The Ranting Kraut

19.3.2006 – 27.9.2010

Archive for July, 2006

More Islamist Cranks

Posted by rantingkraut on July 31, 2006

In London’s Brick Lane there has been another protest against the forthcoming film Brick Lane, after a book by Monica Ali, accompanied by more general demands for censorship:

“There should be a limit to what you can write or say. You can write fiction, but you cannot use names that are reality. The reality is Brick Lane.”

The Pub Phiolosopher has extensive coverage of this and earlier threats of violence which, by the way, are not mentioned in the quoted BBC coverage of the protest.

It might have been understandable had the locals objected to filming in the area on account of any disruption that this would cause to their lives. This does not seem to be the issue however. Rather it looks as if the campaigners successfully imposed their religious values in a public space maintained through public funds.

There is no need for censorship or hate speech legislation though, in fact the solution should be much simpler than that:

If these theocrats want to live in an area where their religious beliefs are respected by everyone on the street they should have the opportunity to do so: they should have the right to buy their own land and build their own roads and houses with their own funds. Once they have done that, let them operate their gated community as a private club.

If it is a condition for membership that male residents look like ZZ-Top guitarists and that women hide their bodies from head to toe, so be it. If they find a way of making a modern standard of living co-exist with a medieval social order –good for them.

Whatever they do let them do it on their own turf among themselves like countless monks and Amish settlers before them. And whatever cult members do on their own premises, let anyone else think and say whatever they please about any religion or belief in a public space.


Posted in Civil Liberties, Freedom of Speech, In The News | Comments Off on More Islamist Cranks

On Israel Getting it Wrong

Posted by rantingkraut on July 31, 2006

There is an interesting piece on the war in Lebanon by Eric Margolis on This is not the dogmatic Mises-Rothbard regurgitation one might expect on this site, well worth a read.

Posted in Middle East | Comments Off on On Israel Getting it Wrong

Michael Meacher on Globalization

Posted by rantingkraut on July 30, 2006

Back in June, Michael Meacher launched an all round attack against globalization in a Times commentary. His comment covers a wide variety of problems –real and imagined- and regurgitates some of the anti-globalization movement’s more common fallacies. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Globalization | Comments Off on Michael Meacher on Globalization

Why India?

Posted by rantingkraut on July 27, 2006

Gurcharan Das writes in the current issue of Foreign Affairs:

“How does one explain the discrepancy between the government’s supposed commitment to universal elementary education, health care, and sanitation and the fact that more and more people are embracing private solutions? One answer is that the Indian bureaucratic and political establishments are caught in a time warp, clinging to the belief that the state and the civil service must be relied on to meet people’s needs. What they did not anticipate is that politicians in India’s democracy would “capture” the bureaucracy and use the system to create jobs and revenue for friends and supporters. The Indian state no longer generates public goods. Instead, it creates private benefits for those who control it. ”

Is it just me or is the use of ‘India’ a bit artificially restrictive in this passage? Britain would fit that description just as well as would a lot of other European countries in a number of respects. This is a quote about the nature of state bureaucracy in general, not just the Indian variety!

Posted in quotes | Comments Off on Why India?

Overreaction or not – does it work?

Posted by rantingkraut on July 27, 2006

In the current war in Lebanon, attacks on civilian infrastructure and residential areas have been justified as strategic necessities in an attempt to destroy Hezbollah. The question –aside from the intractable legitimacy issue- which now arises is whether this works. Ze’ev Schiff in Haaretz and Matthias Küntzel in ‘der Spiegel’ have made the point that Israel has no alternative to defeating Hezbollah. Neither Israel nor the West in general can afford to settle for a solution that allows Hezbollah to re-remerge strengthened from this conflict in the long term.

In the view of recent news about casualties, and according to this report as well as this one it looks as if such a long term problem could be a likely outcome. Hezbollah could be let off lightly in a ceasefire deal or could simply involve Israel in a drawn out guerrilla war. Either seems possible, and either looks almost equally damaging. A ceasefire which credibly demands Hezbollah’s disarmament and which is enforced by a credible contingent of UN backed military could offer a way out if for some reason an international force was better placed to disarm hezbollah.

Küntzel argued that a multinational force would not stand up to Hezbollah. That depends on the nations involved. I can see the US having the stamina for it. When the US withdrew from Lebanon in the1980s they were serving abstract strategic interests in a remote place. Now they are in the front line in the war against islamo-fascism and have been directly attacked by it, that should make a difference.

The problem should not so much lie in the US’ commitment but elsewhere: in Iraq. That’s where not only the USA’s but much of the West’s firepower is currently tied up. It is worth remembering that this wouldn’t be so without the avoidable war on Iraq and it is worth noting that one need not be a radical pacifist or Muslim to have opposed Iraq’s invasion. An effective threat of overwhelming force could have a stabilising influence in a situation like this. Clearly visible evidence of being overstretched might do the opposite.

Posted in Middle East | Comments Off on Overreaction or not – does it work?

Sovereignty Paradox

Posted by rantingkraut on July 26, 2006

Hezbollah’s Führer Nasrallah is up in arms about possible threats to Lebanon’s sovereignty in a ceasefire deal:

“Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said Hezbollah would reject any deal that compromised Lebanon’s sovereignty.

We cannot accept any condition humiliating to our country, our people or our resistance, …”


So Nasrallah, whose terrorist gang has successfully challenged the de facto sovereignty of Lebanon’s elected government is concerned about Lebanon’s sovereignty. The Irony of this seems to be lost on Al Jazeera.

Anyway, to prove his diplomatic skill and leave his humanitarian idealism in no doubt, the dear leader made some further promises:

“In the new period, our bombardment will not be limited to Haifa,” Nasrallah said. “If matters develop, we will choose the time when we will move beyond, beyond Haifa.”


“We do not hide our martyrs. If any of our leaders or ranks were killed, we announce that and take pride in that,” he said.


The latter statement is of particular interest. It is also consistent with the allegation that Hezbollah has a habit of hiding among civilians: If they are Muslims and will be killed as a consequence they merely become martyrs. As we can read above, to Nasrallah this is an end worth pursuing in itself.

Posted in In The News, Middle East | Comments Off on Sovereignty Paradox

Coming out, German style

Posted by rantingkraut on July 24, 2006

View this to confirm that the Hoff has a lot to answer for. The music towards the end of the clip is not made up by the way. It is a well known German song by this guy, and quite a few Germans really do listen to this.

Posted in Crazy Krauts | Comments Off on Coming out, German style

On Israel getting it right

Posted by rantingkraut on July 23, 2006

Update: “Der Spiegel’s” English translation is now up here (it was, there is now a copy here (26 January 2008)). This came quicker than expected and should be better than the one below.

There is an interesting Israel friendly and surprisingly Hawkish article in the On-line edition of the German centre-left weekly “Der Spiegel” today. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in In The News | Comments Off on On Israel getting it right

Further ‘progress’ in the erosion of due process

Posted by rantingkraut on July 18, 2006

Some time back, the New Labour government has passed a law to confiscate the property of those suspected but not convicted of a crime. This is now to be complemented by ‘super ASBOS’, supposedly targeted at crime bosses:

The proposed SCPO would be like an anti-social behaviour order in setting out restrictions on the movements and contacts of an individual. It could even specify how much cash a suspect was allowed to carry.

It should be clear what this –and countless similar measures- are beginning to add up to. We will be left with a system which allows government to arbitrarily restrict anything which anyone, not least any politically inconvenient person, can do. Little or no evidence of any wrongdoing will be needed and with an increasingly wide definition of criminal behaviour there will always be some incriminating evidence available.

A consultation paper on new measures for tackling organised crime estimates that there are at least 1,000 gang leaders and their minions who regard themselves as above the law.

Considering themselves above the law? If law is understood in the sense of Nomos, by Hayek’s definition, the PM and his government should fall into this category.

Posted in Civil Liberties, Justice System | Comments Off on Further ‘progress’ in the erosion of due process