Israel and Identity

Israel and Identity

After Jesus Christ, Natan Sharansky is George Bush’s favorite philosopher. In early 2005, around the time of his second inaugural, the president praised Sharansky—ex-prisoner of the Soviet Gulag, former Israeli cabinet minister, and crusader for human rights—in effusive terms. Sharansky’s book The Case For Democracy was, in Bush’s words, part of his “presidential DNA,” a work which the leader of the free world recommended as required reading for anyone who desired to make sense of his foreign policy. It is well-nigh impossible to take this rhetoric seriously anymore, particularly in light of the failure to build democracy in nations like Iraq or Afghanistan, where undemocratic traditions so far seem to have won the battle against liberal universalism. Yet Sharansky is undaunted by these failures. In his new book, Defending Identity, he does not abandon his position, in light of these fiascos. Rather, he believes that democracies fail because they do not take account the necessity of identity.

Yellow Peril!—How the Beijing Olympics Became the Most Politicized Show on Earth

Yellow Peril!—How the Beijing Olympics Became the Most Politicized Show on Earth

Since the start of 2008, a new international sport has emerged: Yellow Peril-mongering. International politicians, commentators and activists have competed to see who can issue the shrillest and most spine-tingling warning about the threat posed by the Chinese to the safety, security, and self-esteem of Western civilisation. Inexorably, the Beijing Olympics—which are now in full swing—have been turned into an all-purpose platform for moral posturing about China’s pollution levels, industrial arrogance, interference in Africa, lack of free speech, human rights record and general wickedness. In America and Europe, the Great and the Good, offended by China’s rise and its apparently bad habits, no longer talk about “the Olympics”—they talk about the “Genocide Olympics,” the “Smog Olympics,” or the “Human Rights Olympics.”

Media

Front-Porch Socialism

Front-Porch Socialism

I’m always glad to see the proliferation of websites and blogs of the “Alternative...

Bizarro World

The Black Comedy of Kwanzaa

The Black Comedy of Kwanzaa

As we clear away all the wrapping paper and wonder how long to leave up the...

Media

The Hoax Down Under

The Hoax Down Under

Say what you like against us Australians, there is one activity where we excel, and...

Hollywood

Polanski’s Ghost Writer, and Americanising Britain

Polanski’s Ghost Writer, and Americanising Britain

American culture has become so globally dominant that even the lamest U.S. customs,...

Remembrance

A Patriotic Conservative

A Patriotic Conservative

Though most famous for coining the phrase “axis-of-evil” in President Bush’s 2002 State...

Home Front

My Dates with Doom

My Dates with Doom

I don’t know if it’s my reckless, Napoleonic march into middle age, or the decline...

Norman’s Conquests

Norman’s Conquests

Towards the end of his life Norman called himself a Left-Conservative, and went as far as to agree that losing one’s culture through immigration was not a good thing. But he remained adamant about the evils of American corporations. He blamed them for making America an uglier place to live....

The NIE Revisited

The NIE Revisited

For the Cheney-Bush White House, the recent NIE concerning Iran’s nuclear capability...

A Revolution Betrayed?

A Revolution Betrayed?

The reality is that for Ron Paul to rule out a third-party run is a tragic error. Paul’s presidential campaign galvanized so much energy and enthusiasm that, at times, it mimiced the dimensions and depth of a real mass movement, that is, of a serious effort to recapture the GOP from the neoconservatives and inaugurate a new era on the Right. The Paul campaign ignited interest at both ends of the political spectrum, and drew in a broad array of activists and supporters who, despite their ideological diversity, showed remarkable cohesion and an amazing degree of self-organization. As a grassroots phenomenon, it has outpaced anything seen in the libertarian movement—or, indeed, on the far right side of the political spectrum–since the storied days of Barry Goldwater. The field has never been more inviting for a third-party candidate of the Right, as the man conservatives love to hate takes his place as the GOP standard-bearer in 2008.

Further Notes on Nationalism

Further Notes on Nationalism

In the comments thread of my nationalism and patriotism piece, Aaron Wolf raises an...

Theatre

Consensus For Failure

Consensus For Failure

A Kabul–based United Nations’s guesthouse is the latest target to be hit by Afghani...

Planet Earth

Turn Off the Lights To Save the Birds

Turn Off the Lights To Save the Birds

As a culture, we’re wistful about our tallest buildings. Cities love to show off grand...

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