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Critical Reading

Defending the Human Events list, Deanic discourse, and learning to love the nuclear reactor. Plus: Killers on T-shirts and today's Pham Xuan An.

6.17.05

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JOHN STUART MILL & CO.
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's The Liberty Reader:

You might write the University of Missouri for a review copy of Linda Raeder's book on Mill, which will probably change your mind on the man, as it did mine.
-- Jameson

While Prof. Reiland may be learned, he's no conservative; rather, he's a libertarian and thus part of the problem.

Ironically, Reiland's sect would protect property and capital rights while somnambulating through adultery, debauchery, sodomy, and other assorted crimes against nature and families. Reiland's myopia would leave little of the social order standing, however -- why should people with no compunctions about the metaphorical slaughter of families have any reservations about the metaphorical destruction of capital and property?

Indeed, Reiland would do well to review the Stalinist works which specifically espouse methods of family-destruction -- if only to understand that our friend Tom Clancy (through the voice of Jack Ryan) was correct -- "there is no such thing as coincidence." The Communists well understood that abrogation of sexual mores would lead to the destruction of property rights, as well.

Back to your studies, Dr. Reiland!!
-- L.A. Stich
Brookfield, Wisconsin

Human Events should have the courage of its convictions and organize a book burning. I think the conservative movement just "jumped the shark."
-- William L. Roughton, Jr.
Fairfax Station, Virginia

Human Events came up with a ten most harmful books list and then held a bonfire.

Okay, no bonfire, although you might think they had from some of the comments about the list.

What has raised the ire of many critics is the decision of the Human Events contributors to include books like Kinsey's work on sexuality and Betty Friedan's feministic manifesto on the list with more obvious choices like Mein Kampf, Quotations from Chairman Mao, and The Communist Manifesto.

I'm not sure the Human Events crowd was as devastatingly wrong as many believe. What the list really demonstrates is that after you name the worst books, there's a steep drop-off to the next group. Thus, the raised eyebrows at names like Kinsey and Friedan, who didn't contribute to superstates annihilating millions of people.

What interests me is Ralph Reiland at American Spectator being critical of Human Events for including work by Nietzsche and Comte.

According to Reiland, Nietzsche simply told us "the world isn't run by moral rules." I think we could take issue with that. He was somewhat enthusiastic about "the blonde beast" enforcing his will to power on the world and provided important grist for the later National Socialist project in Germany.

Reiland acts similarly puzzled about Comte, who "said man could figure things out better through science than theology." That's not exactly all Comte had to say. He was so enthusiastic about science he envisioned a religion based on science with temples, priests, etc. He also was a leading proponent of the secularization thesis which saw traditional religion crumbling before increasing enlightenment, which was pretty much a shibboleth of those scary superstates we mentioned before.

If Human Events was too harsh in its assessment of some of these books, Ralph Reiland is a bit too charitable.
-- Hunter Baker

DEAN BEFORE AND AFTER
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s The Paranoid Style:

I was unaware that there were air-conditioned cells in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Gulag, and Pol Pot's Cambodia.
-- Mike Haire
Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

The flatulence Senator Durbin expelled on the Senate floor when denouncing Gitmo is inexcusable, treacherous and unpatriotic. His comparison of mild treatment of detainees, prisoners of war, and avowed America haters at Guantanamo to Russian gulags and Pol Pot atrocities in Cambodia is either woefully ignorant of facts and history or deliberately hysterical and inflammatory. I believe it is the latter and I find it immoral that he would say such things into the Congressional Record when we have soldiers under fire. His aid and comfort to the enemy makes him the enemy within. Why hasn't his bleeding liberalism ever once incited him to denounce in the Senate and publicly the beheading of Nick Berg? Why doesn't he put a picture of a Gitmo detainee forced to listen to rap music beside a picture of one beheading from Iraq or those Americans beaten, burned and dragged through the streets? Dick Durbin, shut up! You are pathetic and loathsome.
-- R. Jones
Gulfport, Mississippi

Give me a break pal on your discourse about Dean. You saw him once a week or so in a public debate type show. We in Vermont had to deal with that jerk on a regular basis. The Dean you see today is the same Dean we dealt with over the years. The only difference is he isn't hiding it anymore.
-- Pete Chagnon

Tokyo Rose, Lord Haw-Haw, and "Despicable Dick" Durbin. Three pigs who gave aid and comfort to America's enemies during time of war.

Is it really true "Despicable Dick" is getting his own talk show on al-Jazeera?
-- Robert Auskalnis
Portage, Indiana

TRY THE PLUTONIUM
Re: Tom Bethell's A Civil War Between the Greens:

In the article by Tom Bethell he states that "renewables" are not a good source of electrical energy. He makes the same mistakes as most people describing bio-mass as wood.

Electrical energy can be produced in mass by waste water sludge, a product that is generated by every city and county in the land. Animal waste is also a good source. California alone produces 30 million tons yearly. This would produce roughly 2000 megawatts. The U.S. dumps roughly 250 million used tires every year. They are a very good source of energy. Producing energy from these tires would go a long way in solving the so-called "energy crisis." All forms of organic waste, including hospital waste, e-waste, automotive shredder residue, toxic chemicals, and green waste can be processed by the Pyromex system.
-- Herb Teague

My dad worked for the Soil Conservation Service. When I was a kid in Illinois, he'd have me hold his surveying rod. I'd trudge through hot, humid days and over fresh turned sod and mucky swamp so he could figure out how to save the soil that feeds us. My dad was an environmentalist.

There are two kinds of environmentalist: the pragmatic kind, like my dad, and the aesthetic kind, like the loons who bawl over eagles.

Your article is about what happens when you pit the renewable energy enviro pragmatists against the revulsed by energy enviro aesthetes. You'll never find an aesthetic enviro saving soil in Illinois because it isn't nearly grand or self-righteous enough for them.

Aesthetic enviros don't really care about the environment. They care instead about getting to feel angry grievance toward a world which will not do their bidding. They are an innate attitude looking to pick a fight, and they find the violated and besmirched environment worthy of their lofty wrath.

Petulant adults pitching fits in denim, birkies and wire rims. Green monsters.

Yours from a pragmatic environmentalist working in the Permian Basin,
-- unsigned

You suggested, "In the East Bay, south of Oakland, you will see rows of wind turbines perched on bare, usually brown hills. The area is known as Altamont Pass."

In fact, Altamont Pass is east of Livermore, some 25-30 miles east of Oakland.

However, your message is dead-on. For example, consider nuclear energy, a much large civil war issue in the green community. You might research this for your next essay.
-- S. Locke Bogart

"All we have to regret is the 25-year delay." You ain't kidding, brother.
-- Bill

Nuclear power has its advantages, but it is a big problem for those of us in Idaho and Nevada who have to live with the waste. We take more than our fair share of it and the means of storage is temporary and risky. Canisters rot and leak. Everyone needs to bear the burden of nuclear waste.
-- Sue Ellen Hirtle

P.S. Bats are primary pollinators, too.

DRAFT THE BRAINS
Re: Michael Tobias's letter (under "No Price Too High") in Reader Mail's Better All the Time and George Mellinger's letter (under "The Right Appreciation") in Reader Mail's NIMBY Recruitment:

I would like to see the draft reinstated. However, with today's modern military, a two-year time period would just barely train a soldier for duty. What if we took only the best and brightest -- the ones who usually got deferments during Vietnam, and the Korean War. Many of today's politicians would have qualified at that time instead of hiding in college. They could learn the highly technical duties in less time, and because of their great intelligence. Two years out of their lives wouldn't mean as much as to the youth with lower IQ's. They would learn discipline, and what work means. A great life experience. They could easily out-maneuver and out think the uneducated terrorists. It seems today many of our generals aren't mental giants. Just think of the possibilities of having real geniuses running our military.
-- Frank Dollinger
Channahon, Illinois

MURDERER CHIC
Re: Andrew Cline's Che Day:

We need to make people understand who this murderer "Che" was. Keep up the good work.
-- Lupe Smit

OLD AS TIME
Re: Brandon Crocker's Moral Equivalence Rides Again:

Respectfully, moral equivalence is not new. It's as old as the bargain Cain tried to strike with the Lord. Neville Chamberlain was a practitioner. In a sense, so were American isolationists of World Wars I and II.

Moral equivalence, especially the late 20th-century version of which Mr. Crocker speaks, never dismounted its secular horse. It just seems more pronounced now because of the outrageousness of some of its banner carriers, including the advocacy media as well as the Democrat Party leadership, and the troop of riders bearing the ME banner is much, much larger.

And, please, let's not forget that it's the Judeo-Christian values and morality that are the underpinnings of America that the practitioners of moral equivalence and situational ethics despise so. Those values and that morality come from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

HISTORY REPEATING
Re: Ben Stein's A New Yorker Kind of Guy:

I want to express my thanks to Ben Stein as well and pose the following question; I wonder how many Pham Xuan An's there are today in Iraq and Afghanistan?
-- Craig Reynolds
Maumelle, Arkansas

NIXON'S LABOR SIN
Re: Ben Stein's Deep Throat and Genocide:

I have long been a Ben Stein/American Spectator fan and much appreciate Stein's piece excoriating Mark Felt and the Watergate so-called journalists. Stein asked, in effect, what was Nixon's sin? I believe Nixon made one major mistake as president, but no one ever mentions it. He committed the very liberal sin of signing the bill granting public employees the right to engage in collective bargaining. Over time, this gave us the budget crises we now see at all levels of government -- unionized public employees holding elected government officials and the taxpayers hostage to their wage and fringe benefit demands. Guaranteed cost-of-living increases irrespective of performance, ability or funds available result in the overpayment of a huge segment of Americans, continued deficit borrowing and spill over into the now overpaid private sector. No wonder inflation hovers relentlessly. Labor contracts guarantee government employees near immunity from termination regardless of performance. Unionized public employees have a stranglehold on California that not even the clever and determined Gov. Arnold seems able to break. One hears similar stories from other states. The unionization of public employees has hastened America's descent into the discredited economic morass of socialism that rendered once-powerful Europe an economic has-been. President Nixon should have vetoed that bill.
-- Barbara Wanvig
San Francisco, California

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