Chaos Manor View, Wednesday, December 09, 2015
Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for Western Civilization as it commits suicide.
From a March 28, 1786, letter written by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who were American diplomats at the time, to U.S. Secretary of Foreign Affairs John Jay reporting on their conversation in London with the ambassador from Tripoli regarding piracy by the Barbary States:
We took the liberty to make some enquiries concerning the ground of their pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury, and observed that we considered all mankind as our friends who had done us no wrong, nor had given us any provocation.
The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the laws of their Prophet; that it was written in their Koran; that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners; that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners; and that every Mussulman [Muslim] who was slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.
(Wall Street Journal)
The Caliphate would make the same reply today. You can buy a truce – never peace – by paying tribute; but they are always at war with the infidels, and have no choice in the matter, for it is commanded.
The Caliphate – ISIL as the President seems fond of calling it – accepts the command. It gives as a sign of legitimacy that it rules lands and in those lands applies the Law of the Koran; this demonstrates its legitimacy in the eyes of God. All Muslims must give it allegiance, for it rules by the will of Allah. And so long as it can make this claim of legitimacy, it grows, as more and more Muslims, including middle class citizens of the United States find they have no choice but to render it obedience. This not “radicalizing”; this is obedience to the fundamental marching orders that have prevailed since the Prophet returned to Mecca. To those who have accepted the Caliphate – ISIL – they have seen the sign, and they accept its commands.
The Caliphate grows daily. It must someday be defeated. It grows stronger daily. It is far more difficult and costly to defeat today than it was a year ago when the President of the United States pronounced it contained and called it the junior varsity. And it will never be easier to defeat than now.
However, the Caliphate is not our only enemy in the region. Iran has repeatedly declared a “state of hatred” with the United States. That does not have the legal implications of a state of war—indeed we negotiate with them and relieve sanctions so that they will become richer—but it is a declaration of intent, and we would be foolish not to believe the current regime, which is even now testing missiles capable of carrying nuclear war heads, does not mean it. So long as Iraq was held by Sunni or Baathist elements we could count on Iraq to be the enemy of our enemy, but we eliminated the Baathists and turned the Iraqi Sunni over to the tender mercies of the long persecuted Shiite majority. We then proceeded to withdraw. It should hardly have been a surprise when the Shiites turned to Shiite Iran, the ill trained “unity” army ran from the Caliphate, and the Sunni in the region did not fight the invading Sunni forces, even though they would have preferred to be liberated from invading Caliphate forces by Sunni Jordan (with which they were briefly federated in the United Arab Kingdom in the times of Egyptian Nasser). That not being possible, they saw the incoming Caliphate as preferable to the Shiite Iraqi government Obama left in place. For Obama, Clinton, and Both Bushes there is plenty of blame to go around.
If we destroy the Caliphate, we destroy an enemy of Iran. If we are not prepared to exert the power of the Republic in stabilizing the area, is this wise?
Whatever we do, it cannot be done with airpower alone. You can bomb the land, you can fly over the land, but you do not own the land until you can stand an 18 year old with a rifle on it. Ted Fehrenbach reminded us of that many years ago; and it remains true. Once you stand your own soldiers on the land, you can invite others in. In some places like Mosul, the answer is obvious. Invite the Kurds.
Alas, aiding the Kurds is not acceptable to Turkey, which fears a Kurdistan as much as it fears Persia. (Of course, Iran fears Kurdistan and the Turks. This is a complicated place with a long history.) The Kurds are the only reliable allies we have other than Israel.
Then there is Syria, which can not be a nation unless ruled by minority Shiites; the Syrian Sunni tend to come down hard on Shiites, Christians, Druze, Turkmen, Kurds, and any other minority they can find. The only way to pacify Syria is to make it a federation of states and sort populations into them so that each is more or less ruled by consent of the governed. Or an odd constitutional government such as Lebanon enjoyed when Beirut was the Pearl of the Mediterranean; but that fell, and Syrian attempts to impose stability were not successful.
And we have refugees, who are better settled somewhere in the Middle East – even if we have to conquer a homeland for them. And we have our more or less allies, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. Add to this mix a President who knows so little of the situation that he actually thought his speech in Cairo – remember that, the President of the United State with great entourage going to Cairo to talk to the Muslim World and thinking his speech would change things?
We were told Sunday night to stay the course. The President bas it all under control. The Junior Varsity will not prevail
Is it unconstitutional to ask those seeking admission to the US if they consider it their religious duty to make war on us, or if they belong to a religion that considers it self at war with us? Is it fair to ask them their definition of Jihad?
Are you now or have you ever been a member of an organization dedicated to the overthrow of the government of the United States by force and violence? Surely this is a constitutional question; God knows I had to answer it often enough in my aerospace days.
: I believe I’ve been saying this for the last decade.
For about the last decade it’s been painfully obvious to me that the Muslims who are the most dangerous to you and I are those who are well educated. Oxford has committed a study recently which now make this official. Graduates of technical colleges are the best candidates for radicalization in Islam. And they think they have put a finger on why. So the next time somebody, such as our current execrable POTUS, tries to tell you it’s those who are poor with pointless lives who are dangerous and all we have to do is pay them better for being poor scream back at them using this Oxford study as your evidence. (Obviously data you can dig up for yourself out of the Qur’an, Haddiths, quotes used by so-called Islamists, and a serious observation of the news surrounding terror attacks means nothing.)
Study Shows Technical College Degrees Make Ideal Terrorists http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2015/12/09/study-shows-technical-college-degrees-make-ideal-terrorists/?intcmp=hplnws
I’m not particularly brilliant as brilliance goes. And I was able to spot this trend over a decade ago. It’s a shame it is taking the academic world so long to catch on.
If a religion requires you to war against the United States, surely the constitution – which is not a suicide pact – allows us to know it? And lying about that when entering is surely grounds for expulsion?
I will announce this again tomorrow:
The move to SSL for the www.jerrypournelle.com site may require adjustment of reader’s links/bookmarks/RSS feeds. Although some of the adjustments have been done (geeky-note: htaccess file adjustments), others are being fixed as they occur.
Here’s some useful links:
Jerry’s main site : https://jerrypournelle.com
Chaos Manor: https://www.jerrypournelle.com/chaosmanor/
Chaos Manor RSS feed: https://www.jerrypournelle.com/chaosmanor/feed/
Jerry’s long-suffering web guy will be monitoring issues that are noted via the Chaos Manor contact form. At the moment, though (5pm PST Wednesday 12/9) he is stuck using a wi-fi connection at a Taco Bell in Woodland Washington due to a mudslide on I-5 north preventing him from returning home. He’ll keep an eye on things, and will make more adjustments when he gets back home to his comfortable computing chair.
Bandow: ‘An American who values individual liberty and advocates limited government should oppose further inflating the Washington Leviathan to “do good” elsewhere.’
Lamarckianism is getting a scientific test
It is important to understand completely what these findings are and what they are not. The environmental stresses experienced by the parents that affect their offspring do not alter the parents DNA, their genes, but only how that DNA is expressed in the offspring. Studies on maternal epigenetics show that the altered activation patterns in the DNA will persist for up to three generations if the environmental stresses do not persist. After the third generation, the pattern of gene activation reverts to “normal” for that maternal lineage.
It is not surprising that paternal epigenetics works as well. After all, males produce sperm daily, so it is easy to see how epigenetic markers could be altered. To me, it is more interesting that maternal epigenetics works: females make all of their eggs before they are born, so altering the epigenetic markers on the eggs is more difficult. It likely happens as the egg follicle matures.
Epigenetics is a way for the parents of the offspring to tailor the genetic recipe for their young to match transient environment conditions — periods of higher predation, drought, food shortages, etc. It is a blunt instrument compared to changing the genes themselves. From a human standpoint, epigenetics gives us a chance to identify all of the genes that influence a given trait, like obesity, in a single go. Simply overfeed a rat and see which genes get turned on and turned off in their germ cells.
Epigenetics in not, however, Lamarck’s theory of evolution. Cutting off the tails of the rats or stretching the necks of the gazelles will not produce a new generation of short tailed rat or a new species of giraffe.
Kevin L Keegan
Surely this test goes beyond cutting the tails off mice? Genetic engineering is not Darwinian evolution; for that matter, animal husbandry is not.
I was reading a story in one of your THERE WILL BE WAR anthologies, and came across a reference to a “jerkmeter.” I once did a lot of work with accelerometers, for missile guidance. I know lots of ways to measure acceleration. Apply a restraining force – electrical, electromagnetic, mechanical, whatever – to a test mass m to offset the force from acceleration. Measure the restraining force, and a = f/m. However, there is no physical relationship involving jerk in the same way there is a relationship among force, mass, and acceleration. Hence a direct measurement of jerk is not possible.
I figure I could cobble up a jerkmeter by continuously measuring acceleration and calculating a derivative. However, since the calculation would be based only on past data, the device would always lag behind the instantaneous value. That may be good enough, and it could be done.
Anyway, it was an interesting mental exercise.
Joseph P. Martino
Actually I did measure “jolt” which is the second derivative, using a BOEING Engineering Analog Computer (BEAC), or actually an array of them (each being a programmable op-amp). But that was long ago. I must have thought about that when I edited the story, but I have forgotten it.
We are all just stories in the end
A friend sent this to me today. Written by a WWII bomber pilot. As I have aged and lost many friends and relatives I find it strangely haunting. It does not pay to outlast everyone you have known.
“I don’t know if any of this is true. Everything happened that I have said happened, but it’s memory now, the shadow of things.
The truth lies in its own time; recall is not the reality of the past. When friends depart, one remembers them but they are changed; we hold only the fragment of them that touched us.
Their reality is gone, intact but irretrievable, in another place through which we passed but can never enter again.
I cannot go back nor can I bring them to me, so I must pursue the shadows of some middle ground, for 1 am strangely bound to all that happened then.
We broke hard bread together and I cannot forget Breslau, Styr, Regensburg, Ploesti, Vienna, Munich, Graz, and all the others, not cities, but battlegrounds five miles above where we made our brotherhood.
It’s gone now and long ago, swept clean by the wind. Part of me still lives there, tracing a course through all the names.
I linger now, looking back for them, the best ones…”
My friend’s frequently used signature line is, “We are all just stories in the end.”
Maybe so, but if I am going to end up as a story I can try to make it a good one.
Sorry about the Darwin Awards. My last job before I retired was editing a newspaper and I usually check these but my contributor was a “usually reliable source”, so I didn’t track them down. It was a good story, though. When I have checked them I usually find a basis in fact that has been, well .. embroidered a bit in the retelling. No point in letting a good story go to waste. If nothing else they are cautionary tales – a moments thought keeps you from becoming a story prematurely.
I’m glad you liked the Longfellow pieces – they have become favorites of mine, downloaded into my video library.
I came across another one you might enjoy:
“The Holly and the Ivy” has always been a favorite and this is a magnificent arrangement, a characteristic of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
The geography of Antarctica’s underside | Newsroom | Washington University in St. Louis
On Owned Power
Dear Dr. Pournelle:
You have said that we don’t have a water problem or a waste problem; instead we have an energy problem. Given enough energy, those other problems can be solved.
I say that’s almost right. We don’t just need energy: we need a reliable stream of energy. A fixed quantity of joules won’t do, because any given quantity of joules we must use up to solve problems; what we need is a _flow_ of joules, because the problems aren’t a fixed quantity, they’re a flow. So what we need are _joules_per_second_; that is, _watts_; which measures the physical quantity called “power”.
What’s more, that wattage should be something under our control, something that we have, that we don’t need to buy from anyone else. We need to _own_ that power.
Therefore what’s usually called “renewable energy” I prefer to call “owned power”. A hydro plant, a sun-farm, a wind-farm, a geothermal tap; all these, once built, are owned power; whereas an oil plant, needing fuel bought from abroad, provides only rented power.
For obvious political reasons, it’s better to own your power than to rent it.
I must have been unclear; I thought I meant sustained energy as the energy problem to be solved. In any event burning coal in fireplaces in London produced unacceptable fogs…
I find these questions have been with us for some time, as I found in looking for something else: http://www.jerrypournelle.com/archives2/archives2view/view376.html#madness
Cruelty of Healing
an Underfable, by Nathaniel Hellerstein
Once upon a time, the Bluebird of Happiness pecked at a Widow’s window. It chirped, “I’m here! I’m here! Let me in!”
The Widow opened the window and said, “Go away!”
The Bluebird hopped onto the windowsill and looked left, right, up, down into the gloom of the room. It chirped, “I’m back!”
The Widow said, “You left when he did.”
The Bluebird chirped, “Forever!”
“Yes,” said the Widow. “I had been happy with him.”
The Bluebird chirped, “Forever!”
“Yes,” said the Widow, “or so it seemed.”
“Forever is over! Come with me!”
“You mean, just leave him behind?”
“You are vain, cruel and selfish!”
“Yes! Come out, come out, come out!” And it flew away.
The Widow ran to the front door, undid three locks, and pushed hard. The front door was stuck shut from long disuse, so she pushed harder, and it cracked open. She flung the door wide open, then ran out into the bright sunlight and the fresh breeze.
Panting, she stopped. She looked up. Through streaming eyes she saw a sky the exact same color as the Bluebird’s wings.
Moral: Forever never lasts.
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.