Friday, July 01, 2005

As a long-time player of violent video games
I can say that the thrill to kill doesn't carry over into real life. Nor does it for anyone else I know that's into that stuff. Yet people fret anway, seemingly for no good reason [no pun intended]. And I have to ask, is it that video games lead to aggressive behavior, or that aggressive people like video games? Just wondering.

I suppose I may seem a bit glib about it, but I'm not saying that anyone of any age should be playing such games. I certainly don't want my nine-year-old son playing games like BloodRayne, Grand Theft Auto, Outlaw Golf or Max Payne, which was nasty enough in some places to even freak me out (stinkin' crying baby dream sequence!). Yet there are a few rated M games that I'll let him play, like Halo, because they're not all that bad. Just a 3D version of the same stuff I played on my Commodore 64 back in the day. I figure if it was okay for me to slaughter whole villages of aborigines in Seven Cities of Gold or to annhilate innocent unicorns in Archon or to act as an evil Wampus-abusing insider-trading capitalist in M.U.L.E., then it's okay for my son to nobly defend the Earth from alien invasion.

In general, it's the games that have twisted ethics (like GTA), really bad language, sexual themes or that intentionally try to freak the player out that I want him to avoid. That's why I don't mind Halo: the player is heroic, the language is PG-ish, there's no sex and it's not meant to horrify.

We take it on a case by case basis. Pretty easy, really:
Son: (hands me questionable game box that I take the Herculean eye-straining 5-second effort to analyze) Dad, can I rent this?

Me: No.
Dang, that's hard!
It's official.

You Are a Pundit Blogger!

Your blog is smart, insightful, and always a quality read.
Truly appreciated by many, surpassed by only a few

Joe, in reference to Brian Williams
and your post on his lack of perspective, you can find more about it at anklebitingpundits and Michelle Malkin (who has a roundup). I tell you what, Shephard Smith would never say such things.

I like anklebiting's aside that perhaps Brian Williams has changed his name to "NBC's Brian Williams" and then refers to him thusly throughout the post. Nice.
I was watching NBC Nightly News
with Brian Williams last night, and they were doing a piece on the fact that the new president of Iran may be one of the leaders of the 1979 hostage-takers at the U.S. embassy in Tehran (Andrea Mitchell was the lead on the story). Williams, in asking a follow-up, actually asked Mitchell what the U.S. should make of this, especially given how most of our original presidents were all revolutionarires, and would likely have been considered terrorists by the British Crown. Mitchell concurred and blathered about nonsense for a moment.

So, there you have it, folks. NBC Nightly News believes there's a moral equivalence between the Revolutionary War and terrorism. Never mind that our Founding Fathers had an open, written declaration of war, the Continental Army wore uniforms and carried their arms openly, that our soldiers marched behind standard bearers, and in all other respects behaved like a military -- what we would consider legal combatants today. Terrorists, of course, don't behave that way, and are thus designated illegal combatants and, according to the Geneva Convention, can probably be summarily executed.

But, at NBC, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Has anyone else noticed
that for the last several days James Taranto keeps finding ways to use old, tough-sounding pro-war (or at least anti-anti-war) quotes from Andrew Sullivan? See today's "Iraq and Sept. 11" topic for an example. It's like Taranto is on a one-man mission to remind Sullivan of what should have been.
Governer Blunt of my home state of Missouri
is in a smack-down with NRO over cloning.
If ever there was an argument
for abandoning the Libertarian Party and becoming, say, a libertarian Republican, this is it. Hey, it worked for the Socialists:
In fact, there's a historical template for a successful libertarian movement. Ironically, it is the Socialist Party, which Milton Friedman called " the most influential political party in the United States in the first decades of the twentieth century ", because, " almost every economic plank in its 1928 presidential platform has [by 1980] been enacted into law ".

But that did not happen as a result of the Socialist Party's actions. Between the factions led by Daniel De Leon and Eugene Debs, the Socialist Party also had its own share of doctrinaire exclusivity and infighting. So, prominent members of the Socialist Party abandoned 3rd party politics and " formed the Social Democratic Federation to promote socialism within the ranks of the liberal/labor wing of the Democratic Party ". This, along with the activities of the American Labor Party (which was " intended as a pressure group, a point of leverage that would enable progressives to maximize their influence within the Democratic Party "), gave the Socialist Party increased political influence among Democrats. Obviously, they have been rather effective.
It makes sense - a libertarian wing of the Republican party would have more impact than a completely separate, tiny 3rd party. There are already libertarians like Ron Paul of Texas that are doing their best as Republicans. Why not contribute in like fashion?

Yeah, I could try to be a libertarian voice in the Democrat party, but the GOP's (albeit diminishing) emphasis on smaller government and deregulation speaks to me more than the blatantly socialist policies of the Democrats. Sure, the Democrats stress the "whatever you do behind closed doors is okay with us" thing than Republicans can tolerate. But power corrupts. If we give up all economic freedom to the government, the rest of our liberties will be lost as well as they take more and more interest in what we're doing with ourselves. The Left's emphasis on political correctness, hate speech and the like already shows they're not the First Amendment absolutists that they'd like us to believe. It'd get worse.

On the other hand, if we can work within the Republican party to rebuild respect for limited government, then all the fears of theocracy and such that some fear of the Right would be moot. The government would simply lack the power to act that way.

And then there's this:
Over time, increasingly exclusive and doctrinaire libertarian groups have replaced the broad, inclusive "maximizing rights/minimizing government" definition of libertarianism with ever-narrower litmus tests of purity. There is a "with us, or against us" mindset among those groups, brooking no compromise. Nowhere is this more evident than the Libertarian Party.

Consider the 2004 Libertarian National Convention, where opposition was mounted against prominent libertarian radio host Neal Boortz's appearance, because "[it] is not in the best interests of the Libertarian Party to facilitate public misidentification of its positions on foreign policy with Mr. Boortz's divergent views." "Dissent isn't good for The Party" is not a position one usually associates with libertarians.
This reminds me of a libertarian friend of mine who quit the party after realizing that strict conformity to the party's platform is distinctly un-libertarian. The party is doomed by definition.
Happy Birthday to Thomas Sowell
who's celebrating 75 years today.
The Libertarian Party has released an exit strategy document
for Iraq, which can be found here (and comments on it here). I'm puzzled by the LP's sudden support for foreign aid. And why is it unacceptable to leave a single soldier in Iraq but okay to transfer 10,000 soldiers to Afghanistan? And it does set a date for complete withdrawal, namely one year from when the monthly withdrawals begin. I thought setting a hard date was a Bad Thing.

I'm for bringing out troops home when the time is right, but I don't want to have to send them back in either. This exit strategy puts a lot of faith in the contention that the "insurgents" are mostly patriotic Iraqis fighting against the evil American occupiers and not terrorists fighting against a free Iraq. I'm not convinced of that. Far too many attacks are targeted at Iraqis for me to think otherwise.

UPDATE: QandO points to an alternative, to draw back intead of out.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

This is some news about
Scientology of which I was not aware:
Abort-happy folks

THE new religion embraced by former Catholic schoolgirl Katie Holmes — unlike her original faith — actually encourages abortion. As The Post's Philip Recchia has re ported, the Church of Scientology assigned Tom Cruise's fiancée a full-time handler, Jessica Rodriguez, 29, who is a member of the sect's elite corps, the Sea Organization. Like all Sea Org members, Rodriguez is discouraged by the sect from ever giving birth. And if she does get pregnant, chances are she'll have an abortion. A former high-ranking Sea Org member now tells Recchia: "It is estimated that there have been some 1,500 abortions carried out by women in the Sea Organization since the implementation of a rule in the late '80s that members could not remain in the organization if they decided to have children. And if members who have been in the Sea Organization for, say, 10 years do decide to have kids, they are dismissed with no more than $1,000" in severance. Our source's ex-wife was also a Sea Org, and she was pressured by the church into having an abortion.
Hat tip: The Corner.
Well, those vying for a prescription drug
re-importation scheme should be disheartened by this news: Canada may ban export of drugs back to the U.S. exports become a drain on Canada's drug supply.
David, your karate training is great.
But has it taught you to do this?
Ah, Kelo.
I was indisposed when the Supreme Court had their decisio-rama. By the time I returned to civilization, so much had been written all ready that I thought it a waste of time to say anything else. But I've been asked, so...

It's a shame. If there was ever an example of the inversion of rights, this is it. By this I mean, it used to be that people believed we had certain inalienable rights that the government couldn't touch, and among those is a right to property. Now it is clear that too many believe our rights are derived from government, and that it's acceptable for those rights can be taken away at a whim.

If all a city government need do is show that they'll make more tax revenue if Bob owns Bill's land, Bill is doomed. There's no such thing as property rights.
"Mind-numbingly obtuse"
says Power Line about Nancey Pelosi's reaction to Bush's speech last night. Not quite the same as "book-smackingly ignorant", but close. Sayeth those whose line has power (emphasis mine):
The "insurgents" are, in fact, terrorists, which is how they are pretty universally referred to by Iraqis. There are no soldiers taking the field against the U.S. armed forces in Iraq. There are only terrorists: suicide bombers with explosive belts around their waists and car bombers who blow up innocents, but not themselves. Why is this so hard for the AP and the Democrats to understand? In the case of the Democrats, I suppose the answer is that, if they admitted that the "insurgents" are in fact nothing more or less than terrorists, they would likewise have to admit that the war in Iraq has something to do with September 11 after all.
I saw the headline that they
were doing a little redesign work on the Freedom Tower. I was hoping for more than security updates. I have to agree with the guy from National Review who wrote that the Freedom Tower is only going to be the tallest building in the world if you believe that putting a three-foot tall hat on a short man will make him the world's tallest man.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Eye of Sauron is real.
Just look in outer space. Tip to The Corner.
First evolution, now this.
Kansas' school funding issues have attracted the attention of National Review.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Congratulations to David
for earning his Black Belt this weekend. Now I really fear you.