A great hunger coming 1

Googled information:

David Beasley, head of the [useless] U.N. World Food Program, said its latest analysis shows that “a record 345 million acutely hungry people are marching to the brink of starvation” — a 25% increase from 276 million at the start of 2022 before Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 Feb. 2022. (Jul 7, 2022)

And –

What percentage of the world is starving in 2022?

10%

Up to 811 million people — about 10% of the world’s population — regularly go to bed hungry. The war in Ukraine is likely to make conditions worse in 2022, as conflict restricts global food supplies, drives up prices, and threatens the world’s most vulnerable people and countries. (Jul 6, 2022)

And yet –

The authoritarian Woke, the Great Resetters, in the name of “saving the planet”, are ordering the decrease of food production.  

John Hinderaker writes at PowerLine:

How many people have died, or will die, as a result of the Left’s “green” fantasies? To begin with, who has taken responsibility for the hundreds of thousands–maybe millions–of Africans who have died because of the Left’s insane banning of DDT? No one, of course. Will there ever be an accounting?

Currently, the war between Russia and Ukraine dominates the headlines. We all know that global petroleum supplies have been disrupted by the war, but perhaps more significant is the war’s impact on agriculture. Ukraine and Russia are two of the top grain-exporting countries in the world. Ukraine has been selling grain to the West since ancient times. With those supplies disrupted, a global food shortage impends, and many are predicting that populations in some vulnerable areas that can’t produce enough food for themselves will starve.

So where are the environmentalists in all this? They are doing their best to reduce agricultural output. In Sri Lanka, the government mandated organic farming, with the result that yields declined catastrophically, prices skyrocketed, and, no doubt, many died.

In the U.K., carbon offset schemes are causing hedge funds to buy up farm land and turn it to a less productive use:

A growing number of farms in Wales are being bought by companies to generate carbon credits.
***
The Times revealed in February that a tenant farmer with a young family had been prevented from achieving his dream of owning his own sheep farm when he was gazumped by a company planning to plant trees and sell carbon credits. Ian O’Connor, 36, had had an offer accepted for Frongoch, a 270-acre farm in Cwrt-y-Cadno, Carmarthenshire. Two weeks later the estate agent told him the Foresight Group, a private equity company incorporated in Guernsey, had offered 10 per cent more.
***
Foresight has bought six farms in Wales and estate agents acting for similar companies have been cold-calling Welsh farmers to ask if they want to sell.

Trees are great, but what is happening in the U.K. has nothing to do with either free markets or national interest. The exorbitant demand for carbon credits is government-created as a result of global warming hysteria, and reduced food production is collateral damage.

How about the U.S.? Our farmers produce more food than anyone. But here, too, environmentalist fantasies are reducing food production. Countless acres of productive farm land are being taken over for wind and solar installations. Wisconsin Congressman Tom Tiffany and my colleague Isaac Orr collaborated on this piece in the Washington Examiner. It advocates for Tiffany’s proposed FARM Act:

By strangling U.S. energy producers, the White House has fueled skyrocketing oil prices and enriched Russia’s rulers. An added consequence: Americans are now grappling with the highest gas prices ever recorded. And the pain doesn’t stop at the pump. Food prices, in particular wheat, have soared to record-breaking levels as well.

That’s why our response to Moscow’s aggression must be to maximize our ability to produce the energy and food the world desperately needs right here at home. That starts with preserving farmland for future generations.

Thanks to the dizzying array of renewable energy carve-outs that litter our tax code, taxpayers are forced to underwrite generous “green energy” giveaways, allowing power companies to effectively tap the public treasury to subsidize unreliable wind and solar farms. As a result, prime agricultural land is often taken out of production, posing a long-term threat to America’s ability to feed the world.

Industrial solar and wind facilities are land-hungry ways to generate electricity that often fail to show up when we need them most. It takes approximately 8 acres of land per megawatt of installed solar capacity and an average of 106 acres per megawatt of wind energy. While it is possible to “farm around” wind turbines, this is not possible with solar panels.

This means increasing our reliance on unreliable wind and solar energy will consume enormous quantities of land while paradoxically making us more reliant on foreign countries for the power we need to heat our homes and run our factories.

The amount of land needed for unreliable, intermittent wind and solar installations (which always must be backed up by natural gas plants that supply electricity most of the time, when wind and solar are idle) is immense. Robert Bryce, in a paper written for American Experiment, calculated that it would require an area more than twice the size of California to meet America’s existing electricity needs (not all energy needs) with wind turbines. Of course that isn’t going to happen. But as the destructive Green Machine rolls on, the land devoted to turbines and solar panels won’t be in cities or suburbs. It will be farm land. …

Wind and solar are not remotely competitive. They exist only because of government subsidies and, worse, mandates. The FARM act would at least ensure that we, the taxpayers, are not paying to destroy farm land at a time when the world needs all of the food America can produce.

But, with or without the FARM act, the US will not be allowed to produce all the food it can. It will be among the countries that produce the most food and must be stopped from doing so.

John Hinderaker writes again at PowerLine:

You probably know about what has happened in Sri Lanka, where the government’s attempt to impose organic farming led to food shortages, impoverishment, and a revolt that caused that country’s prime minister to flee. Also the Netherlands, where the government’s attempt to drastically reduce fertilizer use has led to massive protests by farmers that continue to this day.

At Hot Air, Jazz Shaw notes that farmers in other countries are up in arms as well:

There are already protests by farmers taking place in a number of countries besides the Netherlands, though the farmers there are currently drawing the most headlines. Similar uprisings are happening in Spain, Ireland, and New Zealand. There are food shortages gripping a number of countries around the world, but our elite climate warriors are pushing to reduce food production rather than expanding it.

Next up is Canada:

Undaunted by the uproar in the Netherlands over the impact on farmers of rules limiting nitrogen emissions, Canada’s government is now looking to go down a similar route.

Global warming religion is international, and the same anti-farming movement is coming soon to the U.S., the world’s number one agricultural economy. The first target will be nitrogen-based fertilizers, which are a principal foundation of the world’s agricultural productivity. Without fertilizers, the world will go hungry. …

Conservatives, and conservative politicians, need to stop conceding the premises of global warming to the Left. “Climate change” – that is, the theory of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming – has been decisively refuted as a matter of science. But it lives on as a religion for those seeking meaning in their lives, and as a cynical political tool of the Left.

Posted under Canada, Economics, Energy, Environmentalism, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain by Jillian Becker on Friday, August 5, 2022

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Gods: a brief guide for the perplexed 5

Now for a little angry humor:

In the fictions of humanity, gods are among its worst characters.

Never mind your despicable, frivolous, quarreling, spiteful deities of Greece and Rome, your fiery baby-eating Molochs, your South American blood-lusting monsters, and your bestial, deformed, multitudinous divinities of the Far East. Let’s just look at the gods of the three allegedly moral religions created in the Middle East.

God, the Hebrews’ invention, is a tyrant par excellence. Although lauded as good, merciful, and life-sustaining, he emerges from the story as petty, cruel, capricious, boastful, greedy, unjust (for ample examples read the book), and disproportionately vengeful. He takes particular pleasure in vengeance, teasing his worshippers into doing things that will give him a pretext for unleashing punishment not only on the guilty but on innocent successor generations; in one notorious and extremely consequential case by evicting a patriarchal couple from the pleasant garden home he first gets them accustomed to and forcing them to raise their children by hard labor in harsh conditions. (Plan: plant apple tree in garden, tell the two people who live in it not to eat the fruit, and when they do exile them forever with a heavy feeling of shame and guilt.)  Incomprehensibly, his authors’ Jewish descendants continue to believe him to be beneficent, all-powerful, and of course actually in existence even when 6,000,000 of them are mercilessly exterminated. This holocaust that was visited on them as a religious group has not persuaded most of them to doubt the veracity of the story or change the characterization of God. As Christians claim to believe in him too he could be said to have many more believers in him than just the Jewish ones. To an objective observer, however, there is little resemblance between this voluble character and the reticent ‘father’ god of Christianity.

Christ, the divine “son”, is the Christian hero. He’s even better than God at causing folk to feel guilty. He’s made out to be a sweet good innocent type – who then has himself tortured to “death” so nice people are forced to feel really bad. He claims that he has suffered his pretend death to atone for everybody’s else’s sins so that they can be “saved”, yet he invents a place of eternal punishment for anyone who doesn’t manage to accomplish the impossible, unnatural, and unfair things he requires of them, such as loving everyone else and (unlike himself) forgiving them no matter what harm they’ve done.  And then, on top of it, he says now and then in the story (he’s not kept consistent in his views and messages): “Reader, what you actually do doesn’t count: I’ll either ‘save’ you or I won’t. My whim. No appeal.” The nature of this god is hard to grasp. He’s a hybrid god-man. A theo-anthro mongrel. Altogether, in what he is and what he does, what he causes to be done and has others punished for, he’s a bundle of contradictions, or a personified oxymoron.  In every way a badly drawn character, he was based very loosely on one or more real-life preachy Jews of the Augustus-to-Tiberius era of the Roman Empire, chiefly a man whose name is given in Greek as Jesus, but of whom no reliable facts are known to historians. The primary author of the fiction was one Paul, or Saul, but many other imaginations have worked on the tale.

Allah, the Muslims’ divine guy, while allegedly merciful, is the narrow-minded, belligerent, intensely misogynistic, ignorant yet dogmatic patron of a seventh century illiterate pedophile, highwayman, robber and mass murderer named Muhammad, to whom he is inseparably attached. The two of them, prophet and god, live on in the gullibility of billions. As their followers constitute an active threat to civilization by carrying out what they believe to be Allah’s commandments to kill and subdue non-believers, he’s at present the most dangerous of these three nasty  yet widely popular gods.

 

Posted under Theology by Jillian Becker on Sunday, July 31, 2022

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Islam and the Left are enemies of science 2

Islam is inherently inimical to science.

This article is not new (first published 2012), but is of permanent interest and importance:

Frank Tipler on Muslim Contributions to Physics and Astronomy

[Frank Tipler is a world-class mathematician, physicist, and cosmologist.]

In his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, President Barack Obama claimed: “As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam. It was Islam — at places like Al-Azhar University — that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing.”

Obama is not much of a “student of history” if he believes this. Almost every advance he attributes to the Muslims was due to someone else.

The non-Muslim Chinese invented the magnetic compass and printing (Gutenberg invented not printing, but movable type). The non-Muslim Hindu Indians invented algebra and the decimal numbering system. The non-Muslim European Christians invented the university.

I can’t address advances in medicine, but I have studied the history of astronomy and physics. The Muslims contributed nothing.

All modern physics descends from Galileo (1564 -1642); all modern astronomy from Copernicus (1473-1543). If you study Galileo’s works carefully, as I have, you see that he started with the achievements of the Greek mathematical physicist Archimedes of Syracuse (c. 287 BC – c. 212 BC). If you study Copernicus’ works carefully, as I have, you will see that Copernicus’ great book On the Revolutions is essentially a heliocentric re-working of the geocentric astronomy textbook by the Greek Ptolemy (c. 90 AD – 168 AD). Copernicus mostly used even Ptolemy’s data for the positions of the planets. Note the dates for Archimedes/Galileo and Ptolemy/Copernicus. It is as if the Muslim world never existed. As far as their fundamental contributions to physics and astronomy, it did not.

If one reads history of science textbooks prior to about 1980, one will find very little mention of Muslim “contributions” to physics and astronomy. This is reasonable, because there weren’t any. In the past generation, however, political correctness has dictated that Muslims be given credit for discoveries they did not make.

Certainly, the Muslims were a conduit for the discoveries of others. The word “algebra” is indeed derived from an Arabic word. The books of Archimedes and Ptolemy used by Galileo and Copernicus were indeed translations into Latin from the Arabic. But let us never forget that Archimedes and Ptolemy wrote their books in Greek, not Arabic. They were Greeks, not Muslims.

Most of the names for the brightest stars are of Arabic origin, because the names of these stars given in Ptolemy’s textbook were never translated from the Arabic. But do you think that the Arabs were the first humans to observe Rigel and Betelguese, the first and second brightest stars in Orion?

The reason Muslims never developed fundamental physics is because the leading Muslim theologians declared the idea of fixed physical laws to be heretical. The Qur’an (verse 6:64) states: “The Jews have said, ‘God’s hand is fettered.’ Fettered are their hands, and they are cursed for what they have said. Nay, but His hands are outspread; He expends how He will.” The standard Muslim interpretation of this passage has been that there cannot be unchanging physical laws because Allah may change the laws at any moment. In 1982, the Institute for Policy Studies in Islamabad, Pakistan, criticized a chemistry textbook by saying: “There is latent poison present in the subheading Energy Causes Changes because it gives the impression that energy is the true cause rather than Allah. Similarly it is unIslamic to teach that mixing hydrogen and oxygen automatically produces water. The Islamic way is this: when atoms of hydrogen approach atoms of oxygen, then by the Will of Allah water is produced.” The implication is clear: next week, Allah may change his mind about water being a compound of hydrogen and oxygen. With this sort of worldview, how could one possibly be a scientist?

The cosmology of the Qur’an is obviously geocentric, and as a consequence, Al-Azhar University, which Obama singles out for praise in his speech, still teaches Ptolemaic astronomy.

There was one truly great “Muslim” physicist, the Nobel Prize winning Pakistani, Mohammed Abdus Salam. I put “Muslim” in quotes, because Salam belonged to the Ahmadi sect of Islam, a sect that accepts modern science. But in 1974, the Pakistani parliament declared the Ahmadi sect heretical, and its members are currently being persecuted in Pakistan. Contemporary Muslim historians generally do not list Salam as an important Muslim scientist. Had he remained in Pakistan, he quite possibly would have been killed.

During the Cold War, it was commonplace for leftist academics to attribute many discoveries to scientists in Communist countries, discoveries that had actually been made in the West. So now leftist academics attribute to Muslims discoveries that had actually been made by others.

I never expected to hear a president of the United States do so.

And the Left is increasingly hostile and injurious to science:  

Here John Tierney joins John Stossel to talk about the politicization of science and how the dominance of left-wing thinkers in academia and the scientific community impedes progress. For years, liberals have portrayed themselves as champions of science and maligned conservatives as anti-science. As Tierney points out, though, the Left’s opposition to important advances like genetically modified food and the study of human genetics (among others) has done much more damage than, say, conservative creationists, who have zero impact on scientific funding or decision-making.

Posted under Islam, Science by Jillian Becker on Monday, July 25, 2022

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Thirteen words shake the tyrants of the administrative state 1

We select some paragraphs from an article titled A Revolution Against The Administrative State.

It deplores how Americans have been increasingly oppressed by –

… an unaccountable administrative state wielding power over every aspect of their lives.

In the last few years, agencies have seized unprecedented power over every area of American life. The Biden administration has argued in court that the Center of Disease Control (CDC) can issue an eviction moratorium and that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can force workers to get vaccinated. Big government was using a crisis to wield unlimited authority with agencies seizing the thinnest pretext of authority to weigh in on entirely unrelated areas.

The administrative state is the root of all evil. Its members made up the “resistance” who sabotaged Trump administration policies, as they did those of his Republican predecessors.

The administrative state spent generations making elections and elected officials irrelevant. Congress might legislate, presidents might sign bills into law, and judges might rule on them, but the actual implementation was left to a massive expanding bureaucracy which had its own agendas.

So Daniel Greenfield accurately writes.

He goes on:

Government had become too complicated for self-government, by the people or their representatives.

The permanent bureaucrats running the departments and agencies of the executive branch became the actual government of America. They made their own rules and enforced them as they chose.

They chose to enforce them tyrannically. (Many of them command their own armed forces.) No one stopped them. No one knew how to stop them. Presidency and Congress, all the representatives of the people for whom the people cast their votes, were reduced to playing a part in mere window-dressing; they kept the country looking like a democratic republic. The bureaucrats wrote the bills  for Congress to vote on; decided which enacted laws they would execute; and continued to make and enforce their own regulations.

Until, at last, a ruling of the Supreme Court set a limit to their powers.

One of the most tyrannical administrations is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of West Virginia v. EPA puts a curb on it.

And the curb applies to all departments and agencies.

The implications of West Virginia v. EPA go far beyond environmental regulations. 

Which is why it has …

sent shudders through the vast infrastructure of the D.C. administrative state.

One sentence cast the spell that melted the arrogance of the tyrants!

What has touched off all that fear in the administrative state was merely Justice Roberts, the most liberal Republican appointee on the court, writing:

An agency must point to clear congressional authorization for the power it claims.

The fury over that modest proposal reveals how America is really run. And who runs it.

West Virginia v. EPA is a response to unprecedented power grabs in which the country is increasingly ruled by ‘pen and paper’ executive orders [issued by] a vast omnipotent bureaucracy.

It’s not a final reckoning, but it’s a revolution against a tyranny that has virtually eliminated meaningful self-government and the power of the people. And it’s a long overdue revolution.

Is it  a revolution? If it is, will it succeed?

We hope it is, we hope it will. We wait to see.

Posted under tyranny, United States, US Constitution by Jillian Becker on Monday, July 11, 2022

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Do states need governments? 6

At present, every country in the world is over-governed.

The Covid pandemic made it easy for governments to impose authoritarian rules on entire populations.

Seth J. Frantzman raises the question whether governments are necessary in an article at Middle East Forum, which we quote in part.

It is about Iraq, which seems to be functioning well enough without a central governing authority.

Iraq’s non-leader Muqtada al-Sadr, who usually makes headlines for being unwilling to take charge of anything despite having the support of millions of Iraqis, withdrew his party’s 73 parliamentarians, making it harder for Iraq to form a government.

The miracle of Iraq is that, after years of political chaos, it continues to function despite having no real leaders.

At first glance, Iraq might be considered one of the first post-states, proof that people can live without governments. However, this assessment breaks down upon recognition that the country has been taken over, at least in part, by Iran in the center and south, and by Turkey in parts of the north.

Between these two powerful neighbors there are other governments, including the wealthy, stable, and relatively powerful Kurdistan autonomous region. There is also the Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi, the system of militias that run parts of Iraq. And there is a competent counter-terrorism force.

A competent counter-terrorism force! In the same country where Iran rules in the center and south, forcing its will on the population with a “system of militias”!

Still, Iraq is something of a miracle because it has gone from once being a stable and wealthy state governed by the genocidal maniac Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, to living under sanctions in the 1990s, to the US invasion of 2003, to the chaos of insurgency and then ISIS genocide in 2014, and now non-leadership.

Frantzman provides a description of governmental confusion worse confounded. The central government is dissolving away.

The Kurds are threatening to withdraw from the political process and return to undeclared independence.

The clash with the Kurds over the management of the oil fields in northern Iraq has become a constitutional clash. This prompted the Kurdish leaders to suggest that they would be the first to leave the political process, unless their demands regarding the independence of Kurdistan’s oil wealth from the authority of the center were met.

So Al-Sadr found all options closed. He couldn’t get Kurdish parties on board; he didn’t have Iran’s backing.

Yet, Frantzman repeats, the country continues to remain relatively stable despite the absence of any real leaders.

Which prompts the question: could a country be well managed, could freedom be reliably protected, if there were only local councils to make laws, and a central office of co-ordination?

Posted under government, Iraq by Jillian Becker on Friday, June 24, 2022

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The question 10

The Constitution is discarded, the rule of law abandoned, the nation-state abhorred, national borders removed, the people disarmed, the family destroyed, the past obliterated, the language befouled and diminished – so what remains to hold the United States of America together?

We ask this both here and in our Forum.

We invite answers, here or there: argument, denial, confirmation, analysis. We’ll not object to anger. We’ll even read soothing messages of sweetness and light.

 

Posted under Miscellaneous by Jillian Becker on Saturday, June 11, 2022

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In defense of Trumpist conservatism 1

This article by William Voegeli at the Claremont Review of Books is presented as a review of The Conservative Sensibility by George Will, but reads as the author’s own animadversions on contemporary conservatism. The Right Now, it is titled.

We found very little in it to agree with. But we confine ourselves to arguing against a few passages which we consider most mistaken.

Quotation:

Trump could be seen as a culmination, revealing intentions and qualities inherent in the conservative enterprise all along. [That] interpretation is one shared by some of Trump’s conservative admirers as well as nearly all of Trump and conservatism’s most vehement critics. “If Trumpism was the Right’s end point,” asks historian Timothy Shenk, co-editor of Dissent magazine, “then wasn’t it an act of naïvety—maybe even complicity—to pretend there was more to [conservatism’s] story than crude bigotry?”

What “crude bigotry”? Not a trace of it in Trump or – therefore – in Trumpism. But Voegeli does not contest the allegation.

Quotation:

The Never Trump differences with the larger part of the Republican Party and conservative movement are profound, but its objections to the progressive agenda are increasingly difficult to specify. The main problem, as Never Trumpers see it, seems to be that progressivism is bad politics rather than bad governance. As Bulwark policy editor Mona Charen recently complained, Democrats’ ineptitude and the power of their far-left wing prevents the party from discharging its “overriding obligation”, which is to keep “the Q-Anon-indulging, Putin-friendly, truth-optional, insurrectionist party from returning to power”.

Surely Voegeli should declare with indignation that the Republican Party is not “Q-Anon-indulging, Putin-friendly, truth-optional, insurrectionist”.

And what are those “profound” differences? Do they exist? Or is Never Trumpism nothing more than shallow personal antipathy?

Quotation:

[E]very Biden proposal approved by Congress and deplored by conservatives—every executive branch appointment and policy decision rendered by those officials, every judicial appointment and ruling delivered by those jurists over the next 40 years, every spending increase crammed into a reconciliation bill—could have been prevented or mitigated if Trump had displayed a modicum of responsibility, restraint, and intelligence. What are we trying to conserve? Well, significantly less now than there would have been but for Trump’s signature blend of solipsism and nihilism.

Neither solipsism nor nihilism characterize Trump. Nothing could be further from him than either of these isms, and nothing could be further from his followers than nihilism.

When was he irresponsible?

Restraint? Did he not show restraint  – especially in foreign relations, and when he might have used the military to quell the murderous violence of Leftist mobs in (for instance) Seattle, Portland and Baltimore and did not (perhaps unfortunately).

As for intelligence – was it unintelligent rulership that gave us four years of prosperity, dissuaded foreign dictators from aggression, and made an astonishing rapprochement between Israel and certain Arab powers?

Quotation:

This dereliction of a party leader’s duties is a miniature of Trump’s dereliction of a national leader’s duties. Despite Trump’s outsized personality, Trumpism started out as about something—above all, repudiating Bush-era nation-building, entitlement reform, and immigration amnesty. Some of what Trump promised got done, while most of it proved harder than he made it sound in 2016. But since Election Day 2020, “All that is left of Trumpism are Trump’s grievances and aspirations,” as Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote this year in National Review. The entirety of Trump’s agenda now is to “restore his tarnished honor and make credible his belief in his own victory”.

Trump’s “dereliction of a national leader’s duties”? No mention of the unprecedented campaign of sabotage, the sustained lies, the vicious conspiracies hindering him. And If Trump’s own “tarnished honor”, and the victory he won being snatched from him by fraud, obsess him to the exclusion of anything else, why does a massive majority of the Republican Party continue to support him, as is the case?

What else has he proved he cares about? Chiefly: making America great again and saved from global socialism; upholding the rule of law and equality of all before the law; sealing the southern border; encouraging American manufacture; lowering taxes, ending inflation, achieving full employment; making America energy independent; augmenting America’s military strength; handling foreign enemies with personal tact while keeping an iron fist in the kid glove; ending racist indoctrination in the public schools and the universities; opposing abortion on demand; preventing the sexualization and prurient corruption of children; and, above all, protecting individual liberty.

If liberty is the highest value – and doesn’t American conservatism hold that it is? – all forms of collectivism are abominable, and the Never Trumpers are politically blind.

On the sixtieth anniversary of the hanging of Adolf Eichmann 1

This essay is from the New English Review, May, 2022.

June 1, 2022, will be the 60th anniversary of the execution of Adolf Eichmann.

He was the arch administrator of Hitler’s “final solution of the Jewish problem” by systematic murder. The plan was conceived by Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer of the SS and Hitler’s second-in command. Between 1942 and 1945—the last three years of the Second World War—SS-Obersturmbannführer Eichmann carried it out. He organized the killing of approximately six million Jews of all ages, most of them by poison gas.

After the Third Reich was defeated in 1945 and Hitler and Himmler had committed suicide, Eichmann sought refuge from justice in South America under the name Ricardo Klement. Some twelve years after the establishment in 1948 of the independent Jewish state of Israel, the Israeli secret service traced Eichmann to Argentina, captured him, smuggled him out of the country and brought him to Jerusalem. There he was humanely imprisoned, politely interrogated, tried by a legally constituted tribunal, judged, and condemned.

The proceedings were conducted with scrupulous regard to the law and all the safeguards it provided: due process, evidence, cross examination of witnesses, argument for the defense. He was found guilty of multiple crimes against the Jewish People, of crimes against humanity, and of war crimes; and he was acquitted on certain parts of the indictment where proof was considered inadequate. He was sentenced to death.

Granted permission to appeal, he had his death sentence confirmed by the higher court. The appeal judges declared:

“In deciding to confirm both the verdict and the sentence passed on Adolf Eichmann, we know only too well how utterly inadequate is the death sentence when we consider the millions of deaths for which he was responsible. Even as there is no word in human speech to describe his deeds, so there is no punishment in human law to match his guilt.”

And on June 1,1962, a few minutes after midnight, he was hanged.

Hannah Arendt, the German-Jewish-American philosopher, was sent by the chic New Yorker magazine to report on Eichmann’s trial. She considered the proceedings to be flawed. She questioned whether the Israeli court had jurisdiction to try the crimes of which Eichmann stood accused. She argued that the Nazi policy of discrimination against the Jews was a “national issue”, so persons accused of implementing it should be tried in a German court. Deportations, however, affect other countries, therefore those accused of organizing them should be brought before an international court. So should those accused of genocide because it is “a crime against humanity”. The specific human genus marked down for total extermination in this case was the Jewish people, but the crime was nevertheless, in her view, against all humankind, so the obligation fell upon the world, not the Jewish state, to call its perpetrators to account. The fact that the world had shown little interest in tracking down Nazi fugitives was no discouragement to her optimism that it would see justice done.

She was not alone in having doubts on the question of jurisdiction. Legal opinion had been divided over the legitimacy of the court which had tried Nazi leaders at Nuremberg. Argument over type of tribunal, applicable law, and definition of Eichmann’s crimes were necessary, and the Jerusalem court itself examined such questions and gave reasoned answers to them. Fortunately, the judges had a more realistic understanding than Arendt of how the murder of Jews was estimated by the world at large, so they kept him well secured in their own jurisdiction.

Arendt’s criticism was not limited to those conscientiously debated issues. She also objected to the terms of the judgment. Although she accepted that the “guilty” verdict was just, and even agreed that Eichmann deserved the sentence of death (unlike some other liberal critics – such as the British publisher Victor Gollancz, who recommended that he be acquitted with the words, “Go, and sin no more”), she caviled at the judges’ reasons for their verdict. They should, she thought, have “dared to address their defendant” in these terms:

“Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that it was nothing more than misfortune [Eichmann’s defense being chiefly that he too was a victim of the Nazi regime, forced to obey immoral orders] that made you a willing instrument in the organization of mass murder; there still remains the fact that you have carried out, and therefore actively supported, a policy of mass murder. For politics is not like the nursery; in politics obedience and support are the same. And just as you supported and carried out a policy of not wanting to share the earth with the Jewish people and the people of a number of other nations—as though you and your superiors had any right to determine who should and who should not inhabit the world—we find that no one, that is, no member of the human race, can be expected to want to share the earth with you. This is the reason, and the only reason, you must hang.”

In other words, what Arendt thought Eichmann the mass murderer was most guilty of; what she identified as his chief and most appalling offense; what she thought his judges should be hardest on; what alone would justify his being put to death, was—hubris.

This coolly detached opinion of hers is not, however, the point to which she most urgently directed her readers’ attention. The most important lesson she drew is encapsulated in her famous generalization, a phrase on the nature of evil. It is displayed in the title of her book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, and the book ends (but for an Epilogue and Postscript) with a re-statement of it. It is her firm conclusion.

“Adolf Eichmann went to the gallows with great dignity. He had asked for a bottle of red wine and had drunk half of it. He refused the help of the Protestant minister …  who offered to read the Bible with him … He walked the fifty yards from his cell to the execution chamber calm and erect, with his hands bound behind him. When the guards tied his ankles and knees, he asked them to loosen the bonds so that he could stand straight. ‘I don’t need that,’ he said when the black hood was offered him.  He was in complete command of himself, nay, he was more: he was completely himself.  Nothing could have demonstrated this more convincingly than the grotesque silliness of his last words. He began by stating emphatically that he was a Gottgläubige [a God believer], to express in common Nazi fashion that he was no Christian and did not believe in life after death. [Yet] he then proceeded: ‘After a short while, gentlemen, we shall all meet again. Such is the fate of all men. Long live Germany, long live Argentina, long live Austria. I shall not forget them.’ In the face of death, he had found the cliché used in funeral oratory. Under the gallows, his memory played him the last trick; he was ‘elated’ and he forgot that this was his own funeral. It was as though in those last minutes he was summing up the lessons that this long course in human wickedness had taught us—the lesson of the fearsome, word-and-thought-defying banality of evil.” [All italics are the author’s]

For Hannah Arendt, the story required a fascinating demon, not a bespectacled clerk. Even when he stood under the noose, she laments, when history needed him to speak pathetic or terrifying words of pride or remorse, the best he could come up with were embarrassingly trivial funeral clichés. He was a dull person; not exactly stupid in her assessment, but not a thinking man. He was a mere instrument of evil, but with his final banal remarks he summed up a lesson that evil itself was banal.

Hannah Arendt was wrong about what Eichmann had been. He had not been a lowly bureaucrat unthinkingly carrying out orders; not “just a small cog in Adolf Hitler’s extermination machine” as he claimed, but a zealous, dedicated, ideological, leading Nazi. He had an entire bureau under him, a department of his own in the Reich Security Head Office.

She apparently never found this out. Between 1973 and 1975, she delivered a series of lectures on how philosophers from ancient Greece to modern Germany have dealt with the subjects of thinking and willing. They were collected—and published after her death—in two volumes under the title The Life of the Mind. In her introduction, she refers to her report on the Eichmann trial and changes what she had meant by “the banality of evil”: not that evil was banal (which is clearly what she wrote), but only that this particular evil-doer was banal. “I was struck by a manifest shallowness [in him] … The deeds were monstrous, but the doer … was quite ordinary, commonplace, and neither demonic nor monstrous.” And she added: “Behind that phrase, I held no thesis or doctrine … although I was dimly aware of the fact that it went counter to our tradition of thought—literary, theological, or philosophic—about the phenomenon of evil.”

“Dimly aware”? Of “our” tradition of thought? She was perfectly aware that it went counter to her tradition of thought. She had studied philosophy at Marburg under Martin Heidegger—with whom she had a love-affair—and at Heidelberg under Karl Jaspers. In the introduction to The Life of the Mind she clearly states: “Evil, we have learned, is something demonic; its incarnation is …  the fallen angel … that superbia of which only the best are capable.”

That is as far as she goes in dealing with the aggrandizement of evil in “our tradition of thought”. She does not touch on it again in the chapters that follow.

Who are the “we” who learned that evil is something “of which only the best are capable”? The answer is: students of German philosophy. For over a hundred years, the most esteemed German philosophers—and artists—had been romanticizing evil. More and worse, they urged its practice. They despised morality. Most influentially, Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) denigrated it; Richard Wagner (1813-1883) considered it a corrupting imposition on the pure, brave, superior, heroic German character, a taint for which the Jews, through Christianity, were to blame; and Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), hated it with raging passion. And with raging passion he praised evil, praised the powerful who do evil on a vast scale. To him evil was “beautiful”, a source of intoxicating joy. He tops the list of revered German sages who romanticized evil, but Arendt does not so much as mention this, though she writes about him at length in The Life of the Mind.

It wasn’t as if Nietzsche did not know what evil was. He knew it was suffering, physical torment, mental anguish. He was a sick man, subject to acute pain and nausea, but in the worst throes of his suffering he would cry out for more of it, because to endure and rise above suffering was a means to attain genius—the creative genius of the Superman.

In Thus Spake Zarathustra, through the persona of Zarathustra (who bears no resemblance to the historical figure), he urges those who would be “noble” to be “ruthless”. In Beyond Good and Evil he eagerly anticipates a new caste of supermen who will rule over Europe. Under their enlightened rule, slavery will be necessary. In The Joyous Science he declares that these heroes will be able to commit terrible deeds of cruelty, torture, and mass murder, and yet remain blithe and light-hearted. “All those who create are hard … the noblest are totally hard.” They will be the glory of the human race, acting out of instinct, not thought. Thinking, reason, morality destroy creative inspiration and are inimical to life. “Life itself, its eternal fruitfulness and return, necessitates torment, destruction, the will to annihilate.”

The Nazis took the philosophy of Nietzsche as an instruction textbook, and Heinrich Himmler echoed him when he said in his infamous 1943 speech to SS officers explaining how just was the genocide of the Jews:

“Most of you will know what it means when 100 bodies lie together, when 500 are there or when there are 1000. And to have seen this through and—with the exception of human weakness—to have remained decent, has made us hard and is a page of glory never mentioned and never to be mentioned.”

Martin Heidegger—teacher, mentor, lover of Hannah Arendt, and to her mind a profound thinker—was a devout Nazi. He declared emphatically that he was not concerned with ethics. What he was greatly concerned with was the German nation, which must, he said in his rectorial address at the University of Freiburg in 1933, “preserve at the deepest level those forces that are rooted in the earth and its own blood”. The essence of the race, he said, was embodied in Adolf Hitler. “The Führer himself and he alone is the German reality, present and future, and its law.” Hitler, he said, would “heal” the nation. Only when, contrary to this prediction, the Führer led Germany to defeat and shame, did Martin Heidegger discern something he could call evil meaning it was bad. He wrote in a Letter on Humanism two years after the ending of the Second World War, when the atrocity of the Holocaust was known throughout the world: “Perhaps the distinguishing feature of the present age lies in the fact that wholeness as a dimension of experience is closed to us. Perhaps this is the only evil.”

 

Jillian Becker   May 22, 2022

The conquest of America 1

All those who with their votes or their assistance in the ballot-cheating got the Democrats into power, are guilty of destroying the America that was free, prosperous, ruled by law, and protected by a well-trained well-equipped military.

Now we are not only poorer, but impeded in all we do. Travel? You may need certification. Learn? Only approved topics and authorized dogma. Start a business? Get a license.

Every institution on which we used to be able to rely, has been corrupted, weakened, or destroyed.

The presidency was captured by fraud. A duly elected Republican president was twice impeached for no offense, no crime, while the offenses or crimes he was accused of were openly and brazenly committed by his accusers, including the fraudulent official who succeeded him by crookery.

We can no longer rely on the rule of law. Real insurrectionists who torched city centers, looted, murdered, threatened governmental authority, go unpunished, while people who walked into the Capitol and out again a few minutes later are imprisoned without trial for a year, ill-treated, and finally threatened with long prison sentences if they don’t confess to criminal acts they never performed – which will send them to prison anyway. The initiators of the “Russia-collusion” hoax – Hillary Clinton and her political lieutenants – have not been called to account. Applicants for legal immigration are kept waiting for years, while illegal aliens pour over the border unimpeded and are immediately given housing, schooling, health care, and even voting rights.

The House of Representatives is the staff quarters of a vindictive old woman. The Senate can be toyed with by a moronic vice-president.

The Supreme Court  is under threat of extinction. The junta in power wants to turn it into a rubber-stamping bureau that will support one party rule forever. 

Victor Davis Hanson writes at the Daily Signal:

Court-packing—the attempt to enlarge the size of the Supreme Court for short-term political purposes—used to be a dirty word in the history of American jurisprudence.

The tradition of a nine-person Supreme Court is now 153 years old. The last attempt to expand it for political gain was President Franklin Roosevelt’s failed effort in 1937. FDR’s gambit was so blatantly political that even his overwhelming Democratic majority in Congress rebuffed him.

Yet now “court packing” is a law school cause celebre. It is hailed as a supposedly quick fix to reverse the current 5-4 conservative majority.

Recently, a rough draft of an opinion purportedly overturning the Roe v. Wade decision that had legalized abortion in all 50 states was leaked to the media by someone inside the court.

That insider leak of a draft opinion was a first in the modern history of the Supreme Court. It violated all court protocols. Yet it was met with stunning approval from the American left.

The leaker either intended to create a preemptive public backlash against the purported court majority in the hope that one or two justices might cave and switch under pressure—or to gin up the progressive base to fend off a likely disaster in the November midterm elections.

The recent leak, however, is consistent with a left-wing assault on the court that has intensified over the last five years. Democrats have gone ballistic ever since former President George W. Bush’s and especially former President Donald Trump’s appointees solidified a conservative majority.

During Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings in 2018, protesters stormed the Senate chambers in protest. …

Later in spring 2020, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., whipped up a protest crowd right in front of the Supreme Court. He directly threatened Justices Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh:

I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.

What exactly did Schumer mean by “you will pay the price” or “you won’t know what hit you”?

Who or what would hit the two justices—and how exactly?

But it is not just the court the left is targeting. Long-standing institutions and even constitutional directives are now fair game.

At the 2020 funeral of Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., former President Barack Obama crudely proposed bringing in Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., as states—and with them likely four left-wing senators.

Obama’s “eulogy” also damned the 180-year-old Senate filibuster. Yet as a senator, Obama himself resorted to the filibuster in an effort to block the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

The Electoral College is under continued assault, especially since Bush in 2000 and Trump in 2016 were elected without winning the popular vote.

The Founders’ arguments for the Electoral College are never mentioned. But the drafters of the Constitution felt it forced candidates to visit rural areas. They believed it would discourage European-style multiple splinter parties. It made voter fraud more difficult on a national scale. And it emphasized the United States of America. That is, America today is 50 unique states that are represented as such in presidential elections.

The Biden administration also narrowly failed to push through a national voting law. Such legislation would have superseded the states’ constitutional rights to set most of their own balloting protocols in national elections.

So what is behind leaking Supreme Court drafts of impending opinions, or seeking to pack the Supreme Court with 15 justices, or ending the Senate filibuster, or adding two more states to the 60-year-old, 50-state union, or curtailing states’ rights to set their own balloting procedures, or trashing the Constitution’s Electoral College? …

And how can Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas openly negate federal immigration law? How can he welcome millions to cross illegally the southern border?

The answers are obvious.

The hard left had detoured from the mainstream of American voters onto a radical trajectory. So it will never find 51% public approval for any of its current extremist and crackpot initiatives.

Instead, it sees success only through altering the rules of governance or changing the demography of the electorate—or both.

Has any institution not been deliberately spoiled? Is any activity, if not yet prohibited, left free of government regulation?

The banking system has become so byzantine that quite simple transactions, such as sending a payment abroad, takes days or even weeks to complete.

The schools and universities have been changed into indoctrination seminaries.

The mainstream media are as meekly submissive to the junta as a silly woman to a domineering husband.

The police are defunded, demoralized, weakened, disarmed, reduced in number, abused –  even murdered with impunity.

As for the army …These quotations are  from How Obama and Biden Destroyed the Greatest Military the World Has Ever Seen by Daniel Greenfield.*

Under Biden [“Biden” being the name of the president and so of the administration, though the man himself is senile and does not make the decisions propagated in his name], genocide and terrorism have become cultural norms that we are bound to accept.  (p.4)

China might beat us in the hypersonic weapons race, but America’s top military brass were determined to pull out all the stops to make sure they had the most diverse arrangement of incompetent radicals, preferably in senior leadership positions, to establish their progressive credentials. (p.10)

Obama didn’t just leave the military smaller in size, but smaller in spirit, its leadership class no longer dedicated to national security, but to the identity political agendas of the radical Left. (p.11)

Obama remade the military just as he remade the nation, from a team based on individual worth into a broken system divided by the intractable gulfs of oppressors and the oppressed. No military organization can function that way and no nation can survive that way.  (pp. 11, 12)

Long before the Taliban entered Kabul, the moral struggle had already been lost in Washington D.C. While the Taliban were carving up Afghanistan, the nation’s military leaders were busy implementing racial quotas, imposing implicit bias training, and teaching military personnel to hate their country through critical race theory. (pp.12,13)

There has been no accountability for the political leaders and military brass who wrecked the military. And none for those who were responsible for our defeat in Afghanistan. Patriots are being driven out while the disloyal leaders responsible for purging them and enabling the Taliban remain in charge. (p.62)

All that at a time when the US is faced with a more dangerous threat of attack than the nation has ever had to confront before.

Quotations from an article  by Judith Bergman at Gatestone:

China is putting up satellites at twice the rate of the United States and fielding operational systems at an incredible rate.

Look at what they [CCP) have today…. We’re witnessing one of the largest shifts in global geostrategic power that the world has witnessed.

The Chinese are building up their military capabilities in space, cyberspace, and in the conventional force. It’s all happening at the same time.

There is now as well the added probability of China and Russia engaging in military coordination…. a strategic partnership of “no limits” and with “no forbidden areas” in an agreement that they said was aimed at countering the influence of the United States.

Meanwhile, the Left has already captured and destroyed the free republic of America. It no longer influences the world for the better. It is ripe and ready for Chinese Communist conquest. 

Can the free republic be resurrected? Can America be saved?

 

 

*Published by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, PO Box 55089, Sherman Oaks, CA 91499-1964

Is democracy the best system of government? 4

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” – Winston Churchill

In Britain, the right to vote was eventually extended to everyone except prisoners, Lords, lunatics, and children.

In his Federal Paper No. 10, James Madison distinguishes between a democracy and a republic, describing a democracy as a system of government in which every man has his say along with all the others, while a republic is governed by representatives of the citizens. In our time, a democracy is a representative system.

Can it be easily corrupted? It is in the US that the weakness of the democratic system was most dramatically and catastrophically demonstrated by the Democratic Party when it organized ballot fraud in the 2020 presidential election. The Democrats seem to believe that all votes not cast for them are invalid, and to favor a system which could be summed up as “one Democrat any number of votes”.

So now a party empowered by a minority of the people is imposing its will tyrannically on the entire nation.

Even when the will of a majority prevails, tyranny can emerge.

What checks and balances are there in the US to prevent or stop tyranny? The judicial branch of government? It refused to adjudicate the fraudulent election of 2020.

Do you think democracy is the best system of government?

Are you for universal suffrage? Should every adult have the vote, or should voters be qualified to some extent in some way? What proportion of the voters do you suppose are informed about the candidates and policies they vote for?

Can you suggest improvements to the current system, or describe an entirely different system that would better protect the liberty of the people?

 

Note: These questions are also being discussed on our Forum. Please join us there.

Posted under government by Jillian Becker on Thursday, May 5, 2022

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