They never lie about rape

So obviously, this didn’t happen:

The daughter of a church minister who made false allegations of rape against four separate men has been jailed for two years. Abigail Gibson, 22, made the “vile” claims against a work colleague, an ex-boyfriend, a stranger and even her father, Ian, who is a respected minister at a young offenders’ institute. One of her victims, Mark Berry, 26, had known Gibson for just two weeks after meeting her at a supermarket where they both worked. But when she learned he had complained to bosses about being bullied by one of her friends at the store, she set about trying to get him sacked.

I think that the penalty for knowingly bringing a false charge against someone should be the same as the false charge brings. Although of course in Cool Brittania these days, it’s entirely possible that two years in jail is the maximum penalty for rape.

Defeat becomes a probability

As I’ve been writing for the last three years, the neocons and warbangers have no idea what they’re talking about. They don’t know military history, they don’t understand military strategy and they don’t comprehend the likely outcomes of the actions they’ve been advocating. Why so many conservatives continue to pay attention to them and echo their demonstrably incorrect blathering is a mystery to me:

We have been getting it wrong in Iraq, says new US commander

President George W Bush faced fierce new criticism over his policy in Iraq yesterday as both military strategists and his new commander in the Middle East delivered negative assessments of America’s prospects of quelling violence in the war-torn country.

In a blow to Mr Bush’s latest attempt to seize back the initiative in Iraq after almost four years of violence, Adml William Fallon, his nominee to be the new head of Central Command in the Middle East, said that the Bush administration needed to be “more realistic” about its objectives and admitted that he had no way of defining victory in Iraq. He told a Senate confirmation hearing: “I don’t know what winning is.”

…. In a damning assessment of America’s record to date, he said: “Securing the stability of the country has been more difficult than anticipated. Our ability to correctly assess the political, economic and security situation in Iraq has been lacking.

“It seems pretty obvious to me that what we have been doing has not been working,” he said, adding that the US could not hope to win “militarily”.

So, here’s the new commander in the Middle East repeating the same thing I’ve been saying about the past strategy… I’ll be interested to see if all the neocons and Three Monkeys in the convervatariat admit that they’re wrong or not, or if all of their fans will hold them accountable. Somehow, I rather doubt it.

When one of the guys responsible for winning comes out and says “I don’t know what winning is”, you can be assured that not only will you not win, but you’ll be lucky if you can manage to avoid getting your head handed to you.

Don’t you military ignoramuses understand that this “triumph of the will” stuff won’t work any better for the USA than it did for Germany in WWII or the Arabs during the Arab-Israeli wars? Winning wars depends primarily on technological advantage and logistics, and in the current situation, our technology is of little use and the logistics are against us.

If China or Russia or even Turkey chose to weigh in with their sometime ally Iran in the next year or so, the US forces in Iraq would risk elimination without the resort to nuclear weapons. At this point, I’m not concerned about winning, whatever Admiral Fallon may eventually determine it to be, I’m starting to worry about extricating the troops successfully.

Blithely assuming that everyone who isn’t in will stay out is an error that has been made by more than one defeated combatant.

Meanwhile, Bane links to a letter from a soldier in an Iraqi ops center:

Know this, our soldiers will not quit. We win every battle, we hold any piece of ground that we want to take. Do not listen to those in Washington who influence events by dishonesty, manipulation and greed. Listen to your hearts and know that America is a winner. We will not accept defeat. Don’t be fooled by the news media who so dishonorably portrays one side of the story for gain and sensationalism. We are not losing, we are not running, the enemy is reeling and is scared….

I tell you, we are kicking ass here. It’s good to be on the offensive.”

These two messages demonstrate the difference between STRATEGY and TACTICS. It is entirely possible to kick non-stop ass, win every battle and still lose the war. Success is quite often the father of failure, and it takes strong mental discipline to be able to discern the point at which hitherto successful tactics are nevertheless leading one towards a failed strategy.

And the Lizard Queen smiled

RK sends us a link informing us that John Edwards’ campaign is officially doomed:

New Blogmaster
Amanda Marcotte in Diaries Feed of Amanda Marcotte’s Diary
1/30/2007 at 5:50 EST

This is both my first post to the Edwards blog and my announcement that I’m joining the presidential campaign for John Edwards for 2008. I’ll be taking over the job of Blogmaster (mistress?) over the course of the month of February.

Here’s a nice chance to compare political acumen. I’ve been asserting that Hillary Clinton has not only the nomination, but the election in the bag. Amynda obviously feels that John Edwards has a shot. Time will tell.

Of course, considering that the Edwards’ campaign will be saddled with the incomparable intellect that we’ve so often seen on display at Pandagon, it’s really not a fair test, is it.

The Nixon Seance

Merely the latest demonstration of why the Original Cyberpunk is the most undeservingly unappreciated science fiction writer today.

He was waiting there for me, in the good chair. “Hello, Bruce.”

“Hello, Mr. President.”

“Please, call me Dick.”

I tried to. I couldn’t. “Sorry, sir. I can’t. Even Jack Bauer would call you ‘Mr. President.'”

He frowned. “Jack who?”

“Never mind. It’s good to see you again, sir.”

If you haven’t been reading it, you’ve been missing out. Go catch up, right now.

Sanger + King = Peace Prize

The Fraters Libertas point out a bitter irony:

Woman’s Unborn Child Killed In Maplewood Assault

A 12-week-old unborn child was killed Sunday after an assault in Maplewood, Minn., according to authorities. The incident happened at an apartment building on the 1800 block of Beebe Road.

According to police, an 18-year-old woman was taken to St. John’s Hospital just after 11 a.m. The woman was about 12 weeks pregnant and miscarried at the hospital.

Since when is it illegal to kill an unborn child in Minnesota? It actually happened in this state more than 65,000 times over the four year period ending in 2004.

Since abortion is not murder, why should we not bring racial discrimination in America to an end forever by proactively aborting all insufficiently Caucasian fetuses? By bringing Saint Sanger’s dream together with Dr. Martin Luther King’s, we can realize total racial harmony in our lifetimes!

I await the Nobel Committee’s telephone call….

Mailvox: the intellectual autiste

Nienna finds her Dutch courage:

I will disagree with all your fan-boys on this one. (just guessing, but after years of reading comments in this blog, I know how they go.) I really do think a mark of intelligence is to make complex…ideas easy to understand. I’ve personally only had trouble understanding ONE sentance of one article and I told you which one it was. (Whether or not you read any of my silly ramblings is another story).

But now, I’m drunk enough to actually say “I disagree!” I empathise with all those who can’t understand you. After all, I really believe that your ideas are relevant to our society and ah..*could* make a difference. Sure, you may say “But only an X amount of people read my drivel.” To which the answer is, of course, that people influence each other. That, and what’s the point of writing an article if only I dunno..I’ll make up a number…%5 of the population can understand it? I’m actually currious on this one.

It seems the ever-inebriated Aussie has started a new trend here…. Anyhow, the short answer is: you are obviously confusing me with someone who gives a damn.

I don’t believe that my writing is particularly difficult for anyone with reasonable intelligence to follow, although I will admit that my more iconoclastic ideas can sometimes be difficult to contemplate upon one’s initial exposure to them. I suspect it’s unfamiliarity with ideological commentary taking place outside of the Rep-Dem kabuki box that is the real source of the difficulty for most people. The Republican hears “pull out of Iraq”, the Democrat hears “women shouldn’t vote” and their brains shut down as their knee-jerk reactions kick in.

I disagree about intelligence being concerned with making the complex easy for the non-intelligent to understand. That is a third-rate intelligence, of which Richard Dawkins is a fine example. A first-rate intelligence creates, a second-rate intelligence synthesizes, a third-rate intelligence popularizes. That’s why most successful businessmen, while brighter than the norm, are seldom the most intelligent.

The evidence tends to suggest that I am a second-rate intelligence, furthermore, popularizing ideas is not why I write. Writing is essentially a selfish act, an arrogant act, mine is merely a little more openly so than most. I write because it amuses me, because it occupies me and because without writing it out, I cannot properly articulate my thinking. An extremely intelligent and half-insane college girlfriend – she ended up requiring psychiatric hospitalization – once said something to one of her friends that made a great impression on me: “Great thoughts floating through your head are nothing more than feelings, until you articulate them and prove their existence.”

Now, imagine living in a world where nearly everyone else, nine out of ten, has an extra chromosome and are moderately retarded. And then imagine that of the remaining ten percent, nine out of ten have been voluntarily lobotomized in order to better fit in with the retards. How much interaction could you bear to have with them, how much effort would you devote to make them understand what you are thinking? How much pleasure would you derive from interacting with them at all?

This may sound frighteningly arrogant, of course, but it’s not as if I had no reason to essentially withdraw from the world before I turned 25. I vastly prefer to keep the moronic world at arms length, even so, one can’t escape it entirely; it’s somewhat annoying to be considered a mediocre fantasy novelist when it’s possible that “The Wrath of Angels” might even be considered a brilliant work of social commentary if there were readers capable of grasping that the religious fantasy is only a thin veil over the real story.

(And no, I’m not going to spell things out, there are enough blatant hints right there in the text. There’s no humour in a joke explained.)

It may not, in fact, be brilliant, and certainly the world is knee-deep in whiny artistes who consider themselves misunderstood and underappreciated, but the truth is that a verdict can’t be rendered one way or another by those who are demonstrably unable to even begin to consider the question. After all, you can’t argue that Calvino is a better writer than Battistelli if you don’t read Italian.

Still, it is rewarding when a Starwind reminds me that no one is beyond the need to double-check the historical record, when a Jefferson demonstrates that not all atheists are closed-minded, insufferable prigs and when I see an individual who previously couldn’t argue his way out of a paper bag using Ockham’s Razor to slice and dice an interlocutor.

So, Nienna, please simply regard me as intellectually autistic, take the columns for whatever they happen to be worth to you and don’t worry about it. If you wish, if you believe there is some benefit to the ideas I am expressing, feel free to provide appropriately dumbed-down, kabuki-boxed translations on your blog for the Three Monkey crowd.

Can’t say I blame them

Larry Kudlow is appalled by the unwillingness of American college students to fight for their country:

According to a Family Security poll, one thousand college students across the country were asked whether they’d consider joining the armed services if America went to war. (We’re talking every region here—not just small, liberal arts colleges in New England with crummy football teams…)

Get this: Men came in at 14 percent with women at 40 percent—basically a 3 to 1 margin.

Why should he be surprised when his fellow member of the conservatoriat, Ben Shapiro, can’t be bothered to sign up for what he constantly tells us is a vital war to defend America.

I certainly wouldn’t lift a finger to defend this government myself. I couldn’t help but notice that when Newt Gingrich was trying to scare Americans about what Iran could do with just three nuclear weapons, he didn’t dare mention New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Washington DC, but instead talked about Boston and Atlanta.

No doubt Newt was afraid that if he had, a substantial minority of Americans would react by demanding that we supply Ahmadinejad with the nukes, the missiles and a cash incentive based on completion percentage.

Good on paper

But if they scored on one’s actual life, I don’t think I’d do quite so well. Result of Quiz :: Which religion is the right one for you?

You scored as Christianity.

100% Christianity
063% agnosticism
046% Judaism
038% Buddhism
021% Hinduism
013% Satanism
013% Paganism
008% Islam
000% atheism

I suppose this may explain why my writing appears to be rather better received by agnostics than atheists. Although I suppose it would also help if I would stop kicking their heroes in the teeth.

First the book, then the movie

I submitted my proposal for “The Irrational Atheist” to the publisher last night, so we’ll have to wait and see if they decide to do it or not. Those of you who enjoy my lean, stripped-down prose will no doubt be amused to note that at 16,612 words, the two-chapter proposal clocks in just 10 percent shorter than Sam Harris’ recent book… or pamphlet, as I prefer to call it.

Here’s a brief sample from Chapter IV, which is titled Sam Tzu and the Art of War:

From “The Irrational Atheist” by Vox Day
copyright (c) 2007
All rights reserved

The conflict in Palestine is primarily ethnic, not religious. Atheist Jews, who represent 22.9 percent(15) of the Israeli population, are targeted by their Arab enemies as readily as the ultra-Orthodox. (Another 21 percent call themselves secular and do not practice any religion, but nevertheless profess to believe in God.) Moreover, the violence in Palestine began with the secular Zionists attacking the Christian British.

In Sri Lanka, the political divide is linguistic, not religious. Tamil-speaking Hindus and Christians are allied against Sinhalese-speaking Buddhists and Muslims. The government’s main rival, the revolutionary Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, are secular Marxists seeking political independence for a Tamil-speaking state. The LTTE’s own Internet FAQ settles the matter conclusively, stating in no uncertain terms that the Tamil Tigers are not a religious organization.(16)

To list the many historical counterexamples that disprove Harris’ contention would require a book of its own, but a short list of territorial conflicts between co-religionists would have to include the Roman wars of the Italian peninsula, the Renaissance wars of the Italian city-states, the wars of the Greek city-states, the wars of the petty German principalities, the eleven Russo-Swedish wars, the English Wars of the Roses, in short, nearly the entire history of European warfare(17). It is simply not true that most conflicts which “seem entirely driven by territorial concerns” are “often deeply rooted in religion”. They almost never are.

For as Jared Diamond, the author of the award-winning “Guns, Germs, and Steel”, informs us, territorial conflicts are predominantly rooted in geography, not religion. To suggest otherwise would be to eviscerate his Nobel Prize-worthy explanation for how Europe’s technological development managed to leapfrog that of China during the fifteenth century, as it was European political disunity created by geography that prevented the centralized stasis which left a backward-looking China mired in the past.

“Hence the real problem in understanding China’s loss of political and technological preeminence to Europe is to understand China’s chronic unity and Europe’s chronic disunity. The answer is again suggested by maps. Europe has a highly indented coastline, with five large peninsulas that approach islands in their isloation, and all of which evolved independent languages, ethnic groups and governments…. Europe is carved up into independent linguistic, ethnic, and political units by high mountains (the Alps, Pyrenees, Carpathians, and Norwegian border mountains), while China’s mountains east of the Tibetan plateau are much less formidable barriers…. Unlike China, Europe has many small core areas, none big enough to dominate the others for long, and each the center of chronically independent states.”(18)

In a continent with only four religions or religious denominations of note in 1400,(19) Europe was divided into over 1,000 independent political states.(20) This number was reduced by half only one hundred and seventeen years later, at the start of the Protestant Reformation. And while there was certainly an amount of violent interdenominational Christian conflict during the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, it is difficult to imagine that even with the increase in the amount of potential religious conflict, more wars took place than occurred during a century wherein half of the political entities disappeared, swallowed up by their larger, more powerful neighbors.

Indeed, the contrast between the largely peaceful spread of Christianity throughout the continent of Europe with the violent migratory invasions that wracked it from 300 to 700 AD as the Goths, Vandals and Franks moved westward, later followed by the Slavs, Alans, Avars, Bulgars, Hungarians, Pechenegs and Tatars, underlines the fundamental absence of historical support for Harris’ assertion.

(15) Shmuel Neeman Institute for Advanced Study in Science and Technology, Haifa.
(16) “Is the LTTE a religious organization? No. Most members of the LTTE are Hindus however there are many members who are Christian. The LTTE does not have religious motivation for fighting against the government of Sri Lanka. The theoretician for the LTTE and one of the founding members is Anton Balasingham, who is a Christian.” (2006)
(17) I shall concede the Thirty Years War and the eight French Huegenot Wars, and, in an ecumenical spirit of generosity, exclude the Peasant’s War and the English Civil Wars from my list of counterexamples.
(18) Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel (1999), 413.
(19) Catholic Christianity, Orthodox Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses in 1517.
(20) Diamond, 412.

Mailvox: so very Bright

AF demonstrates that superior atheist intellect, education and devotion to empirical evidence:

Rather than rant for ten minutes about your entire entirely wrong article titled “the irrational atheist” I wanted to share with you one statistic in response to the extract from your article below.

The irrationality of the atheist can primarily be seen in his actions – and it is here that the cowardice of his intellectual convictions is also exposed. Whereas Christians and the faithful of other religions have good reason for attempting to live by the Golden Rule – they are commanded to do so – the atheist does not.

In fact, such ethics, as well as the morality that underlies them, are nothing more than man-made myth to the atheist. Nevertheless, he usually seeks to live by them when they are convenient, and there are even those, who, despite their faithlessness, do a better job of living by the tenets of religion than those who actually subscribe to them.

Still, even the most admirable of atheists is nothing more than a moral parasite, living his life based on borrowed ethics. This is why, when pressed, the atheist will often attempt to hide his lack of conviction in his own beliefs behind some poorly formulated utilitarianism, or argue that he acts out of altruistic self-interest. But this is only post-facto rationalization, not reason or rational behavior.

Clearly you are implying that most Atheists adopt morally loose behavior because they are not required by God to uphold values like not steeling. The statistic I want to share with you is simple, true, and not exaggerated. It is that Christians are at least 50 times more likely to go to prison than Atheists. Where did I get this statistic? The Federal Bureau of Prisons. It was also confirmed by numerous other websites on the internet.

Actually, I’m outright asserting the opposite, that most atheists do not engage in morally loose behavior because they do not have the courage of their convictions, instead they adopt the morality of the society around them and modify it slightly at their convenience.

As for the silly “50 times more likely to go to prison” claim, I have personally debunked this with regards to the British population. Regarding the American statistics, that too is demonstrably false:

“According to the DOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics (National Census of the Jail Population 12/31/95), while 72% affirmed affiliation with religious institutions (determined through answers to the question on “Religious Background” on the Penal entrance form) only 54% of Federal and State Prisoners actually consider themselves religious, and 33% can be confirmed to be practicing their religion.”

Some atheists just don’t mind lying. Of course, why shouldn’t they lie whenever it suits their momentary purpose? It’s not as if there is any moral code to which they are rationally bound.

And if atheists are so intelligent, why do so many of them rely on information that is demonstrably false?