” predilections. He is careful to emphasize that the freedom philosophy of the U.S. “does not mean we ought to declare war on every tyrant in the world. Before we decide to wage war,” Schwartz explains, “there must exist a serious threat to our freedom. Our government is not the world’s policeman. It is, however, America’s policeman” (15). This is why, Schwartz maintains, foreign policy cannot be “divorced from the moral principle of freedom. If freedom is the basic value being safeguarded, then our foreign policy can give us unambiguous guidelines: we use our power to preserve that value—and only to preserve that value” (65). For Schwartz, then, thankfully, “it is not our business to resolve some distant conflict centering on which sub-tribe should enslave the other.” Indeed, when the proper moral goal is left undefended or undefined, “everything [becomes] our business,” and what results is an unprincipled, “ad hoc foreign policy” (67). In terms of guiding moral principles, Schwartz’s argument is basically sound. Moreover, by limiting the role of U.S. military action overseas, Schwartz justifiably leaves open the possibility for military response in the face of legitimate threats to security. Schwartz believes, however, that “Iraq ... was a threat to us—not nearly the threat presented by some other nations, but a threat nonetheless” (44), and on this basis, he supported the invasion of that country. Alas, he and I disagree on this. In my view, Iraq was most assuredly not a “serious threat to our freedom” and should not have been invaded or occupied by the U.S. military. As I have argued in many essays over the past two years, Hussein could have been contained and deterred from future aggressive actions. Though Schwartz supports the Iraq war, he maintains that it is Iran that is the “vanguard” for all those Islamic groups that are merely “parts of one whole.” Schwartz’s emphasis here on the “ideology of Islamic totalitarianism” (24)—and kudos to him for not using that tired phrase “Islamo-fascism,” which distorts the meaning of the word fascism—is important to note: The promoters of Islamic totalitarianism wish to establish a world in which religion is an omnipresent force, in which everyone is compelled to obey the mullahs, in which the political system inculcates the duty to serve, in which there is no distinction between mosque and state. (25) ... America is a nation rooted in certain principles. It is a culture of reason, of science, of individualism, of freedom. The culture of the Muslim universe is the opposite in every crucial respect. It is a culture steeped in mysticism rather than reason, in superstition rather than science, in tribalism rather than individualism, in authoritarianism rather than freedom. (26) Though Schwartz gets some crucial things right in this passage, I do think there are certain complexities he does not grasp; for example, it is not at all clear that the problems he cites are strictly the result of Islamic theology or some combination of that doctrine with specifically Arab cultures. (See this discussion with Jonathan Dresner and Gus diZerega on L&P, for example.) Schwartz readily admits too that, “ronically, it was life in the Islamic countries during Europe’s Dark Ages that was further advanced and less oppressive—because the Muslims at the time were under the influence of a more pro-reason philosophy, a philosophy they subsequently abandoned” (27). In this larger ideological war, however, Schwartz argues that the U.S. “should always give moral support to any people who are fighting for freedom against an oppressive government.” But it is Iran that remains “the pre-eminent source of Islamic totalitarianism today” (30), and it is therefore “the government of Iran that needs to be eliminated,” in Schwartz’s estimation (32). By targeting Iran, “the primary enemy,” “the chief sponsor of terrorism,” all the other “lesser” Muslim states—“Syria, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Sudan—will likely be deterred” (32-33). I don’t believe it’s that simple. Schwartz tells us that a “principled foreign policy anticipates future consequences” (62). But, given the difficulties of invading and occupying Iraq, and the current drain on U.S. money, military, and munitions, I don’t believe that Schwartz has given much thought to the long-term consequences of invading and occupying Iran, which is nearly 4 times the size of Iraq, and has more than 3 times the population. (And if Schwartz does not envision invasion and occupation, then it is legitimate to ask if he, like some other Objectivists, envisions the decimating of the entire country—see here, for example.) Aside from the fact that a large-scale military option would almost certainly require the reinstatement of the draft and the expenditure of hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, it would most likely short-circuit the existing and growing liberal tendencies among the vast majority of younger Iranians who yearn to topple the mullahs. It could very seriously destabilize Iraq as well. (See my various archived posts on Iran, here and here.) It should also be pointed out that “Islamic totalitarianism” is no more of a monolith than Communism was. Just as there were deep divisions in the Communist “bloc” during the Cold War, so too are there deep divisions in the Islamic world. These divisions might be profitably exploited by U.S. policymakers, who must also be careful not to be consumed by them—as in Iraq, where Kurdish, Sunni, and Shi’ite forces might opt for civil war rather than the ballot box. There are, of course, consequences for a policy of inaction in the face of a real or imminent threat. But those of us who have opposed the Iraq war and any current extension of that war into Iran have not embraced “inaction”; what we have embraced is a strictly delimited strategic vision focused on precise military targets, which seeks to marginalize extremist theocratic forces—and a much broader intellectual vision focused on the realm of ideas. Ultimately, this is an ideological and cultural conflict. And as Rand observed, while a military battle of any scope is like a “political battle”—“merely a skirmish fought with muskets[,] a philosophical battle is a nuclear war”—and only rational ideas will ultimately win it (“‘What Can One Do?’”).
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