Some of our greatly valued readers have pointed out to us – in comments on this website and on our Facebook page – that right is not on the side of the Nevada rancher and his allies in their dispute with the Bureau of Land Management (see our post below, It begins?, April 11, 2014).
Cliven Bundy is breaking the law.
We believe in the rule of law. We are not anarchists. So we take their point.
However, it is not a clear-cut issue, as this article from Investor’s Business Daily explains:
It was a tense standoff in rural Nevada with armed protesters closing I-15 for a while and facing off against even more heavily-armed federal agents.
For now, that volatile Bundy Ranch confrontation has been defused. But it’s not over by any means. And we may well experience others that do not pause in non-violence.
These are profound disputes illustrative of abiding suspicions among average Americans and their government headed by a man who promised to bring people together but didn’t. And it comes in an uncertain economic time when so many have given up big dreams to just keep what they have.
The specific Nevada dispute, such as it is, has been simmering for 21 years between a Mormon cattle rancher named Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management, better-known in the West as BLMM, the Bureau of Land Mis-Management.
But the far larger issue, most intense in the West, involves a mounting distrust and suspicion of all things federal — Congress, the bureaucracy and especially an aloof president. His perceived interests are inserting an over-reaching government into the lives of every American for their own good from closing coal mines and rewriting restaurant menus to seizing private property and regulating cow farts. …
Little known in the urban East, BLM is charged with managing nearly 300 million federal acres mostly across the West. That’s an area equivalent to the second and fourth largest states combined, Texas and Montana.
Nevada is the seventh-largest state with 110,567 square miles. That’s 1,626 times larger than all of Washington, D.C., 84% of it still owned by the federal government.
Anyone here ever rented from a landlord located clear across the continent? You get the set-up for conflicting priorities, miscommunication, misinterpretation, misunderstanding and missteps. Bundy’s family has ranched the area since even before Joe Biden was born, back in the 1880′s when Rutherford B. Hayes was president.
Sixty-six years later in 1946 BLM was created, ostensibly to organize a crazy-quilt of laws and regulations governing federal lands. In 1993, BLM notified Bundy that he could not graze his cattle on federal lands anymore because the desert tortoise there was now endangered.
Forget that this same federal government exploded atomic bombs in Nevada for generations with little concern for natural impacts. And it would like to store thousands of tons of nuclear waste there too.
So, for the sake of an endangered wild tortoise the Bundy family ranch became an endangered species. The feds are doing the same to thirsty California farms for the sake of an endangered minnow.
Bundy’s response was very Western. He went ahead anyway. Legally, Bundy hasn’t a leg to stand on. He doesn’t own the land. He hasn’t paid rent. And he’s lost three court battles.
Armed with a court order, BLM decided the time had come for action, eviction of about 1,000 of Bundy’s cattle, even separating newborn calves and mothers.
BLM saw no contradiction sending in dozens of armed federal agents to confront a 67-year-old man behind in his rent while the president of the United States and the nation’s chief law enforcement officer traveled to New York to dine with and speak on behalf of the notorious Al Sharpton, who’s been more than $1 million behind in his income taxes.
That’s the kind of double-standard cronyism and de facto discrimination that gets people’s backs up. …
So, in pickups and on horseback hundreds of angry strangers and militia members, alerted by email and texts, became Bundy supporters. They converged on the ranch. Tensions rose. And the BLM, remembering past deadly government-citizen conflicts named Waco, Ruby Ridge and Wounded Knee, released the seized cattle.
Now, here comes the political part that will seem quite familiar to Chicagoans:
A Chinese company has wanted to build an immense solar-panel farm in Nevada under the name ENN Mojave Energy. It would need additional tortoise habitat to mitigate its complex.
The local lobbyist who’s represented the Chinese-backed firm is a failed Democrat politician named Rory Reid, who got his gully washed in the 2010 race for governor by Republican Brian Sandoval.
Oh, look! Reid also happens to be the son of Harry Reid, the dottering Democrat Senate majority leader for a few more months, who’s somehow managed to become a millionaire on congressional pay.
Now, perhaps you understand why Bundy Ranch supporters smell a cattle-thieving, land-grabbing Washington political conspiracy where, clearly, none exists.
Oh, one other thing. Last week the Senate confirmed a brand-new director of BLM. He’s Neil Kornze, at 35 an unusually inexperienced youngster to be running such a powerful agency with sprawling powers.
However, Nevada native Kornze had something special going for him in the Senate and Obama White House drive to get him the job. He was a senior policy aide to – Wait for it! – Harry Reid, whose son represented the Chinese solar farm.
Now, go wash your hands.
And this is an editorial from the same IBD website:
Does the government really need to own 30% of the U.S., with the percentage in Western states much higher? The government’s agenda in this and many other land-confiscation activities is motivated by a desire to comply with a UN “rewilding” program that advocates pushing humans out of rural areas and into densely packed urban zones to promote what the UN calls “sustainable development”:
Land … cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market,” says the U.N.’s Agenda 21 action plan. “Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes.
So the UN and its tool, the Obama administration, are mounting a massive attack on private property.
But our land can be controlled, apparently, by Harry Reid’s donors and relatives and former staffers as well as assorted globalists and Chinese investors. In their view, this land is not your land, it’s their land.
Bundy, who lives in a country founded by armed Americans resisting a tyrannical government, has objected, reviving the long-simmering Sagebrush Rebellion between residents of the West and a land-grabbing federal government.
In the end, Bundy and the people who rallied to his cause, some of whom carried firearms of their own while demonstrating , proved what the Second Amendment is all about.
From Mauldin Economics: Things That Make You Go Hmmm…
If you jump to the 27:00 minute mark of this edition of The Charlie Rose Show, you will find an excellent interview with David Stockman about his wonderful recent book, The Great Deformation. Stockman finally gets the platform he deserves with Charlie Rose, and I urge you to watch him explain why the Fed is a perennial “bubble machine”. Stockman’s takedown of Paul Krugman alone is worth the price of admission — though even the normally neutral Rose can’t resist taking a shot at a former establishment insider turned outsider.
Brandeis University was being true to its despicable self after all when it treated Ayaan Hirsi Ali disgracefully.
It was where Herbert Marcuse, one of the most prominent apologists for the violently destructive New Left, indoctrinated students and wrote his staggeringly idiotic books.
This is from PowerLine, by Paul Mirengoff:
BRANDEIS’S “REPRESSIVE TOLERANCE”
Like me, Michael Leeden finds that “if there’s anything really new about Brandeis’ disinvitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, it’s that they invited her at all”. While many seem surprised that Brandeis, founded by Jews in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust, would align itself with Islamists and their apologists, Ledeen finds no underlying inconsistency.
Brandeis was the home of professor Herbert Marcuse, the iconic leftist philosopher of the 1960s. Marcuse dedicated his book Repressive Tolerance to his Brandeis students. He summarized its thesis this way:
The … realization of the objective of tolerance would call for intolerance toward prevailing policies, attitudes, opinions, and the extension of tolerance to policies, attitudes, and opinions which are outlawed or suppressed. In other words, today tolerance appears again as what it was in its origins, at the beginning of the modern period – a partisan goal, a subversive liberating notion and practice. Conversely, what is proclaimed and practiced as tolerance today, is in many of its most effective manifestations serving the cause of oppression. . . .
The restoration of freedom of thought may necessitate new and rigid restrictions on teachings and practices in the educational institutions. …
Marcuse gave the student rebels and the terrorists of the West European New Left “a justification for their aggression. He told them that they were quite as subjugated as those who lived in the totalitarian states on the other side of the Berlin Wall – by being forced to endure the tolerable and rewarding and comfortable, to suffer food and clothing and lodging beyond bare necessity, to have many varieties of luxury foisted on them, and to be conned into the illusion that they were free”. (Quotation from Hitler’s Children by Jillian Becker.)
Paul Mirengoff concludes:
Herbert Marcuse would be proud of his old University.
Yes. Brandeis has been disgraceful for at least fifty years. But its treatment of Ayaan Hirsi Ali adds cold-blooded viciousness to its record.
Victory: The Bundy family and their supporters fly the American flag as their cattle were released by the Bureau of Land Management back onto public land outside of Bunkerville, Nevada
Cowboys and patriots: Kholten Gleave, right, of Utah, pauses for the National Anthem outside of Bunkerville , Nev. while gathering with other supporters of the Bundy family to challenge the Bureau of Land Management
We have lifted this in toto - gratefully – from PowerLine.
A Short Quiz for Sniveling Cowards
By Ammo Grrrll
Sometimes in the course of soliciting donations, taking meetings, golfing, taking lunch, speaking on the phone, the busy college president must make a controversial decision.
Doncha hate when that happens?? Yikes, how to proceed?
Let’s say you are President of Brandeis University. Some chucklehead decided to acknowledge the unimaginable courage of a woman who, at great peril to her life, fights to shine the light of public opinion on the plight of untold millions of oppressed women.
(No, no, not the women who can miraculously afford another tattoo or hair extensions or weekly nail appointments, or extra cell phone minutes, but need to have somebody else, anybody else, come up with nine dollars a month for free birth control. Clearly, anyone suffering that level of oppression would be too traumatized to speak a word.)
This is Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a beautiful Somali woman whose enemies are the people who behead human beings and then upload their feats on YouTube for the viewing pleasure of millions of their fanbois. They throw wheelchair-bound Jews overboard on ships, murder Ms. Ali’s artist friend in the Netherlands and slaughter people in broad daylight in Jolly Olde England where, thank God, at least potential targets are not allowed to carry defensive weapons.
Then let’s say that a jaw-dropping 85 employees at your institution protest honoring this woman and allowing her to address the graduating class. Yikes! What’s a man-shaped substance to do?
A. Fire the 85 employees. It’s a tough economy. Surely you can find 85 professors who understand the concepts of free speech, and actual diversity?
B. Blame the Koch brothers.
C. Crumple like a cheap aluminum walker when hit by a semi.
Congratulations! You correctly chose “C”. Now, in coming up with a reason why you can’t find your balls with a tweezers, you claim:
A. Because War on Women. Oh wait, this IS a woman. Try again.
B. Because Raaaacism. Oh crap, she’s also black. Try again. (Good Lord, she also has high cheekbones. Puh-leeeze don’t let her feel like she’s an Indian, too.)
C. Because we weren’t aware of how much she clashed with our core values. No need to explain what your “core” values are. As Groucho famously said, “These are my principles. If you don’t like them, I have others.”
Once again, you have chosen C. Good answer! The media won’t touch this with a ten-foot pole, and soon Lindsay will be back in rehab or Miley will twerk, or Kim will be pregnant with little South, and who will care about some African nobody who probably isn’t even gay? Rest assured if you HAD allowed her to speak, The Slavering Mob would have shouted her down, but talk about a buzz kill for a graduation!
It begins? 19
Is the citizens’ armed revolt against the tightening tyranny of the Left over all Americans beginning on the banks of the Virgin River?
We’re slightly surprised but pleased that we found the following at GOPUSA (here). The very fact that it is a GOP report suggests that a libertarian mood may be spreading among Republicans.
The militiamen rolled in to draw a line in the dirt.
About 70 miles northeast of Las Vegas, they set up camp on a sun-baked patch of land next to a bend in the Virgin River, keeping supplies – like rucksacks and sleeping bags – in neat piles under the roof of an abandoned shack.
Gruff and largely unshaven, dressed in camouflage fatigues and cut-off shirts, the men kept their intentions quiet, telling news reporters the reason they pulled their trucks into this rural desert town – on one of the hottest days of the year – is simple enough: “We’re here to camp,” said one man who would not share his name.
The group even had a sign, posted for arriving members: Militia Sign In.
But they were really here to protect one of their own from the perceived enemies: a band of federal agents recently dispatched to the scrub desert to seize the cattle of embattled rancher Cliven Bundy.
“They’re here to protect Cliven’s family and home,” said Lynn Brown, one of Bundy’s daughters.
A 68-year-old Nevada native, Bundy has long been at the center of a battle with the Bureau of Land Management, the federal agency controlling the 150 miles of desert where the rancher’s cattle have roamed for decades. A renegade when it comes to any sort of government control, Bundy – the father of 14 children – has refused to pay BLM a dime of required grazing fees for his 900 cattle, a tab that has since reached $300,000. Bundy has fought the fee, he says, because his Mormon ancestors set up shop on the land long before the BLM formed.
We forgive him his Mormonism. The issue here is liberty. And private property, namely cows. (Although some Bundy defenders deny the importance of the cows – read on.)
The problem? The land where Bundy’s cattle graze is federally owned, and the BLM now says the livestock aren’t supposed to be there. Federal agents this week cordoned off sections of land and sparked a monthlong operation to seize the cattle.
Tensions boiled over this week when a scuffle between the BLM and Bundy’s supporters ended in violence: Agents reportedly used a stun gun to subdue Bundy’s son and knocked his daughter to the ground. Though called “brutal” by some, the brawl did not land anyone in a hospital or jail.
But the incident did prompt Operation Mutual Aid – a national militia with members from California to Missouri – to visit Bundy’s ranch and set up a camp just in case things got out of hand again. Before their arrival … dozens of Bundy’s friends and relatives gathered at a protest camp in solidarity for the recent woes that have colored his rustic ranch.
Traveling from as close as St. George – and as far as Montana – a mix of characters waved picket signs at an encampment just before a bridge over the Virgin River, protesting the BLM’s campaign.
“This is a better education than being in school! I’m glad I brought you. I’m a good mom,” said Ilona Ence, a 49-year-old mother from St. George and Bundy relative who brought her four teenage kids to the ranch. “They’re learning about the Constitution.”
Ence’s 19-year-old son Kayden and his brothers shared their opinion with a sign of their own: “CONTROL OUR BORDERS! NOT OUR RANCHERS!” …
As the temperature crept into the 90s, supporters drove by – beeping their horns and delivering water drinks so the protesters could keep hydrated.
Jack Faught, Bundy’s first cousin, drove his forest green 1929 Chevy truck from Mesquite loaded with water and Gatorade.
“It’s not about the cows,” he said. “It’s about the freedom to make our own choices close to home.”
Polo Parra, a 27-year-old tattoo artist from Las Vegas, even showed up with two of his friends to support the rancher. Dressed in baggy clothes and covered in tattoos, the group carried signs that read “TYRANNY IS ALIVE” and “WHERE’S THE JUSTICE?” in red spray-painted letters.
One of Parra’s friends, who would not share his name, had a pistol tucked in his waistband.
“I think it’s bull, and it really made me mad,” said Parra, who decided to make the trip when he heard about the violence that broke out on the ranch. “This isn’t about no turtles or cows.”
The land in question — the 600,000-acre Gold Butte area — is a habitat of the endangered and federally protected desert tortoise.
Harry Pappas, a 60-year-old native and “concerned citizen,” grabbed the microphone at a makeshift podium and blasted the BLM.
“It’s all a fraud,” Pappas said, arguing the BLM’s preservation of the desert tortoise was just a way to “get rid of all the ranchers.”
The BLM does not totally oppose freedom: it allows freedom of speech, for instance, in certain defined areas!
The BLM drew criticism for creating “First Amendment areas” — patches of land where protests are allowed. …
The First Amendment debacle caught the attention of Gov. Brian Sandoval, who ordered the BLM not to limit the constitutional rights of Nevadans.
But the governor backed off from his statement after violence broke out at Bundy’s ranch:
“The ability to speak out against government actions is one of the freedoms we all cherish as Americans. Today I am asking all individuals who are near the situation to act with restraint,” Sandoval said. “Although tensions remain high, escalation of current events could have negative, long-lasting consequences that can be avoided.”
And here we are hoping that these events will have long-lasting consequences that cannot be avoided.
The ordeal disturbed Jeff Voorhees, a 50-year-old resident of Toquerville, Utah, who called Bundy’s lifestyle “one of the last bastions of American freedom”.
Well said, Jeff!
Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born a Muslim in Somalia. She was forced to suffer the sexual mutilation that Islam inflicts on women. Her family tried to force her into marriage with a relation. To avoid it, she fled to the Netherlands in 1992. In a very short time she learnt to speak fluent Dutch and became a member of parliament. In 2004 she made a film, in partnership with Theo van Gogh, about the enslavement and savage treatment of women in Islam. A Muslim, deeply offended that anyone should tell the truth about his cruel and violent religion, killed Theo van Gogh on the street, and left a note on his body threatening her with murder too.
Mark Steyn wrote:
She lived under armed guard and was forced to abandon the Netherlands because quite a lot of people want to kill her. And not in the desultory behead-the-enemies-of-Islam you-will-die-infidel pro forma death-threats-R-us way that many of us have perforce gotten used to in recent years: her great friend and professional collaborator was murdered in the streets of Amsterdam by a man who shot him eight times, attempted to decapitate him, and then drove into his chest two knives, pinning to what was left of him a five-page note pledging to do the same to her.
She now lives in the United States. She speaks fluent, excellent English. She has established an organization that works to help oppressed women immigrants in the West – including of course Muslim women. (The very real and cruel oppression suffered by Muslim women even in Western countries is not recognized or in the least objected to by American feminists. They have a vast accumulation of petty grouses to attend to.)
In her book Infidel she writes:
I left the world of faith, of genital cutting and forced marriage for the world of reason and emancipation. After making this voyage I know that one of these two worlds is simply better than the other. Not for its gaudy gadgetry, but for its fundamental values.
She came to America because it is the land of liberty that protects free speech.
If ever a person deserved to be honored, she does. And Brandeis University prepared to honor her. She was invited to address a commencement ceremony and receive an honorary degree.
But a mob of Muslim men and their submissive women, inside and outside the university, objected. So the university administrators withdrew their invitation, refused to honor her after all.
Brandeis president, Fred Lawrence, joined with some 85 professors, including the Women’s Studies academic staff (no surprise there), and issued this statement by way of explanation:
Following a discussion today between President Frederick Lawrence and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ms. Hirsi Ali’s name has been withdrawn as an honorary degree recipient at this year’s commencement. She is a compelling public figure and advocate for women’s rights, and we respect and appreciate her work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls throughout the world. That said, we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values. For all concerned, we regret that we were not aware of these statements earlier.
Commencement is about celebrating and honoring our extraordinary students and their accomplishments, and we are committed to providing an atmosphere that allows our community’s focus to be squarely on our students. In the spirit of free expression that has defined Brandeis University throughout its history, Ms. Hirsi Ali is welcome to join us on campus in the future to engage in a dialogue about these important issues.
Brandeis University was founded in 1948, named after one of its founders, Supreme Court Judge Louis Brandeis, in order that Jews excluded by quota limits from other schools could get a university education. It is not a “faith school”, however, and admits students of all denominations and none. It no doubt prides itself on its tolerance.
But it does not seem good at judging who should and should not be honored. It made a fine judgment when it saw that Ayaan Hirsi Ali had earned honor, before it changed its mind.
It honored one Tony Kushner in 2006, for or despite his much published hatred of Israel, his belief that it has no right to exist, his insistence that it is a menace to the world, and his false accusations that it is guilty of racist persecution on a massive scale.
In 2000 it honored the despicable Bishop Desmond Tutu, a notorious anti-Semite who insists that Israel is a viciously “apartheid” country.
Brandeis University had planned to award an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali at its commencement ceremony this year, but after a smear campaign led by the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other Islamic supremacist groups, on Tuesday the university issued a statement announcing the predictable result: the honorary degree would not be given.
Now we quote, from Front Page, a column by Robert Spencer.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Brandeis assured the world, “is a compelling public figure and advocate for women’s rights, and we respect and appreciate her work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls throughout the world.” However, as compelling as Brandeis may have considered that work, ultimately it didn’t matter: “That said, we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values. For all concerned, we regret that we were not aware of these statements earlier.”
Who brought these statements – which had been openly made and are unmissable by anyone exploring Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s biography – to the attention of the Brandeis ivory tower? Why, none other than the energetic Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR, that iniquitous, terrorist-supporting organization – along with the Muslim students and the Women’s Studies professors and the rest of the local mob who passionately support the side of Ayaan’s, America’s, and freedom’s enemies.
The Brandeis statement did not mention CAIR, and probably university administrators are unaware of its Hamas ties or its record of opposing any and all counter-terror efforts. Nor did the statement specify exactly what in Hirsi Ali’s past statements was “inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values”. CAIR, however, did so in its press release (also issued Tuesday; Brandeis snapped into line quickly) which quoted Hirsi Ali from a 2007 interview saying: “I think that we are at war with Islam.”
Ironically, CAIR spokesmen have said the same thing: “The new perception is that the United States has entered a war with Islam itself,” said then-CAIR Board Chairman Parvez Ahmed in July 2007. The only difference is that Hirsi Ali and CAIR are on opposite sides of this war. Is it unacceptable at Brandeis, a contradiction of its core values, to oppose the global jihad? Apparently so.
In the same interview, Hirsi Ali also called for the closing of Islamic schools in the United States. While that is indeed a severe and questionable recommendation …
We don’t think so. We think Islam is an evil ideology, like Nazism, and any measure taken to expunge it is good. It should be strongly and persistently opposed. Robert Spencer goes on to say as much:
… it should be remembered that Ayaan Hirsi Ali attended Islamic schools in her native Somalia. She no doubt also has seen the reports from all over the world showing hatred and violence being taught in all too many Islamic schools. In that same interview she said:
Asking whether radical preachers ought to be allowed to operate is not hostile to the idea of civil liberties; it’s an attempt to save civil liberties. A nation like this one is based on civil liberties, and we shouldn’t allow any serious threat to them. So Muslim schools in the West, some of which are institutions of fascism that teach innocent kids that Jews are pigs and monkeys — I would say in order to preserve civil liberties, don’t allow such schools.
Is calling for the schools that teach hatred and contempt of an entire group of people against the core values of Brandeis University? Apparently it is. …
All [CAIR] wants is to shut down any and every individual who opposes jihad terror and Islamic supremacism, in any venue. Generously funded and well-staffed, it pounces on anyone and everyone who dares raise a critical word against jihad terror, and mounts a smear campaign intending to get the Islamocritical speaker canceled and discredited.
In acceding to these smear campaigns, event organizers and – in this case, Brandeis University administrators – apparently make no attempt, even a simple Google search, to discover the intentions of the people behind the campaign. They appear indifferent to CAIR’s unsavory connections or its advice to Muslims not to cooperate with law enforcement. The organization’s own claims that it is merely a civil rights organization are accepted uncritically and without examination. … CAIR routinely blindsides officials and places on the defensive by its attacks, and so simply to avoid controversy they usually gave the “civil rights group” what it wants: the cancellation, demonization and marginalization of every speaker who is remotely critical of Islam. …
Someone really ought to teach the Brandeis administrators how to use the Internet.
Anyone and everyone who dares to oppose jihad and Islamic supremacism will become a target for a CAIR smear campaign. The real agenda of Islamic supremacist groups in the United States is clearly not to distinguish legitimate resistance to jihad from bigotry and hatred, but to stigmatize all resistance to jihad as bigotry and hatred, and clear away all obstacles to the advance of that jihad.
And they have made great headway, stigmatizing resistance to jihad in the eyes of large segments of the general public, and even of government and law enforcement officials, as “bigotry.” Yet while it has become generally accepted that standing up to jihad terror is “bigotry,” no one has ever clearly explained why. A highly tendentious and politically manipulative perspective has been foisted upon the American people as accepted wisdom, in which opponents of jihad terror are cast as bigots and efforts increased to rule their perspective altogether out of the realm of acceptable public discourse.
The one certain result of this will be more jihad terror in the U.S. – some of it emanating from hate-preaching Islamic schools that Ayaan Hirsi Ali so heinously suggested should be closed.
Finally, here is Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s dignified response to Brandeis University’s decision:
Yesterday Brandeis University decided to withdraw an honorary degree they were to confer upon me next month during their Commencement exercises. I wish to dissociate myself from the university’s statement, which implies that I was in any way consulted about this decision. On the contrary, I was completely shocked when President Frederick Lawrence called me — just a few hours before issuing a public statement — to say that such a decision had been made.
When Brandeis approached me with the offer of an honorary degree, I accepted partly because of the institution’s distinguished history; it was founded in 1948, in the wake of World War II and the Holocaust, as a co-educational, nonsectarian university at a time when many American universities still imposed rigid admission quotas on Jewish students. I assumed that Brandeis intended to honor me for my work as a defender of the rights of women against abuses that are often religious in origin. For over a decade, I have spoken out against such practices as female genital mutilation, so-called “honor killings”, and applications of Sharia Law that justify such forms of domestic abuse as wife beating or child beating. Part of my work has been to question the role of Islam in legitimizing such abhorrent practices. So I was not surprised when my usual critics, notably the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), protested against my being honored in this way.
What did surprise me was the behavior of Brandeis. Having spent many months planning for me to speak to its students at Commencement, the university yesterday announced that it could not “overlook certain of my past statements”, which it had not previously been aware of. Yet my critics have long specialized in selective quotation – lines from interviews taken out of context – designed to misrepresent me and my work. It is scarcely credible that Brandeis did not know this when they initially offered me the degree.
What was initially intended as an honor has now devolved into a moment of shaming. Yet the slur on my reputation is not the worst aspect of this episode. More deplorable is that an institution set up on the basis of religious freedom should today so deeply betray its own founding principles. The “spirit of free expression” referred to in the Brandeis statement has been stifled here, as my critics have achieved their objective of preventing me from addressing the graduating Class of 2014. Neither Brandeis nor my critics knew or even inquired as to what I might say. They simply wanted me to be silenced. I regret that very much.
Not content with a public disavowal, Brandeis has invited me “to join us on campus in the future to engage in a dialogue about these important issues”. Sadly, in words and deeds, the university has already spoken its piece. I have no wish to “engage” in such one-sided dialogue. I can only wish the Class of 2014 the best of luck — and hope that they will go forth to be better advocates for free expression and free thought than their alma mater.
I take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported me and my work on behalf of oppressed woman and girls everywhere.
This incident will add more honor and glory to the reputation of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Brandeis University will bear the shame of it always.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Here’s the email address of Fred Lawrence, president of Brandeis. Tell him what you think.
The right theory of individual freedom came from an understanding of the spontaneous evolution of civil institutions and traditions. A free society no more needed an intelligent designer than did the human species.
The similarity of process in the development of social and biological life is brilliantly explained by one of the great defenders of freedom:
Though freedom is not a state of nature but an artifact of civilization, it did not arise from design. …
[The] development of a theory of liberty took place mainly in the eighteenth century. It began in two countries, England and Fance. The first of these knew liberty, the second did not. As a result, we have had to the present day two different traditions in the theory of liberty … the first based on an interpretation of traditions and institutions which had spontaneously grown up … the second aiming at the construction of a utopia, which has often been tried but never successfully. …
What we have called the “British tradition” was made explicit mainly by a group of Scottish moral philosophers led by David Hume, Adam Smith and Adam Ferguson, seconded by their English contemporaries Josiah Tucker, Edmund Burke, and William Paley … drawing largely on a tradition rooted in the jurisprudence of the common law. Opposed to them was the tradition of the French Enlightenment … : the Encyclopedists and Rousseau, the Physiocrats and Condorcet, are their best known representatives. …
[T]here is hardly a greater contrast imaginable between their respective conceptions of the evolution and functioning of a social order and the role played in it by liberty. …
[T]he British philosophers laid the foundations of a profound and essentially valid theory, while the [French] school was simply and completely wrong. …
Those British philosophers have given us an interpretation of of the growth of civilization that is still the indispensable foundation of the argument for liberty. They find the origin of institutions, not in contrivance or design, but in the survival of the successful. …
This demonstration … represented in some ways an even greater challenge to all design theories than even the later theory of biological evolution. For the first time it was shown that that an evident order which was not the product of a designing human intelligence need not therefore be ascribed to the design of a higher, supernatural intelligence, but that there was a third possibility – the emergence of order as the result of adaptive evolution.
-From The Constitution of Liberty by F. A. Hayek , Chapter Four: Freedom, Reason, and Tradition.
Kevin O’Leary, successful businessman, explains that what is needed to bring people out of unemployment poverty is less government.
From The Foundry.
We stumbled upon this article, which appeared originally in an Israeli paper we don’t read and hardly ever quote because its view from the left annoys us, and found it interesting.
The shekel is in the news this week because its soaring value is proving to be a problem for Israel’s exporters. Reuters reports that the appreciation is forcing Israel’s foreign customers to pay more for the country’s exports. Some Israeli companies are moving operations overseas to shelter in countries with weak currencies.
Cheer up, I say. Writing from a country that is in the midst of a historic collapse of its currency, I have long since come to the view that a strong currency is better than a weak one. Even better is a currency that has readily exchangeable into gold (or silver) at a legally defined rate. Could it be that Israel is in circumstances in which it could lead the way back to such a system?
No doubt most economists would say no. After all, Israel’s economy, however healthy, is too small to play a leading role on the world stage. I’m less sure of that. It could well be that the relatively modest size of Israel’s economy could give it the agility to make a move where the giants are too timid to tread. It’s not as if the big economies have a lot of credibility left.
This, in my view, is a central lesson of our times. It has been coming into ever clearer view since 1971, when America defaulted on the dollar, closed the so-called gold window, and launched the world into the age of fiat money, meaning money that has no set value in terms of specie — gold or silver — but must be accepted as a matter of law because of governmental fiat. This was known as the Nixon shock.
Nixon brought to an end the international monetary system that has been set up at the end of World War II at Bretton Woods. That was the New Hampshire resort where the victors in the war set up a gold exchange standard. The Bretton Woods Treaty guaranteed the right of foreign governments to redeem their dollars in gold. The system crashed after America pursued a policy of both guns (Vietnam) and butter (the war on poverty),
The scale of the collapse since then has been breathtaking. A dollar that was fixed by law during the years of Bretton Woods at a 35th of an ounce of gold plunged in value to, a year or so back, but a 1,900th of an ounce of gold. It soared something like 46% since then, but is still valued at less than a 1,300th of an ounce of gold. The shekel, meantime, has soared something like 54% from its low in late 2012.
It has taken decades for the size of the catastrophe of fiat money to come into focus. But with the perspective of more than a generation we can see the impact. My own favorite statistic is that the average unemployment rate in America between the end of World War II and the end of Bretton Woods was 4.7%. Since the end of Bretton Woods, the average rate has been 6.4%.
This has been political hell for President Obama and the liberal politicians who think that they can fight unemployment by ballooning up the Federal Reserve’s balance sheets. Meantime, big American corporations are keeping more than $1 trillion overseas for fear of taxes and regulations at home. This is a trap into which Israel, whatever the Bank of Israel might fret, doesn’t want to fall.
Yet it is the trap that is brought to mind by reports like the one Reuters moved (and the New York Times published). The nub of it is that in an effort to dodge the gyrating shekel Israeli companies are moving operations overseas. Small so far, but not a good sign. It raises the question of whether Israel can use its prosperity and the boon that will come from its vast natural gas discoveries to begin laying in gold and silver specie in reserves?
Israel has eschewed such a strategy in the early decades of the modern state, but that’s no reason not to take the lead now.
So the effects on a small country of achieving a strong currency in the midst of world-wide recession are ambiguous. Is it more of an economic blessing or curse? We look forward to our readers’ comments.