While touring the blogosphere rather aimlessly this morning, it seemed as though everything I read was destined to occasion aggravation. The first three articles I happened upon left me 0-for-3 in the reader-satisfaction department. At a suitable level of abstraction, there may even exist a common thread, perhaps something like, 'obliviousness to the obvious.'
The second striking bit comes when Mauer compares U.S. sentences with those abroad. Burglars now serve an average of 16.2 months in prison in the United States, compared with 5.3 months in Canada and 6.8 months in England.
Yes, it would seem mathematically obvious that had sentencing guidelines not mandated lengthier sentences beginning in the early 90s, there would be fewer convicts in the penitentiary system. And I'm in favour of, at a minimum, discussing the prudence of lengthy sentences for, oh, kids caught with dimebags and suchlike. But... burglars? Burglary, unlike certain trivial drug offenses, is a crime with an inherent potential to escalate, particularly if a homeowner returns home while the burglary is in progress. I wonder whether people who would cite average sentence durations for burglars, in this context, actually know any burglars. I've known people who, in the interval of time between a misspent youth and the present, have engaged in a little B & E - and I wouldn't want them released after 5-6 months of easy time. And I'm not the least bit sorry for that sentiment, either.
The second item was this report on the 'findings' of some Canadian climatologists, who argue that only the complete elimination of industrial emissions will prevent a greater-than-2-degrees-centigrade rise in temperatures, which they obviously believe will hasten the apocalypse, or something. Now, I've no essential problem with climate science, though, given the radically incomplete state of the relevant knowledge, I'm not comfortable with any statement firmer than, "Human-generated emissions contribute somehow." But, seriously - the elimination of all industrial emissions, which has to entail, oh, the rollback of civilization to the Seventeenth century, not to mention the rollback of the population of the planet to, oh, the levels of that century in the ensuing mass die-off. I'm scarcely a fundamentalist, in any respect, but if the choice is one between obscurantist fundamentalism and this sort of "applied science", laden with misanthropy, I proclaim without reservation, "Bring on the dark ages, baby!"
The third irksome item was a Justin Raimondo piece on the loons advising Guiliani on foreign affairs, which ought to have been like shooting ducks in a barrel, given the sheer unhinged lunacy of his proposal for the expansion of NATO to encompass any democratic state. Instead, I found the following critique of Daniel Pipes:
Daniel Pipes, who believes all Muslims, including in America, are out to establish a World Caliphate that will impose Sharia law. He believes the goal of Muslim organizations, like the moderate Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), is to establish a theocracy in America. How does he know this? Well, you see, he just kind of intuits it:
"Now, they don't say that in black and white in their writings. I can't prove that to you. I can tell you that there are all sorts of intimations of it. I can tell you I can sense it. I can make this case, but I can't make it specifically for CAIR. But you asked me, do I think that's what they want? Yes."
It is doubtful that Pipes seriously believes American Muslims could ban pork, "do away with the equality of the sexes," and criminalize adultery, for chrissakes. His appeal is based on calculated demagogy, which is why he fits in so well with the Giuliani campaign.
Except, as we now know, on the basis of documents admitted as evidence in the Holy Land Foundation trial, that this is, more or less, the incrementalist strategy of American Islam. It may seem farfetched and credulity-defying, but it is hardly inconceivable, given the European precedent and the dogmatism of the American establishment in maintaining that Islam is a Religion of Peace, and a military strategy which presupposes that we must convert them to our way of life because, by all that is unholy, we are going to have more of them living among us. Are Americans somehow immune to the European temptation to compel their own native populations to acculturate themselves to Islam? Is there some super-secret essence of America which will preclude such treachery? Or would it simply not matter?
As I indicated: 0-for-3. Indifference to the victims of crime. Indifference to the survival of more than half of the human race. Insouciance regarding the announced intentions of Islam in America. Is there something in the atmosphere here in America?