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The purge of gay-marriage heretics begins

burning_heretic

The ousting of Brendan Eich from Mozilla because of his views on gay marriage sets a dangerous precedent.

Read my spiked article in full here.

Recent articles of note

"Al-Qa'ida, the second act: Why the global 'war on terror' went wrong," The Independent, by Patrick Cockburn

"How finance gutted manufacturing," Boston Review, by Suzanne Berger

"Why are so many traders (literally) killing themselves?" Bloomberg, by Barry Ritholtz

"Those nonsensical 'Google bus' attacks," Wall Street Journal, by Malchow

"Put the sex back in sex ed," Time, by Camille Paglia

"The seven most ridiculous things about the new ban bossy campaign," The Federalist, by Mollie Hemingway

"The ghost at the atheist feast: Was Nietzsche right about religion?" New Statesman, by John Gray [Review of The Age of Nothing, by Peter Watson; and Culture and the Death of God, by Terry Eagleton]

"The philosopher and the thief: Trespassing in the library of a dead genius," Harper's Magazine, by John Kaag

Who are the real bigots in the St. Pat’s spat?

irish_gay_protest

Gay-rights groups are becoming the enforcers of social conformism.

Read my spiked article in full here.

The West’s double standards on Ukraine

Ukraine Protest

Our leaders claim to be defending Ukrainian sovereignty. In fact, they’re overriding it.

Read my spiked article in full here.

Recent articles of note

"The domestic basis of American power," Lawfare, by Francis Fukuyama

"What's gone wrong with democracy," The Economist

"The dangers of democracy," The New York Review of Books, by John Gray [Review of The Confidence Trap: A History of Democracy from World War I to the Present, by David Runciman]

"We are all right wingers now: How Fox News, ineffective liberals, corporate Dems and GOP money captured everything," Salon, by Thomas Frank

"Refusing to photograph a gay wedding isn't hateful," The Atlantic, by Conor Friedersdorf

"How do you upset the French? Gender theory: An American academic import inspires mass protests," Boston Globe, by Robert Zaretsky

"Trigger happy: The 'trigger warning' has spread from blogs to college classes. Can it be stopped?" The New Republic, by Jenny Jarvie

"My life as a writer," The New York Times [Philip Roth interviewed]

Incompetent imperialists reign in Ukraine

Ukraine Protests

The meddling of the US and the EU has produced nothing but chaos.

Read my spiked article in full here.

Recent articles of note

"The terms of our surrender," New York Times, by Ross Douthat

"This is no recovery, this is a bubble - and it will burst," The Guardian, by Ha-Joon Chang

"Forget what the pundits tell you, coastal cities are old news - it's the sunbelt that's booming," Daily Beast, by Joel Kotkin

"Personal score-settling is now the climate agenda," Wall Street Journal, by Holman Jenkins

"The gentrification of Spike Lee," New York Daily News, by Errol Louis

"The post-Protestant ethic and spirit of America," The American, by Joseph Bottum

"Chicago's own funny man," Chicago Sun-Times, by Richard Roeper [on Harold Ramis]

Ukraine: undemocratic uprising backed by incompetent imperialists

Julia-Tymoshenko-addresses-crowd-2-22-2014-e1393097781453

A corrupt leader, relying on police and military for support, is in power. Protesters who take to the streets, and get beaten back by riot police, must represent the people and democracy, right? No, not necessarily, and Ukraine is an example of how that simplistic logic doesn’t always hold.

The overthrow of the government in Ukraine led by President Viktor Yanukovich is not something to celebrate. There should be no sympathy for the corrupt and illiberal Yanukovich, but that doesn’t make his opponents democrats. Bad as he was (it’s probably fair to speak of him in the past tense now), Yanukovich was in power thanks to a democratic election. The protesters in Kiev's Maidan did not represent a mobilization of the masses of Ukraine – it’s fairly clear that they were supported mainly in the west region of the country, with many in the east and south opposed if not hostile to them (and it’s not evident at all whether a majority of the country as a whole were supportive of the protesters).  Yanukovich’s government did adopt illiberal laws, limiting freedom of speech and assembly and placing fewer constraints on executive power, but that did not make him a “dictator”, as some overblown descriptions have it. This was not a popular uprising, nor was the overthrow of the government required because it could not have been removed via normal democratic channels.

We shouldn’t be naïve about street protests, whether in Ukraine, the Middle East or in the West. Just because a group is protesting a corrupt government doesn’t mean they have progressive or liberty-favoring ideas. Kiev itself shows that, as the protesters included neo-Nazis, nationalists and cranks (as well as genuine liberals).

Furthermore, people do have a right to protest, to assemble and speak out, but they do not have a right to occupy a public space on a permanent, on-going basis. Groups that set up such camps - even Occupy types in the West - are effectively throwing down a challenge to the government about who runs society. Such a challenge might be necessary at times, especially if the occupiers have the mass of people behind them and there is no alternative, but those who do so shouldn’t be shocked when they are eventually confronted by the police or military. As it happens, street occupiers sometimes know full well what they are in for: at times they are an unrepresentative minority that seeks to prod the government into responding in a heavy-handed, repressive manner in order to gain sympathy and support that they are not able to achieve through public debate or the ballot box.

In Ukraine, the dismissal of a democratically-elected leader and the overriding of the constitution via street protests establish a questionable precedent. This may come into play in the future, given the lack of unity among the different factions that comprise the protesters. As George Friedman of Stratfor perceptively notes about the situation in Ukraine: Continue reading→

Recent articles of note

"Mann vs. Steyn: the trial of the century," Real Clear Politics, by Robert Tracinski

"Fear and loathing at Wellesley," Wall Street Journal, by Lenore Skenazy

"Should neo-Nazis be allowed free speech?" The Daily Beast, by Thane Rosenbaum

"Why mass shootings haven't ushered in a new age of gun control," Reason, by Jesse Walker

"How to save marriage in America," The Atlantic, by Richard Reeves

"America's deportation machine: the great expulsion," The Economist

"Scientism in the arts and humanities," The New Atlantis, by Roger Scruton

DeBlasio and the snow

Thumbnail : DeBlasio and the snow

I have my criticisms of New York City mayor Bill DeBlasio (see here). But the attacks on him for his handling of yesterday’s snowstorm, and his decision to keep schools open, are a distraction.

Deciding whether to open ...

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