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Fearless Philosophy For Free Minds: August 2006

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Politically Incorrect Dating Advice

Steve Forbes recently issued a public apology for statements in a Forbes Magazine opinion article by Michael Noer. For many of the article’s critics the apology was too little, too late. What outrageous statements did Noer make which required an apology by Steve Forbes? Did Noer make anti-Semitic or racist statement? Did he make an inappropriate comparison to Hitler or the Nazis? Michael Noer did none of these things. The following statement from his article seems to be what has put so many people up in arms:

Guys: a word of advice. Marry pretty women or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blondes or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don't marry a woman with a career.
This is indeed a controversial statement but does it have any merit? It might be one thing if Noer wrote this comment off the cuff with no supporting evidence. In the case of this article, however; the above statement is a thesis statement. This statement is a conclusion Noer came to after doing something called research.

Here are some statistics Noer used to back up his statement, all of which are cited in his article:

-Career women who quit their jobs to stay home to take care of the children are usually unhappy

-Career women will be unhappy if they make more money than their husbands

-Husbands of career women tend to be unhappy when their wives make more than they do

-Husbands of career women tend to become ill (?)

-The home will be messier (Oh, no he didn’t!)

-Divorce rates rise as women’s work hours increase. There is no statistical change when the man works more hours.

-Professional men and women who work outside the home are more likely to cheat on his or her spouse

-Highly educated people are more likely to have extramarital affairs. People with graduate degrees are 1.75 times likely to have an affair than those with only a high school diploma

-Individuals who earn over $30,000 a year are more likely to have an affair

To be honest, I have not personally verified these statistics found in Noer’s article. Noer could very well be misrepresenting the data, I don’t know. What is interesting though is that very few critics of the article have taken it upon themselves to challenge these specific statements he made in result of his research. Most of his critics say that writing such an article is mean-spirited or misogynistic. One critic said that she couldn’t believe such a respected magazine as Forbes would publish such an article. Another said to the effect that Noer should find himself a boring woman to stay at home and watch the kids. Isn’t it interesting how it’s wrong to say anything at all about women working outside the home but perfectly okay to insult a woman who CHOOSES to stay at home and take care of the children? Taking care of one’s own children is the most important job of all!

Rather than dismiss Noer as a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal and ask his boss to apologize, why not challenge his arguments point-by-point? There are probably just as many good reasons to marry a career woman as there are not to (i.e. financial stability).

To her credit Noer’s colleague at Forbes, Elizabeth Corcoran, writes a counterpoint article challenging some of his arguments in an article titled “Don’t Marry a Lazy Man” (the right side of the linked page).

Corcoran makes the following point:

The experts cited in his story think that professional women are more likely to get divorced, to cheat and to be grumpy about either having kids or not having them. But rather than rush to blame the woman, let's not overlook the other key variable: What is the guy doing?
I would have to agree with her that a relationship always must involve commitment from both partners but I did not see anything in Noer’s piece that would suggest otherwise. Both articles offer good points worthy of discussion.

In our politically correct society there are some things we are no longer allowed to comment on, regardless of whether an observation is true or not. To say that men ON AVERAGE have more upper body strength and are better at subjects such as math and science is taboo. To say that women are ON AVERAGE better drivers and better caretakers of children is as well. For a man to point out any differences at all is considered sexist and requires an apology (or perhaps even a resignation).

There also seems to be a double standard when it comes to the battle of the sexes. I am sure that there is no shortage of male bashing articles found in Cosmopolitan Magazine or similar commentary found on Oprah or The View. How often do these forums advocate marrying or not marrying a certain kind of man for superficial reasons?

The fact of the matter is that women have their own reasons for marrying one type over another (some are superficial, some are not). Generally speaking, professional women in-particular will not marry a man who earns less than she does. Women in-general are attracted to taller men and are not as attracted to shorter men (sort of like how men prefer women with large breasts and long legs). This is not to say that these preferences are right or wrong, they just ‘are’ and no one should have to apologize for his or her preference of a mate. Many of these preferences are hardwired into our evolutionary biology (our female ancestors desired healthy men of means to provide for the family while our male ancestors desired women with measurements at or near 36”-28”-36” because of the belief that these attributes would aid in child bearing and nurturing following a child’s birth).

My point is not so much to get into a battle of the sexes or to say whether or not Michael Noer is right but that statements made in his article should not require an apology. I would also like to point out that Noer’s article appears on the OPINION PAGE of Forbes Magazine. This means that the opinions expressed by Noer is his alone. Why even have an opinion page in a magazine or news paper if the writers cannot communicate their honest opinions on something as mundane as romantic relationships? Political correctness is destroying our ability to honestly discuss issues such as this and issues of much greater importance. What a shame.
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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Give Me Carnivals for $500, Alex

What is the Carnival of Liberty LX?

Matt Barr over at Socratic Rhythm Method is hosting this week’s Carnival of Liberty using a Jeopardy theme. This is the most original idea that I’ve seen for a blog carnival for some time. Be sure to check it out; lots of new blogs as well as CoL regulars posted this week. Don’t forget to answer in the form of a question!

If you want to see another original blog carnival, go check out this week’s “Ninja Warriors Edition” of RINO Sightings at Don Surber’s blog.
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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Ishad Manji: Islam’s Martin Luther?

I make no apologies for calling ‘terrorists’ Islamofascists (or Islamic Fascists as President Bush refers to them), regardless of the wishes of CAIR and the political correct talking heads in the MSM. CAIR and its ilk act as if those of us who use this term are making a statement about all Muslims. I would like to take this opportunity to remind my readers what the term ‘fascist’ means. defines fascism as follows:

    1. A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator,
      stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror
      and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.
    2. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a system of
    3. Oppressive, dictatorial control.
What is the true goal of the Islamofascist? The first definition above seems to define his goal perfectly, therefore; the term Islamofascism is a much more accurate term than terrorism (terrorism is a means to an end of the Islamofascist).

So where are the peace-loving Muslims who want to take their faith back from these Islamofascists? Ishad Manji is one such Muslim.

I first became aware of Ishad Manji last Friday as I drove to work listening to The Laura Ingram Show. Ingram invited Manji on her show because of a very well-written article she had published in The New York Times on Wednesday of that week. When I heard this very intelligent woman lament the state of her religion, I knew I would have to read her article (registration required) and share my thoughts here.

Manji writes:

[V]iolent jihadists have rarely needed foreign policy grievances to justify their hot heads. There was no equivalent to the Iraq debacle in 1993, when Islamists first tried to blow up the World Trade Center, or in 2000, when they attacked the American destroyer Cole. Indeed, that assault took place after United States-led military intervention saved thousands of Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo.

If Islamists cared about changing Iraq policy, they would not have bothered to abduct two journalists from France — probably the most antiwar, anti-Bush nation in the West. Even overt solidarity with Iraqi suffering did not prevent Margaret Hassan, who ran a world-renowned relief agency in Baghdad, from being executed by insurgents.

Meanwhile, at least as many Muslims are dying at the hands of other Muslims as under the boots of any foreign imperial power. In Sudan, black Muslims are starved, raped, enslaved and slaughtered by Arab militias, with the consent of an Islamic government. Where is the “official” Muslim fury against that genocide? Do Muslim lives count only when snuffed out by non-Muslims? If not, then here is an idea for Muslim representatives in the West: Go ahead and lecture the politicians that their foreign policies give succor to radicals. At the same time, however, challenge the educated and angry young Muslims to hold their own accountable, too.
In Manji’s interview on The Laura Ingram Show, she encouraged non-Muslims to continue to hold Islamofascists accountable and to not fear political correctness. One caller challenged Manji about the actual verses of the Koran which encourage Muslims to kill the non-believers (as Sam Harris writes at length in his book: The End of Faith). Manji responded saying that believers of all faiths read their holy books selectively, herself included. She chooses to follow the verses which are more tolerant of the beliefs of others.

Reforming Islam is not going to come from us non-believers. True reform can only come about when more Muslims decide to reform in a similar fashion as Martin Luther did with Christianity (which was further reformed from there to what we have today). Wouldn’t it be wonderful, in a religion which is traditionally so hostile to women, if such reform began with a woman such as Ishad Manji?

We can only hope this reform begins sooner rather than later. If not, much more bloodshed will be necessary.

Ishad Manji is the author of the book: The Trouble With Islam Today and maintains her own website advocating the reformation of Islam.

Related Posts:
Peace on the Enemy’s Terms
Serious Times
The End of Faith (Book Review)
Can Mysticism Co-Exist with Reason and Liberty?
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Monday, August 14, 2006

Collateral Damage of the War at Home (Part II of II)

Click here to read Part I

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Amendment IV of the U.S. Constitution

Probable Cause: An Increasingly Low Standard of Proof
What constitutes probable cause in obtaining a search warrant worthy of a paramilitary-style raid on your home? Shockingly, the probable cause standard is not a difficult standard to meet, particularly when the goal is to score points in the war on drugs. According to Radley Balko’s policy paper Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids, most warrants were issued based on the word of a single informant. Informants are often of questionable credibility such as ex-cons, rival drug dealers, and others who plea bargained to reduce their sentences or are compensated in other ways.

But surely we can count on judges to do their due diligence to ensure that the fourth amendment is respected; that there is adequate probable cause…right? Here is one example: out of 163 no-knock warrant applications filed in Denver over a 12 month period only five were denied (Balko, p. 24). Unfortunately, in most cases the judge’s signature is little more than a rubber stamp. Many judges who sign these warrants admit that they believe that the police sometimes lie in order to receive a search warrant. With this low standard of care, the fourth amendment has become all but useless in protecting citizens from invasion by the state.

What About Posse Comitatus?
The principle of Posse Comitatus simply means that the military cannot be used as a policing force on the citizenry except for of civil wars, insurrections, or a declaration of martial law (see this article for legal precedents). The very security of the country must be at risk before the military can be used; a nickel bag of Maui Wowie in someone’s home hardly qualifies as a threat to national security.

The founding fathers were very aware of the dangers of allowing the state to use its military as a policing force. In the case of these paramilitary police raids, sure the National Guard is not called in against American citizens, however; military tactics and weaponry are increasingly being used to serve search warrants even for misdemeanor drug possession. The total of all SWAT deployments increased form 3,000 in the early 1980’s to 40,000 in 2001 (Balko, p. 11).

The military and the police are supposed to have very different missions. The military’s job is to protect us from foreign enemies; this often requires (to borrow a line from Rush Limbaugh) killing people and breaking things.

Your local police department’s mission is to serve and protect the community from violent criminals. Lethal force is supposed to only be used when no other options are available to protect the life of citizens.

Unfortunately, it seems that these very two distinctly different missions have been confused. Law enforcement is expected to act as the military as if at war against citizens while the military fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan is expected to act as local police when confronting a dangerous foreign enemy!

At the conclusion of Overkill, Balko offers some recommendations (short of ending the war on drugs which he also advocates) to lessen the likelihood of botched police raids (p. 40-42). For the federal government he recommends ending Pentagon giveaways (surplus military equipment given to local police departments), set a good example, let federalism rule (meaning the local policing standards of the community should also apply to federal officials), and recommit to posse comitatus.

For state and local governments, Balko recommends returning SWAT policing to its original function (rare emergency situations), rescinding asset forfeiture policies (an abhorrent practice currently in place which allows police departments to keep valuables which they seize), and passing laws protecting the right of home defense (homeowner no longer responsible if he or she shoots a police officer who illegally enters his or her home).

After these specific recommendations to federal, state, and local governments, Balko made a few more recommendations for all governments: strict liability (police would be responsible for any mistakes and would be required to pay damages due to mistakes), tighten search warrant standards (the word of a single informant is no longer sufficient), more transparency (detailed documentation of each raid including video of the event), civilian review boards (citizen investigative body with full subpoena authority of even judges and prosecutors), no intimidation (no threats of criminal charges against innocent victims of raids if he or she wants to file a civil rights lawsuit), and more accountability (the person or persons who makes the mistake whether police chief, judge, or enforcement officer is subject to discipline including firing and civil and/or criminal charges).

Of these recommendations, I believe transparency and accountability are the most important. As it is, there is virtually no accountability for judges who issue warrants which turn out to be wrong. Our public officials must be put on notice that the public is watching and that they will be held accountable.

There is one recommendation I would like to strengthen – the right of home defense. Balko’s recommendation is that homeowners should not be held responsible for shooting law enforcement officers who illegally enter a home. This leaves too much open to interpretation. What happens if the police legally obtain a search warrant but still enter the wrong house and the homeowner shoots a police officer?

I think a better recommendation would be raising the standard of proof that a home owner knowingly shot a police officer as opposed to some other intruder. In the case of Cory Maye, (part 1, part 2) Maye shot a raiding police officer thinking someone was breaking in to harm his life or property. The police had a legal (although dubious) warrant to search his home.

This standard of proof necessarily has to be a very high standard to meet. Balko points out a few cases where homes were raided by people posing as police officers; as many as 1,000 such cases happen every year in New York City (p. 20). As an upstanding citizen with no reason to believe your home is being raided by legitimate police officers, what is a homeowner to do? Believe that the men are who they say they are and risk being a victim or assume they are not police officers and defend your home?

There needs to be some way for a citizen to know they are dealing with police. How that would be done, I have no idea. Police should realize that when entering someone’s home late at night, the homeowner is at a disadvantage and should enter the home knowing full well that they are doing so at their own risk (occupational hazard).

To End Needless ‘Collateral Damage’ We Must Stop Calling it a ‘War’
Collateral damage becomes an unattractive but acceptable euphemism whenever we are involved in a war in which we cannot avoid, such as the war on Islamofascism. The so-called war on drugs is a war which can and should be avoided. First of all, the war is not against drugs but against citizens who decide for themselves to use or sell drugs. Selling or using drugs in or of itself is not a violent act which requires violent force. Violent force should only be used when one citizen is endangering the life, liberty, or property of a non-consenting other citizen. Even when force is required it should only be proportional to the threat against a non-consenting other citizen’s life, liberty, or property.

The war on drugs is not worth one more terrified family, one more wrongful imprisonment, or one more innocent life. So much of this misery could be avoided altogether if we as citizens and policy makers realized the human cost of the war on drugs and realized it was time to bring it to an end. So you don’t like drugs? Good, I don’t either! However deadly drugs are, they are nowhere near as dangerous as government actions to prevent their use. Whenever citizens can be regarded as collateral damage it is time to look and see if the cost of life is worth the price. From my perspective, we have already paid too heavy of a price. I tend to believe at least some 292 families would agree.
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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Serious Times

Thanks to the hard work of British intelligence, this day August 10, 2006 will not go down in history as one at least as tragic as September 11, 2001. Had the plot been successful, the death toll would have likely been far worse than that of 9/11. When I first heard the news from my wife upon waking up to get ready to go to work, my first reaction was relief. Soon after my first reaction, my second was rage; rage at the realization that neither our leaders nor the American public in general are taking the threat of Islamofascism seriously.

Just two days ago the Democrats booted out of their party the last sane Democrat, Joe Lieberman. Lieberman has been replaced by a complete dunce who believes that the troops should be brought home immediately from Iraq and hope that the threats to this country will go away (assuming he believes there are any such threats). I wonder how this wannabe senator would like to deal with this threat of Islamofascism? Oh, that’s right, if you are a Democrat you do not need solutions, just criticism for those who are actually trying to do something about the problem!

Then I thought about the man who came dangerously close to becoming president in 2000, Al Gore. Gore actually believes that global warming is a greater threat to America than al Qaeda! Can he really be serious? Is he really that blind to the hundreds of other threats we face before we even think about global warming? Clearly Gore is not alone in his thinking. This kind of lunacy should give Gore the advantage in recapturing his party’s nomination in 2008.

Then I thought about the Fat Ass from Flint, Michael Moore. The Fat Ass has said on multiple occasions that “there is no terrorist threat.” Really? Would you like to revise that statement fatty? Of course there is no terrorist threat. The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, those were isolated events. The fact that so many law abiding citizens own handguns, now that’s a threat!

Then I thought about the so-called peace process that the Bush administration is trying to put forth to stop the violence between Israel and Hezbollah. Someone please help me out with this. Let’s say you have two neighbors beating the crap out of each other. You then decide in order to stop the violence, you need to sit down and talk to some of your other neighbors (who are equally concerned) to draft a proposal to tell the neighbors who are fighting to “stop fighting.” Also consider that one of the two neighbors has caused you problems in the past (Hezbollah) while the other you generally refer to as a friend (Israel). Wouldn’t it make more sense to stay out of the way and allow your friendly neighbor to beat the crap out of your other neighbor which has been hostile to you in the past?

Then I thought about how so many of us are so concerned about the well being of the terrorists we have captured. In my recent post, some responded with moral concerns about the idea of torturing terrorists even if it depended on preventing a terrorist attack. Now we have a real-life attack which was stopped. Would I have any problem with the British intelligence officials torturing these thugs who attempted to kill a significant number of innocent men, women, and children? Hell no! Just give me five minutes with one of them with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch. Those who have not evolved beyond the notion of strapping bombs to children to please their imaginary friend do not deserve to be treated humanely. They should be exterminated like the vermin they are.

The threat of Islamofascism is one most of us have failed to take seriously. Islamofascism and our unwillingness to deal with it is the greatest threat to our security, our liberty, and life as we know it. These are serious times which require serious leaders with serious plans to defeat a serious enemy. I am seriously skeptical that such a leader exists and the future of our country is in serious jeopardy.
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