Monday, November 20, 2006



Another of our small group of Objectivists here in Connecticut has discovered blogging. I encourage you to scroll down my blogroll and find his blog. Give it a whirl. His positive outlook is contagious and his most recent post on Thanksgiving is inspiring.

Congratulations Dennis!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

#1 BABY!

Yesterday's victory over a fine Michigan team cemented Ohio State's status as #1 in the land.



Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Director General: MI5

On November 9th, DAME ELIZA MANNINGHAM-BULLER, gave a speech to the British nation [one assumes] and had some startling things to say. I post the "highlights" of this, with a link to the entire speech at the end.

" I have been Director General of the Security Service (MI5) since 2002. Before that I was Deputy Director General for five years. During that time, and before, I have witnessed a steady increase in the terrorist threat to the UK. It has been the subject of much comment and controversy. I rarely speak in public. I prefer to avoid the limelight and get on with my job. But today, I want to set out my views on the realities of the terrorist threat facing the UK in 2006; what motivates those who pose that threat; and what my Service is doing, with others, to counter it."

"Five years on from 9/11, where are we? Speaking in August, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, the head of the Anti-Terrorist Branch of the Metropolitan Police, described the threat to the UK from Al-Qaida-related terrorism as "real, here, deadly and enduring". Only last week the Home Secretary said the threat will be "enduring - the struggle will be long and wide and deep." Let me describe more fully why I think they said that."

" What I can say is that today, my officers and the police are working to contend with some 200 groupings or networks, totalling over 1600 identified individuals (and there will be many we don't know) who are actively engaged in plotting, or facilitating, terrorist acts here and overseas. The extremists are motivated by a sense of grievance and injustice driven by their interpretation of the history between the West and the Muslim world. This view is shared, in some degree, by a far wider constituency. If the opinion polls conducted in the UK since July 2005 are only broadly accurate, over 100,000 of our citizens consider that the July 2005 attacks in London were justified."



Friday, November 10, 2006

Dr Hurd on Whores

"Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy, the whores are us. "

--P. J. O'Rourke

Speak for yourself, P.J.!

Regrettably, he has a point -- in terms of government as we know it. The United States was formed, originally, to above all protect the rights of the individual. Today, the individual is sacrificed in the political warfare of competing pressure groups. Some pressure groups want money. They go after the most productive, through taxes. Other pressure groups want your mind, or what they call your "soul." They go after you by attempting to impose rules of personal behavior on you that they fail to practice themselves.

There's a solution to all of this, and it's neither liberalism nor conservatism; neither Democrats nor Republicans.

The solution is freedom. The implementation of freedom implies the right of the individual to be free from the coercion of groups of individuals ... including the pressure groups who now comprise the United States government.

Yet that's not how it works anymore. Our "Republicrats" are whores, only much worse than a whore. An actual prostitute doesn't take your money (or your soul) at gunpoint. Politicians do.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Noumenal Self

...discusses his thoughts on Tuesday's election, with a promise of more to come.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A New Book on Fourth Generation Warfare

I do not agree with this author's basic premise, that the West [America] can't defeat terrorism, but he offers interesting arguments on other factors. I only here publish the synopsis of the book as food for thought.

Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization
John Robb
ISBN: 0-471-78079-0


Terrorism has become global, and incredibly complex, because it exists inside a social and economic system that's become global and complex. Globalization, unfortunately, has planted the seeds of its own destruction. Every new technology for improving the world system, is also a tool for undoing it. The question John Robb is most concerned about boils down to: will terrorism, in the end, be able to destroy the current system? The tragedy of 9/11 represents the pinnacle--and finale--of terrorism the old way. The goal was to inflict psychic damage, and nothing will ever top that--but they don't need to. Most forward thinking military strategists understand that we've entered the age of "fourth generation warfare." The first three "generations" of strategy revolved around the best way for one state's large army to inflict massive casualties on the other state's army. Political scientists are moving away from state against state thinking, to thinking about non-state actors. Our enemies are now much smaller than that: small, ad-hoc bands of like-minded insurgents, organized less like bees in a hive than like the millions of users for Wikipedia, each with its own competing, but complementary agenda.

As Brave New War explains, system disruption lies at the heart of the agenda. Instead of symbolic, or deadly attacks, we should be on the lookout for economically devastating attacks. Our enemy will be looking for gaps in the system where a small, cheap action--say, on an oil pipeline--will generate a tremendous return. It may not even make the evening news, except as a report on spiraling gas prices. Because of the open source nature of the enemy, they don't all need to be smart. In fact, none of them need to be smart. They'll just keep trying random acts until one really works, and then they'll all copy it. That doesn't take genius, just flexibility. Is this all just theoretical? No, it's exactly what we're seeing in Iraq, as their IEDs improve, their targeting abilities expand, and their networks become more invisible. But isn't Iraq sui generis? Hardly. From Nigeria to Saudi Arabia to Chechnya and beyond, it's spreading. Right now, the West is not prepared for it, and worse, we never can be truly prepared. No one can predict what the next catastrophic attack will be, because even now it's beyond the imagining of those who will perpetrate it.

What's the solution? What Robb refers to as deep resilience. We need to make our economic and communication systems more decentralized. If we can't stop an attack in advance, we can mitigate it. Right now, we've left ourselves too open to attack, with all our resources too concentrated. A simple, successful attack in Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, or New York could shut down the world's oil, high-tech, or financial markets, costing millions. We have too few energy sources, too few shipping routes, too few companies making the components for all the things we need. Until Americans start seeing the world as John Robb does, we'll spend all our resources preventing the last attack, rather than the next one.