Thursday, September 28, 2006

An Imaginary Conversation with God...

I got into a discussion on the existence of God over at Protein Wisdom. Jeff started it, sort of. He was responding to something I had said in another thread dismissing agnosticism in favor of atheism. After starting the thread, though, he disappeared and the discussion devolved into atheism vs. theism. That's nearly always a waste of time, but once I was involved in the discussion, it was difficult to resist going back. I finally got a visit from the Guy Upstairs, who convinced me to stop banging my head against a wall:

Me: (Typing.)

God: (Pops in and begins reading over my shoulder.)

God: Do you really think you're going to convince anyone?

Me: It could happen.

God: Has it ever worked before?

Me: There was that one guy…


Me: (Typing.)

God: Wasn't he gay?

Me: Well, yeah, as it turned out, he was, but what does that--

God: Leviticus.

Me: What do you mean?

God: The whole stoning thing.

Me: Wouldn't that just make him alter his behavior?

God: You might think so, but it doesn't work that way. People find the morality that works for them, and then they look for a justification. That's where I come in--or not.

Me: So you're saying that the people who believe in you only do so because you give them a reason to live the way they think is right?

God: Sure. Well, that and because they're afraid of dying. Believing they're going to be with me afterwards means they don't have to worry about that. They sleep better.

Me: So, what? Are you saying I'm a bad person because I'm trying to get them to face reality?

God: No, I'm saying that you're pissing into the wind.

Me: Oh.

Me: You know, it's not like you're doing them any favors. I mean, the first half of the Bible is devoted to the violent history of a bunch of religious fanatics, and the second half is devoted to the sad history of a guy whose example teaches people that dying for the sins of others is the most noble thing they can do.

God: What, you don't think I wrote that, do you? The slaughters, the stonings, letting my kid get nailed to a cross...?

Me: That's not yours? Which book did you write then?

God: I wrote a book of poetry once, but I couldn't get anyone to publish it.

Me: Oh.

God: You want to hear some of it?

Me: Umm, well… I was going to finish typing this post.

God: Not giving up yet?

Me: No. There was that one guy…

God: Yeah…

Me: (Typing.)

God: Didn't he become a radical subjectivist?

Me: *Sigh* (*right click *select all *delete)

God: Want to go get a beer?

Me: Sure.

God: Cool.

Me: Hey, did you use the word "pissing"?

God: I invented pissing. Get over it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Judiciary Ethics 102

The (farcical and pointless, imo) trial of Saddam Hussein is back in the news. The chief judge of the tribunal presiding over his trial has been fired for telling Saddam that he was not a dictator. The WaPo article on the firing contains the following lesson on judicial ethics from a member of Human Rights Watch:

"This is Judicial Ethics 101: You don't remove a judge just because you don't like what he says," said Nehal Bhuta, a lawyer with the international justice program at Human Rights Watch, an observer of the tribunal. "This suggests to me that the government of Nouri al-Maliki doesn't have a basic grasp of the independence of the judiciary."

If Nehal had gone on to Judicial Ethics 102, he might have learned that impartial judges do not commiserate with defendants during the trial, and they do not pronounce judgment on significant findings of fact before the trial is concluded. To tell Saddam that he was not a dictator is to essentially exonerate him of wrongdoing. If he was acting as a legitimate head of state, then what does he stand accused of? Putting down rebellions against the state? How could that have been against the law? As Saddam has already asked, "Where is the crime?"

As I have said before, Saddam could not have broken the law. He was the law. He was guilty of being a dictator, but there is no legal authority over and above the law of a dictator under which he can be accused and tried. When a dictator is overthrown, therefore, the only proper way to treat him is to stand him against a wall and shoot him.

Given that this judge has demonstrated his prejudice towards the defendant in the courtroom, the government is obliged to remove him. If the judiciary is going to be independent, it must also be impartial. If it is not impartial, then it must be checked by the other branches of government.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Real Path to 9/11

Steven Brokerman at American Renaissance has posted a timeline of events leading up to 9/11. He places the events in a much wider perspective, and provides the moral context necessary for understanding the continued existence of Islamic terrorism. My previous post on the Road to Dhimmitude should be read as a footnote to this timeline.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

GW: "Read My Lips... No State Sponsors of Terrorism."

Newt Gingrich has the featured article in today's OpinionJournal in which he offers his prescription for winning the war. Here's a small taste:

The current hopelessly slow and inefficient interagency system should be replaced by a new metrics-based and ruthlessly disciplined integrated system of accountability, with clear timetables and clear responsibilities.

I am fairly certain that the phrase "metrics-based system" uttered in a discussion of war policy instantly emasculates the speaker. That *plop* you just heard was Gingrich's testicles hitting the floor. Is he running for commander-in-chief, or aide-de-camp?

The most enraging part of the article, for me, was the following:

We should put Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia on notice that any help going to the enemies of the Iraqi people will be considered hostile acts by the U.S.

I'm pretty sure they already know that. In fact, I think Bush might've mentioned it in one of his speeches, something about "you're either with us, or against us." The problem isn't that they don't know it, it's that they've become convinced that we're not going to do anything about it. I submitted the following as a reader response, and OpinionJournal printed it:

"We should put Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia on notice that any help going to the enemies of the Iraqi people will be considered hostile acts by the U.S."

No! We should declare war on them, and raze them to the ground. Enough talk already! The Bush administration has already proven it knows how to talk. It should prove that it knows how to fight a war. A whole war, not half of a war.

George W: "Read my lips... no state sponsors of terrorism."

I think we heard something like that before.

And that's really the problem. Bush is an apple that fell too close to the tree. He's fought half of a war, just like his father; and he's shown that he can read a good speech with apparent conviction, but when it comes to acting on his words, he goes all wobbly. It's time to end the state sponsors of terrorism, in particular Iran, and he needs to find some backbone.