A Muslim education

Pakistan?  No.  Britain!  If the British government, under PM Cameron is serious about cutting down the multiculturalism monster, this is a good place to start.  Old multi-culti pieties prevented British institutions from daring to criticize the Muslims amongst them.  A serious commitment to Western values would mean cracking down on these child abuse factories.

It is (I hope) not futile to resist the Islamic Borg

One of the things the Leftist multiculturalists refuse to acknowledge is that Islam does not assimilate.  Individual practitioners of the faith may, periodically and superficially, espouse the culture in which they live, but the fact remains that Islam, by its nature, is the Borg.

Borg-like, the Islam collective’s motto is “Resistance is futile.  You will be assimilated.”  The Borg/Islam collective does not recognize the possibility that it might be the entity that assimilates.  As with the fictional Borg populating Star Trek : The Next Generation, when the Islamists move in on a territory, they move in to conquer and for no other reason.

I mention this pop culture analogy here, because one of Singapore’s past leaders, Lee Kuan Yew, in an interview to promote his new book, spoke about Islam’s failure to assimilate, and he made a statement that is, I think, full comparable to Churchill’s speech about the Iron Curtain dividing Europe:

In the book, Mr Lee, when asked to assess the progress of multiracialism in Singapore, said: “I have to speak candidly to be of value, but I do not wish to offend the Muslim community.

“I think we were progressing very nicely until the surge of Islam came, and if you asked me for my observations, the other communities have easier integration – friends, intermarriages and so on, Indians with Chinese, Chinese with Indians – than Muslims. That’s the result of the surge from the Arab states.”

He added: “I would say today, we can integrate all religions and races except Islam.”

He also said: “I think the Muslims socially do not cause any trouble, but they are distinct and separate.”

Mr lee then went on to speak of how his own generation of politicians who worked with him had integrated well, including sitting down and eating together. He said: “But now, you go to schools with Malay and Chinese, there’s a halal and non-halal segment and so too, the universities. And they tend to sit separately so as not to be contaminated. All that becomes a social divide.”

He added that the result was a “veil” across peoples. Asked what Muslims in Singapore needed to do to integrate, he replied: “Be less strict on Islamic observances and say ‘Okay, I’ll eat with you.’”  (Emphasis mine.)

Certainly if there’s one image that epitomizes Islam, it’s the veiled face, whether the veil hides women from all civic interactions or masks the men on Western streets who commit violence with impunity as they hide their faces from the authorities.

Yew, who is no longer a power broker, has the luxury of age and retirement to speak of this veil.  It’s interesting, however, that Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron has suddenly decided to speak up as well about the Borg in Britain’s midst:

In an attack on Britain’s previous government, Cameron said authorities there had been too hesitant to intervene when some sectors of society espoused abhorrent views.

“We have even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run counter to our values,” Cameron said. “We have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream.”

Cameron said a culture of tolerance had allowed both Islamic extremists, and far-right extremists, to build support for their causes. “We’ve been too cautious, frankly even fearful, to stand up to them,” he said.

Some European allies have criticized Britain for harboring hardline Islamic clerics and failing to clamp down on mosques that promote a perverted view of Islam.

Several terrorists involved in attacks or attempted plots in the U.S., Sweden, Denmark and Norway over the last two years have had links to Britain, or British-based clerics.

“If we are to defeat this threat, I believe it’s time to turn the page on the failed policies of the past,” Cameron said. “Instead of ignoring this extremist ideology, we – as governments and societies – have got to confront it, in all its forms.”

I am delighted to see people with bully pulpits begin to speak, although I don’t expect to hear anything intelligent on the subject from the world’s premier bully pulpit until January 2013 (assuming all goes well in the November 2012 elections).  As it is, my only hope now is that the Islamic/Borg invaders haven’t already reached to a tipping point from which there is no return.

Hat tip:  American Thinker

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

Wow! Someone was eavesdropping on my conversations with liberals.

Apparently there’s a template out there.  I am not alone:

Hat tip:  NewsReal Blog

The smug racism of the neo-colonialists

Clifford May wrote a very interesting article pointing out that modern liberalism means giving a complete pass to utterly offensive behavior — provided that the behavior is practiced by non-Western people:

What do you think about the niqab — sometimes also called a burqa — the veil that leaves only the eyes of a woman uncovered? Critics, not least Muslim critics such as Fadéla Amara, France’s secretary of state for urban policy, suggest that when a woman is forced to wear one it not only deprives her of individuality but is, effectively, a portable prison. France recently moved to ban the niqab, as have several other European countries.

Nevertheless, a recent New York Times review of a Yemeni restaurant in Brooklyn noted in passing that the diners are apparently segregated by sex and that next door is “Paradise Boutique, where mannequins model chic niqabs…”

This liberal pass isn’t always in the form of fawning admiration for the “other” culture.  It also involves turning a resolutely blind eye to behaviors that cannot possibly be explained away:

Psychologist Phyllis Chesler recently cited a particularly blatant example of this double standard: Fred Gottheil, a professor of economics at the University of Illinois, tracked down 675 academics who had signed a statement-petition calling for a boycott of Israel as an “apartheid regime.” He asked them also to sign a statement-petition opposing the abuse of women in the Middle East, including “honor-killing, wife-beating, female genital mutilation,” as well as the systematic “discrimination against women, gays and lesbians in the Middle East.” The result of this experiment: Ninety-five percent of those who signed the petition censuring Israel “did not sign a statement concerning discrimination against women and gays and lesbians in the Middle East.”

Forced to give a name to this bizarre phenomenon, which sees our self-styled cultural elite ostentatiously fawn before behaviors that they would never personally tolerate, May cites to Fadéla Amara, a French official, who calls it “neo-colonialism.”  I agree with Amara and May, but only up to a  point.  At that point, as I’ll discuss further below, we discover that many of the old colonialists, when compared to their modern day counterparts, actually had more rather than less decency.

It is absolutely true that the old colonialism looked down on the “brown” people in their charge.  A pithy illustration of this point can be found in Ingrid Bergman’s comedic portrayal of a simple Swedish woman in the film Murder on the Orient Express.  You need to watch only the first 40 seconds to get my point:

Bergman’s lines were meant to be a knowing 1970s wink back at a less humane time in Western culture, but they nevertheless perfectly encapsulate a certain type of colonial view:  the people under colonial control were closer to animals than to humans.

The thing about animals is that we expect much less of them than we do of ourselves.  I don’t expect my dog to dine nicely with a knife and fork.  She does perfectly well with a bowl on the floor.  Her elimination needs do not require a closed door and a flush toilet.  The back yard and street, with their singular absence of privacy, are good enough for her.  Nor am I surprised that, despite being 9 years old, she’s neither reading nor writing.  She’s an animal and her limitations are just fine with me (and with her).

Given this condescending viewpoint towards the “brown” people, if one was a bad colonial culture, being bad gave one a moral pass to treat the brown people like animals, whether that meant bringing people to be slaves abroad or, as in the Belgian Congo, turning them into slaves in their own home.  Alternatively, if one was a “good” colonial culture, one approached the “brown” people as children, who could be led to minimal standards of decent human behavior.

Under either of these approaches, though, the colonial ruler did not treat the “others” as fully fledged, responsible, moral adults.  We recognize this treatment for what it is:  classic racism, which dehumanizes people based on their race.

Modern so-called liberals, of course, would never dream of saying that the brown people of the world are less than fully human because of their race.  May’s point, however, is that, when it comes to Muslims, we still manage to treat them that way.  (I’ll add that the same holds true for the low, low standards so-called liberals establish for black people.)

Sure, we in the West treat women well, but we certainly can’t expect that level of sophistication from the brown people.  And sure, we treat gays well, but we have to understand that the brown people haven’t evolved to that point, and we should therefore just ignore their sins.  And sure, we can tolerate free speech (or, at least, if we’re a so-called liberal, we pay lip-service to the notion of free speech), but we’re big enough to recognize that the brown people haven’t matured enough as a race to handle it.

The exceptionally low standards we allow for Muslims and blacks are always phrased in terms of “respect” for the “other” culture.  “Respect,” however, is a misnomer.  True respect is impossible if we consistently assert that the “others” (who invariably have skin darker than ours) cannot hold themselves to the normative behaviors of which we’re most proud.

But I promised to tell you that the old colonialists were actually better than the neo-colonialists who inhabit our media airways and political space today.  Not all of them were, of course.  The ones who treated indigenous people with exceptional cruelty were as bad as could be.

Fortunately, though, there were other colonialists who looked at the less savory practices of the indigenous people under their rule, and said, “I don’t care the color of these people’s skin.  They are better than those grotesque practices, and I will hold them up to my standards, and not allow them to wallow down in theirs.”

The easiest illustration of this true respect for the native people trapped in the colonial web is Lord William Bentinck’s refusal to accept the common practice of suttee in India.  Suttee (or sati), for those of you unfamiliar with the term, is the old Indian practice of requiring a widow to climb onto her husband’s funeral pyre and be burned alive.

In the late 1820s, faced with this barbaric practice, William Bentinck, Governor-General of the East India company, refused to bow to cultural relativism.  Instead, he insisted that, under British rule, suttee end.  The following passage may be written in the ornate, verbose, polysyllabic style of the 19th century, but the meaning is clear — Indians are people too and it is every moral person’s obligation to steer them away from barbarism:

The first and primary object of my heart is the benefit of the Hindus. I know nothing so important to the improvement of their future condition as the establishment of a purer morality, whatever their belief, and a more just conception of the will of God. The first step to this better understanding will be dissociation of religious belief and practice from blood and murder. They will then, when no longer under this brutalizing excitement, view with more calmness acknowledged truths. They will see that there can be no inconsistency in the ways of Providence, that to the command received as divine by all races of` men, “No innocent blood shall be spilt,” there can be no exception; and when they shall have been convinced of the error of this first and most criminal of their customs, may it not be hoped that others, which stand in the way of their improvement, may likewise pass away, and that, thus emancipated from those chains and shackles upon their minds and actions, they may no longer continue, as they have done, the slaves of every foreign conqueror, but that they may assume their first places among the great families of mankind? I disown in these remarks, or in this measure, any view whatever to conversion to our own faith. I write and feel as a legislator for the Hindus, and as I believe many enlightened Hindus think and feel.

Descending from these higher considerations, it cannot be a dishonest ambition that the Government of which I form a part should have the credit of an act which is to wash out a foul stain upon British rule, and to stay the sacrifice of humanity and justice to a doubtful expediency; and finally, as a branch of the general administration of the Empire, I may be permitted to feel deeply anxious that our course shall be in accordance with the noble example set to us by the British Government at home, and that the adaptation, when practicable to the circumstances of this vast Indian population, of the same enlightened principles, may promote here as well as there the general prosperity, and may exalt the character of our nation.

Call it enlightened colonialism, if you want.  In practice, it meant that Bentinck recognized the Indians’ humanity, and demanded the elevation of their conduct.

In this regard, Bentinck was infinitely better than today’s cultural relativists who refuse to speak out for the millions of women around the world brutalized by Islam’s restrictions, whether those restrictions are the forced wearing of imprisoning clothes, the humiliation of polygamy, the limitations on movement, the imprisonment in homes, the denial of education, or the more extreme physical punishments of genital mutilation, beatings, acid burnings, nose and ear removals, stonings, torture, honor killings and hanging — all of which are routine practices against women across the Muslim world, whether meted out by Muslim governments or just by Muslim men.

Nor is Bentinck’s behavior in India the only example of colonialists trying to end barbaric practices amongst indigenous peoples.  For example, one of the things our politically correct schools don’t like to teach children is that many of the indigenous peoples in the Americas were big on human sacrifice.

Take the Aztecs (please).  They had a civilization of extraordinary sophistication, one that, in many ways, far surpassed the Europeans. Their cities were bigger, they had glorious architecture, and, unlike European cities, these metropolises were immaculate and well run. The Aztec nation boasted enormous wealth and the social structure was highly complex.

Why, then, were the Spaniards unimpressed? Two reasons. One was undoubtedly the inherent racism of the time. The other, though, was the large scale human sacrifice and cannibalism the Aztecs practiced. The Spaniards may have been warlike and had their Inquisition, but even the Spanish were disgusted by a religious structure that demanded the sacrifice of up to 80,000 people in connection with a single king’s coronation.  This made it easy for the racists among them to conclude that the Aztecs were inferior, incapable of salvation, and worthy of conquest.

Surrounding Indian tribes, whose citizens, captured in war, made up the bulk of the sacrifices, were also less than thrilled by the visual beauties of the Aztec kingdom. That’s why, contrary to lessons in public school, Cortez didn’t manage to conquer the entire Aztec nation with just his 167 Spaniards and a few horses. Instead, Cortez was swiftly able to gather many allies anxious to hasten the end of a violent, blood-soaked, totalitarian regime. That small pox jumped into the fray was an unexpected benefit from the Spanish point of view, and simply proved who had the “right” god.

While the racists among the conquistadors may have viewed the Aztecs as deserving of slavery, the more enlightened priests in the company saw them, and the other native populations, as humans who could be saved from the scourge of ritual cannibalism.  In this regard, as they pushed for Indian conversion, they acted in precisely the same way as did Bentinck when it came to suttee:  they insisted that a common humanity requires us to expect the most of people, not to use their skin color or present circumstances as an excuse to justify the least.

I don’t see any of our liberals recognizing in Muslims the common humanity that the more enlightened English and Christians saw in the East Indians or Native Americans.  Instead, our cultural relativists glory in their own superiority.  Sure, they’ll bad-mouth their own culture left, right and center, but they know that their respect for women, for gays, and for other people who have traditionally been oppressed, makes them better than other cultures that continue to oppress those same people.  In other words, cultural relativism is a fancy phrase for what is, in practice, smug racism.

We only hate what we fear — why liberals hate the church and pay lip service to the mosque

You’ve all heard by now about the group of Massachusetts school children taken to a mosque where they were taught utterly fallacious history about Islam and America, and then led in prayer:

A mosque spokesperson is seen teaching the children that in Mohammed’s 7th century Arabia women were allowed to vote, while in America women only gained that right a hundred years ago. This seems to be an increasingly recurring theme in American schools – the denigration of western civilization and the glorification of Islamic history and values. In fact, just recently, the American Textbook Council revealed that the New York State high school regents exam whitewashes the atrocities that occurred during the imperialistic Islamic conquest of Christian Byzantium, Persia, the African continent, and the Indian subcontinent, even as it demonizes European colonialism in South America.

The mosque spokesperson also taught the students that the only meaning of Jihad in Islam is a personal spiritual struggle, and that Jihad has historically had no relationship with holy war. As far as we know, the school has not corrected these false lessons.

The above, trip to the mosque, the propaganda, and the prayers were all in the name of multiculturalism, of course….

Every conservative I know (myself included) had precisely the same reaction, often in precisely the same words:  This field trip would never have happened with a Catholic church.  That is, not only would it have been inconceivable to the powers that be within the school to introduce their charges to a church, if it had been conceivable — if a maverick teacher had said, “well, let’s balance the mosque trip with visits to a church and a synagogue and a Hindu temple” — the fecal matter would have hit the fan so quickly that it would have been raining poop for days.  The battle cry, of course, would have been that visiting a church (or synagogue or Hindu temple) violates the separation of church and state.

The interesting question is why the Left doesn’t perceive a similar separation problem when it comes to mosque and state.  I think it has to do with the liberal’s perception of an institution’s potential power over the masses.

A few months ago, I did a post about Rush Limbaugh, and the inordinate fear Leftists, not just extreme Leftists, but garden-variety Democrats, feel when they think about Rush.  After a lot of background talk (I do love my background talk), I boiled it down to my key thesis, which is that liberals fear Rush because he is the one they worry will penetrate their defenses, make them think, and change their minds:

It’s quite a high compliment to Rush that ordinary liberals believe he has extraordinary powers.  It isn’t every conservative radio or talk show host who is perceived as so compelling and seductive that he can destroy people’s world view in an instant.

It’s also very frustrating to me because, in a funny way, I agree with my liberal friends that Rush can rejigger their world view very quickly.  The only thing is that I don’t believe Rush works his magic through hypnotism and trickery.  Instead, I think Rush’s real magic lies in his ability to view the political world as a vast chess board, one on which he can see multiple future moves; his prodigious memory; his well-informed mind; his logical analyses; and his funny persona.  He convinces by appealing to our rational mind, our sense of humor, and our knowledge of the world as it is, and not as some Ivory Tower liberal tells us it should be.

So, whether by cajolery or challenge, I’m still trying to get my liberals to listen to Rush.  For all the wrong reasons, they’re right about one thing:  he will change their minds.

The same dynamic is at work when it comes to Leftists on the one hand, and mosques and churches on the other hand.  For all their multicultural bloviating, so-called liberals don’t think much of Islam.  They recognize that its moral teachings are limited (nothing clear and humanist like the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, or the Golden Rule), that its history is ugly, and that its current practice, with all the demands about daily prayers and handwashing and fasting, is not going to be that attractive to the majority of Americans.

The Progressives therefore don’t seriously believe that anyone can go to a mosque and convert.  Sure, if you go to prison you might convert, but anything looks good in prison.  Further, as my cousin, the prison pastor, says:

It is not a contradiction to be a Muslim and a murderer, even a mass murderer. That is one reason why criminals “convert” to Islam in prison. They don’t convert at all; they similarly remain the angry judgmental vicious beings they always have been. They simply add “religious” diatribes to their personal invective. Islam does not inspire a crisis of conscience, just inspirations to outrage.

In other words, it’s not really a conversion at all.

Christianity, though, is scary.  If you’ve got a good minister or priest or pastor, suddenly all sorts of persuasive stuff is going to appearing on people’s radars and penetrate their ignorance or defenses.  You know what I mean:  Stuff about justice, about dignity, about respect, about love, about forbearance.  Worse, all this icky, non-Marxist stuff is going to fall on fertile soil, because even forty years of Progressivism in the public sphere hasn’t completely managed to leech away the Judeo-Christian beliefs that underlie American culture.  Worse, Christ doesn’t demand of his followers grueling physical rituals.  Instead, he demands faith.  Not lip service and clean feet, but faith.

Just as Rush is a threat to the Marxist/Progressive/liberal mindset, so too is Christianity (and, if you’re me, Judaism).  This cannot be said of Islam.  Even the most slobbering dhimmis would be hard put to imagine a world in which people, instead of just admiring Islam from afar because it’s politically correct to do so, would actually want to transfer their allegiance from the Judeo-Christian tradition to the Muslim faith.

Government uses religion to interfere with private company’s product

Abercrombie & Fitch is all about “the look.”  I mean, the whole point of the store is to get people, especially young people, to cough up money for “the look.”  To this end, the ads are soft porn, all aimed at showing the ultimate sexy cool.

Have I mentioned that I hate the whole Abercrombie thing?  As the mother of a teen, Abercrombie slots neatly into the parenting “pain in the neck”  category.  Nevertheless, hate it though I do, I recognize that in a free, capitalist society, when a store’s product is “the look” (’cause if you take away “the look,” all you’ve got are fairly ordinary clothes), the government ought not to be interfering with its image.

Yet our federal government is doing just that, solely so that a Muslim sales clerk can augment the unique sexy Abercrombie “look” with a hijab. A federal representative explains the thinking behind this decision to use taxpayer money and government coercion to bully a private corporation:

“This retailer that targets a youth market is sending the message that you cannot aspire to their ‘All American’ brand if you wear a head covering to comply with your faith,” said William Tamayo, the agency’s regional attorney.
Is this really what the feds should be doing with your money and their power?

As for me, I’m not going to be interviewing at a topless night club any time soon, both because I don’t think I happen to suit “that look” and because professional toplessness offends my belief systems.  I’m also not going to go to the feds demanding that they force the club to change its product to suit my sensibilities.

In this latter regard, I’d be acting entirely consistently with practitioners of all other religions, but for Islam.  They and I recognize that the demands of faith may close doors.  It’s not the government’s job to force those doors open.  Faith requires sacrifice, and that sacrifice may mean one doesn’t get to work at the trendiest store in the mall.

It is inconceivable that the Founders ever intended for the Constitutional proscription against the federal government meddling with matters of faith was intended to force private businesses to change their project, nay, to change their very core identity, to accommodate the fact that someone’s religion has become inconvenient in the pursuit of cool.

Take back popular culture

I’ve written several times at this blog about the need to take back popular culture and make it more consistent with American values.  (Indeed, I think every conservative blogger has written the same thing.)  This Englishman, speaking of the disaster of British multiculturalism, perfectly articulates why a country must celebrate its own values:

For Murray, multiculturalism is a moral vacuum, and “into a moral vacuum always bad things creep.”

The Eton and Oxford educated Murray quotes Saul Bellow in his introduction to The Closing of the American Mind: “When public morality becomes a ghost town, it’s a place into which anyone can ride and declare himself sheriff.”

“Once so-called multicultural societies decided that they didn’t have a locus, that they didn’t have a center of gravity, anyone could ride in and teach the most pernicious things,” Murray expounds. “It didn’t matter. It was just another point of view.

“It’s an extraordinary situation. We allow absolutely anything. This is the reason the British police used not to investigate certain types of killing, like honor killings. This is a community matter, they’d say. Police have admitted that now. This is why tens of thousands of women from certain communities have been genitally mutilated. We have made ourselves entirely relative and it’s time to change that.”

If you believe that Hollywood is marketing values antithetical to America, you can finally do something about it:  You can become a film producer, at least sort of.  Find out how here:

And a teeny, little bleg, so that I too can take advantage of this great opportunity, without imposing on my liberal husband’s hard earned wages:

A writer who understands how the Left operates

I’m reading a very enjoyable novel right now that is completely on point about the way in which the Left operates, especially when it comes to the media and academia.

The writer is tuned into the name calling that substitutes for informed debate. For example, when the book’s protagonist, Paul, learns that Leftists started submitted articles to a magazine that contained misstatements of facts in an effort to shift political sentiment (a la Climategate, although this book predates that effort), the following dialog ensues between Paul and Bill Weider, the magazine’s editor:

“But – Bill, why don’t you publish the story you told me? Just as you’ve told it to me? Let your readers know. Let the public see what is happening.”

Weidler’s frown came back. “You know what will happen? There will be a campaign against us. We’ll be called fascists, war-mongers, American imperialists, witch-hunters.”

“You’ve forgotten to add ‘hysteria-inciters,’” Paul said, smiling. “Strange how often they’ve been using hysteria recently – almost hysterically, in fact.”

On the subject of claims about hysteria, my sister, much impressed, sent me this Glenn Greenwald article deriding American hysteria about the Flaming Panties bomber.  I wrote her back that Americans would be less inclined to be hysterical if the administration would identify and focus upon an enemy – that would be radical Islam, by the way. As long as the Administration (and this goes for the past Administration too) refuses to identify the enemy, all Americans are suspect, and all must be exposed to searches, stupid restrictions, and other limitations on civil liberties.

In a charming aside, the book tackles the root cause question. When the book’s heroine, Rona, and her sister, Peggy, talk about an unpleasant acquaintance, they have this to say:

“She isn’t a friend of yours, is she?” Peggy was now very much the elder sister.

“Not particularly,” Rona said, which was a miracle of understatement. “Scott says she’s a product of her environment,” she added.

“Strange how we never use that phrase when we are describing pleasant people,” Peggy said….

Do I need to remind you that one of the first things Obama did after the Flaming Panties bombing was to emphasize the poverty in Yemen? Yes, it’s true that poor, corrupt countries are great hosts for radical Islamists, but there is no doubt that the bombers, whether they’re the fabulously wealthy founder of Al Qaeda, young dilettantes flying airplanes into the World Trade Center, ordinary Yorkshire youths blowing up British subways, educated psychiatrists shooting soldiers at Fort Hood, or fabulously wealthy Nigerians setting their underwear on fire are products of only one environment, one that the Left never dares to acknowledge: Islam.

Using a conversation between Paul and his friend, Jon, a professor, the writer has a long riff on the way in which the Left deliberately targets universities and newspapers – indeed, all media of mass communication – as a way in which to manipulate the public:

“You’re in education, Jon. Do you think propaganda is a powerful force? Could it be dangerous? Supposing an enemy of this country had its sympathizers carefully planted here? Supposing these propagandists were trying to infiltrate such businesses and professions as radio, the press, films, schools and colleges, the theater, publishing?”

“That’s a damned silly question,” Jon said almost angrily. “You ask how dangerous it might be?” He looked at Paul, unbelievingly, but Paul kept silent. “This is the twentieth century, with communication easier and more powerful than it’s ever been. The trouble with those who see no danger, who think we are perfectly safe if only we invent more hideous bombs is that they are still living with a nineteenth century idea of peace. Wars haven’t changed much except in bigger and better holocausts. But peace, as we are going to see it in this century, is something quite altered. A lot of new dangers are going to stay with us permanently just because we’ve invented a lot of peacetime conveniences that make life so interesting. It isn’t only armies we have to fear today: it’s words, words abused and corrupted and twisted.”

Still Paul said nothing.

“You see,” Jon went on patiently, “a hundred years ago, fewer people could read, fewer people were educated, and fewer people thought they could argue about international conditions. Also, in those days, propaganda spread more slowly and less widely. But now we’ve got a vast public who read their papers, discuss books and articles, go to the movies and the theater, listen to their radio, watch television, and send their children to schools and colleges.”

“And a public,” Paul interposed, “who have enough to do with arranging their own lives without analyzing all the things they read or hear. They’ve got to trust the honesty of those men who deal with the written or spoken word. Just as the journalist, or the movie director, or the teacher, has got to trust the honesty of the businessmen and workers whenever he buys a refrigerator or a car or a shirt. Isn’t that right?”

The above was written before the 2008 election – before the media completely abandoned its role of reporting and became an institution devoted to advocating a single party in an election. And, as Paul predicted, the public bought it hook, line and sinker, trusting as they did in the honesty of the written and spoken word pouring out over the airwaves. Nowadays, big lies get promulgated with warp speed, in myriad media outlets, and they live forever, corrupting political discourse.

The author recognizes the way in which the Left is hostile to any wars that might conceivably advance American interests. In speaking of a college campus, she says:

“The colleges and universities were full of pickets with placards saying it was all an imperialist war. The students and faculties were deluged with leaflets denouncing war-mongers and reactionaries. Speakers were appearing on the campus, haranguing us all not to fight.”

There’s a universality to that description, since it aptly describes the Left’s anti-War tactics in 1940, 1968, 1991, 2003, and today. To the Left, the possibility of a good war, a war to maintain the line against totalitarianism and preserve freedom, is always impossible to imagine – and the easiest targets for that failure of imagination are colleges students, since it is they who must be convinced that they are fighting for something worth defending.

Speaking of fighting for something worth defending, the writer has no truck with the Leftist habit of moral relativism. Here are Rona and her boyfriend Scott having a debate about a guest at a party who Rona believes has a tiresome habit of painting everything in Left of center politics:

“His line is so old! Two years ago, or three, he could manage to get away with it. But not now.”

“What do you mean?” Scott looked across the room.

“Just that he wasn’t the least little bit the original talker he likes to imagine he is. He only succeeded in annoying most of our guests.”

“Because he thinks differently from them? Se we must all talk the same way, think the same things?”

“No, darling!” She rose and came over to him. “I don’t believe two of us in the room echoed any point of view, except in a general way – well, of believing that right is right and wrong is wrong.”

“That’s all relative,” Scott said. “Depends on each man’s frame of reference.”

“I don’t believe that,” she said, “except for the small things in life. You can find them as relative as you like. But in the big things, you’ve got to decide what is right, what is wrong. Or else you’ve no moral judgment, at all. Like Murray. He’s just a parrot, that’s all he is.”

Moral relativism, of course, is a chronic talking point for the Left, and a chronic problem for those educated and controlled by the Left. In the War against Islamists, for example, moral relativism is tightly entwined with the whole “root cause” that both the author and I mentioned above. After all, as Michael Moore said, one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. The Left never seems to understand that, while the act of fighting may be the same, the reason one fights determines whether one is morally right or wrong. Fighting for individual liberty is a good reason to fight; fighting to subjugate the world to a misogynist, homophobic, antisemitic, anti-Christian, completely totalitarian religion – well, not so good.

In the last section of the book from which I’ll quote, the writer also tackles the Left’s habit of targeting individuals by appealing to their sense of victim hood. Multiculturalism isn’t a means of preserving what’s special about a group’s ethnicity. Instead, it’s a political tool aimed at dividing Americans from each other, and making them dependent on the Left as their only savior.

While today’s victims are mostly blacks, Hispanics, gays, lesbians, women (when it’s still useful), Muslims, etc., in the book, the man targeted to be a victim who can be saved only by the Left is a Jew:

“I’ve a battle on my hands right now. They want us to keep different, and I’m telling them the hell with that, we’re Americans. That’s what we are. Stop building a wall around us, stop emphasizing differences, that’s what I keep trying to tell them. And they look at me as if I were some kind of traitor.” He looked at Jon Tyson. “But I’m building no wall, and no one is going to persuade me to do it.”

Obviously, I’ve been playing coy with you, keeping secret the book’s author, title and date of publication. Those of you who know my weakness for Helen MacInnes’ Cold War novels might already have figured out that I’m quoting from one of her books. The book in question is Neither Five Nor Three, published in 1951. It focuses on the Left’s infiltration of the media world and college campuses.

This was the beginning of the Cold War, of course, so Helen MacInnes couldn’t look ahead and realize how that infiltration would be completely successful. While we were challenging the Soviet Union abroad, it was taking over our institutions at home. And now, as Leftist Professor Ward Churchill would say, “The chickens have come home to roost.” All of the nascent tactics MacInnes described then – the moral relativism, the victim-based multiculturalism, the name-calling, the anti-Americanism – have become permanently entrenched in America’s media and education cultures. In those days, people saw these things and remarked upon them. In these days, people believe in the message and approve of the messengers.

If you read only one thing this weekend — read Mark Steyn on Fort Hood and Multiculturalism

In a field rich with excellent conservative writers, I always think Mark Steyn is the best.  The joyful days, though, are the days when he outdoes even himself.  In this week’s column about the fluffy multiculturalism that reared its head both before and after Hasan’s deadly terrorist attack at Fort Hood, Steyn outdoes himself.  Here are a few excerpts, but you have to read the whole thing to get the flavor:

The truth is we’re not prepared to draw a line even after he’s gone ahead and committed mass murder. “What happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy,” said Gen. George Casey, the U.S. Army’s Chief of Staff, “but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here.” A “greater tragedy” than 14 dead and dozens of wounded? Translating from the original brain-addled multicult-speak, the Army chief of staff is saying that the same fatuous prostration before marshmallow illusions that led to the “tragedy” must remain in place. If it leads to occasional mass murder, well, hopefully it can be held to what cynical British civil servants used to call, during the Northern Irish “Troubles,” “an acceptable level of violence.” Fourteen dead is evidently acceptable. A hundred and forty? Fourteen hundred? I guess we’ll find out.

[snip]

The brain-addled “diversity” of General Casey will get some of us killed, and keep all of us cowed. In the days since the killings, the news reports have seemed increasingly like a satirical novel the author’s not quite deft enough to pull off, with bizarre new Catch 22s multiplying like the windmills of your mind: If you’re openly in favor of pouring boiling oil down the throats of infidels, then the Pentagon will put down your e-mails to foreign jihadists as mere confirmation of your long established “research interests.” If you’re psychotic, the Army will make you a psychiatrist for fear of provoking you. If you gun down a bunch of people, within an hour the FBI will state clearly that we can all relax, there’s no terrorism angle, because, in our over-credentialized society, it doesn’t count unless you’re found to be carrying Permit #57982BQ3a from the relevant State Board of Jihadist Licensing.

Gay Hillary supporters realize that Bush had his virtues

I’ve now received five emails bringing to my attention a post at Hillbuzz, a blog that (as best as I can tell) is written by two gay Hillary supporters.  (And thanks to all of you who did bring it to my attention.)  What makes the post at Hillbuzz so unusual is that it’s a frank appreciation for . . . George Bush:

We know absolutely no one in Bush family circles and have never met former President George W. Bush or his wife Laura.

If you have been reading us for any length of time, you know that we used to make fun of “Dubya” nearly every day…parroting the same comedic bits we heard in our Democrat circles, where Bush is still, to this day, lampooned as a chimp, a bumbling idiot, and a poor, clumsy public speaker.

Oh, how we RAILED against Bush in 2000…and how we RAILED against the surge in support Bush received post-9/11 when he went to Ground Zero and stood there with his bullhorn in the ruins on that hideous day.

We were convinced that ANYONE who was president would have done what Bush did, and would have set that right tone of leadership in the wake of that disaster.  President Gore, President Perot, President Nader, you name it.  ANYONE, we assumed, would have filled that role perfectly.

Well, we told you before how much the current president, Dr. Utopia, made us realize just how wrong we were about Bush.  We shudder to think what Dr. Utopia would have done post-9/11.  He would have not gone there with a bullhorn and struck that right tone.  More likely than not, he would have been his usual fey, apologetic self and waxed professorially about how evil America is and how justified Muslims are for attacking us, with a sidebar on how good the attacks were because they would humble us.

Honestly, we don’t think President Gore would have been much better that day.  The world needed George W. Bush, his bullhorn, and his indominable spirit that day…and we will forever be grateful to this man for that.

As we will always be grateful for what George and Laura Bush did this week, with no media attention, when they very quietly went to Ft. Hood and met personally with the families of the victims of this terrorist attack.

FOR HOURS.

Please read the rest here.  It’s an excellent post and deserves the attention it’s getting for the honest take it has on George Bush’s solid decency — and the contrast between his low-key, virtuous behavior and that exhibited by the Obami.

Hillbuzz’s post is a reminder that the very loud, politicized gay class tends to make us forget that most gays are just Americans who happen to like people of the same sex.  When things are rosy, they’re happy to trail behind the political guys, since there might be some benefits dropping off that bandwagon.  However, when push comes to shove, and when agitating but scarcely life threatening issues go by the wayside, America’s gays are Americans first — or, at least, most of them are.  That’s very heartening.

I look forward to the day when America’s Muslims figure out that, at some point they have to make a public stand between America’s deep investment in liberty and Islam’s demand that all citizens in all nations should be subjugated to Sharia’s draconian requirements.  Right now, thanks to the politically correct ideology that permeates the media, the government, educational establishes, and the top echelons of the military, American Muslims are getting a pass on having to come to terms with their own patriotism.  If they want to hew to their religion — well, that’s the moral choice they have to make, but we Americans should know, so that we can do what is necessary to protect our Constitutional rights for the vast majority of Americans (gay and straight, Catholic and Jewish, atheist and, yes, Muslim) who believe in those rights.

Islam had everything to do with Fort Hood

Insane people reflect the obsessions of their times.  In the old days, insane people heard messages from the Devil.  In the post-nuclear age, they were in contact with Martians.  And nowadays, if their Muslim, Islam gives the impetus to their urges.  Indeed, Islam is an all-purpose blank check for bad behavior.  As my cousin, the prison chaplain, says:

It is not a contradiction to be a Muslim and a murderer, even a mass murderer. That is one reason why criminals “convert” to Islam in prison. They don’t convert at all; they similarly remain the angry judgmental vicious beings they always have been. They simply add “religious” diatribes to their personal invective. Islam does not inspire a crisis of conscience, just inspirations to outrage.

Math was never my strong point at school, but I managed to grasp the concept of a Venn Diagram.   The beauty of a Venn Diagram is that it’s a nice visual for the common denominators that may bind together otherwise disparate facts or events.  On the Venn Diagram of massacres on American soil, one of the largest areas of overlap is Islam.  The fact that these attacks aren’t necessarily generated at Al Qaeda headquarters is irrelevant.  Indeed, the absence of Al Qaeda involvement is helpful, because police work probably finds it easier to catch groups than lone individuals.

Nevertheless, the President and the media are very busy assuring ordinary Americans that Islam had absolutely nothing to do with Hasan’s murderous rampage at Fort Hood.  Some examples:

  • President Obama says “don’t jump to conclusions.”  On the one hand, he’s correct.  On the other hand, (a) he didn’t take his own advice when it came to Henry Louis Gates and “stupid cops” (although maybe he learned his lesson then); and (b) it’s very clear that he wants to steer Americans away permanently from even thinking that Islam is connected to death.
  • The BBC says “Shooting Raises Fears For Muslims In US Army.”  Mark Steyn has the perfect riposte to this headline:  it is “the grossest bad taste to default every single time within minutes to the position that what’s of most interest about an actual atrocity with real victims is that it may provoke an entirely hypothetical atrocity with entirely hypothetical victims.”
  • Chris Matthews expresses confusion at the way religion is even mentioned in connection with Hasan’s rampage (and the hell with him invoking Allah’s name at the height of his killing spree).
  • NPR says “the motive behind the shootings was not immediately clear.”
  • The New York Times suggests that this arm chair jockey, who just sat back and listened, snapped from the stress of war.  Yeah.  Right.

Just to offset this type of quisling behavior, let me offer to you a long list of articles that call murder in the name of Allah — whether the killer is alone or in a group, rational or irrational, American or non-American — by its true name:  Jihad.

Mark Steyn:   “What happened to those men and women at Fort Hood had a horrible symbolism: Members of the best trained, best equipped fighting force on the planet gunned down by a guy who said a few goofy things no one took seriously. And that’s the problem: America has the best troops and fiercest firepower, but no strategy for throttling the ideology that drives the enemy — in Afghanistan and in Texas.”

Rusty Shackleford:  “Hasan was a devout Muslim who, prior to his transfer to the Texas base, attended a conservative mosque on a daily basis and was known by associates to occasionally rant about U.S. involvement in the War on Terror. Press accounts also claim that Hasan had at one time been the subject of an FBI investigation because of an internet posting bearing his name which justified suicide bombings.  [Para.] No one should be shocked that Hasan would turn to murder and terror. The only thing shocking about Hasan’s actions is the amount of carnage.”

Jennifer Rubin:  “Listen, ignoring reality and feigning indifference to the views and behavior of Major Hasan is how we wound up with 13 dead and 30 wounded, right? Perhaps we should be candid for once. The American people can figure this one out — and those who continue to play dumb will earn only their contempt.”

Roger Simon:  “The immediate reaction of the mainstream media on learning of the activities of Nidal Malik Hasan was to say that he was crazy. And no doubt that was true. Anyone with a passing knowledge of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM IV), could probably place Major Hasan comfortably in several categories.  [para.] Of course, the same could be said of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Usama bin Laden and various other mass murderers of recent history. Nevertheless, the attempt was to explain away Hasan’s actions as pathological and thus avoid dealing with, or even – to the degree possible – mentioning the ideology to which his neuroses adhere (hint: it begins with an “I”).  [para.] This strategy is a form of what is popularly known as political correctness, which I submit is also a pathology and a quite virulent one – in this case, arguably the cause of death of the thirteen men and women murdered at Fort Hood.”

J.R. Salzman:  “[Y]ou don’t get PTSD from sitting on your ass around Walter Reed. Not only is it not possible to “catch” secondhand PTSD, but it is not that kind of a place. I would know, I was a patient there for nine months. The place is simply not that stressful or chaotic. When I was there my PTSD got better, not worse.”

Leon de Winter:  “There is only one term that adequately describes the massacre at Fort Hood: a terrorist attack. The media tries to avoid this term, but the more that is known about the killer, the more it becomes clear that this premeditated and deadly attack on unarmed soldiers and civilians was driven by his belief that Islam should rule the world.”

Robert Spencer:  “Major Hasan’s motive was perfectly clear — but it was one that the forces of political correctness and the Islamic advocacy groups in the United States have been working for years to obscure. So it is that now that another major jihad terror attack has taken place on American soil, authorities and the mainstream media are at a loss to explain why it happened – and the abundant evidence that it was a jihad attack is ignored.”

Michael Ledeen:   “I’m all for waiting until all the evidence is in from Texas before reaching any conclusions, but that should apply to everyone.  Notably to the FBI, which seems to have developed a conditioned reflex that requires the Bureau to announce, within seconds of any act of murder, ‘there is no evidence of terrorism.’  Which, in this case, is ridiculous, since it was precisely that.  [para] All of which brings us back to one of the nastiest problems we face:  the indoctrination of Americans in this country.  If you look beneath the surface of these plots and murders, you will often find that the actual or would-be killers have attended radical mosques.  They don’t come to jihad by sitting quietly at home and reading the Koran.  They hear sermons, they are guided in the paths of terror, and they choose to become terrorists.  And in this country, those radical sermons and that incitement is traditionally treated as ‘protected speech.’  It’s protected by the First Amendment, and its guarantee of freedom of religion.”

Jamie Glazov:  “The murders by Malik Nadal Hasan at Ft. Hood, TX are not a ‘lone wolf incident’ as being described by most media organizations. Hasan had been taught the ideology that is being advocated by hundreds of Islamic scholars and Imams in the U.S. We as a country can continue to deny there are numerous Islamic leaders and their supporting organizations such as CAIR, ISNA, MSA, and MANA, to name a few, who advocate killing innocent men, women, and children whom they allege ‘oppress Islam.’”

Victor Davis Hanson carefully looks at the number of Islamists who have plotted or carried out attacks against civilians (and Ft. Hood’s soldiers were, within their home base, tantamount to civilians), and politely destroys the argument that it’s just coincidence that so many mass murderers, and attempted mass murderers, in the past decade have been Muslim.

David Horowitz:   “The Ft. Hood killings are the chickens of the left coming home to roost. Already the chief political correspondent of The Nation has decried even mention of the fact that the jihadist killer Hasan is a Palestinian Muslim. According to The Nation this  is ‘Islamophobia.’ This fatuous attempt to protect America’s enemies carries on The Nation’s 60-year tradition as the leading fifth column collaborator with America’s enemies — defender of the Rosenbergs, defender of Hiss, defender of their boss Stalin, defender of Mao, defender of Castro and now defender of Islamic terrorists. But The Nation is only the tip of an iceberg. The fifth column formed out of the unholy alliance between radical Islam and the American left is now entrenched in the White House and throughout our government. And in matters like the Muslim jihadist Major Hasan our military is its captive.”

Phyllis Chesler:  “Sudden Jihad Syndrome, (it’s not all that “sudden” by the way), Personal Jihad Syndrome, call it what you will—these terrible acts should not be psychiatrically diagnosed and excused. In Islamist culture what Major Hasan did is a glorious act, a desired act; it is not the act of someone who is considered psychiatrically deranged. At the risk of being called a racist, allow me to suggest that we must connect the dots before it is too late. Islam now=jihad=hate propaganda=9/11=the tragedy at Ft. Hood.  [Para.]  That means Islam now, and its followers of all colors and ethnicities, is at war with the entire world, is dreaming of a Caliphate to be achieved through violent jihad. I doubt that Major Hasan is a Sufi Muslim.”

Bruce Bawer:  “Could there be a more bitter contrast? At Fort Hood, so many courageous GIs, all of them prepared to risk their lives fighting the Islamic jihadist enemy in defense of our freedom, several of them now dead. And, on our TV screens, so many apparently craven journalists, public officials, psychiatrists, and (alas) even military brass — all but a few of whom seemed unwilling to do anything more than hint obliquely at the truth that obviously lies at the root of this monstrous act.”

John Weidner (who is kind enough to link to me):  “Pacifism, or rather nihilism disguised as fake-pacifism, is one of the sicknesses of our time. No matter how many times it’s proved wrong, a large portion of the populace will continue to believe that looking and being weak will make them safer and will prevent violence and war. But pacifism causes war.  [Para.] Whoever gave the orders that American soldiers should not carry their sidearms or other weapons on our military bases murdered those soldiers who died at Ft Hood. Charlene was an Army brat, and she says that personnel carried their weapons on the base when she was young. Somebody (the phrase “death panel” springs to mind) disarmed the very men and women who are sworn to protect us using violent force when necessary. INSANE! SICK!”

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

Can it happen here? *UPDATED*

In an earlier post, I directed your attention to the incredibly disturbing footage of Pakistani village authorities brutally whipping a teenage girl before a throng of men, because she violated Sharia norms by being seen in public with her father in law.  The footage is disturbing on many levels, not the least of which is the fact that the whole spectacle has a pornographic smell to it, one that makes clear how much of Sharia law is driven by Muslims’ deep fear of female sexuality — but that’s a rumination for another day.

What I want to talk about is whether this could ever happen here.  Certainly Muslims want it to happen here.  Their oft stated goal is a Sharia-compliant world, with every nation having as its one and only law Sharia law.  Given this goal, and given the Islamists’ willingness to steal planes and acquire bombs and lust after anthrax, it’s more than just a hypothetical possibility.

But I don’t think we need to worry right now about Sharia appearing in the West courtesy of a mushroom shaped cloud or virulent bacteria.  The more immediate concern is the fact that, through political correctness, the Western world is already reading itself to deal with creeping sharia law.

Leading the way, as always, is England, which is allowing sharia courts, even though there is every indication that this will trap Muslim women in a British sharia hell; routinely banning pigs from public discourse (Oh Piglet, Piglet, wherefore art though Piglet?); slavishly redesigning innocuous packaging to avoid ruffling Muslim sensibilities (ice cream, anybody?); protecting men from being charged with dangerous traffic violations so they can speed from one wife to another; etc.  The list is endless.

In America, we periodically hear stories about accommodations for Muslims who don’t want to drive people carrying alcohol (as if it could leap out of the bottle spontaneously and attack the driver); about Muslims refusing to share public university prayer spaces; about Muslims demanding special foot baths at public universities (and weren’t those high tech “required” foot baths a popular item in the vast Saudi Arabian desert in the 7th Century); or about Muslim women insisting that their driver’s license show nothing more than their eyes, rather than conceding that, if they want to practice the extreme Islamic tradition of a hijab, maybe driving is not an option.

On the whole, we in America are a solicitous people and, with our pluralist religious history, we’re willing to make reasonable accommodations.  Generally, we like it that people are able to live religious lives — as long as they don’t impinge on our own lives.  What’s different about the Muslim demands is the impingement that goes with them — you may not drive in our publicly licensed taxis unless you change your behavior; you may not worship in this public space unless you worship our way; you must abandon the commonly accepted public safety feature of a photo ID card so our women can be anonymous; and so on and so forth.

Each of these Islamic incursions on the public space has resulted in a hoo-ha (otherwise we wouldn’t know about them), and most, when they become known, have been reversed.  The fact remains, however, that there cumulative effect from these sharia attacks on our culture that is akin to water dripping on rock.  One drop has no effect.  Two drops, no effect.  A thousand drops, no effect.  But you get enough drops and the shape of the rock — in this case, the shape of the American body social and politic — begins to change and to conform to the water’s ceaseless demands.

I have an Irish friend who firmly believes that America’s deep rooted sense of liberty cannot be so easily drip-dropped away, whether the drops fall from the Sharia cadre or from the statists in the Obama administration.  He believes that a deep, long-lived history focused on individualism and independence will rebel.  I wonder.

I’d like to think that, if I were that teenage girl about to get flogged, I’d fight and fight and fight.  I’d be hurt anyway, but at least I wouldn’t just yield to barbarity.  But even if I fought, even if I waved the flag of independence, and humanism, and freedom, would it matter if everyone stood around me and stared, as those men in the crowd watching the beating stand and stare.  I’d be willing to bet that, in that crowd, many were true believers, and many were men whose stomachs churned at the horror, but who said nothing, because they were trained to accept. Whatever their reason, they stood and they stared.

In this regard, it’s worth noting that, when Hitler came to power in 1933, he did so with just barely more than 50% of the popular vote.  There was never a time when the majority of Germans were members of the Nazi party.  For most Germans, right through the end of the War, their crime wasn’t active complicity with Nazi atrocities, it was passive complicity.  From a mixture of fear and brain washing, they just went along.

As I said, my Irish friend thinks Americans won’t just go along.  But when I look at what passes for education in our public schools, I’m very worried that we’re raising a generation that will be so compliant and so lacking in a non-relativistic sense of right and wrong that, first, they’ll allow creeping sharia to become dominant sharia (so un-PC to object) and, second, once it’s dominant they, through a mixture of fear and braining washing, will just go along.  And they too will stand their silently and watch when one of their school mates is flogged bloody or hanged or decapitated for having violated sharia norms.

The 2010 election matters.  It matters not just because I don’t like Obama’s economic and social policies.  It also matters because it is the last election in which Americans will have a chance to renew their sense of individualism and liberalism.  You see, while Obama thinks he’s paving the way for a wonderful socialist state, I think he’s unwittingly grooming the population to be the passive recipients of law laid down by true believers who make Obama and his progressives look like impotent little children.

UPDATE:  I was spurred to write the above post because of the video I watched showing the girl getting beaten.  Turns out, though, that creeping sharia is on other people’s minds — not how we might respond to the more extreme demands, but how we are responding to the “reasonable” demands.

Judge not lest you be judged

A few days ago, I posted about the rise in antisemitism around the world. One of my readers, whom I know is a good and kind woman, decried this trend, but then said something interesting: “And now many Jews insist that we hate Muslims to support them. [snip.] [E]very anti-Islamic article posted makes it that much harder to side with the Jews. No one should be forced to side with one ethnicity over another.” In other words, if I understand her correctly, by bad-mouthing Muslims, Jews are making themselves look bad and are therefore less sympathetic.

(This statement is not unique to this reader, and I don’t want any of you to pick on her. She’s part of a larger trend, and this trend definitely deserves consideration. Indeed, I am grateful to her for being honest so that we can discuss this matter. Any personal attacks against her are strictly off limits and I will delete them as soon as I can.)

The view my reader expressed seems to be a variation on two Biblical principles: “Judge not lest you be judged” and “turn the other cheek.” I’ve always understood these doctrines to apply to the individual, not to the state, and to mean that, within a civilized society, people have to avoid the sins of hypocrisy and should strive to get along with their neighbors. Multiculturalism, however, elevates these Biblical precepts to national policies that insist that victims of threats or aggression may not defend themselves. As one commentator said, in many circles, it is now worse to judge evil than to do evil. (I’d like to give attribution to that speaker, but I can’t find his name anywhere. He’s a British lecturer, if that helps any of you come up with his name.)

I’m actually happy to judge evil — because I know, with certainty, that I am not evil. That is, I don’t have to worry that, in judging others as evil, I might in turn be judged. I can cast rhetorical stones because, while I have my petty sins (I’m lazy, a bit hot-tempered, and I’m greedy when it comes to chocolate), I am not evil. The same holds true for Jews. As a group, they have the same foibles as the average run of citizens, but they are not, collectively, evil. They do not aim their guns intentionally at children, they do not use children to hide their own guns, and they do not revel in the deaths of children. Jews can judge those Muslims who got what they asked for (Gaza) and then launched more than 5,000 rockets into Israel, with the intent to kill civilians. Jews can judge those Muslims who have as their religious doctrine the requirement that the desired end of days be triggered, in part, by the slaughter of Jews. We are allowed to judge when we see evil.

I actually attribute this naive belief that all people are innately good — a belief that, in the modern era alone, should have given way in the face of the Nazi death camps, in Pol Pots killing fields, in Mao’s Great Leap Forward, in the Soviet Union’s lengthy auto-genocide — to a surprising source: Anne Frank. Since the 1950s, every single reasonably educated American has read Anne Frank’s luminous diary. And most American teachers — certainly mine, when I was in junior high school — spent an inordinate amount of time reiterating to us Anne’s most famous words, written on July 15, 1944, exactly two years after she and her family went into hiding to escape the Nazis:

It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart. It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more. [Emphasis mine.]

Thanks to those words, just about every Western school child learns that “people are truly good at heart.” I think it was that sweet sentiment that my reader had in the back of her mind when she left her comment. In that world view, if everyone is good, it does indeed lessen the virtue of one group of people if they imply that another group of people may not, in fact, be “truly good at heart.” The problem is that Anne Frank was completely and totally wrong.

Before I get into the global wrongness of Anne’s position, it’s useful to understand the context in which Anne wrote those words, as well as to remember what happened to Anne within days of writing them. As Anne freely admited in the next sentence following her famous thought, she wrote those words because she needed to give meaning to a life spent in hiding and a world that had devolved into sadistic chaos.

Two weeks after writing her homage to human kind’s innate goodness, because of a tip from an informer, the Annex’s residents were rounded up by the Nazis and shipped off. Here’s what happened to them: Mr. Van Daan was gassed immediately on his arrival in Auschwitz. Mrs. Van Daan was shuffled from Auschwitz, to Bergen-Belsen, to Buchenwald, to Theresienstadt, and finally to another unknown camp where she apparently died shortly before war’s end. Peter van Daan survived a death march from Auschwitz to Mauthausen, only to die three days before the camp was liberated. Mr. Dussel, after having spent time in either Buchenwald or Sachenhausen, died in Neuengamme a few months after being arrested. Mrs. Frank died in Auschwitz from starvation and exhaustion. As for Anne and Margot:

Margot and Anne Frank were transported from Auschwitz at the end of October and brought to Bergen-Belsen concentrationton camp near Hanover (Germany). The typhus epidemic that broke out in the winter of 1944-1945, as a result of the horrendous hygienic conditions, killed thousands of prisoners, including Margot and, a few days later, Anne. She must have died in late February or early March. The bodies of both girls were probably dumped in Bergen-Belsen’s mass graves. (From the Afterward to The Diary of a Young Girl : The Definitive Edition, published by Anchor Books Doubleday in 1996)

Anne Frank did not die peacefully or gracefully. Instead, her last days on earth were a nightmare of cold, hunger, loneliness and fear:

Anne was briefly reunited with two friends, Hanneli Goslar (named “Lies” in the diary) and Nanette Blitz, who both survived the war. They said that Anne, naked but for a piece of blanket, explained she was infested with lice and had thrown her clothes away. They described her as bald, emaciated and shivering but although ill herself, she told them that she was more concerned about Margot, whose illness seemed to be more severe. Goslar and Blitz did not see Margot who remained in her bunk, too weak to walk. Anne said they were alone as both of their parents were dead.

Why am I emphasizing all this? Because I want to make it clear that Anne Frank was wrong. People are not innately good. Her words were whistling in the dark, written to give herself faith and courage under terrible circumstances. They cannot and should not be used as a yardstick for measuring humanity’s natural state. And for Liberals to cling to this “ideology” moves beyond optimism into self-destruction.

Anyone who has children knows that, while they have a tremendous capacity for love, and have within them the seeds for reason and kindness, their innate state is more Lord of the Flies than anything else. Children are naturally violent, greedy and jealous. What tempers children is a society’s externally imposed value system. And these value systems don’t spring out of whole cloth. They are the results of centuries of give and take, violence, refining, and thought.

In a chauvinistic way that I’m not even going to bother to defend, I think our modern Judeo-Christian value system is one of the best ever created — and it’s not innate, it’s learned. I’ll go even further here: I don’t like the current fundamentalist Islamic value system, with its denigration of women, Jews, and non-Muslims, and its obsession with visiting extreme physical violence (and I include beheading and other slaughters) on those so denigrated.

I don’t think we in the West are innately good, or that those in the fundamentalist Islamic Middle East are inherently bad. I do think, however, that we have the better value system, and that it’s terribly dangerous for people to put their faith in Anne Frank’s touching but misguided words about humans’ innate goodness. Worse, this is not merely the misguided approach of a single good and kind person. Instead, a vast portion of the American population has bought into a teenage girls’ “whistling in the dark” musings and now tries to impose this naive view on American (and Israeli) foreign policy, hampering those countries’ ability to protect themselves against those whose value system calls for its enemies subjugation and death.

NY Times shills for sharia law *UPDATED*

From the every first paragraph of a lengthy New York Times Magazine article about Sharia law, you know you’re in for an intellectually dishonest voyage through the multi-culti mindset of the New York Times, this time as put forward by Noah Feldman who is, unsurprisingly, a law professor at that bastion of liberal think, Harvard. It’s a long article, so I won’t Fisk the whole thing, but I can’t resist tackling at least the first few paragraphs:

Last month, Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, gave a nuanced, scholarly lecture in London about whether the British legal system should allow non-Christian courts to decide certain matters of family law. [Well, not really. He gave a muddled, incomprehensible lecture that vaguely waffled about Sharia, without actually giving anyone a clear sense of what he was talking about — although, maybe, at Harvard, that passes for nuance. It was in a contemporaneous TV interview, though, that Williams let the cat out of the bag, and admitted that he wasn’t talking about private judicial systems with voluntary participation — assuming the beleaguered Pakistani women, forced into marriages and killed for “honor,” can voluntarily participate in anything. Instead, he admitted that he thought Britain would actually have to accept Sharia law.] Britain has no constitutional separation of church and state. The archbishop noted that “the law of the Church of England is the law of the land” there; indeed, ecclesiastical courts that once handled marriage and divorce are still integrated into the British legal system, deciding matters of church property and doctrine. His tentative suggestion was that, subject to the agreement of all parties and the strict requirement of protecting equal rights for women, it might be a good idea to consider allowing Islamic and Orthodox Jewish courts to handle marriage and divorce. [As I noted in an earlier post on the subject, that’s not what he was proposing in his “nuanced” speech. While it’s absolutely true that we in America allow people to resolve disputes privately, whether through arbitration, mediation, rabbinical courts, working with their minister, or confiding to the bartender, these are optional systems. People can avoid these systems, however, and instead choose to go use the ordinary civil and criminal laws of America. These American courts will not apply rabbi-made law, or sharia-law, or bartender’s wisdom. Williams, however, stated that sharia law should be, and I quote, “incorporated into the British legal system” — in other words, there’s no escape. And even worse, while it may first be applied only to Muslims, one can well imagine some PC judge thinking it would be useful to apply it to other Brits, as well.]

Then all hell broke loose. [No surprise there since people seem to have understood what Williams actually said rather than having listened to some PC channel, as Feldman did, where he heard what he wishes Williams had said, rather than what Williams actually said.] From politicians across the spectrum to senior church figures and the ubiquitous British tabloids came calls for the leader of the world’s second largest Christian denomination to issue a retraction or even resign. [Yeah, ’cause he showed himself to be a dupe, a dhimmi and an idiot.] Williams has spent the last couple of years trying to hold together the global Anglican Communion in the face of continuing controversies about ordaining gay priests and recognizing same-sex marriages. [One wonders, in this regard if Feldman or Williams have given any consideration to the fact that, under sharia law, homosexuality is a hanging offense, or at least one deserving of torture (and we know that the torture the sharia clerics contemplate goes beyond have rock music blasted at you or even waterboarding).] Yet little in that contentious battle subjected him to the kind of outcry that his reference to religious courts unleashed. Needless to say, the outrage was not occasioned by Williams’s mention of Orthodox Jewish law. For the purposes of public discussion, it was the word “Shariah” that was radioactive. [Yeah, it was radioactive, because Williams didn’t mention incorporating Orthodox Jewish law into the British system, but he did say, and I quote, that sharia law should be “incorporated into the British legal system.” Does Feldman really think everybody is either as credulous or dishonest about this as he is?]

In some sense, the outrage about according a degree of official status to Shariah in a Western country should come as no surprise. No legal system has ever had worse press. To many, the word “Shariah” conjures horrors of hands cut off, adulterers stoned and women oppressed. [Surprise! Surprise! as Gomer Pyle would say. It’s funny how that happens, although it might be tied to all those silly little news stories about homosexuality being illegal in Muslim countries, with homosexuals routinely tortured and hanged; women killed because they were prevented from leaving burning buildings wrongly clad; women stoned to death for adultery; rape victims executed; women prevented from driving or being seen with men; school teachers arrested and threatened with whipping for naming teddy bears after toddlers; forced marriages; thieves’ hands cut off; slavery; etc. I could fill dozens of lines in this post describing the horrors of life under sharia law, but I think you get the idea.] By contrast, who today remembers that the much-loved English common law called for execution as punishment for hundreds of crimes, including theft of any object worth five shillings or more? How many know that until the 18th century, the laws of most European countries authorized torture as an official component of the criminal-justice system? As for sexism, the common law long denied married women any property rights or indeed legal personality apart from their husbands. When the British applied their law to Muslims in place of Shariah, as they did in some colonies, the result was to strip married women of the property that Islamic law had always granted them — hardly progress toward equality of the sexes. [Is this a stupid argument or what? What he’s saying is that, because in pre-modern times we in the West were just as bad as Islam is today, we are not allowed to judge Islam by modern standards. This is what happens when multi-culturalism takes over. When your country’s current legal system is manifestly superior to another country’s current legal, you’re flogged with your country’s far distant past as a way to shut you up. Last I looked, we in the West don’t have slavery, women have property rights, thieves aren’t hanged, torture isn’t routine, etc. Indeed, I think we can comfortably separate ourselves by more than 150 years from these types of punishments. In strict Muslim countries, they can only separate themselves by a few minutes under the next horror comes along.]

In fact, for most of its history, Islamic law offered the most liberal and humane legal principles available anywhere in the world. [Again, the same stupid argument. That Islam looked good compared to the law in the Middle Ages is a straw man argument. I’m not comparing Islamic law to medieval or even pre-Enlightenment law. I’m comparing it to 21st Century America or Europe.] Today, when we invoke the harsh punishments prescribed by Shariah for a handful of offenses [handful!? Homosexuality; driving; consorting with men; wearing anything but a tent; leaving the house alone; stealing; adultery. In what parallel universe is Feldman living?], we rarely acknowledge the high standards of proof necessary for their implementation. Before an adultery conviction can typically be obtained, for example, the accused must confess four times or four adult male witnesses of good character must testify that they directly observed the sex act. [Somehow this high level of proof hasn’t worked too well for the women standing accused, has it?] The extremes of our own legal system — like life sentences for relatively minor drug crimes, in some cases — are routinely ignored. [Again, a straw man. That our system is not perfect does not relieve the sharia system of its manifest awfulness and abuse.] We neglect to mention the recent vintage of our tentative improvements in family law. [Yeah, but Prof. Feldman — we have improved them. Sharia hasn’t.] It sometimes seems as if we need Shariah as Westerners have long needed Islam: as a canvas on which to project our ideas of the horrible, and as a foil to make us look good. [Don’t you love being psychoanalyzed by an ignorant buffoon?]

I’m exhausted. How many stupid statements and dishonest rhetoric can you pack into just four paragraphs? Feldman does go on to ask an interesting question which is why is sharia law growing in popularity. However, given his rhetorical stance in the first four paragraphs, who can trust his analysis in the rest of the article? I know I can’t. He’s established himself as a confabulator, a trickster, a con artist and an ignoramus. Why would I believe anything he says?

I do know that Islam does tend to be attractive in anarchic places, because it promises stability and tight control. (Witness the rise of the Taliban after the chaos left in the wake of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.) It’s the “strong man” syndrome, except it plays out as the “strong religion” syndrome. That sharia doesn’t deliver on its promises, that it provides a theocratic totalitarianism, coupled with hate-filled rhetoric (aimed at Jews, Israel, America, homosexuals, women, etc.), will never stop the masses from seeking something that they believe will provide them with greater safety with and control over their day to day lives. Also, sharia, unlike our Western legal system, is inextricably intertwined with salvation. If you tell people that their eternal salvation is dependent on following a certain system, no matter how dreadful, and how medieval, that system is, many will do that — as was certainly the case in the ancient world for many thousands of years.

As for Feldman’s basic argument, which is that, if everyone is doing it, it must be okay, it’s manifest that his mother, when he was a child, never asked him that most basic of parenting questions: “If everybody jumped of a cliff, would you jump too?”

Hat tip: JL

UPDATE:  My friend Patrick has written a very interesting post that dovetails nicely with my attack on Feldman’s spurious comparison between pre-modern Western law and current Islamic law.  In it, he both agrees with a Sister Toldjah post and disagrees with it:

My friend Sister Toldjah has a long post up arguing that it is muddle-headed for the political Left to defend Barack Obama’s cozy relationship with an anti-Semitic racialist conspiracy theorist on the grounds that there are kooky pastors on the Right as well. In that thesis, I agree with her completely. From a logical and rhetorical point of view “So’s your mother” and “everybody does it” are bankrupt defenses.

I take issue with other parts of her post, however, because I think she’s too fine a person to carry water for the ignorant likes of megachurch pastor John Hagee. Any man who believes as Hagee does that “the Roman Catholic Church…plunged the world into the Dark Ages,” and thinks Pope Piux XII “never, ever slightly criticized” Adolph Hitler is a bigoted maroon of the first order.

The rest of his post is a spirited defense of the Catholic church in times past.

I think Patrick makes an excellent point, one of which is that information needs to be examined in context.  Looking back from modern times, there are things that we can’t like about the Dark Ages and Medieval church (the burnings, for one thing).  However, we in the modern era stupidly forget that you cannot measure past institutions — especially institutions that flourished in the distant past — against our own times. Instead, you have to measure them against their own times. For example, much as it’s trendy now to praise Druids and other pagan religions, Christianity was light years ahead of the competition if only one for one reason: it stopped human sacrifice. To me, that’s a biggie.

In the same way, it’s utterly ludicrous for Feldman to defend the horrors of certain aspects of sharia law by saying that, once upon a time, we were just as bad.  We aren’t as bad now, but sharia still is.

Something for the multi-culti crowd to chew on

The moral equivalence crowd, the one that says all cultures are created equal, except that non-Western cultures are better than others, is going to have to pretzel itself severely to deal with this one:

Homosexuals deserve to be executed or tortured and possibly both, an Iranian leader told British MPs during a private meeting at a peace conference, The Times has learnt.

Mohsen Yahyavi is the highest-ranked politician to admit that Iran believes in the death penalty for homosexuality after a spate of reports that gay youths were being hanged.

President Ahmadinejad, questioned by students in New York two months ago about the executions, dodged the issue by suggesting that there were no gays in his country.

***

[Some examples of] Sharia’s victims

2005

— Homosexuals Farbod Mostaar and Ahmad Chooka sentenced to death. Iran said Chooka had kidnapped, knifed and raped a student

— A woman called Soghra was sentenced to stoning for adultery and being an accomplice to her husband’s murder

— Two men executed in public after being found guilty of a homosexual relationship. A newspaper said they were convicted of sodomy, rape and kidnapping

— Zhila Izadi, 13, sentenced to stoning after becoming pregnant with her brother’s child

2006

— Malek Ghorbany sentenced to stoning for adultery

— Leila Qomi sentenced to stoning for adultery and assisting a man who killed her husband. He received 100 lashes

2007

— Jafar Kiana stoned for adultery. His female lover Mokarrameh Ebrahimi sentenced to the same fate

Right now, even faced with this stark admission about Iran’s genocidal approach towards homosexuals, the multi-culti governments in Europe are in denial. Even as England is happy to ban Israelis who note, accurately, that Muslims are out to kill Israelis, and to welcome terrorists with open arms, and even as Holland is sending into hiding yet another person who has offended Islam, both England and Holland are working hard to send a teenager back to Iran, where it is almost certain that he will be hanged, as his gay friend and compatriot was last year:

A gay teenager who faces being hanged if sent back to Iran is a step closer to being forced to return today, after the Netherlands followed Britain in refusing his appeal for asylum.

Mehdi Kazemi, 19, came to London to study English in 2005 but says he later discovered that his boyfriend had been arrested by the Iranian police, charged with sodomy and hanged.

He claimed asylum in Britain, saying that he feared for his life if he returned. However, his case was refused late last year, so he fled to the Netherlands.

A Dutch court today, however, ordered him to return to Britain, leaving the teenager once again facing deportation.

According to Iranian human rights campaigners, more than 4,000 gay men and lesbians have been executed since the Ayatollahs seized power in 1979.

Borg Palm, his lawyer, said today that the Dutch court had ruled he could only claim asylum in the UK – but that it was not “totally sure” he would be forced to return to Britain immediately as a European court could temporarily halt the move.

The British and Dutch stance is not surprising. In the world of cognitive dissonance, if you’ve hung your hat on the multi-culti tree, and proudly proclaimed that “they are just like us, only better,” then the fact that contradictory information comes along showing that they are not just like us but are, in fact, cruel and bestial, must be disregarded — and damn the consequences for the innocent.

Multiculturalism — you’ve got to love it, since it takes false facts and erroneous principles, and out of all those falsities manages to create real death and pain.

British think tank lambasts soggy British multiculturalism as petri dish for terrorism

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for England. I adore British history, especially because I’ve always admired its trajectory towards true enlightenment. It had all the bad qualities of other European nations — serfs, Crusades, slavery, inhumane work conditions, etc. — but it always seemed to shake them off sooner than the others. It created a legal and political system that served as the model for our own, and that created unprecedented rights among citizens. And it held off Hitler all by itself for more than two years before America started to help.  I also spent a delightful year living there, but that sojourn was in a time before England started, not just to go down the drain, but to hurl herself down the drain. In that regard, the title of this post really says it all. Here’s a part of the news story about Britain’s decline and imminent fall:

Britain has become a “soft touch” for home grown terrorists because ministers have failed to tackle immigrant communities that refuse to integrate, warns a report released today.

The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a body of the country’s leading military and diplomatic figures, says the loss of British values and national identity caused by “flabby and bogus” Government thinking has made the country vulnerable to attack from Islamic extremists.

Britain has become a ‘soft touch’ for home grown terrorists, a report warns
MI5 estimates that there are currently about 2,000 active terror supporters in Britain

“Misplaced” policies on multiculturalism have failed to “lay down the line” to immigrants, leading to a fragmented society opposed by “implacable” terrorist enemies, the report says.

The stark warning – which comes just days after the Archbishop of Canterbury was plunged into a row over the adoption of sharia, or Islamic law, in Britain – will embarrass the Government.

RUSI, whose patron is the Queen, is one of the most respected and long-established defence research organisations in the world.

Gordon Brown, who is due to unveil his national security policy next week, has described the think-tank as “leading the debate about homeland security and global terrorism”.

[snip]

“The UK presents itself as a target, as a fragmenting, post-Christian society,” the report says, and is “increasingly divided” on its history, national aims, values and political identity.

“That fragmentation is worsened by the firm self-image of those elements within it who refuse to integrate.”

The report places most of the blame for this on a “lack of leadership from the majority, which, in misplaced deference to ‘multiculturalism’, failed to lay down the line to immigrant communities, thus undercutting those within them trying to fight extremism”.

“The country’s lack of self-confidence is in stark contrast to the implacability of its Islamist terrorist enemy, within and without.
“We look like a soft touch. We are indeed a soft touch, from within and without.”

The report also accuses ministers of “flabby and bogus strategic thinking” which has led to public money being spent in “perverse ways”.

“All this has contributed to a more severe erosion of the links of confidence and support between the British people, their government and Britain’s security and defence forces, than for many years,” it says.

You can and should read the whole thing here.

More gold in Goldberg *UPDATED*

I’m still enjoying every page of Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, and I thought I’d share with you a few more points that I thought either summed up perfectly something most of us have already figured out or explained why I’d been suffering from cognitive dissonance for so long trying to understand the liberal historic paradigms offered up in college and beyond.

I think Goldberg has summed up as well as anyone can the liberal view of race, and the liberal view of conservatives vis a vis race. Here is his summary of liberals and race:

Even on the liberal left [as opposed to the black supremacist left, which speaks in terms surprisingly reminiscent of Nazi racial ideology], where the poisonous notions are far more diluted, it is axiomatic that there is something inherently and distinctly good about blacks. How so? Well, it must be so. If you buy into the various doctrines of multiculturalism and identity politics you already believe that blackness is distinct, immutable, and unchanging. Once you accept this logic — and the left obviously does — you are then left with a fairly simple choice. If race is not neutral, if “race matters,” as Cornell West says, then how does it matter? Given the choice between assigning a positive value or a negative value, liberals opt for the positive. (p. 278.)

Conservatives, on the other hand, tend to believe race is a matter of skin color. They keep in mind two important historic phrases: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” and “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” This is what Goldberg calls “race neutrality.” How is it that an outlook that says race doesn’t matter routinely gets transformed into cries of “racist”? Jonah answers that question too:

There are only three basic positions. There is the racism of the left, which seeks to use the state to help favored minorities that it regards as morally superior. There is racial neutrality, which is, or has become, the conservative position. And then there is some form of “classical racism” — that is, seeing blacks as inferior in some way. According to the left, only one of these positions isn’t racist. Race neutrality is racist. Racism is racist. So what’s left? Nothing except liberalism. In other words, agree with liberals and you’re not racist. Of course, if you adopt color blindness as a policy, many fair-minded liberals will tell you that while you’re not personally racist, your views “perpetuate” racism. And some liberals will stand by the fascist motto: if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Either way, there are no safe harbors from liberal ideology. Hence, when it comes to race, liberalism has become a kind of soft totalitarianism and multiculturalism the mechanism for a liberal Gleichschaltung. If you fall outside the liberal consensus, you are either evil or an abettor of evil. This is the logic of the Volksgemeinschaft in politicaly correct jargon. (p. 283.)

Goldberg also explains why I’ve always suffered from cognitive dissonance when being told that the Nazis were capitalist fat cats, so that people who believe in capitalism, and don’t view corporations as enemies, are fascists. This clashed head on with a few things I knew about Nazis: they hated capitalism, which is part of why they loathed Jews; they were socialists; they semi-nationalized most industries; and they were a populist movement that started with the Volk in Munich. As to this last, they were very hostile to aristocrats (who created the group that came up with the plot to assassinate Hitler) and industrialists. Those aristos and industrialists who became ardent Nazis did so because they shared its antisemitism and its Aryan racism, or because they saw that the Nazi nation was a profitable entity, with a good government trough. All that being the case, why did Nazism, and therefore “fascism,” get tied up with capitalism? Here’s why:

Doctrinaire Marxism-Leninism defined fascism as “the most reactionary and openly terrorist form of the dictatorship of finance capital, established by the imperialistic bourgeoisie to break the resistance of the working class and all the progressive elements of society.” Trotsky, an admirer of Mussolini’s, conceded that fascism was a “plebian movement in origin” but that it was always “directed and financed by big capitalist powers.” This interpretation was foreordained because by the 1920s communists were convinced that they were witnessing capitalism’s long overdue collapse. Marxist prophecy held that the capitalists would fight back to protect their interests rather than face extinction in the new socialist era. [The Marxist version of the “left behind” theory, I guess.] When fascism succeeded in Italy, communist seers simply declared, “This is it!” At the Fourth Congress of the Communist International in 1922, less than a month after the March on Rome — long before Mussolini consolidated power — the assembled communists settled on this interpretation with little debate over the actual facts on the ground. (p. 286-287.)

In other words, because Marxism assumed that there would be a last gasp of capitalism before the inevitable communist take-over, and because fascism appeared when the Marxist chronology had dictated that this last gasp would occur, therefore fascism was the last gasp of capitalism — a false syllogism if I ever heard one. It sure does explain, though, why I never could make head nor tail of the line taught me at Berkeley — namely, that fascism is simply capitalism carried to the extreme.

And my last Goldberg point for now has to do with a rather charming irony. Do you remember liberal outrage that Cheney sat down with industry leaders to draft rules governing the industry? (And for the life of me, sitting here this morning, I can’t remember which industry it was that Cheney had the termerity to meet with.) It turns out that the close relationship between big industry and government is a long and honorable progressive tradition, one that began even before Wilson’s ultimate progressive WWI government. Goldberg explains that big industry originally encouraged government regulation for an anticompetitive purpose — it knew that small players couldn’t afford to keep up with government requirements. For example, when Upton Sinclair wrote his famous 1906 muckraking book The Jungle, about the meatpacking industry, he was being just a bit disingenuous:

The problem is that it’s [the liberal myth that progressive government forced unwilling corporations to become humane] totally untrue, a fact Sinclair freely acknowledged. “The Federal inspection of meat was, historically, established at the packers’ request,” Sinclair wrote in 1906. “It is maintained and paid for by the people of the United States for the benefit of the packers.” (p. 291.)

Originally, government was hostile to this kind of thing, because it was meant for anti-competitive purposes. However, when Wilson, the first progressive took the White House and was able to use WWI to begin his experiments, he immediately set about controlling big business — and big business went along with it, believing that it would drive out competition and increase profits:

Big business and the Wilson administration formed the Council of National Defense, or CND, according to Wilson, for the purpose of redesigning “the whole industrial mechanism . . . in the most effective way.” “It is our hope,” Hudson Motor Car Company’s Howard Coffin explained in a letter to the Du Ponts “that we may lay the foundation for that closely knit structure, industrial, civil, and military, which every thinking American has come to realize is vital to the future life of this country, in peace and in commence, no less than in possible war.”

When the war broke out, the CND was largely folded into the War Industries Board, or WIB. Run by the “dollar-a-year-men” from the world of finance and business, the WIB set prices, trade quotas, wages, and, of course, profits. Trade associations were formed along vaguely syndicalist lines. “Business willed its own domination, forged its bonds, and policed its own subjection,” wrote Grosvenor Clarkson, a WIBer and historian of the effort. The aim was for the “concentration of commerce, industry and all the powers of government.” “Historians have generally concluded,” writes Robert Higgs, “that these businessmen-turned-bureaucrats used their positions to establish and enforce what amounted to cartel arrangements for the various industries.” (p. 293.)

As Goldberg repeatedly states throughout his book, when Roosevelt’s New Deal came along, there was nothing “new” about it. Almost without exception, its policies simply resurrected the policies that Wilson had put into place during WWI. One of these policies should remind you of the infamous Cheney/industry meeting:

The propaganda of the New Deal — “malefactors of great wealth” and all that — to the contrary, FDR simply endeavored to re-create the corporatism of the last war. The New Dealers invited one industry after another to wrote the codes under which they would be regulated (as they had been begging to do in many case). (p. 293; emphasis mine.)

In other words, Cheney was doing nothing more or less than aping the Left’s idol — FDR.

If you can get a hold of a copy of Goldberg’s book, I really urge you to read it. As I noted before, it will explain how liberals ended up where they are, and why it’s the conservatives who wrongly get the pejorative label “fascist.”

UPDATE: It seemed appropriate to include in this post three links to good discussions about Obama and the race card, since it seems very likely that, if Obama is the Democratic candidate, anyone who does not vote for him will be castigated as a racist and, if he loses, the entire nation will be called to account for that “shame.” Article 1 is at Cheat-Seeking Missiles, Article 2 is at Commentary Magazine’s blog, and Article 3 is Charles Sykes, writing at American Thinker.

In the same vein, I had an interesting conversation with my mother, who gets her news solely from MSM television. She agreed with me that Obama lacks any meaningful experience, that he’s untried, and that he’s basically an empty shirt. She also agreed that his political positions do not represent the view of all Americans — and possibly represent the views of fewer than half of all Americans. Nevertheless, she then announced that if Obama loses, it will be because Middle America is racist and will not vote for a black. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a map of the US with me, because I think she forgot where Iowa is. My Mom is an intelligent, humane woman with a lot of common sense. Her take on Barack Obama, though, shows how even the best mind can start showing signs of cognitive dissonance if it is exposed to nothing more than the MSM.

UPDATE II: I read the Charles Sykes (American Thinker) article after I’d had the conversation with my mother and after I’d written about the conversation, above. I think Sykes must have been eavesdropping on my conversation, though, or looking over my shoulder as I blogged:

A central tenet of modern liberalism, after all, is the unshakeable conviction that white American is deeply and irredeemably racist. For three decades, America’s white liberals have invested in the belief that American is so incapable of racial fairness that society needs a panoply of laws, preferences, quotas, set-asides, and remedial programs to ensure that black people are treated fairly.

All of those policies are fundamentally based on the belief that America is deeply racist, that their fellow Americans are personally biased and institutionally prejudiced — consciously and unconsciously, intentionally and structurally; racist in history and practice.

It follows that many race-holding liberals will be among the last to believe that America will ever elect an African-American as president.

White liberals face this cognitive dissonance: if they decide that America is ready for a black president and back Obama they would also be forced to surrender or at least modify decades of convictions about American bias.

Taking turning the other cheek too far

I won’t go into the genesis of the teddy bear kerfuffle, because I assume you know all about it, including the fact that a Sudanese court imprisoned a British woman for 15 days for naming a teddy bear Muhammad, an insult that apparently has the prophet rolling in his grave.

The teacher claims, with corroboration, that she named the bear after a student of the same name. It’s not surprising that she had a student of the same name, since it is the most popular boys’ name in the Muslim world. It kind of leaves you wondering whether it’s an insult to the Prophet if boys sharing his name go off and do bad things, really bad Muslim things like drinking alcohol.  Should they be killed for demeaning the Prophet’s name? This whole event is a reminder, if any is needed, that Islam is a weak and paranoid religion that cannot sustain itself through the strength of its ideas, but only through fear and intimidation (or, at least, that’s the way it perceives itself as seen through its own doctrine and conduct).

Anyway, all of the above is a digression.  What I really wanted to comment on is what the teacher’s son said in the wake of her 15 day sentence in a Sudanese prison for mis-naming a toy:

Her son, John, from Liverpool, has not yet been allowed to telephone her but was hoping to fly out to Sudan to visit her as soon as a visa could be arranged.

He stress that British people angered by his mother’s jail sentence should not turn against Muslims.

“I don’t not want this to lead to any anti-Muslims feeling in this country.

“Everyone has been very nice, we have had a lot of support from Muslims in Britain, in Sudan and across the world.

My fear, and one of my mother’s fears, is that this will result in resentment towards Muslim people. That is something I really hope does not happen and I am sure my mum feels the same way.” (Emphasis mine.)

Does John really believe that pandering statement or is he just saying it because his mother is being held hostage? I have to believe he means it, because he could just as easily have said nothing at all. Instead, when confronted with a religion that doctrinally requires his mother’s death, either directly or through flogging, he’s decided to say that nobody should think twice about the connection between his mother’s ordeal and Islam.

While I think John is right to point to those Muslims who have been supportive, the highlighted language in his little press statement is an invitation to ignore a serious problem in the world today — namely, that Muslim doctrine and practices are about 1,000 years out of step with the rest of the world. (And if you need any more evidence of that, just check out the obligatory Muslim mob.)

The disconnect between non-Muslims in Britain, as exemplified by John’s fatuous statement, and Muslims in Britain cannot be overemphasized:

Poll shows Muslims in Britain are the most anti-western in Europe

Public opinion in Britain is mostly favourable towards Muslims, but the feeling is not requited by British Muslims, who are among the most embittered in the western world, according to a global poll published yesterday.

The poll, by the Washington-based Pew Global Attitudes Project, asked Muslims and non-Muslims about each other in 13 countries. In most, it found suspicion and contempt to be mostly mutual, but uncovered a significant mismatch in Britain.

The poll found that 63% of all Britons had a favourable opinion of Muslims, down slightly from 67% in 2004, suggesting last year’s London bombings did not trigger a significant rise in prejudice. Attitudes in Britain were more positive than in the US, Germany and Spain (where the popularity of Muslims has plummeted to 29%), and about the same as in France.

Less than a third of British non-Muslims said they viewed Muslims as violent, significantly fewer than non-Muslims in Spain (60%), Germany (52%), the US (45%) and France (41%).

By contrast, the poll found that British Muslims represented a “notable exception” in Europe, with far more negative views of westerners than Islamic minorities elsewhere on the continent. A significant majority viewed western populations as selfish, arrogant, greedy and immoral. Just over half said westerners were violent. While the overwhelming majority of European Muslims said westerners were respectful of women, fewer than half British Muslims agreed. Another startling result found that only 32% of Muslims in Britain had a favourable opinion of Jews, compared with 71% of French Muslims.

Across the board, Muslim attitudes in Britain more resembled public opinion in Islamic countries in the Middle East and Asia than elsewhere in Europe. And on the whole, British Muslims were more pessimistic than those in Germany, France and Spain about the feasibility of living in a modern society while remaining devout.

I understand the above to mean that, while John is joining with your average Briton in saying that Islam had nothing to do with what is happening with his mother, it’s almost certain that your average Muslim in Britain, rather than agreeing with him, would be happy to join the Sudanese mob baying for her blood.

As long as a country seems to be constitutionally incapable of recognizing a problem, it cannot deal with that problem, and it will die.  In other words, denial isn’t just a Muslim controlled river in Egypt.

What I hope is that when Gibbons is safely released, she denounces what happened in the strongest terms.  What I suspect is that, either because she is given over to PC indoctrination or because she is afraid of future assassination, she will say only nice things about a religion that wants only the worst for the West.

The multi-culti, anti-whitie, anti-Christ-ie classroom

Multiculturalism is one of those concepts that’s supposed to give all of us a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling. We’re all equal, we’re all wonderful. We’re no longer that icky old melting pot that forced minorities with exciting, dynamic cultures to subordinate themselves to a generic white America and become bland and meaningless. Instead, we’re an exciting salad bowl, with each disparate element lending color and punch to a healthy whole. It really does make for a wonderful vision, doesn’t it?

But what turns out to happen when you don’t encourage a dominate culture is that the separate ingredients in the salad bowl get testy and restive. The tomatoes start to disparage the lettuce, and no one will associate with the onions. Because they’re not forced to blend together, each thinks he or she is better than the others. The one thing those ingredients know for a certainty, though, because they’re taught so at our taxpayer funded schools, is that America is a bad place, and that traditional Americans — read: White Christians — are the problem.

The above is not just clever (I hope), opinionated writing. It is, in part, an amalgam of information I’ve been picking up over the years. It’s also a reflection of the type of workshops being taught this week at the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) convention in Baltimore:

School board members ought to be particularly interested, because they approve the doling out of taxpayers’ money for K-12 teachers from every state to attend the NAME convention.

They ought to be welcome to sit in on any of the workshops and determine what multicultural messages their teachers are absorbing for use in the classroom.

The co-sponsors of multiculturalism’s biggest gathering include several beneficiaries of tax money, including the Maryland affiliate of the National Education Association (a longtime NAME ally), George Mason University and even the Maryland State Department of Education.

School board members could start by attending one of the half- or full-day workshops on Halloween. Here are some of the choices from the NAME program:

• “The Unbearable Whiteness of Being: Dismantling White Privilege and Supporting Anti-Racist Education in Our Classrooms and Schools.” Taught by a professor from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, this session “is designed to help educators identify and deconstruct their own white privilege and in so doing more deeply commit themselves to anti-racist teaching and critical multicultural teaching.”

• “Talking About Religious Oppression and Unpacking Christian Privilege.” This session, taught by a team of professors, “will examine the dynamics of Christian privilege and oppression of minority religious groups and nonbelievers as constructed and maintained on three distinct levels: individual, institutional and societal. A historical and legal lecturette will be presented and participants will engage in interactive learning modules.”

• “Beyond Celebrating Diversity: Teaching Teachers How to be Critical Multicultural Educators.” Taught by NAME regional director Paul Gorski, founder of the activist group EdChange, this session will start from the premise that multiculturalism’s greatest danger “comes from educators who ostensibly support its goals, but whose work – cultural plunges, food fairs, etc. – reflects a compassionate conservative consciousness rather than social justice. This session focuses on preparing teachers, not for celebrating diversity, but for achieving justice in schools and society.”

Workshops at NAME annual conventions (six of which I have attended since 1993) repeatedly advocate the teaching of “social justice.” That term never seems to be defined, but its users simplify all American life as a saga of the oppressed vs. the oppressors. Skin color, national origin, gender, religion and sexual preference are among the qualities that put all individuals into one category or the other.

You can be assured that these ugly concepts don’t stay confined to weekend boondoggles in Baltimore.  My daughter came home from school the other day and gave me a cheerful lecture about what wonderful environmentalists the Indians were, unlike the Americans, who trashed the environment.  I, in turn, felt obliged to give her a little talk about the fact that the Indians were not an industrial people, which accounted for their low level footprint.  We also talked about numbers of Indians versus space and resources.

More than that, I reminded her that Native Americans were and are people like any other people:  some good, some bad, some strong, some weak, some thoughtful, some thoughtless, etc.  I urged her to remember that, when the Native Americans are presented as nothing but good, that this is just how the schools like to teach things, and that an intelligent student remembers that the true picture is always richer and much more rounded — and, frankly, more interesting.  The fact that saints can be boring explains why so many stories, from earliest history to the present, like to start out with the saint as a sinner who finds redemption.

Hat tip: Mike Devx

This is what multiculturalism can produce

I’m not saying this is the inevitable by-product of multiculturalism, but it’s very clear that, as to one Scottish young man, he failed completely to acquire a European/Scottish/British identity:

A British-born Muslim student has been jailed for eight years for a series of Islamist terrorism offences.

Mohammed Atif Siddique, 21, a shopkeeper’s son who has been described as Scotland’s first homegrown terrorist, was convicted last month of possessing and distributing terrorist material via websites.

He provided training material on bomb-making and the use of weapons, threatened to become a suicide bomber and showed fellow-students videos of beheadings and suicide bombers.

He was described during his trial as a “wannabe suicide bomber, and told friends that Osama Bin Laden was his god.

Police also believe that Siddique, from Alva, Clackmannanshire, may have been planning to take part in a series of al-Qa’eda inspired attacks planned in Canada when he was detained at Glasgow Airport en route to Pakistan.

Lord Carloway told Siddique at the High Court in Edinburgh: “You told fellow college students that you intended to become a terrorist and one of your targets would be central Glasgow.

“You told them also that you were going to be trained in order to achieve status as a suicide bomber.

Switzerland in decline

As you may recall, about 10 months ago, when I returned from a European vacation, one of the things I blogged about was Switzerland as part of a larger post I did about Europe’s changing face:

A train conversation with an unusually sweet lady in Switzerland resulted in my learning (correctly or not) that Switzerland, the country that was once the most rigorous in the world about protecting its national identity, is now made up of 25% immigrants, which a huge block having arrived illegally from Africa and Turkey. She says that these latter, illegal immigrants, are responsible for a dramatic increase in drugs and crime. Her report gained credibility in my mind when, the moment I got off the train and onto the street, I saw African immigrants selling drugs and counterfeit goods around the train station. (You’ll see precisely the same in Rome and Paris.)

Then, yesterday, RD kindly directed my attention to a post in the Brussels Journal that adds hard facts to the impression I gained and to the (accurate) information that nice lady gave me. In it, Takuan Seiyo bemoans the vanishing Switzerland he knew as a young man, a Switzerland famous to all of us through the Heidi books.  Here’s the “before” he describes:

Switzerland used to have some of the toughest high school graduation requirements in the world. Just a generation ago it was unthinkable that the fabled educational system produce a specimen so dense, or that such a person find employment at the front desk of a major hotel. But then, since the blatant negligence in Zurich’s flight control system caused the July 1, 2002 mid-air collision of two aircraft, killing all 71 aboard, Switzerland, and the world at large, have known that something has gone wrong with the storied mainspring of this country.

***

Switzerland has been a haven for foreigners at least since the Roman emperor Vespasian’s father lived and worked there as a banker. With each wave of religious repressions in Europe, Christian reformers from Jean Calvin to John Knox found refuge there, and their followers — particularly the Huguenots who settled around Lake Geneva — greatly enriched Switzerland with their talents and industry.

The annals of Switzerland’s industrial might are full of foreign names that built fabled Swiss industries. The Nestle of Nestle came here from Germany, and the Patek of Patek Philippe came from Poland. Davidoff’s eponymous founder was a Ukrainian, and Switzerland’s most dynamic business tycoon, the founder of Swatch, Nicolas Hayek, was born in Lebanon.

Similarly, the world’s record of cultural achievement could not have been the same but for Swiss hospitality to deserving foreigners. Voltaire and Rousseau were Swiss residents, as were Hegel and Nietzsche. So were Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner, Edward Gibbon and Thomas Mann, James Joyce and Jorge Louis Borges, Vladimir Nabokov and Charles Chaplin, Rudolf Diesel and Albert Einstein.

Seiyo also makes mention of the hardworking conservatism that used to characterize the Swiss Cantons.

Then, something happened:

A spirit of judicious national hospitality has degenerated here into a naïve openness to nondiscriminating diversity. And numbers are of the essence.

As Swiss post-war prosperity grew, so has it demand for working hands, and its disincentives to native labor due to ever-growing entitlements. The great influx of foreign labor started in the 60s, and it worked spectacularly well. Italian waiters, and  Spanish or Portuguese seasonal workers, and Serb engineers and secretaries did their jobs well, paid their taxes, respected law and order, meshed reasonably well in the culture, and either sprouted roots and were allowed to naturalize, or returned to their home countries, there to enjoy their pot of Swiss earnings.

But the West’s toxins were seeping in. Since the 1970s, feminism, leftism, neurotic self-loathing, boredom with the staid Swiss lifestyle, material plenty with a deep safety net, have undermined traditional Swiss virtues such as prudence, circumspection, respect for tradition, patriotism, self-reliance, devolution of power, and a fanatical devotion to quality work.

Switzerland succumbed to statism, with the liberal-left activities of the federal government undermining the proud conservatism of many of the cantons that make up the Swiss Confederation. The Swiss public sector has grown proportionately larger than in any other developed country, and the country of erstwhile hard work and thrift is now classified as an “extreme welfare state” (Fn. omitted).

Where welfare is lavish, the young lose their motivation to study and work. Swiss cities are now home to needle parks and throngs of body-pierced native imbeciles aping the worst of America’s pop excretions. And where left-liberalism is the guiding beam, Western culture ails, discrimination between values and qualities ends, and grinding chaos starts. And so began Switzerland’s devaluation of its unique cultural identity, and its undoing of the population demographics to which this identity has been bound for 800 years.

What the above means is that, in lieu of Heidi’s pristine little country, you have what can generously be characterized as a disastrous mess.  Here are only some of the statistics that now define modern Switzerland:

Last year, there were 639 rapes in Switzerland. 309 of the 489 identified perpetrators, i.e. over 63%, were foreigners.

198 homicides were committed in Switzerland in 2006 (fn. omitted). Of the 226 identified perpetrators, 51% were foreigners. There were 9272 assaults with bodily damage and 8568 identified assailants. Almost 50% of the assailants were Swiss residents of foreign extraction. (fn. omitted)

All these and statistics on kidnappings, theft, burglary etc —- all the specialty of foreigners– may be gleaned in the 2006 Statistical Report on Crime, issued by the Swiss Federal Police.

The term “Foreigners” includes the foreign-born as well as the Swiss-born children of such foreigners. Switzerland does not grant birthright citizenship. In this, and in its tough naturalization requirements, Switzerland remains, in some ways, the last remaining outpost of sanity in the Western world.

As there seem to be no accessible statistics as to who the criminal “foreigners” are, one has to build a mosaic picture out of the little bits and pieces that are available.

It is common knowledge here that Albanians and other European Muslims commit crimes far out of proportion to their numbers; indeed, I have been told of muggings and rapes of hikers on pristine mountain trails, committed by gangs of Albanians, Kosovars or Macedonians. The names one reads in drug and smuggling arrest reports are usually Balkan-Muslim or Turkish.

But the Swiss government, let alone the PC-bound press, is not forthcoming with clear detail. Indeed, it muddles national origin distinctions, lest “uncomfortable” facts transpire. Thus the Federal Department of Justice and Police ordered a study of delinquency and nationality that found in 2001 a criminal conviction rate about 12 times higher among asylum seekers (4%), and twice as high (0.6%) among other resident foreigners, compared to Swiss citizens (0.3%).

Given the enormous share of crime by Third World asylum seekers, one would think that a wide consensus existed to shut down this and other immigration-related gates to dystopia. But Switzerland is as PC-bound and multiculti handicapped, as confused about its identity, as the rest of the West is. It shares with the West also a tacit sense of guilt about the fate of Europe’s Jews in World War 2, to whom Switzerland refused to provide a refuge from Hitler. It has not been explained how admitting to Switzerland over 300 thousands mostly primitive and Jew-hating Muslims can expiate for indifference to the Nazi slaughter of the Jewish kin of Einstein, Freud, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Wittgenstein, von Neumann, von Mises, and von Stroheim.

Seiyo places the blame for this chaos on the elites, who cheerfully hew to their PC, multi-cultural pieties, despite the degradation of their nation and the groaning of their people.  Unsurprisingly, as you’ve probably read, there is beginning to be a backlash, with a strongly nationalist party on the uprise.  And, since anything other than hardcore Leftism has always been stomped on in Europe, the backlash has an extreme quality to it.  After all, the ruling class never allowed more moderate movements to grow.

The whole article (and there’s much more than I quoted above) is fascinating and depressing, and it gives a solid factual core to my own depressing observations of last year:  namely, that the doomsaying pundits who keep talking about about a vanishing Europe — by which they mean a Europe that is no longer European — are right.  If you don’t like a European Europe, it’s a good thing; if you think that Europe, even though it brought some of the worst to the world (think Nazis), also brought some of the highest and best to the world, it’s a very saddening thing to have to watch.

An interesting movie review & what it says about American culture

There’s a new movie out about “homegrown religious fundamentalists who kill in the name of God” — and Manolah Dargis, who writes movie reviews at The New York Times really wants to like it. You’ve got to admire Manolah. After all, who in America doesn’t want a solid documentary about the homegrown Western Islamists who are engaging in an ever escalating kill cycle. I want to learn more about the very British boys who blew up 52 people and injured 700 others in 2005. Or about Lee Malvo and John Allen Muhammad, who killed 10 people and wounded 3 more in Washington D.C. And it would be interesting to get more information about the recent German discovery of a major plot to target American interests in that country, with one of the arrestees being a German man who had converted to Islam.

Frankly, I admire a Times journalist who appreciates a movie like this. It’s probably a good movie even if it doesn’t touch upon the homegrown terrorists in Iraq who are responsible for thousands of Iraqi deaths, or the homegrown terrorists in Bali who are responsible for hundreds of Balinese deaths, or the homegrown terrorists in the Philippines who are responsible for hundreds of Filipino deaths, or the homegrown terrorists all over Africa who are responsible for hundreds of thousands of African deaths, etc.

Wait! Gosh! I’m am sorry. Ignore everything I just said. I got so excited by the first sentence in Dargis’ review, and made so many assumptions about it, that (a) I didn’t read the rest of the review and (b) I read the first sentence wrong. Here’s what the first sentence of the review really says: “The first thing you should know about the documentary ‘Lake of Fire’ — an unblinking look at the violent fight over abortion in the United States, including those homegrown religious fundamentalists who kill in the name of God — is that it was made in black and white.” The terrorists Dargis is talking about are the people who target abortion clinics.

Now, before I get to the real review, about the real movie, let me riff a little about the attacks on abortion clinics. They were and are inexcusable and do indeed manifest the same religious craziness that characterizes the Islamists. Even if you believe abortion to be profoundly wrong and murderous, the people who work at abortion clinics are acting lawfully. In any civilized country, if you have a problem with legal acitivty, you don’t kill people, you work to change the law. That is, those who bomb clinics or kill doctors are no better than any other criminal. But the thing to keep in mind about the anti-abortion activists who went violent is that the heyday of that kind of violence is over.

Between 1993 and 1998, three doctors and four clinic workers were brutally murdered in four shooting incidents and a clinic bombing. There have been no killings since then. According to statistics kept by the National Abortion Federation, most violent acts have declined dramatically or vanished entirely in the last decade. Between 1977 and 2000, there were 17 acts of attempted murder. There apparently have been no attempted murders since then. The last, very isolated, bombing was in 2001, with bombings peaking before 1991. There are still random acts of arson but only 6% have occurred in the 21st Century. That doesn’t mean people aren’t still trying, but they’re trying less: while there have been a total of 93 attempted bombings and arsons since 1971, only 16% took place in this century. All the numbers are like that (declining) except for one — trespassing, which has increased dramatically. My suspicion is that what the NAF calls “trespassing” is what is reported in the papers as “picketing. ” That is, in lieu of violence, abortion opponents have opted for nonviolent protest instead.

Most importantly, the acts of violence come from loners. Every major anti-abortion organization condemns violence and the decline in violence means that their voices are the ones dictating conduct in the field. To the extent there is a violent arm of the abortion rights movement, it is small, discredited and increasingly ineffective. In this regard, the abortion rights movement is the exact opposite of the Islamic jihad movement which is encouraged from the top, which has almost no voices from within Islam speaking against it, and which is growing ever more aggressively violent. Keep those facts in mind as you read the rest of this post about the movie review.

The movie is a British 2006 documentary called Lake of Fire. One of the movie’s strengths, says Dargis, is that it interviews “heavyweights like Noam Chomsky” to make more “sober points” (presumably, given Chomskey’s presence, sober points about how bad the anti-abortion crowd is). These sober points are necessary because, in Dargis’ view, the filmmaker commits the unforgivable sin of showing abortion. Having teased you above with mere clauses and sentences from the review, let me give you the first three paragraphs, in full, including Dargis’ honestly stated reaction:

The first thing you should know about the documentary “Lake of Fire” — an unblinking look at the violent fight over abortion in the United States, including those homegrown religious fundamentalists who kill in the name of God — is that it was made in black and white. This is critical. Because the other thing you should know about this fascinating, discomfiting, at times unpleasant, confused and confusing film is that it sets off extremely graphic images of actual abortions against a notorious photograph of a woman who died after an illegal motel room abortion, visuals that are inflammatory if, for the most part, also germane.

Not everyone will agree about the abortion visuals, including, perhaps, those who worry that such explicit imagery can speak louder than any pro-abortion-rights argument. It’s an understandable concern. Because they are filmed (the dead woman is immortalized in a still photograph), the abortions are unnerving, which is why I suggest that the faint of heart skip the rest of this paragraph. After the first operation, a second-trimester abortion, the doctor sorts through a tray of fetal parts, including a perfect-looking tiny hand and a foot, to make sure that nothing has been left inside the patient, which might lead to poisoning or even death. The doctor then holds up the severed fetal head. One eerily bulging eye looks as if it’s staring into the camera and somehow at us.

My initial and admittedly angry first thought about these images was that the director, Tony Kaye, was just resorting to shock tactics. The film doesn’t employ narration or on-screen texts that reveal his views on abortion; instead, there are 152 minutes of talking-head testimonials, on-the-street interviews and archival and new visuals. This means that you have to pay extra-special attention to his filmmaking choices, to the way he juxtaposes sights and sounds and who gets to speak and when.

It is in this context that Dargis expresses gratitude for the fact that such Leftist heavyweights as Noam Chomskey and Peter Singer inject their ideas into the film. Incidentally, for those of you who know Chomskey, but not Singer, Singer is the Princeton ethicist who created the modern animal rights movement (PETA-style); who believes parents should have a 30 day window within which to euthanize less than perfect newborns; and who thinks bestiality is okay, provided that the cow consents.

Anyway, after this start, the rest of the review is a muddled mess about context and images and credibility. You can read it yourself, but you won’t learn anything.

For me, the review highlighted, not just the Left’s, but everyone’s unwillingness to look unpleasantness in the face. We no longer live a raw life. People don’t die at home, they die neatly in hospitals. Criminals aren’t hanged in public spectacles, they’re dispatched in quiet, clinical rooms. As a squeamish type, I don’t generally mind, but it does seem to me that it interferes with our ability to understand just how bad things can be. With the Iraq War, our dead or their dead are filmed discretely from afar, both out of respect for the family’s of American soldiers and for fear that it could inflame things.

But maybe people need to be inflamed. One of the fascinating things about Ken Burns’ show “The War” is the newsreel footage he shows, both from the late 1930s and the 1940s. Keeping in mind that this was an era when married couples were not shown sleeping in the same bed and when the word “pregnant” was considered practically obscene, I would have expected the news footage to be equally discrete. Surprisingly, it wasn’t. Starting in 1938 and throughout the war, the newsreels people saw in theaters graphically showed victims of the Nazis, the Japanese and the Italians. Whether dead or dying, there they were, skeletal bodies, whose missing heads, gaping wounds, or other terrible war injuries and insults were caught for eternity in black and white. Even more shocking to a modern American, audiences got to see equally horrible images of Allied soldiers too.

I think that the old-time filmmakers showed these images because they could predict the audience reaction: when the audience saw the horrors of war visited on the innocent and the Allies, they would be outraged at the perpetrators; and when they saw the horrors visited on the Axis powers, they would feel self-righteous vindication. Nowadays, we can’t be sure how people will react and, in the mainstream media, I think the Powers That Be are worried that people might in fact react precisely as they did in the late 1930s and the War years: with outrage at the deaths Islamists inflict, whether these deaths are civilian or military; and with grim satisfaction over the deaths of these same Islamists. And you certainly can’t have that type of reaction, since it is the antithesis of the multi-culti, PC thinking that has been drilled into us for so many years.

The lunacy of pretending we’re all one big happy family

This is the beginning of yet another must-read Mark Steyn column:

This year I marked the anniversary of Sept. 11 by driving through Massachusetts. It wasn’t exactly planned that way, just the way things panned out. So, heading toward Boston, I tuned to Bay State radio talk-show colossus Howie Carr and heard him reading out portions from the official address to the 9/11 commemoration ceremony by Deval Patrick, who is apparently the governor of Massachusetts: 9/11, said Gov. Patrick, “was a mean and nasty and bitter attack on the United States.”

“Mean and nasty”? He sounds like an oversensitive waiter complaining that John Kerry’s sent back the aubergine coulis again. But evidently that’s what passes for tough talk in Massachusetts these days – the shot heard around the world and so forth. Anyway, Gov. Patrick didn’t want to leave the crowd with all that macho cowboy rhetoric ringing in their ears, so he moved on to the nub of his speech: 9/11, he continued, “was also a failure of human beings to understand each other, to learn to love each other.”

I was laughing so much I lost control of the wheel, and the guy in the next lane had to swerve rather dramatically. He flipped me the Universal Symbol of Human Understanding. I certainly understood him, though I’m not sure I could learn to love him. Anyway, I drove on to Boston and pondered the governor’s remarks. He had made them, after all, before an audience of 9/11 families: Six years ago, two of the four planes took off from Logan Airport, and so citizens of Massachusetts ranked very high among the toll of victims. Whether any of the family members present Tuesday were offended by Gov. Patrick, no one cried “Shame!” or walked out on the ceremony. Americans are generally respectful of their political eminences, no matter how little they deserve it.

We should beware anyone who seeks to explain 9/11 by using the words “each other”: They posit a grubby equivalence between the perpetrator and the victim – that the “failure to understand” derives from the culpability of both parties. The 9/11 killers were treated very well in the United States: They were ushered into the country on the high-speed visa express program the State Department felt was appropriate for young Saudi males. They were treated cordially everywhere they went. The lap-dancers at the clubs they frequented in the weeks before the Big Day gave them a good time – or good enough, considering what lousy tippers they were. Sept. 11 didn’t happen because we were insufficient in our love to Mohamed Atta.

This isn’t a theoretical proposition. At some point in the future, some of us will find ourselves on a flight with a chap like Richard Reid, the thwarted shoe-bomber. On that day we’d better hope the guy sitting next to him isn’t Gov. Patrick, who sees him bending down to light his sock and responds with a chorus of “All You Need Is Love,” but a fellow who “understands” enough to wallop the bejesus out of him before he can strike the match. It was the failure of one group of human beings to understand that the second group of human beings was determined to kill them that led the crew and passengers of those Boston flights to stick with the obsolescent 1970s hijack procedures until it was too late.

It would be so nice to say that Steyn’s point — there is an “us” and there is a “them” — falls into the “duh” category, if it weren’t for the fact that so many Americans seem incapable of understanding it, and do still try for the la-la-la kumbiyah school of international relations.  Of course, these warm fuzzy types are better (if only slightly) than the 30% of their compatriots who have decided that there is an “us” and a “them,” with the “us” being their Birkenstocked selves, and the them being their own government.  That’s not mere denial, that’s insanity.

The lunacy of pretending we’re all one big happy family

This is the beginning of yet another must-read Mark Steyn column:

This year I marked the anniversary of Sept. 11 by driving through Massachusetts. It wasn’t exactly planned that way, just the way things panned out. So, heading toward Boston, I tuned to Bay State radio talk-show colossus Howie Carr and heard him reading out portions from the official address to the 9/11 commemoration ceremony by Deval Patrick, who is apparently the governor of Massachusetts: 9/11, said Gov. Patrick, “was a mean and nasty and bitter attack on the United States.”

“Mean and nasty”? He sounds like an oversensitive waiter complaining that John Kerry’s sent back the aubergine coulis again. But evidently that’s what passes for tough talk in Massachusetts these days – the shot heard around the world and so forth. Anyway, Gov. Patrick didn’t want to leave the crowd with all that macho cowboy rhetoric ringing in their ears, so he moved on to the nub of his speech: 9/11, he continued, “was also a failure of human beings to understand each other, to learn to love each other.”

I was laughing so much I lost control of the wheel, and the guy in the next lane had to swerve rather dramatically. He flipped me the Universal Symbol of Human Understanding. I certainly understood him, though I’m not sure I could learn to love him. Anyway, I drove on to Boston and pondered the governor’s remarks. He had made them, after all, before an audience of 9/11 families: Six years ago, two of the four planes took off from Logan Airport, and so citizens of Massachusetts ranked very high among the toll of victims. Whether any of the family members present Tuesday were offended by Gov. Patrick, no one cried “Shame!” or walked out on the ceremony. Americans are generally respectful of their political eminences, no matter how little they deserve it.

We should beware anyone who seeks to explain 9/11 by using the words “each other”: They posit a grubby equivalence between the perpetrator and the victim – that the “failure to understand” derives from the culpability of both parties. The 9/11 killers were treated very well in the United States: They were ushered into the country on the high-speed visa express program the State Department felt was appropriate for young Saudi males. They were treated cordially everywhere they went. The lap-dancers at the clubs they frequented in the weeks before the Big Day gave them a good time – or good enough, considering what lousy tippers they were. Sept. 11 didn’t happen because we were insufficient in our love to Mohamed Atta.

This isn’t a theoretical proposition. At some point in the future, some of us will find ourselves on a flight with a chap like Richard Reid, the thwarted shoe-bomber. On that day we’d better hope the guy sitting next to him isn’t Gov. Patrick, who sees him bending down to light his sock and responds with a chorus of “All You Need Is Love,” but a fellow who “understands” enough to wallop the bejesus out of him before he can strike the match. It was the failure of one group of human beings to understand that the second group of human beings was determined to kill them that led the crew and passengers of those Boston flights to stick with the obsolescent 1970s hijack procedures until it was too late.

It would be so nice to say that Steyn’s point — there is an “us” and there is a “them” — falls into the “duh” category, if it weren’t for the fact that so many Americans seem incapable of understanding it, and do still try for the la-la-la kumbiyah school of international relations.  Of course, these warm fuzzy types are better (if only slightly) than the 30% of their compatriots who have decided that there is an “us” and a “them,” with the “us” being their Birkenstocked selves, and the them being their own government.  That’s not mere denial, that’s insanity.

The latest censored Berkeley Breathed cartoon

Twenty five newspapers refused to publish it, but you can see it here.  It’s not one of Breathed’s best humor wise (not like some of his past cartoons), but it makes a bigger point and I say shame to the craven publishers who won’t run it.

Hat tip:  Hot Air

It’s “random thoughts” day

I’m on another vacation, sitting in a cyber cafe, working at a small computer with a microscopic keyboard, so it must be random thoughts day. Thank goodness DQ is doing the heavy lifting.

The first thing that caught my interest is what Mitt said at the debate, which I really liked:

But it was Romney forced on the defensive on the issue of abortion, when Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback defended automated phone calls his campaign had been making that highlight his rival’s one-time support for pro-choice policies.

“It’s truthful,” Brownback said.

Romney called it “desperate, maybe negative,” adding moments later, “I get tired of people that are holier than thou because they’ve been pro-life longer than I have.” (Emphasis mine.)

The fact is that many people who came of age in the 1960s have taken a long slow journey from one side to the other. As my own change in political convictions shows, the fact that I came late to the game doesn’t mean I’m not one of the biggest fans. In any event, as I keep reminding and reminding people, the best we can hope for is a chief executive who appoints strict constructionist judges, since it is they, not the President, who will change abortion policies.

Indeed, I’m reminded again and again that, probably, the most important thing the new President can do is change the Supreme Court — and we must really hope that the new President is a conservative. I think I’ve hammered hope the point that, if you haven’t already read Melanie Phillips’ Londonistan, you must. It points the finger of blame at activist judges who decided that the laws and traditions of their own country were irrelevant, because they were connected to a higher authority of human rights law, courtesy of the EU and the UN. (As you may recall, some of our more liberal and aged Supreme Court justices have been making tentative moves in the same direction.)

I’m now reading Bruce Bawer’s While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within, which describes in chilling detail what is happening, day-to-day, on the streets of Europe as a result of the multi-cultural, socialist, non-democratically judge ruled European nations that allowed unlimited Muslim immigration, with full funding no matter the fraud, and has proven unwilling because of  its doctrinal blinders to deal with the inevitable Islamist nihilism, violence and brutality.  Bawer is a liberal  gay man who is mad, frightened, and finally aware the America is the last, best hope for Western freedom  and democracy.

Continuing randomly, Confederate Yankee continues to eviscerate the once reputable TNR over the Scott Thomas propaganda piece.  It now turns out that when TNR did  it’s little “we were sort of wrong” mea culpa, it left out  a few pertinent facts.  Whoops!

TNR’s not  the only one covering up information to score political or ideological points (or just to cover up journalistic  malfeasance).  Turns out that, again, the Times is guilty of allowing the publication of an article attacking Orthodox Jews that used as its starting  point a known false anecdote.  Starting with Walter Duranty, journalistic integrity at the Times seemed to have morphed into, if we beieve the underlying ideology, we are acting with integrity when we lie about those  facts to support our ideological  beliefs.  Incidentally, that’s psychologically similar to the European Muslims who have no problems breaking European laws because, as far as they’re concerned, such laws don’t exist.

Incidentally, since I’m in Times bashing mode (it’s editorial policies make it an easy target), let me just  direct you to an American Thinker article exposing its decision to publish a piece by known  Israel  basher — and Canadian — Michael  Ignatieff as he explains  why he can’t support the war in Iraq. Surprise, surprise!  It’s all about the “Jooos.”  As Babu said to Jerry, finger rhythmically wagging, “You are a very bad man.”

And the last random thought, a surprising report today that more women are living with the fathers of their children!  We used to call that marriage, but they don’t because they aren’t (married, that is).   I  suppose this should be heartening, but I find it depressing, at least from the child’s  point of view.  Marriage says (even though it may not  mean) “we’re committed for the long haul.”  Living  together says (even though it may not  mean) “I can walk out at any time.”  I think the former is better for children’s sense of stability, rather than the latter.

It’s “random thoughts” day

I’m on another vacation, sitting in a cyber cafe, working at a small computer with a microscopic keyboard, so it must be random thoughts day. Thank goodness DQ is doing the heavy lifting.

The first thing that caught my interest is what Mitt said at the debate, which I really liked:

But it was Romney forced on the defensive on the issue of abortion, when Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback defended automated phone calls his campaign had been making that highlight his rival’s one-time support for pro-choice policies.

“It’s truthful,” Brownback said.

Romney called it “desperate, maybe negative,” adding moments later, “I get tired of people that are holier than thou because they’ve been pro-life longer than I have.” (Emphasis mine.)

The fact is that many people who came of age in the 1960s have taken a long slow journey from one side to the other. As my own change in political convictions shows, the fact that I came late to the game doesn’t mean I’m not one of the biggest fans. In any event, as I keep reminding and reminding people, the best we can hope for is a chief executive who appoints strict constructionist judges, since it is they, not the President, who will change abortion policies.

Indeed, I’m reminded again and again that, probably, the most important thing the new President can do is change the Supreme Court — and we must really hope that the new President is a conservative. I think I’ve hammered hope the point that, if you haven’t already read Melanie Phillips’ Londonistan, you must. It points the finger of blame at activist judges who decided that the laws and traditions of their own country were irrelevant, because they were connected to a higher authority of human rights law, courtesy of the EU and the UN. (As you may recall, some of our more liberal and aged Supreme Court justices have been making tentative moves in the same direction.)

I’m now reading Bruce Bawer’s While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within, which describes in chilling detail what is happening, day-to-day, on the streets of Europe as a result of the multi-cultural, socialist, non-democratically judge ruled European nations that allowed unlimited Muslim immigration, with full funding no matter the fraud, and has proven unwilling because of  its doctrinal blinders to deal with the inevitable Islamist nihilism, violence and brutality.  Bawer is a liberal  gay man who is mad, frightened, and finally aware the America is the last, best hope for Western freedom  and democracy.

Continuing randomly, Confederate Yankee continues to eviscerate the once reputable TNR over the Scott Thomas propaganda piece.  It now turns out that when TNR did  it’s little “we were sort of wrong” mea culpa, it left out  a few pertinent facts.  Whoops!

TNR’s not  the only one covering up information to score political or ideological points (or just to cover up journalistic  malfeasance).  Turns out that, again, the Times is guilty of allowing the publication of an article attacking Orthodox Jews that used as its starting  point a known false anecdote.  Starting with Walter Duranty, journalistic integrity at the Times seemed to have morphed into, if we beieve the underlying ideology, we are acting with integrity when we lie about those  facts to support our ideological  beliefs.  Incidentally, that’s psychologically similar to the European Muslims who have no problems breaking European laws because, as far as they’re concerned, such laws don’t exist.

Incidentally, since I’m in Times bashing mode (it’s editorial policies make it an easy target), let me just  direct you to an American Thinker article exposing its decision to publish a piece by known  Israel  basher — and Canadian — Michael  Ignatieff as he explains  why he can’t support the war in Iraq. Surprise, surprise!  It’s all about the “Jooos.”  As Babu said to Jerry, finger rhythmically wagging, “You are a very bad man.”

And the last random thought, a surprising report today that more women are living with the fathers of their children!  We used to call that marriage, but they don’t because they aren’t (married, that is).   I  suppose this should be heartening, but I find it depressing, at least from the child’s  point of view.  Marriage says (even though it may not  mean) “we’re committed for the long haul.”  Living  together says (even though it may not  mean) “I can walk out at any time.”  I think the former is better for children’s sense of stability, rather than the latter.

Worshipping killers

The Left (both at home and abroad) likes to revile the infamous American President “Chimpy-BusHitler,” but they seem to be taking a pass on some people that even the Left would have to concede have a bit more blood on their hands. Mike Adams and the American Thinker take on the results of that, shall we say, imbalance in beliefs.

Mike Adams’ target is the Che Guevara worship that infects the self-styled “intelligentsia,” who like to swan around in Che shirts, purses and (my personal favorite), darling little clothes for their babies. Che, after all, say the intellectuals, was a “sincere, “Christ-like” “martyr.” Adams’ suggestion is that his University (UNC-Wilmington) acknowledge all this Che worship and build a Che memorial on campus. He further suggests that the University use the Jefferson Memorial as its guide, and that it cover the walls with Che’s own words:

“A revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate.” Che Guevara.

“If the nuclear missiles had remained we would have used them against the very heart of America, including New York City.” Che Guevara.

“We will march the path of victory even if it costs millions of atomic victims… We must keep our hatred alive and fan it to paroxysm.” Che Guevara.

“Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any enemy that falls in my hands! My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood. With the deaths of my enemies I prepare my being for the sacred fight and join the triumphant proletariat with a bestial bowl.” Che Guevara.

“Don’t shoot! I’m Che, I’m worth more to you alive than dead.” Che Guevara.

“(T)o execute a man we don’t need proof of his guilt. We only need proof that it’s necessary to execute him. It’s that simple.” Che Guevara.

Wasn’t it Jack Nicholson who blasted Tom Cruise with the words “You can’t handle the truth“? I wonder what the Che faithful will do when confronted with their hero’s blood-soaked feet of clay.

In Britain, they’ve done away with that problem altogether, according to a letter republished at the American Thinker, by simply coming up with an alternative history when it comes to teaching about Hitler:

So waiting for the Dolphin swim at Discovery Cove in Orlando, my daughter Nikki and I were seated with a Brit family–mom, daughter and son. After small talk about the great value of the pound vs the dollar etc, I mentioned that Churchill was one of my heroes. The son, no more than 16 countered that he really liked Hitler, and his sister Gandhi. I was stunned and sickened.

According to him, Hitler was a great leader and did great things for the German people. He brought them out of depression. His quest for land was only to provide “living space” for the German people. The reason for the London bombings was because Britain “carpet bombed” German cities. Hitler had to attack France, for they were a treat to his effort to gain land for living space. The atrocities of the Holocaust were attributed to the fact that he was “mad”, so it wasn’t his fault. In general, his intentions were noble.

In speaking privately with his mother after my discussion, she stated that this is the new curriculum in the British schools to combat “prejudice” against Germans. They teach the children not to “judge” Hitler.

Of course, this won’t be a problem much longer in England. The British have decided to do away with Hitler altogether, along with such iconic British figures as Queen Elizabeth I and Winston Churchill. Makes you wonder how much longer America’s Europe loving intellectuals can continue to pretend that Europeans out pace us educationally.

Hiring woes

When my kids were at their old preschool, the school hired a very pleasant teaching assistant. At the end of a year, she suddenly showed up at school in a headscarf. The school was in a quandary. A lot of the parents, especially the mothers of the little girls, were very unhappy to see a young women come to school wrapped up like this, especially as her clothes got more voluminous and shapeless with time (although she never went to the full burqa). The school eventually did nothing. The young woman did her job up to all reasonable standards, and the school could only get in trouble for firing someone for religious expression.

It begins to appear that this was not an anomalous occurrence. Gerry Charlotte Phelps writes that some employers in Canada may be getting the feeling that they’re being set up. Young Muslim women apply for jobs in full Western mode. They continue in full Western mode up until the probation period passes and then, when they can no longer be fired without cause, “go sharia”:

One of my best-friends works in a govt-subsidized daycare centre in northern Montreal. Last year they hired a new worker originally from Lebanon. She was dressed in a western manner albeit conservatively, her head was bare, and she aced the interview very well. Their new employees have a probation period for three months. She was very good with the kids, very friendly with the co-workers, etc. So after three months, she was hired with full-benefits.
_
All of the sudden, everything changed. She started to wear a abaya (not the veil, she was wearing the full black coat like in Saudi Arabia and Iran) all the time. She stopped chatting with the co-workers like she used to, etc. Once she threw a major public tantrum because at a parents and kids potluck there were not enough hallal sausages or some reason like that.
_
So my friend talked to her supervisor. She said that the daycare centre has got to be more careful because it seems like a lot of Muslim women are getting hired because they seem well integrated into our society but then they do a switcheroo. Once they have the job for sure their real selves come out.

Read the rest here.

To my mind, if these women want to go veiled to work, that’s their decision. What’s objectionable is the fact that, rather than taking the potential downside risk of their religious conviction (more limited workplace choices), they engage in this duplicitous behavior.

It’s also interesting that these women can engage in this behavior. If full Muslim wear is so important, how are they avoiding that obligation for the hiring and probationary period? From my experience, absent extraordinary circumstances no Ultra-Orthodox Jewish women, no matter the reason, would appear with her head bared, nor would a religious chew dine in style on shrimp, because doing so violates a fundamental precept of their religious belief. (The rabbis, in their great wisdom, have held that it is okay to violate such rules in life and death situations, which enabled many Jews to survive the death camps despite the absence of kosher food.)

This on again/off again clothing policy that some Muslim women are adopting makes it seem as if the abaya is much more of a political statement, either to be removed when expedient or donned to make a point, than a sign of true religious conviction.

England, the most recent canary in the coal mine

I like to say that Jews have historically been the canary in the coal mine — once a culture starts attacking its Jews, you know you’re looking at a culture that is on a social and economic decline. The converse, fortunately, is true too — once a country begins treating Jews well, that same country is invariably on an upward trajectory when it comes to economic and social freedom and strength.

Jews aren’t the only canaries. Vasko Kohlmayer writes of a canary of a different sort. This time, it’s England, which he calls a country under attack from within by its own Islamist population. Naturally, Kohlmayer doesn’t just make this assertion. Instead, he supports it with example after example of planned attacks — some successful, some unsuccessful, some stopped during the planning stages — all aimed at brutally killing British citizens, undermining the British democratic government, and paving the way for Sharia. Kohlmayer explains what these attacks mean, and why we should all be worried as we watch Britain grapple ineffectively with the enemy at home:

At this point, even the deniers can no longer ignore the obvious: Britain is under sustained assault which is being launched from within its own Muslim community. It is this community that the terrorists move and live in and where they receive financial and logistical support. It is this community that gives them cover to carry out their murderous schemes. In short, the Muslim community is their haven and base of operation in their war against Britain.

Although some may feel shocked and surprised at this state of affairs, the situation is only the natural outcome of the trends that have been at work for a long time. By and large, Muslim communities in the West have shown themselves to be aggressively resistant to assimilation. Not only do they refuse to adjust, but they exhibit outright hostility towards their host cultures and, when sufficiently numerous, they invariably attempt to take over the areas they populate. Intimidation, terror and violence are their means of choice in the pursuit of this objective. This tactic has succeeded in Lebanon where Muslims have taken over a formerly Christian and democratic country. Now they are trying to do the same in France, the Netherlands and Britain.

There are some who think that we may already be beyond the point of being able to stop the Islamic takeover of much of Western Europe. In the opinion of U.S. national defense expert and Pentagon Advisor Lt. Col. Bob McGinnis (U.S. Army-Ret.):

It probably is too late for Great Britain and France and maybe even the Netherlands and Germany. They [Muslims] have very sizeable minorities that refuse to integrate, that impose Sharia law on the ghettos, and as a result have created what I think is a series of smaller countries within a country.

The world better pay attention, because this will be the fate of every country that allows large Muslim communities to form in its midst. Clinging to traditional forms of Islam, their mindset is largely incompatible with the Western view of life which is based on openness, tolerance and freedom. Sizeable Muslims populations are thus a sure prescription for terror and violence, because those in their midst will sooner or later strike out against the societies they despise.

No amount of political correctness can conceal the fact that many Muslim enclaves in the West are neither peace loving nor patriotic. Large portions of their populations feel no allegiance to their host countries and they are all too ready to approve of violence in order to further their ends. Their lack of gratitude is truly breath-taking, since they have not only been welcomed in their new lands, but also provided with various forms of support, benefits and assistance. But we should not be all too surprised by this behavior from people who are taught by their religion to despise and kill infidels.

You can (and should) read the rest here.

I really don’t need to add here, do I, that the new British government’s response to this situation isn’t to deal with it but to pretend that it doesn’t exist. With an attitude like that, Britain has already lost the war, and its women may as well begin purchasing their burkas now, before prices increase in response to greater demand.

UPDATE:  If you’re interested, you can see a whole series of posts I did about the troubles in Britain here.

Mark Steyn on the lessons from the Sir Salman uproar

Writing at the OC Register (which surprised me, because his usual Sunday venue is the Chicago Sun Times), Mark Steyn weighs in on the lessons the British government hasn’t learned either from America’s run-ins with Iran in 1979, which set the world up for the equally teachable moment when Sir Salman’s had his first public nexus with radical Islam. I’ve highlighted the language that, for me, sums up all of the problems we’re having with a violent subculture that has norms and demands completely antithetical to the Western Civilization we’ve so carefully and painfully developed over the past centuries:

So many of our problems with Iran today arise from not doing anything about our problems with Iran yesterday. Men like Ayatollah Khomeini despised pan-Arab nationalists like Nasser who attempted to impose a local variant of Marxism on the Muslim world. Khomeini figured: Why import the false ideologies of a failing civilization? Doesn’t it make more sense to export Islamism to the dying West?

And, for a guy dismissed by most of us as crazy, Khomeini made a lot of sense. The Rushdie fatwa established the ground rules: The side that means it gets away with it. Mobs marched through Britain calling for the murder of a British subject – and, as a matter of policy on the grounds of multicultural sensitivity, the British police shrugged and looked the other way.

One reader in England recalled one demonstration at which he asked a constable why the “Muslim community leaders” weren’t being arrested for incitement to murder. The officer told him to “f— off, or I’ll arrest you.” Genuine “moderate Muslims” were cowed into silence, and pseudo-moderate Muslims triangulated with artful evasiveness. Sir Iqbal Sacranie, who went on to become leader of the most prominent British Muslim lobby group, mused about the Rushdie fatwa: “Death is perhaps too easy.”

In 1989 Salman Rushdie went into hiding under the protection of the British police. A decade later he decided he did not wish to live his life like that and emerged from seclusion to live a more or less normal life. He learned the biggest lesson of all – how easy it is to be forced into the shadows. That’s what’s happening in the free world incrementally every day, with every itsy-bitsy nothing concession to groups who take offense at everything and demand the right to kill you for every offense. Across two decades, what happened to Rushdie has metastasized, in part because of the weak response in those first months. “Death is perhaps too easy”? Maybe. But slow societal suicide is easier still.

Yeah. What he said.

UPDATE: If you’re caught in a tangle of cultural relativism about Iran (“Oh, they should entitled to stand up for their beliefs, as should their minions, stooges and satellites all over the world”) Michelle Malkin, in concert with other bloggers, has a photo journal of the way in which Iran so often manifests its beliefs — painful, humiliating and bloody crackdowns against its own citizens. Interestingly enough, while everyone is willing to castigate America for Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, two anomalous American situations, you don’t hear a peep from the usual whiny crowd about Iran’s bad little habits. Could be because, in criticizing the first, you get fame and adulation; in criticizing the second, you get dead.

Interesting news from the desert kingdom

A friend brought to my attention an article in the Jerusalem Post, one that describes both the day-to-day awfulness of living in Saudi Arabia, as well as the fact that the restrictive regime may slowly, ever so slowly, be overreaching itself:

Five members of the Saudi religious police are said to be under investigation after a man in their custody died on Friday in unclear circumstances.

Ahmed Al-Bliwi, a 50-year old former Saudi border patrol guard, was stopped near an amusement park in the northwestern city of Tabuk. A retiree, he used his car as a private taxi in order to ferry passengers about and earn some extra income.

The religious police, known in Arabic as the Muttawa, detained Bliwi “for letting a woman into his car,” a police source told the Saudi English-language daily Arab News. Saudi Arabia frowns upon fraternization between men and women who are not relatives.

The police took Bliwi to a detention center, where he was interrogated. Several hours later, he was rushed to a local hospital and pronounced dead on arrival.

While Saudi authorities claim that Bliwi died of a “sudden heart attack” while in custody, his relatives believe he was beaten and tortured by the police, the stress of which brought on cardiac arrest. They are demanding that an autopsy be conducted in order to determine the precise cause of death.

It turns out that poor Mr. Al-Bliwi wasn’t the first to die while under the Muttawas’ tender care. Indeed, although the JPost article doesn’t mention it, you may recalled that it was the same Muttawas who forced 15 girls to burn to death rather than allowing them on the street uncovered. Unsurprisingly, the same JPost article reports that your average Saudi is beginning to be unhappy:

Saudi press reports have suggested that the religious police are increasingly coming under fire for their activity, as a growing number of Saudis chafe under their restrictive practices.

UPDATE:  Coincidentally, today the Captain has a post about an article that Megan Stack, a reporter for the LA Times, wrote about how living in Saudi Arabia affected her.  I especially enjoyed the fact that the Captain snuck in a little analysis of the failings of multi-culturalism:

This also points out the dangers of moral relativism and multiculturalism. Obviously Stack objects strongly to the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia, and rightly so. However, a multiculturalist would probably criticize that objection as a result of Western projection — especially since it was Stack who went to Saudi Arabia. She could find herself accused of American cultural imperialism, and in fact had that experience when talking with some of the women. Yet, Stack was expected to abide by that culture while in Saudi Arabia, while some Muslims who emigrate to the West demand that we respect that culture when they arrive here, arguing for multiculturalism that doesn’t exist in their homelands (and that’s not limited to Muslims, either).

Nobody hits my brother but me….

Long time readers may recognize the following, which is a recycled post from February 2005 (when I was still on Blogger).  At the bottom, I’ll explain why I’m resurrecting it:

Remember from playground days how, when someone was picking on your little brother, you’d rush over to defend him, and announce to the perpetrators, “Only I get to call my brother names”? I thought of that when I read this Hindrocket PowerLine post (which I reproduce here in its entirety, although I’ve omitted the original internal links):

The ‘Jeff Gannon’ affair has been a mini-cause celebre on the liberal side of the blogosphere over the past several days, to the point where we have gotten several belligerent emails from lefties demanding to know why we aren’t covering the story. My response has been that I can’t figure out what the story is. ‘Gannon’ wrote for the Talon news service and was occasionally cleared to participate in White House press briefings. He apparently is a conservative, and on some occasions he asked questions with a twist that was friendly to the administration. The ‘scandal’ that has erupted over the past few days involves the following elements: 1) ‘Jeff Gannon’ isn’t his real name; it’s James Guckert; 2) Guckert is alleged to be a homosexual (Markos Moulitsos of the Daily Kos has made a big deal out of this); and 3) several gay porn sites are registered in Guckert’s name. Gannon/Guckert has now resigned from Talon due to the attention. The first actual news story I’ve seen on the Gannon affair is this AP report, which quotes Scott McClellan:

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Guckert did not have a regular White House press pass but was cleared on a day-by-day basis to attend briefings and used his real name. ‘He, like anyone else, showed that he was representing a news organization that published regularly and so he was cleared two years ago to receive daily passes just like many others are,’ McClellan said. ‘In this day and age, when you have a changing media, it’s not an easy issue to decide, to try to pick and choose who is a journalist. It gets into the issue of advocacy journalism. Where do you draw the line? There are a number of people who cross that line in the briefing room.’

I still don’t get it. Gannon has been attacked for not being a ‘real’ journalist–as compared to whom, Helen Thomas? He called himself a “voice of the new media” on his web site, and it seems passing strange to me for bloggers to suggest that only journalism school graduates are qualified to ask questions at press briefings. As far as I can tell, the only thing that distinguished Gannon from the other reporters is that he is a partisan conservative, whereas they are nearly all partisan liberals. I’d be happy if the administration threw the whole lot of them out and took questions from people on the street. Inasmuch as I still don’t see that there is much of a story here–apart, of course, from the somewhat entertaining strangeness of it all–I’ll stop writing now.

I can’t add anything better to what Hindrocket already said about the core issue (i.e., Gannon’s right to appear at press conferences). What surprised me was that the left is apparently terribly upset about Gannon’s purported homosexuality. Indeed, as far as I can tell from this comment at DailyKos, Claude Raines-like, the Lefties are “shocked, shocked” that Gannon might have a homosexual past — one, indeed, that might include prostitution. That’s sordid, I agree, but two things: that accusation might be false, and, if true, Gannon may well have reformed his wild ways.

My real point, though, is how the Left appears to feel that, while the right cannot comment on race, mental abilities, or sexuality, the Lefties can, with impunity. How else to explain their despicably racist comments regarding Condi Rice, the “cartoons” depicting George Bush as mentally retarded, and now this “homosexual agenda” attack on Gannon? Does being the self-proclaimed champion of people of color, the mentally handicapped, and gays mean that you get to insult them with impunity? I certainly wouldn’t want such offensive people to speak on my behalf. Indeed, I might prefer someone else’s tender mercies to those of my ostensible benefactors.

This old post keeps circling around to the forefront of my brain and reminding me of its currency.  A month ago, there was the uproar that Matt Sanchez had a past in gay porn, although I think that outrage was more about perceived hypocrisy than about his actual gayness.  (Dennis Prager handled that point here.)

Showing that the Left never learns when it comes to exposing its deep, deep disdain for those who deviate from identity politics servitude, Confederate Yankee points out that a liberal blogger has made racially demeaning comments about Condi Rice, calling her “Brown Sugar,” a manifestly sexual term reserved for African-American females.  Apparently tbogg, a fairly well-ranked liberal blogger, figures that the monthly uproar quota for inflammatory racial remarks has been used up, and that he’s free to say what he wants.  Or, more likely, he knows that, because his comment is directed at a conservative black, he’ll get a free pass.

Be that as it may, it shows once again that the liberals’ ostensible concern with racial or sexual identity has little to do with compassion, and everything to do with driving home ideological points and political demands.