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Alon

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    Alon
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    University of Toronto
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  1. What is a commie? One who has yearnings For equal division Of unequal earnings Idler or idiot For both he is willing To fork out his penny and pocket your shilling. -- Ebenezer Elliot
  2. Alon

    Libertarians

    Someone better inform Ludwig von Mises, Milton Friedman, Eugen von Bahm-Bawerk, Frederick Hayek, Murray Rothbard, and H. L. Mencken that they are "just punks".
  3. Alon

    Crusades

    (Emphasis added) Punk, this is a rather silly statement. Having a superior civilization (and for the sake of simplicity, lets qualify this statement to mean greater recognition of individual rights) does not give that civilization a free hand to crush any less civilized neighbour. It does have a moral right to vanquish enemies when they threaten that civilization. Now in our example, Christianity presented no threat to Islam in the early centuries of the conflict. Islam easily swept through North Africa, the Middle East up to Turkey, and Spain. It was only stopped in the west in southern France and in the east somewhere south of the Ukraine. Christendom was surrounded and cut off from its major centres of intellectual thought and economy within 150 years of Islam's rise in Arabia. I think according to Objectivist reasoning you would be correct to argue that Islam had a right to drive back the Crusaders (despite the fact that, given the context, the Crusaders were on the defensive), but saying that Islam had a right to conquer all of Europe is nonsensical. Europe no longer proved a threat to the Muslim world. Wars cost money, resources, and lives. A nation does not have a right to spend the resources and lives of its citizens because of higher civilization unless its existence is in danger, and even then, individuals are not the property of government, to spend and allocate how it wishes. Simply put, only defensive wars can be considered moral, and Islam's was a war of aggression from its birth.
  4. Alon

    Crusades

    You're asking for a lot. Unfortunately there isn't any one good book I can recommend, historians of the period tend to take one side or another. On opposite sides you have the position that the Christians were brutes fighting a war of aggression and conquest against a much more cultured civilization, the other the historian will at least treat the opposing forces as moral equals, at worst claim that Christians were a model of civilization and righteousness for the Oriental heathens. Which ever book you read, keep in mind that both armies committed acts of savagery, one no less than the other. Also, a point that is often ignored (and especially so by Islamic apologists) is the context of the Crusades. They did not occur in a vaccum. Islam had been expanding for four hundred years prior to 1099 at a tremendous rate, conquering huge territories of Christendom, including major centres of Christian thought: the whole of North Africa, Syria-Palestine, and Anatolia. Also, several territories which were conquered but not held were Spain, Portugal, southern France, and the Caucausus. Islam had thus encircled Europe from East to West. It is important to keep this in mind when considering the events of 1099. Culturally the Arabs were far superior, relying on Classical antiquity they developed the sciences, arts, and philosophy which they inherited and imported many ideas from India. At the same time Europe was only emerging from the Dark Ages, entrenched in Augustinian theology and mysticism. Does this mean that the Arabs should have our support? Who is to say? The decline of the influence of Classical antiquity upon Islamic civilization began while the Crusades were at their height, in its place was a growing religious conservatism and literalism to which we can trace the beginning of Islam's decline into its own Dark Age.
  5. Moose wrote: Can you elaborate on how this would destroy Israel's democratic government? Giving Gazan Palestinians, roughly 1 million in number, the right to vote in an Israeli election would mean the creation of an extremist Islamic party to represent their views. This new population will make up 1/6 of the new total electorate of Israel, a very powerful voting block. That power can easily be used to slowly dismantle the nation's democratic institutions or to affect Israeli policy to its own detriment. The reason I think they should have two separate states, one in Gaza and one in the West Bank, is to weaken the authority any future Palestinian government will have. This way, the Palestinians have two governments which will probably bicker among themselves (Gaza is far more religious and supportive of Hamas than the more secular West Bank) and Israel will not be required to maintain a land route through its own territory (as it is already planning to do).
  6. I have several problems with the pullout: 1) Strategically, Israel loses ground. Rockets fired from southern Gaza at neighbouring Israeli towns will now be able to be fired from northern Gaza and hit major towns such as Ashkelon and Tel Aviv. 2) The Palestinians are not being asked to make any concessions, Israel is simply leaving. Terrorist groups will take this as another retreat - as they took Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon - and have even less incentive to seek peace. 3) Israel has stopped its policy of targetted assassinations and demolitions. Israel needs to show it is not giving up and running with its tail between its legs. They have to continue assassinating terrorist leaders and demolishing infostructure, just as they did when they abandoned the Sinai and returned it to Egypt. 4) Why the urgency? Yes, the occupation is costly, but the Palestinians have offered nothing in return, not even a "cease fire". Is Sharon using this to cover up for the mass corruption under his tenure? On the other hand, there is no doubt that Israel's continual presence in Gaza is costly in lives and resources. Also, there is no alternative since annexing the Gaza strip and giving the Palestinians there citizenship rights would eliminate Israel's democratic government. I also don't know how realistic this is, but Israel should consider creating two separate Palestinian states, one in Gaza and one in the West Bank. Divide and rule, so to speak.
  7. A few months ago I started a thread asking for guidance from law students & lawyers. It may be a helpful read to readers of this thread: http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.p...241entry66241
  8. Excellent idea! How about... Mel Goldsilberothschildowitz?
  9. Amanda, I'm happy you liked the city, did you get a chance to tour the campus? UofT does have an excellent Medieval Studies department, and there is also the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies which is (I was told) world famous. How's your Latin?
  10. Nice to meet you Amanda! Always nice to have another history enthusiast on board. I'm somewhat interested in Medieval history myself - Late Antiquity to be exact - especially the development of the European states after the fall of Rome, the conversion of Pagan Europe, and the evolution of the Common Law. What are your particular interests in Medieval history?
  11. Moose, forgive me if I still sound suspicious. It's quite possible that you are related to the British or French royals, but I cannot for the life of me imagine how you would trace your family back to Roman emperors. What records are you relying on for the period of the Dak Ages, in which the monarchies of Europe were not yet established and even the most blue blooded aristocrats were illiterate? The ancestors of the great houses of Europe (Anjou, Saxe-Coburg, Hohenzollern, etc.) were barbaric chieftains (if they had even attained that rank at so early a date) still migrating through the continent. I don't see how you can make the connection between them and any Roman emperor. Granted, Theodoric married into the family of Augustus Romulus (and I am sure such was the custom of other barbarian kings), but given the lack of evidence for that era it confounds me that you can trace your ancestry so far back.
  12. I came across a forum dedicated to the ancient world (Classical, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic) and the level of discussion is quite scholarly. http://neonostalgia.com/forum
  13. Moose, Not only is the Bible a useless geneological tool, I would question all your sources before the 17th century. What records are you using to trace your ancestors from the 15th century to the 5th? Unless you have royal blood in you, I cannot imagine what records existed in that period (and survive) to provide you with a factual guide of your ancestry.
  14. I would like to apologize to all the readers of the thread that I suddenly stopped replying. I am in the middle of midterms, papers, and finals. I will return to this thread to elaborate on my earlier statements. I would also like to apologize to FreeCapitalist, I had been intending to for some time but thought I would attach it to my next post. I was rather harsh in one of my statements regarding his take on history. I would like to explain that my words were a result of one of his comments, in which he misunderstood me on several points, and without asking for elaboration or clarification, criticized me rather harshly. Don't mistake me, this is not a rationalization of my attack, only an attempt to explain how things came to be as they are. In conclusion, I'm sorry for the injury, you are very intelligent and well-read, and I enjoy your discussions on this forum. I'll return to our discussion on the Roman Republic as soon as I find more time.
  15. Alon

    The Study of Languages

    DeedleBee, I wouldnt recommend studying Latin if your sole purpose is understanding the etymology of English words. I can only recommend the textbook used in a course called Greek and Latin Elements of English, Greek and Latin in Scientific Terminology
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