Sunday, December 18, 2005

Blair: globalisation comes from the bottom up

Topic One
When I have a chance to see Blair speak, I always consider him a brilliant person even if he is more liberal than me. In the above link he has again shown how globalization is not to be feared, but gives consumers more choices and better quality goods and services. Individuals will be the driving force in liberalization. The ironic fact is that it would be better for the poor of the world to have access to global markets than to have aid by about 3 to 1.

Topic Two
Alan Krueger: Civil Liberties and Terrorism
The belief that suicide bombers [murdercide] are poor, uneducated, disaffected or disturbed is contradicted by science. Marc Sageman, a forensic psychiatrist at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, found in a study of 400 Al Qaeda members that three quarters of his sample came from the upper or middle class. Moreover, he noted, “the vast majority—90 percent— came from caring, intact families. Sixty-three percent had gone to college, as compared with the 5–6 percent that’s usual for the third world. These are the best and brightest of their societies in many ways.” Nor were they sans employment and familial duties. “Far from having no family or job responsibilities, 73 percent were married and the vast majority had children. . . . Three quarters were professionals or semiprofessionals. They are engineers, architects and civil engineers, mostly scientists. Very few humanities are represented, and quite surprisingly very few had any background in religion.” ...

[A] necessary condition for suicide is habituation to the fear about the pain involved in the act. How do terrorist organizations infuse this condition in their recruits? One way is through psychological reinforcement. ...[T]he celebration and commemoration of suicide bombings that began in the 1980s changed a culture into one that idolizes martyrdom and its hero. Today murderciders appear in posters like star athletes. Another method of control is “group dynamics.” Says Sageman: “The prospective terrorists joined the jihad through preexisting social bonds with people who were already terrorists or had decided to join as a group. In 65 percent of the cases, preexisting friendship bonds played an important role in this process.” Those personal connections help to override the natural inclination to avoid self immolation. “The suicide bombers in Spain are another perfect example. Seven terrorists sharing an apartment and one saying, ‘Tonight we’re all going to go, guys.’ You can’t betray your friends, and so you go along. Individually, they probably would not have done it.”

One method to attenuate murdercide, then, is to target dangerous groups that influence individuals, such as Al Qaeda. Another method, says Princeton University economist Alan B. Krueger, is to increase the civil liberties of the countries that breed terrorist groups. In an analysis of State Department data on terrorism, Krueger discovered that “countries like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, which have spawned relatively many terrorists, are economically well off yet lacking in civil liberties. Poor countries with a tradition of protecting civil liberties are unlikely to spawn suicide terrorists. Evidently, the freedom to assemble and protest peacefully without interference from the government goes a long way to providing an alternative to terrorism.” ...

It was so good I had to include the whole text provided. But to sum up terrorists are not the downtrodden, strong psychological reinforcement is necessary for recruitment, and last increasing civil liberties is the most important fact for reducing terrorism (Democratic Peace). It was also surprising that people in the Humanities were few in number as well as any in a background in Religion. Actually studying humanities and religion appears to reduce the chances of terrorism. Something to think about.

Topic Three
Fake Drilling
A quarter of a century of this tactic applied to ANWR is about 24 years too many. If geologists were to decide that there were only three thimbles of oil beneath area 1002, there would still be something to be said for going down to get them, just to prove that this nation cannot be forever paralyzed by people wielding environmentalism as a cover for collectivism.

I agree with George Will's presentation of collectivism. His ideas seem close to reality, in that no matter what proposal is raised about any source of energy, one or more environmentalist groups have to oppose it. So its like the leaders of environmentalism pretend to be looking for alternative sources of energy but love to point out any problems, no matter how trivial. Similar to the Kennedy's opposing wind mills in the Atlantic 20miles from the coast.
But while ANWR is 24 years overdue, I disagree that we would want to extract 3 thimbles of oil. Mostly on the basis that test wells need to be drilled and from there we could get a better understanding of what oil is available. If as little as environmentalist try to say then yes we could decide then.

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