Sunday, September 26, 2010

It's a Jungle Out There!

The left – environmentalists in particular – have long had an affinity for the jungle. The majesty and biodiversity of unmolested nature have inspired generations on the left to protect the jungle from man’s adulterous hands. In response, the right has often scorned such appreciation as the sentiment of mere hippies and tree-huggers. The jungle becomes a battleground between conservationists and capitalists.

But while the left claims the ‘righteous path’ of stewardship of the jungle, there is a lesson found in there that offers profound support to the beliefs of the right. If one spends a small quantum of time in a jungle, it becomes apparent that it is a prime metaphor for capitalism.

At first this may seem contradictory. After all, the common understanding the jungle is the epitome of nature, while the market is the embodiment of man’s conquest of nature. However, the fact often overlooked is that the market-system is nature. Men, in their hubris, often try to separate the world of mankind from the natural, forgetting that although humankind certainly has an inordinate power to alter his landscape, it still operates within the system of nature.

The beauty and biodiversity of the jungle arise from the same source that fosters the market-system – competition. Every actor in the jungle, whether plant or animal, is operating in its own self-interest, for its own survival. And while many environmentalists attempt to hang their hats on the concept of balance-of-nature, what is missed is that this balance comes spontaneously and is in no way planned. The panther is not a noble creature that consciously oversees the inner workings of jungle, but a selfish individual that takes what he can to provide for his own survival. If he fails, he dies; if he succeeds, someone else dies. There is no concept of justice, simply a self-correcting balance.

This leads to a high level of competition and subsequently specialization. This becomes abundantly clear if one looks at the profusion of wildlife and the niche roles that each species plays in the jungle system. Not only does competition develop this specialization, but it leads to a tangible wealth. The wealth of the jungle is a rich mosaic of life, of colors and of activity. In practice, the world of Charles Darwin is not that far from the market system of competition as elucidated by Adam Smith.

What is striking is that so many environmentalists stand against the notions of capitalism and never realize that they grow from the same source. This does not mean to disregard the natural competition in which environmentalists and capitalists engage over the use (or lack of use) of natural resources – which obviously puts them at odds. However, what is significant is that many can recognize the beauty of this natural, competitive process in the environment, while simultaneously dismissing it in the human environs of the world. In truth, those that appreciate this magnificence in nature should, at least in a philosophical sense, fall closer to the capitalists of the right, than the socialist planners of the left.

Keep on Eye on Christie

Chris Christie is the Republican to keep an eye on.  His demeanor and ability to step above the political game have endeared him to many.  Once again, Christie has taken on a bully with poise and an eloquence that not only silences those opposed to real reform and dialogue, but manages to make Christie look like the benevolent knight.  It is a unique characteristic among politicians, especially amongst those on the right, who far too often cower from standing firm on positions that are correct, simply for want of an understanding of the real idea behind them.  Not only does Christie have a powerful persona, but he is making a real difference in New Jersey.  If not in 2012 then 2016 will be the year for Christie. 

See here how Christie silences Meg Whitman's heckler:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ahmedinejad is 'At It' Again

Iran's bellicose leader - Mahmoud Ahmedinejad - is at it again.  While at the United Nations, he repeatedly used provacative language to take stabs at both Israel and the United States, threating a war that "would know no boundaries."  It is hard to believe that even he could take himself seriously, but it is far from likely that he is anything but sane.  So what drives his repeated rants?  Could he be fearing an upcoming Israeli attack?  Could he be attempting to stifle the domestic opposition by reiterating the supposed external threat?  Or is he simply trying to provoke others agains US rule?

For an interesting look at his political acumen (not to mention his 'odd' theories), watch the video below where he deftly ignores every question from George Stephanopoulos.

Jimmy Carter Redux

Most on the right have long compared Barack Obama to the most recent presidential disaster - Jimmy Carter.  Apparently, now the left is seeing the same dismal traits in their once god-like Chief Executive.  John Fund, of The Wall Street Journal, outlines a fair portrayal of the similarities, based on some key Democrats' opinions - including Walter Mondale, Carter's own Vice-President.

Hopefully, the Democrats will learn from Carter's mistakes before repeating them any further in the Obama administration.  However, it seems unlikely that the administration will even consider an about-face.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Do Muslims Want the Mosque?

While it seems unequivocal that Muslims have the right to build the Ground Zero mosque, there is much room for discussion on whether, out of sensitivity, it should be built.  It seems apparent that, if the goal is really to build bridges it is not going to happen through this manner.  SAIS's Fouad Ajami says this much in a recent Wall Street Journal editiorial.  He further points out that according to a recent Arab poll, 58% of Arabs are against the building of the mosque.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Krauthammer on Delaware

Charles Krauthammer wrote a great editorial on the GOP's primary election in Delaware, where Tea Partier Christine O'Donnell defeated the general election shoo-in candidate and liberal Republican, Mike Castle.  As political wisdom goes, the GOP will now most likely lose Delaware to the Democrats.

Krauthammer is right to object to voting for candidates in primaries that are unelectable in the general election.  The Tea Party may be angry - and justifiable in their upsets - but cutting off the nose to spite the face is just foolish politics.

A New New Republican

To My Readers:

As I am sure those of you who read regularly have noticed, the volume of my posting has declined precipitously over the past few months.  Since I have swithed life from a single, working professional to a married, graduate student (pursuing a MA in International Relations as Johns Hopkins SAIS), I have found far less time to give to ANR.  However, I don't want to see ANR wither away, so a change in format is necessary.

My aim is to have one old-style ANR 'essay' post each week, rather than the multiple that previously made up the blog.  In addition, I will provide short links - perhaps with some commentary - to various articles and editorials that are relevant to the ANR mission.  As always comments, feedback, and, now, links to interesting articles are always appreciated.  I hope you enjoy my new experiment.