Friday, August 19, 2005

Volokh on 1st Amendment and Treason

Saw this item at Instapundit which links to this item over at VC.

I think that political free speech is broadly protected and only crosses the line to treason in Volokh's scenarios number four and five.
4. Speech is unprotected only when the speaker has the purpose of aiding the enemy, and is coordinating his speech with the enemy.
5. Speech is unprotected only when the speaker has the purpose of aiding the enemy, and is actually employed by the enemy.
It is one thing to criticize the government and that is fair game. Michael Moore, can't stand him, has every right to make whatever movies he wants and give speeches and that is within the First Amendment.

However, when that effort is coordinated by or paid for knowingly with the stated enemy then that is too far.

Reynold's cited example doesn't seem to fall into category five. It might fall into category four but that might be hard to prove in a court of law. However, such an example might be prosecuted under some other statues? After all, you can't yell, "Fire!" in a crowded public place. Under what law is that person prosecuted?

Sunday, August 14, 2005

History Channel: The Last Mission

I don't have cable in my apartment. However, when I visit my folks, I get some doses of cable TV. This Sunday afternoon, I'm watching with rapt attention the History Channel's, The Last Mission being show today in memory of the end of WW2.

60 years ago, Japan surrendered and World War II finally came to an end.

Two atomic bombs had been dropped but Japan had still not surrendered. The US opted to mount another bombing mission using traditional ordinance to hit a city with oil refining capability.

In the documentry, it relates that there was a last minute coup attempt in the Imperial Palace at the very moment the bombing mission was underway. The Emperor with the consent of all the cabinet ministers had recorded a surrender message to be broadcast to the nation and to the Allied powers. The coup plotters wanted to prevent the broadcast.

Meanwhile, above, B-29's were mounting a bombing run against a city north of Tokyo with oil refining capacity. Suffice to say, the situation in Tokyo became confused when the B-29s were detected complicating the coup plotter's plans.

The coup plotters had about 1000 soldiers sealing off the Imperial Palace. They scoured the Imperial compounds in the dark (power was cut due to the B-29s above) looking for the Emperor's recording. If the recordings could be found and destroyed the surrender would not happen. The plotters found the recording engineers and questioned them as to where the recordings were hidden but they didn't know and the one man who did refused to talk.

The coup leader decided to take over the national broadcast station to broadcast a call for further resistance. However, the studio head claimed the radio station was on emergency power and couldn't broadcast. Eventually, the regional general called for the major leading the coup to stand down. That general then committed suicide with sword after ordering his troops to restore the Emperor and evict the coup soldiers.

After the surrender became official, the coup leader shot himself in sight of the Imperial Palace. Many other high level soldiers did so as well.

An amazing story I had never heard of until today.

I'm a little bit more familiar with the ongoing debate among historians as to how the decision to use the atom bomb was arrived at.

Some argue that Japan would not surrender and would fight fanatically in spite of the odds. Critics counter that Japan was already sending out peace feelers and a diplomatic solution probably could have been found without the usage of the atom bomb.

After watching the documentry, one wonders if this is really true?

There were clearly elements within the military that was not willing to give up even after the usage of the bomb.

This Manhattan Project history web page described some of the internal decision making within the United States and Japan in those crucial days in August.

Some argue that the atomic bombs were used because the US didn't want to mount a massive sea-born invasion of the Japanese Islands. Some counter that by late 1945, when an invasion would likely take place, the Japanese military couldn't mount any serious defense to counter the landings. The air bombings and naval blockade had degraded Japan's capability to fight.

Not being a military historian, I don't know how solid are those claims.

This military analysis page describes some of the planning from a US military point of view in mid- to late-1945. And here is another one from PBS describing plans for Operation Olympic (invasion of Kyushu) and Operation Coronet (invasion of Tokyo). This PBS page described Japan's military planning to repulse an invasion.

Some argue that the US used the bomb because it was a way to threaten the USSR. I heard about this view on one of those public radio station programs run to commemorate the end of World War II. The historian in the lecture said that the USSR was being very aggressive in Eastern Europe and was alread moving into Asia. Thus, Truman believed the only way to he could counter the Soviet threat was to use the bomb in war and not just a demonstration option on a uninhabited location.

Here is a PBS American Experience page giving a time line of the events in 1945, final year of the war in Asia.

One more page caught my eye. This page described the role of leaflets and radio broadcasts near the end of the war with Japan. Most surprising was warnings given to Japan naming the cities that would be bombed.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Glacier NP, first pics

One of the things I noticed right away in talking to other people at Glacier NP was how many of them are return visitors.

The place is amazing and I can see why people keep coming back!

I'm being lazy so I'll just shamelessly cross-promote and cross-link to these two web pages...

To read about some food we had on the trip go here.

And for some pictures and travelogue click on the picture below ...


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Goin' to Going-to-the-Sun Road!

Am going here ...

Image source:

The main road at Glacier is called Going-to-the-Sun.

Hope to have some photos to share when I'm back.

Take care and be well,

Os Guiness: "The Third Mission to the West"

Two Tin Canners:

The other week I had the chance to hear Dr. Os Guinness speak.

I haven't read any of his books. However, I have heard that he is one of the notible voices for evangelical Christianity.

He talks pretty fast, intelligently and passionately. My note taking could barely keep up and on many occasions didn't. What follows is my attempt to make heads and tails out my quickly scribbled notes.

The first part of his talk went by the title, "The Third Mission to the West."

Guinness began some opening remarks about where we are today with Christianity in the West.

He mentioned some Christians view themselves as a remnant and disengage from the culture at large.

Some see this new century as the Third Mission to the West. The First was the conversion to Christianity by the Roman Empire. The Second was the conversion of the barbarian empires that had defeated the Roman Empire. The Third will be the effort reach the West once again with Christianity in the Twenty-First century. As it is now, in Europe on Poland and Ireland retain strong Catholic faith while everywhere else Protestants are in decline.

In any case, Christians do face some anti-Christian prejudice and in some cases outright persecution. Why is that?

First, the Crusades and other folly done in the name of Christianity resulted in this bias among people. Second, some Christians repudiated the Enlightenment and the rise of scientific reasoning. Ironically, of course, without a Christian worldview, science probably wouldn’t have arisen. Third, the separation of public and private has marginalized Christian faith into a private matter leading some parts of Christianity to become extremist.

What shall we do in the face of this anti-Christian prejudice?

First, we simply have to expect it and bear it.

Second, we need to recognize some of the distortions within Christianity due to Modern thinking.

Modern thinking has shifted the balance to individualism over community.

It has diluted authority in the name of preferences, disconnected behavior from belief. As such the church has lost authority to influence behavior.

And finally, modern thinking has resulted in syncretism over exclusiveness in faith matters. Many people hold to a "cafeteria spirituality" mixing and matching elements form different religious traditions.

Third, modern communications has made things both easier and harder.

Inattention is a big problem today in that everybody is speaking and nobody is listening. It is as if the whole of the USA has ADD.

Technology has caused an inflation of sources of information and ideas. Who should we listen to? Can we trust what they are saying.

And finally, with a torrent of information, there is greater inertia. We can reflexively react to lots of information but it is hard to take time to truly reflect on things.

Fourth, we need to realize why some ideas are more powerful than others.

Ideas of leaders tend to be more powerful than ideas of followers. There is a tension between elitism and populism. But we should try to influence leaders.

Ideas at the "center" tend to be more powerful than the periphery. Influencing a cultural center like Paris, a political center like Washington DC or a financial center like New York has lots of impact. In the USA, Jews represent 2% of the population but they are in the big cities and have influence far beyond 2%. Are there centers of Christian thought? Doesn’t seem to be such a thing?

Ideas fed into networks are more influential than institutions and individuals.

Fifth, we must examine our options in the public square.

Some religious extremists will opt for "progressive universalism" where they will try to impose their beliefs on others by force. This is not the way of Christianity. Christians must be noted for their humility and sacrifice.

What the world has is "radical relativism" where the feeling of "Let’s do whatever" reigns.

Instead, Christians should push for and "examined pluralism."

Sixth, despite the anti-Christian prejudice, there are still openings. Admittedly, the academy is largely still closed. Also, activists against Christianity are obvioiusly closed to influence.

However, the West still has a lot of Christianity in its history. These things are still a part of society today and we need to use them as openings for discussions on faith.

Whenever people face a crisis, there is an opening. This era is no different than any other era.

Finally, people have a personal yearning and needs for family and these are openings for the Gospel.

Seventh and final point: what do we need to transform our society?

We need affirmation. We must say, yes to life. We must say, yes to what is good and right.

We will need confrontation. We need to be able to say, no, that is wrong.

Finally, we need demonstration through our life behavior.

What do you think?

Lots to chew on there. But all in all, I think the audience was encouraged by what he had to say. Christian faith is just as vital today as in the past.

Take care and be well,