Half the nation now believes the war was a mistake and wants U.S. troop withdrawals to begin. But no patriot wants to see Iraq collapse into chaos and civil war, and everything for which 2,100 Americans died and 16,000 suffered washed down a sewer. ~Patrick Buchanan
The phrasing of this last line from a rather odd Buchanan article caught my attention: “no patriot wants to see…” If it had read, “no Iraqi patriot…”, I would have no trouble agreeing. But, in all seriousness, what does being an American patriot have to do with the matter? Presumably, no one of good will wants to see Iraq collapse into civil war and chaos. That would be a perverse desire kindled purely out of spite for political opponents and a selfish desire to be proved right, regardless of the consequences in the real world. No sane person, much less any American patriot, indulges in such desires, and there ought never be any suspicion that this is the case.
Of course, it would be ideal if our soldiers had not died and been maimed for what will likely prove to be nothing of consequence. But I, for one, will not pretend that they are fighting for something worthwhile or necessary for the United States when they clearly are not–this would be the false support of the war by someone who rejects it and all it stands for.
Whatever we might want, present Iraq policy all but guarantees these ugly outcomes sooner or later. This is not because “democracy” will necessarily and inevitably fail in Iraq (though it probably will), but because it has even the slightest chance of succeeding, ensuring that the suppressed conflicts of at least a generation are channeled into repeated contestations for power, wealth and influence.
There is already chaos and there may well be civil war, regardless of what the government may still be able to do there, and there comes a time when patriots have to recognise an inherently flawed and failed policy and abandon it. That is not pessimism or defeatism, unless it is defeatism to deny that “complete victory” is possible in a war that has no tangible objectives. On the contrary, it is the sort of honesty in the setting of policy that would have stood President Nixon in good standing in 1969 if he had pursued a similar course, and it was the sort of view that President Eisenhower took with respect to the miserable mistake of the Korean War.
By ‘national interest’ I do not mean such grandly aspirational aims as world peace and democracy. I mean that which directly relates to the wealth, security and liberty of the British people. For instance, the fate of the Croats or Bosnians or Kosovars in the 1990s, or any of the peoples of Africa today, can hardly be said to be directly related to our own prosperity and security; nor, for that matter, can the condition of the Iraqi people under Saddam Hussein, or the Afghan people under the Taleban. ~Correlli Barnett, The Spectator
It is always encouraging to see the writings of Conservatives who are weary of the ‘special relationship’ and the inane prattle of the last several Tory leaders on foreign affairs. The author’s remarks reflect the deeply held bitterness of many Conservatives at the overt role of lackey their nation has been made to play over the past several years, as well as a much broader dissatisfaction in Britain with the illegal war in Iraq.
This enjoyable article comes, alas, only to alert Tories that their new, vacuous leader, David Cameron, will offer more of the same poor leadership, and perhaps even intensify the worst aspects of Tory moral, political and ‘intellectual’ dependence on the GOP for guidance on policy, especially foreign policy. Mr. Cameron is in a position to reorient the Conservative Party on Iraq and the relationship with America, but it has clearly become the case that the only British politicians more keen to toady and abase themselves before the whims of Mr. Bush and the Washington establishment generally than Mr. Blair have been the last three Tory leaders. Mr. Cameron promises to extend this streak to four.
British independence and the assertion of its own self-interest in competition with or to the exclusion of American hegemonist goals would be met in America with the pained cries of betrayal and hatred that greeted the French and Germans in 2002, only in the case of Britain the resulting backlash would be all the more intense because it would come from a party believed to be more reliably “pro-American” (i.e., supine and weak-willed). It would take a courageous man to go up against the combined interests of Tory Atlanticists, the City and its minions in the press and Washington all at once. Mr. Cameron, however, appears to be little more than an empty suit.
I like the idea of self-sufficiency. I’m not opposed to trade, but I am opposed to the kind of economic centralization that makes continental populations dependent on just a handful of corporations for their incomes, their entertainment, and their food. Outside of our large cities, entire towns are employed by one or two employers that ship their goods all over the world. Everyone in the town buys all they need at Wal-Mart, who can sell for less because their size gives them certain economies of scale. Their radio stations are all Clear Channel, their TV stations are Sinclair, and their movies are all Disney. Neither liberalism nor the modern strain of conservatism sees this as inherently problematic. Agrarians do.
As an agrarian, I think that industrial, centralized agriculture is a bad thing, compared with numerous family farms. I think we would be better off if a higher percentage of our population were farmers. The ideal of self-sufficiency isn’t limited to agriculture, though. It’s a theme that runs through most of what my kind of agrarianism advocates. Freedom has an inverse relationship to dependency, and that relationship is why private property is so important. Property isn’t a consumer good, it’s a means for insuring independence. Democracy has an inverse relationship to centralization. The responsibilities of democracy are more willingly discharged when people know that their votes matter. They matter more when the political decisions are made locally, rather than nationally or internationally.
Agrarianism does not imply a distaste for cities. It doesn’t equate to Luddism, or a desire to go backward in time to the last historical moment when family farms were the norm. It does mean that we might progress furthest by recognizing those elements of our past that are superior to what we have now, instead of holding to the irrational belief that newer is always better. Agrarianism does mean a critical evaluation of new technology, and a realization that some new technologies are more harmful than helpful.
Agrarianism isn’t monolithic, either. Just like conservatism has several factions, agrarianism can be roughly divided into two major versions. One, the one that I don’t subscribe to, is a socially traditionalist philosophy that emphasizes religion and hierarchy. Russell Kirk is a good example of this version of agrarianism. The other strain, the one that I like, is best exemplified by writers like Wendell Berry and Edward Abbey. This strain emphasizes localism and respect for the earth. ~Glorfindel of Gondolin (Carey Cuprisin)
There are points in Mr. Cuprisin’s remarks that I naturally don’t agree with, and he definitely has little time for paleoconservatism as such and says as much, but his agrarian sentiments expressed above recommend his blog to paleo agrarians, traditionalists, “crunchy cons” and various and sundry reactionaries. His Tolkienian enthusiasms are also much appreciated. The permanent link to his blog on Eunomia will be the first in the category of specifically agrarian blogs.
At what level of participation, Brent Scowcroft, can the objective of democratizing a hellhole of Middle Eastern totalitarianism be deemed a partial success? After how many inspiring elections, Howard Dean, can the trope about exporting freedom at the end of a gun be buried? ~Jonathan Gurwitz, MySanAntonio.com
I don’t know who Jonathan Gurwitz is, but I am fairly confident that he doesn’t know much about the “freedom and democracy” he so enthusiastically preaches. He knows the right buzzwords–he even knows to attack paleoconservatives by name! But there is little else. Leave aside those little, technical details (such as the banning of dozens of Sunni candidates for Baathist ties in a blatantly sectarian move by Shi’ites) for a moment, and let’s see if we can’t help Mr. Gurwitz with his weak rhetorical questions.
Three elections do not establish the political habits necessary to create a self-sustaining representative government or a system of electoral politics. Perhaps if–and I do stress if–Iraqis manage the same feat on a regular basis for another 30 years we can say that they have created something lasting and potentially better than what preceded it (it rather depends on whom they elect and what their elected governments do–having elected governments is perhaps the most overrated thing today). I really do hate to invoke the endlessly invoked analogy, but in 1918-19 Wilson believed he was freeing people from the “prison house of nations” (ooh, look, self-determination!) and ended up laying the groundwork for massive instability, authoritarianism and war. Even though Austrians and Germans had been freely voting for decades, he thought it a good idea to “teach them to elect good men,” and we all know, from reminders ad nauseam, whom the Germans eventually elected. Given the choice in 1945 between the Kaiser and the ruin that republican democracy had brought them (which is to say, the ruin they had ultimately brought on themselves through their blessed voting), any sane German would have chosen the Kaiser. When modern democracy succeeds, it is ugly, stupid and generally undesirable, but usually only moderately abusive, and when it fails it fails catastrophically. I would not wish such a system on my enemy.
Iraqis today are not free (it does take a wee bit more than the absence of a dictator to be free), and voting does not make someone free so long as he endorses a government dedicated to inculcating dependency on the state in one form or another. Indeed, voting is in most respects a strange and often servile act: it is an egoistic claim to power rendered meaningless by its frequent repetition and widespread imitation. Indeed, the more often one votes under an unfree regime (as most Westerners do), the more deeply implicated in and committed to the unfree regime one becomes.
At the moment, Iraqis find elections exciting and inspiring because they have scarcely seen the sorts of governments elections produce, especially the results of elections outside of the Western world. Their government will likely be venal, corrupt, nepotistic, equally heavy-handed and ineffectual in many parts of the country and will become about as popular as Alejandro Toledo is right now in Peru (he, too, was once the bright face of democratic Peru, and he, like old Evo, marked the rise to power of the Indians of that country). Now poor Mr. Toledo is reviled, because he persisted in the now much-despised “neoliberalism” of the ’90s, his government is a failure, the Shining Path has begun to return in small numbers and the nostlagia for the Fujimori years has been such that Fujimori himself was daft enough to try to return to Peru, where he is a wanted man, to run for re-election! (Fujimori was arrested in Chile at the request of Lima, and will probably soon be extradited.) Now Ollanta Humala, currently leading in the polls, proposes a nationalist and at least slightly collectivist Evo-like platform, and his main contender is an old left-wing populist, former President Alan Garcia, who presided over the ruinous pre-Fujimori years. That is the alternative a “successful” democracy offers in the developing world.
And few would deny that the American-led demonstration of resolve is related to a movement toward decency and democracy in countries as various as Ukraine and Lebanon, with ripples of hopeful change in Egypt and even Iran and Syria. ~Fr. Richard John Neuhaus
Fr. Neuhaus’ original interview from 2003 is interesting, but more instructive are his remarks from this year. The quote given above speaks volumes for how deeply indebted Fr. Neuhaus is to the hegemonist party line espoused in varying degrees by the self-styled “radical” Wall Street Journal and the “wet” Economist. That will hardly be news to longtime observers of Fr. Neuhaus and First Things, but these remarks from October 2005 show no sign of a moderation of opinion, contrary to what The Japery has claimed, at least not on the question of Iraq. Indeed, in important ways, Fr. Neuhaus appears as more of a dedicated supporter of the whole of Mr. Bush’s foreign policy agenda than I would have thought he would be willing to admit.
It is regrettable that anyone could confuse the advance of the cause of Hizbullah (the main upshot of any greater democracy in Lebanon) and the success of the criminal Yushchenko with the advance of “decency and democracy.” In its crude, ochlocratic moments and the promise of renewed sectarianism the stirrings of greater Lebanese democratisation does showcase some of the worst of a democratic regime, and if victory for the ugliest, most bigoted sort of nationalists is a victory for decency then Fr. Neuhaus and I have very different definitions of what it is to be decent.
It is almost beside the point that these things did not come to pass because of the invasion of Iraq, but because of other forms of interventionist policy related to separate pro-Israel and anti-Russian policies, much to the detriment of the well-being of Lebanon and the Ukraine respectively. What can it possibly say about Fr. Neuhaus’ “prudential” judgement that he finds anything praiseworthy in these events? Are the election of Ahmadinejad and the outlawing of Mubarak rivals “ripples of hopeful change” by Fr. Neuhaus’ own standards of what qualifies as a desirable course for the Near East?
Granted, he is not alone in these views, but his almost verbatim recitation of hegemonist talking points would be eerie if it were not so predictable. Neuhaus’ source for Near Eastern policy analysis is Fouad Ajami–need any more be said? If anything, his only barely qualified embrace of Mr. Bush’s lunatic Second Inaugural marks him out as more of an extremist on Iraq and interventionist foreign policy than I ever suspected.
In his opinion, Judge Jones the Third declared:
“The overwhelming evidence is that (intelligent design) is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism and not a scientific theory. . . . It is an extension of the fundamentalists’ view that one must either accept the literal interpretation of Genesis or else believe in the godless system of evolution.”
But if intelligent design is creationism or fundamentalism in drag, how does Judge Jones explain how that greatest of ancient thinkers, Aristotle, who died 300 years before Christ, concluded that the physical universe points directly to an unmoved First Mover? ~Patrick Buchanan
The “debate” over Intelligent Design (ID) is one of those things I heartily wish would crawl away somewhere and die. ID theorists and their opposite number, the philosophical materialists who champion evolutionism as the explanation for the origin of life and man, are both frustratingly unscientific and impervious to criticism. Tell an ID theorist that he is not doing science, which is basically a statement of fact, and he will yell that the Darwinists are out to suppress free debate and enshrine Darwin as a prophet, and tell the dogmatic materialist that science has no answers for any metaphysical and cosmological questions of significance, which is simply a matter of logic, and he will scream that you are a madcap theocrat trying to burn him at the stake.
This “debate” is marked, for the most part, by the two camps firing almost irrelevant broadsides at each other. Aside from the fact that judges should have nothing to do with the setting of curricula anywhere, Judge Jones also muddles the issue. Whatever else ID is, it is not creationism or creation science redux. Whatever the philosophical merits of the argument from design or the almost ineluctable logic that there must have been, according to Aristotle, a First Cause, these things do not make ID into science. The Unmoved Mover is Aristotle’s answer to a problem of causality, mainly in order to avoid regression ad infinitum. ID not only takes for granted that there was a First Cause (which is not really what is at stake in the “debate”) but assumes that the mechanisms of mere cause and effect in the physical world cannot explain the rise of complex structures in nature. According to ID, the Unmoved Mover must keep moving, if you will, and directing development throughout natural history and, what is more, the structure and organisation of organisms reflect the intelligence of the Mover and insists that random selection through empirically observable material processes cannot possibly account for this structure and organisation.
Scientists do not, as far as I know, deny or affirm the idea of a First Cause as something that they can actually prove, but they may grant that it is a logical claim. In a related way, almost all scientists do not accept that the working of a Designer can be demonstrated or that theorising that the Designer has directed things to evolve as they have done will add an iota of understanding about the biological processes under investigation.
Mr. Buchanan is right to throw light on the dubious and unproven claims of evolutionists about the origins of life and the transformation of one species into another. Those claims are theoretical in the sense that they are truly speculative. However, the failures and excesses of one dogmatism do not make ID one bit more scientific. If we were to take it for granted that one species does not derive from another, however, we would find ourselves pitted against ID theorists as well–they do not object to the claim that man evolved from a common ancestor that we and apes share (Dr. Behe accepts the idea of a common ancestor), but they do object to the claim that random selection was responsible for the change. ID is not anti-evolution or even really anti-Darwin as such–it is simply opposed to a certain understanding of random evolution.
If ID were proposed as a possible philosophical answer to what the theory of evolution means for understanding the role of a Deity or Author in the universe, it would have some real merit. Because it proposes to augment the theory of evolution as science, it will never be taken seriously by most scientists and will remain an embarrassment to its defenders.
On the face of it, Mr. Bush’s extraordinary authorisation of warrantless NSA wiretaps is illegal. (Then again, many things Mr. Bush has done are illegal and there has been little attention paid to their illegality.) Viewed as a matter of strict construction, much of what the NSA does is illegal, but even by the pathetic standards of modern jurisprudence they have crossed the line. Under the Fourth Amendment, even warranted searches and seizures must have probable cause, which arguably the government might have in some of these cases. But warrantless searches such as Mr. Bush has authorised are obviously prohibited under the Fourth Amendment. As with the detention of Jose Padilla, Mr. Bush has claimed arbitrary “wartime” powers that he simply does not have, and has ignored due process then and now because, in both cases, I suspect he was worried that his actions might not seriously withstand the scrutiny of judicial review.
The Fourth Amendment obviously does not distinguish between searches done in the course of intelligence-gathering and those done in the course of gathering evidence for the prosecution of a crime–nothing derived from the powers vested in the officers of the United States can be used in such a way as to evade the clear, broad guarantees of the Bill of Rights. It is allowed that the Congress could, in time of rebellion or invasion, suspend habeas corpus (Art I., Sec. 9:2), but no such power has ever properly been granted to the executive, though some Presidents have wrongfully usurped such power. Every search requires a warrant. It really is that simple. If that is inconvenient or disturbing to defenders of the warfare state, if it seems antiquated or anachronistic to them to adhere to the rule of law, they should stop justifying end-runs around the Constitution and begin making proposals to amend the provisions of the law.
The defense that this warrantless intelligence-gathering forms a part of presidential war powers guaranteed under Article II’s designation of the President as “commander-in-chief” is, like most other defenses mounted by this administration, shabby and false. First of all, properly speaking as a matter of constitutional law, the joint resolution of Sept. 14, 2001 is not sufficient warrant for indefinitely authorising an ongoing military conflict (it is not the same as if Congress had issued a declaration of war) and the presidential war powers associated with it.
The article in today’s Wall Street Journal claiming that the resolution is the equivalent of a declaration of war is simply wrong, particular on the case law being cited (Bas v. Tingy especially). In Bas v. Tingy, as I understand it, resolutions of Congress are sufficient for authorising limited military engagements, such as occurred with the Quasi-War that prompted the case in question. Furthermore, Justice Washington in Bas v. Tingy distinguished between the “imperfect war” that arose between members of two nations (such as the so-called Quasi-War of 1798-1800) and the “perfect war” that would arise following a formal declaration of war. No one can pretend that “Enduring Freedom” or the war in Iraq is of such a limited, “imperfect” nature. Both are, as Iraq war supporters have endlessly reminded us, large-scale, general wars. Justice Chase wrote in Bas v. Tingy:
What, then, is the nature of the contest subsisting between America and France? In my judgment, it is a limited, partial, war. Congress has not declared war in general terms; but congress has authorised hostilities on the high seas by certain persons in certain cases. There is no authority given to commit hostilities on land; to capture unarmed French vessels, nor even to capture French armed vessels lying in a French port; and the authority is not given, indiscriminately, to every citizen of America, against every citizen of France; but only to citizens appointed by commissions, or exposed to immediate outrage and violence. So far it is, unquestionably, a partial war; but, nevertheless, it is a public war, on account of the public authority from which it emanates.
To cite this ruling in particular, as Mr. Turner does today, stemming from what was generally recognised as a limited war to justify a general principle that joint resolutions = declarations of war is simply wrong, and to give the impression that this equation is a settled precedent is misleading and possibly dishonest. With respect to general wars, joint resolutions are insufficient to authorise presidential war powers–the usurpation of several presidents in the last 55 years on this score cannot and must not be taken as serious precedents. Even taking the resolution of Sept. 14, 2001 as temporarily effective in authorising the President to take those actions he deemed necessary to retaliate against those responsible for the 9/11 attacks, it is impossible to grant that it carries the weight of a declaration of war and that it therefore properly invests the President with the role of commander-in-chief on an ongoing basis. The wartime powers he claims to have as being implicit to his office do not exist (as a matter of law, war powers are granted to him by the representatives of the people–the most ardent Federalists during ratification regarded this as one example of why the President under the Constitution was not in danger of becoming an autocrat). The war powers he claims on the grounds of the joint resolution of Sept. 14, 2001 are irrelevant here. The resolution states: “That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.” This is an authorisation of force for retaliatory purposes with the goal of eliminating the threat to the United States.
It does not take a great legal mind to see that this authorisation does not extend to the full range of war powers (such as intelligence-gathering) to which Mr. Bush might possibly be entitled if the Congress had bothered to declare war. For Mr. Bush, his entire case for the legality of his actions rests on the myth of inherent or implied powers.
The remake of Battlestar Galactica on the Sci-Fi Channel (soon to begin its third season) has prompted a few rather weak attempts to draw parallels between the show and current events or find a political or religious statement in the new version of the amazingly campy cult series of 1978 (which understandably became more popular only after it left the air), such as this brief plug in Time for BSG as the best show of 2005 (which is true–take that for whatever it’s worth).
When I first heard of the idea of the remake, I laughed. Why would anyone want to remake a show that was, in my estimation, as exciting as Star Wars: Episode I and even less imaginative? Then a funny thing happened the night before I was to leave with my parents for Texas: I caught the tail end of a BSG marathon and, once I found my bearings in the storyline, became captivated, much to my own surprise.
There are a number of significant changes to the story and many of the characters from the original version (which can only have been an improvement). Some of them (such as making the pilot Starbuck into a woman) are as silly as they were unwelcome to fans to the old show, while the injection of a sort of theological controversy and seriousness into what would normally be yet another guns-in-space production has made the story much more engaging. The two major differences are what make the new BSG an interesting sci-fi series and a far more compelling drama than any of the shlock on offer on the major networks. The major differences are these: the Cylons are artificially intelligent lifeforms created by man that have returned to wreak vengeance/judgement/havoc on humanity and have begun to imitate humans to the point of developing their own religion, believing that they have been elected to replace mankind in the created order; second, the human, modernised followers of old polytheistic cults find themselves confronted by these militant monotheists who believe that they are delivering God’s retribution upon sinful man.
What is remarkable about the series is that, intentionally or not, the writers have managed to make the Cylons’ excessively deterministic theology (“all of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again”–an idea they share with the humans) so much more credible and interesting, as well as a major factor in moving the plot forward, than much of the worn-down quasi-Olympian cult of the Colonists that it is hard not to have a sneaky sympathy with the Cylons. In the world Ron Moore has created, the Cylons appear to represent at once the most fundamental evil and the more enlightened civilisation, if you will, which may be the most intriguingly subversive idea in the entire story: if there is in this fictional universe a Cycle of Time in which things recur eternally without variation, moral culpability and freedom of the will are completely irrelevant and the genocidal horrors of the Cylons need no justification–they flow ineluctably from a mechanical God. The entire show, if it has a “message,” is a display of the moral horror of a universe in which Hegelian or gnostic fantasies about history, inevitability and progress are true. Theologically speaking, of course, the Cylons’ beliefs are so much of a gibberish of Vedanta, Christianity and Islam that it would be next to impossible to see in the Cylons a symbol for any particular religious group or religious groups in general.
For what it’s worth, the old BSG was blatantly, overtly political in a way that the new show cannot even pretend to be. The original pilot was a screaming indictment of 1970s detente and a forecast of disaster for fools who would make deals with totalitarians (in those days, the robotic Cylons were supposed to be a hostile alien race ruled by the redundantly named Imperious Leader). If the warning of the old show was an unabashed denunciation of “appeasement” and its consequences, the new one is not so clumsy or what I might call ‘sci-fi preachy’.
Peter, I agree with you on Jeff Hart’s piece [in today’s Wall Street Journal]. We were in a staff meeting here at the Dallas Morning News, and my editor had to nudge me to get me to put down the Journal and pay attention, so captivating was Jeff’s essay. Crunchy me especially liked this passage:
But the utopian temptation can turn such free-market thought into a utopianism of its own–that is, free markets to be effected even while excluding every other value and purpose . . .such as Beauty, broadly defined. The desire for Beauty may be natural to human beings, like other natural desires. It appeared early, in prehistoric cave murals. In literature (for example, Dante) and in other forms of representation–painting, sculpture, music, architecture–Heaven is always beautiful, Hell ugly. Plato taught that the love of Beauty led to the Good. Among the needs of civilization is what Burke called the “unbought grace of life.” ~Rod Dreher (via Peter Robinson) at The Corner
Mr. Hart’s remarks on beauty brought Mr. Dreher’s ideas to my mind as well–it is encouraging to hear that Mr. Dreher responded in much the same way to the article. What was telling in the responses to Mr. Hart’s article at The Corner was the complete lack of any comment on the anti-Wilsonian arguments advanced therein. That is something that NRO understandably doesn’t want to touch.
In fact, she explains, she liked the way “Islam demands a closeness to God. Islam is simpler, more rigorous, and it’s easier because it is explicit. I was looking for a framework; man needs rules and behavior to follow. Christianity did not give me the same reference points.”
Those reasons reflect many female converts’ thinking, say experts who have studied the phenomenon. “A lot of women are reacting to the moral uncertainties of Western society,” says Dr. Jawad. “They like the sense of belonging and caring and sharing that Islam offers.”
Others are attracted by “a certain idea of womanhood and manhood that Islam offers,” suggests Karin van Nieuwkerk, who has studied Dutch women converts. “There is more space for family and motherhood in Islam, and women are not sex objects.” ~The Christian Science Monitor
It may seem odd to some, but the very “liberation” (and consequent degradation and overt exploitation) of women that defenders of Western “modernity” against Islam repeatedly cite as proof of our advancement and their regressiveness counts against the West with these women. The conversion of European women to Islam will probably not become a stampede, but the fact that it is happening at all, that supposedly “liberated” women would choose a religion that endorses their systematic subjugation to escape the modern egalitarian’s denigration of women and still claim that it is “caring and sharing” shows how inadequately serious, rigorous and vital European Christianity has become.