Saturday, 22 September 2007


I leave you this fine evening with a column by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann.

Yankee Watch

Both the Boston Red Sox (92-63) and the New York Yankees (89-65) won today, so Boston’s magic number to eliminate New York is down to six. (Wasn’t it just in the 30s?) Here’s some “mindless arithmetic” for you, Yankee fans: If Boston goes 4-3 the rest of the way, the Yankees will have to go 7-1 to tie. Here’s some more “mindless arithmetic”: No World Series victories for the Yankees since 2000, despite outspending every other Major League team by a scandalous margin. It’s a great time to be a Yankee hater, and, for the same reason, a terrible time to be a Yankee fan.

Frederick C. Copleston (1907-1994) on Philosophy and Politics

There is one fairly obvious way in which the philosopher can contribute to political discussion, namely by drawing attention to examples of fallacious arguments, the emotive use of language for propaganda purposes, the procedure whereby, for instance, an undemocratic regime is commended by describing it as ‘genuine’ or ‘true’ democracy, and so on. Clarification of this sort is not, however, precisely what people generally have in mind when they demand that the philosopher should descend out of his ivory tower and enter the social and political arena. What they are demanding is that he should take sides or commit himself. And the question arises whether such self-commitment can reasonably be regarded as being in some assignable sense a consequence of his philosophy. As a man, the philosopher is as much entitled as anyone else to make political judgments and to participate in campaigns for causes. But he is entitled to do a lot of other things, such as driving a car, which can hardly be regarded as being the philosopher’s actions as a philosopher. When people demand that philosophers should commit themselves in this or that way, are they simply expressing the value judgment that social or political self-commitment is of greater worth than philosophical reflection?

(Frederick C. Copleston, “Philosophy as I See It,” chap. 9 in The Owl of Minerva: Philosophers on Philosophy, ed. Charles J. Bontempo and S. Jack Odell [New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1975], 153-61, at 159)

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Seeking Terror’s Causes, Europe Looks Within” (news article, Sept. 11) quoted me with remarks about the motivation of jihadists and German public reactions to Islamist terror that I fear could be misconstrued. I would like to clarify what I meant to say.

In my view, jihadists are motivated not just by a “rejection of society.” What they truly abhor is the political change brought on by globalization and modernization in their own countries.

The liberal democracy we enjoy is to them merely an ominous harbinger of what they seek to prevent at home.

Nor do I believe that a “reasonable German” would think that this rejection is rooted in Western foreign policy. Western foreign policy—particularly when it makes strategic mistakes—may no doubt stoke the flames of jihadist aggression. But the fire is fueled by the jihadists’ fear of the changes occurring in the heart of their own societies.

Constanze Stelzenmüller
Berlin, Sept. 20, 2007
The writer is the director of the Berlin office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

Note from KBJ: If globalization and modernization are the causes of jihadism, then jihadism is going to be with us for a long time, and we in the West are going to have to kill a great many jihadists. It’s called “self-defense.”

A Year Ago