Mike Renzulli

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Everything posted by Mike Renzulli

  1. All-in-all I liked this. One minor flaw but I won't point it out since to do so might open a can of worms. BTW, has anyone from The Atlas Society made an effort to contact John McCaskey or even Robert Tracinski? If so, what has their response been? If not, I would do so ASAP and ask them to join our side of the movement. Heck, I would be more than happy to do the work myself.
  2. Yes. I apologize I got the names mixed up. I posted this is mainly due to Donway's explanation of a foreign policy of self interest which is explained later in his essay. He critiques and addresses the concerns about TNI's article about Ron Paul and statements by other libertarians while outlining (what I think) is a very good manner in which the U.S. can conduct itself. It does discuss the debate in the libertarian movement over foreign policy but also outlines what I think is a very good explanation of what foreign policy should be all about which is also grounded in reality. Mike, You linked to an article called "The War Over Libertarian Foreign Policy" by Roger Donway. Michael
  3. If anyone (civilian or U.S. servicemember) dies in wars like Afghanistan as a result of soldier or drone attacks that is the fault of the regime the U.S. toppled. In this case the responsibility for civilian deaths is the Taliban and not U.S. forces. Your concern for civilians (while understandable) ignores the wider context of the threat not only to U.S. forces but to the rest of the Afghan population which is the Taliban. If U.S. forces were not hindered by having so many rules placed on them on when to engage in combat or investigate and take out threats, the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan would not have come about. Placing rules of engagement on U.S. forces clearly benefits the enemy they are there to fight. In terms of the rules you speak of under market anarchism the biggest flaw in this is that under such a system if someone damages another party and do not have any insurance coverage they very likely would be out of luck in collecting any kind of compensation. If one disagrees with your arbtration company's findings against someone or don't want to participate in your litigation regarding the damage they did to you good luck on getting them to comply. Market anarchism and/or anarchocaptialism is also based on intrincisism (i.e. valuing consistency for the sake of being consistent), really results in a denial of justice and is not compatible with individual rights.
  4. I am sure he has a good head I was responding to the cruxt of his argument by pointing out not only the flaws in his philosophy while trying to keep it short. I could write a long, detailed rebuttal but wasn't in the mood. However, he can't really expect people not to respond with scorched earth rhetoric when they spew piss and vinegar about something they probably don't understand or comprehend. ;-) Mike, I mean no disrespect to Jackie when I say this. But sometimes it is helpful to look at who you are talking to before taking out the scorched earth rhetoric. The dude's young. Full of piss and vinegar. And he has a really good head. In my book, that's something to be celebrated. I believe he will grow and get wiser with serious objective challenge and a wider range of conceptual referents (as all young folks do). I know one thing, Wholesale condemnation of someone you don't know is not serious challenge--and it is not very endearing, so don't expect him to invite you over to hang out. Michael
  5. Gentlemen I will respond to this essay in more detail at a future time. Despite the fact that I disagree with the premise, I do understand where Michael is coming from. I would refer you all to William Thomas's excellent tract on foreign policy (link below). The U.S.'s foreign policy of installing or supporting regimes friendly to it was not and is not being done in the name of world domination or empire and will have to be used to stem the tide of Islamism like what was used to prevent the spread of communism. Hopefully Thomas's column will explain why or give some insights many of you may not have considered. http://www.atlassociety.org/tni/war-over-libertarian-foreign-policy
  6. I think this post shows the moral bankruptcy of anarchocapitalists and (so-called) left-libertarians. What the author is regurgitating is nothing more than Kantian skepticism which is mainly what AnCap is based on and is the belief that no one can know anything about anything. Governments exist to protect individual rights not only with courts to resolve disputes and police to keep the peace but also provide a military to protect said countries from foreign invasion and attack. In an anarcho-capitalist world there is nothing to stop a Communist collective or thief from being able to attack a capitalist society nor steal one's ideas in order to personally profit from their theft since in ancap theft would not be against the law.
  7. Okay I think I better understand your point. My point wasn't necessarily Spencerian but rather drawing from the logic of Sam Harris in what he said in his book The End of Faith about the religious moderation being a myth as well as his, rightly, laying blame on religion's violent nature being the reason for religious violence. In this case on the part of Muslims. I was aware of the alliance between Nazis and some Muslims during WWII as having recently learned about the Grand Mufti of Palestine paying visits to Hitler and leaders of Nazi Germany. I was not aware of how deep the influences of Nazi culture have been in some aspects of Islam or Muslim countries. I did not know about the CIA recruiting ex-Islamic Nazis from Vichy to help stop the spread of communism. That is surprising and it was a serious foreign policy mistake. However, in terms of your quote regarding how Islamists use the Quran to help inspire or recruit Muslims to jihad are you saying that (on the whole) Muslims are helpless and unable to prevent others from manipulating them? My question is not meant to be facetious but I am trying to understand the full context of your point. That makes certain Muslims "more prone to violence." Not some book by itself that has existed for centuries. Michael
  8. I tend to agree short of not telling other countries what to do. My foreign policy candle is that if a country is mostly secular in its outlook among its elected leaders and populace along with a decent semblance of economic freedom along with insitutions to objectively and adequately protect private property rights and enforce contracts then I don't think the U.S. should interfere. In terms of places like the middle east I think U.S. involvement is appropriate not only because of the terrorism but also it is a way to protect the individual rights of the populace in said regions. I also agree to stop sending countries foreign aid as well. As far as Islam-bashing I tend to agree. My vantage point is more criticism rather than slander. I think there is value in listening and watching people like Robert Spencer but he is not the end all be all in terms of learning about Islam. I think the average Muslim, by and large, does not want to hurt anyone. However because of the internal culture and the specificity of the religious texts that tell Muslims how to live as well as the violence and calls for jihad outlined in the Quran, Sunnah and Sharia texts along with clerics openly calling Muslims to conduct it, I think it can make them prone to violence. Much more so than Christians or Jews. The books of the Bible were written by a variety of different people and there are numerous contradictory chapters and verses and incomplete books in it where Christian and Jewish scholars have to make sense out of it. In Islam, you have one man who wrote the Sunnah and Quran in which these 2 books and Sharia spell out not only what Islam is all about but how Muslims have to live with little room for clerics to reinterpret and Muslims to ignore.
  9. I know and this is what sends chills up my spine. I have read up on the Salfis and the fact that they get direct backing from the Saudi monarchy and the sect is responsible for the radicalization of many Muslims. Their doing so leads me to conclude not only are the Saudis not our friends but I would dare to argue the Saudi's continued support of this school of thought constitutes an act of war. The U.S. should apply pressure to the Saudis to stop funding the Salafis. If they don't I say take them down.
  10. My reason for posting this was not to convince Michael about Spencer's credibility. Rather it was mainly for educational purposes. I think there is value in reading Robert Spencer because of activities like this since he is so articulate and knowledgeable about Islam that Muslim groups (like CAIR) and gents like Zeyad back out from debates because of the knowledge Spencer has. Robert Spencer has never said that a reformation (in the Thomas Aquinas sense) can never happen in Islam and I think that's mainly where Libertarian Muslim comes from. However, as Spencer has pointed out, it will be VERY difficult when you have schools of jurisprudence (like the Salafis) articulating Islam from a literalist perspective while calling on their followers to conduct jihad. As a matter of fact, the Salafis (a.k.a. Wahhabis) are a kind of reformation movement in Islam since they use the life of Muhammad as told in the Sunnah and the actual texts of the Quran to articulate their message. This is why individual secular Muslims and groups are few and far between because schools of thought, like the Salafis, draw their logic directly from Muhammad and the Quran. As a result Muslims can be susceptible to violence. I have come to understand that the many scholars in the various schools of Islamic thought are in agreement that Muslims must make war on non-Muslims. The difference is that they can't agree on when is the appropriate time and how to go about it.
  11. I came across this at JihadWatch. It is a debate between authors Robert Spencer and Moustafa Zayed. Zayed attempts to defend Mohammed while Spencer takes the opposite view. A very lively and excellent debate. I need not tell you the outcome as it is apparent as to whom will have the upper hand since Spencer tells the truth. http://www.jihadwatch.org/2011/01/zayed-spencer-debate-did-muhammad-teach-warfare-against-and-subjugation-of-unbelievers.html
  12. Okay if you prefer not to believe it that's fine by me. I can't tell you what to believe or not. What I can do is point you in the direction of what Spencer has actually said. Like me he is not anti-Muslim, he is anti-jihadist: http://www.jihadwatch.org/about-robert-spencer.html Q: Do you hate Muslims? Robert Spencer: Of course not. Islam is not a monolith, and never have I said or written anything that characterizes all Muslims as terrorist or given to violence. To call attention to the roots and goals of jihad violence within Islamic texts and teachings, and to show how jihadists use those texts and teachings, says nothing at all about what any given Muslim believes or how he acts. Any Muslim who renounces violent jihad and dhimmitude is welcome to join in our anti-jihadist efforts. Any hate in my books comes from Muslim sources quoted, not from me. Cries of "hatred" and "bigotry" are effectively used by American Muslim advocacy groups to try to stifle the debate about the terrorist threat. But there is no substance to them. It is not an act of hatred against Muslims to point out the depredations of jihad ideology. It is a peculiar species of displacement and projection to accuse someone who exposes the hatred of one group of hatred himself: I believe in the equality of rights and dignity of all people, and that is why I oppose the global jihad. Those who make the charge use it as a tool to frighten the credulous and politically correct away from the truth. Some time ago here at Jihad Watch I had an exchange with an English convert to Islam. I said: "I would like nothing better than a flowering, a renaissance, in the Muslim world, including full equality of rights for women and non-Muslims in Islamic societies: freedom of conscience, equality in laws regarding legal testimony, equal employment opportunities, etc." Is all that "anti-Muslim"? My correspondent thought so. He responded: "So, you would like to see us ditch much of our religion and, thereby, become non-Muslims." In other words, he saw a call for equality of rights for women and non-Muslims in Islamic societies, including freedom of conscience, equality in laws regarding legal testimony, and equal employment opportunities, as a challenge to his religion. To the extent that they are, these facts have to be confronted by both Muslims and non-Muslims. But it is not "anti-Muslim" to wish freedom of conscience and equality of rights on the Islamic world -- quite the contrary. P.S. I like Daniel Pipes but have not seen anything by Alan Dershowitz. If you have any links to articles or know of any titles of books by Dershowitz I would be interested in reading them. Mike, I ain't buying it. I just gave you a pristine example of Spencer's poor reasoning as presented by you. (Holding up exceptions as if they were the norm.) I don't need to look any further to find his real meaning, etc., etc., etc., unless you have something objective to look at. I won't place him in the same category with David Duke, but I will put him close. David Duke knows some scholarly things, too, but I won't be wasting my time reading them. Just like I don't intend to waste my time with Spencer. Bernard Lewis is a far better source. Hell, even Daniel Pipes. I really like Alan Dershowitz. Michael
  13. Thanks Adam I will give them a look. In terms of the MB's recommendations are I must admit a certain amount of (for lack of a better term) skepticism on my part since the group not only has the vocal support of Iran but has funded military-oriented jihadist groups (such as Hamas) and the Islamic ethic of taqiyya. The Muslim Brotherhood may put on a moderate presentation but once in power will do all they can to seize it and make Egypt into a theocratic dictatorship like Iran.
  14. I realize Robert Spencer comes across as anti-Muslim and agenda-driven but after reading his writings and understanding his outlook on Islam it's hard not to disagree with his point of view. Also, please keep in mind and let me stress I am talking in a general sense and am not wanting to paint all Muslims (in this case Sufis) with a broad brush. Instead my intent is to do it by being critical of Muslims (Sunni, Shi'ite and Sufi) who subscribe to the ethic of violent jihad. From an academic, evidence-based perspective, his knowledge of Islam and the factions/sects of the religion are nothing short of astounding if not outright fascinating. As near as I can tell Spencer's knowledge of Islamic theology and Islamic sects compliments Bernard Lewis's knowledge of Islam and Islamic/middle eastern culture. I also think it was Lewis himself who said that he and Spencer rarely disagree with each other. This being said and the prominence Lewis has in the academic world and my holding him in very high esteem leads me to conclude that Spencer has no reason to lie or twist the truth when it comes to his knowledge about Islam. I am not saying he doesn't but when you understand the contect or cruxt of his argument as well as his background and knowledge I better understand why people can construe Spencer to having ulterior motives.
  15. Of course I know of the Sufis but that's not an indication that they are any different (doctrinally speaking) than the Sunnis or Shi'ites. For example, the Ground Zero Imam Faisal Rauf (who refuses to condemn Hamas) has been identified as a Sufi. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/17/opinion/17dalrymple.html Robert Spencer's analysis of Sufis is: The Sufi order offers a mystical perspective on Islam. There are Sufis found all over the Islamic world. The widespread assumption that Sufis are peaceful and eschew jihad violence and Islamic supremacism, however, is false. Sufis from al-Ghazali to the present day have taught the necessity of jihad warfare, and have participated in that warfare -- notably in Chechnya since the 18th century. Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of Hamas and Al-Qaeda, was strongly influenced by Sufism and prescribed Sufi spiritual exercises for the Brotherhood members. In January 2009, Iraqi representatives of the Naqshabandi Sufi order met with Khaled Mashaal of Hamas, praised his jihad, donated jewelry to him, and boasted of their own jihad attacks against Americans in Iraq. In terms of your disagreement I understand where you are coming from and I am sure you are correct in that regard. I am speaking in a general (not specific) sense while pointing out pointing out what Robert Spencer said about the conflict in Islam between modernity and the role of the religion in the lives of Muslims in the middle east. Mike, Are you kidding me? Ever heard of Sufi? That's the most blatant example. But even without that example, your statement implies that moral life in Syria is identical to moral life in Malaysia or Indonesia. That the interpretation of the Qur'an in Saudi Arabia is is identical to that in Iran. That the Taliban's understanding is identical to that of United Arab Emirates. Need I go on? I agree that the attitude toward modernity is a thorny problem in the Muslim world, but it is not as homogeneous as you make it sound. There are a lot of conflicting views. Michael
  16. Yes but interpretations of the Bible and the Quran are 2 different things. A Jew or Christian and reinterpret the Bible. A Muslim does not have that kind of flexibility in terms of the Quran. Like most undeveloped regions of the world religion is a central part of most everyone's life. In the middle east the religion is the largest following is Islam. What makes Islam unique is the specific commands placed upon Muslims by the Quran, Sunnah and Sharia on how to act among themselves and toward non-Muslims. In Islam one debate or clash if you will is how much modernity should Muslims embrace before it conflicts with their religion. If a country becomes too westernized or embraces things that conflict with Islam then, by and large, many Muslims will object. According to Bernard Lewis, to this day Muslims have blamed their problems on Europeans or Jews and thus fed their sense of victimhood which results in their rejection of modernity. Hence the reason why the middle east and many Muslim-dominant countries reject U.S./western ideas and values such as capitalism and individual rights.
  17. http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2009/02/egpyts_muslim_brotherhood_and.html February 13, 2009 Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and Iran By Mehdi Khalaji During a February trip to Iran, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal praised Iranian leaders for their support during the conflict in the Gaza Strip, a further indication of the strengthening ties between the Sunni Islamist group, which the United States has designated as a terrorist organization, and the Shiite regime in Tehran. Mashal's statements come on the heels of the U.S. Treasury Department's terrorist designations of al-Qaeda leaders and operatives sheltered in Iran. These latest examples of Sunni-Shiite cooperation raise new questions about whether Iran can improve its relationship with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. While such a rapprochement appears unlikely, history suggests it is far from impossible. Iran has maintained informal ties to the Muslim Brotherhood for many years, and Shiite Islam probably has more appeal among Egyptian Sunnis than it does among Sunnis in other Arab countries. Iran's sharp criticism of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is also likely to resonate with Egyptian radicals under the thumb of the regime in Cairo. If Iran were to develop close relations with the Brotherhood, Iranian influence would grow considerably in the Arab world, giving Tehran a significant say among Arab radicals and, undoubtedly, producing dangerous developments for U.S. interests in the region. Ties between Iran and Sunni Extremists Egypt has long been suspicious of the connection between the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and Iran, based in large part on Iran's longstanding strong ties to Hamas -- an offshoot of the Brotherhood. The recent conflict in Gaza is likely to further arouse Cairo's suspicions. During the fighting, Iran was highly vocal in their support of Hamas, blasting the Egyptian government for its inaction. Hamas leader Khaled Mashal thanked Iran for its support of his organization, asserting that the "people of Gaza . . . have always appreciated the political and spiritual support of the Iranian leaders and nation." According to Iranian state television, Mashal reportedly said that "Iran has definitely played a big role in the victory of the people of Gaza and is a partner in that victory." Iran has also forged stronger working relations with other Sunni extremists. According to the New York Times, Saudi authorities allege that the leader of "al-Qaeda in the Persian Gulf," Abdullah al-Qaraqi, lives and moves freely in Iran, along with more than a hundred Saudis working for him. The Treasury Department, in its recent enforcement action, announced that Saad bin Laden, son of Usama bin Laden, was arrested by Iranian authorities in early 2003 but that "[a]s of September 2008, it was possible that Saad bin Laden was no longer in Iranian custody." According to Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell, Saad bin Laden is now most likely in Pakistan. Prerevolutionary Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood While the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and Iran do not have strong organizational ties, the Brotherhood has had a major impact on Islamic revivalism in Iran, a movement that sought to promote Islam not just as a religion but as an ideology governing all aspects of political, economic, and social life. Mujtaba Mirlowhi, known as Navvab Safavi, (1924-1955) was a young Iranian cleric who created the Society of Islam Devotees (SID) in the early 1940s and played a major role in connecting Shiite fundamentalism to Islamic fundamentalist movements in other countries. Like the founding fathers of Islamic revivalism in Egypt, SID believed that in order to fight the supremacy of the West, Muslims have to combat sectarianism, put the Shiite-Sunni conflict aside, and create a united Muslim front. In 1954, at the invitation of Sayyed Qutb, then secretary of the Islamic summit and main intellectual of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Navvad Safavi traveled to Jordan and Egypt to meet its leaders. Under their influence, he became more attracted to the Palestinian cause. Before that time, there were few references to the Palestinian problem in Iranian society among clerics or lay (leftist) intellectuals and activists. After his return to Iran, he started a Palestinian campaign and collected promises from five thousand volunteers to deploy to the Palestinian territories to fight the Jews. Perhaps even more important, in his short autobiography, Iran's current supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei describes becoming interested in political activities after he met Navvad Safavi in Mashhad, Iran. Before Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, Khamenei translated two books by Sayyed Qutb, Al-Mustaqbal li hadha al-Din (The Future of this Religion) and Al-Islam wa Mushkelat al-Hadharah (Islam and the Problems of Civilization). The Islamic Revolution in the Brotherhood's Eyes Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood at first cautiously welcomed the Ayatollah Khomeini-led Islamic revolution, which may have given the Brotherhood confidence that they too would be able to overthrow their country's secular regime. But after an Islamic radical assassinated Egyptian president Anwar al-Sadat in 1981, the Brotherhood was forced to take a cautious attitude toward the Islamic Republic, at least in public. In January 1982, Umar Telmesani, then leader of the Brotherhood, told the Egyptian weekly magazine al-Msuwwar, "We supported him [Khomeini] politically, because an oppressed people had managed to get rid of an oppressive ruler and to regain their freedom, but from the doctrinal point of view, Sunnism is one thing and Shiism is another." The Muslim Brotherhood nonetheless continued to decry sectarian differences among Muslims, arguing that unity was necessary for the sake of jihad against the corrupt rulers and the West. In 1985, Telmesani wrote in the Egyptian magazine al-Dawa that "the convergence of Shiism and Sunnism is now an urgent task for the jurists." He added that "the contact between Muslim Brotherhood and [iranian clerics] was not done in order to make Shiites convert to Sunni Islam, the main purpose was to comply with Islam's mission to converge the Islamic sects as much as possible." There were points where the Brotherhood and Iran cooperated more openly. In 1988, for example, at the conclusion of the Iran-Iraq war, at the request of Muslim Brotherhood leader Shaikh Muhammad Ghazzali, the Iranians agreed to unilaterally release the Egyptian prisoners of war who had fought alongside the Iraqi army against Iran. More recently, on January 28, Muhammad Mahdi Akef, the current leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, said in an interview with Mehr News Agency: "The Muslim Brotherhood supports the ideas and thoughts of the founder of Islamic Republic." He added "[Ayatollah] Khomeini's idea, especially with regard to the Palestinian issue, is the continuation of the Muslim Brotherhood's attitude toward fighting occupation." Egypt under Shiites: Distant Past but Popular Memory Egyptians are more receptive and positively disposed toward Shiism than other Sunni Arabs. One reason is the Fatimid Dynasty that was established in Egypt in the tenth century as an offshoot of the Shiite Ismaelite movement. The dynasty played an important role in the cross-fertilization between Iran and Egypt. The two centuries of Fatimid rule in Egypt marks a high point in the history of Islamic civilization in terms of economic development and cultural prosperity. Even the art in Fatimid Egypt was influenced by Iranian styles. The Fatimid period left a lasting impression on Egyptians, and vestiges of the country's long-ago Shiite rulers are still seen in Egyptian openness to Shiite practices and traditions, a receptiveness not found anywhere else in the Sunni world. Egyptians still respect the symbols, icons, and sacred places of that period; for example, Egyptians believe that Hussain, the third Shiite Imam, and his family are buried in Cairo, not in Karbala, Iraq. For Sunni Egyptians the tombs of Hussain, Sayyeda Zainab (his sister), and Assayeda Sakina (his daughter) are the most sacred places in the world after Mecca and Medina. Also like their Shiite coreligionists, Sunnis in Cairo perform Ashura (the Shiite commemoration of the death of Hussain) each year. Furthermore, in nineteenth-century Egypt, the Persian language was accepted as a language of literature and science, reflected in the Persian-language newspapers available at the time. Moreover, in addition to the influence of Egyptian political Islamists on Iranian clerics noted earlier, Iranian clerics in turn helped to shape Islamist revivalism in Egypt. One notable example is the nineteenth-century Islamist Sayyed Jamal al-Din Asadabadi, also known as al-Afghani. When he arrived in Egypt from his native Iran, he claimed to be an Afghan so he could pass himself off as a Sunni. His new ideology advocated the unity of Muslims and sought in "authentic Islam" answers to the ills of Muslim societies. As a result of this history, for many years Shiism held some appeal in Egypt, despite the fact that Egyptians at the time of the Fatimids, and still today, are predominantly Sunnis. Shiism in Contemporary Egypt The appeal of Shiism has been dampened somewhat in recent years as the Egyptian government has grown increasingly nervous about what it perceives as a rising Shiite tide in the region. In response, the Egyptian government and the state media began waging a campaign against Shiism and Shiite symbols. In November 2005, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak stated that "most Shiites are faithful to Iran, not to their own government." His comment provoked several Shiite demonstrations, including thousands of people in Najaf, a Shiite holy city in Iraq. Afterward, he explained that he meant that Shiites sympathize with Iran in terms of their religious, not political, viewpoint. On several occasions, prominent Egyptian cleric Shaikh Yousef Qarzawi, a former member of the Brotherhood, warned about the "Shiite tide" and the missionary activities of Shiites and the Iranian government, especially in Egypt. He said that "the increasing infiltration of Shiism in Egypt may lead to a civil war like the one in Iraq." The Egyptian government has made efforts to mobilize powerful clerics and faculty associated with al-Azhar University against the Muslim Brotherhood in order to fight the tide of Shiism. There are no reliable statistics about the number of Shiites in Egypt. Since Shiites are under pressure from the Egyptian government, most of them avoid publically admitting their faith. Some Western and Egyptian sources (like the Ibn Khaldun Research Center) indicate that Shiites constitute less than 1 percent of the Egyptian population (approximately 657,000). But Muhammad al-Darini, a prominent Sunni who converted to Shiism, puts the figure at 1.5 million. Al-Darini also claims that Egyptian Shiites are Twelvers, which is the type of Shiism practiced in Iran. But he denied any connection between the Shiite community and the Iranian government. "Iran does not have any kind of influence over us," al-Darini said. "Sometimes, even Iranians criticize us for some of our stances and statements. Everybody must know that Shiism is not originally an Iranian [sect], but an Arab one, while [the four traditional] Sunni schools stem from Iran" -- a statement which is in fact true. Part of the attraction of Shiism in modern Egypt is political rather than doctrinal in nature. Some young Egyptians see conversion to Shiism as a way of protesting the regime, much as thousands of Iranian Shiite youths convert each year to various other faiths partially in reaction to the Shiite nature of their government. Conclusion While a breakthrough in relations between the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and Tehran remains unlikely, the consequences for the United States of such a union would be very damaging. Iran remains focused on expanding its influence in the Persian Gulf and beyond, and connections to the strongest opposition party in the Middle East would be a great leap forward. The longstanding and growing ties between Iran and Hamas, as well as a look back at the relevant history, makes clear that U.S. policymakers should monitor this trend. Mehdi Khalaji is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute, focusing on the role of politics in contemporary Shiite clericalism in Iran and Iraq.
  18. This is all well and good but doesn't tell the whole story. I also apologize if I am coming into this thread blind but hope to raise some points that may not have been taken into account. The main beneficiary of the revolutions (so-called) going on in the middle east is going to be Iran via their ally The Muslim Brotherhood. For example, in Egypt The MB is well known for operating charities and other services via zakat (i.e. tithing) that it provides to Egyptians. In exchange for this the MB is able to branch out and spread its fundamentalist form of Islam. The Brotherhood is very well financed and organized and would be in a prime position to attain power if Mubarak's government collapses as well as play a very large roll in the formation of new regimes coming up in middle eastern countries experiencing unrest. The Brotherhood is not exactly Wahabbi in it's orientation but it shares many similarities with the Saudi-backed sect. Despite many of Muslim Brotherhood consider themselves Sunnis yet a few Muslim Brotherhood scholars were able to inflience the theology and ideas of the infamous Shi'ite leader Ayatollah Khomeni. It's because of the above fact that is why Iran has supported the revolts in Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt since the Muslim Brotherhood is obviously playing a role in each of these uprisings. None the less, it is not a good thing for freedom in the middle east since the main beneficiary will be jihadist Islamism down the line. Once new leaders take power look for the implementation of Sharia Law and a growing trend to embrace societies that mirror Iran.
  19. George I apologize if my comments got under your skin. However, until now, I had no idea about what happened to your wife. Since you put it that way it makes sense. Please understand that I do not paruse or read these boards often so I am coming at this blind. I made comments only based on what you had initially said in your earlier posts and have had little interaction with you on these boards and in real life. For me personally, when chatting on boards or discussion groups like this I deal with people on them with a VERY long fuse since it is difficult at times to understand what a person's intent or context is. When I do so I try to include as much information as possible so questions are not raised about the reason for posting comments or if I do answer questions I try to elaborate and answer with as much detail as possible so to clarify my intent. As for encouragement on my part: you have it. Like I said in my last post if she wronged you (it is looking very much like you were) Wendy McElroy should make amends by apologizing, compensating you or (better yet) both. I am also glad that your situation is improving and the issues with your wife have been resolved. I would not make any demands of you with regards to the choices you make. My reasons for raising the time lapse was due to the lack of information I had since, ultimately, I wanted to better understand your intent. You did/do not come across either in person or on these boards as someone who would bitch, whine and moan or play a victim but, until you elaborated with regards to your personal situation, you were coming across that way. My comments on legal action against Wendy were an opinion and nothing more. To be more precise I would not want you (or anyone else) to get screwed no matter what your principles are. While I think your pledge and unwillingness to resort to legal redress is, in my opinion, not realistic I also understand you are your own person and your life does not revolve around nor depend on the decisions or opinions of others. Including me.
  20. I was at a Freedom Summit in Phoenix when you were a guest speaker and remember you mentioning this in I think it was 2002 or 2003. Having remembered this and when you brought this up here I thought to myself oh God he still hasn't resolved this issue?. I can only comment based on the information initally given on a thread like this and I appreciate the additional information you posted. I am sure you are aware and please understand that once someone divulges information or makes comments on boards like this ANYONE can make comments on them in reply. My statement regarding legal action and my criticisms of your position stem from your statement when you said earlier in this thread: If I don't believe in copyright laws, then I would hypocritical to pursue a course just because it is my ox that has been gored. Making comments like this could be tantamount to inviting more incidents like what has happened with you and Wendy McElroy. In other words, it could lead others with ulterior motives to think you can be easily manipulated or taken advantage of (which I am sure is not the case). If McElroy did committ this act against you that is clearly fraudulent and she should (at the very least) apologize. She is lucky not only to have had you help her with her writing career but that you are willing to accept an apology. She should also, if possible, at very least compensate you by splitting royalties on this book's sales. But, still, there is the amount of time that has gone by though. None the less, I will watch how things pan out and refrain from anymore criticisms after this.
  21. My original post was (in my opinion) fairly even handed. I left open the possibility that Wendy McElroy may have plagiarized your work but also left open the possibility she may have not. I went based on the example you put up in this thread. I also just looked at your review at Amazon and I assume because Amazon does not want to be seen as a place getting involved in this dispute which is why it looks like your review has been edited. I will look over your articles. However, I do lack a copy of the book in which to do a more detailed analysis. None the less, I find it odd that it took you twelve years to attempt get this resolved. You have had plenty time to fix this on your own without having to involve people here in this matter. Admittedly Wendy did too but I think both of you are wrong for not having resolved this among yourselves over that period of time. I do stand by my statement that you should pursue legal options and not cop out of not filing a copyright lawsuit because it may conflict with your principles. Consistency should not be considered an intrinsic value yet you are taking your consistency to illogical conclusions (i.e. you are using consistency as an intrinsic value). Libertarianism and anarchism, like Objectivism, are PHILOSOPHIES not religions. The world will not come to an end because George H. Smith (who opposes the existence of copyright laws) decides to retain an attorney and file a lawsuit in a government court against Wendy McElroy because she may have plagiarized articles you wrote. I think waiting for an apology is fair and I agree with Brant that you should give her a week. If she does not you should pursue legal redress. By not doing so, the reality is that you are denying yourself of having an injustice committed against you corrected. No, most of what I posted so far is called plagiarism, not paraphrasing. You don't paraphrase by changing a few words. And you ain't seen nothing yet. Wendy's entire chapter on logic is copied, nearly word for word, from some articles that I published in 1986, twelve years before TRW. My articles are available here , so make the comparison for yourself, if you don't believe me. Oh, but Wendy did change he to she, him to her, and man to woman, so maybe she was paraphrasing. If you guys want to give Wendy a fair chance to respond to my offer, then I suggest that you back off for 24 hours. You have only a small fraction of the evidence. I am ready to to cut Wendy off at the knees right now, if I need to. I will post example after example of Wendy's plagiarism -- at least 200 pages -- immediately, if I need to. I don't owe her anything. I expected this kind of excuse making for Wendy, especially from men. It has happened before, and it drove Sharon Presley up the wall. Gosh, George, don't be so quick to condemn. Maybe Wendy just paraphrased everything you have ever written on the subject of reasoning. Maybe Wendy is so innocent and naive that she didn't understand that her paraphrasing would be taken by you as plagiarism. Maybe you don't understand what plagiarism really is -- not every word in every sentence is exactly the same, after all -- so maybe Wendy is right and you are wrong. I've met Wendy. She is cute, and she is bright, and she is funny, and she has a nice laugh, and I love the way she tosses her hair back when she speaks --it reminds me of Rita Hayworth in Gilda -- and I don't believe that someone with all these lovely and charming qualities would ever plagiarize. Have you considered the possibility that your feelings got hurt, that you were angry and overwrought, and that you lost your sense of perspective? Maybe you should think about this for another 12 years before you act on a snap judgment. Hey, Sharon. You were right once again about what would happen with some of the guys. Just wait till they hear Wendy's revolving door of excuses. I hope the "We had a contract" explanation will come up early -- you know, the one that, even if it were 100 percent correct, would mean that I wrote 50 percent of TRW? I love that argument. Ghs
  22. If what George is saying is true then it's not surprising that she hasn't apologized. For Wendy McElroy (again, assuming that she did plagiarize George Smith's work) to do so might be percieved as an acknolwedgement of guilt in some way. However, based on the comparison with what George posted comparing his essay to Wendy's it looks more like she paraphrased his work. If she did resort to paraphrasing it is legal and might resort in a lawsuit being thrown out of court anyway. While I feel George's pain, if (that's a big IF) he was wronged then he should pursue his legal options and not cop out of not filing a copyright lawsuit because it may conflict with his principles. By not doing so, George is actually denying himself having an injustice righted.
  23. Hi Stephen, Thanks for your reply and clarification. Do you think what McDonald said that: the post-Kantians Hegel, Heidegger, and Deleuze (for example) can be read in ways that enrich and support the tradition (if not the letter) of Locke and classical liberal individualism is accurate also?
  24. I was reading over reviews of Dr.Stephen Hicks's book Explaining Postmodernism today and happened upon a thoughtful and interesting review responding to one reviewer condemning Immanuel Kant. The reviewer named Thomas McDonald states: For Kant, there is an empirically given and external aspect of the world, but our sensing, understanding, and reasoning about the world are not passively given to us, they are the fundamental activities by which (1) the world becomes intelligible to us in the first place (at all), and (2) by which we shape a specifically human relationship to the world. To investigate these fundamental (i.e. transcendental) grounds of the intelligence that people put into practice every day -- to think through the sensing in what we call sense, the understanding at work in what we understand, the reasoning in reason -- is what Kantian thinking does. In Kantian thought there are definite, logical, constraints determined as to how the world can be thought in the first place (i.e. space and time are not merely subjective but objective ideas the world requires of us), but the notion of the world without us as being the same as the world with us is both deluded and literally inhuman by ignoring the human condition. Kant's philosophy is a call to self-realization and the heightened sense of personal responsibility that comes with understanding his profound argument. Mr. Hicks is absolutely right that this philosophically revolutionary project of Kant's is what opened the door to many of the abuses of so-called 'post-modern' thinking. However, I implore any potential reader to get a better grasp of Kant's argument before judging either him or the others criticized in this volume. I even venture the claim that the post-Kantians Hegel, Heidegger, and Deleuze (for example) can be read in ways that enrich and support the tradition (if not the letter) of Locke and classical liberal individualism, if that be your political orientation. I find Mr. Hicks a very good scholar, and for an intellectual opponent he gives (in my estimation) a surprisingly fair reading to many of the 'post-modern' thinkers in the book. However, I'm giving only three stars because of what I perceive as an undue, erroneous prejudice against the core of the Kantian revolution in philosophy (which Mr. Hicks has benefited from) which I read as driven by Mr. Hick's commitment to Ayn Rand's politics more than a commitment to philosophy whatever it may reveal. He seems to be taking this cue from Any Rand's dislike for and mistaken interpretation of Kant. What piqued my interest is when McDonald said: I even venture the claim that the post-Kantians Hegel, Heidegger, and Deleuze (for example) can be read in ways that enrich and support the tradition (if not the letter) of Locke and classical liberal individualism, if that be your political orientation. I realize Kant was a classical liberal who supported free trade and property rights. However, I believe it was George Walsh who came to Kant's defense. Isn't what McDonald is saying a similar conclusion to what Walsh stated too? Also, if, as McDonald states, post-Kantians can be read in ways to enrich and support classical liberal/libertarian individualism I think it might be worth it to give them another look.
  25. I never said nor do I believe Ayn Rand is God. When have I ever said or implied that she was infallible? Won't hear it from me. And I would be curious to know what (in your mind) makes my statements objecting and responding to yours subjectivism? By making a claim such as this you seem to be looking to argue just for the sake of argument or you may not really know what you are talking about. If that's the case consider this my last response. I am not afraid of finding out because (much to your surprise) I already know she was. If she was wrong I am sure (despite your claim to the contrary) that it was on minor points and not of any significance to have diluted her contributions to philsophy. Especially epistemology. In your view, are all vantage points to be considered equally? In terms of human discovery and seeking truth should people consider consulting psychic mediums to discover answers with problems they maybe having or in looking for how life began should what is written in the Bible be considered as a valid source equal to books by Richard Dawkins or Charles Darwin? I think not since to consider multiple vantage points means that the ones that are not just realistic but just plain stupid really being considered equal to information sources that discuss actual facts degenerates into people not knowing what the truth is. Your key statement is something very similar to Thomas Kuhn's writings regarding scientific and human knowledge. There has to be an objective method for people to differentiate good sources of information from the bad. That's what epistemology can assist people in doing. If there is none then the end result is nothing more than skepticism which results in people giving up the ability to think.