Sunday, December 21, 2003

Bush Was Right

Over the past five years, by turning over two suspects for trial, acknowledging its complicity in the Lockerbie bombing and paying compensation to victims' families, Libya finally managed to persuade the United Nations Security Council to lift the international sanctions that had shadowed its economy and its international reputation for more than a decade. Those sanctions were lifted in September. This page recommended lifting American sanctions as well, but President Bush left them in place pending further steps, most notably Libya's decision to end its unconventional weapons programs. It is now clear that he was right to do so. The added American pressure worked just as intended.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Why Iraqis Don't Trust the UN

For the first time, the U.N. Security Council heard some home truths about Iraq from a representative of the liberated country. Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari reminded the Security Council on Tuesday, "The United Nations as an organization failed to help rescue the Iraqi people from a murderous tyranny that lasted over 35 years. "And today we are unearthing thousands of victims in horrifying testament to that failure."

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Bjorn Lomborg Vindicated -- Again

Bjorn Lomborg is an inconvenience for statist environmentalists, who have yet to produce any credible objections to the bulk of his work. Yes, he made a few minor mistakes, which he has acknowledged, but they do not amount to a repudiation of his main thesis -- that things are generally getting better for man and the planet, and will continue to do so.

That is why the weird decision of the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty has been deployed so often by his enemies. The committees found that Lomborg had been scientifically dishonest, but didn't mean to be, which is a pretty odd definition of dishonest, if you ask me. The committees did no independent investigation of the charges, instead relying almost exclusively on a series of articles in Scientific American by scientists whose conclusions Lomborg disagreed with.

Well, Bjorn's institute in Denmark today issued this press release:

Lomborg Decision Overturned by Danish Ministry of Science

The Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has today repudiated findings by the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DSCD) that Bjorn Lomborg's book "The Skeptical Environmentalist" was "objectively dishonest" or "clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice"

The Ministry, which is responsible for the DSCD, has today released a critical assessment of the Committee's January 6 ruling. The Ministry finds that the DCSD judgment was not backed up by documentation, and was "completely void of argumentation" for the claims of dishonesty and lack of good scientific practice.

The Ministry characterises the DCSD's treatment of the case as "dissatisfactory", "deserving criticism" and "emotional" and points out a number
of significant errors. The DSCD's verdict has consequently been remitted.

The DCSD report was a hatchet job designed to keep Lomborg out of contention for a position as the head of the Environmental Research Institute in Denmark. His book has been a great blow to the environmentalist cult worldwide. The dishonesty and cynicism of the cult, of which the DCSD report is typical, has been apparent in their response to Lomborg as in nowhere else.

In the book, Lomborg argues that environmentalist claims that the world is running out of resources, that the air and water are getting more and more polluted, and that the earth cannot sustain human population growth are not supported by the evidence. In fact, most resources are nowhere near running out now or in the foreseeable future. Those resources such as oil that are likely to become less abundant in two or three generations can be replaced by technological advances, and human activity is unlikely to have that much of an effect on, for example, the atmosphere or the oceans.

Moreover, he argues that living conditions for peoples the world over have been steadily improving as a result of institution of public health, economic, and technology solutions such as improved communication, free trade, open markets, and sanitation. He points out how simple solutions such as providing a clean water supply to communities has a much greater effect on human wellbeing than any of the priorities of the environmentalists are likely to have. (IN fact, his emphasis on human well-being as a criteria for environmental policy rankles environmentalists to no end.) He regards evironmentalism inspired efforts such as the campaign to limit population growth or limit commerce and industrial activity (e.g., the Kyoto Protocol) as misguided and counterproductive.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Iraqi Reaction to the Capture of Saddam Hussein

From the Mesopotamian:

The Ululation of Gunfire again; you should all be here now. What fireworks! You should be here. The Baghdadis are expressing what they really think again. Can you hide this now CNN & others?...Just now the Miserables are beginning to bomb the streets, out of hatred and desperation. They will attack the people. I tell you, there should be no complacency. Unleash the people against them and NOW. ...Before this, I prayed the traditional prayers of thanksgiving. That I, and the Iraqi people should see this day! This, surely, is the mother of all days for us. The heroes of our valiant Pesh Mergas, and the heroes of the U.S. Fourth division have done it. Now is the time to unleash the Iraqi Counter Terror; now is the time to go for the kill. Let us go after them. Don't lose this moment. They want to recant and live in equality with the people? they have a chance - otherwise they will have to go. I am too overwhelmed with emotion to write coherently; please excuse me. The foul mouths of the enemies of our people everywhere and the neighboring vultures and hyenas be stuffed with dirt; we will come after you; your time will come.

Long live the great alliance of Mesopotamia and the United States of America and her allies. Now is the time, now is the time; Do not delay; unleash the Counter Terror.

God Bless Iraq; God Bless America; God bless the Allies


Saddam Hussein has been captured literally hiding in a hole near his home town. Bearded and disheveled, he put up no fight and admitted his identity when captured. Reports are that he has been cooperative and talkative.

This is a signal event in the war on terrorism, the result of the admirable and excellent work of a dedicated, tenacious, and courageous US military, and the result of a bold policy advanced by President George W. Bush at tremendous political risk both to himself and his party.

The hope is that with Saddam's capture the situation in Iraq will further stablize and allow for the transfer of power to a more democratic Iraqi government at a much earlier date than otherwise would have been possible. Ultimately, the peace and security of this entire region of the world should be greatly improved. Time will tell if these hopes are realized.

Monday, December 01, 2003

God on the Quad

The Quad at Harvard University, that is.

New England's liberal college campuses have become fertile ground for the evangelical movement, which is attracting students in record numbers.

As an agnostic, I'm unable to appreciate the benefits of formal religious faith. However, I've always had a great deal of respect for religious beliefs, and I recognise the importance of these beliefs and of the rich symbolism of formal religions for the vast majority of people the world over. Unlike most atheists, I don't regard my inability to believe as being indicative of superiority on my part in any way.

Here the best and brightest student minds in America still make room in their lives for formal religious beliefs and apparently see no contradiction.

My theory is that spirituality is an essential human characteristic, present in all cultures and at all times in history. This is why it keeps springing up in renewed forms even in places where it seems to have been long absent and will often be expressed in non-traditional forms if traditional forms are suppressed.

Everyone has a spiritual outlet of some kind, and for those who eschew formal religions this outlet is often an ideology that entrains all of the emotionality and irrationality of any spiritual belief system. Channeled in this way spirituality can be destructive and counterproductive in a way and magnitude that formal religions never have been. One need look no further than the totalitarian states created by leftists for an example of this principle. For all the tens of thousands of people killed in the Inquisition, for example, it can't hold a candle to the tens of millions slaughtered and starved to death in the previous century by atheistic Communist zealots.