Thursday, June 28, 2007
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Defining, Understanding NeoconservatismOne could argue that the Bush #43 administration is not traditionally conservative per se, with the expansion of government programs and other matters, but instead a variation of it, what political analysts term “neoconservatism.” Neoconservatives are marked by a more aggressive foreign policy than previous isolationist conservative policies (but was Reagan really isolationist?), at least that’s how they are differentiated. One conservative analyst compares neoconservatives to a French revolutionary movement: “The new Jacobins see themselves as on the side of right and fighting evil and are not prone to respecting or looking for common ground with countries that do not share their democratic preferences." (Ryn 2003: 387)Meanwhile, academic freedom martyr and liberal witch-hunter defines neoconservatism thusly: “Today "neo-conservatism" identifies those who believe in an aggressive policy against radical Islam and the global terrorists.” This fits perfectly with the Bush-McCain-Wolfowitz doctrine in Iraq, and possibly, in the future, Iran. To them, there is no moral grayness and instead only clearly demarcated lines between good and evil; those who are evil are fair game for regime change, with a violent overthrow of a given government a very viable option.
Between the various branches of conservatism that threaten democracy and egalitarianism – business conservatives, who favor no regulation of business and are pro-environmental destruction; social conservatives, who favor a single moral creed that all must adhere to; and neocons, who favor bombs over diplomacy – I can’t help but think that they are all equally pernicious.
Monday, June 04, 2007
Ending the Death Penalty in N.J. and the U.S.If a recent report from an independent commission (The New Jersey Death Penalty Study Commission) in N.J. is adhered to, then my adopted state will be the first in the nation to abolish the death penalty completely. "There is increasing evidence that the death penalty is inconsistent with evolving standards of decency," the report said. Gov. Jon Corzine supports the initiative, as do several Democrats in the senate and assembly. Already, senate Republicans have tried to do their scare tactics and accused Democrats of being easy on terrorists or murderers, but this tactic is wearing thin. "It is beyond reprehensible that they are even proposing that cop killers, child rapists and murderers and terrorists will not face the ultimate punishment if they commit their crimes in New Jersey," said Sen. Nicholas Asselta, R-Cumberland.
Since we can point to specific cases (Rhode Island, etc.) where innocent people were murdered after they were put on death row, this alone is a primary reason to abolish this draconian form of punishment. A recent study of death by injection found that some prisoners experience excruciating pain while still conscious during this particular method of killing. Further, the Commission found that the death penalty was not a deterrent to crime, and it cost more to keep as functioning mechanism than it was worth, though the death penalty, if I’m not mistaken, hasn’t been used in N.J. since the 1960s.
The state Supreme Court is rather liberal, the governor is behind this, and the people of N.J. may be warming up to the idea of abolishing it. I strongly encourage state officials to help end this outdated practice of punishment and to move forward with the rest of the first-world countries who have stopped this dreadful practice.