Two Tuesday Links-Roger Scruton & Thomas Sowell

Roger Scruton at Forbes: ‘Is Europe Still Defensible From Invasion?

Bankrolling European security with our military is probably not sustainable in its current form.  Many European interests naturally diverge from our own, and an intellectually lazy anti-Americanism can easily become political currency in the Eurozone.

***European interests naturally diverge wildly, and I have my doubts about the current Eurocratic political union being able to channel such political, ethnic, historical, cultural, and economic forces towards a common defense.  I suppose we’ll see.

Scruton:

‘The American people cannot go on defending a country like Germany – a country that enjoys a standard of living calculated to arouse envy in its impoverished Eastern neighbor, while self-righteously preaching ‘soft power’ and ‘non belligerence’ to its pampered people. At some point Americans are going to wake up to the fact that they are being unscrupulously exploited. Their armed forces are trained to fight and die in Europe, on behalf of people who would not dream of doing the same for America, and who are not prepared to die even for their homeland’

As always, at the end of the day, I think we’re on our own in this world, while alliances come and go.  In the wake of our withdrawal from the Middle-East and with Asia rising, as Americans, we’ve got our work cut-out for us.

Ukraine and Putin’s ethno-nationalist thuggery is just a reminder.

Did NATO go wrong as well?

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Thomas Sowell remembers Gary Becker.

‘Despite the contempt that some economists have expressed toward sociology, Gary Becker went from being a professor of economics at Columbia University to being a professor of economics and sociology at the University of Chicago. No doubt sociology was improved by Becker’s contributions.’

I can imagine Becker made waves in the social sciences. As I’ve experienced with Charles Murray, social scientists who go against the grain often face a tough slog, especially introducing a rational model of behavior into the mix:

 

Jack Shafer At Reuters: ‘Edward Snowden And The Selective Targeting Of Leaks’

Full piece here.

Shafer offers background on leaks, how they’re used for political advantage, how they’re used by the opposition party.  He finishes with:

‘We owe Snowden a debt of gratitude for restarting—or should I say starting?—the public debate over the government’s secret but “legal” intrusions into our privacy. His leaks, filtered through the Guardian and the Washington Post, give us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to place limits on our power-mad government.’

I’m not sure about the ‘power-mad government,’ but I’ve noticed that there is an individual liberty coalescence around the issue, which naturally appeals to libertarians, civil libertarians, the anarcho-left, the ACLU, some liberals, and some libertarian conservatives.  There is stronger resistance from the Obama Left (their guy is in power, possibly allowing ideological/political abuse of the DOJ and IRS) and traditional Right (placing more trust in the hierarchy and authority necessary to serve the national interest and common defense).

I’m interested in knowing just what kind of incentives we’ve been creating since the Patriot Act (for the executive branch especially), and where Big Data and Big Government are meeting.  I don’t entirely trust Snowden’s motives (likely more responsible than the anarcho-Left, recklessly ideal Wikileaks Assange and rogue Bradley Manning, but perhaps not as much as some previous leakers).

I’ll keep an ear out. 

Addition:  Why did Snowden go outside the channels available, anyways?  Eli Lake has more here.

More on Snowden.

Follow Jack Shafer on Twitter.  @jackshafer

Follow Julian Sanchez on Twitter @normative

Via Foreign Policy: ‘Appraising Al-Qaeda: The Practitioner’s Perspective’

Full piece here.

‘What is the nature of al-Qaeda? Is it an organization with tight leadership structures and command and control, or is it an idea that takes harbor in the hearts and souls of disenfranchised or disillusioned young men and women seeking some greater meaning to their lives? Over time, the importance of these two schools of general thought has waxed and waned with various academics, authors, pundits and practitioners alternatively concluding the importance of one over the other largely depending on the nature of the latest plot to be disrupted.’

Addition:  Were there Libyan prisoners in Benghazi that the attackers on the consulate were trying to get back?

Another Addition:  Petraeus to face charges?

Another:  It’s becoming quite a mess.  Others are involved.

Eli Lake has a little more on Petraeus’ trip to Benghazi.

Related On This Site:  Michael Totten At World Affairs: ‘Al Qaeda Is The Weak Horse’Christopher Hitchens At Slate: ‘Lord Haw Haw And Anwar Al-Awlaki’From CSIS: ‘Rick “Ozzie” Nelson and Tom Sanderson on the Future of Al Qaeda’,Lawrence Wright At The New Yorker: ‘The Man Behind Bin Laden’From Slate: ‘In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta Thought He Could Build The Ideal Islamic City’Repost-Philip Bobbitt Discusses His Book ‘Terror And Consent’ On Bloggingheads

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From Foreign Affairs: ‘Letter From Karachi’

Full piece here.

“One root cause of the ethnic strife is the retreat of the state; Karachi’s local government has simply failed to keep up with the city’s expanding population. It has refused or been unable to provide basic physical infrastructure and services, such as housing, water, and electricity, or economic opportunities and resources to the majority of residents. Instead, the urban poor have relied on ethnic-based sector entrepreneurs to provide these essential services. This informality in social and economic relations has allowed ethnic rivalries to fester.”

Related On This SiteFrom Foreign Policy: ‘Reading Woodward In Karachi’From Michael Yon: ‘General Petraeus Letter’From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And Pakistan

From Foreign Policy: ‘Inside Talibanistan’Alvaro Vargas Llosa At Real Clear Politics: “Pakistan’s Crooked Roots

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