Monthly Archives: September 2014

COMPANY LOVES MISERY

Last week, one of the nation’s premier institutions of higher learning held its 40th year reunion. Members of the Class of 1974 left their corner offices, boardrooms, television studios, summer estates, and – yes – even their comfortably ordinary jobs and homes, to reconnect with old friends and classmates.

The climactic event of the reunion was a series of presentations rather misleadingly dubbed “The Eureka Moment!”.  This was not the kind of Eureka moment experienced by Archimedes in the bathtub.  Instead, members of this distinguished company vied with one another to present the most distressing, depressing, and often intimate episode of their lives. The format was eerily reminiscent of the old “Queen For a Day” television show, where contestants competed to see whose life was the most pathetic, with the winner receiving a slew of valuable prizes.Queen for a Day 1.jpg

What led these successful people to participate in this strange event?  Quite possibly, the same compulsions that made them successful in the first place.Queen for a Day 1 Continue reading

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WHY THEY BEHEAD US

Daniel Pearl.  Nicholas Berg.  James Foley.  Steven Sotloff.

Four American noncombatants have been beheaded by Islamic fanatics, and the videos of their murders brazenly circulated over the internet for the world to witness.  Another Westerner — David Cawthorne Haines, a security expert hired by international aid organizations – faces the same gruesome fate.

Why do they behead us?Sotloff.Foley

The question goes to the method, not the motive, of the madness. Murderers’ motives don’t matter much in the Middle East.  In local eyes, there are so many causes to kill for, and so many victims deserving death.  But assuming one is inclined to butcher, why do so by the particularly peculiar method of beheading?  Why not butcher by shooting, or by hanging, or by detonation?

This is, to put it mildly, a grim inquiry.  But it is worth the trouble to explore.  For the answer may tell us something about the nature of the evil we face. Continue reading

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Filed under Foreign Policy, Law