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Bloggingheads 08-25-2010 12:14 AM

Do-Si-Do Edition (Heather Hurlburt & Dan Drezner)
 

Wonderment 08-25-2010 01:58 AM

Avoiding the Iran War
 
Interesting discussion of the threat of war between Israel and Iran. A good BH follow-up to last week's episode featuring the dueling CIA agents.

The idea that "fissures" may lead to regime change in Iran is a bizarre sort of wishful thinking, however, and I certainly hope no one in Israel or the USA is really going to hang their hat on that.

I agree with Heather and Dan that the best possible outcome is letting Iran get to the brink of weaponization, and I'm pleased to see that US pragmatists are coming around to that POV. Near-weaponization is perhaps the only place for a real stalemate. Iran backs down short of testing a nuclear device, Israel withdraws its ultimatums, and the testing threshold becomes the new red line. If Obama can broker that deal, he can count himself successful in the Mideast.

It's a crazy game of chicken though. Israel, as Dan notes, is obsessed with Iran and public opinion has bought in very much to the "existential threat" (Holocaust2.0) mindset. This is a very different state of affairs from the USA and GB getting hawked into the Iraq War by the neo-cons. I was glad to hear Heather step back from that analogy. No one sane in the USA (despite Tony Blair's rant about nukes honing in on London or Colin Powell's PowerPoint at the UN) actually felt doomsday was upon us.

The joke of the Palestinian-Israeli "negotiations" is not even worth discussing. They are over before they started.

StillmanThomas 08-25-2010 02:13 AM

Limited help for purged Libertarians
 
Heather and Dan muse about what they can't supply to Brink and Will after (maybe) being ousted from Cato. They reminded me of this jaw-dropping article about the lengths a crazed Ayn Rand reader went to puff his heroine.

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/...n-Rand-006.jpg

"Using a GPS tracking device as a 'pen', Newcomen took about 10 days to complete each word, turning on his GPS logger when he wanted to write and turning it off between letters, videoing himself at landmarks along the route for documentation. He drove 12,328 miles in total, across 30 American states, inputting the data once he was finished into Google Earth to create the world's largest book advertisement."

As I read that I realized that his journey was only slightly loonier than those of Ms. Rand's protagonists.

Always Cynical 08-25-2010 03:01 AM

Re: Do-Si-Do Edition (Heather Hurlburt & Dan Drezner)
 
My compliments to Ms. Hurlburt and Mr. Drezner on the content, professionalism, and information offered during this discussion. We need more of this type of thorough analysis.

I question Ms. Hurlburt and Mr. Drezner only in their relative unwillingness to analyze the journalistic credibility of Jeffrey Goldberg and/or the absolute control that the Koch brothers have long held over the Cato Institute.

Mr. Goldberg, the most ardent of Neoconservative war hawks in the days before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, wrote a series of items about that nation and Iraqi despot Saddam Hussein that were later proven without question to be false, misleading, and, in some cases, developed seemingly out of thin air.

Now Mr. Goldberg, who last year offered an extensive one-on-one interview with the reelected Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has published a story laden with unnamed and unidentified sources about either Israel and/or the United States eventually bombing nuclear facilities in Iran. Mr. Goldberg's piece even includes a Freudian analysis of Mr. Netanyahu's relationship to his extremist father and how that relationship affects his policy development and implementation that causes one, at best, to ask for Mr. Goldberg's qualifications as a psychologist or psychiatrist or, at worst, to wonder how such a questionable, unsubstantiated argument ever made it onto the pages of this once-proud publication.

Why Ms. Hurlburt and Mr. Drezner did not delve further into the question of Mr. Goldberg's overall credibility as a writer on Middle East and Arab world issues, however, remains something of a mystery. This viewer can attribute their unwillingness to do so only to the unspoken rule of Washington think tanks the media pundits that one never does anything to question another lest one experience a temper tantrum or three at an upcoming Georgetown cocktail party.

As for the Koch brothers, the Texas twosome provided the funds that created the Cato Institute in 1977. In the ensuing 33 years, the Koch brothers' control over the Cato Institute is something akin to the iron grip that the Communist Party once held on the Tass News Agency in Russia or Dick Carlson retains over his son Tucker's career in D.C., New York, and all points upscale.

Perhaps Ms. Hurlburt and Mr. Drezner taped this otherwise insightful piece before the publication of Jane Mayer's fine story, "Covert Operations", in the current edition of The New Yorker. Ms. Mayer's story delves into the economic and political histories of the Koch brothers and their late-father, Fred, who was an original member of the John Birch Society, an organization renowned for its racism and anti-Semitism. The late-William F. Buckley once dispatched the John Birch Society from the Conservative movement only to see the Birchers reappear as a cosponsor of the 2010 Conservative Political Action Committee convention.

Also, D.C. Conservative think tanks have been purging those deemed not to be truly loyal to the cause. Let us not forget how the American Enterprise Institute earlier this year quietly forced David Frum into resigning his position with that arch-Neoconservative organization. Frum, upon being told that AEI would no longer fund his efforts, stepped down in the wake of writing a column for the CNN website that termed the Conservative's hyper-aggressive opposition of the Obama health care plan the movement's "Waterloo" moment.

Ms. Hurlburt and Mr. Drezner could have alluded to Mr. Frum's forced departure from AEI and the Koch brothers' decision to force two highly respected officials out of Cato amid questions about their respective "loyalty" to the Conservative and Libertarian causes. A pattern seems to be emerging, yet Ms. Hurlburt and Mr. Drezner chose to ignore the matter almost entirely.

Perhaps the power of the Koch brothers extends well beyond Cato, Americans for Prosperity, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Citizens for the Environment, the Economic Education Trust, and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University? Unfortunately, Ms. Hurlburt and Mr. Drezner provided little in the way of additional insight into either of these issues. One hopes that they will revisit the matters in the future.

Graybeard 08-25-2010 04:54 AM

Re: Do-Si-Do Edition (Heather Hurlburt & Dan Drezner)
 
Ms. Hurlburt throws away her credibility with this silly post, in which she and her co-author claim that 'Dan Maes in Colorado thinks the UN is using bicycles to take over his state.' The linked article says no such thing, and doesn't even directly quote whatever Mr. Maes allegedly said about bicycles.

DenvilleSteve 08-25-2010 07:32 AM

Open immigration is destroying America
 
Heather faults Republicans for being anti muslim and bemoans the fact that that response weakens American foreign policy and raises muslim hostility. Democrats should have better thought thru their decisions to allow so many immigrants from 3rd world countries into the US. They knew the many nativists in the US were opposed to so many immigrants being allowed in. Yet they ignored that sentiment and now, in the words of Jeremiah Wright, they are reaping what they sowed.

DenvilleSteve 08-25-2010 07:43 AM

Re: Do-Si-Do Edition (Heather Hurlburt & Dan Drezner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Always Cynical (Post 176733)
As for the Koch brothers, the Texas twosome provided the funds that created the Cato Institute in 1977. In the ensuing 33 years, the Koch brothers' control over the Cato Institute is something akin to the iron grip that the Communist Party once held on the Tass News Agency in Russia or Dick Carlson retains over his son Tucker's career in D.C., New York, and all points upscale.

so these two fellows created the institute 33 years ago and now you are faulting them for making personnel changes to presumably refocus and improve its work product? Better I think for people of your view to find a like minded benefactor and form their own, competing think tank.

As it is, Brink Lindsey is a good thinking person. Will, I don't see why they would have hired him in the first place. No original or insightful thinking from that guy.

DenvilleSteve 08-25-2010 07:51 AM

Re: Avoiding the Iran War
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 176727)
I agree with Heather and Dan that the best possible outcome is letting Iran get to the brink of weaponization, and I'm pleased to see that US pragmatists are coming around to that POV. Near-weaponization is perhaps the only place for a real stalemate. ...

you are aware of the forces that drive a nuclear arms race? The weapons themselves are so powerful that the other side cannot afford to err on the side of caution and patience. The Saudis, Turks, and Israelis ( not yet the Iraqis, thanks to GWB and the red state combat soldiers ) cannot delay their acquisition of nukes because of the doubts of what the other side is doing or wants to do.

Simon Willard 08-25-2010 11:02 AM

Re: Avoiding the Iran War
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 176727)
I agree with Heather and Dan that the best possible outcome is letting Iran get to the brink of weaponization, and I'm pleased to see that US pragmatists are coming around to that POV. Near-weaponization is perhaps the only place for a real stalemate. Iran backs down short of testing a nuclear device, Israel withdraws its ultimatums, and the testing threshold becomes the new red line. If Obama can broker that deal, he can count himself successful in the Mideast.

I am quite surprised by this line of reasoning. It may be a good place for a "stalemate", but what is the probability? If the chances are very small, then it's rather irrelevant if "pragmatists are coming around to that POV".

I don't understand why Iran would rest on the "brink". I fully expect that Iran would quickly conduct an underground test, ultimatums or not. If that goads Israel into hostile action, so be it.

If someone can bolster this "red line / brink" argument, I would like to hear it.

Always Cynical 08-25-2010 11:04 AM

Re: Do-Si-Do Edition (Heather Hurlburt & Dan Drezner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DenvilleSteve (Post 176746)
so these two fellows created the institute 33 years ago and now you are faulting them for making personnel changes to presumably refocus and improve its work product? Better I think for people of your view to find a like minded benefactor and form their own, competing think tank.

As it is, Brink Lindsey is a good thinking person. Will, I don't see why they would have hired him in the first place. No original or insightful thinking from that guy.

You misunderstand.

I believe that the Koch brothers - like you and I, or even George Soros - can and should do with their money whatever they wish.

Just don't call it any sort of vague "reshuffling" or "personnel change" at Cato.

Brink Lindsey and Will failed to toe the veritable Koch brothers' line on every issue at Cato and, instead, displayed an ability to employ logical reason and independent scholarship; as such, the Koch brothers have chosen to chop their feet off and take away their keys to the Cato playground.

One used to be fired in this town and in this country for incompetence; now one is fired (let's not call their departure a self-motivated decision on the part of Brink Lindsey and Will to step down) for failing to blindly obey and for the development of the most logical response to a problem or issue.

As with David Frum at AEI, Brink Lindsey and Will were dispatched from Cato to (a) reestablish complete loyalty and (b) send the message that any and all who decline to go along - on every single issue - will no longer be employed.

You may believe that's some sort of meritocracy. I liken it a bit more to the heydays of Augie Pinochet and Dr. Milton Friedman in Chile - minus, of course the Midnight Airplane Ride Sans Parachute.

Florian 08-25-2010 11:38 AM

Re: Political Science and Great Men
 
Drezner, like many a self-described political "scientist," seems to cherish the delusion that he is a scientist. I would be most interested to hear what scientific truths Americans political science has ever established on purely scientific grounds. Is it a scientific statement, for example, to say that "great men" do not make history, or is this just an unscientific banality of a democratic age that is suspicious of anything out of the ordinary?

One doesn't have to believe in the "great man theory of history" to think that history is made by individuals, who may be "great" only in their moral and intellectual mediocrity: witness G. W Bush and the neocons. Their actions, the actions of a small, though democratically elected minority, will continue to shape the history of the United States and the Middle East for years to come.

Tolstoy thought that great men like Napoleon were dupes and charlatans, in the grips of forces beyond their control, but at least he admitted that their actions had momentous consequences. Artists often know more about reality than political scientists.

StillmanThomas 08-25-2010 11:46 AM

Hey mister, my eyes are up here!
 
What is obvious to Heather may not be to us.

Starwatcher162536 08-25-2010 12:28 PM

Re: Avoiding the Iran War
 
Letting Iran get to the very cusp of having a functional nuclear warhead seems much more like a zugzwang leading to a mate situation then it does a stalemate situation.

Iran--> Just about to "win"
Israel--> Unilaterally bombs Iran
Iran--> Goes ahead and weaponizes anyways, but now has a much better excuse and has more international support.

BornAgainDemocrat 08-25-2010 12:46 PM

Just how absolute is the 1st Amendment on freedom of religion?
 
Here is a gedanken experiment, i.e., a thought experiment, done purely for the purposes theoretical clarification:

Suppose Islam really was an aggressive religion bent on world conquest, whose intent, in every country, once a certain critical mass had been obtained, was to impose sharia law, including the stoning of adulterers, legalization of polygamy, death to apostates, special taxes on Jews and Christians, etc.. In other words, to institute all the practices that have traditionally obtained in Islamic societies before modern times. Remember, this is just an academic thought experiment.

Now, the question is: at what point would we cease giving Islam the religious protection of the 1st amendment and consider limiting immigration from Islamic countries? Or would there be such a point?

Compare and contrast this situation to the one that existed in Protestant countries, such as England, shortly after the Reformation, when the Catholic church really did maintain secular ambitions to enforce religious orthodoxy with the powers of the state, as it had done for centuries. Were the English justified in outlawing Catholicism?

To put it another way: at what point would an organized ideology that has historically been considered a religion by common consent cease to be granted the status of a religion as that word is understood in the 1st Amendment?

Again let me emphasize that this is purely a theoretical exercise. Readers who refuse to abide by its terms should not comment -- or, rather, their comments should be ignored.

popcorn_karate 08-25-2010 01:14 PM

Re: Do-Si-Do Edition (Heather Hurlburt & Dan Drezner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Graybeard (Post 176738)
Ms. Hurlburt throws away her credibility with this silly post, in which she and her co-author claim that 'Dan Maes in Colorado thinks the UN is using bicycles to take over his state.' The linked article says no such thing, and doesn't even directly quote whatever Mr. Maes allegedly said about bicycles.

from the linked article in Ms. Hurlburts post:

Quote:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes is warning voters that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's policies, particularly his efforts to boost bike riding, are "converting Denver into a United Nations community."

"This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed," Maes told about 50 supporters who showed up at a campaign rally last week in Centennial.

Maes said in a later interview that he once thought the mayor's efforts to promote cycling and other environmental initiatives were harmless and well-meaning. Now he realizes "that's exactly the attitude they want you to have."

"This is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms," Maes said.

He added: "These aren't just warm, fuzzy ideas from the mayor. These are very specific strategies that are dictated to us by this United Nations program that mayors have signed on to."
so, whats up with you posting obvious lies?

Don Zeko 08-25-2010 01:46 PM

Re: Political Science and Great Men
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Florian (Post 176763)
Drezner, like many a self-described political "scientist," seems to cherish the delusion that he is a scientist. I would be most interested to hear what scientific truths Americans political science has ever established on purely scientific grounds. Is it a scientific statement, for example, to say that "great men" do not make history, or is this just an unscientific banality of a democratic age that is suspicious of anything out of the ordinary?

I don't know about "truths," but Political Science has produced a few empirically well-supported theories. Duverger's Law comes to mind as the obvious example. I would think that PS deserves it's status as a legitimate social science at least as well as Economics. There aren't many strong conclusions, but that reflects the complexity of the subject matter and the difficulty of using anything but a small number of natural experiments, not the illegitimacy of the discipline. What makes it a science is that its practitioners approach politics in a quantitative, scientific way.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Florian (Post 176763)
One doesn't have to believe in the "great man theory of history" to think that history is made by individuals, who may be "great" only in their moral and intellectual mediocrity: witness G. W Bush and the neocons. Their actions, the actions of a small, though democratically elected minority, will continue to shape the history of the United States and the Middle East for years to come.

Critics of the Great Man theory aren't suggesting that history isn't made by individuals making their own decisions, merely that all "Great Men" are products of a particular time and place, and that their actions are constrained by circumstances, and that it is more productive to study those times, places, and circumstances than those individuals.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Florian (Post 176763)
Tolstoy thought that great men like Napoleon were dupes and charlatans, in the grips of forces beyond their control, but at least he admitted that their actions had momentous consequences. Artists often know more about reality than political scientists.

Again, I don't think that Dan or Heather are disputing that decisions made by the powerful can have great consequences.

look 08-25-2010 02:23 PM

Re: Hey mister, my eyes are up here!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bokonon (Post 176765)
What is obvious to Heather, may not be to us.

lol...your post title gets a 'look.' You know, like getting an 'Aryeh.'

Wonderment 08-25-2010 02:31 PM

Re: Avoiding the Iran War
 
Quote:

I am quite surprised by this line of reasoning. It may be a good place for a "stalemate", but what is the probability? If the chances are very small, then it's rather irrelevant if "pragmatists are coming around to that POV".
The probability may be higher than you think because all players have a great deal of incentive in finding a way to both reduce tensions and save face.

I agree that the scenario described is not great, but all the others are catastrophic.

The real solution, as I've mentioned several times here, is disarmament commitments from all nuclear players, especially but not limited to rogue nuclear nation Israel. Israel, Pakistan and India have been in defiance of the NPT for decades, and Israel with an undeclared program, is the worst offender.

Simon Willard 08-25-2010 02:37 PM

Re: Just how absolute is the 1st Amendment on freedom of religion?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by BornAgainDemocrat (Post 176777)
To put it another way: at what point would an organized ideology that has historically been considered a religion by common consent cease to be granted the status of a religion as that word is understood in the 1st Amendment?

It's all about actions, not beliefs.

You can believe anything you want to believe. And you can believe it with your "peaceably assembled" friends. The law can't touch your thoughts. The Torah says "an eye for an eye". There's no problem believing this.

But if you act on this in the US, you will go to jail.

Graybeard 08-25-2010 02:40 PM

Re: Do-Si-Do Edition (Heather Hurlburt & Dan Drezner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by popcorn_karate (Post 176780)
so, whats up with you posting obvious lies?

It seems one of us has a reading comprehension problem.

popcorn_karate 08-25-2010 02:53 PM

Re: Do-Si-Do Edition (Heather Hurlburt & Dan Drezner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Graybeard (Post 176797)
It seems one of us has a reading comprehension problem.

true, you apparently didn't comprehend enough to notice the direct quotes from Maes that you mistakenly or dishonestly claimed were not there.

Simon Willard 08-25-2010 02:58 PM

Re: Avoiding the Iran War
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 176792)
I agree that the scenario described is not great, but all the others are catastrophic.

No. Here's my non-catastrophic scenario. Iran will persist. Iran will test. Israel will attack enrichment facilities by air, locally scattering radioactive debris. Iran will look the victim and accumulate increased international support. Israel will claim satisfaction, but will never do that again. Iran will be set back three years, but will suck it up, persist, and build bombs. Finally, a M.A.D.-like stability ensues, similar to the India/Pakistan situation.

Wonderment 08-25-2010 03:08 PM

Re: Avoiding the Iran War
 
Quote:

No. Here's my non-catastrophic scenario. Iran will persist. Iran will test. Israel will attack enrichment facilities by air, locally scattering radioactive debris. Iran will look the victim and accumulate increased international support. Israel will claim satisfaction, but will never do that again. Iran efforts will be set back three years, but will suck it up, persist, and build bombs. Finally, a M.A.D.-like stability ensues, similar to the India/Pakistan situation.
Charming, to be sure, especially the part about the radioactive dust. It does imply no retaliation from Iran for the Israeli attack though. That's a hard supposition to swallow, and of course if Israel believed it they would have attacked a dozen times already, and Bush would have let them.

There's also the problem that many experts believe an Israeli or American airstrike would NOT be able to seriously set back a nuclear program in Iran. That train already left the station.

StillmanThomas 08-25-2010 03:10 PM

Re: Hey mister, my eyes are up here!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by look (Post 176789)
lol...your post title gets a 'look.' You know, like getting an 'Aryeh.'

A thousand thanks. I'd rather have the 'look' any day -- no offense to Aryeh. ;) I was afraid I was being too obscure.

Graybeard 08-25-2010 03:21 PM

Re: Do-Si-Do Edition (Heather Hurlburt & Dan Drezner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by popcorn_karate (Post 176798)
you apparently didn't comprehend enough to notice the direct quotes from Maes that you mistakenly or dishonestly claimed were not there.

I didn't say there were no direct quotes. I said there were no direct quotes about bicycles.

Florian 08-25-2010 03:22 PM

Re: Political Science and Great Men
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Zeko (Post 176785)
I don't know about "truths," but Political Science has produced a few empirically well-supported theories. Duverger's Law comes to mind as the obvious example. I would think that PS deserves it's status as a legitimate social science at least as well as Economics. There aren't many strong conclusions, but that reflects the complexity of the subject matter and the difficulty of using anything but a small number of natural experiments, not the illegitimacy of the discipline. What makes it a science is that its practitioners approach politics in a quantitative, scientific way. .

Economics is the only social science that approaches its subject matter in a quantitative way. And even it has a very poor record of predicting outcomes, of establishing universal causal laws, but I suppose one should at least give it some credit for helping us to understand why things often go wrong.... Political science is a fraud if it divorces itself from the study of history and culture, neither of which can ever be made into a nomological science (Popper Hempel model of explanation). This is especially true of the study of international relations, where so much depends on chance and contingency. I didn't mean to disparage the comparative study of elections in different countries (Duverger), but that is no substitute for knowledge of the history of particular countries, knowledge that can only be acquired, alas, by reading a lot of history.

Quote:

Critics of the Great Man theory aren't suggesting that history isn't made by individuals making their own decisions, merely that all "Great Men" are products of a particular time and place, and that their actions are constrained by circumstances, and that it is more productive to study those times, places, and circumstances than those individuals. .
I very much doubt that "circumstances" determine anything at all, assuming it is even possible to define circumstances in a non-question begging way. You first have to get into the minds of the person or persons making the crucial decisions, and that is very problematic, as all historians know, because there are so many circumstances that might be relevant. Of course it is true that the life of an individual, even a great man, can never be separated from time and place, but knowing how great men or great scoundrels are likely to interpret circumstances is itself an act of interpretation. I would even go so far as to say that it is much more difficult to interpret "contemporary history" since there is much that we cannot possibly know until events unfold themselves.

Quote:

Again, I don't think that Dan or Heather are disputing that decisions made by the powerful can have great consequences.
Well, then they need to express themselves more clearly.

Simon Willard 08-25-2010 03:25 PM

Re: Avoiding the Iran War
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 176800)
Charming, to be sure, especially the part about the radioactive dust.

Thanks!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 176800)
It does imply no retaliation from Iran for the Israeli attack though. That's a hard supposition to swallow,

Iranians are not stupid. I think they would understand the likelihood of success following the path outlined above.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 176800)
and of course if Israel believed it they would have attacked a dozen times already, and Bush would have let them.

I disagree with your assessment of Bush. Bush relied heavily on the National Intelligence Estimate of Iran's nuclear program. When this came back strongly negative, Bush decided no action should be taken on his watch. Or, to put it more cynically, the NIE gave Bush cover to ignore the problem.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 176800)
There's also the problem that many experts believe an Israeli or American airstrike would NOT be able to seriously set back a nuclear program in Iran. That train already left the station.

Agreed. But there would be some set-back. The airstrike is not about ending the nuclear program.

Ken Davis 08-25-2010 03:40 PM

Re: Do-Si-Do Edition (Heather Hurlburt & Dan Drezner)
 
--redundant--

stephanie 08-25-2010 03:59 PM

Re: Just how absolute is the 1st Amendment on freedom of religion?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by BornAgainDemocrat (Post 176777)
Suppose Islam really was an aggressive religion bent on world conquest, whose intent, in every country, once a certain critical mass had been obtained, was to impose sharia law, including the stoning of adulterers, legalization of polygamy, death to apostates, special taxes on Jews and Christians, etc.

The question doesn't make sense. Islam can't have "an intent." Only followers of Islam can. I think it's necessary to clarify this aspect of your hypothetical and reframe it so that it makes sense before it's possible to address it.

Don Zeko 08-25-2010 04:39 PM

Re: Just how absolute is the 1st Amendment on freedom of religion?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by BornAgainDemocrat (Post 176777)
Here is a gedanken experiment, i.e., a thought experiment, done purely for the purposes theoretical clarification:

Suppose Islam really was an aggressive religion bent on world conquest, whose intent, in every country, once a certain critical mass had been obtained, was to impose sharia law, including the stoning of adulterers, legalization of polygamy, death to apostates, special taxes on Jews and Christians, etc.. In other words, to institute all the practices that have traditionally obtained in Islamic societies before modern times. Remember, this is just an academic thought experiment.

Now, the question is: at what point would we cease giving Islam the religious protection of the 1st amendment and consider limiting immigration from Islamic countries? Or would there be such a point?

Compare and contrast this situation to the one that existed in Protestant countries, such as England, shortly after the Reformation, when the Catholic church really did maintain secular ambitions to enforce religious orthodoxy with the powers of the state, as it had done for centuries. Were the English justified in outlawing Catholicism?

To put it another way: at what point would an organized ideology that has historically been considered a religion by common consent cease to be granted the status of a religion as that word is understood in the 1st Amendment?

Again let me emphasize that this is purely a theoretical exercise. Readers who refuse to abide by its terms should not comment -- or, rather, their comments should be ignored.

I don't care if it's a "theoretical exercise" or not; I'm not going to entertain a thought experiment that requires such preposterous assumptions. It's just not conceivable that a group of over a billion people following a 1400-year old religion would have some monolithic secular agenda. So I still don't understand why it's insufficient for the state to use its power against the specific people that engage in practices we find abhorrent, rather than using its power broadly against a group of people that happens to include some people that do such things. With regard to the immigration question, why don't we just bar criminals and terrorists from entering the United States? The sorts of actions you're (hypothetically, of course. After all, this is clearly just an academic exercise that isn't supposed to have any bearing on the real world whatsoever) advocating would be just as abhorrent to our constitution as honor killing is abhorrent to our values.

deecue 08-25-2010 07:11 PM

Re: Open immigration is destroying America
 
Quote:

Democrat's decision to allow so many immigrants from 3rd world countries into the US?
I'm not sure if that's traditionally a partisan issue. Open immigration, to the extent which it is actually open (to my mind, not very much these days), helps define part of the American character for me. I cherish it. The current disdain for "immigrants from 3rd world countries" seems part and parcel of the current fit of xenophobia, the likes of which are found throughout American history. Whether originally of Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Southeast Asian, Irish, Southern or Eastern European descent, all have been affected. If there's some particular issue, you'd like to discuss, I sincerely ask you to please paint with a finer brush, and to not conflate things so rashly.

Wonderment 08-25-2010 08:06 PM

Re: Open immigration is destroying America
 
Quote:

Yet they ignored that sentiment and now, in the words of Jeremiah Wright, they are reaping what they sowed.
I think you're confusing Jeremiah Wright with Jesus H. Christ:

Quote:

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

deecue 08-25-2010 08:11 PM

Re: Just how absolute is the 1st Amendment on freedom of religion?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by BornAgainDemocrat (Post 176777)
Compare and contrast this situation to the one that existed in Protestant countries, such as England, shortly after the Reformation, when the Catholic church really did maintain secular ambitions to enforce religious orthodoxy with the powers of the state, as it had done for centuries. Were the English justified in outlawing Catholicism?

One situation was in the 1500's in a country that was ruled by a king who was guided by the personal and political prerogatives of power, in a country that had no guarantee of freedom of religion, where everyday experience was provincial in the extreme, and where the concept of serfdom had yet to be abolished. The other is a hypothetical situation in the present-day US where the 1st Amendment exists, where people supposedly no longer live cloistered lives. The comparison is that they are both fruit. The contrast is extreme.


Quote:

Originally Posted by BornAgainDemocrat (Post 176777)
Here is a gedanken experiment, i.e., a thought experiment, done purely for the purposes theoretical clarification:

It's an odd experience to hear someone asking others to dispassionately answer a question with such a loaded setup that they themselves devised.
Reading your post made me extremely uncomfortable. It was like someone asking me: "Think of an athiest, athiests who sometimes killed babies in premodern times,..." or "Think of an Abrahamic faith, an Abrahamic faith whose followers committed inhumane acts in premodern times,...

A much more interesting question that veers in the same direction (and which was raised in a bloggingingheads episode earlier this week) would be: "What sort of rhetoric should be a warning sign that a particular mosque could be a threat to the larger society?" Of course this in of itself is a highly problematic question, because 99.9% of Americans, and 99.9% of Muslim Americans for that matter, will have not had a relevant experience to inform their opinion.

TwinSwords 08-25-2010 08:16 PM

Re: Open immigration is destroying America
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 176820)
... Jesus H. Christ ...

ROFL!

ledocs 08-25-2010 08:17 PM

Re: Do-Si-Do Edition (Heather Hurlburt & Dan Drezner)
 
http://www.lesblank.com/more/gap.html

stephanie 08-25-2010 08:56 PM

Re: Political Science and Great Men
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Florian (Post 176803)
Well, then they need to express themselves more clearly.

Since you seem to be referencing history, critics of the great man school are common (the mainstream, even) in that field as well.

Lyle 08-25-2010 09:01 PM

Heather Hurlburt's Emotionally Weak Friend
 
Heather Hurlburt commented on how she was saddened by a friend's experience in the days and months after 9/11... that as a Muslim (and I'm guessing an Arab man) he was scared about what his fellow Americans were thinking about him, so much so that he left the country. She apparently doesn't want to see this happen to anyone over the Cordoba Center controversy, and worries how this will affect Muslim views, at large, of America.

My problem with this is her emotionally weak friend. The "oh my god, what do they think of me... I'm different and have a religious connection to the bombers, oh my" reaction of his is pitiful. I mean, no kidding Americans started to look at Muslims at large a little more differently (or not) after 9/11. Almost ten years later, American troops are still combating Muslim extremists the world over... so yes, Muslims and Islam won't be the most popular group of people or religion in America. Duh!!! Thanks to World War I Lou Gehrig might not ever have been Lou Gehrig, but Ludwig Gehrig... oh, lets all have a cry about it and adjust our foreign policy so we don't have to cry about it. Come on Heather.

I mean, get over yourself dude. You're different? So what... lots of people are different and make it in America. And to expect people to not look at you funny or think of you funny for being a little bit different is absurd. I mean, if my Ken Doll ass goes into a biker bar for a beer... I expect to be stared at. When I was in China, oh my God, the Chinese people stared at me all day long. They even pointed fingers at me and laughed at my hirsuteness (there are some flaws :)). Interestingly, I didn't cry about it, complain about it, or feel put off by it. I was Ken Doll amongst a couple million Chinamen. What the hell did I expect? They even got pejorative names for Ken Doll in China... surprise, surprise, surprise!!!

Look, just like black Americans who witnessed segregation and segregation era violence in America, and are still pissed off about it... Americans who have witnessed and are witnessing extremist Muslim violence can't ever undue what they've seen and will see (Adam Sherwer made this point, but about Muslims not being able to undue what they've seen in the Cordoba center controversy or whatever "American" policy... but unfortunately for Muslims it's a two way street and non-Muslims have eyes as well). So people are going to be pissed. Expecting people to just turn the other cheek and play ignorant just shouldn't be expected. Until the Muslim world has reformed itself into a more peaceful body of people... non-Muslims just won't ever be totally comfortable with Muslims as a whole. Such is humanity; so lets get over it.

stephanie 08-25-2010 09:05 PM

Re: Do-Si-Do Edition (Heather Hurlburt & Dan Drezner)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Always Cynical (Post 176733)
I question Ms. Hurlburt and Mr. Drezner only in their relative unwillingness to analyze the journalistic credibility of Jeffrey Goldberg and/or the absolute control that the Koch brothers have long held over the Cato Institute.

With regard to Goldberg, they referenced the article, but I didn't think they relied on it for any of the facts they discussed. They took it for granted that Goldberg was reporting what he learned, but didn't say that based on his argument this or that should be done. Moreover, it seemed that they were relying more on their own knowledge of the situation -- thus, the suggestion that Goldberg may have been made a mouthpiece for what his sources wanted to get out. (If memory serves -- I need to listen to that bit again to recall precisely how what I'm thinking of was put.) That the feeling of Israel which was discussed is, in fact, a common view in Israel is not something uniquely reported by Goldberg.

With regard to the Koch brothers, I'm not sure why that would be relevant to what they were discussing, unless you are arguing that it must be true that Will and Brink were forced out due to their control. I don't think there's sufficient evidence for that, and Heather and Dan clearly didn't really know what happened, so I think they basically dealt with the requested topic as well as they could.

In fact, I thought it was a good and interesting diavlog overall.

graz 08-25-2010 09:13 PM

Re: Heather Hurlburt's Emotionally Weak Friend
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Lyle (Post 176828)
if my Ken Doll ass goes into a biker bar for a beer... I expect to be stared at. When I was in China, oh my God, the Chinese people stared all day long at me. Even pointed fingers at me and laughed at my hirsuteness. Interestingly, I didn't cry about it, complain about it, or feel put off by it. I was Ken Doll amongst a couple million or more Chinamen.

My money is on you and not the Chinese (as they likely produced the doll) being the one that is unaware that hirsute doesn't mean what you think it means.
Witness the Ken Doll:

http://healthhabits.files.wordpress....doll-naked.jpg

Lyle 08-25-2010 09:25 PM

Haha
 
Haha. God I'm sexy... but not perfect. Yes, I'm a Ken Doll with a little bit of hair. I'm possibly a Andrew Sullivan wet dream. :)


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