Language and Informational Prisons: The Case of Arabic

What language you are born into matters. It matters because it’s a means of communication and it matters even more because it’s a kind of soft prison. I regularly turn off the French language media because I become cumulatively irritated at the number of absurd statements I hear coming out of the mouths of presumably … Continue reading Language and Informational Prisons: The Case of Arabic

White Supremacists

“White supremacy” has become a central part of the left’s narrative. In an hour and a half of casual news watching on television in early October 2017, for example, I heard three references to white supremacy. That’s more than I did in the decade 2005 to 2015, I believe. One utterance came from the sports … Continue reading White Supremacists

Bernard Lewis, Edward Said, Facts, Ideology, and the Middle East

I recently came across an excellent interview conducted by Evan Goldstein, who is the editor of Arts & Letters Daily and the Chronicle of Higher Education, with Bernard Lewis, who is an eminent historian of the Middle East from Princeton. There were three things that stood out to me in the interview: 1) the potential for ideological … Continue reading Bernard Lewis, Edward Said, Facts, Ideology, and the Middle East

Should the Italian PM support the Democrats?

I don’t care for the Israeli government. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t care for Palestine government either. I have a particular distaste for Israeli politics in my heart though. Israel has some points to its favor; it is one of the few countries in the near east with a relatively liberal domestic policy … Continue reading Should the Italian PM support the Democrats?

A Short Note on Islam and Violence: Russian Edition

Many notable, and many more unnotable, commentators will swear by Islam’s “violent penchant.” They don’t care for nuance. They don’t care for facts. Instead, they adhere to the old principle of repeating something often enough until it becomes true. I think there is an issue with Sunni Arabs and cultural chauvinism (the Qur’an is supposed to … Continue reading A Short Note on Islam and Violence: Russian Edition

Against Imperial Nostalgia: Or why Empires are Kaka

I write in response to Fred Folvary’s post on this site, “Restore the Turkish Empire!” Living as I do in the largest city of the Republic of Turkey, Istanbul, which is its commercial and cultural centre, with a formidable concentration of universities (explaining my presence here), it made an impact, but of the most irritating kind … Continue reading Against Imperial Nostalgia: Or why Empires are Kaka

Secession and libertarianism – Ukraine Edition

The most basic rule of schoolyard behavior is this: Don’t challenge the school bully if your knees are buckling under you. Mr Obama keeps ignoring the rule, with predictable results: One tyrant, one despot after another receives his confirmation that the USA is no dangerous, no matter what you do. Thinking the US in not … Continue reading Secession and libertarianism – Ukraine Edition

From the Comments: Secession and Nationalism in the Middle East

My dear, brave friend Siamak took the time to craft a very insightful rebuttal to my argument on supporting decentralization in the Middle East. He writes: Brandon, First of all thanks a lot for your attention to my comment… You know that I have problems in English and maybe that’s the cause of some mis-understandings… … Continue reading From the Comments: Secession and Nationalism in the Middle East

Big Horrors, Small Horrors

“Militia” members guided by official Syrian “security” forces massacre civilians in their houses.They use both tanks and knives. About fifty of the civilians – all terrorist opponents of the Assad regime, of course –  are children under ten. The response of nine rich countries including the US is severe: They call in the Syrian ambassadors, … Continue reading Big Horrors, Small Horrors

Libertarian Isolationism: A Debate Continued

Haha! The bumper sticker is the symbol of the downfall of the West. At Cabrillo College I have seen a few stickers around that are decorated with a sickle and hammer with a phrase next to it saying “sharing is caring”. Only in the People’s Green Socialist Republic of Santa Cruz… Also, I feel like … Continue reading Libertarian Isolationism: A Debate Continued

Race, Racism, and the Law in America

Rush Limbaugh called the President’s appointee for Supreme Court Justice a “reverse racist.” He is wrong; she is simply a racist. If you discriminate against anyone because he belongs to a racial group (whatever that means, see below), you are a racist. There is no definitional exception depending on the race of the discriminator. Got … Continue reading Race, Racism, and the Law in America