The Echo Chamber
Saturday, November 15, 2003
  2:43 PM

This Weekly Standard article is truly eye-opening. There can be no excuse for those who have "dogged" this administration as being dishonest and misleading concerning the Iraq-Al Qaeda connection. The memo is definitively damning in its methodological synopsis of the terrorist activity supported by Hussien's regime. The question now is, "What will the reaction be to this memo and this story?" The answer ...I don't know, but below you'll find the first in what I'm going to call, "MEMO WATCH." Everyday until the mainstream media finally runs this, I'll list who's covering it and who's ducking out.

Here is a list of news sources who have quickly jumped on this tory with links to their articles:

New York Post

Believe it or not that is it...where is the NYT? the Washington Post? the LA Times? CBS? NBC? ABC? CNN? the BBC? The question, I think, answers itself. Perhaps, by tomorrow's update they will have begun doing their job.

(written by Joseph Horan) 

Friday, November 14, 2003
  8:58 AM

[Stephen Gordon]

Joseph posted below on the Techcentralstation article, "The Technology Edge."

The central theme of the article is that the United States can't always expect to remain this far technologically ahead of every other nation in the world.

I'm not sure whether Arnold Cling means that we can't or that we shouldn't remain this far ahead. Either way, I agree in part and disagree in part.

First, I'm not sure that we can't remain permanently ahead of other countries - at least for the foreseeable future. Success builds on success. The most intelligent and motivated people in the world seek to come to the United States to work because this is where things happen. As long as this is the case it will be very difficult for developing nations to compete with us except with cheap labor.

But also, we should seek to stay ahead of developing nations - as things stand now. It would not be a tragedy if other countries surpassed ours in various areas of technology IF they had a similar commitment to human freedom and dignity.

Most developing countries don't. I would be alarmed if China blasted off for Mars in a couple of years or (much worse) if Iran tested an atomic bomb primarily because these countries trample on the rights of individuals.

The motivation to reform is weakened with every technological (or monetary - think Saudi Arabia) success oppressive nations experience.

Fortunately, the free countries benefit from individual freedom - a 'Right Makes Might' effect. When people are allowed to seek their own paths the country advances.

Hopefully, the 'Right Makes Might' effect will be enough to keep freedom loving societies ahead until others embrace democracy, capitalism, and individual dignity.


Steven Den Beste has written a great article that illuminates why its so important that we remain technologically ahead of the Islamic world until reform is implemented.
We are engaged in a massive effort to destroy the ideology which threatens us by persuasion and coercion. We mean to eliminate the ideological threat by convincing the bulk of its supporters to abandon it. This is unprecedented and it is risky; we're on uncharted ground. To a great extent we're making this up as we go along, and that means we're making mistakes and learning-while-doing. We might not succeed.

If the experiment in Iraq fails, if we cut and run, and Iraq reverts to savagery, if reform efforts elsewhere in the mid-East falter and succumb to an extremist backlash, and if the governments in that region become more radical and unite against us, then all hope of reform in the region in the short run (20 years) would be gone. As time went on, those nations would certainly acquire (covertly or overtly, developed or purchased) more and better industrial age military capabilities, with range and striking power able to threaten us with catastrophic losses.

If our attempts to eliminate the threat through reform fail, then we face the decision to either kill them or let them kill us… Once our cities begin to get nuked, we would respond massively, causing unprecedented devastation, resulting in a tragedy that it might take centuries for the world to recover from. Such attacks against us are inevitable based on the ideology that opposes us unless we surrender to it. If we refuse to surrender (and we aren't going to surrender), then the only decision we'd have would be whether we should kill huge numbers of them before or after they'd started killing huge numbers of us…

No one wants it to come to that. That's why we must remain dedicated to fostering reform. It may be risky, and difficult, but it's still preferable to surrender, or committing genocide, or being the victims of genocide. The reason we're following the strategy we are is that it's the only way we can avoid defeat without resorting to total war.
UPDATE II: And read "Bush and the Liberal Tradition" for a discussion on why liberals should support Bush's effort. 

Thursday, November 13, 2003
  10:44 PM

Okay, one more post tonight and I'm going to bed. Can't resist this one though, read this and if you don't know the play by play yet, I'll review.

Bush has nominated some judges to the nation's Appellate Courts, some really good judges: Priscilla Owen, Carolyn Kuhl, and Janice Rogers Brown are just three such nominees. If one follows several of the links on each of these women, you'll begin to really understand that liberal groups are not excited about these nominations. In response, there are filibusters in effect inside the Senate to prevent them from being confirmed.

The real issue here whether anyone wants to admit it or not is that Bush has nominated MINORITIES, CONSERVATIVE MINORITIES and to left that is unexceptable. There exists a false impression that minorities(women, blacks, hispanics, etc.) are staunch liberals and therefore the Democratic party is the party for minorities. If Bush is allowed to confirm a host of conservative judges who belong to minority groups then that perceptual "bubble" is burst. The Republican leadership in the Senate must, I repeat, must continue this fight and make of it the highest profile. Changing Senate rules is not the answer, rather bringing this issue right into the living rooms of the American people is. Our general pubic is not even remotely aware of the whole situation as evidenced by the Miguel Estrada case and they need to be. That is the job of politicians, right? To represent their constituencies and keep the populace informed on important issues and the steps being taken to address them...maybe not, I guess I can't just give up on the dream that government is FOR THE PEOPLE.

(written by Joseph Horan) 

  10:26 PM

Arnold Cling at TechCentralStation makes a point about the economics of technology and governmental infulence. Money quote of the article:
In an interview last year, Nobel laureate Robert Solow asked, "How do we intelligently and equitably deal with the part of the world that is now preindustrial or primitive industrial and is 'uppity' enough to think it has every right to live as well as Americans or Europeans?" Clearly, the answer is not to hope that we always maintain the technological edge that we enjoy today. Eventually, we would like other countries to join in the technology race, and to win wherever they have comparative advantage.
I believe he has a point to an extent. Governmental influence is force that "teeters" on a fine line of balance. Just enough in the right areas (i.e. space program) and the free market benefits by the fire lit under its rear. However, too much (i.e. space program again) and innovation and risk taking become stagnant and many taxpayers dollars end up being flushed. For another thought on this toic check out Alex Tabarrok's cost-benefits analysis of governmental medical funding.


  10:10 PM

Here's a deeply introspective and balanced piece from Porphyrogenitus:

Below is one my favorites sections

War is simply not the only font of human suffering, and there are worse alternatives to our fighting. Those alternatives can and frequently do include having more people see others blown apart by bombs. Lose their face or limbs to explosives. Witness and have to live with things so terrible that no one should have to live with them. Or sit by smugly, at a distance, while they happen to others, and condescend about how non-violent solutions should be preferred, and lecture the victims or those of us who would propose to fight on their behalf about responding to violence with violence. There are those who would rest pacifically, and assert to those of us to say there are some things worth fighting for that the fact that the fact they are not prepared to fight for anything is the best evidence of their superior enlightenment.
We need to see more of this kind of writing in the mass media. It would go a long way towards restoring the integrity of journalists regardless of the opinion being put forth.

(written by Joseph Horan) 

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