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Vietnam a pattern for Iraq

by Greg Krehbiel on 12 August 2014

Watch the video on this page.

-- 2 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-08-12  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Obama needs to read his Bible

by Greg Krehbiel on 12 August 2014

“Oh that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem …” 2 Sam. 23.

David was thirsty and longed for a drink from a particular well. Some of his “mighty men” heard this and, at extreme risk to themselves, broke through enemy lines and got him a drink. When they brought him the water, David poured it out because if he were to drink it he would encourage an environment where people would do crazy things simply out of personal loyalty to him and to curry his favor.

There are (at least) two important lessons here. First, if you’re the leader of an army of minions, don’t make idle comments like that in the first place. Second, if people start doing your every bidding, nip that in the bud as quickly as possible.

Obama hasn’t learned either lesson.

First, he has joked about auditing people as retribution. Second, when people appear to have done that sort of thing on his behalf, rather than forcefully putting an end to it, he defended them. (“Not a smidgen of corruption.”)

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-08-12  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Originalist Islam is back

by Greg Krehbiel on 11 August 2014

Isn’t this how Islam got going in the first place?

Islamic State fanatics seize towns and tell terrified Yazidi ‘Become Muslims by noon today… or we kill all of you’

-- 10 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-08-11  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Do “women’s studies” really study women?

by Greg Krehbiel on 11 August 2014

I enjoy a BBC4 podcast called “In Our Time,” and this weekend I listened to one on The Bluestockings, which was a group of women that formed in the 18th century to discuss intellectual matters.

A logical question is why such a group had to form in the first place (i.e., what was it reacting against or responding to), and such discussions always seem (quite understandably) to have an undercurrent of resentment about what women were “not allowed to do.” What I find interesting is that nobody seems to consider why women weren’t allowed to do those things. My experience is that it’s always blamed on prejudice, as if that is the entire answer.

C.S. Lewis famously advised the reading of old books to help a person get out of the prejudices of their own time. We typically don’t notice the attitudes that are common to everyone around us. We just breathe them in and they become part of our perspective on the world without question.

If Lewis was right in his prescription, it would seem that historians would be the people most able to get out of the prejudices of their day. I think I have noticed this with some types of historians, but not when it comes to any study of women’s rights. They seem to inevitably adopt a feminist mindset. (Which is no wonder when you hear what “women’s studies” courses are like.)

I don’t believe I’ve once heard a discussion of “what women couldn’t do” that even considered the possibility that it proceeded from a genuine insight into the nature of the sexes or of male-female relations. I am absolutely not trying to say that every restriction placed on women in the past was because they understood what women were really like. But … certainly some of them were, at least partially. Blaming it all on mindless prejudice seems like a ridiculously lazy way to proceed.

For example, women were supposed to avoid controversial or intellectual issues in polite conversation. The bluestocking women chafed at that and started their own societies where they could have such discussions.

A rule like that certainly could have been encouraged by a low view of women — that they didn’t have anything valuable to say, or something along those lines. But isn’t it at least possible that it was recommended because men are not attracted to women who are going to challenge and argue with them?

The modern reaction to such a statement would be, “well, if men are that way they need to get over it,” and then assume that since men “should” get over it, we can create a bunch of rules that ignore that issue. Furthermore, it would be disgraceful to create any kind of social rule that accommodates such a horrible prejudice.

That’s certainly one way to look at it. You can also say that I “should” be able to walk through the ghetto in the middle of the night with hundred dollar bills strapped to my clothing and expect no one to bother me. Or, OTOH, you could say “should” doesn’t always change reality and take a more pragmatic approach.

Back to the point, isn’t it possible that at least some of the restrictions placed on women were based on genuine insights into male and female behavior? It seems unlikely that they were completely wrong about men’s and women’s roles.

In that regard it’s worth noting that despite many decades of trying to push equalitarian ideas on the population, men still like different things in women than women like in men. In short, despite vigorous attempts to indoctrinate us into a “men and women are the same” frame of mind, men and women remain doggedly not the same.

Wouldn’t it be fascinating if “women’s studies” was driven by what’s actually true about men and women, rather than by what some people think “should” be.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-08-11  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Close the income gap and help the working poor, but stop the silliness with the minimum wage

by Greg Krehbiel on 9 August 2014

I’m sympathetic to some of the things in this article — The Big, Long, 30-Year Conservative Lie — even though I think it caricatures conservative opinions to make a point. E.g.,

… helping the less well off will dampen the American money-generating engine—that it will hurt growth, because the only thing that inspires the “job creators” to work so hard is the promise of insanely vast financial rewards. Poverty is a necessary evil in this worldview, and helping the less well off creates a “culture of dependency,” which discourages work.

Good grief.

The thing that bugs me the most about this article is not the misrepresentations of conservatives. That’s boilerplate. You can’t expect anything different.

What bugs me is the lack of imagination. Can’t liberals come of with something besides a static, national minimum wage? Couldn’t they at least tie it to local economic realities, for example?

I don’t like the minimum wage at all, but the idea that the minimum wage in New York City should be the same as the minimum wage in Cullen, Louisiana, is simply ludicrous. If you’re going to propose a minimum wage, at least make a good-faith attempt at something sensible.

For more on the minimum wage, see this.

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-08-09  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Why libertarians are wrong about sex

by Greg Krehbiel on 8 August 2014

We are moving in a very libertarian and “individual rights” direction when it comes to sex and marriage. The prevailing attitude today seems to be something like “What right does anybody else have to tell me who I can have sex with, or marry?”

This attitude has changed during my lifetime. When I was younger, most people didn’t seem to be bothered by the idea that society had rules about such things, the most fundamental rule being that sex was reserved to marriage. Not everybody followed that rule, but they recognized it as a reasonable thing and they regarded it as legitimate for society to impose.

That attitude has changed. Now many people think government has no business in the bedroom. I think that is a dangerous shift in public attitude.

A guy who blogs under the name Dalrock likes to say that the old rule was that marriage is the proper context for romantic love and sex, but the new rule is that romantic love is the context for sex and marriage. I think that’s a helpful way to look at the topic. It explains a lot of the issues in dispute between traditional and modern ideas about sex.

I find it interesting to note how the context has changed from the objective and orderly — i.e., marriage, which is a public institution — to the subjective and personal — i.e., romantic love. This explains the attitude I mentioned above. To the modern person, nobody has the right to tell you what to do sexually because the only moral context for sex is your feelings.

This is a very un-civilizing influence.

Civilization requires us to give up certain rights so that we can live together in peace. For example, you give up your right to take your own revenge and submit to the court system. It’s not that there’s anything inherently immoral about taking your own revenge. If you lived in a lawless area of the world, that’s exactly what you would have to do. But when civilization moves to town you yield that right to the sheriff and the judge, because in a civilized world, the proper context for justice is a courthouse.

If we were to apply the modern ideas about sex to justice, the attitude might be something like “What right does anybody else have to tell me how to take revenge on the guy who killed my sister?”

We rightly reject such an attitude. If everybody took their own revenge we’d have anarchy.

We all recognize there are certain things a society needs to control if it wants to be functional and stable. Revenge is clearly one of them. Society also has to control other things, like money and the distribution of property.

I think sex is one of those things society has to control.

I know that sounds crazy because we’re so used to hearing people say things like “get the government out of the bedroom.” But even in today’s messed up, libertine world, the government still has some say in sex. Prostitution is still illegal. Rape is considered more serious than just beating somebody up. We have rules about what constitutes sexual consent. Adultery is still a matter for the courts in some situations. We don’t allow public nakedness or lewd conduct. And … men and women still go into separate bathroom facilities.

The culture has an interest in sex for the very obvious reason that the future of humanity depends on it. A stable culture has to have a stable population. It’s easy to think that “things will just work out,” but that’s simply not the case. Many countries have had to change their laws to encourage larger families, and some countries (like Japan) are having a big problem with a dearth of marriages.

Civilization needs a steady supply of babies raised in stable families. If that breaks down, things get messed up in lots of ways.

For these reasons and others it’s entirely appropriate for a civilized country to impose restrictions on sex — if those restrictions are designed to maintain a stable family structure to produce and raise the next generation. It’s everybody’s business if we have too many children born to unwed mothers, or not enough men willing to father and raise children.

We have to break our attachment to pure individualism when it comes to sex. Yes, it is everybody else’s business if some type of behavior undermines the family structure.

I think it’s pretty obvious that the liberalizing policies of the last few decades have led directly to family breakdown, with immense costs to society. Many of those policies need to be reversed.

We have to get over this idea that sex is a private, personal thing. It absolutely is not. Just because we do it in private doesn’t make everything having to do with sex private. The things that drive the sexual marketplace and sexual behavior — i.e., things that push towards more or less legitimacy and stability — are just as much the business of the society as the maintenance of roads and the currency.

I agree with the Libertarians on a lot of things, but libertarians are wrong about sex. Government does have a role in controlling sexual behavior.

We need to rebuild the intellectual case for rules about sex. Civilization depends on it.

-- 16 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-08-08  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Guilty of assault until proven innocent

by Greg Krehbiel on 6 August 2014

I’ve seen a lot of talk recently about efforts to curb the alleged crisis of campus sexual assault, and most of the proposals leave the guy with almost no rights. He’s essentially guilty until proven innocent, he can’t face his accuser and he doesn’t get any due process rights. The tribunals are run by people with no competence in law — or, for that matter, in anything useful.

Colleges simply lack the necessary skills and tools to handle these sorts of cases, and sensible parents of accused students are suing universities for the kangaroo courts that have arisen to deal with this alleged crisis.

There’s an interesting discussion of options on this page: Four better ideas to fight campus sexual assault.

-- 1 comment  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-08-06  ::  Greg Krehbiel

The vast left-wing conspiracy?

by Greg Krehbiel on 6 August 2014

1,000-member secretive progressive journalist group uncovered

--  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-08-06  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Should men court women?

by Greg Krehbiel on 6 August 2014

The world has gone upside down. Men aren’t interested in dates, but in “hanging out.” Young men are indecisive towards women and uninterested in marriage — or, in many cases, in much of anything. Many young women would be properly called a word I won’t use here.

In the midst of all this there are calls for men to “man up” and court the women. You can see some of this here, and in the links from this post — Why SHOULD Men Court Women Again?

My answer is that men should not court women — on whom they are likely to waste their time, effort and money to no lasting benefit — they should court ladies. The relevant question is how to identify that rare creature, and the answer has to be (1) read enough about the problems with modern relationships to be able to spot signs of trouble, and (2) spend time talking to the girl so you can learn what she’s about. And by that I mean talking to her before anything gets started.

It’s perfectly natural for a man to be attracted to a woman by her looks, but in the mixed up modern-day world it’s probably more important than ever to be very careful about what you’re getting into and to make sure a relationship is on a steady foundation before hormones and such get you in deeper than you want to be. (See also my 50 Politically Incorrect Thoughts for Men.)

-- 7 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-08-06  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Does anybody feel safer with Obama?

by Greg Krehbiel on 6 August 2014

Some people thought that Barack Obama (the Chosen One) was destined to bring a new era of peace and tranquility to the world by the force of his immaculate personality, by the fact that he had some African descent, because he had grown up hearing the adhan (and found it beautiful), but mostly importantly by the simple fact that he was not George Bush.

The impact of his inherent goodness and radiant amazingness on the world was such a certain thing to some people that he won a Nobel Peace Prize — for doing absolutely nothing. Just for being him.

It was (to my mind) too stupid to believe back when it happened, but apparently some intelligent people actually fell for it.

There’s a recurring sickness that inflicts our culture from time to time. It’s the idea that a more “humble” foreign policy will lead to peace, and that the path to world peace is negotiation, empathy, understanding and compromise. This is one of the more dangerous delusions people can fall into. People who fall for this idea consistently fail to recognize that the bad actors in the world laugh at all that stuff. They’re deliriously happy that you want to negotiate, have empathy, understand them and compromise with them. Or talk about things.

There are people in the world who ask questions like “how many divisions does the pope have?”

There is peace in the world when there is order enforced at the end of a gun held by a man willing to use it. That’s an ugly truth, but it is still the truth.

The Muslims are not impressed that Obama was raised a Muslim. It astonishes me that anyone could think they would be. These are people who hate their own Muslim leaders because they’re not radical enough. Why would they trust a former Muslim who converted to Christianity? He’s an American infidel. To their mind he’s the worst kind of Muslim.

As for the rest of the world, Putin and the Chinese are not impressed with Obama’s “humility.” They don’t care if he’s humble. All they care about is whether he has the power to stop them as they pursue their goals, and whether he has the will to use that power.

In all these ways Obama has been an abject failure. He has projected weakness and the bad guys have taken advantage of it all over the globe.

ISTM Obama has been a disaster for the United States’ foreign policy, and therefore for the peace of the world, and it’s very hard for me to believe anyone thinks we are safer because of him.

-- 3 comments  ::  What do you think?  ::  2014-08-06  ::  Greg Krehbiel

2014-08-05 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
The science is settled!
2014-08-04 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Anyone who cites the 77 cent figure …
2014-08-02 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
“Crazies on the right”
2014-08-01 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
The next step in curbside recycling?
2014-08-01 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Put Brennan and Clapper in Guantanamo