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The Difference between Gaza and The West Bank

From Ricochet, Why Gaza by Paul Rahe

There is a profound difference between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. In 1947, the population of the latter was miniscule. By 1948, it was considerable. Something on the order of 80% of those now living in the Gaza Strip are descended from refugees who fled from territory now Israeli as the Egyptian army approached.

The same is not true of the West Bank. There are refugees camps in that region, to be sure. But most of its inhabitants live in homes occupied by their parents or grandparents in 1948.

If Gaza now belongs to Hamas, it is because it is largely populated by Palestinians unwilling to settle for anything short of the destruction of the state of Israel. If the West Bank still tolerates Fatah and the PLO, it is because the majority of those who live there are less bitter than their counterparts in Gaza.

The battle now going on is the third such struggle since Ariel Sharon ordered Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza. If the current battle does not end with the wholesale destruction of Hamas’ rockets, there is apt to be another round. If Hamas ever does the Israeli core any great damage with these rockets, Israel will be forced to reoccupy Gaza. As things stand, were it not for the effectiveness of the Iron Dome, that day would be at hand.

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Fourth Branch Tyranny


From the National Review, Tenured Partisans by Richard Samuelson


Today we have the worst of both worlds: a tenured and partisan civil service. Government employees have civil-service protection and are seldom fired, only for the most egregious of crimes. Yet they lean to one party. From 1989 to 2012, two-thirds of donations from IRS employees, for example, went to Democrats. Even so, our civil servants seem to think that they are politically neutral. Hence the employees at the VA think it is reasonable to spy on (presumptively partisan) congressional investigators, and hard drives mysteriously get destroyed in the IRS scandal. Laws are for the little people, as Glenn Reynolds likes to say.

The rise of the “fourth branch” of government — the administrative bureaucracy — complicates things further. Obamacare was roughly 2,000 pages long when Congress passed it. Bureaucrats have added thousands more. The Hobby Lobby case was about a rule written by bureaucrats, not by Congress. In fact, Congress probably would never have passed such a law. Worse, our tenured partisans sometimes delegate their jobs to activists. Who drafted the EPA’s new greenhouse regulations? The National Resources Defense Council.

Nowadays, in other words, laws are, in effect, written, interpreted, and enforced by the bureaucratic equivalent of made men who are quite well paid. So much for checks and balances. Moreover, our legal code is so complicated that, as Harvey Silverglate notes, most businesses or individuals are probably guilty of breaking some law somewhere. That puts each of us at the mercy of the government.

In the 19th century, the social-science Ph.D. was new. Perhaps it was reasonable then to believe that science could provide neutral guidance on most issues, and to provide a professional ethic for the bureaucracy. Today that belief looks hopelessly naïve. Yet the hope is still alive on the left. One may even say that that hope has become the Left’s religion. From the time that the Temple of Reason was consecrated, through Marx’s science of history, up to today, the belief that all reasonable people are on the same side has been an essential support to the Left’s self-image. Only in the abstract do they allow that reasonable people may disagree. As William F. Buckley noted, “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”


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From American Thinker, Ten Reasons Why I Am No Longer a Leftist by Danusha V. Goska:


I appreciate Professor X’s desire to champion the downtrodden, but identifying a photograph of commuters on stairs as an act of microaggression and evidence that America is still an oppressive hegemon struck me as someone going out of his way to live his life in a state of high dudgeon. On the other hand, Prof. X could have chosen to speak of his own working-class students with more respect.

Yes, there is a time and a place when it is absolutely necessary for a person to cultivate awareness of his own pain, or of others’ pain. Doctors instruct patients to do this — “Locate the pain exactly; calculate where the pain falls on a scale of one to ten; assess whether the pain is sharp, dull, fleeting, or constant.” But doctors do this for a reason. They want the patient to heal, and to move beyond the pain. In the left, I found a desire to be in pain constantly, so as always to have something to protest, from one’s history of incest to the inability of handicapped people to mount flights of stairs.

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Idealism Kills


“In retrospect it was apparent to me that most of the violence in my lifetime had been directed by utopians like myself against those who would not go along with their impossible dreams. “Idealism kills,” the philosopher Nietzsche had warned before all this bloodshed began. But nobody listened.”

“I agree with the observation more than I would like to. It is the human wish to be told lies that keeps us as primitive morally and socially as we are. But stoic realism is, after all, what being a conservative is about. It is about accepting the absolute limits that life places on human hope. One could define the viewpoint of the left as just the opposite. It is an obstinate, compulsive, destructive belief in the fantasy of change, in the hope of a human redemption.”

“I have watched my friends on the left, whose ideas created an empire of inhumanity, survive the catastrophe of their schemes and go on to unexpected triumphs by turning their backs on the ashes of their ideological defeats. Forced to witness the collapse of everything they had once dreamed of and worked to achieve, they have emerged unchastened and unchanged in pursuit of the same destructive illusions. And they have been rewarded for their misdeeds with a cultural cachet and unprecedented influence in the country most responsible for the worldwide defeat of their misguided schemes.

I cannot explain this dystopian paradox except by agreeing with my interlocutor that politics is indeed irrational; and that socialism is a wish that runs as deep as any religious faith. I do not know that the truth must necessarily remain in the shadows, as he writes. But I am persuaded that a lie grounded in human desire is too powerful for mere reason to kill.”

Excerpt From: Horowitz, David. “The Black Book of the American Left.” Encounter Books, 2013-11-04. iBooks.

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The Hands that Prosper

From my article in American Thinker, Everything that Counts


When Piketty suggests that we tax the wealth of the richest, exactly what does he think will happen to it?  The government will spend it – but on what?  Does he think that some politically motivated bureaucrat will allocate that capital to a more socially useful purpose than Warren Buffett would?  In which hands would that capital seek growth and job creation?  In which hands will it most likely pay farmers not to grow, and workers not to work?

Our safety net succeeds in eliminating the crushing poverty known by the third world.  Our challenge is to avoid replacement of the soul-deprivation of numbing poverty with the soul-deprivation of dependency.  Our biggest problem with the health of the poor in America is not starvation, but obesity.  As Paul Ryan framed it, we do not want to turn the safety net into a hammock.

Wealth more often dissipates in a few generations and moves to stronger hands.  Dynasties are rare; most fortunes are lost in a few generations.  We do not really need centrally planned redistribution; this problem generally takes care of itself when capital deployment is subject to competition and human frailties.  Inequality is a natural outcome of the competitive allocation of capital, and we are all better-served when capital is in strong hands and deployed wisely.  Rarely are those hands attached to the long arms of the government.