George Sarant

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Archive for June 2009

OBAMA AND HILLARY SUPPORT CASTRO AND CHAVEZ POSITION

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The former President of Honduras was ousted from office in what has incorrectly been described as a military coup. In fact ousted President Manuel Zelaya was lawfully removed by order of the country’s Supreme Court for attempting to subvert the constitution. Zelaya wanted to hold an illegal referendum to extend his presidential term, bypassing the laws of the country. This is in the tradition of America-hater Hugo Chavez, who has established a tyranny over Venezuela through such methods. What the Honduran officials did was right to frustrate his design for tyranny. Naturallly Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro objected strenuously.

What is incomprehensible is how Obama and Clinton could join in the chorus demanding the restoration of this scoundrel as president. Then again they have a predisposition to sympathize with the enemies of the United States. Imagine if an American president decided to hold an unconstitutional referendum to extend his term, given that the constitution can be warped by “empathy.” What would be the consequences? Perhaps Obama, having been divinely selected feels that his term should be extended indefinitely as well. The Hondurans properly acted to prevent tyranny and deserve our support. Our government deserves our contempt.

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June 30, 2009 at 2:04 AM

HONOR AND PASSION

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For as much as we are capable of reason, human beings are also creatures of passion. This is usually most pronounced in adolescence when a river of emotion and hormones can sometimes overwhelm us. At that age we usually do not have the requisite perspective to tame or control these feelings. We are subject to animal instincts that are difficult to temper. There are two possible mechanisms of control- external, under the supervision, restriction, or approbation of others, or internal, by way of self-discipline and conscience. If the latter are not sufficiently developed, passion will continue to reign in adulthood.

Passion can be all-consuming and once in its grip everything else becomes secondary as perspective is lost. The rush of emotion can be so intense it overcomes all other considerations, resulting in a total absence of common sense. We are all subject to it, even superficially; who is not drawn to an attractive woman? But mechanisms of control must be developed, and values we think ought to provide some restraint do not seem to. Love cannot control it alone; one may truly love their spouse and yet succumb to aroused passions. Rectitude, faith, reason, and the moral sense cannot ameliorate lust when the fire burns. Why do otherwise sensible men behave like lovestruck teenagers?

All of this is in play in the case of Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina and the widely reported affair that seems to have effectively caused him to flip out and disappear to Argentina for a number of days. Republicans are far less tolerant than Democrats of errant behavior because we expect people to practice what they preach. Given that he heads what is just about the most Christian state in the union his position seems untenable to me.

I believe there is only one thing that suppress such passions, and that is honor. A well-developed sense of honor is what can keep passion in check. In the past it was honor that sustained unrequited love, based upon one’s sense of obligation and duty. Unfortunately in modern times it has fallen out of favor and self-aggrandizement is the order of the day. Honor can only be instilled by proper upbringing that enables one to resist temptation despite all that is going on around us. Unless and until we restore the value of honor to its proper place there is little to control an unchecked ego seeking to indulge itself.

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June 28, 2009 at 10:06 PM

Posted in morality

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IRAN AND THE WEST

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Nikolas Sarkozy is now the de facto leader of the west, Obama having abandoned it for a “higher calling.” The President of France spoke up immediately on the phony Iranian election in strong terms while Obama vacillated. He is also seeking to ban burquas in France, as something denigrating and oppressive to women, while as Hussein he tells the Muslim world we welcome “cover” and that there are three times as many Muslims in the US as there actually are. It is obvious now that no action on Iran is going to come from here. Obama thinks he can talk to these lunatics, and because of his special gifts, convince them to see the light. But they already see the light, and it is that of uncompromising, extreme fundamentalist Islam with an apocalyptic vision for the world.

Even if the election were stolen, which clearly seems to be the case, there is still an undeniably large vote for Ahmedinijad, which indicates that millions of people are responsible for supporting this regime, though mostly in rural areas. It is a certainty that Iran will continue to develop nuclear weapons and little will be done to stop it. That leaves only Israel to strike and defend itself, and fortunately it is likely that Netanyahu will act no matter how the government tries to stop him.

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June 23, 2009 at 1:56 PM

Posted in international

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DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

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It is the height of the photo season in my country garden. Each day brings changes in a parade of new blooms. The heavy rain this season has produced a rich floral yield. I’ve been into serious photography over four decades, and except for some early Yashicas I’ve used mostly high-end Canons over the years. For most of that time I shot slides, and it is really sad to learn that Kodak will stop making Kodachrome. I switched largely to a digital Canon a while back once the megapixel count became high enough, although nothing can match the fine grain of film and probably never will. On the other hand film is costly compared to digital, perishable, and a real nuisance to get through airports undamaged.

I finally got a digital SLR last year because it had a very high 15 megapixel count along with some lenses. It was a Sony and now I regret switching away from Canon. It’s an A350, and although there is a phenomenal 18-250mm lens, the lenses are noisy even when no taking pictures, and the thing I hate the most is the viewfinder, because what you see is not what you get. After some experimentation I found that in order to get something in the center of a picture you have to view and shoot it at the top. This is apparently true for most other digital cameras. I haven’t seen anything like this since back in the rangefinder days, and in a supposedly advanced technology this is totally unacceptable. That said pictures are okay.

What is really scary is that a lot of people have their entire photo collection on a computer. If it isn’t backed up if the hard drive fails everything is lost. That’s the downside of digital. I’m watching nervously as my IPhoto library expands to well over 100 gigabytes wondering when a glitch is going to ruin everything. If you’re shooting digital photographs it pays to have at least one, if not more backups of all your pictures or you’re out of luck.

I still have a batch of film left so I pulled out my old Canons and took some pictures. I still find that experience far more rewarding than any digital camera.

Written by georgesarant

June 20, 2009 at 6:35 PM

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FEDERALISM AND DISUNITY

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I don’t know who is responsible for the weekend and style sections of the Wall Street Journal, but they reflect a kind of mediocre liberalism that is at variance with the traditions of the paper. The weekend edition often contains really stupid “essays” of poor quality and shallow themes. One recently maintained that Obama is the most literate president since Lincoln. This weekend there was an essay on how the US might break apart into sectional republics favored by fringe independence groups, the distribution of which was not even well reasoned. There is nothing original in this. A Russian writer came up with a fanciful scheme about how the US might break apart and largely be absorbed by foreign countries, based upon little more than wishful thinking. Anyone can fantasize about regional divisions and the various configurations a dismembered US might take. There may even be some logic to some form of “independence,” should irreconcilable differences arise.

However, what is ignored in these schemes is the constitutional safety valve built into the country. It is called federalism. Under ideal conditions considerable autonomy is allowed to the states; in fact the constitution says that all powers not explicitly stated in the document are reserved to the states. There is no question that the federal government has usurped vast powers that were never attributed to it. However, this is not irreversible, and there can be a healthy balance between state and federal power. True diversity would allow for differences by region, where many of the salient issues of the day might be mitigated. For example, the case for or against gun control will vary dramatically between say Idaho and New York City. Abortion could be prohibited in some states and be legal in others. Then individuals have the choice to live in places where they are most culturally comfortable. This indeed is how thing should have evolved, and the restoration of federalism is the best hope for continuing.

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June 14, 2009 at 10:20 PM

Posted in government

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THE FUTURE OF EUROPE

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In the course of little more than half a century Europe has managed to swap 6 million Jews for 20 million Muslims. The former were assimilated into European culture, and their murders were an incalculable loss as well as a monstrous crime. The latter are largely unassimilated, and due to “multicultural” encouragement will continue to remain so, while outgrowing the declining European population. In many countries they have the audacity to aggressively assert their cultural autonomy and are out of control in the most tolerant countries, i.e. Britain and the Netherlands.

The only ones who have really gotten it right so far are the French. There the state encourages assimilation, considers everyone French, and does not maintain ethnic, religious, and racial statistics for nefarious purposes as the US does, and officially insists upon a single standard for everyone. Unlike Obama, and for that matter, Bush, they discourage Muslim headscarves and other outward signs of religion in public institutions. The downside of this fastidious public secularism, which dates back to the French revolution, is that the traditional Christian culture of Europe gets lost in the mix, but is offset by a cultural nationalism that is peculiar to the French. There the damage done to much of the western world by self-hating leftists has been mitigated by an appreciation for and encouragement of French culture. This can sometimes be overdone with a silly degree of chauvinism* when it comes to language and new terminology, but they at least have developed policies that will ensure the survival of the nation, including family-friendly policies to support a sustainable birth rate.

Virtually every other country in Europe is facing a disastrous combination of population decline, unassimilated immigrants, and low growth. The only hope for Europe is the populist right, and gains in the recent elections show that the Europeans are beginning to seriously consider their predicament. For it is clear that to have a future European countries must again believe in themselves- in their history, culture, and way of life.

*A term that is originally French, originating with a19th century man named Chauvin who was known for extreme, over-the-top nationalism. Parenthetically I saw a comment by a young airhead referring to a man as a “shovinist” without a clue as to the real meaning of the term. How things degenerate over time! .

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June 12, 2009 at 10:06 PM

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THE RULE OF LAW

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The rule of law is a requirement for a functioning, cooperative society. Its absence results in tyranny and arbitrary government, or anarchy and insecurity. Under the rule of law the same rules apply for everyone regardless of status, so that there is equal justice, which engenders a higher degree of confidence that everyone will be treated fairly. By extension this applies to government action, although reverse discrimination has shredded this principle in reality. Credence is further undermined when the application of law is perceived to be personal, or arbitrary.

If legal rulings can be permeated on nothing more than “empathy” then there are no fixed principles, no common standards everyone can or should adhere to. We can all make the law whatever we want it to be, with no objective standards, as a result of the “relativism” of this theory. Courts are supposed to be independent, objective judges of particular cases. They should not make policy. The consequence of this is the loss of government legitimacy as any side can then make the law be whatever they want it to be.

The federal government has gone further than ever before in ignoring such niceties as a constitutional foundation for the actions that have been taken. A centuries-old body of law has been violated. By what right does the federal government take property from one group, i.e. automotive bondholders and shareholders and give it to another, i.e. the UAW? What legitimate authority can pressure secured lenders who in any bankruptcy proceeding are first in line, to step further back in favor of the union and take losses greater than they otherwise would have to bear? Creditors have effectively been shaken down by illegitimate government actions. By what authority is there a “car czar?”

A fundamental barrier has been broken; the government can now act without due process. How does this differ from the state capitalism in China or Russia? What of constitutional protections? It is questionable now whether the damage that has been done to the principle that there is a public sphere of limited authority, and a private sphere can ever be reversed.

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June 4, 2009 at 11:41 PM

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