Sunday, September 22, 2002
VARENIUS ON HOLIDAY
I'm going on vacation to northern California, so there won't be any entries here for a week or so. (I'm not one of those hard-core blog on the road types!) Will try to blog on something other than communism when I come back... :)
Thursday, September 19, 2002
A COMMUNIST BRAZIL? REDUX
Enter Stage Right recently provided a two-part article on the possible election of a Marxist president in Brazil that I blogged about previously. The first article explores the situation and the key players in the upcoming election, and the second discusses the implications of a win by the Marxist da Silva for the US.
As the author points out, Washington seems to be basically ignoring the issue, presumably due to the understandable emphasis on the War on Terror. Part of it too is that even those who should know better have tended to discount the threat of communism since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the "marketization" of mainland China. This is foolhardy because even though here in the West communism is thoroughly discredited (at least outside of academia!) it still is the guiding ideology in several nations and the inspiration for many would-be revolutionaries around the world. The need to remind people of this is one of the reasons my blog entries so often deal with communism and related issues.
Wednesday, September 18, 2002
IRAQ AND NEO-ABSOLUTIST WARFARE
Norwegian Blogger has an excellent piece on how Hussein may respond with Weapons of Mass Destruction to the upcoming invasion. His points about the use of human shields and how Hussein may try to provoke the U.S. into a nuclear response in hopes of shattering the coalition remind me very strongly of an essay that has frequently been on my mind since the 9/11 attacks: Sometimes the Dragon Wins by Col. Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., USAF. I came across this essay, written in 1996, while researching the U.S. military's pilot programs for integrating cutting-edge information technologies into its hardware and tactics (such as Force XXI). Col. Dunlap's thoughts on "neo-absolutist warfare" were a much-needed antidote to the naively giddy attitude of the time that information technology would ensure unquestionable victory with trivial losses to our side against any likely foe. Dunlap argues that, to the contrary, these technologies may empower even non-Western opponents in unexpected ways that dissolve the military advantages we have over them. Among other things, he proposes they will use the global media to manipulate public opinion (especially exploiting the West's aversion to casualties through spectacular brutality), telecommunications to allow a dispersal of combatants/belligerents, and low-tech ways of circumventing our high-tech capabilities... which is exactly what we have seen al-Qaeda and associated groups/countries doing. (Can't get a missile? Use an airliner instead!) Well worth reading.
Tuesday, September 17, 2002
VEGETARIAN NO MORE
This item on the trend of vegetarians returning to meat eating caught my eye, but I was disappointed to find it virtually ignored what I consider to be the real story. The reasons given by the people quoted all boil down to their lack of discipline in maintaining a strict vegetarian diet -- they decided that their diets were too boring and meat was too appealing to continue. What the article fails to mention is that many people make this switch for health reasons. As the excellent site Beyond Vegetarianism (by former and current vegetarians) illustrates so well, many people find that their health and well-being suffer on a vegetarian diet, and improve once they reintroduce animal products. And articles such as this one document the shortcomings of a vegetarian diet and the misunderstandings involved in its promotion. The bottom line is that certain nutrients are difficult and others impossible to obtain from a non-meat diet, and this is becoming increasingly acknowledged.
The Dangers of Soy
Another harmful aspect of the typical vegetarian diet is its heavy reliance on soybean-derived products (especially tofu). With soy being promoted as healthy and added in one form or another to almost every processed food, it's startling to discover that soy contains many toxins that cannot be fully removed by processing. And the phytoestrogens in soy that are praised for their health benefits? While based on my readings they may have some benefits for post-menopausal women, for everyone else phytoestrogens disrupt the body's endocrine system. Vegetarians need to be especially aware of these dangers since, using soy products as an all-around replacement for animal products, they consume far, far more than the relatively small amounts consumed by Asian populations on whom all the claims for supposed benefits are based.
Monday, September 16, 2002
REFLECTIONS ON THE REFLECTIONS
or, Edmund Burke ROCKS!
During my time away from the blog, I finally finished reading Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France. I'm left with just one question: Why didn't I read this sooner?!! I can't recommend it highly enough for anyone with conservative leanings (and most especially for those without!).
What is so outstanding about Burke is how he so clearly outlines the foundation of conservative thought: A mature awareness of human nature, good and bad, allied with an acknowledgment of the limitations of government and an appreciation of the lessons that the past has to teach us. It was all of this that Burke saw the French Revolution disregarding, with its leaders preferring to base their plans on pure theory rather than experience, and bloodily chopping the world to fit that theory wherever there was a mismatch. He explores all of this in amazingly insightful point after amazingly insightful point, with a richness I've only seen from G.K. Chesterton before this. So stop reading my review this instant and go read Burke instead!!!
LATEST MARXIST FOLLIES
"Premature Antifascism" A Myth
A favorite pastime among hard-core Leftists is the idolization of the American volunteers in the communist-led International Brigades of the Spanish Civil War. Part of this has been portraying them as victims of the oppressively paranoid USA, whose government blacklisted them as "premature antifascists" which led to their being discriminated against in the war effort of the 1940s. Well, an article by Harvey Klehr now shows that the historical evidence for this simply is not there. But don't expect a revision of the pertinent section of The Encyclopedia of the American Left any time soon...
THE BLOGGER RETURNS!
I'm finally back, folks. I've been caught up in other things and had some computer problems, but am back to blogging now.
Can anyone answer this question, though: Is there any real difference between Windows XP and 2000, other than XP's cheesy Lego-style interface? Now that I've upgraded due to nebulous but strident insistence by the network admin, I don't see what the point is...