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  1. Time to Fight the Real War by Robert Tracinski Four and a half years after September 11—which was supposed to awaken us to the threat of devastating attacks by state-sponsored terrorists—America is finally beginning to confront the world's largest and most dangerous state sponsor of terrorism: the Islamic Republic of Iran. For the past week, newspapers and magazines have been filled with discussion of possible military action against Iran. The debate, so far, is between those who merely want to "threaten" the use of force, and those who argue that the Iranian threat is illusory. No one is yet willing to face the fact that Iran is already at war with the United States—and that Iran is the central enemy we have to defeat if we are going to win the War on Terrorism. In all of the obfuscation generated by the backward-looking debate over what happened to Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, it has been easy for some to claim that the Iranian threat is being blown out of proportion by the Bush administration. But grasping the case against Iran doesn't depend on secret dossiers and obscure intelligence reports. All it requires is that you open up your newspaper and read the pronouncements of Iran's own leaders. In early April, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hosted a pep rally at which dancers in traditional Persian garb held aloft vials of refined uranium, while Ahmadinejad announced that Iran had succeeding in enriching uranium, the first step toward producing a nuclear bomb. Iran "has joined the club of nuclear countries," he boasted. An Iranian official followed up by announcing that Iran would immediately take the next step, expanding uranium enrichment to an industrial scale, allowing Iran to start building its nuclear arsenal as early as the end of this year. Why does Iran want to enrich uranium? Ahmadinejad isn't interested so much in joining a nuclear club as he is in wielding a nuclear club. He has openly boasted that Iran wants to "wipe Israel off the map." Is Ahmadinejad just a wild-eyed "radical," out of touch with the rest of the Iranian regime? A few years ago, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani—a man considered "moderate" by the standards of the Iranian regime—boasted that "a single atomic bomb has the power to completely destroy Israel." In case you don't think they're serious, Iran's religious establishment recently released a fatwa sanctioning the use of nuclear weapons. But the biggest threat posed by an Iranian nuclear weapon is not in Israel, but in Iraq—where Iran is already fighting a proxy war against America and its allies... Read the full article at: http://tiadaily.com/php-bin/news/showArticle.php?id=1084 TIA Daily is available for free to all full-time students; write to [email protected]
  2. Publish or Perish: The Lessons of the Cartoon Jihad by Robert Tracinski The central issue of the "cartoon jihad"—the Muslim riots and death threats against a Danish newspaper that printed 12 cartoons depicting Mohammed—is obvious. The issue is freedom of speech: whether our freedom to think, write, and draw is to be subjugated to the "religious sensitivities" of anyone who threatens us with force. That is why it is necessary for every newspaper and magazine to re-publish those cartoons, as I will do in the next print issue of The Intellectual Activist. Click here. This is not merely a symbolic expression of support; it is a practical countermeasure against censorship. Censorship—especially the violent, anarchic type threatened by Muslim fanatics—is effective only when it can isolate a specific victim, making him feel as if he alone bears the brunt of the danger. What intimidates an artist or writer is not simply some Arab fanatic in the street carrying a placard that reads "Behead those who insult Islam." What intimidates him is the feeling that, when the beheaders come after him, he will be on his own, with no allies or defenders—that everyone else will be too cowardly to stick their necks out. The answer, for publishers, is to tell the Muslim fanatics that they can't single out any one author, or artist, or publication. The answer is to show that we're all united in defying the fanatics. That's what it means to show "solidarity" by re-publishing the cartoons. The message we need to send is: if you want to kill anyone who publishes those cartoons, or anyone who makes cartoons of Mohammed, then you're going to have to kill us all. If you make war on one independent mind, you're making war on all of us. And we'll fight back. But the issue of freedom of speech is too clear, and too well settled, in the West, to be worth spending much time debating it. What is far more interesting is the fact that such a debate is occurring, nonetheless. This is a fact from which the Western world can draw some crucially important conclusions... Read the entire article at: http://tiadaily.com/php-bin/news/showArticle.php?id=1069
  3. What is "Globalization" Globalizing? Global Capitalism's Engine of Cultural Progress by Robert Tracinski The mainstream American press is beginning to discover the new New World--that is, it is beginning to discover the new identity of the Old World, including the oldest Old World of all: the Far East. The East once represented the most exotic, un-Western culture there was--and also, seemingly, the most ancient and unchanging culture, unreachable by Western influence. As Kipling told us, East was East and West was West. But not anymore. The name the media has given this phenomenon is "globalization." "Globalization" means the creation of a global economy in which the most remote and culturally distinct nations are joined together by a vast network of international trade... But this is an odd, evasive term that does not clearly name what is happening. It seeks to name the fact that something is spreading across the globe. But it also seeks to avoid naming what that something is. What is "globalization" globalizing? The answer explains why the press doesn't want to name it: what is being globalized is capitalism--and all of the value associated with capitalism. "Globalization" represents the slow but inexorable, unstated but largely unresisted recognition that free markets, property rights, and unrestrained international trade--i.e., global capitalism--is the system that produces prosperity and a vibrant, optimistic, benevolent, forward-looking society. The entire article is here.
  4. What makes The Capitalist Manifesto such a valuable addition to the pro-capitalist literature, is that it targets precisely the existing gap between the practical case for capitalism--provided in abundant detail by historians and economists-and the moral and philosophical case. The goal of the book is to present an integrated case for capitalism, one that connects the economic and historical facts with the wider moral and philosophical case for capitalism. That integration is made possible by Bernstein's identification of the unifying principle that explains all of the virtues of capitalism: "Regarding the enormity of capitalism's success, both morally and practically, in different centuries, on far-flung continents, involving a hundred issues, the explanatory principle that will emerge is: capitalism is par excellence the system of liberated human brain power." Capitalism as "the system of the mind" is a theme that is capable of uniting every element of the case for capitalism: its economic mechanisms, its political principles, its history, its heroes, its moral code-all the way down to the epistemology that capitalism encourages and institutionalizes. Above all, this volume achieves something no other history of capitalism has yet done: it provides the solution to today's cultural and political mind-body dichotomy, showing how the material achievements of capitalism's innovators flow from the highest moral and intellectual ideal: the commitment to the liberation of the individual mind. In doing so, The Capitalist Manifesto makes a valuable addition to the growing foundation for a secular moral case for liberty. From "The Mind and Body of Capitalism," a review of The Capitalist Manifesto by Andrew Bernstein in The Intellectual Activist magazine, by Robert Tracinski excerpted at TIADaily.com. [The TIA book review is here. -GC]
  5. An Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State by Robert Tracinski Sep 02, 2005 It has taken four long days for state and federal officials to figure out how to deal with the disaster in New Orleans. I can't blame them, because it has also taken me four long days to figure out what is going on there. The reason is that the events there make no sense if you think that we are confronting a natural disaster. If this is just a natural disaster, the response for public officials is obvious: you bring in food, water, and doctors; you send transportation to evacuate refugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the flooding and rebuild the city's infrastructure. For journalists, natural disasters also have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinary people pulling together to survive; the hard work and dedication of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers; the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild. Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists--myself included--did not expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape, murder, and looting. But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster. The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong. The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over the past four days. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view. The man-made disaster is the welfare state... The full article is at: http://tiadaily.com/php-bin/news/showArticle.php?id=1026
  6. The key question every time there is a natural disaster is not, "How did this happen?" Nature is dangerous, and it is always causing a disaster for someone, somewhere. Nor is the question, "Who is to blame?". There is always something more that could have been done to protect this or that place--at an expenditure of millions or billions, against a risk that could not be predicted. The only really important question after a disaster is: "How are we going to recover?" See today's Human Achievements for a story of how Americans dealt with a disaster 105 years ago at Galveston... Human Achievements The 1900 Storm vs. Galveston, Texas The 1900 Storm is still the deadliest natural disaster in US history, with estimates of lives lost ranging between 8,000 to 12,000. It utterly destroyed and almost entirely flooded the island city of Galveston, Texas, and killed 6,000 of its inhabitants. This is the story of the rebuilding of Galveston after the storm. http://www.1900storm.com/rebuilding/index.lasso "For while the story that began Sept. 8, 1900, is one about the fate of people at the hands of nature, it's also one about people altering their own fates by changing the face of nature.... Despite the unimaginable devastation and what must have been a hard realization that it could happen again, the city immediately began pulling itself out of the mud.... Residents of Galveston quickly decided that they would rebuild, that the city would survive, and almost as soon, leaders began deciding how it would do so." "The two civil engineering projects leaders decided to pursue--building a seawall and raising the island's elevation--stand today and are almost as great in their scope and effect as the storm itself.... The feat of raising an entire city began with three engineers hired by the city in 1901 to design a means of keeping the gulf in its place.... Along with building a seawall, Alfred Noble, Henry M. Robert and HC Ripley recommended the city be raised 17 feet at the seawall and sloped downward at a pitch of one foot for every 1,500 feet to the bay.... The first task required to translate their vision into a working system was a means of getting more than 16 million cubic yards of sand--enough to fill more than a million dump trucks--to the island. "Its struggle for survival against nature through the application of technology represents the strongest tradition of Western civilization. Galveston's response to the great storm was its finest hour." Source: www.TIADaily.com
  7. Things have not been going well lately, either in domestic or international politics, with Iraq slipping in the direction of Theocracy Lite, the left trying to induce a national Vietnam War flashback, a total loss of momentum for any free-market reforms, and new power grabs by the religious right. But it is important keep things in perspective, and one way I do that is to remember back to 1979. I like to say that I am optimistic about the fate of the world because I missed all the good opportunities to be a pessimist. The last good one was 1979, when the US economy was crumbling, inflation and crime were soaring, the Soviets were on the march from Afghanistan to Nicaragua, and Iran held American hostages with total impunity. We seemed to be collapsing from within--and faced conquest from without. That's why the 25th anniversary of Poland's Solidarity movement is such a timely reminder. In 1980, just as the Soviet empire reached the zenith of its power, Solidarity would begin to cause its collapse from within. This movement would suffer horrible setbacks and it often seemed doomed--but only ten years after being poised to take over the world, the Soviet Union would start to simply evaporate. It is hard to believe, even now, more than a decade later, that it happened so quickly--but this has always served for me as a standing reminder of the weakness of evil and the strength of the good. It is a meaning well captured in this column by the Washington Post's Anne Applebaum. [Robert Tracinski in http://www.TIADaily.com] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...5083001550.html "Cross the highway, head toward the shipyard and look up. When I did so a few days ago, I saw an enormous billboard featuring a list of cities: 'Gdansk. Budapest. Prague. Berlin. Bucharest. Sofia. Kiev.'... Until recently, it wasn't easy to find public displays of pride in Poland's democratic revolution.... Far from seeing themselves as part of a peaceful revolution that stretched from Gdansk in 1980 to Kiev in 2004, most Poles associated the collapse of communism with corrupt politics and personal hardship.... Because their official representatives--the government, the cabinet ministers, the members of parliament--hardly seemed worth admiring, many Poles didn't think much of their country either, whatever its economic growth statistics.... The festivities in Gdansk...show that some kind of corner has been turned.... However much they disparage it, the generation that witnessed their country's transformation is finding that it's become a source of pride for their children and a symbol of hope around the world."
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