Sunday, February 27, 2022

War in Ukraine

Ukrainians are battling fiercely for their country and for their very survival.  I won't try to cover news, it's too fast developing and my sources (e.g. Ukrinform, Kyiv Post, and VoxUkraine) are incomplete.  If it is left to the Ukrainians alone to defeat Putin's army, the sheer numbers mean it will take a miracle.  Every Western effort should be made to isolate and crush the Russian economy and to arm the Ukrainians, as quickly as possible.  And Russia must be utterly crushed so long as the current regime exists.  Putin's threat to employ nuclear weapons --  his raising of Russia's nuclear readiness to the highest level and his promise to visit unimagined destruction on any Western nation opposing him -- mean the world cannot tolerate this genocidal psychopath.  He and his regime must go.

Russia has a basket case economy.  Starve them.  Kick them out of SWIFT.  Block SPFS.  Develop Western energy sources and quit buying Russian oil and gas.  Might as well isolate the Chinese communist regime while we're at it; they are allies, after all.

It appears that at least some in the West are waking up; even the traitorous Germans are pledging to send weapons.  Unfortunately, the Biden crime family has taken money from the Russians as well as the Chinese, and both countries undoubtedly have enormous amounts of dirt on the Bidens and other American officials.  I expect little or nothing of substance from the U.S. government.  We're witnessing what a post-American world, unfortunately.

In the past  I've frequently posted on Ukraine, Russia, Putin, and related topics on Unforeseen Contingencies.  I've gone back and looked at my old pieces and I think they hold up remarkably well.  Except for timing, I Predict War seems spot on.  My very first substantive post on Unforeseen Contingencies dealt with nuclear nonproliferation, WMDs and the Ethics of Individual Rights.  Ukraine is the only country to ever give up its nuclear arsenal, and now Ukrainians are paying with their lives.  Nonproliferation is dead forever.  My piece The Inevitability of Nuclear War, Part 1 is chilling now.  If Putin fails to conquer Ukraine, will he nuke it?  It would fit with what he has said about Ukrainian nationality and my view of his political realities.  And why was my timing off?  I didn't expect a hardliner against Russia in the U.S. Presidency.  Trump, Putin, and What is *Really* Going On is about a truly unforeseen contingency.

I hope and pray for Ukrainian survival and victory, for the safety of my friends and students, and for the triumph of Western values of individual rights and freedom.  

More soon.

Слава Україні! Героям слава!

Friday, February 25, 2022


Thursday morning my first email of the day was from a friend and former student in Ukraine, telling me Kyiv was under rocket attack. I'm not hearing from anyone there now, unsurprisingly. It is hard to write much about this. The student who wrote me and many more of them earned PhDs in the West and returned to Ukraine to work on trying to make it a free and prosperous country. It's a multi-generational project, they acknowledged. They were involved in the Orange Revolution, Euromaidan, and some were advisors to the Zelenskyy government. If the Russians take over they will be hunted down and perhaps killed.

The posturing of the Brandon administration is just that, posturing. Donald Trump engaged in soft power war on Russia. The Brandonites reversed this by canceling Keystone XL and EastMed pipelines and ending Trump's restrictions that stopped Nordstream 2. They further strengthened Putin's hand by restricting drilling and fracking in the U.S. and by introducing transgenderism and racism (aka CRT) into the military. Putin has taken advantage.

This is bad in so many ways. Never mind Putin's plans for genocide. The West's failure, and especially America's failure, have demonstrated to Putin, and no doubt to Xi and to the Iranians, that they are faced with weak, unprincipled prostitutes. The better parts of the world are now in mortal danger from them.

Genocide? Putin's crazy Monday night rant about de-nazifying and de-communizing Ukraine, and how there's no such thing as Ukraine is terrifying. He aims to exterminate Ukrainian national identity. This will mean exterminating Ukrainians. His crazy-assed view that the kokhli are just subnormal Russians is truly genocidal. I hope and pray that Ukraine wins, and that Ukraine becomes the graveyard for many thousands of Russian soldiers. Ukraine is now fighting for the world.

Слава Україні! Героям слава!

Wednesday, February 02, 2022

Happy Birthday Ayn Rand!

Today is the 117th birthday of the writer-philosopher Ayn Rand. Rand's works have been extremely important influences on my thinking, particularly her development of Aristotle and her theory of concepts. Objectivism, her Aristotelian defense of objective reality and reason (in metaphysics and epistemology, respectively) runs counter to many current fashions. Current fashions are crap. 

Rand insisted on precise use of concepts and language.  Imprecise, careless, or sloppy use leads to confusion, and it is that confusion that enemies of reason and freedom exploit.  One reason libertarians and conservatives consistently lose to Marxists and other leftists is that they allow the left to dominate language.  As a result, libertarians and conservatives end up adopting the left's framing of things, and one cannot defend reason, freedom, and civilization using the enemy's conceptual framework.  

Here's a simple example.  Today conservatives talk about the supposed irony that the left has cancel culture and opposition to freedom of speech, while the Berkeley "Free Speech Movement" (FSM) of the mid-1960's fought for "free speech."  Rand would have none of this foolish nonsense.  Her 1965 essay "The Cashing-In: The Student 'Rebellion'" documents and exposes the anti-freedom-of-speech nature of the FSM.  The Berkeley FSM was one of the origins of leftist cancel culture in America, soon to be formalized by Herbert Marcuse's 1965 essay "Repressive Tolerance," which argues that true tolerance means silencing everyone except "marginalized voices;" only with censorship and repression can we have "true freedom."  The FSM was uninterested in freedom of speech; it shut down the campus and essentially deplatformed those with whom it disagreed.  At one time, conservatives and libertarians understood that the 1960s radicals were not pro-liberty.  But repeat a particular framing enough and those whose thinking is imprecise, careless, and sloppy will eventually adopt it.  I predict that before too long many libertarians and conservatives will be talking about "equity" and "doing something about systemic racism" and "giving voice to the marginalized."

Perhaps one might expect me next to say we need a Rand today to fight the expanding left.  I won't, because in fact we have her in the original Ayn Rand.  Her "The Cashing-In" essay, reprinted in Return of the Primitive, reads as if it had been written this year, save for the specific names, dates, and events she mentions.  The ideologies and doctrines she is battling are indistinguishable from today's new left dogmas.  They are identical, because it is the same "new" left, the cultural Marxists.  I highly recommend readers pick up a copy of Return of the Primitive.  It's intellectual ammunition and will more than repay repeated reading.

Happy Birthday, Ayn Rand!

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