Orlet seems to forget that, rather than "ignoring" deniers, I wrote a book which was a scathing attack on them and then devoted six years to fighting the leading denier, David Irving. I did so, despite being urged by many people not to do so. I did not say the laws should not apply to Irving. I said three months in jail is enough. Any more time will turn him into the martyr he so craves to be.
Orlet has yet to explain how he could compare someone who spent a lot of time and energy fighting Irving to a Chamberlain-like figure.
His comparison of me with Chomsky also falls flat. As Edward Alexander, who has never been mistaken for a Leftist, writes in Commentary magazine (hardly a Leftist outlet):
Although Lipstadt assigns considerable blame to Chomsky for his "Voltairean" defense of the Nazis' right to free speech, she does not follow him down the winding path whereby he has moved deeper and deeper into the revisionist morass, arguing, first, that denial of the Holocaust is no evidence of antisemitism, and second, in a truly spectacular example of tu quoque, that anyone who says the Jews alone were singled out by Hitler for total annihilation is involved in "pro-Nazi apologetics."
If Orlet wants to attack those on the left he should not use the issue of Holocaust denial as an excuse to do so.
-- Deborah E. Lipstadt, Ph.D.
Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies
Rabbi Donald Tam Institute for Jewish Studies, Director
Christopher Orlet replies:
Prof. Lipstadt does seem to be in favor of ignoring at least one accused Holocaust denier when she says "let him [David Irving] fade from everyone's radar screens." And "Let him fade into obscurity where he belongs." Isn't that the same as saying "just ignore him"?
Last, I'm not sure how letting Mr. Irving off before his Feb. 20 trial (let alone conviction) can be construed as applying the law to him. That said, I applaud Prof. Lipstadt for her life's work of unmasking cads like Irving and bringing this important issue to the world's attention.
SENT AND RESENT
Re: Mark Gauvreau Judge's March of the Resenters:
Thanks for an enlightening article. I had never credited the rabble I see on the local evening news as being fueled by anything as brain-straining as resentment. I call them Rebels Without a Pause, moving from one gathering of "bought and paid for" rage to another. Just look at them. You know they did not get there by shelling out their own money for bus, train or plane fare. They are Rent-a-Mobs, pure and simple. We have ads in our local throwaway papers offering "employment" to protesters. You don't have to have an emotional or political or ideological investment. All you need is nothing better to do. They attend protest rallies like they used to go to open air rock concerts.
As for the rest of us, the Silent Majority -- that is a misnomer. We are the Busy Majority. We work. We tend to our families, our communities, and most of all we mind our own business, not foisting our personal beliefs on others. That would be the silent part. Some call it apathy. I call it keeping our priorities straight. However strongly we might feel about backing the war in Iraq or George Bush or anti-abortion, how many of us would or could take time off from work, fly to D.C., and risk getting who-knows-what thrown at us by anti-war scum, just for believing we are entitled to voice our opinions, too? They are anti-war conducted by our military but enthusiastically endorse it in the streets, with rocks, bottles, feces -- all in the name of peaceful protest.
When you reflect on it, what difference has any over-estimated (in numbers as well as importance) march ever made -- except to the beleaguered sanitation crews in over-time after the brawl is over? Who gives a soft yawn? Who is persuaded or converted? I'm not.
-- Diane Smith
South San Francisco, California
Mr. Judge takes a far more intellectual route to explaining the behavior of those engaged in "protest culture." My simple theory has always been that they are products of a childhood trauma known as not having been picked for the dodge ball team. You see manifestations of this not only in those that bang pots and sloganeer such famous hits as, "Bush lied, people died" or "hey, hey, ho, ho, Western civ has got to go." The yelling, screaming and tantrum throwing seem to be a cry for attention and an uncomfortable demand for affirmation. I have also noticed that these people often end up as the head of the condominium association. You know the type -- they are always first to turn up at your door when your Christmas decorations are violating the condo code. Now it would not be fair to tar all those who suffered the post-traumatic stress of group non-selection rejection syndrome. Some come through it quite well -- it's called getting over yourself.
-- Ron Pettengill
London, United Kingdom
Re: Jay D. Homnick's Jilted Souter:
What a brilliant grassroots response to such a judicial travesty: make Justice David Souter live under the merits of his own horrendous Kelo decision! I wish Mr. Clements and his cohorts all the best.
Sadly, none of this would have come about if not for Souter, who either lied his way onto the Supreme Court, or had an epiphany sometime between his Senate confirmation and swearing in as an Associate Justice, that it's cool to be a RINO (Republican in name only).
Is that a slander on my part? Well, keep in mind that when he was asked, during his Senate confirmation hearings, which Justice he would most resemble, he answered John Harlan -- the lone conservative on the liberal Warren court in the 1950s. In addition, President George H.W. Bush's chief of Staff, John Sununu, declared that Souter on the Supreme Court would be a "slam dunk" for conservatives.
But once he was on the court, whom did he suddenly resemble? None other than Earl Warren!
So, what to do with David Souter? I recommend that he and his four colleagues who concurred in the Kelo decision be forced to read The Federalist Papers; in particular, where Alexander Hamilton famously declared the judiciary to be "the least dangerous" of our three branches of government. Sadly, like many law students today, it is very possible that none of them ever had to read these documents, which are so crucial to understanding what the Constitution is all about. Is it then, any wonder, that they would reach such a horrendous conclusion as the one they did in Kelo?
Justice Souter could also get out of his ivory tower once in a while, and meet some regular folks who, unlike him, are directly affected by his written opinions. Of course, should Mr. Clements succeed in his plans, Souter may soon learn that what goes around, comes around. In this case, that would be the greatest justice of all.
-- Greg Hoadley
Boca Raton, Florida
The Dallas Cowboys, America's team, are going after property to build a new stadium. This is going on more often than most people think and it needs to STOP. Someone should go after the homes of each of the "justices" that voted for this awful decision.
-- Elaine Kyle
TARGET THE SOURCE
Re: Daniel Allott's The Abortion Effect:
If Mr. Allott believes that Congress needs to spend $15 million to study post-abortion depression, then we (the taxpayers) should add another $15 million to study depression among conservatives caused by the first expenditure. Arguing that we need to determine whether psychological "undue burden" is placed on women who've had abortions is like suggesting that we conduct research into the emotional suffering of orphans who murdered their parents.
Isn't it the primary behavior that needs to be treated, and not the resulting distress? I understand the reasoning behind attempting to connect abortion with long-term heath consequences but if you find nothing objectionable about killing an unborn infant, the prospect of stopping abortions now to avoid emotional health problems in the future is unlikely. A single line in the article, easily missed, predicts the real outcome of such a study; more money spent on mental health treatment programs after an abortion.
In other words, taxpayers will be unduly burdened with helping women feel better about their decision to have an abortion.
-- Tom Cook
Raleigh, North Carolina
Daniel Allott's article about depression is important, yet I find it interesting that judge's and liberal Democrats seem so uninterested in the physical risks that adolescent girls face when procuring abortions without their parent's knowledge.
Have a look at this article in which Slava V. Gaufberg, MD, FACEP, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, lists many complications that a parent might want to be aware of when their daughter returns from the abortion clinic.
Among them, according to Dr. Gaufberg:
"Accidental intravascular injection of anesthetic, Cervical shock, Postabortion triad: Pain, bleeding, and low-grade fevers...usually... caused by retained products of conception. ... hemorrhage during or after abortion may signify uterine atony, cervical laceration, uterine perforation...."
Dr. Gaufberg's list continues on, but for a short list, Google emergency "abortion medically indicated" which returns one, and only one, result -- a plaintiff's brief (ACLU included, of course) to the Supreme Court of Florida, Case No. SC00-989. (It is viewable here: here, but I'll summarize: an abortion is medically necessary if the abortionist says so.)
It seems that an abortion is much more likely to cause a medical emergency than to alleviate one. So, if your daughter wakes up with a slight fever and cramps, think twice before you send her off -- you might be called to the principal's office to approve a dose of aspirin, or to the hospital, which will require your parental consent, as opposed to notification, for an emergency hysterectomy.
-- Dan Martin
I've yet to read anything about all of the abortions that women had that they did NOT want.
I know four women who have had abortions, one being my own mother and none of these women WANTED the abortion. They were all pressured by the father of the unborn child or in my mother's case by my father who did not want another child.
I know of no women who have had abortions that did so without pressure from another. One has to wonder how many children have been aborted BECAUSE it is legal to do so and further more how many children would have been born had abortion been illegal.
I would wager that more would be born than not. It's my belief that a women naturally and maternally wants to bear children but with outside pressure how many do you think do not?
This isn't what you will ever hear, that a woman was pressured to have an abortion because if a person states that the reason she wants the abortion is because "her boyfriend told her to" or her husband told her to" or her parents are making her" or her grandparents, stepparents, foster parents" told her to the clinic would not do the procedure.
Therefore, the number of abortions performed cannot be gauged by how many were done solely because the women 1. Wanted the procedure and 2. Had the right to.
Only, the number of abortions can be measured. In my case, 100 percent of the abortions I am aware of, were the result of pressure and would not have been possible had abortion been illegal.
And in all four the women wanted the child and in all four cases they had babies later in life.
I think a lot could be said about this.
-- Rick Anderson
Daniel Allott replies:
Rick: You are right. Many women feel pressured, to one degree or another, into having abortions, whether by husbands, boyfriends or parents. Most abortions are performed on women under the age of 25, and these women are often influenced by their parents. Anyone who has ever worked with young women with crisis pregnancies knows that it is quite often the girl's mother who is most vehement about her getting the abortion.
Dan: Yes, the physical effects can be quite devastating, too. And the long-term physical effects (such as breast cancer) are just starting to be acknowledged as millions of post-Roe women who aborted reach midlife.
Tom: The point is not to make women feel better about their abortions. (Our entire culture already does that.) It is to scientifically prove what to many is intuitive: that aborting one's child has serious emotional consequences. The treatment programs would not justify the act but rather help the mother understand the pain and, hopefully, bring her to a point where she will not want to abort again.
Re: James G. Poulos's Neither/Nor: Higher Education in America:
Wouldn't it be enlightening to know the breakdown of performance by academic major? I suspect our colleges' students are more competent when we exclude education majors. I'd also like to know the current breakdown of college majors nationwide.
-- Bill Klotzbucher
What is left out of Poulos's analysis is anything about the extraordinary decline in the quality of medical education in this country. While many agree on the current deterioration of public school education, and some even acknowledge the declining standards in American colleges, there is pitifully little recognition of what's happening in our medical schools. Somehow, most seem to believe that the production of medical doctors is magically immune from the educational rot in our public schools and in the typical college. This view is very flawed and all of us in the present generation -- as well as the next, if nothing is done -- are and will be paying for it dearly.
I can't address this issue comprehensively here, but will make a few illustrative points about medical education today.
1. No longer are our medical schools attracting the best young minds of college graduates. The brainiest are opting for careers in physics, mathematics, law, and business. The medical college admission test has been substantially watered down to permit the admission of less-qualified students.
2. The traditional medical school basic science departments [microbiology, pharmacology, physiology, etc.] are being amalgamated into inferior but glitzy sounding superdepartments such as "molecular medicine," "cancer centers," "neuromedicine institutes," etc. led by clinician-administrators rather than basic scientists, and organized specifically to attract big bucks to a medical school megacenter team rather than encouraging individual research by brilliant investigators, i.e. the traditional avenue which made American medicine great for nearly a century.
3. Grading of students has long since become almost meaningless, as it is in most colleges today, thus making it very difficult for truly outstanding students to be identified as promising recruits by the best hospital residency training programs and by the strongest Ph.D. training programs.
4. The residency programs themselves have been greatly watered down, as union laws and other constraints act to reduce the time and commitment of many resident-trainees.
5. The National Institutes of Health and other federal medical research funding agencies have become colossal bureaucracies, far removed from patients with disease and from the concerns of researchers with cogent ideas for treatment and prevention.
I very much wish that Poulos and other educational writers would begin to address some of these concerns!
-- Irving I. Kessler M.D., Ph.D.
This problem is not new. It goes back at least as far as ancient Rome: "We waste our efforts on the inane. We are educated not for life but for the classroom." -- Seneca (AD 5-65).
The lack of science and math requirements in education (especially higher education) is nothing short of criminal. As proof, contrast what UCLA's School Of Engineering and its School of the Arts and Architecture require: ALL engineering majors MUST complete SIX courses in humanities, TWO of which must be UPPER DIVISION. Meanwhile over at UCLA's School of the Arts and Architecture, there is ONLY ONE LOWER DIVISION math course requirement and NO physics requirement. The lone math requirement can be satisfied by what appears to be a high school level course, or "An SAT I mathematics score of 600 or better or an SAT II Subject Test in Mathematics score of 550 or better also meets this requirement." There doesn't appear to be a similar ENGLISH SAT score for Engineering/Science majors that meet their major's humanities requirement(s).
I believe this problem is a result of the academy's snobbish attitude toward the "trades." The burning question when I was in college in the early '60s was, "Should we educate students, or train them to do a job?" This phenomenon was also observed when the original British code-breakers in WW-II were recruited from "proper young men who studied Greek and Latin." The later-recruited mathematician and physicist code-breakers were looked down upon as "tradesmen" by the rest of the "educated" aristocratic officer corps, but they got the job done. (Battle of Wits by Stephen Budiansky)
From the "burning question" above, I detected then a definite hate/envy of the sciences by the liberal arts departments, perhaps because technology has done more to better the human condition in only the last 100 years than the liberal arts that has done virtually nothing to compare. (See "The Science Haters" by James D. Miller.) In my engineering career, I used about 20 percent of my engineering training; how much do you think I used my ability to analyze a Thomas Hardy novel?
These liberal arts departments survive only because the schools, run by liberal arts majors, ensure self-perpetuation by providing jobs programs to the otherwise unemployable, that's why the lopsided "rounding out" requirements for engineering students I noted above. The truth is, if college level calculus and physics were required on a par with the humanities, the number of liberal arts students would shrink to zero.
-- Gordon Paravano
What Mr. Poulos fails to recognize is that the poor skills of college graduates reported by the AP and reviewed in his article, e.g. reading graphs, are skills that should be learned in high school. Indeed, the report seems more like a test of high school students, and their terrible performance is just a terrible as one would expect. Unfortunately, these same high school students, ill-prepared for college level studies, are entering college and graduating.
This sheds an entirely different light on the failure of higher education, which is not a failure to teach high school skills, but a failure of colleges and universities to require courses that presume such rudimentary skills have already been mastered on day one. Whole majors have been constructed in the modern university to ensure graduation by anyone willing to hang around for four years. And for those majors that still retain serious content and challenging courses, grade inflation usually allows students who have acquired little comprehension of course content to pass with what has become a gentleman's B.
The driving force behind this system is the relentless drive by faculty and faculty unions for higher salaries, job security, and less effort in the classroom. Faculty are quite comfortable telling themselves how they are helping students by "helping" them graduate, even if that implies teaching watered-down courses and using lazy examination and grading styles that require no effort on the professor's part and do not reveal student deficiencies. If the institutions of higher education were to deny entry to the ill-prepared, eliminate unchallenging courses and fields, and flunk those who were not performing at college level, it would put a tremendous pressure on high schools to do the job for which they were intended. But don't hold your breath. The resulting fall in enrollment in college and universities would jeopardize all those nice salaries and secure jobs of faculty and administrators that depend on the steady march of students, the cannon fodder of higher education.
-- David Sisk
Re: Jim Eltringham's The Top 5 Campus Outrages of 2005:
I read Jim Eltringham's article with some amazement and amusement. My son gained a first degree at Oxford then went to study for a Master's at a world-renowned American university on the East coast.
What staggered and horrified him was that there was all but no freedom to raise views or discuss matters from any perspective that wasn't rabidly left-wing. Take it from me that Oxford has its fair share of Lefties but they have never managed to stop a free exchange of views, albeit there might be demonstrations. The only caveat is that no British university allows on-campus space to the far-Right British National Party, or some more extreme Muslim groups. There have been attempts by Muslim-inspired Lefties to try to stop Israelis speaking or even being employed, but it is very rare.
My son's initial experience really troubled him, for the impression was clearly gained that, unless he regurgitated the Left-wing balderdash that he was being taught, he might not pass his course.
After gaining his degree, he went to take a Ph.D. at another American university of world renown and found much the same sort of problem. Multiculturalists who proclaim freedom of expression banning anything that does not accord with their own blinkered point of view. He was even hauled before some sort of kangaroo court to defend his rights to express his legally held ideas. Apparently, this tribunal was not impressed when he compared their behavior to that seen by fascist (left or right) dictatorships.
Like all from the liberal-left, these people have no sense of humor or irony, and scant tolerance for others. To paraphrase a song that was heard a lot when I was young, it would seem that many universities are intent on producing graduates who are "all made out of ticky-tacky, and they look just the same."
Surely, one of the points of higher education is that it gives young minds the space to explore all manner of philosophies?
-- Chris Palmer
Re: Jed Babbin's Iran Showdown:
I hope the administration has harkened to the "Faster, Please!" mantra... time is indeed short. I read an article a few years ago about a concept the author called "Brilliant Spears." It discussed high altitude kinetic energy weapons as being the solution to the North Korean nuclear problem.
I think it just might be the ticket in Iran, and you seemed to touch on it in your latest essay. I used to frequent The Belmont Club, posting as Triton'sPolarTiger. I raised this subject in Dec. 2004... and I've not seen a thing about this in print anywhere since.
I fear for my children's future... and for the thousands of Arab children that will die if we're ever hit by a terrorist nuke.
-- Eric Buchanan
As I suggested in an earlier letter, let's go back to MAD.
Let's look at probabilities. If the chances of our intelligence being correct are 60 percent, which is extremely optimistic, and the chances of executing the attack perfectly are 80 percent, then the joint probability of both happening is 48 percent. In truth, I believe the chance of having accurate intelligence about Iran is closer to 10 percent, leaving the joint probability closer to 8 percent.
If we had an 80 percent chance of delaying Iranian nuclear capability another 10 years I'd be all in favor of an attack. However, a failure will be worse than doing nothing. The Iranians will have learned from their mistakes and improved their defenses. They will step up terror attacks against us. The situation will deteriorate and tension will escalate to the point that we will have to boots on the ground exactly as we did with Iraq. Had we stayed out of Iraq in 91, we would never have had to invade in '03. An aerial attack at any time in the new future is a down payment on an invasion later, which I don't want to see.
If we let Iran have nuclear weapons, then station our nuclear missiles in Iraq and Afghanistan, I don't believe Iran will use theirs. Even if they sneak a bomb onto a boat and sail into New York harbor, they know we can trace it back to them. Everyone is upset about Ahmadinejad's comments about wiping Israel off the map, but the Iranians were surprised that anyone paid attention after nearly 30 years of saying exactly the same thing annually. Journalists think it's something new because they haven't been paying attention. And what Ahmadinejad said is no worse than what Soviet or Chinese leaders have said about us in the past. We lived for 50 years with two of the craziest countries in the world having nuclear missiles. We can do the same with Iran.
-- Roger McKinney
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
"A very large war will have begun that could again array all of Israel's neighbors (save only Iraq) against it."
Mr. Babbin, are you familiar with the 38-39th chapters of the book of Ezekiel (written 597-571 BC)?
It's always been a mystery why Babylon (Iraq), Israel & God's oldest enemy, isn't on the list of nations "the chief prince of Rosh (Rhos/Russi/Russia) Meshech (Moschi/Moscow), and Tubal" (Tibareni/Tobolsk) will eventually lead against Israel.
The list includes: Persia (Iran), Ethiopia/Cush (black Africa), Libya/Put (white Africa), Gomer and Togarmeh with all their bands (tribes in the Turkey/Armenia region) and many [other] peoples with them.
Fairbairn's classic commentary on Ezekiel (circa 1870) thought this such an impossible alliance that it was absurd to take it literally.
"The nations mentioned are all... remote from the land of Israel, in the extremities of the earth, many of them far apart from each other and consequently the most unlikely to act in concert for any particular purpose.
Besides the Scythian tribes, with whom the head of the movement [is immediately connected], there are the Persians, Armenians, other inhabitants of the far north in Asia and Europe; and then, passing to the opposite extreme and overleaping all the intermediate regions, he names the Ethiopians and Libyans of Africa--the people, in short, occupying the most distant and remote territories of the then known world.
....the singular combination of the party which this Gog is represented as heading... is so very peculiar... so contrary to all real combinations, that it is impossible to avoid thinking that here also we have but the clothing of an idea -- not a literal reality.... [Also]... the huge numbers of this combined party must be taken into account....According to the description, it was to be a marauding host, breaking in like a mighty inundation upon the land of Israel,....That is, myriads of people were to be gathered from the most distant regions of the earth, combining and acting together against all the known principles of human nature, and for what?
To spoil and plunder a land which could not, had they got all it contained, have been a handful to a tithe of their number -- could not have served to maintain the invaders for a single day!
One would think it impossible in such a case for the most aerial fancy to dream of literality; and when the prophet is spoken of as furnishing here a plain historical description, one is tempted to ask whether he is supposed to have written for the amusement of children or for the belief and instruction of persons of mature understanding?... [T]o insist on such a description being understood according to the letter, is to make it take rank with the most extravagant tales of romance or the most absurd legends of Popery." (Patrick Fairbairn, Commentary on Ezekiel, pp.430-431)
[This is the same smarter-than-God P. Fairbairn who wrote of the "Dry Bones" chap.37, p. 419: "So that to speak now of the prophecy requiring for its fulfillment [the restoration of] a literal Israel... [is in short, against all the experience of the past...]."
A Russian-led Islamic army is not just possible but all too probable from the better vantage point of 2006 AD.
At this moment, for the first time in history I'm aware of (at least since Israel became a nation in 1948), Iraq -- for obvious reasons -- can't participate in such an invasion.
This could be a very narrow window of time that could be closed by any number of things -- most obvious being our withdrawal from Iraq.
Really helpful article. I forwarded it to many people.
-- H.H. Maine
I like your plan and I hope we have the means that you describe.
-- Jay Ostrander
Jed Babbin replies:
Dear Mr. Ostrander: We'll know if someone has the courage to use them.
Dear H.H.: I can't say I'm familiar with the bible passages you cite. But one conclusion you make -- a Russo-Islamic army in 2006 -- can't happen while Chechnya is in flames. We need to do something about Iran soon, before Ahmadinejad can try to achieve his new apocalypse. I'm sorry to say it's no more complicated and no less deadly than that.
Dear Mr. McKinney: We're just going to have to agree to disagree. Your fundamental point -- that we'd know who did it if some anonymous group sailed a nuke into Baltimore harbor and detonated it -- is simply false. We won't know with certitude, and no American president is going to launch a nuclear war on a maybe. Until you address this point, we can't go farther.
And the idea of letting Iran go nuclear ignores another fundamental point. You think a nuclear Iran -- even if it decided not to use its proxy terrorists to wage nuclear war, a point I will not concede -- would for more than a week let Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the other sources of Middle Eastern oil alone? If you like oil at $70 a barrel, you'll love it at $200. Sorry, pal, but your ideas simply don't work.
Re: P. David Hornik's Deny the Designer, Save "Science":
Brilliant article. Concise, and hits the nail on the head. ID is being dismissed by science because at its heart is the supposed need to ultimately dispense with reason and embrace the fantasy of a Creator. Because scientists cannot accept the unfalsifiable "fairytale" of a Creator, they choose instead to accept the unfalsifiable "fairytale" of "everything just appeared from nothing... trust us."
Science, once man's noble desire of the brightest minds to reveal the blueprint of the Creator, has now "evolved" into man's noble desire to disprove the blueprint of a Creator. Either way, there is an agenda, no?
I have long presumed that it takes a greater, blinder leap of "faith" to trust in the "everything out of nothing" theory of science, than to just simply trust there could be an intelligent Creator. God bless them. I can only hope to one day achieve the same "faith of a child" as they.
-- Mark Kalbach
I have come to the conclusion that had the Big Bang been of a slightly different temperature and we beings and life in general had been fashioned of silicon instead of carbon we would still be having the same debate and arguing about how "The Creator" decided on ammonia seas and green skies vs. random chemistry; and it would be just as semantically null, both sides are using English but define the meaning of words incomprehensively differently from each other.
I also have no doubt that this same debate is taking place in other bubble universes (in obedience to quantum physics theory) again making as much sense as this debate over evolution vs. ID. One side wants to believe what it sees. The other side wants to believe what it believes. Both sides want to enforce their views in court and on the rest of us. Apparently nothing can change that, not in this universe or any other.
-- Craig C. Sarver
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