- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New type of war

“[Author Gary] Bass highlights the era in which a ‘human rights’ doctrine emerged, taking a vivid historical tour of a series of diplomatic crises that pitted the Ottoman Empire against Britain, Russia, and France, as well as the Armenian genocide during the First World War. These conflicts, like the one over Bulgaria in the 1870s, in which Ottoman irregulars massacred thousands of Christians, were driven less by traditional reasons for war - economic gain and territorial conquest - than by newfangled principles devoted to saving threatened populations and halting mass slaughter. …

“‘Humanitarian intervention,’ Bass concludes, ‘emerged as a fundamental enterprise, wrapped up with the progress of liberal ideas and institutions.’ Bass points to the evolution of a free press in Britain and France as a key component in the first humanitarian interventions: newspapers publicized atrocities, moved the public, and gave politicians fits. Public opinion was mobilized, which in turn spurred politicians to take action abroad.”

- Matthew Price, writing on “It’s just war” on Sept. 12 in the Abu Dhabi National newspaper

Alien nation

“In fact, he asserts in a somewhat atypical aside that betrays the steel behind his joshing, White People ‘really do hate a significant portion of the population.’

“But [author Christian Lander], usually the nonchalant observer, never lapses into the easy faux populism of the right, and although he doesn’t overstate White People’s alienation from the culture and politics of the American majority, it’s striking that his (to my mind accurate) list of the political and intellectual heroes of the young, affluent, and progressive - Cornel West, Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore - includes figures, wise or foolish, who are pretty detached from the mainstream (a fact made conspicuous in a comparison to the saints of the young progressives of the early-1960s, Ben Shahn–print-loving variety: Eleanor Roosevelt and Norman Thomas).”

- Benjamin Schwarz, writing on “Intolerant Chic,” in the October issue of the Atlantic Monthly

Brother, can you …?

“A big part of the cities’ woes is the professionalization of panhandling. The old type of panhandler - a mentally impaired or disabled homeless person trying to scrape together a few bucks for a meal - is giving way to the full-time spanger who supports himself through a combination of begging, working at odd jobs, and other sources, like government assistance from disability payments.

“Some full-time panhandlers are kids - ‘road warriors’ who have largely dropped out of society and drift from town to town, often ‘couch surfing’ at friends’ homes, or ‘street loiterers’ who daily make their way downtown from the suburbs where they live. Some, like New Yorker Steve Baker, have turned begging into a full-time job. ‘If you’re inside a bank, you’re a doorman,’ he says from his perch inside a bank lobby. ‘You’re not gonna rob from nobody or steal from nobody - you come in here and make a job for yourself.’”

- Steven Malanga, writing on “The Professional Panhandling Plague,” in the Summer issue of the City Journal

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