Terrorism and Philosophers

Jim Holt: “Defenders of the doctrine of double effect appeal to Kant's categorical imperative: A person is always to be treated as an end, never merely as a means. And treating people as a means—to send a message, to create wider panic, to demoralize the enemy nation they are a part of—is precisely what the perpetrator of an act of terror does.”

The article cites an book review (which I haven't yet read) by Michael Ignatieff, someone I've been coming across a lot lately.

Can't Live With Them...

Nick Compton: “As far as psychologist Cary Cooper is concerned, the new single man is less likely to be a loafing, shag-happy commitment phobe than a knackered workaholic, running scared of a newly empowered female population, painfully aware of the modern women's willingness to swiftly disengage from any relationship not providing the kind of sex, money and emotional intimacy they deserve.”

Ethics and the New War

"Ethics and the New War" by Michael Ignatieff

Dr. Ignatieff talks about four asymmtries when looking at terrorism and the war on it. To those, I would add a fifth: the assymetrical psycological response to terrorism. One of the political goals of terrorism is to discredit political moderatism in the target country. Israel may be cited as an example of this. The political moderates are fearful of speaking up because they might be considered traitors to Israel. Israel is also an example of a security state, with checkpoints and roadblocks dotting the country, making things onerous for not only peaceful Palestinians to work, but also for peaceful Israeli citizens to live without a soldier on every corner.

The danger for the United States was (and still is) reacting too strongly to the terrorist attacks on September 11. Or, in other words, letting the terrorists win.

Ugly Europeans

Chris Suellentrop: “Much of what the Ugly Europeans propose isn't out of the mainstream of American political debate: Get tough on crime, promote Christian family values, reform the welfare state, curtail immigration. But the Ugly Europeans' policy inclinations on all those issues stem not from political ideology but from prejudice.”

Well, I don't know about that last sentence. That's an awful broad sweep, as in sweeping under the rug the American politicians' policy inclinations that stem from prejudice. And the source is American. Damnit, I need some British and continental European websites to read. For innoculation from, as well as cure for, the American bias in the sources I'm reading.

New York Sun

Eric Boehlert: “[W]hether or not the slim, narrowly focused paper can find a sizable readership in the city's media-drenched market remains doubtful. If the paper doesn't show marked improvement soon, that $20 million investment will have purchased a pricey footnote in New York's corpse-littered newspaper history.”


Damien Cave: Do you have any plans to sue?

“The developers of RadLight have learned a difficult and painful lesson. The public in general, and the privacy and security communities specifically, have shown their company that they are neither blind to, nor tolerant of malicious code distributed by any official software vendor. The outcry was immediate and quite deafening, causing them to reevaluate their tactics. At present, we don't see a need for legal action.

Girls Want Sex and More

Marion Botsford Fraser: “Oh yes, the single men we know admire smart, successful women; they choose them as business partners, friends, confidantes and sometime lovers, if they are lucky. But they mate with younger women, fertile or otherwise; sadly, still, the Amandas [from The Bachelor]. Single men who are, in terms of income, power, age, the equals of these women do not see them as potential mates. They see past them, to the young, green crop coming up behind. It's just genetics, some would say.”

I Read The Economist

Glen Schraft: “On weekends, I like to sit out on my porch in my wicker chair with my bifocals and my subscription copy of The Economist. Then, when I go to a professor's wine-and-cheese party later that night, I can casually mention all the fancy stuff I read about NASA and Venezuela and Gen. Pervez Musharraf in my fancy magazine and impress everybody.”

“Question: Do you think I'm smarter than everyone else because I read The Economist, or do I read The Economist because I'm smarter than everyone else? Now, there's a conundrum! I should mail that one in to The Economist and see what they think!”

It's funny because it's true. I read The Economist sometimes, but usually only the editorials, the Asia section, and the book reviews section. And Bagehot once in a while, when it feels like my tenuous (at best) grasp of British politics is slipping. Yeah, reading the magazine makes me feel smart.


Bruce Feirstein: “Terrorized by strong women? I think not. We grew up with them.”

Much to like about the retort to the Maureen Dowd article (linked here). Including profanities (they appeared, uncensored, in the shortened National Post version I read): “I suspect it’s that there’s a larger, darker, unspoken force in play. And naturally, there’s a Hollywood vulgarism to describe it: Women fuck up. Men fuck anything.” And how he speaks for the "loyal opposition" and uses the word "obstreperous", and the somewhat confessional nature of the following quote:

My favorite experience here concerns a woman known for her wit and power mating. One snowy New Year’s Eve, I found myself sitting across from her in a nightclub. And at 3 in the morning—fueled by who-knows-what substances—I turned to her best friend and said, 'You know … Denise really is kind of cute.' (O.K., in broad daylight, it’s a lame line—I admit it.) Upon hearing this, however, the best friend—a woman who had introduced the two of us—seemed to become instantly sober and stern. 'Don’t even think about it," she said. I thought she was kidding. "Why not?' I smiled. The answer was swift and demeaning: 'Because you’re nobody.'"


And of course: “"I always thought that tough, smart, accomplished women were sexy."” Amen, brother. Amen

Boys get to University

"Let's make sure boys get to university" by Stephen T. Easton

Since, according to the study by Dr. Easton, female students outnumber male students 120 to 100, "[t]his may be a boon for the social lives of the young men". Ha! I must have been the exception to the rule.

See also "Women outnumber men by 20% on campus: study" by Sarah Schmidt. Apparently the info is part of a larger study on the effects of university educations on the economy. "The contributions of university graduates to the economy, as measured by the incomes they earn, more than justify the investments made in their education, said David Laidler, the book's editor and an economist at the University of Western Ontario."

That's not exactly news to me though. A while ago I read "Paying for University Education in B.C." [pdf] by Robert C. Allen, a UBC economist. For those that don't already know, the government (federal, provincial, territorial) subsidizes university tuition. In the essay, Allen argues that students will eventually pay the full cost of their university education because of the higher taxes they pay due to the higher salaries they earn as university graduates, and that the eventual economic growth as a whole makes short term investments in university students "worth it". (See also his "The Employability of University Graduates in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education: Recent Statistical Evidence" [pdf])

Of course, the study was released by the C.D. Howe Institute, a notoriously conservative think tank, and the results reported in the notoriously conservative National Post, so not exactly free from bias.

Le Pen

Anne Applebaum: “Don't overlook the fact that the Trotskyites got 11 percent of the vote in last weekend's presidential poll as well: Above all, this election was a protest against the blandness, the interchangeability, and the suspected corruption of the two centrist parties.”

Palestine, Israel, China

Going through a growing backlog of China News Digest emails, I found this short article by Dong Liu. Chinese support for the Palestinians probably shouldn't have come as much a surprise as it did when I read it. Looking through the online databases (which I have access to for only so long), there's not much scholarly work done on China-PLO relations. Well there's quite a few Beijing Review (state press) articles about it, and three or four scholarly articles on Sino-Middle East relations since Tiananmen Square. So maybe that's where the info lies.

A revealing quote: “Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's secretary general told the Palestinian representative in Beijing that the suicide bomber did not know there were Chinese around.” If Arafat's secretary general knew what the suicide bomber "did not know", the implication is that he may have known where the suicide bomber was going to be, making any condemnation (be it in English or Arabic) a tad suspect.

Aerial Photos of Jenin

Aerial Photographs of Jenin from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Not an unbiased source, but looks like Jenin wasn't levelled after all. To see some fodder for conspiracy theorists, look at the copyright notice at the bottom.