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.

Advertisements

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.