Sunday, May 22, 2005

Yes, well, that’s the price one pays for freeriding.

“Finnish meteorology equipment maker Vaisala is to close its lightning detection technology facility in Aix-en-Provence, southern France, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

In a move to increase efficiency, the company has decided to concentrate all its lightning detection technology research and development in its US office, located in Tuscon, the statement added.”

One of the consequences of freeridership is that you’ll always be buffeted about by those economies that are more flexible. There is a certain justice meted out if nations intend to engage in global trade.

“Vaisala has offered its Aix-en-Provence employees the option of relocating to other Vaisala facilities.”

The weather in Tucson is actually not that much different from Aix-en-Provence.
Ah, yes. Another left-winger has (just like me) left the fold.

“True, it took a while to see what was right before my eyes. A certain misplaced loyalty kept me from grasping that a view of individuals as morally capable of and responsible for making the principle decisions that shape their lives is decisively at odds with the contemporary left's entrance-level view of people as passive and helpless victims of powerful external forces, hence political wards who require the continuous shepherding of caretaker elites."

Wow. A perfect summation of how an ENTIRE NATION like Finland can be so continuously and systematically fooled by their own good intentions: "a misplaced loyalty". Well put.

"Leftists who no longer speak of the duties of citizens, but only of the rights of clients, cannot be expected to grasp the importance (not least to our survival) of fostering in the Middle East the crucial developmental advances that gave rise to our own capacity for pluralism, self-reflection, and equality. A left averse to making common cause with competent, self- determining individuals -- people who guide their lives on the basis of received values, everyday moral understandings, traditional wisdom, and plain common sense -- is a faction that deserves the marginalization it has pursued with such tenacity for so many years.

"All of which is why I have come to believe, and gladly join with others who have discovered for themselves, that the single most important thing a genuinely liberal person can do now is walk away from the house the left has built. The renewal of any tradition that deserves the name "progressive" becomes more likely with each step in a better direction.”

Bravo! Once again, America is at the forefront for innovative political thought.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Great quote from a Christopher Hitchens’ book review in the Times:

“A professor at the École Normale Supériere is popularly supposed to have said: ‘I agree that it works in practice. But how can we be certain that it will work in theory?’”

Hitchens is one of those rare Marxists that actually supported the Iraqi war, on the grounds that democracies should try and overthrow fascist dictatorships.

Finns should get more familiar with his work. A good a place to start as any is the book review.
Jari Sedergren brings up a point that I’ve observed over and over again in Finnish society: namely, that Finns hide behind their language to conceal their bigotry (and I translate):

“The world has so many places where religious feelings have more meaning than here [where we value] orderly hot dog lines and the Winter War. All of you in the blogistan who mock the Pope could sometimes remember this, though anonymity and the Finnish language will pretty much protect one from the most personal attacks. Humorous writing I can certainly understand, but in my opinion the unnecessary insulting of religious feeling is something to be condemned.

“It is our fortune that Catholics don’t read comments on the Finnish blogistan, for example, during the [recent] exchange of popes. They might have cause for some anger…”

But he writes this in connection with the recent Newsweek fiasco regarding the purported desecration of the Koran by US authorities. And then, quite predictably for a Finnish welfare-state academic, he indulges in some spurious conspiracy theories:

“…No western editor is writing about the fundamental question of whether Newsweek was pressured by the United States government to change its stance. From the press’s point of view the situation is already embarrassing, but to quiet from this kind of essential factor says a lot to someone like me who’s studied propaganda a lot. The press fears something in western countries, too. In other words, the asking of essential questions."

He then goes on at length quoting an editorial from the Helsingin Sanomat on the subject, pretty much parroting the usual anti-American, bigoted conclusions of the “Hesari”.

What gets me, though, is not that this welfare-state academic believes that the press in the western world might be constrained by pressures from the US government (a laughable concept to begin with! - he obviously hasn't experienced the scandal-feast that is American media), but that he doesn’t turn around and ask the question in another way: does the western press, in Newsweek’s use of unattributable material, - see themselves in the mirror, in their own practices? And couldn’t this be the very reason for their silence: that as one of their journalistic brethren has been caught red-handed in the act of news fabrication, editors the world over tone down their criticism, since they’ve all most likely engaged in some of that in the past.

The Newsweek fiasco also reminded me of an incident a few years ago in Bethlehem, during the Intifada. A bunch of Palestinian terrorists had barricaded themselves inside a Christian church, and early news sources reported that they had started using pages from a Bible they found there… for toilet paper. What was most interesting to me at the time was how quickly this detail disappeared from subsequent news reports of the stand-off, as the EU negotiated a deal for their release. These were, after all, Palestinians we were talking about, and they tend to get preferential treatment in the western press.

When it suits them, the press will “manage” the truth. Perhaps this is something the good doctor Jari “I’ve-studied-propaganda-a-lot” Sedergren should keep in mind.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Fouad Ajami is at it again:

“...Unmistakably, there is in the air of the Arab world a new contest about the possibility and the meaning of freedom... Mr. Bush may not be given to excessive philosophical sophistication, but his break with "the soft bigotry of low expectations" in the Arab-Islamic world has found eager converts among Muslims and Arabs keen to repair their world, to wean it from a culture of scapegoating and self-pity. Pick up the Arabic papers today: They are curiously, and suddenly, readable. They describe the objective world; they give voice to recognition that the world has bypassed the Arabs. The doors have been thrown wide open, and the truth of that world laid bare. Grant Mr. Bush his due: The revolutionary message he brought forth was the simple belief that there was no Arab and Muslim "exceptionalism" to the appeal of liberty. For a people mired in historical pessimism, the message of this outsider was a powerful antidote to the culture of tyranny."

There’s more.

I especially like the term “the soft bigotry of low expectations”. That sums up the attitude of Finns when it comes to the Arab world.

Monday, May 16, 2005

The strike in the Finnish Paper Industry is on, and it might be anybody's guess as to how it will end.

But the most interesting part of the drama is not happening in Finland at all:

UPM-Kymmene's U.S. shares rose 25 cents to close at $19.49 in Monday trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Stora Enso's U.S. shares increased 23 cents to close at $13.04 on the NSYE.

Looks like the most important people are taking bets against the workers, in this case.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Here's an example of how to read between the lines of MSM:

Could somebody explain to me exactly which country needs to be crossed for drugs to get from Afghanistan to Iraq?

It's also interesting that the article provides no proof whatsoever that Iraq is a transit point, - merely "anecdotal evidence" from a "UN" bureaucrat in Vienna (who, at the bottom of the article, turns out not to be a UN official, after all).


Monday, May 09, 2005

See, you just don't see Muslims in EUrabia organizing something like this.

Europeans - and Finns - are simply lost when it comes to understanding how to deal with their Muslim minorities.
That indefatigable blogger, Arthur Chrenkoff, has another round up of the good news coming from Iraq.

It just amazes me how well things are improving there, and how much the prospects for positive change throughout the region have increased since the liberation.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Josh Marshall, a very well-known leftie in American political criticism and blogdom, has a fascinating article in the left-wing New Republic, claiming that statist elitism has decided the issue of the death penalty in Europe, not the will of the people.

"When a 1997 poll showed that 49 percent of Swedes wanted the death penalty reinstated, the country's justice minister told a reporter: 'They don't really want the death penalty; they are objecting to the increasing violence. I see this as a call to politicians and the justice system to do more.'

An American attorney general--or any American politician, for that matter--could never get away with such condescension toward the public, at least not for attribution."

Whether your pro- or anti- death penalty (and I'm against it, not for moral reasons, but because so many mistakes have been made), Marshall's take on the ubiquitous condescension of the European statist elite hits the mark. After all, that Swedish minister's remark could as easily be heard from someone in the Finnish government.

(Hat tip: Barcepundit)

Monday, May 02, 2005

Every once in a while the left in Europe generates a thinker who will dare to think out of the boxed-in mindset of most Europeans. Ilka Schröder , a German Green MEP, is one such thinker:

"The primary goal of the EU is the internationalization of the conflict [in the Middle East] in order to underline the need for its own mediating role... the Palestinians are playing the ugly role of being the cannon fodder for Europe's hidden war against the US."

Here's more of her in her own words.

It would be nice to see this kind of honesty and bravery in Finland.