New Anti-Semitism in Russia?

DEBKAfile has the following note this morning:

Some 500 Russian nationalists including 19 parliamentarians demand ban on Jewish groups. They declare Jews are anti-Christian and anti-human and hatred of them is justified. Their fierce published diatribe recalls old Anti-Semitic symbols including blood libel.

This is disturbing news. I haven’t been able to find any other information on this story; if anyone knows more, please get in touch.


More information at AP and the BBC (hat tip — OJ).

Life After Feminism?


This is a response to questions raised by commenter “truepeers” in my previous post, Utopian and Parochial — Why Western Feminism Won’t Do.

¤ …the blogosphere is a reflection of our desperate cries to speak truth and live again with honour.

Yes, the blogosphere is a virtual community born from the failure of “real” communities to meet the need for authentic connection — that is, a connection shorn of the surreal demands of political correctness.

¤ …can you imagine men and women interacting in future in ways that will not further reduce men to undignified shrews.

Do you mean that the interaction as it is now emasculates men? It turns men and women into adversaries. Or rather, being based on scarcity beliefs, men and women scramble for perceived shortages in the public sphere.

¤ How can the phallic be self-sacrificing in productive ways, and not be reduced to participation in some PC blackmail in order to get, well, laid, or otherwise reproductively used?

It is damnably difficult to be authentic in the face of the demand for “correctness” — to maintain one’s sense of true self and not die of loneliness. In this, we are like every other generation, only the outward gestures have been changed and made more lethal(a young man I know hasn’t been able to ask girls out for coffee after class without being reminded that she’s not ready for a relationship. Drinking coffee is a relationship??). But your notion of “productive self-sacrifice” is illuminating. That is what both men and women do in order to bring forth the next crop…

¤ There has always been a code of silence in feminism on the question of how women treat women.

Indeed. It’s confusing for women, too. The betrayals and back-stabbing and humiliations are as rampant in the halls of feminism as ever they were in the cells of The Party. The secrecy of these misdemeanors makes them fester all the more. Individual women are left wondering what is wrong with me rather than what is wrong with the feminist worldview, the feminist utopian faith that any group of like-minded women will, of its very nature be egalitarian and non-hierarchical. Right. But this kind of posturing is patently silly, and the reason many women are vehement in their “I’m not a feminist…” declarations.

¤ How are we to raise the young girls in our families? Feminism, old and new school, combines to promise them everything, while not necessarily offering the corresponding reality checks.

There you have it. The utopian promise and the trivial prize. Feminism, mostly middle-class with lots of leisure time, looked at life in the public square as men had fashioned it and decided that this was the worthy goal. They designed a utopia based on what they claimed to despise. Theies is a copy-cat universe, not a different one. The ludicruous feminist “Bring Your Daughter to Work Day” is the outcome of such stultified thinking, so pathetic it makes one look away in embarrassment for those who buy into this.

And don’t forget,girls need fathers every bit as much as boys do. Strong fathers produce strength in their children.In The Way The World Works, Jude Wanniski dubs the Democrats and the Republicans as, respectively, the Mommy Party and the Daddy Party. The Dem/Moms want all the kids to be happy and enjoy the fruits of entitlement. Maternal love flows to the neediest of her children and she is adept at making the stronger ones “play fair” with the less-fortunate in the family. The Republican/Daddy Party wants his kids strong and competent; to him their security lies in strength and stamina. The dispiriting studies of single-parent families, of the effects of divorce, of the pernicious sequelæ of problems of aggression, anomie and suicidal gestures in many latch-key children, are telling. Families have been sold a bill of goods concerning the ability or even need to “have it all.” How narcissistic is that?

¤ If language and religion began as a male-dominated institution, as I’m sure they did…

Pooh. Language is partly in-born and partly socialization. It has a window of opportunity, just like vision does (and hearing to a lesser extent). The rare cases of feral children who are discovered after the language window closes are never able to move beyond simple words and gestures — to the heartbreak of those who work with them and hope for them.

In some cultures there are male words and female words and gender taboos are firmly in place. Our culture displays this in the greater freedom it grants men to use either profane or publicly taboo words with impunity. Might this “greater language freedom” be a male prerogative in most societies? At any rate, creoles can arise spontaneously among children of diverse languages. An example is what happened in the Hawaiian Islands: thrown together by the vicissitudes of economics — e.g., the Portuguese, English, Japanese, Chinese, etc. families who came to there in search of work — the children quickly created a patois to which the adults had no access. Born of necessity, it worked.

BTW, early on Christianity had many feminine images/ikons in its spiritual life. The church as Sophia, the Holy Spirit as a feminine spirit,etc. The early gatherings of Christians were in the homes of women who had converted to this new idea.

¤ …the need for young men to engage the frontier between the language-bound community and the outside world of warring enemies and nature.

Well, that’s what the Boy Scouts are for. Seriously. And the attempt to harm this group by the pernicious ACLU won’t kill it by any means; a working group cannot be legislated or adjudicated out of existence. To the contrary, such attempts just make the Boy Scouts stronger. Having in the last few years shepherded a young man through his Eagle Scout project (he chose to do an oral history of the remaining WWII vets in his community)one could see that the male strength and demands made on this group of boys was changing how they viewed themselves and others. Despite attempts to marginalize the Boy Scouts they flourish. A healthy Red State phenomenon, one which includes a good number of Hispanic and African American children. Black and white may attend separate churches but their Scouts meet in integrated groups.

¤ …there is some truth in the idea that conservatives “welcome” the terrorist threat…

“Welcome” as in “apprehend and appreciate” that the terrorists’ outrages are born of impotence and envy? Cain and Abel all over again. The ongoing insane and narcissistic insistence that we play nice is a Blue State, Mommy idea. These people infest the State Department. They are the ones who hold candlelight vigils as a way to express their solidarity with those who would kill them. They read everything through the prism of innocent victimhood. They pronounce “forgiveness” of atrocities without consulting the victims. Their demand to remain bystanders at their own funerals beggars belief.

¤ But if men have it bad in this respect, arguably women can have it even worse.

No, we’re all in this together. But Freud was right: biology is destiny. Would that the feminists could accept this fact of difference, rather than attempt to silence whomever would put it forth for debate. There will be a post on this in the near future.

¤ The feminists may be taking over the humanities in the universities but if you were to send your young women to them, wouldn’t that be like giving them a prolonged initiation into a tribe with no reality checks, self-righteously reproducing the utopian dogma of the sisterhood?

Agreed. But that’s why I tiptoe away from people who send their children to these ghettoes. The gulf between our realities is so wide that no bridge is wide enough to span it. At some point, argument is a waste of resources.

¤ So how do we raise our young boys and girls to be worthy of each other in a world in which they are not simply consumers for the nanny state…?

You’ll be sorry you asked.

  • First thing to do is get rid of TV. Keep a VCR/DVD player and monitor on hand for worthy movies, of which there are many. The good films go almost immediately to DVD anyway.
  • Second, refuse to purchase name brand things without a good reason. “Everybody has one” is not a good enough reason.
  • Third, question any acquisition you make — all those gimmicks you didn’t know you needed until you saw them. Unless you work in emergency medicine, cell phones fall into that category.
  • Four, live below your means. But don’t tell anyone.
  • Five, give to charity unfailingly, not just in the heat of the latest disaster.
  • Six, do some kind of community work and make sure the children do also.
  • Seven, make sure your children are as musically and aesthetically and spiritually literate as they are with language.
  • Eight, make sure they learn another language with enough depth to compare it to their own.
  • Nine, spend time with them: listen, observe, respond, let them laugh at you. Read humor stories to them. Develop any silliness genes they might have.
  • Ten, and maybe most important for their safety, teach them to say “no” by permitting them to refuse you when it’s not a crucial matter. Believe it or not, a little one who can say “no” to Dad is a safer child, one who can refuse what strangers want because their critical faculties have been developed in their interactions with you.

The Ten Commandments of Parenting, as handed down from the mountain by Dymphna.

The Power and the Glory of Islamic Women

Part Three: Utopian and Parochial
Why Western Feminism Won’t Do

A commenter on Belmont Club, Michael McCanles, says:

…feminists have destroyed the willingness of males in the chattering classes to talk seriously about the military as anything other than a manifestation of the fact that all males are bloodthirsty rapists, and if women had their way there would be no more wars.

Mr. McCanles is sadly correct. The feminist world-view, which includes an over-the-top hatred of men and of all things male, is malignantly deviant from reality. In what has become the commonplace Alice-in-the-Looking-Glass metaphysic of American feminism, “masculine” does not mean assertive or strong, or capable. In their lexicon, masculine equals evil. And not just bad, either; men are also stupid, inept, and lost without a woman to somehow alchemize their base nature. Further, with women leading the way to utopia there would be an end to war because women are essentially peaceful and choose to work cooperatively rather than arrange themselves in a patriarchal hierarchy. Those who believe that women aren’t as aggressive as men obviously haven’t spent time in an all-female workplace. A totally feminine environment is rife with in-fighting, betrayals and vying for power , made all the more vicious for the lack of men to leaven the mix.

The men of the chattering classes (one way to recognize this group is the fact that, no matter how old they are, they still know their SAT scores) have scuttled their integrity in order to belong to the “in” group. Currently, the In Group is composed of those who consider victimology life’s highest calling. The driving force behind their work is enshrinement of the victims of whichever demonized Oppressor is being dunked in tar at the moment. Take your pick of the victim roles which allow you to rail against the unfairness of men: Native American? Good. Differently-abled? Very good. Female? Yes! Native American female and handicapped? Ah, the summum bonum! Notice that this highest good has nothing to do with achievement and everything to do with railing against life’s inherent unfairness.

It has become a waste of time to ask how we got here. Using the analogy of rescue work — say digging victims out of the rubble left behind by the tsunami — what has become critical to fixing this cultural mess is saving those we can and mourning those we can’t. Even in metaphysics there is triage.

The awful irony and failure of American feminism lies in its parochial and utopian nature. Women all over the world suffer grievously at the hands of the more powerful. Just how important is the notion of glass ceilings or hiring quotas or sexual “harassment” when your fellow women are sold into slavery, endure clitoridectomies, rape, and finally merciful death, thus being spared the mourning they would be forced to do, having witnessed the brutal death of their children? And while this is going on, we teach our girls how to be aggrieved.

This elitist version of what it means to be female has done our culture great harm, both here in our institutional life and abroad. Here our boys are pilloried for being proto-men, our girls are given vapid, trivial and cruel aphorisms to which they are supposed to aspire. “Girls rule” is not a message to live by.

Meanwhile, in the opposite and equal reaction coming to your screen via Al-Jazeera, girls die. Other cultures see our ever-increasingly dissatisfied women and, politely or brutally, decline to go there.

The Enemy Within, Part II

No-God is on Our Side

My previous post ended with an unanswered question: can this battle against the enemy within be fought without a religious regeneration in our own culture?

It is difficult to discuss religion under Secular Orthodoxy, since it discourages the idea of God. Observant Christians and Jews are relegated to the same essential status as theosophists — that is, they are people who have forsaken science for superstition. What is obscured by this false dichotomy is the fact that the secular worldview derives its belief system from the heritage of Christian Europe (and thus also the Jews). One may remove the theological philosophy behind it, but Western concepts of right and wrong, of the universe and man’s place in it, have not yet diverged significantly from what they were in a time when almost everyone believed in God.

The fact remains that we are in the midst of religious war, whether we want to be or not, or whether we even know it. Our enemies have decided that this is a war of faith, so it is a religious war that we must fight. If nothing else, the atheist fights to preserve his right to believe in No-God.

This may make a secular person uneasy — after all, bible-thumping Baptists and Islamist zealots are two sides of the same coin, are they not? Yet there is a difference: fervent Christians have accepted their coexistence with other faiths in America for over two centuries. Can anyone believe that Muslims would reciprocate if the Jihad were to realize its fondest dream?

After all, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Mormons, atheists, and even Wiccans can make common cause in this fight, since Islam does not distinguish one of them from another, and would exterminate all of them if they do not bend the knee to Allah. This unfortunate fact is what distinguishes Islam (at least in its most virulent strain) from the rest of the religions. One can point to the historic intolerance and brutality of Christianity, but that was 500 years ago. Islam, for whatever reasons, has remained trapped in a medieval mindset.

The ultimate question, which cannot yet be answered, is whether a devoutly secular society can muster the spiritual resources to fight a religious war. Secular culture is, after all, spiritually enervated, and our tolerant society has allowed a popular culture to emerge which is unprecedented (at least since the late Roman Empire) in its decadence, degradation, and materialism. When Osama bin Laden points his finger at this cesspool, he touches a responsive chord in those of us who are opposed to him and yet recognize that something is indeed wrong.

The Islamists propose a spiritual solution to a spiritual problem. Their religion is full of righteous zeal, and yet it will release unparallelled evil into the world if allowed to spread.

Once again, the question remains: Do we have adequate weaponry in our spiritual armory to fight this enemy?

The Enemy Within, Part I

The Little Wicked Wicket Gate

During the weeks following the events of September 11th, 2001, the lines of the following poem by Edwin Muir ran repeatedly through my mind:

     The Castle

All through that summer at ease we lay,

And daily from the turret wall

We watched the mowers in the hay

And the enemy half a mile away —

They seemed no threat to us at all.

For what, we thought, had we to fear

With our arms and provender, load on load,

Our towering battlements, tier on tier,

And friendly allies drawing near

On every leafy summer road?

Our gates were strong, our walls were thick,

So smooth and high, no man could win

A foothold there, no clever trick

Could take us, have us dead or quick.

Only a bird could have got in.

What could they offer us for bait?

Our captain was brave and we were true…

There was a little private gate,

A little wicked wicket gate.

The wizened warder let them through.

Oh then our maze of tunneled stone

Grew thin and treacherous as air.

The cause was lost without a groan,

The famous citadel overthrown,

And all its secret galleries bare.

How can this shameful tale be told?

I will maintain until my death

We could do nothing, being sold;

Our only enemy was gold,

And we had no arms to fight it with.

We had indeed been at ease that summer, with our arms and provender (and aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines) protecting us from our enemies, the ones who seemed no threat to us at all. But a bird did get in, and the famous citadel was overthrown…

To make the analogy complete, what would stand in for our only enemy, gold? The easy answer is “black gold”; that is, we allowed our security to breached by the Visa Express program — arranged for the benefit of Saudi Arabia — that admitted a number of the 9/11 hijackers into the United States. However, there were larger issues at work, ones that made us vulnerable in 2001 and keep us vulnerable today.

An aggressive spiritual force is working its way through American culture, one which might be called Orthodox Secularism. Though it lacks any belief in a Supreme Being, it otherwise has all the characteristics of a religion, and it is regnant in academia, the media, and large swathes of the “permanent government”. It manifests itself in well-known ways, such as the demand for the removal of religious symbols from the public square, or the promotion of abortion-on-demand, but there are other, more subtle, ways in which it affects the conduct of our defense against the Great Islamic Jihad.

Three general areas of this new religion are worth pursuing:

1. The Theology of Doubt

Orthodox Secularism requires that adherents subscribe to radical doubt. We must doubt that our culture is superior to any other, that there are any moral absolutes, that the free market is a way to create wealth, etc. Not all propositions are open to doubt — otherwise the system would de-construct itself, like Postmodernism — but the major cultural pillars of the West are all questioned.

This is a legacy of Communism, a credit to the proficiency of the KGB. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union poured enormous clandestine amounts of money into the left-leaning and radical organizations of the West, in addition to feeding them propaganda and disinformation designed to discredit the principles and institutions of the Free World. Communism is gone, but its legacy lives on in our weakened institutions, which continue to peddle the same old nihilistic themes.

This makes the West constitutionally reluctant to take on our Islamofascist enemies, to name them for what they are and counter them in the realm of ideas.

2. Race Trumps Everything

As many politicians (especially Republican ones) know, it is impossible to say certain things in public about race. Statements are constrained by the shibboleths of the age of Orthodox Secularism, with many thoughts on the subject now considered doubleplus ungood, at least for white people.

Thus, the fact that virtually all acts of terror perpetrated since the Twin Towers fell were committed by Muslims, most of them from the Middle East and South Asia, is well-known to just about everybody. But if mentioned publicly it immediately throws the speaker open to charges of racism, and it cannot under any circumstances be used to track down terrorists or to prevent another horrific attack.

If one steps back from the scene to regard the situation, it can hardly be viewed as anything short of mass insanity.

Race trumps border security, preventing us from stanching the flow of illegal immigrants into this country, a flow which may well conceal al Qaeda members. Race trumps any attempt to track the terrorists down once they are in the United States. Race trumps airport screening, leaving us with only random searches; in other words, avoiding giving offense to people with our “racism” is more important than preventing the deaths of hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of innocent people.

The internment of Japanese-Americans during the Second World War is used as the model of “racist” behavior to avoid. But, as Michelle Malkin has demonstrated, the internment decision was a reasonable one to make in wartime, given the fact that a large network of Japanese spies was known to be in place in the United States. It is only with the luxury of hindsight, and through the lens of political correctness, that this can be seen as racism.

It is racism if we seek to profile potential terrorists by their nationality or appearance. It is racism if we draw attention to their repugnant religious beliefs. It is racist to expect immigrants to assimilate to American culture and adopt American values. Any attempt to combat the Islamofascists within our own society simply reveals our inherent racism.

3. Toxic Tolerance

A liberal democratic country like ours is an open society, which requires that its citizens be tolerant of those who differ in their appearance and customs. Tolerance becomes toxic when it demands an acceptance of behaviors which run counter to the basic rules of liberal democracy and undermine its very existence.

If radical Islam demands our tolerance and respect, then we must abide by its tenets and institute an intolerant and illiberal polity. In the name of multiculturalism, Canada has officially sanctioned sharia. But, when applied, sharia will impose legal principles, such as restrictions on the weight of women’s testimony, which violate Canada’s own legal principles and constitutional norms. Problems like this cannot be wished away in an attempt at multicultural harmony; the tolerance of intolerant cultural institutions generates irreconcilable conflicts.

If the West were not defending itself against the Great Islamic Jihad, such issues might remain interesting intellectual puzzles, suitable for reasoned academic debate. But in the context of a post-9/11 world, they are a recipe for cultural suicide.

Throw open the doors! Welcome all who wish to enter, even those who strive to slit our throats!

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   

Orthodox Secularism is a spiritual force, drawing on the same wellsprings as religion but without acknowledging religion. This suggests the question: what is the religious analogue to the collective doubt, self-hatred, and impulse to self-destruction as outlined above?

One word: Sin.

Orthodox Secularism does not include evil in its theological structure, and it does not admit the existence of sin. But our human nature cannot be denied, and human beings are inherently aware of their sinfulness, consciously or not. Environmentalists rely on this: in their dogma, humans are inherently destructive of the environment, and sin against Mother Nature.

The feeling of sinfulness can lead a religious person to confession and absolution, or it can be projected onto others. Since Secularism denies sin, only the latter course is open — sins are committed by corporations, Republicans, America, the West, or even humanity itself.

This unconscious and unacknowledged sense of sinfulness generates the tenets of Orthodox Secularism and breeds a reluctance to act against the evil forces which threaten us. It is the wizened warder who has let them through.

A larger question remains: can this battle against the enemy within be fought without a religious regeneration in our own culture? Does liberal humanism provide enough spiritual might to counter the Great Islamic Jihad?

If not, then we have no arms to fight it with.

The Power and the Glory of Islamic Women

Part Two: Silence in America

In an earlier post, Gates of Vienna addressed the problems facing the women of Baghdad as they attempt to earn their college degrees. We waited to hear the outpouring of concern when reports of their abuse — acid-in-the-face, kidnapping and rape, etc. — surfaced in the MSM. Where there should have been a massive outpouring of support, there was only silence.

Where were the demonstrations to publicize the plight of women under Islam? How can thousands of women, in sisterly collegiality, converge on Washington D.C. to oppose the mythical repression of their abortion rights and fail to mention the all-too-real murderous captivity of their Muslim sisters?

American feminism is becoming a joke, especially to the younger generation, who see it as irrelevant to their lives:

“For women today, feminism is often perceived as dreary. As elitist, academic, Victorian, whiny, and passé…calling themselves girlie feminists, lipstick feminists, or sometimes just Third Wavers, they [the younger generation] have taken to flaunting the very femininity that Feminists had scolded would lead men to objectify them.”

Such an attitude angers The Old Feminists who see themselves as pioneers. Because of their hard slog, they say, women today have a depth and breadth of equality they wouldn’t have otherwise.

The Old Ones cannot see much past the mirror of their own reflection. Nor can they move beyond the walls of their Feminist Studies, a cloister which does not allow its postulants to deviate far from the received wisdom, the collective orthodoxy of patriarchal obstacles to freedom, an orthodoxy which increasingly is believed only by the inmates and their immediate superiors.

In other words, with their silence re Islam’s treatment of women (among other acts of omission) modern feminism has brought about its own irrelevance. Having missed the boat — actually, having failed even to appear on the wharf when the boat sailed — American mainstream feminism is doomed gradually to disappear as the 1970’s ‘pioneers’ age and shuffle off this mortal coil. None too soon, say those who follow.

Who among the young and idealistic cares to continue to batter the dead horse of abortion choice? Roe v. Wade is thirty years old; it’s not going anywhere. However, the insistence that the extremism of partial birth abortion is a legitimate “choice” turns away young women who might otherwise join the fray.

Who among today’s college students has not noticed that women now outnumber men in academia? Except for the cloistered postulants of Feminist Studies, who reads Carol Gilligan’s discredited work?

Who among these young women are willing to sacrifice their children on the altar of women’s autonomy? Today’s young women remember their own painful latch-key childhoods. They are in no hurry to inflict that history on their own progeny.

Today’s regnant feminism will eventually be replaced by the new generation of women with a form that more clearly meets the needs of these young women. Meanwhile, the banner protesting the abuse of women in Islam is going to be carried by others. The Old Guard has let its chance go by.