Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Interfaith Crusade

“According to historians, there were many reasons that men and women went on the Crusades. There were those who went for deeply devout reasons — forgiveness of sin, defending their brothers and sisters in the faith and protecting the Church of the Holy Sepulcher that was built where Christ is said to have been buried and then resurrected. …

“Whether you believe the Crusades were justified or not, [‘Kingdom of Heaven’] seems to promote the need for interfaith tolerance and respect. …

“With the current political-socio-religious tensions between the West and the Islamic world, making a film about killing one’s enemies in the name of God can be carelessly incendiary or politically correct mush. This movie fell into neither trap.”

—Steve Bear, writing on “Reluctant Crusader,” Friday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Feminist denial

“That men and women are different is an accepted tenet of popular culture — indeed, the success of everything from reality television shows to self-help books relies on the notion that la difference is a fact that yields happy, challenging and occasionally comic results in the course of everyday life. …

“Yet amble any great distance along the path of sex differences, and you will soon find yourself with Harvard President Larry Summers, tripping painfully on the gnarled and dangerous roots buried there. …

“A few years ago … when the American Society for Reproductive Medicine planned an educational ad campaign with messages such as ‘Advancing Age Decreases Your Ability to Have Children,’ the National Organization for Women denounced the group’s ‘scare tactics’ and ‘negative message’ and pressured them to withdraw the advertisements. That feminists are loath to admit even this stark biological fact speaks to their determination to deny sex differences. But … Mother Nature is not a feminist.”

—Christine Rosen, writing on “What (Most) Women Want,” in the spring issue of the Claremont Review of Books

Old truths

“The growing spirit of collectivism in Britain during [World War II] provoked an Austrian economist who had taken refuge there, F.A. von Hayek, to write a polemical counterblast to the trend: ‘The Road to Serfdom,’ published in 1944. It went through six printings in its first year, but its effect on majority opinion was, for many years to come, negligible. Hayek believed that while intellectuals in modern liberal democracies — those to whom he somewhat contemptuously referred as the professional secondhand dealers in ideas — did not usually have direct access to power, the theories that they diffused among the population ultimately had a profound, even determining, influence upon their society. …

“Hayek was therefore alarmed at the general acceptance of collectivist arguments — or worse still, assumptions — by British intellectuals of all classes. He had seen the process … before, in the German-speaking world from which he came, and he feared that Britain would likewise slide down the totalitarian path. …

“Against the collectivists, Hayek brought powerful … arguments, that, however, were scarcely new or original. Nevertheless, it is often, perhaps usually, more important to remind people of old truths than to introduce them to new ones.”

—Theodore Dalrymple, writing on “The Roads to Serfdom,” in the spring issue of City Journal

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