Posted by: quiscus | August 9, 2010

August 9, 2010

1.  “As I’ve said, this is what a real revolution looks like. At this point, I must also remind you of the fraud that is “intelligence” itself. The actual purpose of intelligence is not to provide accurate information (it’s almost never accurate), but to serve as propaganda for policy decisions that have already been made. “Intelligence” is used after the fact, to convince the still frighteningly gullible public that Country X or Group Y is a “serious” or “imminent” or “grave” threat that must be dealt with using the strongest of measures, up to and including systematic bombing and even invasion. If events continue on their present course, don’t be at all surprised if this pattern is repeated in the coming months or year or two with Iran.”

2.  “Marriage and the role of the state

The court did evaluate the question of whether there is convincing evidence demonstrating tangible, empirical benefits to recognizing only heterosexual relationships, and found — as have the overwhelming bulk of social scientists — that no such evidence exists.  That’s why it’s unconstitutional to continue to exclude same-sex couples from the legal institution of marriage:  because none of the empirical or utilitarian justifications legitimately considered by the State can support that exclusion.

But the moral, theological and spiritual questions about marriage are every bit as open and unconstrained as they were before.  Just as is true with a whole host of questions on which the State takes no position, private actors are completely free to venerate some marriages and stigmatize others.  Churches, synagogues and mosques are free — as they should be — to sanction only those marriages which their religious dogma recognizes.  Parents are completely free to teach their children that certain marriages are superior and others immoral.

And columnists like Douthat are free to argue that the relationships they want to have are not just best for themselves but are, as an objective matter, morally and theologically superior.

They just can’t misuse secular law to institutionalize those views or coerce others who don’t accept them into having their legal rights restricted based on them.  But if they’re as right as they claim they are, they shouldn’t need to coerce others into acceptance through legal discrimination.  Their arguments should prevail on their own.  The fact that they believe they will lose the debate without that legal coercion speaks volumes about how confident they actually are in the rightness and persuasiveness of their views.”

3.  “How Many Iraqis Did We “Liberate” From Life on Earth?

Is there a man or woman in America today who is willing to stand at noon in the public square and claim that demands to bomb, invade, and occupy other people’s countries have anything to do with human liberation?

If any American who claims to believe that indefinite continuation of the war in Afghanistan — or a US/Israeli military attack on Iran — is justified by humanitarian concerns cannot give a fact-based and intellectually coherent answer to the question of how many Iraqis have lost their lives as a result of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, do not that person’s claims for “humanitarian” war, bombing, and occupation deserve zero credence?

To state that we cannot know how many have died is outrageously false. It is vacuously true that we cannot know exactly how many have died. But in the diverse fields of human inquiry and endeavor, there are many large numbers that are important which we cannot know exactly. If understanding the magnitude of a number is important, we do not throw up our hands and say, “we can never know.” Imagine a reference book that said, “we don’t know how many humans are alive on Earth today, because no one has counted them all.”

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