Thursday, March 24, 2005

Being Young & Libertarian

'New Radicals Stand up for their Right' is yet another article discussing how many young conservatives there are these days. No longer is the University dominated by leftists. Two online examples, apart from myself, is Hannah Rose Collings and Anna Nuzum.
What happened? Well the 1980s revolution, which in New Zealand meant Roger Douglas (Finance Minister) promoting free market reforms. But it didn't just happen here, as Great Britain had Thatcher and the U.S got good old Ronald Reagan. What a great decade that was. Never the less, I don't at all think that is why there are so many young conservatives around. I think it has entirely to do with the intellectual defeat of the Left. It wasn't the political leaders who inspired me. It was the intellectauls. Ludwig von Mises, F.A Hayek, Milton Friedman and most of all Ayn Rand. Since coming across their work I have seen how many other admirable libertarian thinkers there are e.g. Robert Nozick. From there I progressed to reading more conservative & mainstream voices like David Horowitz.
One important observation I have made over the years is young conservatives tend to be libertarian in there thinking. This is great news as it means the moral conservatives are losing their strength. People are finally thinking in terms of principles thus acknowledging that social freedom is as important as economic freedom. An example is supporters of ACT worrying about John Banks as he is insufficently liberal on social matters (drugs, prostitution etc). I guess I could go along with being called 'South Park Conservatives' as they are "opposed to political correctness and more likely to ridicule than observe the guidelines of the new sensitivity concerning race, ethnicity, minorities, women, the handicapped, obesity, homosexuality, ugliness, religion, childhood, and much, much, much else". Yup thats me. Heres a clear example: my disdain for Maori culture. Ayn Rand sums it up well:
"It is primitive cultures we are asked to study, to appreciate and to respect - any sort of culture except our own. A piece of pottery copied from generation to generation is held up as an achievement - synthetic fiber is not"
"Why is Western civilisation admonished to admire primitive cultures? Because they are not admirable. Why is a primitive man exhorted to ignore Western achievements? Because they are."
This is the view not often heard. But the truth is the Maori culture has nothing to offer modern man. It is sad that I had to learn about it when I could have been studying Ancient Greece or Rome. Modern education is not in the business of preparing you to lead a good life (wealthy, good career, educated so as to enjoy the higher pleasures of life, etc). Its about indoctrinating you with a perspective on life, e.g. in this case, all cultures are worthy of respect and learning Maori will help you understand and better appreciate the culture. This is just a case of Maori culture being on a life support machine (the state). Even if they don't turn it off for 20years, its as good as dead. If it can't stand on its own feet then it obviously doesn't stand on objective grounds. So the sign is there: more young people are becoming conservative/libertarian and rejecting what they have been taught. The truth is winning.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Wolfowitz

President Bush made an interesting choice when he chose US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz's to head the World Bank. Whilst I disagree with some of his positions*, the man is very impressive and has some admirable traits. He most certaintly doesn't deserve the vicious attacks that the Left have thrown at him for advocating Saddams overthrow**. He was almost alone in denouncing U.S. support for Saddam Hussein in his conflict with Iran and was a critic of the realists who decided not to overthrow Saddam after the 1991 Gulf War. Its also interesting to see he is now romantically involved with an Arab intellectual. This is one of the best interviews with him and covers a very wide range of activities from the infamous 'Project for a New American Century'*** to his role in the Reagan Administration.


* Wolfowitz defends the war, rightly I believe. Never the less I still think HE made mistakes (or supported mistakes). For example he was behind the idea of disbanding the Iraqi army which resulted in increased numbers for the insurgency and made the job of constructing a new force much more difficult. This article chronicles some of the decisions he himself admitted.
** Here's a sample joke I read recently: A dying man is asked to choose between two donated hearts, a young athlete’s and that of Paul Wolfowitz, the US deputy secretary of defence. “I’ll take Wolfowitz’s,” he decides. But the guy’s 61 years old, the doctors exclaim. “Yeah,” croaks the thrombo case, “but his heart’s never been used.”
*** This is the neo-conservative organization that aims to "rally support for American global leadership". They promote ideas such as increasing defence spending and showing strong support for democracies (e.g. Taiwan in the face of threats from China).

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The United Nations

President Bush named Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton on Monday 7th March as the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Over at FrontPage Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu writes that, "You can gauge someone's quality, they say, by listening to the names his enemies call him. Since North Korea, arguably the most abhorrent regime on the planet, refers to John Bolton as 'human scum' this would necessarily validate the high opinion most of us have of him". Very true. There is plently of opposition towards Bolton yet its doubtful that he won't be confirmed by the Senate. Organizations like Stop Bolton argue that he has "remarkably consistent in his contempt for international co-operation". Obviously they do not mean this as a compliment, but I'd sure take it as one. If someone is to fix the UN, then that person has to be well acquainted with the severe problems the institution has. What are these problems? Well the obvious and undeniable ones include: U.N peacekeepers in Congo (Check out: The U.N's Heart of Darkness) have engaged in rape and accepted sex from starving children, the infamous United Nations Oil-for-Food Program which generated an estimated $21.3 billion in illegal revenue for Saddam Hussein. I think these two prominent cases illustrate how the United Nations has some serious problems and needs a real clean. They're are plently more cases (e.g. Libya chairing the Humans Rights Commission) that make my point, but I think you'd have to be intellectually dishonest not to see the obvious problems with the UN right now. If Bolton can't help repair these problems then I doubt anyone can. If that becomes the case then I guess some Objectivists were right after all - the US should leave the UN. After all, the institution is torn by the inherent clash of good (U.S, Europe etc) and evil (Arab dictatorships, Communist regimes like Cuba, NK etc). Witness how they cannot even agree on a definition of terrorist. How are they meant to agree on more serious issues, e.g. the use of military force, if they cannot even agree on who the bad guys are!
Kofi Annan provides another example of the philosophical problems behind the UN when he argues "the world needs to accept that in every society different groups may hold different views". Gee Wizz what a relevation. Has Kofi Annan ever thought that maybe one group is right and the others are wrong? In the case of Lebannon that means the democrats are right and Hezbollah are wrong. Whilst any action taken must be acknowledge the existence and power of Hezbollah (which Juan Cole argues is very real) there is no reason to accord them moral respect or tolerance. They ought to be vigiously denounced by the UN as they're beliefs clearly contradict the UN Charter. The UN will never get anywhere until it begins to stand up against the tyrannys of the world.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Winston Peters and Jim Peron

Winston Peters* is at it again. This time he's unfairly attacking Jim Peron, director of the Institute of Liberal Values and owner of Aristotle Books. This appears to be a cheap political shot at Rodney Hide, who is close friends with Mr Peron. Read this interview with Peron to see exactly why the attacks are so ridiculous and offensive. This news report notes that Mr Peron broke down in tears when asked by The Dominion Post about the impact the allegations had had on his partner of 10 years, South African Sean Aucamp.
"He's very angry, he's very upset, he's very scared. It's put a lot of stress on him and that hurts me more than anything. It's very emotionally traumatic. What makes it worse is that I don't think Winston Peters has any idea who the hell I am, and I don't think he cares."
This gives us a look into the ugly soul of Mr Peters. These outrageous allegations will benefit him little politically but do great harm to Mr Peron. The Christain moral of 'doing unto others as you would have them do unto you' is one of the many moral codes Mr Peters breaks here. The man does indeed had no human decency.





* A vile politican who promotes racism through his xenophobic attitude towards foreigners, Asians in particular.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Michael Moore

I just saw Fahrenhype 9/11 last night, a conservative documentary aimed at refuting the lies in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. Overall I thought it did quite a bad job, considering how many lies, omissions, and misrepresentations are contained in Moores work. There is no shortage of pundits and political commentators who have debunked Moore's work. From MooreWatch, Moore lies, and Bowling for Truth to the writings of people like Christopher Hitchens. In light of this, Fahrenhype truly failed as it did not focus enough on refuting Fahrenheits many lies. Many of those who are interviewed are too busy ranting against 'liberals', especially the sexy yet rabid Ann Coulter. They also spend alot of time criticising Moore (rightly) for his refusal to take Islamic inspired terrorism seriously. This has the dangerous effect of making the documentary a Republican vs Democrat excerise. Never the less, it managed to show how radical Moore's opinions are. Radical leftists have never been at home in America, a country with an intensely religious population who politically are worlds apart from leftists like Moore. The film was best when it portrayed Moore as a lunatic who is impervious to reason. If they had spent more time focusing on Moores failure to comprehend international politics, and the significant movements in the world today (e.g. Islamism and the terrorism it inspires) they would have done an even better job of presenting what a nutcase he really is. On another note, check out these 'Blogs of War'. Who needs embedded journalists with War Blogs like those!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Movies

I saw The Notebook last night. It was a very moving film that was unashamedly romantic. Cynics might have called it corny and idealistic, but those sorts of moments were few. Scott Holleran offers a good review over at Box Office Mojo. After reading comments on IMDB's message board I’ve noticed that many are intrigued over courtship and how the standards of those times (1940s) determined that a very different code of conduct for relations between the sexes. Rachel McAdams who played, Allie, was as innocent as Noah (Ryan Gosling) and both treated sex with the utmost seriousness. If one of the central messages of Kinsey was "the idea that love and sex ought to be integrated, a notion that repudiates left-wing intellectuals' moral acceptance of promiscuity" then The Notebook is a perfect demonstration why the two ought to be integrated. On the topic of romance/sex, I suggest reading 'The End of Courtship' by Leon Kass. Whilst I disagree on some points, I found it to be very thought provoking essay. The contrast between Noah and Allie and relationships of today is striking. Ayn Rand, my favourite philosopher, also has written much on the topic of romantic love. In a 1964 Playboy Interview she expresses some of the same points made by Kass. She argues that "sex is one of the most important aspects of man's life and, therefore, must never be approached lightly or casually". Kass expresses the same sentiment when he writes that safe sex is a 'delusion of shallow souls' because sex is innately connected to your soul. Rand expands on this in the Virtue of Selfishness (pg77) that "if a man is attracted to a woman of intelligence, confidence and strength, if he is attracted to a heroine, he reveals one kind of soul; if, instead, he is attracted to an irresponsible, helpless scatterbrain, whose weakness enables him to feel masculine, he reveals another kind of soul; if he is attracted to a frightened slut, whose lack of judgment and standards allow him to feel free of reproach, he reveals another kind of soul". To expand on this:

PLAYBOY: You have said that the kind of man who spends his time running after women is a man who "despises himself." Would you elaborate?
RAND: This type of man is reversing cause and effect in regard to sex. Sex is an expression of a man's self-esteem, of his own self-value. But the man who does not value himself tries to reverse this process. He tries to derive his self-esteem from his sexual conquests, which cannot be done. He cannot acquire his own value from the number of women who regard him as valuable. Yet that is the hopeless thing which he attempts.

I find this to be undeniably true. Those who brag about their 'sexual conquests' only reveal their lack of self-esteem and their desire to put on a front. Everyone wants a spiritual equal, a soul mate, and those who cannot achieve it (they reject the notion of romantic love to begin with) attempt to fake it. Rand writes that "man is compelled, by his nature, to feel a desperate need for pleasure, as a confirmation and expression over his control over reality - but he can find pleasure only in an escape from reality"(pg78). He is escaping reality by denying the connection between sex and soul therefore he is left in a state of hopelessness and frustration. My argument is simply that many people today have made a serious error about what constitutes a fully human life. Few seem to understand that romantic love is a necessary condition for complete fullfillment. Too many still think of sex as a casual activity that is almost like a sport. This reveals a deep cyncisim about human love that could never hope for the inspiring romance portrayed in The Notebook.

Friday, March 04, 2005

About Myself

Welcome to my blog. I'm a 21yr old student attending Waikato University in New Zealand. Im currently doing a Bachelor of Social Sciences with Honours (BSocSc(Hons)) in Political Science. This blog will mostly be devoted to my thoughts on politics (international relations in particular) but I plan to write on anything else thats on my mind. So clearly im not attempting to be some sort of Scholar-Blogger. The blogsphere already has plently of them thus I'd just be setting myself up for failure.
For the few of you who might be wondering why im borthering to blog, check out, 'Web of Influence' . The authors note that "the greatest advantage of the blogosphere is its accessibility". This is the primary reason I've set up this blog. Sure, I'll learn to be a better writer & communicator, but the main point is to let people hear my voice. No longer can I be satisfied with abusing politicans behind their back. Now I have a public forum to do it in!