Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

5 steps for a more useful UN

Today from BEIJING (AP) — The United Nations' incoming secretary-general said Monday that he wants U.N. peacekeepers to be better trained and more respectful of human rights, amid pressure on the organization to address a series of sexual abuse allegations.  (Four steps are at the bottom)
Antonio Guterres, who takes over from Ban Ki-moon on Jan. 1, also said the U.N. needs to be more nimble and less bureaucratic.
He spoke after meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing. China is one of the U.N.'s largest financial backers, and Guterres said it could be an important peace broker in conflicts around the world.
Guterres told a news conference that he wants to make sure the different parts of the U.N. "work for the same purpose" without duplicating efforts. He said they also need to be subject to independent public evaluation.
The U.N.'s peacekeeping forces need to be better equipped and trained in order to avoid violating the rights of women and children, Guterres said. They also need to be able to better cooperate with regional organizations such as the African Union, he said.
The United Nations has been in the spotlight over allegations of child rape and other sexual abuses by its peacekeepers, particularly in Central African Republic and Congo.
Guterres, a former prime minister of Portugal and head of the U.N.'s refugee relief agency, said the world faces challenges from enduring conflicts, climate change, population growth and water scarcity that are "making more and more people suffer in different parts of the world."
"We see that economic progress and technological progress have not been able to reduce inequalities and inequality is becoming an important factor in instability in the world," he said.
Wang said the 193-member U.N. needs to be more efficient in its governance and better able to respond to emergencies.
China is the biggest contributor of U.N. peacekeepers among the five veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council, having sent more than 30,000 on 29 separate missions.
President Xi Jinping said last year that China would also set up a permanent peacekeeping standby force of 8,000 troops to be deployed whenever necessary.
He also said China would provide $100 million in military assistance to the African Union over the next five years to support the establishment of an African standby peacekeeping force and to bolster the AU's ability to respond to crises.

1.  Make words matter.   the phrase “Peace Keeping” should be reserved for efforts after civilian mass murder has stopped.  What’s needed most now is a “Slaughter Prevention Rapid Deployment Force”. 
2.   Prevention saves lives and money.   If money really matters global investments in UN efforts focused on prevention would be the priority.   UN efforts to prevent conflicts, terrorism, genocide, pandemics, water scarcity and climate change would save the world hundreds of billions of dollars, make us safer and protect our freedoms.   A global tax on carbon emissions, arms sales, cross border financial transactions, and/or air travel could offer a reliable source for desperately needed funds to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.  And Sustainable Development Goal 16 would be the most important goal for ensuring a new democratic structure could be created to approve, collect and manage distribution of such a fundamental need for global crisis prevention efforts.  Governments and corporations can pay now via a global tax…or they can go further into debt crisis's by continuing their reactionary mode of resisting such a wise principle and paying endlessly for the multiple crisis’ now predictable given so many factors the UN body is unable to effectively respond to and nations are unprepared and unwilling to address. 

3.  Transform the UN.   If the UN was really important to the world it would be democratized and given the resources and the decision making capacity to prevent crisis.  Instead, governments debate solutions to crisis while they get worse, while hundreds of thousands of civilians are being murdered, millions dying of preventable hunger and disease, or tens of millions of people are displaced by war, climate disruption, genocide or corrupt failing state governments.
4.      National sovereignty can’t protect us from any of these global threats. And the US military responses can exacerbates some while helping address others they couldn’t prevent.   Only universal cooperation in protecting human rights instead of the rights of nations to do as they please can yield the most savings and US protection by prevention.
5. Human rights over state’s rights.  If the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights were enforced through just means, most threats would be prevented and those that couldn’t, would be that much easier to address.   This is the justice ‘we the people’ of the world want and while most governments are resisting.   We in wealthy democratic nations have the most to do if we want this to change.  With the evolution of technology empowering individuals more than nation states, the old idea of ‘peace through strength’ must be replaced with ‘security through justice’.   That was the original intention of the UN and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.   Our US Constitutional “Bill of Rights” has kept us from war between the states since it was altered to enforce the fundamental principle in our Declaration of Independence.  The universal idea that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights…to life, liberty…and justice for all.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Trump and Kaplan's unrealistic foreign policy.

Robert Kaplan’s depiction of President Elect Donald Trump’s foreign policy (“An unrealistic foreign policy” 11-13-16 Washington Post) is a perfect example of how today’s experts get things wrong.  Kaplan’s deep emersion in national security issues inside the beltway has blinded him to the real world where fundamental principles underlie everything in the universe.  In Kaplan’s little world and Trump’s imaginary world, ideals continue to be ignored or are viewed as irrelevant to their priorities.
Things that work are systems and structures  based on fundamental principles.   These three elements (like Trump and Atoms) make up everything in the known Universe.  
Take for example a nuclear power plant.   The ideal nuclear reactor is one that doesn’t leak, doesn’t meltdown after an accident, attack or earthquake, and cannot be pilfered for dirty bomb ingredients.   In other words, its ‘systems and structures must be constructed on sound principles’.  This is realism.  Realism based on sound principles not the national “interests” that Kaplan asserts comes “before ‘values” .
Preventing  a breech or meltdown of a nuclear reactor (a large structure composed of thousands of structures and critical systems specifically designed to work effectively relies on the proper application of fundamental principles of physics, chemistry, biology, construction codes, site and offsite security measures, as well as human psychology.   Failure in any one of these factors and catastrophic failure with systemic and structural consequences locally, national, and globally can be expected.
Ignoring even an obvious principle, like using re-bar to strengthen concrete structures were no nuclear operations exist can be catastrophically lethal.   Haitians (those who survived) discovered this in 2010 when an earthquake (anticipated by geologists who had surveyed the region) killed more people in 15 minutes than the two nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.   The Haitian government’s failure to enforce this simplest building code has since been corrected.   Such costly reactive measures are not limited to poor and poorly educated nations. 
When the levies failed in New Orleans in 2005 from Katrina’s level 3 hurricane it cost over 1200 lives and over $100 billion in structural damages.    Approximately a year earlier weather scientists cautioned of such an inevitable weather event on the city.  Unfortunately their forecasts were ignored by government experts. Experts who also failed to make adequate preparation for the inevitable catastrophe.  Japan’s Fukashima reactor catastrophe is another example.  This is not an isolated phenomena.
In 1776 our best government experts at the time failed to incorporate a fundamental human principle in the building of our nation.  That error led to more US deaths than both modern World Wars combined.   How could our nation’s profoundly wise founding fathers have failed to incorporate their own ‘self-evident’ principle when drafting our Constitution?   What part about “all men are created equal” did they under value for their immediate interests.
Mr. Kaplan’s limited perspective on traditional national security threats makes the same mistake.   Applying existing dysfunctional human principles to the real world is failing humanity daily. Any clear understanding of world history, human psychology and modern exponential advances in powerful technologies should shred any preconceived notions about preserving our nation’s two most cherished ideals; freedom and security.  Our Pleistocene brains have difficulty in grasping exponential change.   And Mr. Kaplan’s linear thinking has yet to grasp the catastrophic consequences of our government’s affinity for ‘status quo’ and/or “moderation” in the face of current threats.   Nearly every dual-use technology is irreversibly and exponentially yielding more and more destructive superpower capacity.  A WMD capacity formerly confined to nation states is now available to any individual with access to a computer or a bio lab.  The realistic threat of cyber and biological WMD should change everything.  Especially, unprincipled linear thinking.
Kaplan is correct in asserting that Trump’s approach to foreign policy is “unrealistic”.   Trump’s lack of worldly knowledge and grasp of fundamental principles could be compensated for by those now being chosen for his Administration.  But don’t count on it.  Even if they see the world as Kaplan does, both our freedoms and our security will still be compromised….just not as quickly.
This destructive claim is predictable for one reason.  Our founding fathers incorporated another profoundly flawed principle into the construction of our nation’s systems and structures.  The concept of ‘independence’.   Nowhere in the physical universe is anything independent from anything else.   This concept is nothing more than an imaginary mental construct that forces us to risk both our freedom and our security by failing to see the links between our use of military power to protect interests above valuing innocent life.   
Current US military and foreign policy assume that these independent agencies  will not bring lethal consequences back home.   Our government is currently bombing at least 7 ‘independent’ nations that ‘we the people’ have not yet declared war against.   Increasingly we are starting to grasp the reality that the deaths caused abroad by our bombs (delivered by our drones or by our close allies’ bombers) do have, and will increasingly have consequences here.  Consequences that have already cost American lives and one of our most cherished freedoms -privacy.   As the war on terror evolves without abiding by fundamental principle of justice, it will accelerate our risks and our loss of freedoms.
Imagine the loss of American lives and freedoms once terrorists turn to cyber and biological weapons of mass disruption and destruction.   Even if terrorists limit their attacks on US soil to Timothy McVeigh type Truck bombs or Nice, France style truck pedestrian mower assaults, both our freedom and our security will rapidly diminish.
The fact is, we live in an entirely and irreversibly interdependent world.  A real world where only an idealist approach can most effectively address the array of threats now descending upon us.  Our idealism of ‘life, liberty and justice for all’ is the only realistic approach to maximizing both our freedoms and our security.  Unfortunately, this principled approach is still politically unacceptable, but national security experts like Kaplan.  Just as the abolition of slavery was originally rejected by both our nation’s Founding Fathers and slave owners in the Southern states, there will be catastrophic consequences.  And in this era of unprecedented killing capacity by both nation states and murderous individuals, we need to get real by getting idealistic fast. 
Ideally everyone in the world would have access to clean water, sanitation, education, adequate food, and other basic human rights listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  That global ideal was agreed to 68 years ago (as of December 10).  It was intended to prevent wars.   Remarkably it could also have prevented most terrorism, infectious disease outbreaks,  refugees, and environmental pressures now considered by the US Military, to be a national security threat.   Some of these threats, are linked to war, and some greater than war.  But they all compound our national security conundrum in trying to resolve our freedom /security dilemma.  A dilemma we continue to impose on ourselves because of our addiction to ‘independent’ institutions (structures and systems) incapable of enforcing fundamental principles thus resolving globally interdependent problems.    When we recognize we face a trilemma and not a dilemma, we will see the fundamental principle needed to maximize both our freedom and our security.
If our nation’s approach to terrorism, pandemics, WMD proliferation, Climate change… depends on the full cooperation of 190+ independent nations with each national government appealing only to its own short term self-interests we are in deep trouble.  It would be like the 50 Governors in the US states resolving our nation’s immigration problem with each state deciding on its own immigration policies, and each state maintaining it’s freedom to design its own driver’s license ID and voter ID laws.  This ‘fix’ would continue to have a national and global consequence if even one US state remained unprincipled in engineering it’s systems and structures.  Insisting on independent policies at any level threatens both our freedoms and our security at every level.
Kaplan said “Human nature is driven by fear…self-interest…and honor.”  But Thucydides’ definition of “realism” has only delivered us the world we have today -- a world of interconnected mixes of insolvable problems because national interests continue to trump universal values/principles.  This unidealistic path offers only a chaotic and deadly future.  
If “realists worship truth” as Kaplan asserts, no realist would disregard the ‘self-evident’ truths expressed in our nation’s Declaration of Independence.  Contrary to popular belief this document is not about independence.  It is about universal principles essential to building and maintaining freedom, security and justice for all.
Kaplan states “values follow interests”.  The Post may have a policy on objective journalism (in printing Kaplan’s piece) over fact checking (is status quo politics and policy really working?).  But any expert espousing a directional change in US foreign policy and national security should do their best to rely on facts, history and self-evident truths.  Not exiting national security experts.
Here’s another fundamental truth.   It is in our own self-interest to walk our talk and honor the profound principles that this great nation was founded on, “That all men are created equal [and] endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” such as ‘life, liberty” and “justice for all’.   It’s unrealistic to achieve this when our nation’s experts continue to insist on following old pathways.  Doing anything less than the ideal is profoundly unrealistic. Things are changing quickly and unexpectedly these days.  Can we?

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Rigged Elections: The death of democracy and civility?

Democracy is commonly believed to a positive concept.  Unfortunately, a government of ‘we the people’, has at least four inherently damaging flaws.
The first, identified by our nation’s Founding Fathers is fear of a ‘tyranny of the majority’ style of government.  They believed a ‘bill of rights’ ensuring ‘liberty and justice for all’ and a government with limited power was a sufficient antidote to that.  Awkwardly, our original “Bill of Rights” didn’t fully incorporate the fundamental principle (‘liberty and justice for all’ and it cost more American lives than both modern World Wars combined. An we still live with the festering consequences of racial injustice today.
The second flaw is electoral greed.  Once voters understand that those on the ballot can channel a nation’s wealth their way the hazard of economic injustice an/or fiscal national bankruptcy increases.  Today, few people believe our $20 trillion dollar (and rising by the minute) US debt is sustainable. A crash will not be kind. Some national security experts believe it is a fundamental threat to our nation’s security.  
Third, loss of trust in the government is corrosive to government stability and civility.  Combining the capture of government economic favor above with the monstrous and widening gap of income inequality between the extreme rich and the rest (national or global) and people’s fundamental trust in democratic government itself is weakened.

Last but not least, citizen trust in government is the glue that holds our Union together. Loss of trust in the voting process itself undermines one of the three fundamental principles of the ‘rule of law’ that our national identity and lasting cohesion is based on. Even conspiracy beliefs without proof of a rigged election can dissolve it. In the last 2016 Presidential debate one of the leading candidates openly declared that his loss in the election would mean the system was rigged.  His previous leanings toward conspiracy theories combined with similar beliefs of both his supporters and even some detractors undermines any firm belief in our nation’s democratic process for nearly a third of our nation’s voters.   

The glue is the belief that under the ‘rule of law’ where we can rely on just laws treating everyone equally and fairly, that we can sustain our cherished freedoms and security for ourselves and our family.  Blaming a corrupted government cabal kills public confidence in a valid electoral system. There is a small possibility this election could result in blood and chaos.  From the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement to the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995 trust in our government is essential to future civility.

Is our current “throw all the bums out…and start over” sentiment really that surprising?  It might even be essential if we want to change the inherent flaws in our current systems and structures if we want to remain united.  Can we continue with a two party system? A winner takes all Electoral College?  Gerrymandering?

Independent federal agencies incapacity to resolve interdependent problems?  Urgent and functional change is needed.  Sufficient political will to transform the flaws in our democratic system does not yet exist. Is our cyber era, bureaucratically heavy, and issue divided nation based on an election system designed for a pre-industrial age sustainable without significant change?

It’s highly probable that the upcoming election won’t be rigged.  The unfortunate news is that there will be no way of proving it.  And, with a majority of Americans mental capacity to believe anything.  ANYTHING!!! Can we be confident that proof of an unrigged election would even be accepted?   This road bump pales in comparison to the possibility that our any level of computerization of elections and political party organizing systems can be tampered with.   A realistic potential exists for any nation-state hacker group or talented lone-wolf hacker could rig an election.  I didn’t believe this possible given the size of our nation with 50 relatively ‘independent’ states, each with its own election systems and voting machines. I believed our non-centralized system would be difficult to hack.  It appears this was hopeful thinking. Experts from the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (heard on CSpan recently – I’m still looking for the program web site…it may have got hacked?) schooled my ignorance.  Cyber security is not just an oxymoron.  It’s an illusion. The 2016 Presidential election could be rigged.

Our system of democracy we rely on (and favor for the rest of the world) for forming a ‘more perfect union’ (a government of the people, for the people, and by the people) has serious problems.

There is yet one more lethal vulnerability to our vital but ultimately flawed concept of democracy.  A dictatorship, monarchy, kingdom or aristocracy based government anywhere in the world is a threat to democracy everywhere.  Why?  Because under those governing systems it is the people’s role to serve the needs, interests and desires of the government.  And those foreign government decisions are unlikely to have our freedom and security, or that of the rest of humanity in mind.  

There continues to be a global struggle in the world between what ‘we the people’ want (freedom and security) and what governments want (to stay in power). Because of our failure to properly organize the world to make the protection of human freedom and security the highest priority, governments around the world are increasingly ignoring the inalienable rights of all people.

Even the US fails to consistently apply this most fundamental principle of ‘life, liberty and justice for all’ at home or abroad.  To the degree we fail on this principle is the degree to which we will suffer the slings, arrows and cyber hacks of others.

Systems, structures and principles are like Donald Trump and atoms.  They make up everything!.  And, until ‘we the people’ of the world design a government with systems and structures that encompass everyone and every nation on this planet, employing demonstrated principles that we all agree on, no one should expect a future for themselves or their offspring where humanity together can enjoy the fruits of maximum freedoms, security and civility   --including civil and trusted elections.  
It won’t be heaven on earth.  But it won’t be going to hell like it is now.  Humanity will still have problems. But for the first time in history, problems between nations will have a resolution mechanism that does not include war, concentration camps, genocide, ineffective diplomacy, the threat of force, crushing sanctions or cyber hacks.  It’s called the ‘rule of law’.  A principled system where the laws are created and enforced by a democratic process, which are applied equally to all regardless of skin color, religion, nationality or wealth. And, most importantly, the laws are created to protect the most fundamental inalienable human rights.  The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – for all.
Seventy years ago after the horrors of World War II an American First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt led an effort among nations to agree upon a set of human rights principles that was unanimously accepted by all nations at that time.  They believed the protection of the list of rights spelled out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights could spare future generations of war and other forms of preventable human suffering.  “We the People” was only a phrase inserted into the preamble of the UN Charter.  The rest of the charter however, only enforced the flawed principle of nation states having the right to dictate what human rights they wanted to follow.  That single flawed grand principle is still enforce today.  And it is directly responsible for most of the seemingly irresolvable and currently increasingly dangerous trends in our world now. 
Our nation’s Founding Fathers made catastrophic mistakes in creating our nation’s Constitution by not heading fundamentally sound principles.  We need not make the same mistake in transforming the UN Charter’s systems and structures.   Thomas Jefferson once said "A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse."
 Things change.  Can we? 

All people are created equal sometimes.

Dear Editor,
William Hawkins belief that our “enemies” are not “our equals” is lethally flawed. (Dec 17, 2007. Treating enemies as equals)
First, waging war against “terrorists” ensures that many innocent people will be killed. Such collateral damage is accepted by Hawkins because he and others like him believe that American lives are worth more than foreigners and that ‘rights’ are not a function of being human, but instead a function of government generosity.
Perhaps, Mr Hawkins should review the premise of our nation’s founding document the Declaration of Independence. Any rational reading will find that ‘rights’ are not a blessing provided by government decision, but are instead inalienable gifts of God (or natural rights) that belong to all people regardless of race, religion, age, sexual orientation, nationality or political belief. And the primary function of any legitimate government is to protect those rights with due process that doesn’t sacrifice the lives of others who may not be seen as some as being worthy of such rights.
For Hawkins it doesn’t seem to be a problem that somewhere between 60,000 and 600,000 innocent Iraqi’s have been killed as a direct result of the Bush Administration’s decision to invade and occupy Iraq. Most American’s rightfully feel horrified by the loss of nearly 4000 US soldiers but demonstrate little compassion or concern for the dead Iraqis. I’m fairly certain that is NOT how the loved ones of the Iraqi dead, wounded or displaced feel. And that other’s watching from afar see such American self centeredness/selfishness as antithetical to our own ideals.
If they had seen early on that American soldiers were willing to die to protect innocent Iraqi’s instead of intimidating them with ‘shock and awe’ warfare we may have ended up with far more friends, less enemies and far fewer US casualties in the long run.

Only by demonstrating far greater concern for the “well being” of those who may look like our enemies will we be able to mobilize the hearts and minds and the intelligence sources needed to defeat our true enemies – those who show no regard for the loss of innocent lives.
Showing disregard for Iraqi lives (not even know how many have been killed or wounded) plays into Osama Bin Ladin’s global propaganda machine. Captured Al Qauda admitted that the pictures from Abu Grabe prison were their best recruiting tools.
While techniques such as "waterboarding" provided intelligence that "probably saved lives" there is little doubt in my mind that conducting and justifying such torture to protect American lives will only end up costing far more American lives on the battle field -- and at home -- in the long run.
Either we stand for the basic principle that all people are created equal or, we are only slightly better than the mass murderers we wage war against. Standing on such noble principles may cost some lives up front but such is the price of real freedom and remaining a truly great nation.
Any ideology that favors the survival of one people over another is not only un-American, unethical and unchristian…it is the clearest prescription for our ultimate defeat.
Article published Dec 17, 2007Treating enemies as equals

December 17, 2007

By William Hawkins - The most consistent theme running through liberal-left opinion since September 11, 2001, has been concern for the well-being of the enemy. The latest example is the contrived scandal over the CIA destroying tapes of interrogations of two captured terrorists.

The first instinct of responsible members of Congress is to fulfill their duty to protect Americans from attack. Now they are pushed by ideological zealots to not only accord foreign adversaries "rights" that will protect them from effective U.S. counteraction but to harass their countrymen on the front lines in this deadly conflict.

Joby Warrick and Dan Eggen reported in The Washington Post on a secret congressional briefing given by the CIA in September 2002: "For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk ... on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder."

The same two reporters interviewed former CIA officer, John Kiriakou in regard to Zayn abu Zubaida, a top-ranking al Qaeda prisoner. Abu Zubaida's interrogation tape was one of those destroyed. Mr. Kiriakou argued that the harsh technique of "waterboarding" used to break abu Zubaida provided intelligence that "probably saved lives." Information gained led to the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the September 11 attacks.

The other destroyed tape was of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who planned the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, which killed 17 U.S. sailors. Unlike their victims, both abu Zubaida and al-Nashiri survived their ordeals and are held at Guantanamo Bay. Within the liberal-left ideology, however, it is not the terrorists who are to be condemned, but those who are fighting them. "For what reason would the CIA destroy these videotapes other than to cover up criminal acts committed during the brutal interrogations depicted on these tapes?" asks Caroline Fredrickson, of the American Civil Liberties Union.

At the core of this perverse outlook is the principle of equality, taken to an extreme. The ACLU says it "works to ensure that the U.S. government complies with universal human-rights principles in addition to the U.S. Constitution." In his infamous 2005 rant comparing FBI interrogators to the Nazis, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin complained they had "no concern for human beings."

So everyone is to be accorded equal treatment simply because they meet the lowest common denominator of being "human." This is the notion in play when presidential candidates say they would not authorize "torture" of a foreign terrorist even if it meant saving American lives. The well-being of the terrorist is no less precious than the lives of Americans, because all are equally human, part of a single extended family descending from some common origin.

Indeed, the entire concept of an adversarial "us and them" is to be rejected. Adversaries are just people whom we have not taken the time to understand. Common ground can be found by dialogue, and a fair settlement on the basis of mutual respect. That the purpose of war is to "compel the enemy to do our will" is distasteful to liberals.

Nothing could be more fundamentally wrong as a basis for dealing with the real world. A distinction must be made between "what" we are and "who" we are. "What" is nothing more than a crude, amoral description. It is "who" a person is that matters. How one acts and to where one owes their allegiance are crucial distinguishing characteristics. An unwillingness to differentiate between friend and foe is a fatal handicap in making national policy.

The failure of liberalism to make necessary distinctions is seen across the whole spectrum of issues, not just the stark "us" versus "them" of global warfare. Liberals have a longstanding reputation for being "soft on crime." The victims of crime fade from view and the criminals become the focus of benevolent concern. The inability of liberals to deal harshly with terrorists is an extension of their inability to deal harshly with felons. Capital punishment is called inhumane because even serial killers are considered people just like the rest of "us."

The effort to blur distinctions is explicit in the debate over immigration, as terms like "undocumented resident" are substituted for "illegal alien." It is also embodied in trade policy, where Americans are not to be favored over foreigners in U.S. economic policy (national treatment), nor allies favored over enemies (normal trade relations). Why should citizens feel any loyalty to a government that by doctrine rejects expressing any loyalty to them?

An ideology more at odds with common sense and experience is hard to conceive. And in the real world where ruthless adversaries abound, modern liberalism is a prescription for defeat.

William Hawkins is senior fellow for national security studies at the U..S Business and Industry Council.