Sunday, July 04, 2010

Welcome "Ruminations" readers

At the urging of a friend I've recently installed Statcounter, a free software that allows me to find out how many people are viewing Extra Thoughts and where they are coming from. In this way I have learned something I hadn't noticed before--namely, that the Israeli historian Yaacov Lozowick has a link to Extra Thoughts from his blog, Ruminations. And people do come to Extra Thoughts by way of that link. I am extremely pleased to learn this.

Those of you who come to Extra Thoughts by that route may find yourselves a bit surprised or even disoriented. Here is a link from a blog by an Israeli historian to the personal blog of a devout, Protestant Christian who, nowadays, seems to be blogging American gospel music videos in more than half of her posts. Well, stranger things have happened in the blogosphere. Nor should this be very surprising to the politically astute, who have long known that evangelical Christians in America are Israel's best friends--sometimes even more vocal in Israel's defense than Israel's own leaders. Please do look around, and especially, please see the Israel label, the Holocaust label, and the Buchanan label. (There is some overlap among the posts under these labels.)

If you are an Arab or Muslim reader of Yaacov's blog, please understand that I am much less nice than he is, as well as a good deal farther to the right. I treat Extra Thoughts more or less as a personal space, and I don't lose a wink of sleep over deleting comments from Israel-haters, leftist trolls, and the like.

Just now my main thought about Israel is a feeling of bafflement that Netanyahu would consider it something gained to have "direct talks" between Israel and the "Palestinians." As far as I'm concerned, something gained would be cutting off all talks, since they are obviously worse than pointless from Israel's perspective and can do only harm to Israel and no good. (Lawrence Auster calls the Middle East "peace process" the Dance of the Undead, and boy, is he right.) Which, if you are new to Extra Thoughts, probably tells you (along with the scare quotes around "Palestinians") all you need to know about my perspective on Israel.

Bonus: I just learned today of this incredible outrage. The rule of law in England is taking a real beating. A judge (who, despite his blandly British name, apparently was born in Jaffa) led a jury by his summing up to aquit seven thugs who did 180,000 pounds in damage to a factory on the purely political grounds that they were motivated by opposition to Israel. (Evidently they believed that the company in question sold arms to Israel.) The judge sympathizes with their political motives and brought the supposed plight of the Gazans into his summing up to lead the jury to aquit them, despite the fact that the evidence of their actual destructive actions is beyond all question. This isn't the first time that political motivation has been used to acquit thugs in England. The previous time a jury found that a group of thugs had "lawful excuse" to damage a power station because it was allegedly contributing to global warming. But in the anti-Israel case, the judge appears to have been more directly involved; in the "green" case, the cause of the jury's acquittal was apparently sheer propaganda from defense attornies. (HT on this story, VFR.)

How long, I wonder, before this kind of rank court anarchy comes to the United States?

12 comments:

William Luse said...

I'm going to start posting more Bach and Mozart choral music as counterpoint to your American gospel. Maybe even some Gregorian chant.

"How long, I wonder, before this kind of rank court anarchy comes to the United States?"

And how long after that before justice becomes the realm of the vigilante?

Lydia McGrew said...

Well, I don't know that it would count as vigilantism (it certainly wouldn't in the U.S.), but I would be crying no tears if the factory in the UK had a large squad of privately hired security guards and if they had, shall we say, decisively defeated the thugs and driven them off with no damage done to the factory.

William Luse said...

Well, me neither. I'm with you, not against you. But if justice can be extracted only *after* the damage is done, and after the courts have ruled insanely, it will be vigilante. And it won't always be pretty. We're hoping it doesn't come to that, of course. We're losing England, and it quite literally makes me sad.

Lydia McGrew said...

Testing comments...

Lydia McGrew said...

I don't know. I'm dubious as to whether the vigilante, after-the-fact vengeance is actually ever going to come. People predict it, but I'm not at all sure it is going to happen. Not that I wish for it. If there were to be defiance, I would much rather it were defiance of the laws against self-defense. The twisted genius of Euro-style self-destruction is to treat all self-defense or defense of property by ordinary citizens as evil vigilantism and then to have the police and the regular processes of law _refuse_ to protect people and punish crime, or refuse to do so selectively for politically motivated reasons (as in this case), so that there is literally no recourse. Basically, if you're law-abiding, you're sunk. You have to lie down and be run over.

Tony said...

Some people would say that what needs to happen is distinct communities to form or become separatist in some sense, enforcing justice within regardless of what other communities do.

Aside from mentioning that the liberal media will automatically resort to naming such communities "compounds" and the like, I wonder whether the red states are actually becoming redder as people semi-consciously carry out this process on a one-at-at-time basis. I know that when I settled in Virginia it was expressly on account of a general tenor of freedom-loving Southerners, people who would be happen to belong to the Citizens Defense League (open carrying of guns).

Lydia McGrew said...

That'll work okay for individual self-defense, but you won't have major factories within such communities. You have to have something more like a societal recognition of the right to defense, which has been systematically undermined in Britain, which is presumably why the factory wasn't heavily guarded. My impression is that they did have warning of the attack.

Titus said...

Of course, common law juries have always had the power, within the system of laws, to nullify by taking advantage of their unreviewability and issuing acquittals not directly supported by the law. So a jury issuing a verdict unsupported by the evidence in a criminal case is not, by itself, a failure of the rule of law. Many consider the availability of jury nullification to be one of the best bulwarks of Anglo-American liberty (see, e.g., Alexander Hamilton). What would be improper about the case is a set of improper jury instructions. Judges give improper instructions rather consistently.

These instructions seem to have suffered from a particularly dramatic and blatant legal flaw and reflect a profoundly mistaken view of the law. But the legal error---and the offense against the judicial system---is the instruction, not the verdict itself.

Lydia McGrew said...

Titus, you appear to be saying that jury nullification could never be a threat to the rule of law. Isn't this a bit of a sweeping statement? Let's assume that we are talking about just laws giving penalties for serious damage to property or even persons. Suppose that juries in the south were nullifying laws against lynching blacks by letting off people who did so? Suppose that juries were nullifying laws against rape because they thought that girls of some particular race deserved to be raped, or that the rape was a legitimate political statement? How crazy would jury nullification have to get before you would consider it a threat to the rule of law?

As for the distinction between the instructions and the verdict, I certainly agree that the judge's instructions are what makes this case a stand-out in terms of sheer outrageousness. But I cannot agree that simply letting people go when there is overwhelming evidence of their guilt of serious crimes, because of sympathy with their "cause," is not a problem in itself.

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Felix said...

Yes, it's ripping up the rule of law. And, yes, the consequences were outlined in that great scene in the movie, A Man for All Seasons.

Here in Australia, a woman was appointed as a magistrate, apparently primarily on the basis that she is an aborigine.

Some women damaged a billboard, on the basis that it portrayed women in a sexist and violent way. They were charged and pleaded guilty. But the magistrate dismissed the charges, saying the women’s actions were justified.

The more we have politi