Archive for February 2005
So, I received an invite to a Jewish Libertarians’ Yahoo Group the other day, and I have begun receiving its e-mails. No news yet on how good it is, but what I have seen shows promise.
This Article from Haaretz discusses the possibility of Shinui rejoining government. Shinui made its point against religious subsidies by opposing the budget. I hope that Sharon and Lapid can come to an agreement whereby Shinui joins government, even if Shinui has to support a less than ideal budget. Shinui needs to be a part of government to help it move towards peace and to advance the cause of liberty.
I just finished reading My Glorious Brothers by Howard Fast. It tells the Hanukah story of the Maccabean triuph over Greek domination of post-Biblical Israel. It is a wonderful book for anyone who is either Jewish or libertarian, but it is a phenomenal book for a Jewish libertarian. The book provides a heart-lifting story for any Jew, and supports a strong moral philosophy for the libertarian. Overall, it is a celebration and exaltation of Jewish traditions and Jewish life. It defends Judaism against those who would exchange all that is Jewish for secular culture. On the libertarian side, it defends the use of civilian militias for national defense, a rejection of political inequality, and praise for self-determination. It is certainly one of the better books I have read in a while. Buy it and read it.
This article from Haaretz, ‘Shinui must change direction’ by Nehemia Strasler highlights some of the difficulties a party has in maintaining power and advancing liberty. Maintaining your principles is difficult in the course of political bargaining. Hopefully, Shinui will be able to rejoin government while maintaining its principles. The proposal from the article that Shinui abstain from the budget vote may be a nice way to straddle the issue.
A hate site, Jew Watch, has returned as the top hit for the Google search, Jew. Consequently, I am posting this to support the Wikipedia alternative top hit. A Jewish libertarian has a personal obligation to fight hate speech through means that do not impair free speech. This is part of the fight.
Hat Tip: Jew School
In this Telegraph article, ‘Abbas orders Palestinian television to clean up its act,’ it appears that Palestinians are finally working to end the incitement. This is perhaps better than news of the ceasefire.
Hat Tip: Honest Reporting’s Backspin
I saw a preview for Kingdom of Heaven, a movie about the Crusades, this weekend. The preview implies that it will glorify the Christian conquest in Jerusalem. I could not find contradictory evidence on the movie’s website and the site opens with a large cross. There is too much for either a libertarian or a Jew to say if the implication is correct. The short version: The Crusades were evil and the destruction of European Jews by Christians on their way to/from the Crusades is parallelled in its evil only by pogroms and the Shoah.
Update: An unofficial site notes this, “Kingdom of Heaven is a story about a peasant blacksmith named Balian of Ibelin (played by Orlando Bloom) who rises to knighthood to protect the Holy Land of Jerusalem from foreign Christian invaders.” However, it also shows a picture of Bloom wearing a uniform with a large Christian cross emblazoned on it.
Update (2): About.com has this description of the Crusades. At September 20, 1187, you will see the likely description of the events of the movie. If these are the events of the movie, it likely glorifies Christian actions, though probably the defensive actions taken against the Kurdish ruler Saladin (whose physician was Maimonides) after Jerusalem was under Christian control. Of course, it is important to remember that in those days, a Jew was much more likely to be tolerated in the relatively liberal Muslim states than it the relatively fascist Christian ones.
The RAC’s Chai Impact Legislative Action Center issued this alert on Social Security, opposing any kind of personal accounts. My reply:
Dear Mr. Scharff and Ms. Rice,
I am disappointed to see that the RAC is taking this position on Social Security. I support protecting poorer elderly Americans, survivors and the disabled who are dependent on Social Security. However, replacing a program that is basically a pay-as-you-go system with no legal protections for future retirees with a system where people will accumulate real wealth that cannot be taken away is a progressive step.
As you know, African-Americans have a shorter life expectancy than other Americans. Because Social Security is not currently a wealth building system, African-Americans suffer from a disparate impact in the benefits they receive. By replacing it in substantial part with a wealth building system, this disparate impact could be remedied without resorting to racial wealth transfer schemes.
Additionally, moving towards private accounts would help poorer Americans build real wealth, whereby they can reduce their dependence on government. Your proposal would leave the poor as dependent as they are currently, or in the event we have to raise the FICA tax, more dependent. We need to keep the safety net for the elderly poor, survivors and disabled, but we also need to help people build their own wealth. That is why good Democrats like Patrick Moynihan and Bob Kerrey have promoted personal accounts.
By opposing personal accounts outright, the RAC removes itself from the dialogue on how we can have personal accounts while also protecting those in need. The RAC needs to reconsider the course it is taking. Its advocacy on this issue, as well as the kerfuffle recently raised in The Jewish Week between the RAC and various Jewish defense agencies, suggests that the RAC is moving in the wrong direction. If it continues to do so, it will bolster the view that the RAC is more interested in some political agenda than tikkun olam. That would be a tragedy.
This thread at -=JeW*SCHooL=- (may the link stop working) has encouraged me to stop posting there. The site owner is a cool Orthodox Anarchist, who also designs Matisyahu’s website. Unfortunately, his sister, who goes by Holy Terror, expresses some of the most vile and racist things on the site now. She currently has free reign on the site. How sad. She claims to support Charedi Jews, but she does them a great disservice.
I support the right to free speech, and I support the right to ignore people who use such right in an evil manner. I am currently exercising my right to ignore those who hate.
Update (2/3/05): Holy Terror has been booted from JewSchool.