Monsters

“Savages” is too benign a description of these baby murderers.

From Mark Steyn:

Melanie Phillips wrote about the quintuple murder of the Fogel family, and in the course of her observations wrote:

To the New York Times, it’s not the Arab massacre of a Jewish family which has jeopardised ‘peace prospects’ — because the Israelis will quite rightly never trust any agreement with such savages — but instead Israeli policy on building more homes, on land to which it is legally and morally entitled, which is responsible instead for making peace elusive.

I don’t see why you can’t describe men who decapitate a baby as “savages,” and I don’t see why you can’t also describe as “savages” the vastly larger number of Gazans who celebrate the decapitation of a baby by passing around candy. Conversely, if this characterization of the massacre offends you, I would be interested to read your argument as to why it’s wrong.

Instead, Inayat Bunglawala, chairman of Muslims4UK (and a man who called the blind sheikh behind the first World Trade Center bombing “courageous” and Osama bin Laden a “freedom fighter”) complained about the use of the word “savages” to the police and then to the Press Complaints Commission, which is now investigating.

Melanie will resist this attempt to shrink further the already shriveled bounds of public discourse in the United Kingdom. Whether her various editors and publishers will stand with her remains to be seen. And many other writers will simply conclude that this is one area to steer well clear of. “The lofty idea of ‘the war on racism’ is gradually turning into a hideously false ideology,” the French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut said in 2005. “And this anti-racism will be for the 21st century what Communism was for the 20th century: a source of violence.”

That seems the way to bet. I would rather have a society where people are free to call others “savages” than empower the state to police them into not doing so. In Britain as elsewhere, in the name of “tolerance” and “diversity” formerly free peoples are being herded into an ever more intolerant and homogeneous conformity.

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Why Leftists Love Trains

From George Will:

Generations hence, when the river of time has worn this presidency’s importance to a small, smooth pebble in the stream of history, people will still marvel that its defining trait was a mania for high-speed rail projects. This disorder illuminates the progressive mind.

Remarkably widespread derision has greeted the Obama administration’s damn-the-arithmetic-full-speed-ahead proposal to spend $53 billion more (after the $8 billion in stimulus money and $2.4 billion in enticements to 23 states) in the next six years pursuant to the president’s loopy goal of giving “80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail.” “Access” and “high-speed” to be defined later.

Criticism of this optional and irrational spending—meaning: borrowing —during a deficit crisis has been withering. Only an administration blinkered by ideology would persist.

[…]

So why is America’s “win the future” administration so fixated on railroads, a technology that was the future two centuries ago? Because progressivism’s aim is the modification of (other people’s) behavior.

Forever seeking Archimedean levers for prying the world in directions they prefer, progressives say they embrace high-speed rail for many reasons—to improve the climate, increase competitiveness, enhance national security, reduce congestion, and rationalize land use. The length of the list of reasons, and the flimsiness of each, points to this conclusion: the real reason for progressives’ passion for trains is their goal of diminishing Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism.

To progressives, the best thing about railroads is that people riding them are not in automobiles, which are subversive of the deference on which progressivism depends. Automobiles go hither and yon, wherever and whenever the driver desires, without timetables. Automobiles encourage people to think they—unsupervised, untutored, and unscripted—are masters of their fates. The automobile encourages people in delusions of adequacy, which make them resistant to government by experts who know what choices people should make.

Time was, the progressive cry was “Workers of the world unite!” or “Power to the people!” Now it is less resonant: “All aboard!”

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Big Union

From Kevin D. Williamson:

Responding to my piece, Jonathan Chait writes that unions are paltry players compared to the big, bad business lobby when it comes to buying influence in Washington and state capitols.

Here are the ten largest donors in U.S. politics as of February 7, according to OpenSecrets.Org:

ActBlue: $51 million

AT&T: $46 million

AFSCME: $43 million

National Association of Realtors: $38 million

Goldman Sachs: $33 million

American Association for Justice: $33 million

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers: $33 million

National Education Association: $32 million

Laborers Union: $30 million

Teamsters Union: $30 million

That’s five unions to two businesses and three other groups. Five out of ten is half, by my always-suspect English-major math. And who are those other groups? ActBlue is a Democratic clearinghouse, the trial lawyers are super-lopsidedly Democratic, and four out of five of the Realtors’ top campaign-cash recipients are Democrats.

Put another way, the list reads:

Democratic/Union Goon proxy: $51 million

Death Star, Inc.: $46 million

Union Goons (public sector): $43 million

The Committee to Re-Inflate the Bubble by Electing Democrats: $38 million

The Bankers Who Elected Barack Obama: $33 million

Democratic trial lawyers: $33 million

Union Goons: $33 million

Union Goons (public sector): $32 million

Union Goons: $30 million

Union Goons: $30 million

An important difference not reflected by the gross numbers: The union goons, especially in the public sector, are near-monolithic in their political interests. (See if you can spot the red on AFSCME’s party-split chart. Or play “Spot the Republican” on its list.) The business lobby is not: FedEx and UPS both do a lot of lobbying, but it is in the course of each trying to hose the other. The public-sector unions are a uniquely problematic special-interest group.

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