Ents and Trolls

by Henry on December 13, 2004

Apropos of Dan’s “post”:https://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/002988.html below, it’s interesting how unconcerned Jim Lindgren and many other “critics”:http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2004_10_07.shtml#1097679747 of European anti-semitism appear to be when it’s “European Muslims”:http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2004_12_07.shtml#1102869137 who are at the receiving end of the jackboot. Lindgren links approvingly to a ‘fascinating’ (read: bizarre and very possibly deranged) “article”:http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson200412100841.asp by Victor Davis Hanson at the National Review Online about the ‘Ents’ of Europe. Apparently, Europeans, like Ents, have slumbered through the threat from Islamofascism. Hanson hopes that the Dutch Ents at least are waking up to the dangers that they face from the Islamists in their midst, and finishes by calling for a European Demosthenes who will ‘soberly but firmly’ demand an end to multiculturalism and the internal threat from radical Islam. It’s quite unfair to note in this context that the leader of the racist Belgian Vlaams Blok party has just “called”:http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1370599,00.html for the European far right to join forces to combat the ‘Islamization of Europe.’ But it’s not at all unfair to see something disturbing and even disgusting in the way that Hanson glides over the mosque-burnings and racist and religious violence that have happened over the last several weeks as a consequence of the ‘waking up’ of the Netherlands. As I’ve “mentioned before”:https://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/001401.html, I much prefer it when the more ignorant members of the American right-wing commentariat limit themselves to attacks on European anti-semitism, even if they grossly exaggerate its extent and effects. It’s much more disturbing when they praise Europe than when they damn it – they invariably latch onto the nastiest and most atavistic aspects of European politics and policy.

Koufax Award Nominations

by Kieran Healy on December 13, 2004

Nominations are now open for the “2004 Koufax Awards”:http://wampum.wabanaki.net/archives/001502.html. If you think we deserve it, head over and nominate CT for any or all of *Best Blog*, *Best Group Blog*, *Best Writing,* *Best Post* and *Best Looking*. I think that last one is a category.

Turn again, Dick Warrington

by Daniel on December 13, 2004

With quite a lot of kerfuffle going on in the UK blogosphere over the changes to the law to create an offence of “incitement to religious hatred”, I thought it might be neighbourly to help John Band out in the rather Sisyphean task of trying to ensure that the debate is conducted in a less frighteningly fact-free atmosphere. To that end, I ask the question; have you heard of Dick Warrington? If you’re having opinions about the racial hatred laws, it would probably be a good idea if you had.

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Our Law and God’s

by Kieran Healy on December 13, 2004

As “Brian notes”:https://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/002985.html (via Kevin Drum), there are “some people”:http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/sunday/commentary/la-oe-kranna12dec12,1,4469435.story?coll=la-sunday-commentary who think that

bq. [Clarence] Thomas is one of the few jurists today, conservative or otherwise, who understands and defends the principle that our rights come not from government but from a “creator” and “the laws of nature and of nature’s God,” as our Declaration of Independence says, and that the purpose and power of government should therefore be limited to protecting our natural, God-given rights.

My feeling is that objections to Clarence Thomas’s jurisprudence should focus on what we think people’s rights are, substantively, rather than where we think they come from. But let me comment on the God vs Man question anyway. Actually, let Roberto Mangabeira Unger comment on it, from his “Politics”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1859841317/kieranhealysw-20/ref=nosim/:

bq. Modern social thought was born proclaiming that society is made and imagined, that it is a human artifact rather than an expression of an underlying natural order.

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Copenhagen: conned again

by John Quiggin on December 13, 2004

In previous posts on Bjorn Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus exercise, both before and after the event, I expressed the suspicion that the whole thing was a setup, designed to push Lomborg’s favorite line that money spent on implementing the Kyoto protocol would be better allocated to foreign aid projects of various kinds. (I’ve pointed out some contradictions in Lomborg’s general argument, here).

However, I thought some good could come of the exercise, if the conclusions were taken seriously. In my last post, I observed

As attentive readers will recall, the conference concluded that fighting AIDS should be the top global priority in helping developing countries and also that climate change mitigation was a waste of money. I agree with the first of these conclusions, and more generally with the need for more spending on health poor countries, and I hope that Lomborg will put some effort into supporting it. I’ll try to keep readers posted on this.

Now Lomborg has revealed his priorities. Chris points to an article by Lomborg in the Telegraph. The supposed top priority item, initiatives to combat AIDS, gets two passing mentions. The entire article, except for a couple of paras, is devoted to the pressing need to do nothing about global warming.

It’s obvious from reading this piece that the entire lavishly funded Copenhagen exercise was a put-up job, designed to secure impressive-sounding endorsements for Lomborg’s anti-Kyoto agenda, and that the supposed concern for making good use of aid funding was a hypocritical scam. A lot of work went into relative rankings for different health policies, but I don’t expect to hear anything from Lomborg on this score. Similarly, I doubt we will ever see him campaigning for more funding for AIDS programs, as opposed to using them as a cheap anti-Kyoto debating point.

If I was one of the eminent economists who participated in the ranking exercise, or who submitted papers supporting various initiatives, I would be feeling really angry with Bjorn Lomborg right now.

Accuracy in Quotation

by Brian on December 13, 2004

“Kevin Drum”:http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2004_12/005311.php links to “Thomas Krannawitter’s interesting defence”:http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/sunday/commentary/la-oe-kranna12dec12,1,4469435.story?coll=la-sunday-commentary of Clarence Thomas’s jurisprudence. Apparently he’s the best Supreme there is because only he understands that all rights come from God. In the course of putting forward this good Christian view, Krannawitter makes the following charitable interpretative claim.

bq. By 1986, liberal Justice William Brennan could easily dismiss the Constitution out of hand because it belonged “to a world that is dead and gone.”

Hmmm, is that what Brennan really said? Here’s what I think is “the source of this quote”:http://www.politics.pomona.edu/dml/LabBrennan.htm.

bq. We current Justices read the Constitution in the only way that we can: as Twentieth Century Americans. We look to the history of the time of framing and to the intervening history of interpretation. But the ultimate question must be, what do the words of the text mean in our time? For the genius of the Constitution rests not in any static meaning it might have had in a world that is dead and gone, but in the adaptability of its great principles to cope with current problems and current needs.

Yeah I’d say that talking about its genius and great principles amounts to “dismissing the Constitution”.