Archive for February, 2013

Purim as an Argument Against Gun Control

I’m always reluctant to re-read religious texts with a political slant.  The Left has, for the most part, sought to replace religion with politics with the sort of baleful results we saw in 20th Century Europe and Russia.  Even today, the American Jewish left uses such Jewish concepts as “Tikkun Olam” to justify pretty much the entire leftist political agenda, and JCPA General Assembly resolutions to that effect almost always find some Torah text to torture into testifying on their behalf.  So to the extent that I’m edging across a self-imposed line here, the people it’s most likely to unnerve are the very liberals who’ve gotten used to thinking of the Torah as their personal political property.

But to the extent that Judaism has a political holiday, Purim is it.  The internal power and factional politics of the Persian Empire, the Jews’ place in a multi-ethnic society, Megillat Esther is steeped in politics, and thus, human nature.

So for those who think that voluntarily disarming Jews is a good idea, consider the manner in which Ahasuerus’s decree of doom is reversed.  Not by repeal, which the text tells us is beyond the King’s legal authority.  Instead, it’s negated this way (8:11):

…that the king had given to the Jews who are in every city, [the right] to assemble and to protect themselves, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish the entire host of every people and province that oppress them…

We don’t need to carry the argument to the reducto ad absurdum of the Holocaust or the Holocaust-that-wasn’t in the Megillah to make this point.  Even in the US, from time to time, anti-Semitic riots do happen.

The President of the United States has invited the instigator of two such riots to the White House to advise him on economics, and granted him a television interview.  Both the Crown Heights riots and the Freddy’s Fashion Mart riots were anti-Semitic and Sharpton’s handiwork.

The ADL was founded as the result of one such riot that turned into the lynching of a Jewish man – in spite of the efforts of the authorities to prevent it.

And Seraphic Secrets’s hair-raising description of being defenseless during the Rodney King riots in LA, when the police abandoned the field, should drive home the point that riots need not be anti-Semitic in nature to be deadly.

In a country where we have that right by law – the same as all other citizens, and without any special royal dispensation necessary – why would we voluntarily cheapen Jewish blood again by disarming ourselves?

So tomorrow night and Sunday, when we’re celebrating our victory over our enemies, let’s also spare a thought for the fact that, unless we choose to give it up, here in the US, we have as a matter of course the very same rights that gave us that victory.

Happy Purim!


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The Higher-Ed Bubble, In One Chart (and one article)

Rep. Mike Coffman took a lot of heat for suggesting that perhaps it was time to re-evaluate these priorities, with his words being distorted into an attack on the liberal arts in particular, and higher education in general.  Turns out he was onto something. recently came up with a list of the 8 College Degrees With the Worst Return on Investment.  The list won’t surprise anyone who’s been paying attention for the last couple of decades:
  1. Sociology
  2. Fine Arts
  3. Education
  4. Religious Studies/Theology
  5. Hospitality/Tourism
  6. Nutrition
  7. Psychology
  8. Communications

Just for grins, I looked up how many of CU’s undergraduate degress over the last quarter-century (well, since 1989), have been awarded in these majors:

For fun, I added in almost anything with the word “Studies” in it, and that’s what the percentage line (right-hand axis) shows.

Peaking at just over one-third of all bachelor’s in 2004, over 30% of all undergraduate majors are still in these low-return majors.  The dropoff occurred between 2004 and 2008, but has since – astonishingly – stabilized since the popping of the housing bubble, when job prospects for graduates have almost never been worse.  Students are taking on crushing burdens of debt to graduate with these degrees.

You and I will be subjected to sob stories about how Colorado is under-funding its higher education.   Instead, perhaps we ought to be taking a closer look at what we’re funding.

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Daily Glimpse February 6, 2013

Daily Links From Glimpse From a Height

  • Essays in Biography
    I’m working my way through Joseph Epstein’s highly entertaining and instructive Essays in Biography, a bite at a time.  Instructive not only for the objects of the essays, but in the nearly flawless construction and execution of the essay form.  Epstein has an uncanny eye for the telling, lingering detail, often provided by a contemporary […]

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