James Edward Johnson

my thoughts from right to left

Archive for December 2004

Chrismukkah Yarmuclaus

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I fully support free enterprise, and I had seen these on the OC ads. But, I am still a little disappointed that this apparently sold out before Christmas. If you want to spare your eyes from the horror, and are unfamiliar, it is a santa styled kippa.

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Thursday, December 30, 2004 at 2:10 pm

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Limited release of Palestinian detainees

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Good news from Reuters – Israel Frees 159 Palestinians; Abbas Wants More Out: “Israel has vowed not to free prisoners with ‘blood on their hands’ — those jailed, according to Israel, for planning or carrying out attacks that have killed Israelis.” Unfortunately, the phrase, “with ‘blood on their hands'” can only be taken too literally, if you remember the murder of Israeli reservists detained in a Ramallah jailhouse. Nonetheless, this is positive news, given the flow of goodwill on both sides that seems to be moving the conflict in the right direction.

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Monday, December 27, 2004 at 1:36 pm

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UN can’t see past anti-Israel prejudices … again

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The UNOCHA report on Bethelehem, available here, ignores the Islamization of Palestinian controlled territories, and the genuine fear Christians have of Arab rule. For a counterpoint closer to the truth, see this.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2004 at 5:42 pm

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Arafat and Advocates for Liberty

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Any libertarian, but particularly a Jewish one, should be troubled by this excerpt from Ron Grossman’s piece in the Chicago Tribune, R(e)volution, which compares Arafat to Thomas Paine.

As a person who also describes his theology as deist (which is extremely compatable with post-Holocaust Jewish perspectives), I find appalling the comparison of one of the foremost (non-Jewish) deists to this murderer. It is similar in impact to the oft heard references to Jews being Nazis.

Hat Tip: Honest Reporting.

Written by JamesEJ

Thursday, December 16, 2004 at 2:40 pm

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Our Arrogance

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I learned a lesson today (in a different context) about arrogance. I think I’ve known it all along, but now I have the words to describe it. As libertarians and Jews, we tend to be arrogant. We believe that we know the truth and that others who hold conflicting beliefs are wrong. (My arrogance goes beyond by politial and religious views, but that is a unique problem.) However, no matter how arrogant we actually are, that does not mean that we should always act consistent with such belief.

By acting according to the presumption that we might be wrong about even our most fundamental beliefs, we have much to gain. First, and perhaps most importantly, we do not alienate those with other views. Libertarians, Jews, and particularly libertarian Jews do not need enemies. Second, threats to our viewpoints should always be received as opportunities for encouraging others to examine our views and how their views might be compatable with ours. At the very least, they should be perceived as opportunies to explain why our views are not threatening to others.

Part of the beauty that libertarianism and Judaism share is that they are fundamentally tolerant. Libertarianism permits even the politically and morally incorrect to do with themselves as they wish. While Judaism maintains the choseness of the Jewish people, it recognizes an important moral role for non-Jews and recognizes that non-Jews have a share in the world to come. It is because of the fundamental liberalism and tolerance of these perspectives that libertarian Jews can be arrogant in believing we are uniquely gifted with the truth while behaving in a way that tolerates the errant views of others.

As an aside, if you do not share either my political and religious beliefs, I sincerely hope that you are similarly arrogant. You should hold your views because you believe they are true and that conflicting views are false. This is the arrogance any person should have if they believe in the objective truth, even if that person has not yet fully grasped such truth. We can be arrogant about our views, and still at some future point in time acknowledge that they are wrong. After all, we have all changed our views from time to time, all the while believing that the views we held at any particular moment were the correct ones.

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Thursday, December 16, 2004 at 11:55 am

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More Good News: Egypt Signs Trade Deal With Israel, U.S.

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The news is just getting better today. From Forbes.com: Egypt Signs Trade Deal With Israel, U.S.: “The deal is a trade pact that will enable Egypt to export goods to America duty-free as long as they have a minimum percentage that was made in Israel.”

My friends at FEE would point out, free trade is a critical foundation for peace. When the bottom line is that war disrupts trade and the prosperity it creates, war is less conceivable.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2004 at 10:57 am

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Good News – Abbas Calls for End of Armed Uprising

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That Abbas would make this statement before the election is good news. From the AP at Yahoo! News – Abbas Calls for End of Armed Uprising: “It is important to ‘keep the uprising away from arms because the uprising is a legitimate right of the people to express their rejection of the occupation by popular and social means,’ Abbas said.

‘Using the weapons was harmful and has got to stop,’ Abbas said, referring to shootings and bombings by Palestinian militants that have killed hundreds of Israelis since the outbreak of fighting in September 2000.”

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Tuesday, December 14, 2004 at 10:32 am

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