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Tag Archives: jihadi

Existential threats and other difficulties

Young man, there’s a great deal of ruin in a nation. So Adam Smith responded to a correspondent who feared that a successful revolt by the American colonies would ruin Britain.  Looking back, Adam Smith was right and the fearful young man was wrong. Indeed, Britain proceeded to gain and give up a great empire, and […]

Remember, remember the 5th of November

The evening of the 5th of November just gone, I did what I have done for the last several years. I participated in the Wizard Charlie’s Guy Fawkes Night celebration. The bonfire was in a portable bbq and the guy that was burnt was small enough to fit therein. But there were sparklers and things […]

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold … A post somewhat about China

Historically, taxing land (rents) and trade have been the dominant income sources of rulerships not reliant on labour service (not to be confused with taxes on labour income, which have a different dynamic).* Trade was a particularly attractive source of income because it often involved taxing outsiders. But trade was also mobile–too much tax for […]

Open Borders

Uberblogger Matt Yglesias recently posted on why an open borders policy for the US–possibly using an auction system to regulate the rate of flow–is a reasonable option, basing his claim on comparative population densities and history: But the United States ran an open borders regime throughout the 19th century and we weren’t worse off for […]

Action and consequences

First, a minor bit of boasting. I occasionally submit pieces to Agora, the journal of the History Teachers of Australia Victoria (HTAV). They are doing a “reprint” edition, the best of the last five years, and two of my essays will be included: Finding Patterns in Ancient Civilisations Agora No.3 Vol.43 2008 Discovery, Connection and […]

How things look depend on where you stand

This post from Stratfor points out that the US faces much less stressful challenges than the EU or China or Iran. So, the re-elected President Obama faces a world where the US’s hand, vis-a-vis other Powers, is strengthening rather than weakening. I really don’t get the angst about President Obama’s foreign policy. Yes, he has […]

Righteousness trumps morality (and civility)

It is a persistent feature of religious systems that they create outcasts. At its most extreme, such outcasts are deemed worthy of being put to death, as is the case for Jewish apostates under Deuteronomy 13 or Islamic apostates under the traditional interpretation of Sharia. Even if outcasts are not deemed as marked for slaughter, […]

Power and purity

Taboos are a major part of religious practice, across a very wide range of religious traditions. Taboos about what people can eat, wear, act, associate with, believe; the entire range of human behaviour.  Religious taboos are nicely defined as: a vehement prohibition of an action based on the belief that such behavior is either too […]

Humanising law

One of the standard complaints against giving queers (by ‘queer’ I mean any person who does not conform to being definitively male-or-female and heterosexual: i.e. same-sex oriented, same-sex attracted, intersex, transgender people) equal protection of the law is that it is an offense against the Christian, or Judaeo-Christian (if Christians want to include Jews rather […]

Suffer the little children: the burden of God

Just when I thought I had a full grasp of the moral depravity that is suicide bombing, another level of horror is revealed. Al Qaeda’s preferred target group for recruiting suicide bomber is—orphans. As one Pakistani political activist writes: We have observed that most of the suicides bombers are orphans who are less than 17 […]