Archive for September 2010

The 5 Biggest Lies of Liberalism

Dan Greenfield puts the lie to five of the biggest myths of liberalism. Here’s a sample:

This brand of feminism has as much to do with equal rights for women, as African Studies have to do with equal rights for African-Americans. They’re basically little more than ways to repackage the agenda politics of the far left in identity colors. That way socialism can be dressed up as a civil rights agenda, and opposition to it becomes racism or sexism.

That leads us to the absurd spectacle of academic feminists declaring that successful female candidates who don’t share their politics are not feminists, but male candidates who do, are. Dig down to their real definition of feminism, and it turns out to be liberalism.

The Council Has Spoken: Sept 26, 2010

Congratulations to this week’s winners.

CouncilThe Razor - Does Islam Tolerate Secularism? Thanks to the council for selecting my post for this week. I am deeply honored.

Noncouncil: Caroline Glick - Who Lost Turkey? submitted by JoshuaPundit

Full voting here.

The Real Scandal

This should be at the top of the Republican agenda in the next Congress.

The blatant politicization of the Justice Department is one of the worst scandals I’ve seen since Watergate. It goes far beyond what Clinton did or didn’t do with “that woman”, makes Iran-Contra look like the naive foreign policy ploy it was and undermines the legitimacy of American institutions more so than anything I’ve seen. The fact that the mainstream media has pretty much ignored the topic entirely just proves the wisdom of the American people turning their backs on it.

Obamacare – The Worst of All Worlds

For the past few days NPR has been acting as the propaganda organ for the presidency by touting in its national headlines the start of the changes resulting from the enacting of Obamacare six months ago. It has interviewed people who have reached lifetime limits that the plan removes. It brought in Nancy Pelosi who breathlessly praised it at the height of the evening rush hour. The Marketplace morning segment discussed its positive economic impacts.

The editors of Pravda would blush. They at least had the threat of the gulag hanging over them as they crafted each edition. The only danger a Republican presidency has is to the paint job on the bumpers of their BMWs by the cheap glue in leftist bumper stickers.

Lost in this propaganda blitz are the facts – such as the fact that Obamacare will increase the cost medical care instead of curbing it – the driving force behind Obamacare in the first place.

The Washington Examiner lays out the other facts lost in the propaganda blitz, including this gem:

» Obamacare forces states to guarantee not only payment but also treatment for indigent Medicaid patients. With many doctors now refusing to take Medicaid (because they lose money doing so), cash-strapped states could be sued and ordered to increase reimbursement rates beyond their means.

I’ve seen the impact of Medicaid first hand on my wife. The old cliche is that a conservative is a liberal that has been mugged by reality. The reality of Medicaid has mugged my wife, taking an idealistic woman who truly cares for people (unlike her husband) and beaten her down with overweight, drug abusing, disability-seeking parasites who believe they are entitled to pedicures and maid service in their trailers (through the Home Health Medicaid benefit). Yes there are people who truly deserve it, but they are overwhelmed by the unfortunates who simply don’t understand that having a pulse does not guarantee them a government check.

Obamacare seeks to expand Medicaid while ignoring the fact that physicians lose money treating Medicaid patients. Medicaid pays $.88 for every dollar a physician spends caring for a Medicaid patient. Medicaid is in fact a charity provided by physicians that is subsidized by private insurance which reimburses doctors more than their costs for treatment. Obamacare does nothing to address this yet expands the pool of Medicaid patients at the very time practices have been limiting the number of Medicaid patients they see.

Obamacare is a compromise between Democrats who believe in socialized medicine and the Democrats who recognize the limitations of socialized systems in Cuba, the UK and Canada. But from a physician’s perspective, this compromise is the worst of both worlds. Under socialized medicine doctors and other health care providers can become (in some systems) state employees who are guaranteed a salary regardless of their patient’s ability to pay. The costs of the program are in effect born by the state. In a pure free market system, physicians would be able to negotiate pay with private insurers and set rates for self-payers. Those practices which have a healthy private payer balance can offer discounted services to the poor. The costs of this system are born directly by individuals.

But under Obamacare the costs ends up being borne by physicians because states do not have the luxury of operating in deficit. States must balance their budgets, and since states bear upwards of 50% of the program’s cost and Medicaid is often the single biggest budget item, they often have no choice but to cut reimbursements to health providers.

Worse, Obamacare pushes for “outcome based medicine”; providers will be reimbursed based on health outcomes of their patients.

But doctors have problems with patient compliance now. How many health care providers tell their patients to quit smoking? Lose weight? Eat healthy? How many doctors are frustrated with their diabetic patients who fall into comas because they don’t monitor their own blood sugar?

I have issues with capitalism and medicine. Although I have been a free market capitalist most of my adult life, I recognize that health care is different and have often argued for a form of socialized medicine. The reason why I haven’t advocated for a variant of socialized medicine under the Obama Administration is the injection of government in other areas of society, and because I have yet to figure out how to socialize medicine without socializing personal responsibility.

I believe that I am responsible for my health – not my doctor, and certainly not my government. It is my fault that I down multiple double cheeseburgers at a sitting and sneak handfuls of pretzels when the Wife is not looking. So if and when I have a heart attack, why should my doctor or the federal government be held responsible?

Americans give lip service to freedom but see no connection between it and its basis – responsibility. I quit smoking 15 years ago because I got tired of being controlled by cigarettes, and quit drinking nearly 10 years ago for the same reason. I don’t possess secret knowledge that my wife’s Medicaid patients who drink and smoke lack. They know it is bad for them; they aren’t stupid. So why should doctors like my wife be paid less for caring for them when they are already in effect donating their care for free?

Medicaid and its expansion with Obamacare reward bad behavior at the expense of health care providers and taxpayers. They undermine personal responsibility. They force physicians to limit their Medicaid patient loads or face financial ruin. They bankrupt cash-strapped states, forcing cutbacks in other important services such as police and fire protection.

Does Islam Tolerate Secularism?

The town of Kigoma sits next to the warm and deep waters of Lake Tanganyika in western Tanzania. During my year long stay at a chimpanzee research site on the lake, I would make the day long journey to town to pick up supplies. The research site, funded by the Japanese government, employed twenty Tanzanians, and provided living quarters and transportation for them and their families. Shoes were a perk of their job, whether it was trail cutting, fishing to support the research camp, or chimpanzee tracking, and so every month I ended up at Jon Mohamed’s shoe shop in a colonial-era white stucco building in the center of town.

Jan Mohamed was a thin but vigorous man of 78 who had lived his entire life in Tanzania. As a result he had made and lost many fortunes over the years. “I build, and the government takes it away,” he once told me over a bowl of yogurt served by his proud wife, referring to the policy of “ujamaa” or collectivization that had left one of Africa’s richest countries in terms of raw materials one of the poorest. “So I build again, and they take again. Eventually, one of us will tire of the game.” Jan sent his children to school abroad where they eventually settled and became successful. In my view that, and the fact that Jan had yet another thriving business in town, showed me who the real winner was.

Jan was a member of the small Ismaili sect of Shi’a Islam that recognizes the Aga Khan as a direct descendant of the Prophet Himself. Pictures of the Aga Khan hung throughout his shop and house, including a large life-size portrait that hung in his living room. When in town I made it a point to visit with Jan and his wife to discuss politics, sports – anything really. Jan’s views of his faith were my first direct experience with Islam, and his opinions showed me that the Ismaili view of Islam was not opposed to modernity. His Islam was tolerant of other faiths, treated men and women equally, and didn’t oppose modernity. Perhaps that is why the sect is often persecuted in both Shi’a dominated Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

I never saw Jan Mohamed again, but I think of him often. The embassy that I passed through to report my presence in the country was bombed by al-Qaeda on August 7, 1998, as was the one in Nairobi I had visited four years before on my way to Tanzania. The faith of Jon Mohammed was not antithetical to secular society, but the one that motivated the embassy bombers sure was.

US Embassy in Dar es Salaam Tanzania, August 1998

For most of recorded history, the concept of separation between church and state was unthinkable. The two were so tightly woven together as to be one in the same. In Roman, Egyptian and Chinese civilizations, the political leaders stood as divine figures – the brief period of the Roman Republic being the exception. Later as non-religious state institutions such as parliaments developed, kings ruled by divine right. Even as late as 1945 the state and religion were rolled together as one in the short and squeaky-voiced emperor of Japan, Hirohito.

Secular, non-religious power only became prominent in Great Britain’s Glorious Revolution of 1688 accelerating a century later with the American and French revolutions. Although secular power can be traced through the burghers councils that ruled some cities in central Europe during the Middle Ages to the various experiments in democracy by the ancient Greeks and Romans, secularism didn’t survive until these revolutions occurred and the principles of the divorce between religious and secular life were defined during the Enlightenment.

In a sense the history of the past thousand years can be viewed as the rise of secular institutions and the conflict between secularism and religion. Some religious sects such as protestantism have prospered alongside the separation between the two. Others such as Catholicism have struggled with their loss of authority; still others like Judaism in Israel have yet to work out the arrangement accommodating religious laws in secular society. During that time we have seen religious wars (Crusades, Moorish conquest of Spain) and internecine religious wars (Catholic vs Protestant Christians). But for the past few centuries the nature of wars has been more secularist: nationalist-based or capitalist/communist/socialist strife.

Islam is unique in that it alone has thrived as secularism has been rejected by its adherents in Iran, the Arabian Peninsula, and elsewhere. Where European societies have grown more secular, and American society found a precarious balance between the two, societies in the Islamic world have seen secularism wane, replaced by religious fundamentalism and extremism. Why?

Nations in the Islamic world followed the pattern of growing secularism until the 1970’s when the Iranian Revolution of 1979 saw the overthrow of a secular regime by a religious one. This coincided with an effort by the Saudi regime to use oil money to build religious schools around the world to spread Wahhabism. Although Wahhabism and the Shi’a regime of Iran are religious enemies, the two did work together to undermine secularism in Islamic societies. Add in the massive corruption of the secular governments in these societies to the weakness and self-doubt promoted by the moral relativistic nihilism of “political correctness” doctrine espoused by secular western societies and the result is a “perfect storm” rolling back the separation of church and state in Islamic countries around the world.

This is nowhere more evident than Turkey. Under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) the Turkish government has become increasingly Islamicized, moving away from the secular ideals planted by its founder Kamal Ataturk. On September 12, Turkish voters approved 26 constitutional amendments proposed by prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The most important of these allows the AKP to appoint judges to the country’s supreme court without a confirmation process. This completes the takeover of all three branches of government by the AKP, allowing it to rule without the checks and balances western societies take for granted.

When secularism succeeds, religious freedom prospers. There are mosques, temples, churches, and reading rooms throughout the United States and Europe. However the converse of this is not true. There are no churches in Saudi Arabia, no synagogues in Gaza, nor Buddhist statues in Afghanistan. The Jewish community in Iran is under siege, as are the Christian communities in Egypt and Turkey.

Does Islam tolerate secularism? Secularism has proven that it can coexist with Islam, but so far Islam has not demonstrated that it is capable of coexisting with secularism. The nations that had shown the potential for coexistence – Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Indonesia and Pakistan – are now either completely Islamicized or moving towards that end. Even in secular countries Islam is pushing the limits of tolerance by demanding acceptance of the Islamic treatment of women, disregarding freedom of speech by pushing for blasphemy laws, campaigning for the introduction of sharia law, and preaching hatred against Jews and Christians and subversion of democracy.

The challenge for a secular society is to maintain its respect for religion while at the same time recognizing that Islam isn’t the same as Buddhism, and that Muslims aren’t Episcopalians who don’t eat pork.  So far secular institutions such as a colleges and universities, the mass media as well as governments have failed to recognize the uniqueness of Islam and the fact that the faith has shown limited possibility of accepting the separation between church and state anyplace where the religion is in the majority.

The march towards a secular world where people are free to worship – or not – as they please isn’t guaranteed. One can hope that Muslims themselves will recognize the value of secular society and the separation of religious life from civil life in some sort of “Islamic Reformation”, but recent events show the opposite is occurring. Presently the radicals controlling Islam are engaged in a religious war, one which secular societies around the world have not recognized let alone fought back against.

The Council Has Spoken: Sept 17, 2010

Congratulations to this week’s winners.

Council: The Colossus of Rhodey - Gotta love the hypocrisy

Noncouncil: Chandlers Watch -Violence: Bible vs Koran … Apples and Oranges submitted by VA Right

Full voting here.

GOP Establishment Spills Its Tea

So the self-annointed leaders of the conservative party are whining that the conservative rank and file has selected conservatives to represent them in the November 2010 election.

Let’s make this clear: I don’t vote for Republicans so that they can get all chairmanships and the cushy offices in the Senate building. I vote for Republicans to represent my ideals of a strong national defense, limited government and a free and open society.

Over the past decade the Republican establishment has forgotten this simple fact. Under the previous administration the Republican party spent taxpayer money like liberals, and expanded the size and scope of the federal government against the very ideals of the party. They made the DC beltway a cosy nest for themselves, forgetting that while the Supreme Court may have destroyed term limits it hadn’t erased it from our memories.

We thought we sent them a message by sitting on our hands in 2006 and handing the Democrats control of the both houses of Congress. They didn’t get the message. Two years later we bought their argument that voting for a liberal Arizonan would keep the socialist agenda of the Democrats at bay. It didn’t. In the two years since the Republican establishment Republicans like me have realized just how out-of-touch the Republican establishment is with people like me, so others who felt the same way joined together to form the Tea Party movement.

The establishment was happy to encourage us on the talk shows as our popularity grew, enjoying our growing strength at the expense of the Democrats. Limited government? Sure! Get control of the deficit? Absolutely! A return to the principles of our founders? Amen!

What, do they think we were joking?

Instead of listening to us in Delaware, they offered us a man who supported the nationalization of the energy industry and opposed the surge in Iraq by voting his conscience. Mike Castle represented my principles about as much as Rosie O’Donnell, yet people like me were expected to support him because he had an “R” after his name and was a shoo-in for “Biden’s seat” (proving once again that the establishment of both parties “Ted Kennedy’s seat” is guilty of viewing representation as a property right instead of a privilege.)

The Republican establishment has reached a crossroads. Either it will keep the Tea Party within its fold where it can compromise with it, or it will kick it out. If the latter happens, the party will lose its legitimacy with its own membership. If it keeps the Tea Party within its ranks, it is going to lose some establishment heads and likely a few elections here or there, but in the end it will be energized and renewed.

As for Mike Castle, he can follow in Senator Joe Lieberman’s footsteps and run for the seat as an Independent. He has the name recognition and probably enough financial backing to pull it off. He will then caucus with the Republicans on most issues just as Lieberman does with the Dems. Balance will be restored to the Universe and the Establishment will survive long enough to corrupt the firebrand Tea Partiers in its ranks.

Must Read on the Higher Education Bubble

Link with arguments and counterarguments.

I’m already planning on the Kid free ranging for awhile after high school. As both his mother and I have borne the chains of student debt and missed opportunities because of it, I want to see him discover some things about the world and about himself before piling up a mountain of debt taking classes on zombies.

Educating Erasmus

A few months ago a friend gave me a present, The Education of a Christian Prince by Erasmus. Since reading The Prince back in high school I have been a devotee of Niccolo Machiavelli but I had never gotten around to comparing his views with his contemporary Desiderius Erasmus. With the gift from my friend I finally had the opportunity, and finished the relatively short work in a weekend. A quick search of the internet shows that comparisons between these two intellectual giants of the Renaissance are common to the point of being cliche, but it’s taken me two decades to discover this debate for myself.

The distinction between the two philosophers is that Erasmus believes that evil flows from ignorance and can be fought with education, whereas Machiavelli believes that all that matters is power – the struggle for and accumulation of it. Erasmus is a humanist, believing that the more educated one becomes the more enlightened and humane he or she becomes. Machiavelli is a pragmatist: Enlightenment is only a veneer for the wielding of power.

What is interesting to me is that these two schools of thought are still struggling today nearly 500 years after the deaths of their founders.

President Obama and the liberals that carried him to office believe that two components of education are the keys to making America safer. The first is apologizing for American past actions. By apologizing the administration and its liberal allies prove to the rest of the world that “we get it” – we understand that the world has suffered due to the arrogance of American exceptionalism. The second is educating the rest of the world by showing it that we aren’t at war with Islam: we allow Muslims to worship freely and without discrimination. This was one of the justifications for the Ground Zero mosque project used by New York Mayor Bloomberg, showing that he is an adherent of the humanist school.

In contrast, the pragmatists believe that the Obama administration’s apologies show weakness to America’s enemies and encourage them. As for education, most of the 9-11 hijackers and al-Qaeda leadership lived in America for long periods and understand it well enough. Al-Qaeda isn’t angry from ignorance about America, it is angry because America stands in the way of their goal: a worldwide Islamic caliphate.

From the Machiavellian perspective, the struggle between Islamic terrorists and the Free World is a zero-sum game of winners and losers whereas Erasmus’s humanists view it as a game where everyone can win. Once the Islamic terrorists are educated to understand that America isn’t anti-Islamic, they won’t seek to destroy it. Terrorists and Americans can coexist in peace – all that’s necessary is a few apologies and a worldwide media campaign showing the terrorists how much we love Muslims.

It’s no surprise that I take the Machiavellian position – what was once called the “Realpolitik” school of foreign policy. But over time I have come to realize that there are limits to this world view as well. A Machiavellian approaches information gathering on Islamic terrorists with suitcases of cash. Each of the top Islamic terror leaders has multi-million dollar bounties on his head, yet so far these bounties have gone unclaimed. Why? It doesn’t make sense to a Machiavellian; Islamic radicals are human and all humans are greedy.

So why hasn’t this bounty program worked? Erasmus might surmise that those who know the whereabouts of these top leaders are believers. They are idealists motivated by belief – not by greed – and religious beliefs are often the most resistant to worldly desires offered by money, power and US green cards for the informer’s families. Machiavelli would rightly state that cold hard cash isn’t the correct currency to use when virgins in the afterlife are offered. If you are going to fight Islamic radicalism, you’ve got to do it within Islam.

If Machiavelli appeared in Washington DC today and took up residence at one of the conservative think tanks, one of the first things he would point out is America’s paradoxical relationship with Saudi Arabia. America supports the Saudi regime by protecting it, funding it through oil purchases, and militarizing it with arms sales. Saudi Arabia then takes advantage of this by spreading Islamic radicalism throughout the world, inevitably leading to terror attacks on the United States and its allies.

The Council Has Spoken: Sept 12, 2010

Congratulations to this week’s winners.

Council: Snapped Shot -Happy Al-Quds Day!

Noncouncil: Iowahawk - Barack, Can we Talk? submitted by Bookworm Room

Full voting here.

How Smart and Arrogant Can Be Dumb in the Oval Office

Two excellent articles…

American Thinker:

For some reason or other, Obama has been able to skate through academia and politics without ever being seriously challenged to prove his depth. A simple veneer of glibness has been enough to win the accolades of the liberal intelligentsia. But now that he has actual responsibilities—including relatively trivial ones like custodianship of the inner sanctum of the presidency—his lack of substance keeps showing up in visible, embarrassing, and troubling ways.

Victor Davis Hanson:

But enough speculation over motives for the origins of Obama’s strange and growing petulance. All that matters for the country is that the current president of the United States seems surprised that as our chief executive he is earning scrutiny not previously accorded him — and that he finds that demand for accountability both exasperating and abjectly unfair. Thus this week’s latest “like a dog” whine.

For some reason, Obama believed that those who expected after his campaign promises a real upturn in the economy, or fiscal responsibility, or inspired foreign policy would be satisfied, as they had in the past, merely with soaring rhetoric and superficial reassurance. When they were not, and voiced such displeasure, as ingrates they had supposedly reduced Obama to canine-like status.

Why I Oppose Christians Burning The Koran – But Believe Artists Should

I suppose it comes as no surprise that one of my favorite artists is Robert Mapplethorpe. Mapplethorpe pushed the boundaries of his time with the homo-erotic imagery and S&M photographs. He gave the religious right apoplexy before his death in 1989, and while his controversial pictures seem plain juvenile to me today, his portraits of Patty Smith, flowers and nude studies remain timeless. Whenever someone mentions the cliche “(blank) issue isn’t black and white” I visualize Mapplethorpe’s photograph below with its seemingly endless shades of gray between the purest white and void-like blacks. Yes there may be gray areas in life, I like to think to myself, but there are also stark black and flawless white ones too.

Copyright Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

Today’s young artists like to stir up a few Christians or Jews to appear edgy and prod the boundaries of free speech. With luck they’ll get a few write ups in the local paper; if they are really lucky, maybe a national paper or a magazine will hold them up as paragons of artistic freedom. Only a select few will be picked up by conservative talk radio and Fox News as examples of the decline of civilization, igniting their careers and guaranteeing write ups in Vanity Fair and the New Yorker – maybe even netting them academic tenure.

But they shouldn’t kid themselves; they are playing it safe. They are taking roads that are well traveled with guard rails, road signs and speed limits to protect them from harm and control them as they express themselves. As long as they stay on the road by attacking safe topics like conservatives, Republicans, capitalism, Christians and Jews, they’ll end up at their destination. But swerve off the road and they end up in the ditch like Theo VanGogh and Hirsi Ali. Ten minutes of film killed the former and drove the latter into exile without a peep from liberals.

I’m all for riling up Muslims. If I was a young artist-pretender, I would be doing acts that would push the boundaries of art and piss them off. Such acts would be guaranteed to get me press around the world, including plenty of national coverage by the politically correct mainstream media aghast at my insensitivity to Islam.

Muslims deserve to be prodded and poked. They take their religion so seriously that even the slightest offense sets them barking “Death to America”, burning flags and issuing fatwas. Whether it’s cartoons or the Koran Muslims seem to get their tails in a twist over just about anything.

The controversy over the Koran burning shows the strength of America. Here we have the head of a tiny group of wackos in Florida that wants to do something against the will of most of America’s leaders but not against its law. Even the president himself cannot do anything to stop him except appeal to his “better angels”. Conservatives, liberals, Republicans and Democrats have all voiced their opposition to this man’s action – yet on Saturday night at 6pm if he decides to go through with it, he can.

Given what I’ve said so far it may seem that I support his action, but I don’t. As I stated recently regarding the controversy over the mosque at Ground Zero in New York City, just because you have the right to do something doesn’t mean that you should. Actions do have consequences, and even though Muslims need to get worked up, it shouldn’t be done by Christian zealots. A Christian burning a Koran isn’t art; it’s an act of religious warfare.

Muslims are hard-wired for religious warfare. Islam was spread at the edge of a sword from the very beginning, and it is nearly impossible for all but the most secular Muslims to see the Koran burning as anything but a direct attack on their religion by another.

Either Islam is going to change to get along with the modern world, or the modern world is going to change to get along with Islam. So far we have tried the latter course, but this policy of tolerance has failed. All it has done is appear as weakness, and if it continues we will have to reconcile ourselves to nearly constant warfare with Islam or become Muslims ourselves.

Artists could play a role in helping Islam modernize. If enough of them stood up to the faith and provoked it – by encasing a Koran in a plastic box full of urine perhaps, Muslims would realize that their faith is strong enough to endure such acts – and they wouldn’t need to protect their religion by jumping up and down everytime someone looks at their faith cross-eyed.

Unfortunately, few artists around these days have those kind of guts, and I have my doubts that Muslims are mature enough to realize that Islam doesn’t need their protection from blaspheming non-believers.

UPDATE: As if there was any doubt that Islam is fighting a religious war (as if banning Bibles and beheading those who convert to other religions wasn’t enough).

Muslims Burn Bibles, Desecrate Churches

The Jewish Bin Laden

The day started off with a celebration on NPR for George Soros’s donation of $100 million to Human Jihadi Rights Watch. In the interview, Soros stated that the donation was necessary to fund the group since the United States has lost the “moral high ground” thanks to the Global War on Terror and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I find it difficult to be lectured to on moral issues by a Nazi collaborator – a member of the Judenrat who never expressed regret or remorse for his hand in the extermination of millions during the war and the pillaging of currencies and undermining of small investors through insider stock trading afterward as Scott Carter writes:

“No feeling of guilt?” asked Kroft. “No,” said Soros. “There was no sense that I shouldn’t be there. If I wasn’t doing it, somebody else would be taking it away anyhow. Whether I was there or not. So I had no sense of guilt.” A Nazi would steal the Jews’ property anyways. So why not him?

That moral hollowness has shaped Soros’ life. He’s a rabid critic of capitalism, but in 1992 when he saw a chance, he speculated against the British pound, causing it to crash, devastating retirement savings for millions of Britons. Soros pocketed $1.1 billion for himself. If he didn’t do it, someone else would, right?

In 2002, Soros was convicted of insider trading in France, and fined millions of dollars. He admitted buying the shares, but denied it was a crime.

Last year, when he made $3.3 billion off the banking collapse, he called the world’s financial crisis “the culmination of my life’s work.”

This is a man who boasted he offered to help his mother commit suicide. Apparently he didn’t see enough death in Hungary.

I have come to believe that some men are born without souls. They lack the consciences that most are born with or learn from their parents and grandparents and as a result lack the constraints on their actions of empathy. There is little that separates a man like George Soros from your run-of-the-mill jihadi, except the latter doesn’t usually financially profit from the misery of their victims – and usually blow themselves up in the process.

George Soros has no soul. Someone with a conscience could not have participated in the Holocaust without feeling remorse. A man who plunders the savings of millions lacks a conscience if he can swallow his food without it sticking in his throat. The man who has chosen to become the very example of the rapacious and vile Jewish banker of Nazi propaganda posters has no soul if he funds an organization dedicated singularly to the destruction of Israel.

In his Eightfold Path, the Buddha taught “one ought not to engage in trades or occupations which, either directly or indirectly, result in harm for other living beings.” Although not Buddhist (and perhaps no longer even Jewish), George Soros’s occupation as “rapist in chief” of capitalist economies makes one wonder what the Buddha would make of a man like Soros using his ill-gotten wealth to spread anti-American and anti-semitic propaganda. He would probably shrug, smile and say “He’s eighty now, isn’t he?”

What George Soros is doing with his billions differs little from what Osama Bin Laden and his wealthy Jihadi-spreading financiers have done over the past two decades. The only difference is that the NPR interviewer wouldn’t have smelled like an old man’s socks after kissing Soros’s feet for 3 minutes in the Bin Laden interview.

Unlike Soros, Bin Laden was born into wealth and power. Bin Laden eventually rebelled against the wealth and power of Saudi Arabia that allowed his family to prosper, eventually being disinherited and officially cast off from the elite that fostered him.

Soros escaped to Western Europe and the United States where he eventually rebelled against the free society that allowed him to prosper, as well as the basis of that prosperity itself: free market capitalism. As Carter notes, Soros seems overly fixated on central authority – a remnant of his life with the Nazis and later with the Communists, perhaps.

Both men show a fanatical and in the case of Bin Laden, single-minded desire to kill the systems that allowed them to achieve success. In the case of Bin Laden, I suspect that the roots of his hatred of the Saudi regime lay in his religious beliefs. Soros has no such beliefs as far as I can tell; all that matters to him is his personal success. Killing the system of freedom and free-market capitalism is almost Oedipal in intent; it would guarantee that no one can achieve his success.

Yet in the case of both men, eternity awaits (at least for Soros – I believe Bin Laden’s bones lay beneath the mountains of Tora Bora). Bin Laden has failed to drive the Saudi ruling elite out of the Arabian Peninsula, and Israel stands defiantly, a bulwark of freedom and democracy among the autocrats Soros adores. Both men have – and will ultimately fail – just as all men do who lack souls.

The soul is what keeps a man from harming another, but it is also the spirit that keeps him persevering in the face of adversity. In the end it shapes the footprint that he leaves on this world, and one that cannot be erased by a hundred million dollars worth of lies and propaganda. Without it, Soros’s money will blow away in the wind, and his name will be forgotten just as Bin Laden’s will someday be.

The Council Has Spoken: Sept 3, 2010

Congratulations to this week’s winners.

Council: VA Right – NYC Cabbie Slashed by Drunken Nutjob – Left Wing Media Makes Up the Rest

Noncouncil: RedState - A Free Society And The Muslim Conundrum Submitted by VA Right

Full voting here.

Headline of the Week

Gun-wielding ecoterrorist calls for reduction in human population, gets wish

UPDATE: Inspired by Al Gore, the eco-terrorist had a thing about squirrels.

“Nothing is more important than saving … the Lions, Tigers, Giraffes, Elephants, Froggies, Turtles, Apes, Raccoons, Beetles, Ants, Sharks, Bears, and, of course, the Squirrels.”

Of course. My dogs need something to chase when they get bored with the deer.