Down with Derb

John Derbyshire sees the foolishness in “Islamo-fascist”:

We had a wee discussion in The Corner about the appropriateness of “Islamo-fascist” as a description of the terrorists we are fighting. There was much discussion of the point elsewhere in the blogosphere, too. Randall Parker had some sensible things to say at ParaPundit (especially his comments at the very end there).

Personally I can’t see what’s wrong with “jihadist.” That’s what these guys are doing: making jihad. As Randall points out, there are just too many differences with fascism. Fascism was atheist; jihadis are devout. Fascism was nationalist; jihadis want the whole world under one rule. Fascism was blood-and-soil racist; Islam is (in theory, at least) oblivious to distinctions of race. As Randall also points out, sticking the word “fascism” on the phenomenon just reinforces the silly idea, which already has too much currency, that nothing much important happened in the world before the 20th century.

If we do go with “Islamo-fascist,” though, then considering that Hugo Chavez, at the U.N. the other day, pretty much lined up with the blighters, we should start referring to him and his pal Castro as “Hispano-fascists.”

It’s nice to see that the nonsensical term is increasingly losing favor in the commentariat. Derb also mentions this:

A friend of mine, an academic psychologist, remarked offhandedly a few months ago that communication between two human beings is difficult if the gap between their IQs is as much as one standard deviation (i.e. 15 points). If you try communicating across gaps bigger than that, she said, mutual understanding quickly becomes impossible…. If this is a fact about the human world, it’s a pretty depressing one. The full range of human IQs you are likely to encounter spans about six standard deviations; so depending where you fall in the range, there could be an awful lot of people with whom, for you, mutually rewarding conversation is not possible.

I tend to agree with Derb’s friend here. The nature of my work being rather solitary, I probably have actual conversations with six people per day on the average. All of the people with whom I regularly speak are within two standard deviations of me, (three are in the same range), and on the rare occasions that I now find myself speaking with normal individuals for an extended period of time, I generally find that I can’t wait to extricate myself from the situation. Silence can be such an exquisite pleasure….

One of the funniest things my Dad ever said to me was when he came back from a posh charity event, at which he was seated between two very nice women of our acquaintance who were both of very average intelligence. When I asked him how the evening had been, he sighed and answered: “Now I know what Hell is like.”

Unlike other intellectual elitists, I don’t dislike normal people nor do I believe I have any right or responsibility to do their thinking for them. I just can’t bear to listen to them for more than five minutes at a time. And it’s fun to have conversations with people at your own level, it’s interesting to see how the pace of communication accelerates as each person discovers that the other is capable of keeping up.

Mailvox: of hate and harbor seals

JT agrees, to a point:

Wow! First, I agree that the Republican party has abandoned its principles and some their morality. I rarely ever read one of your opinion pieces because I find you offensive, however, since you have challenged my morality by being a Republican, let me ask you a question. What kind of person is still a member of a Southern Baptist Church after all of the shenanigans that Jimmy Carter has pulled? Why would anyone want to be associated with the “dead men’s bones” of a denomination of someone like Bill Clinton?

I left the Southern Baptist Church 8 years ago because I could no longer stand to be identified as a member of the same denomination as someone like those two boneheads.

Do you have political party? Oh, yes, I believe your party is Libertarian, yes? The one that advocates legalization of drugs? At the one meeting of the local Libertarian party that I attended, I could spell the pot before I got out of my car. Several of the guys were stoned. I got back in my car and went home—I didn’t want to be there in case the place was raided. I’ll vote another way if you have a suggestion. In the mean time, you and Joseph Farah are just as dislikeable and just as full of hate as the Democrats. You are just as unattractive as they are.

The obvious answer is: because Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton do not hold leadership positions in the Southern Baptist organization nor do they speak for Southern Baptists. The same is not true of the most powerful men leading the GOP.

Furthermore, I am not a Libertarian. I am a libertarian but I don’t belong to the party, in fact, I don’t belong to any political party. I think my last actual vote was a decade ago, when I voted for Harry Browne in 1996.

By the way, what is with women and these accusations of being full of hate. This is the second one in two days… Fiver apparently doesn’t like her other nickname, JT is apparently upset because I am insufficiently enthusiastic about homosexual Republican office-holders hitting on teenagers. Perhaps a woman can explain to me how this is supposed to be meaningful, as far as I’m concerned, it’s about as relevant as accusing me of being full of motor oil or harbor seals.

The Palin Diaries

Of interest to any Python fan:

Sunday, December 30
Personally I’m pleased with the 1970s. It’s been a decade of general upward progress. The 1980s will be interesting. Python has established itself and we are now in an almost unassailable position of respect. We now have to face up to the prospect of what the hell we do with this respect, freedom and comfort. They’re not always the bedfellows of creativity.

Truer words were seldom spoken. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve practically found myself seeking out adversity in order to stimulate some sort of creative response. That’s been a genuine silver lining of late, I’ve never known my imagination to be more fruitful with regards to design than it has been over the last few months.

Although it may only look that way in light of how barren things have been over the previous 18 months.

Doing as the Romans did

Robert Harris has an interesting piece in the New York Times:

IN the autumn of 68 B.C. the world’s only military superpower was dealt a profound psychological blow by a daring terrorist attack on its very heart. Rome’s port at Ostia was set on fire, the consular war fleet destroyed, and two prominent senators, together with their bodyguards and staff, kidnapped….

What was to be done? Over the preceding centuries, the Constitution of ancient Rome had developed an intricate series of checks and balances intended to prevent the concentration of power in the hands of a single individual. The consulship, elected annually, was jointly held by two men. Military commands were of limited duration and subject to regular renewal. Ordinary citizens were accustomed to a remarkable degree of liberty: the cry of “Civis Romanus sum” — “I am a Roman citizen” — was a guarantee of safety throughout the world.

But such was the panic that ensued after Ostia that the people were willing to compromise these rights. The greatest soldier in Rome, the 38-year-old Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (better known to posterity as Pompey the Great) arranged for a lieutenant of his, the tribune Aulus Gabinius, to rise in the Roman Forum and propose an astonishing new law.

“Pompey was to be given not only the supreme naval command but what amounted in fact to an absolute authority and uncontrolled power over everyone,” the Greek historian Plutarch wrote.

I would actually set the final decline of the Roman Republic a little earlier, with Marius and his unprecedented seven consulships granted due to fear of the Teutonic threat. That threat, unlike that posed by the Mediterranean pirates, was undeniably real, but the larger point is that whether the danger is a serious one or not, it is always the fear of the people that precedes their voluntary submission to servitude.

One reason the implosion of the Republican Party is of so little concern to me is that I believe the die is already cast. That doesn’t mean that Very Bad Things will happen today or tomorrow, it may well be sixty years before the USA formally merges with Mexico and Canada in an oligarchal superstate and the last vestiges of the God-given rights asserted in the Declaration of Independence are formally denied.

It is highly unlikely that turning to the Libertarian Party or Constitution Party will do any good, but at least one will know that one is not complicit in the destruction of one’s country and one’s culture. Republicans aren’t any better than Democrats, they are merely less open about their long-term goals for the nation.

We judge historical political parties by their actions, not their lofty words, and we should judge current political parties by the same standard. It is now clear that the Republican Party is a party of unlimited immigration, legal abortion, expansive central government and UN sovereignty. If you support those things, then vote Republican in good conscience. If you don’t, it is crazy to even think about supporting the Gay Old Pedophiles.

In the eyes of God, there is no lesser evil.