911: more conspiracies

from the WSJ:
CAIRO, Egypt -- Osama bin Laden's chief deputy in an audiotape Tuesday accused Shiite Iran of trying to discredit the Sunni al Qaeda terror network by spreading the conspiracy theory that Israel was behind the Sept. 11 attacks.

As seen below, the ONN has it dead on regarding AlQaeda's response to it being discredited for 911.


Trigger Happy

From the WSJ
According to the 2006 General Social Survey, which has tracked gun ownership since 1973, 34% of American homes have guns in them. This statistic is sure to surprise many people in cities like San Francisco – as it did me when I first encountered it. (Growing up in Seattle, I knew nobody who owned a gun.)

Who are all these gun owners? Are they the uneducated poor, left behind? It turns out they have the same level of formal education as nongun owners, on average. Furthermore, they earn 32% more per year than nonowners. Americans with guns are neither a small nor downtrodden group.

Nor are they "bitter." In 2006, 36% of gun owners said they were "very happy," while 9% were "not too happy." Meanwhile, only 30% of people without guns were very happy, and 16% were not too happy.

In 1996, gun owners spent about 15% less of their time than nonowners feeling "outraged at something somebody had done." It's easy enough in certain precincts to caricature armed Americans as an angry and miserable fringe group. But it just isn't true. The data say that the people in the approximately 40 million American households with guns are generally happier than those people in households that don't have guns.

The gun-owning happiness gap exists on both sides of the political aisle. Gun-owning Republicans are more likely than nonowning Republicans to be very happy (46% to 37%). Democrats with guns are slightly likelier than Democrats without guns to be very happy as well (32% to 29%). Similarly, holding income constant, one still finds that gun owners are happiest.

Not quite clinging or bitter.


War: Quotation Therapy

““Pacifism and Prussianism [militarism] are always in alliance, by a fatal logic far beyond any conscious conspiracy.”
“That all war is physically frightful is obvious; but if that were a moral verdict there would be no difference between a torturer and a surgeon.”

-G. K. Chesterton
(HT Michael W. Perry)

The first quote is particularly fascinating, in that does the rejection of aggression increases the risk of aggression against you? Probably not, but the correlary certainly is false. Just do because you reject aggression does not mean aggression will not visit you. Rejection is a conceptual/abstract/state of mind. Aggression is an actual physical act. There is a huge chasm between a thought and an act. None of us can wish things into being.

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

–John Stuart Mill


Free Trade: Colombia

While this article primarily focus on the free trade pact with the US, it also reveals the significant socio-political progress of Colombia from a near-fail state besieged by leftist guerrilas and the Medellin drug cartel.

Given the progress made, I think a Free Trade agreement has tremendous potential to support continued economic progress in Colombia. Thus it is shameful not to even vote on the agreement just because this is an election year. The elected leaders, Democrats in particular, who refused to put this to a vote act like cowards without integrity.


NeoModernism: question & answer

Question posed by Shoegirls
Btw, this contradicts itself and doesn't make sense:
"Neomodernism is a philosophical position based on modernism but addressing the critique of modernism by postmodernism, namely that universalism and critical thinking are the two essential elements of human rights and that human rights create a superiority of some cultures over others. Hence equality and relativism are "mutually contradictory". Thus NeoModernism has a moral code."

Are you stating that universalism creates equality, or denies it? I can only assume you subscrbe to the universal ethic, as you subscribe to postmodernism. However, your statement above seems to confuse the issue with the added nature of equality. So, which is it, and, how does universalism or relativism subjugate equality?

Modernism is re-analysis and rejection of all that is to build anew and better.
Postmodernism believes that the result of modernism, what is new and better, is erroneous because new and better can only exist in reference to what was, and a total rejection of what was means it cannot be used a reference. Once you reject the reference point, all becomes universal and relative. Without reference point, or if each is its own reference point, all are then equal.
But if all is relative, then where is morality?

I believe that culture is like the clothes we wear. It suggests who and what we are but cannot define us. What defines us is our biology as human being, living, emotive, and contemplative. That universality of morality has to be based in our biology. Thus culture cannot be a reference point for our morality (which seeks to define how we should interact with each other).