Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Thanksgiving Message

[This year, I'm thankful for the heroic men and women of the fossil fuel industry. Reliable, economical, industrial scale energy is vital to our incredible, by historic standards, standard of living. Fossil fuels are the workhorse of our energy infrastructure, yet the industry has to work under the moral weight of demonization by energy enemies who claim that fossils are “dirty” and ruining the planet. So, a double thank you—for providing 87% of the world’s energy, and for continuing to do so despite the cruel demonization! Once again, THANK YOU!]

Reprinted below are two thanksgiving messages that I think captures the true essence of Thanksgiving, a holiday practiced only in America. Regardless of how one believes he came into existence (God or nature), the reality is that man is a being of self-generated wealth based on reason who requires certain social conditions for his survival. America was the first country founded explicitly on those conditions; i.e., a country where every individual owns his own life and possesses inalienable rights to life, liberty, property, and to the pursuit of his own happiness, coupled inextricably with the obligation to accept the reality that all people are equally endowed with these rights and to treat them accordingly.

It is thus that America, born of the enlightenment ideas of individualism, reason, and republican government, achieved in the span of a mere two hundred-plus years (following centuries of stagnation) its spectacular standard of living. The ensuing excerpts are from two essays that I believe correctly recognize where the credit for America's material plenty belongs: to any man or woman, on whatever level of ability or accomplishment, who contributed in a great or small way to American greatness by doing an honest and productive day's work in pursuit of his or her own well-being.

Ah, Thanksgiving. To most of us, the word conjures up images of turkey dinner, pumpkin pie and watching football with family and friends. It kicks off the holiday season and is the biggest shopping weekend of the year. We're taught that Thanksgiving came about when pilgrims gave thanks to God for a bountiful harvest. We vaguely mumble thanks for the food on our table, the roof over our head and the loved ones around us. We casually think about how lucky we are and how much better our lives are than, say, those in Bangladesh. But surely there is something more to celebrate, something more sacred about this holiday.

What should we really be celebrating on Thanksgiving?

Ayn Rand described Thanksgiving as "a typically American holiday . . . its essential, secular meaning is a celebration of successful production. It is a producers' holiday. The lavish meal is a symbol of the fact that abundant consumption is the result and reward of production." She was right.

What is today's version of the "bountiful harvest"? It's the affluence and success we've gained. It's the cars, houses and vacations we enjoy. It's the life-saving medicines we rely on, the stock portfolios we build, the beautiful clothes we buy and the safe, clean streets we live on. It's the good life.

How did we get this "bountiful harvest"? Ask any hard-working American; it sure wasn't by the "grace of God." It didn't grow on a fabled "money tree." We created it by working hard, by desiring the best money can buy and by wanting excellence for ourselves and our loved ones. What we don't create ourselves, we trade value for value with those who have the goods and services we need, such as our stockbrokers, hairdressers and doctors. We alone are responsible for our wealth. We are the producers and Thanksgiving is our holiday.

So, on Thanksgiving, why don't we thank ourselves and those producers who make the good life possible?

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to recognize what we are truly grateful for, to appreciate and celebrate the fruits of our labor: our wealth, health, relationships and material things--all the values we most selfishly cherish. We should thank researchers who have made certain cancers beatable, gourmet chefs at our favorite restaurants, authors whose books made us rethink our lives, financiers who developed revolutionary investment strategies and entrepreneurs who created fabulous online stores. We should thank ourselves and those individuals who make our lives more comfortable and enjoyable--those who help us live the much-coveted American dream.

As you sit down to your decadent Thanksgiving dinner served on your best china, think of all the talented individuals whose innovation and inventiveness made possible the products you are enjoying. As you look around at who you've chosen to spend your day with--those you've chosen to love--thank yourself for everything you have done to make this moment possible. It's a time to selfishly and proudly say: "I earned this."

Debi Ghate is associated with the Ayn Rand Institute.

The religious tradition of saying grace before meals becomes especially popular around the holidays, when we all are reminded of how fortunate we are to have an abundance of life-sustaining goods and services at our disposal. But there is a grave injustice involved in this tradition.

Where do the ideas, principles, constitutions, governments, and laws that protect our rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness come from? What is the source of the meals, medicines, homes, automobiles, and fighter jets that keep us alive and enable us to flourish? Who is responsible for our freedom, prosperity, and well-being?

Since God is responsible for none of the goods on which human life and happiness depend, why thank him for any such goods? More to the point: Why not thank those who actually are responsible for them? What would a just man do?

Justice is the virtue of judging people rationally--according to what they say, do, and produce--and treating them accordingly, granting to each man that which he deserves.

To say grace is to give credit where none is due--and, worse, it is to withhold credit where it is due. To say grace is to commit an act of injustice.

Rational, productive people--whether philosophers, scientists, inventors, artists, businessmen, military strategists, friends, family, or yourself--are who deserve to be thanked for the goods on which your life, liberty, and happiness depend. ... Thank or acknowledge the people who actually provide the goods. Some of them may be sitting right there at the table with you. And if you find yourself at a table where people insist on saying grace, politely insist on saying justice when they're through. It's the right thing to do.

I couldn't have said it better myself. These truths are obvious. A simple rudimentary knowledge of history, coupled with basic observation and logic, are all that's required to realize it. Thank you Debi Ghate and Craig Biddle!

Have a joyous, and well earned, Thanksgiving.

Related Reading:

The Star-Ledger's Thanksgiving Tantrum

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

New Jersey Conservation Foundation vs. Our Life-Enhancing Energy Needs

The New Jersey Conservation Foundation (NJCF) has published “An Open Letter to Residents of New Jersey” on its website under the heading Pipeline proposals threaten land across NJ. Take action! The letter occupies a full page ad in the October 1, 2015 edition of the Hunterdon County Democrat, a bi-weekly county newspaper covering an area affected by the PennEast company’s proposed natural gas pipeline.*

An Open Letter to Residents of New Jersey:
Privately-owned PennEast – a consortium including PSEG, South Jersey Industries, New Jersey Resources and UGI - is planning to tear up 4,000 acres of central New Jersey’s preserved and historic lands and farmlands, private property, and some of the state’s cleanest, most ecologically significant waterways.
Every New Jersey town and county along PennEast's path has officially objected to the proposed pipeline. It would damage and scar our land, contaminate our air and water, and put communities at risk of a potential explosion.
Pipelines like PennEast set us behind in our drive for a clean energy future. Let’s move towards an energy future that's clean, green and renewed by nature every day. Let's build a legacy to be proud of. Say "No" to PennEast!

This letter speaks volumes about environmentalists’ moral standards and their confidence in their “clean energy” cause.

The first paragraph establishes the environmentalist premise that land must be “preserved” from industrial development. What about preserving humans’ access to the reliable energy vital to their lives and well-being? That’s not the concern of environmentalists.

Nor are private property rights a concern of environmentalists, as the first paragraph seems to indicate.**

The inclusion of private property in the list of lands it doesn’t want “torn up” is a hollow concern. Environmentalists routinely fight tooth and nail against developmental projects on private land when the purpose is something they disapprove of. Consider their fight to stop hydraulic fracturing, which is mostly done on private property. Defending private property just happens, in the pipeline case, to dovetail with the aim to stop the PennEast pipeline. But you don’t see the NJCF coming to the defense of Solberg Airport in Readington Township, which has been waging an expensive legal fight against the municipal government’s effort there to seize Solberg land through eminent domain for the purposes of “preserving” the land from potential future development. (See my posts on the Solberg taking.)

If someone proposed to build a string of windmills along the proposed path of the PennEast pipeline, with the interconnecting access roads and powerlines, would the Conservation Foundation be there railing against the taking of preserved lands or defending the rights of private property owners. One doubts it, if one can take at face value the Foundation’s seriousness about advancing “clean energy.” (That’s a big “if”)*** The NJCF’s primary goal is to stop the delivery of fossil fuel energy to consumers, not to prevent protect private property owners’ rights.

Now consider the second paragraph. The NJCF claims that pipelines will “contaminate our air and water, and put communities at risk of a potential explosion.” But prior to fossil fueled industrialization, our air was dirtier and clean water was much harder to come by. And yes, there are risks, including the risk of explosion. But what about the risks of not having pipelines? If zero risk is the standard, then man should never have harnessed fire. Zero risk means zero human progress—and lives that are short, brutish, and danger-filled. (I addressed the issues of water and risk, among other issues, in a submittal to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regarding the PennEast project. As to air, the Environmental Protection Agency’s own data show our air getting progressively cleaner even as fossil fuel use increases. See below:

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 11.52.07 AMAs this chart shows, air pollution is a very manageable side effect of fossil fuel use. This chart courtesy of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels by Alex Epstein)

The last paragraph says volumes about environmentalists’ confidence in “clean energy.” If solar and wind are so good as a competitive alternative to reliable, economical fossil fuels, why is it necessary to use government coercion to stop PennEast and other companies from building pipelines? Wouldn’t the market for the energy such pipelines deliver dry up in the face of consumers’ switching to “clean” energy sources, thus destroying any incentive to invest in pipelines?

Government coercion wasn’t needed for consumers to switch from film photography to digital photography; from rotary dial phones to cell phones; from mainframe computers to minicomputers and then to personal computers; from carbon paper to copying machines; from horse-drawn carriages to automobiles. Across the economy and over time, in thousands of examples, better products and technologies replaced older, inferior ones. Why, then, the need for a movement to use stop the adoption of “clean energy?” Won’t consumers voluntarily switch from conventional energy sources to “clean” energy as enthusiastically as they made myriad other technological switches? Environmentalists know the answer. That’s why they turn to government coercion.

Today, we’re told that so-called “renewable” energy—mainly solar and wind—is far superior to “dirty” fossil fuels. So, why doesn’t the environmental movement leave the energy market free, so that renewables can supplant the older, inferior energy technologies on the merits? Why do they push for coercive government policies to hamper and destroy fossil fuel energy? Because they know that, left free to choose, consumers will opt for reliable, economic energy; namely, for today and for the foreseeable future, that means fossil fuels. Fossil’s enemies know that renewables, as a source of reliable economical energy, are crap. Yet, environmentalists’ don’t care, because their standard of value is not human life and well-being. They care about unaltered nature. They care about avoiding environmental alteration. Their philosophy toward their fellow human beings is captured in the John Denver hit song “Rocky Mountain High,” which laments, “more people, more scars upon the land.” That’s how they view human life-advancing industrial development.

And if renewables fail to live up to the environmentalists’ quasi-religious faith that solar and wind can supplant fossils, what will the environmentalists reaction to the resultant monumental human suffering from the energy deprivation? They don’t consider that very real potentiality. Human well-being is not their concern.

To concretize the moral alternative involved more dramatically, consider this picture of a pipeline project under construction posted on the New Jersey Conservation Foundation page linked to above (Pipeline proposals threaten land across NJ. Take action!)

What feelings or thoughts come to mind when you see this photo?

I get feelings of happiness and appreciation for those who construct such energy projects. I think of the motive power that runs the machines that feed us when we are hungry, medicate us when we are sick, warm us in winter, cool us in the heat of summer, enable safe and convenient transportation, enable instant communication to virtually anywhere on Earth, bring clean water to our faucets, dispose of harmful wastes, protect us as never before from extreme weather and other climate-related dangers, cleanly illuminate us at night, and myriad other benefits we take for granted. I think of the energy of human life, available affordably whenever we need it, without interruption. I don’t see a scar. Rather, I see in that pipeline project—in its own way—a thing of beauty, because of how immensely better our lives are made by the energy that will flow through the pipeline that will lie beneath what environmentalists see as a scar.

But that picture is not intended by the Conservation Foundation to elicit such positive feelings and thoughts. It is intended to elicit disgust and revulsion. It is intended to inspire thoughts of “damage and scars to our lands,” along with resentment and hostility toward the builders. It is intended to appeal to nihilists.

When I look at that picture, I see man the hero. The publication of that picture by the NJCF is intended to elicit a difference response—a vision of man the villain. My reaction to seeing that picture is rooted in my respect for human life and well-being. What, then, is the motivation behind the posting of that picture?

Many people, of course, may simply not have too many thoughts one way or another, simply seeing part of the norm; another construction project. That is a mistake, because the battle over that pipeline is a battle over energy, which is a battle involving average people's’ health and well-being. But we all should think about the energy issue, because it’s a matter of flourishing vs. destitution, life vs. death.

Of course, we should always keep the full context—the “big picture”—in mind. We may not like the disturbance to the land, so we may like to see it restored as much as possible to its natural state once the pipeline is complete and buried. Impacts on the natural environment need not be wanton. But environmentalists enemies of fossil fuels don’t see the big picture. They brush aside the vital energy positives of fossil fuels, and focus only on the negative side effects; side effects that are dwarfed by the positives and which are within our technological ability to minimize and alleviate. From the perspective of human life as the moral standard, building this energy infrastructure takes precedence over preserving—meaning non-development—of the land. From the perspective of the environmentalists’ standards, stopping pipelines is a must, regardless of the consequences to human life.

Environmentalists’ standards forbid concern for the human benefits of the pipeline, because human life is not their standard. Non-impact is their standard. They don’t just oppose negative impacts. They oppose impact as such, on principle. Such a standard compels environmentalists to oppose the pipeline. At least for the intellectual leaders of the environmentalist movement, worries about waterways and climate change—and the love affair with “clean” energy—are window dressing. The name of the institution circulating the “Open Letter to Residents of New Jersey” has “conservation” in its name for a reason: It wants to conserve land. Conserve from what, for what? Conserve from industrial development, for nature.

The Conservation Foundation’s open letter complains that “Pipelines like PennEast set us behind in our drive for a clean energy future.” But no one has ever proposed stopping research, development, and installation of solar, wind, other other so-called “renewable” energy. It is renewables champions who are trying to set us behind, by using government legal coercion to stop pipelines.


* In September, 2015, PennEast formally submitted its application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for approval to build the pipeline.

** One conundrum pro-liberty supporters of energy infrastructures face with regard to pipelines is that pipeline approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency charged with the responsibility of approving or disapproving energy projects, carries with it the power of eminent domain, under which pipeline builders can force private property owners to sell them the rights-of-way they need to build and maintain the pipeline. That is a subject for another day. See my post Untangling the PennEast Pipeline Rights Conundrum

*** That’s a big “if.” As the wind energy industry grows, so does environmentalist opposition to massive wind farms. The reasons; threats to birds, views, and even—get this—climate. Click here and here. If your an anti-industrial revolutionary, you will oppose any form of energy that becomes economical, semi-reliable, and an important source of power.

Related Reading:

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Update on NJ's 2015 'Right to Die' Debate -- 2

In response to the New Jersey Star-Ledger’s editorial on California’s recently enacted assisted suicide bill, Coming soon to Gov. Christie's desk: The right-to-die debate, a correspondent named Kevin Foley rebutted:

Just more Culture of Death. . . We gotta "off" grandma... just can't stand to see her suffer.

Grandma is going to die. We're all going to die. Some will die slowly. Some will die with pain. Our responsibility is to treat the dying as they are valuable. Not treat them as if they are disposable.

I left this reply:

This is the argument from collectivism. Collectivism holds that the focus of moral concern is the group. The individual has no moral validity. What if the suffering individual herself no longer considers her life a value? On the collectivist view, the suffering individual’s value judgements are irrelevant. It’s “our” responsibility to decide whether Grandma’s life is a value. Therefor, “we” forbid Grandma to make her own end-of-life decisions.

But the whole point of right to die legislation is to place the responsibility of end-of-life choice where it belongs—with the individual. Right to die liberates “Grandma” from the tyranny of others—the collective—that seeks to impose their values. Protection from the collective is what individual rights, the foundation of the American republic, are all about.

Our individual responsibility is to treat the dying, and everyone else, with dignity and respect—and that means respecting each individual’s moral right to make his own value judgements. The right to life and liberty necessarily encompasses the personal right to decide the means and conditions, to the extent possible, of our inevitable end.

Related Reading:

The Strong vs. the 'Weak' in the Assisted Suicide Debate

Friday, November 20, 2015

Update on NJ's 2015 ‘Right to Die’ Debate

California’s Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a “right to die” bill into law, legalizing doctor-assisted suicide in some circumstances involving terminal illness. The bill was inspired, at least in part, to the widely publicized saga of California resident Brittany Maynard, who had to move to Oregon to end her life on her own terms.

Commenting on California’s law, the New Jersey Star-Ledger called on the New Jersey Legislature and Governor Chris Christie to enact NJ’s own pending right-to-die bill. In Coming soon to Gov. Christie's desk: The right-to-die debate, the Star-Ledger quoted Brown and public opinion polls in making its case:

Gov. Jerry Brown's quandary was clear: "I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain," the former Jesuit seminarian wrote. "I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn't deny that right to others."

New Jersey's governor will likely be the next to face this moral dilemma. . .

The NJ bill has passed the state Assembly and will come up for a vote in the state Senate soon. As the Star-Ledger reports, NJ State Sen. Nick Scutari calls the vote “symbolic” because Christie is not likely to sign it. The Star-Ledger also noted a poll showing Jerseyans support assisted suicide by a margin of 63-29 percent.

I left these comments:

I agree with Governor Brown, as far as he goes. But I would be fully consistent. What about people living “in prolonged and excruciating pain?” Doesn’t every individual have a right to self-determination when it comes to the one inescapable fact that we all share; that our lives are finite?

I have in mind a Star-Ledger piece by Bob Braun, “For Freehold woman, paralyzed life became too much to bear.” Braun reported on the heart-wrenching story of a woman who came to just such prolonged and excruciating pain. Yet, she was cruelly forbidden by law to seek professional help in acting on her own rational judgement to end her life—a life she judged to be a fate worse than death; a living death. So she had to starve herself to death over an agonizing and unnecessary multi-month period. Talk about needless suffering. This young woman explained at length her reasons for her decision to end her own life. Who can claim the right to deny her the freedom to seek assistance from willing medical professionals for a peaceful end-of-life?

The “Aid in Dying” bill, or “New Jersey Death with Dignity Act”, falls short, in my view. It is limited only to people with a terminal illness. It should be based on the individual’s inalienable rights, rather than an undefinable “public welfare” or voter approval. Nonetheless, it is a step in the right direction. It should be put into law. Not because of polls. Not for symbolism. But because, if we value liberty, it’s the moral thing to do.

Related Reading:

The Role of Rights in the Assisted Suicide Debate

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Move Over, ‘Happy Holidays’: Starbucks’ Cup Opens a New Front in the ‘War on Christmas’

Starbucks' 2015 holiday cup — an assault on Christmas, or just a red cup? (Elaine Thompson/AP)

Somehow, Starbucks’ innocuous new 2015 holiday cup has been whipped up into a controversy. If you’ve ever doubted how ridiculous claims of a so-called “War on Christmas” are, the outrage at and proposed boycott of Starbucks over its cup should remove that doubt. Starbucks’ cup, which are plain red, has been termed an “anti-Christmas symbol,” a “monstrosity,” and an attempt  at “taking the Christ out of Christmas.” I suppose this campaign is being latched onto by the same faction of conservatives who bristle when someone innocently greets with “Happy Holidays.”

This is a case of intolerant Christians looking to have their cake and eat it, too. On the one hand, Christians hotly rightly defend their religious freedom, even to the point (rightly, I believe, though with strong moral reservations) of defending private Christian businesses’ freedom to discriminate against same-sex couples. On the other hand, they want to deny non-Christians the moral right to celebrate Christmas in their own way, based on their conscientious convictions, by privately taking Christ out of Christmas or Christmas out of the holiday season. (I take Christ out of Christmas. Why not? I disagree with almost every fundamental premise ascribed to him. But I don’t take Christmas out of the holiday season, for reasons expressed below and in my annual Christmas post.)

Starbucks, for its part, must be amazed at the whole controversy. Its 2015 cup continues a tradition of specially designed holiday cups that dates back to 1997. In a statement, the company offers that its cup tradition is consistent with its “core values”; “to embrace and welcome customers from all backgrounds and religions in our stores around the world.” Doesn’t sound like a “War on Christmas”—or a war on anything—to me.

The anti-Starbucks activism is believed to have been initiated on Facebook by Joshua Feuerstein, a self-described "American evangelist, internet and social media personality."

What the activists need to understand is that Christmas long ago ceased being a strictly Christian holiday; specifically, ever since President Ulysses S. Grant signed the first federal holiday law on June 28, 1870. That law established New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day as national holidays.

In America—the land of the First Amendment—Christmas can not be considered a Christian holiday, or even a religious one. Why? A legally recognized religious holiday in a nation based on religious freedom—which means, more broadly, freedom of conscience—is a fundamental impossibility. To claim otherwise is to repudiate one of America’s foundational principles, the separation of church and state.

Christmas is a secular holiday—which means, it’s meaning is determined individually by each citizen who chooses to celebrate it. For some, it may have deeply religious meaning. For another, a light-hearted excuse to celebrate; for others, a commercial importance—a chance to make big bucks from holiday shoppers; for some, a family-oriented meaning; or a combination of these. For most, it is a chance to express goodwill and cheer to one’s fellow man. Goodwill is not a monopoly of Christianity.

Zealots’ protests to the contrary notwithstanding, Christmas became secular the minute it was declared a national holiday by Congress. The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. . .” This, by definition, makes any national, legally recognized holiday a secular holiday, to be observed and celebrated according to the personal convictions of each individual. With Christmas a national holiday, the term “Christmas,” in common usage, must be considered a generic term. There is no meaningful distinction between “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays.” The thin-skinned, self-righteous Christians who are making an issue of Starbucks’s Holiday cups are plain old ordinary hypocrites. They want their freedom of conscience, but then protest others for practicing theirs.

There’s an old saying, “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” Activist Christians petitioned Congress to include Christmas in the 1870 holiday law, and Congress obliged. Christians who now complain about the secularization of Christmas are free, under the same First Amendment, to petition Congress to de-legalize Christmas. But stop smearing Starbucks, which is simply granting respect to all people’s right to personalize the meaning of Christmas season for their own sake.

On second thought, I suspect that de-legalizing Christmas won’t change its culturally secular nature. It’s probably too late for that. Christmas has become a generic recognition of an end-of-the-year celebration. No act of Congress can undo that. When Christmas became a national holiday, Christians lost the right to claim Christmas as “their” holiday, no matter what any future congress does.

But this should not offend Christians. Secular means neutrality. Though it doesn’t automatically mean Christian, it doesn't mean atheist, either. It doesn’t mean commercial. It doesn’t mean family. It doesn't have any anti-Christ or anti-Christian meaning at all. secular means it doesn’t mean anything until we as individuals give it meaning. Nor does it forbid anyone to keep Christ in Christmas. Christians are of course free to privately celebrate Christmas according to their own beliefs and principles. But non-Christians, whether adherents of other religions or no religion, theist or atheist, have the same right. I suspect that most Christians, being people of goodwill, would cheer Starbucks’ policy of inclusion. That would be consistent with Christmas.

Christmas is first and foremost an American holiday. Let’s just enjoy it each in our own way.

Related Reading:

Starbucks/USA Today’s Racist “Race Together” Campaign

Saturday, November 14, 2015

ISIS 'Act of War' Against France Should Trigger NATO War Declaration

ABC News reports:

France is a member of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which consists of the United States and 27 other countries. NATO’s charter declares: “NATO is committed to the principle that an attack against one or several members is considered as an attack against all.” (Emphasis added.)

French President Francois Hollande labeled the ISIS attacks on Paris “an act of war.” If so, every NATO member—if the treaty has any real relevance—must also be considered to have been attacked. The response to the Paris attacks then seems clear to me: NATO must declare war on ISIS, and clean out that Islamic cesspool once and for all. We do not need another drawn-out Bush-style welfare war. We need to do what President Hollande vowed to do: “attack the Islamic State group without mercy.” (Emphasis added.)

ISIS, also known as ISIL or Da’ish, is not the enemy. It is a branch of the enemy—an imperialist, global Islamic movement, rooted in fundamentalist Islam religion, that seeks a world totalitarian theocracy under Sharia law. Destroying ISIS will not end the larger threat posed by Islamic totalitarianism. But mercilessly destroying ISIS would be a good step forward toward that goal. The Paris attacks have provided clarity to what we are up against and what must be done. We should do it.

I don’t mean to imply that destroying ISIS would be tactically or strategically simple, from a military perspective. But from a principled perspective, it is crystal clear. ISIS is brimming with confidence. The West’s generally weak-kneed, head-in-the-sand response to Imperialist Islamic Totalitarianism—like referring to this conflict as a mere “War on Terrorism”—has given Islamists like ISIS ample reason for that confidence. It’s time to begin to shatter that confidence.

Related Reading:

Winning the Unwinnable War—Elan Journo

Boston Bombers; Part of a Vast Enemy Movement

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