Random Thoughts from Fjordman

The Fjordman Report

The noted blogger Fjordman is filing this report via Gates of Vienna.
For a complete Fjordman blogography, see The Fjordman Files. There is also a multi-index listing here.

This post is an amalgam of shorter essays on various topics.

Zoroastrian fire worshipI made a comparison between the reaction of Spartan King Leonidas to the Persian invasion of Greece 2500 years ago and the total lack of reaction against the Muslim invasion of Europe in the 21st century. This does not in any way indicate that I believe the two invasions were identical. The founder of the Persian Empire, Cyrus the Great, was remarkably tolerant for his time. He announced that under his rule, “everyone is free to choose a religion,” and made no attempt to impose Zoroastrianism, which became a popular religion in his empire, on others.

After the Persians conquered Babylon in 539 B.C., Cyrus announced that the Jews were free to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their Temple, which had been destroyed by the Babylonians a few years earlier, thus ending the Babylonian Captivity. Judaism was influenced by Zoroastrian ideas during this Exile. The founder of this religious tradition, Zarathustra, was a fellow monotheist who believed in “one true God.” The depiction of the Devil, among other things, in Christianity later is in some ways similar to ideas found in Zoroastrianism.

The Iranians had a proud history before the advent of Islam. Maybe some day they can follow the example of former Muslims such as Ali Sina and Parvin Darabi and lead the Islamic world away from sharia and Jihad.

The most interesting question isn’t what kind of enemy we are facing, but why Europeans are so weak and feeble in their response. Europe was deeply traumatized by two bloody world wars, fought largely on its soil in the first half of the twentieth century, and has never fully recovered from this. Moreover, Western Europe enjoyed an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity in the second half of the twentieth century thanks to American military protection. The combination of these two periods has created entire generations of who believe that war is always evil, for whatever reason, and are under the illusion that the world has moved “beyond war,” which can soon be banned permanently by international law. Some observers tend to focus exclusively on the destruction wrought during the first of these periods, and tend to forget the challenges created by the artificially safe and peaceful environment upheld by outsiders afterwards.

The WestMaybe one of our flaws is a tendency to go from one extreme to the next. Our culture is either superior to that of all others, or it is evil and worthless and should be eradicated. We have created a culture founded on ritualized atonement for past sins, some real and some imaginary, on abasing ourselves in front of others. The only thing we shouldn’t accept is oppression and inequality, which led to all kinds of horrors of slavery, wars and colonialism in the past. There are real evils in our past, and we should not pretend that they didn’t happen. But the West has never been the sole source of atrocities on the planet.

We have developed a strange nanny state culture where risk of any kind is frowned upon. Children are hardly allowed to go to the playground without wearing a full-body armor, yet at the same time we think nothing of allowing the most violent cultures on earth to settle next door. Our total aversion against small-scale risks and dangers in our everyday life makes us incapable of dealing with large-scale threats to our lives and our civilization when they occur. This insidious effect is perhaps the most dangerous aspect of the over-regulated welfare state society. Moreover, the wealth that has been produced in the past by capitalist dynamism has generated a buffer which ensures that it takes time before bad ideas have their full effect. In combination, all these factors have created a bubble of welfare and prosperity where all kinds of unsustainable ideas can thrive.

The historian Bernard Lewis writes — correctly — in his book The Crisis of Islam that the Crusade was a late development that constitutes a radical departure from basic Christian values as expressed in the Gospels. It was of limited duration, whereas Jihad is present from the beginning of Islamic history — in scripture and in the life of the Prophet. However, the same Lewis has some huge blind spots. His ideas about exporting “freedom” to Muslims made significant damage with his support for the pro-democracy drive in Iraq. According to him, “The earliest specifically anti-Semitic statements in the Middle East occurred among the Christian minorities, and can usually be traced back to European originals.”

This is nonsense, as Andrew G. Bostom has clearly demonstrated in his book The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism. According to Bostom, from the advent of Islam, dehumanizing Jews as apes (Koran 2:65/7:166), or apes and pigs (Koran 5:60) has been common. Muhammad himself referred to the Medinan Jews of the Banu Qurayza as “apes” just before orchestrating the slaughter of all their post-pubertal men. There are quotes in support of anti-Semitism in the hadith, traditions about the Prophet: “The Last Hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: ‘Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.’”

The yellow starYes, there is an undeniable and unholy tradition of Christian anti-Semitism, with Jews as “Christ killers.” However, when the Nazis wanted Jews to wear yellow stars and symbols publicly identifying them as Jews, it could be argued that they were in fact copying an Islamic idea. Non-Muslim dhimmis are supposed to wear specific clothes and colors identifying them as belonging to a particular religious groups, as both Jews and Christians did in Islamic Spain and Portugal. That’s one of the Arab influences that is carefully ignored when Multiculturalists talk about how much we owe Muslims.

I have, on occasion, been critical of my own country’s policies. Am I thus behaving in the same way as Western Multiculturalists, by undermining my own nation’s confidence? I don’t think so. I do not hate my country. It was a good country to grow up in, and I’d like it to remain a safe country to grow up in for my grandchildren. I would, for the most part, describe my own country as naïve rather than evil, although there is something sinister about some of the anti-Israeli and anti-American rhetoric.
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A man should always be prepared to defend his nation’s freedom and survival, but he shouldn’t be obliged to always defend his nation’s policies if these are unjust and involve sacrificing the freedom and survival of others. A man should criticize his country when it does something wrong, both because this is the right thing to do, but also because, he, by making his country live up to its full potential, will make it easier to defend.

It is true that smaller nations cannot win major ideological wars on their own, but that is no excuse for doing nothing. We should at least hold our ground at home. Israel is also a small nation, yet has held the line against Jihad for decades, and Denmark, the only Scandinavian country with some spine left, has also left its mark.

The destruction of the Rjukan plantNorwegians did not rescue most of our Jews during WW2, as our Danish cousins did. This is a dark spot on our history. Yet we did have an active resistance movement. One of the greatest commando operations during the war was against a heavy water plant in Rjukan in German-occupied Norway, which was sabotaged and destroyed. Nazi Germany had a nuclear program based on heavy water. This may not have been advanced enough to produce nuclear weapons, and the loss of Jewish scientists certainly crippled it, but it was fears of this nuclear weapons that prompted Albert Einstein’s famous letter to President Roosevelt, and thus triggered the initiation of the Manhattan Project which created nuclear weapons in the United States. Ironically, Norwegian heavy water was later used for the production of nuclear weapons in the Jewish state of Israel, the refuge for the survivors of Nazi Germany.

Norway was also the fourth-largest shipping nation in the world at the outbreak of WW2, behind the United Kingdom, the USA, and Japan, and was of major importance to the allied convoys during the war. A British publication stated that the Norwegian Merchant Fleet was “worth as much to the allied cause as a million soldiers.” Norway is currently the planet’s third largest exporter of oil, after Saudi Arabia and Russia. If the Saudis spend some of their oil money on promoting Jihad and sharia, should not Norwegians then spend a little on combating the same? We could easily create a fund of a billion, or even ten billion US dollars earmarked to defend those whose free speech is threatened for criticizing Islam. And we should do so, both to make an actual difference and to make a clear, moral stand.

I have pointed out that Western welfare states seem to produce huge amounts of bureaucracy. Bureaucracy is of course not a modern invention, nor is it exclusively tied to democratic welfare states. Authoritarian societies, too, can be deeply bureaucratic, both in order to provide artificial employment to large numbers of people and to assert state control in all sectors of society. Perhaps some level of bureaucracy is unavoidable in complex societies with a wide range of professions and a high degree of specialization. But this process definitely has run amok in Western welfare states, and is approaching a critical level.

Quotas and employment based on sex, religion, race or any criteria other than meritocracy, the rule of merit, where individuals are chosen through competition on the basis of demonstrated ability and competence, interfere with private property rights. This violates basic human rights of the employer. Historical experience indicates that respect for private property rights, along with respect for freedom of speech, are the hallmarks of true liberty. Abandoning these principles undermines the free market economy and inhibits the creation of wealth.

Perhaps the new frontier of liberty in the 21st century consists of battling for national sovereignty in legislation, for a nation’s right to decide how much immigration it wants to accept, if any, and the fight against the imposition of quotas, hate speech laws, hate crime legislation and other threats to the individual’s right to free speech and to defense of his own property, the yardstick against which liberty should always be measured.

The UK Commission for Racial Equality in 1996 claimed that “everyone who lives in Britain today is either an immigrant or the descendant of an immigrant.” So, basically, since many population groups in Europe have moved one way or the other since the end of the last Ice Age, none of us have any more claim to our country than, say, Ethiopians? But if that is the case, how come people of European stock in the Americas and Australia are still viewed as alien elements by some, even though many of them have lived there for centuries? As Professor David Conway demonstrates in his book A Nation Of Immigrants?, after the invasion led by William the Conqueror in 1066, the total number of Norman settlers in Britain was never more than five per cent of the population. The inflow now is some 25 times any previous level, and frequently from the opposite side of the planet, not from a neighboring country.

Strangely enough, a British court has decided that use of the word “immigrant” can amount to proof of racial hostility under the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act. A charge of racially aggravated assault had been raised against a woman who referred to a man as “an immigrant doctor.” But if we are all immigrants, calling somebody an “immigrant” cannot possibly be racist, can it? Once again, Political Correctness demonstrates how little is has to do with tolerance, and how much it has to do with making the majority population subject to the whims of minorities at any given moment.

Jan Peter BalkenendeDutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende established a new cabinet in 2007, which included Nebahat Albayrak and Ahmed Aboutaleb, both with dual citizenships. Mrs. Albayrak is Turkish-Dutch and was appointed as the state secretary for justice, thus responsible for immigration policy. Moroccan-Dutch Mr. Aboutaleb is responsible for social affairs and employment. In 2006, Albayrak refused to speak out unequivocally on the Turkish Jihad genocide against the Armenians in 1915, which is forbidden by law to discuss in Turkey.

Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders has proposed that dual nationals should not become members of government and parliament, because their loyalty to one nation could be in doubt. According to Mr. Wilders, not only Turkey and Morocco, but Islam has now penetrated the very core of the Dutch state. Meanwhile, apparently referring to Wilders, Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander worries that debates on dual nationality have a polarizing effect, and states that it is “not for nothing do we have the saying: ‘Speech is silver, silence is golden.’” Prominent liberal VVD member Geert Dales states that “Having two or more passports is entirely unimportant.” Labor Party MP Khadija Arib, who has dual nationality, claims that “I am not loyal to the Netherlands, I am not loyal to Morocco. I am loyal to my principles.”

The intellectual Thomas Kuhn has formulated the theory of paradigm shifts, periodic revolutions in our ways of thinking about the world. I have mixed feelings about Kuhn and don’t like his ideas when applied to science, because I believe there is an anti-rational streak in this concept that has contributed to the rise of Multiculturalism. However, his ideas can sometimes be applicable when describing cultural-ideological changes in society. The Second World War, for instance, contributed to a major paradigm shift in Western ways of thinking about a wide range of issues.

Some readers have claimed that my ideas about totally stopping all forms of Muslim immigration simply aren’t politically possible in the West. Well, it’s impossible according to the current, ruling Multicultural paradigm, yes, but this paradigm isn’t sustainable and is going to break down soon, anyway. Then a new paradigm will emerge, one dedicated to Western survival in the face of Jihad.

ConfuciusWill China lead the world in the 21st century? Confucius’ collected teachings, The Analects, currently enjoy a major revival in editions tailored to suit a modern audience. Although Confucianism promotes many virtues such as a strong work ethic, it is not prejudice to say that it does contain some authoritarian and anti-individualistic traits. Chinese intellectuals have blamed it for contributing to the some of China’s problems, and for its sometimes overly patriarchal views on women. Will the growth of Christianity in China continue? And if so, will it strengthen a vital component of individualism in Chinese culture?

President Hu Jintao is preaching a “Harmonious Society” based on Confucian values of unity and respect for authority. When the Communist Party is now promoting a Confucian basis for their rule, which has been the traditional hallmark of rulers in China for centuries, it indicates that the Party has simply become another Chinese dynasty, just like many Russians view Stalin as the Red Czar.

China certainly has the potential to lead the world, but there are stumbling blocks along the way. It does have its challenges, from political corruption to vast environmental problems caused by rapid economic growth. However, if there is one problem China definitely does not have, it is the suicidal streak of self-loathing which is now so prominent in the West. The Chinese do not feel guilty about promoting their own culture or upholding their own borders. In contrast, the United States currently enjoys the greatest military superiority of any power in the history of mankind, and has enough nuclear weapons to blow up much of the planet, yet it is seemingly incapable of protecting its own borders. Although China’s flaws may potentially prevent her from becoming the leading power, the West’s flaws represent a threat to its very survival.

Richard D. Lamm, former governor of Colorado, has drafted a mock plan for a policy of how to destroy the United States, which incidentally looks remarkably like the policies pursued by US authorities today. The plan would include making the US a bilingual country by encouraging the use of Spanish: “History shows, in my opinion, that no nation can survive the tension, conflict and antagonism of two competing languages and cultures. It is a blessing for an individual to be bilingual; it is a curse for a society to be bilingual.”

Lamm would then proceed to encourage immigrants to maintain their own culture, and further establish a grievance industry and a cult of victimology, where all minorities could blame their lack of success on the majority. Finally, he would place all immigration-related subjects off-limits by making it taboo to talk about them. He would find a word similar to “heretic” in the 16th century to brand opponents and paralyze debate. “Racist” will do just fine.

How significant is the election of Nicolas Sarkozy as French president? He is certainly better than the outgoing president, Mr. Chirac, and without doubt better than his Socialist opponent Segolene Royal, who just before the election day threatened French voters that they would unleash “violence and brutality” if Sarkozy won. His opponents immediately staged local riots, and an Islamic terrorist group threatened to launch bloody attacks in response to the election of a “crusader and Zionist” as president.

I believe Mr. Sarkozy is a decent man, and I wish him good luck. I’m just not sure he’s good enough. The French Constitutional Council has approved a law that criminalizes the filming or broadcasting of acts of violence by people other than professional journalists, thus targeting, among others, bloggers. The law was proposed by then Minister of the Interior Nicolas Sarkozy. Besides, even if Mr. Sarkozy is not a bad man, the tasks he is facing are enormous.

Clichy-sous-BoisFamed Sociologist Max Weber has defined a state as an entity with a “monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory.” Since hundreds of ghettos in France are already outside of police control, and effectively under the rule of local Muslim militias, hasn’t France already ceased being a functioning state? Will France face a civil war, or will the situation just continue as it is today, with gradually increasing gang violence, rapes, street fights and car burnings?

According to the French writer Bernard-Henri Levy, “America is the fire of the European Enlightenment set alight on new shores. Without this idea, it would be nothing more than an amalgam of communities, a juxtaposition of bubbles, the sort of post-modern society some people dream of, but perhaps no longer the American dream.” He may have exaggerated to what extent the United States is a continuation of Europe, but there certainly a connection between the two.

Although some of its seeds may have come from the Middle East, Western civilization is a tree firmly rooted in European soil. The New West, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, are all branches of this tree. If the worst-case scenario takes place, and the Old West in Europe gets destroyed by Islam, can the New West survive without its roots? Western civilization is, after all, transplanted to North America and Australia, whereas it is native to Europe. Westerners are generally perceived to be the natives of Europe, both by themselves and by outsiders. This is not the case with Westerners in the New West. This distinction has not been very significant so far, but it could theoretically turn out to be so later.

Some observers have suggested that the European Unions is using Bismarck’s unification of Germany as a model for European integration. The numerous German states rallied to Prussia’s side against the French in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, thus paving the way for a new, powerful German federation. The EU is trying to cast the United States in the role as the external rival. However, this comparison contains some large flaws. Elements of German nationalism existed at least as far back as the Protestant Reformation in the early 16th century.

Martin LutherAccording to The Story of Christianity: Volume Two, by Justo L. Gonzalez: “…much of Luther’s impact was due to circumstances that he neither created nor controlled, and of whose role in the process of reformation he himself was only dimly aware. The invention of the movable type printing press gave his writings a widespread audience they otherwise would not have had – in fact, Luther was the first to make full use of the value of printing as a medium for propaganda, and to write with the printed page in mind. The growing German nationalist sentiment of which he himself partook offered unexpected but very valuable support.”

Martin Luther helped strengthen this German national sentiment further by printing Bibles in the vernacular, thus shaping the modern German language. Notice that there was some German proto-nationalism present centuries before the formal unification of Germany. Bismarck’s German states were already united by a common language. This is not at all the case with the EU today.

It says in the proposed EU Constitution that the European Union is based on “democracy.” Yet the European Commission, the EU’s government, is both the executive and the legislative branch of the EU, and happens to be unelected and totally unaccountable to anybody. Clearly, the EU has never heard about Montesquieu or the concept of separation of powers. The elected European Parliament, the EU’s democratic fig leaf, is largely a joke, and the national parliaments are gradually reduced to rubber-stamping federal EU legislation. This is called “democracy,” which means that the word had become so vague that we should perhaps use it with some caution.

At the EU Observer, Anthony Coughlan, a senior lecturer at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, notes that in every EU member state at present the majority of laws come from Brussels. Why do national politicians and representatives accept this situation? He suggests a plausible explanation:

“At national level when a minister wants to get something done, he or she must have the backing of the prime minister, must have the agreement of the minister for finance if it means spending money, and above all must have majority support in the national parliament, and implicitly amongst voters in the country. Shift the policy area in question to the supranational level of Brussels however, where laws are made primarily by the 27-member Council of Ministers, and the minister in question becomes a member of an oligarchy, a committee of lawmakers, the most powerful in history, making laws for 500 million Europeans, and irremovable as a group regardless of what it does. National parliaments and citizens lose power with every EU treaty, for they no longer have the final say in the policy areas concerned. Individual ministers on the other hand obtain an intoxicating increase in personal power, as they are transformed from members of the executive arm of government at national level, subordinate to a national legislature, into EU-wide legislators at the supranational.”

EU ministers see themselves as political architects of a superpower in the making. By participating in the EU, they can also free themselves from scrutiny of their actions by elected national parliaments.

According to Coughlan, “the great bulk of European laws are never debated at council of minister level, but are formally rubber-stamped if agreement has been reached further down amongst the civil servants on the 300 council sub-committees or the 3,000 or so committees that are attached to the commission.”

EU integration represents “a gradual coup by government executives against legislatures, and by politicians against the citizens who elect them.” This process is now sucking the reality of power from “traditional government institutions, while leaving these still formally intact. They still keep their old names — parliament, government, supreme court — so that their citizens do not get too alarmed, but their classical functions have been transformed.”

The EUCCPThis is perhaps the most dangerous aspect of the EU: It is increasingly dictatorial, but it is a stealth dictatorship, whose most dangerous elements are largely invisible in everyday life, and that’s why it works. What the average persons sees is that the EU makes it easier for him to travel to other European countries without a passport, and use the same Euro currency from Lapland in Finland to Spain’s Canary Islands outside the African coast.

This appears convenient, and it is. But it comes with the price of hollowing out the power of elected institutions and placing it into the hands of a powerful, unelected oligarchy who are conspiring to usurp ever-more power and rearranging the entire continent without popular consent. That’s a steep price to pay for a common currency. But people do not clearly see this is their daily lives, and seeing is believing. The enemy that clearly identifies himself as such is less dangerous than the enemy who is diffused and vague and difficult see, since you cannot easily mobilize against him.

European elites created the European Union in a last-ditch effort to remain relevant on the world stage. Instead, they may have signed the continent’s death warrant by weakening its cultural defenses and handing it over to Muslims. Without the EU, Europe would probably have diminished in power in global affairs, but it would still have remained recognizable as “Europe.” Now, the continent not only risks becoming irrelevant, it risks becoming destroyed forever, with the active aid of the EU.

Fjordman in Wikipedia

A couple of weeks ago Fjordman told us that he had discovered an article in Wikipedia about himself, one that he had no part in creating, and that the entry was flagged for possible deletion:

This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedia’s deletion policy.

Please share your thoughts on the matter at this article’s entry on the Articles for deletion page.

The article in question is brief, and — as far as I can tell — accurate, taking a fairly neutral tone towards its subject. It does, however, use the weasel word “alleged”:

Fjordman is an anonymous Norwegian blogger who writes about Islam and Muslim immigration and the alleged danger it poses to Western society.

On the other hand, in order to maintain neutrality, I suppose that “alleged” is necessary. It’s fortunate that I don’t have to observe the same neutrality in this venue!

Fjordman has this to say about his place in Wikipedia:
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This entry was considered for deletion before. This was, apparently, overruled the previous time, but now somebody doesn’t like me again. By the way: I had nothing whatsoever to do with the creation of this entry, and Wikipedia is notoriously unbalanced when it comes to politically sensitive matters or persons. It doesn’t matter to my ego whether I have this entry or not, but I suspect there is an element of ideological censorship in the desire to delete it, and I don’t think that should be allowed to pass unnoticed.

Fjordman’s fans are invited to keep a gimlet eye on the Wikipedia entry, and to keep us informed of any changes in it.

Thanks to Islam in Europe for bringing this topic to our attention again.

We Have Left the Religion!

Vi har lämnat religionen!

That’s Swedish for “We have left the religion!” It’s the Scandinavian version of the motto of the Central Council of Ex-Muslims in Germany, Wir haben abgeschworen!

The Council has now opened an affiliated chapter in Scandinavia. Here is an announcement in Der Humanistische Pressedienst (based on a machine translation):

Centralrådet för ex-muslimer i SkandinavienThe Central Council of Ex-Muslims in Germany is pleased to note, “that in so short a time Islam-critical and -damaged immigrants from Arab countries, whose example those from Turkey and Iran now also follow, organize publicly in other parts of the world.” The executive committee of the German ZdE [Zentralrats der Ex-Muslime, the Central Council of Ex-Muslims] regards this development as an encouraging indication of the development of an international Islam-critical reform movement.

This is a large and growing movement against Islam by those who know best the damage and deformation it causes. Thanks to the courage of their founders, the apostates’ organizations can provide some safety in numbers for those who would dare to repudiate Islam. When there are so many, how can they all be killed?

But the West is not uniformly pleased with this trend. Consider this summary from Studio Ett on Swedish Radio (translation by LN):

“We have left the religion!” For the members of the newly-formed Central Council of Ex-Muslims in Scandinavia, there was no other way to escape from living under oppression. Among other things the organization criticizes the media and the politicians that, in their opinion, have carried too much water for the political Islamists. But is such an organization needed in the Nordic Countries? Or does it only contribute to an additional polarization of the debate? [emphasis added]

Ponder for a moment the implications of the last sentence in this quote. For individuals who have been brutalized by a barbaric “religion” to organize and speak up is to “polarize the debate”!

In other words, unless every Muslim is loyal, subservient, content, and without grievance within the religion of his birth, he is doing everyone harm.
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Can you imagine a more patronizing, wrong-headed, stupid, and dangerous attitude towards Islamic barbarism?

Fortunately, the ex-Muslim movement may be too big for even the élite nomenklatura of Sweden to stop. As Wolfgang Bruno has written,

There are approximately one billion nominal Muslims in the world. How many of these are secret ex-Muslims? Ibn Warraq has estimated that 10-15% of the Muslims in the UK are actually apostates. If that percentage reflects the Islamic world as a whole, we are talking about a number of people the equivalent of a country the size of Japan. Even half of this is a country the size of Britain. Although only a (fast-growing) minority of Muslims around the world have access to the Internet, simple mathematics indicate that there are already hundreds of thousands, probably millions or maybe even tens of millions of ex-Muslims in cyberspace. This, as well as additional tens of millions of Muslims who already have at least some doubts, is the soft underbelly of Islam.

One of the reasons for my repeated urging of solicitousness toward the “moderate” Muslim is that “moderation” can be the beginning of a search for the exit. By extending the hand of friendly publicity towards him, we are helping the moderate Muslim find his way out the door.

The hat tip for the links and our thanks for the machine translation go to our redoubtable Swedish correspondent LN.

Giving the Dhimmis Ideas

In the comments on my post “All Jihad is Local”, Shahar had some interesting things to say about the Arabs, the Jews, and the EU:

Guys, stop with the Eurocentric misconception of Israel.

Only half of the Jews in Israel are from the West. The other half are from the Arab world (myself from Iraq). When my grandparents were young, all the Arab world was not really divided into nations as it is now; in the mentality of the people, it was one Arab Ummah.

When Israel was formed then the Muslim friends of my family told them not to go there, because Jews are not supposed to have an independent country like Muslims are allowed to.

This is the essence of the whole thing. Under any other circumstances you would consider it as a population exchange. More Jews from the Arab world left it than Arabs (who later created the term “Palestinians”) left Palestine.

So what is so horrible? The thing that was horrible is that those Jews, like my family in Iraq, who were their accountants, doctors, and academics, but at the same time were controlled by them, suddenly took up independence.

The dhimmis suddenly thought they have rights. What would be next? The Assyrians and the Lebanon Christians and Druze might join? The Kurds might break out of the Arab oppression?

This is why Israel must be destroyed, so the Ummah may not be threatened.

And the Ummah is threatened.

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Turkey is secular, and look at the anti-religious demonstrations there this month. Also look at the EU, which condemns the secular groups in Turkey and supports the Islamic government — this should have been covered in this blog for the readers, as it is so crucial for the understanding of what the EU is!

The Kurds will have independence, and can become secular like the majority of Turks, but the EU is the power which would stop it and protect the Islamofascists — and no one asks why?

Wake up, guys.

All right — this topic should have been covered in this blog. The rectification of that deficiency begins here.

I’ll look for more information on the subject and report back later.

The Flaws of the Western Man

The Fjordman Report

The noted blogger Fjordman is filing this report via Gates of Vienna.
For a complete Fjordman blogography, see The Fjordman Files. There is also a multi-index listing here.

There are two different camps among those concerned with the problems of the modern West: Those who ascribe them to a powerful and influential minority who champion certain ideologies, and those who ascribe them to a lack of cultural confidence and structural, religious and metaphysical problems in the West in general. I personally see some evidence to support both these explanations.

An alliance of left-wingers and right-wingers, or transnational progressives and transnational capitalists as John Fonte would have said, is undermining the nation state. It is more than a little ironic that Socialists are squarely on the side of the super-rich in desiring open borders. There is plenty of evidence that mass immigration has been promoted by cultural and political elites, and that opposition to this has been silenced with sometimes quite repressive means.

The Netherlands was much less thrilled about Multiculturalism than was generally assumed in elitist circles well before 2002. The media and the politicians drew a picture that simply didn’t correspond to reality. Maverick politician Pim Fortuyn only brought popular discontent to the surface, three sociologists at the Radboud University in Nijmegen concluded. “The positive image that almost all the Dutch had the same tolerant attitude to minorities as the ‘well-thinking’ section of the nation” (as the political and media elite are often described) was kept alive for a long time,” the sociologists maintain.

I do not dispute the fact that there has been a general breakdown of cultural confidence in the West and in Europe, but I do dispute the claim that this has translated into a generally shared death wish where the masses happily embrace their own eradication. The prevalence of hate speech laws and censorship is a strong indication of the contrary. Still, let us have a look at some structural flaws in the West.

As Euripides said: “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.” Well, the West is currently stark, raving mad, and sometimes actively hates itself. I’m scratching my head trying to find out where this self-loathing comes from. Maybe we feel guilty because we are so successful and rich and accomplished that we just can’t take it anymore. But where do such ideas about guilt originate from? I suspect they are somehow related to the Judeo-Christian strand of the West. They do not stem from the Greco-Roman or Germanic ones. Bad things could be said about Julius Caesar, but suicidal guilt definitely wasn’t his major problem. Maybe we need a touch of Roman ruthlessness as well as Christian compassion. But Western self-loathing is frequently directed against Christianity, and that is somewhat puzzling if we assume that it emanates from Christianity.

Utopia by HolbeinWhat is Multiculturalism? There is probably a new Great Idea for every generation. It changes just enough for people to be duped again, but it always entails some form of large-scale change for millions of people. The less it corresponds to reality, the better. The point is to outbid others in Utopian ideas. What is behind it? Well, the joy of destroying the Established Order to bring purpose into otherwise purposeless lives and the desire to immerse oneself into grandiose ideas. The desire for personal power and the joy of being able to harass opponents shouldn’t be underestimated, either. If you claim that your Utopian ideas are about justice and equality, you can also claim that those who disagree with you are proponents of injustice and inequality, in other words evil, and outside the boundaries of civilized debate.

One should always be mindful of people who profess an ideology that entails sweeping changes to society, claim that this represents the unstoppable tide of history, and yet for some reason need to shut down critics through intimidation. If their ideology is so great, how come they are so reluctant to accept criticism? Good ideas can be rationally defended. If people resist critical scrutiny of their ideas, this is usually a powerful indication of the fact that these ideas are neither truthful nor desirable.

Can our democratic system survive the 21st century? Both Western and non-Western examples of early forms of direct democracy exist. Germanic societies, especially among the Nordic nations, had regional governing assemblies called ting already in the Middle Ages. Some of the parliaments in these countries, the Althing on Iceland, the Folketing in Denmark and the Storting in Norway, have retained this legacy in their names. Still, by far the most influential example, where the word “democracy” itself was originally coined, was the ancient Greek city-state of Athens. The Athenian democracy included the practice of ostracism, in which a citizen could be expelled for a decade under pain of death, and without a trial.

Socrates drinking the hemlockOne person in democratic Athens who did face a trial, however, was Socrates, whom the oracle at Delphi had supposedly claimed was the wisest man alive. He was found guilty of corrupting the youth and drank the poisonous hemlock. The trial made a lasting impression on his disciple Plato, who concluded that a political system where a great man such as Socrates, who challenged people to think for themselves, could be sentenced for speaking his mind was an unjust system.

Plato may have been overly critical of democracy, but he wasn’t entirely wrong. Suppression of dissenters asking legitimate but bothersome questions about sensitive matters has remained a problem in democratic societies to this day. Democracy does not always ensure that wise people are allowed to be heard or that bad ideas are not implemented, as can clearly be seen in the case of Multiculturalism and Muslim immigration in the West. In hindsight, it is easy to notice that sweeping and possibly irreversible changes were implemented without proper debate. Those who objected were simply ignored or harassed into silence.
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The Bill of Rights

Securing the right to individual freedom of speech, as the US Founding Fathers did in the Bill of Rights, is a necessary step to remedy this flaw, but there are other forms of indirect censorship that may prove more difficult to combat. The culture of debate, which is absolutely essential for politics of reason to be possible, has been declining in the West for decades into a shouting match where the most aggressive groups frequently win.

Alexis de ToquevilleAlexis de Tocqueville, the French author of the classic book Democracy in America, was surprised at how religious average Americans were, and linked the culture of democracy there partly to its religious base. In an interview with FrontPage Magazine, Hugh Brogan tells about his new book about de Tocqueville. Tocqueville was afraid that individual self-respect might succumb to the pressures of majoritarian conformism in the democratic system.

According to Brogan, “He would, I think, admit that in Democracy in America he should have recognised, even in 1835, the importance of lobbies and pressure-groups; and would find their fantastic power, based on the commercial manipulation of public opinion, quite unacceptable. His first and last principle was that you cannot have law without liberty or liberty without law, and these were his two supreme values.”

One of the challenges de Tocqueville didn’t deal with was the rising power of the Fourth Estate, the press, which has become so powerful that it dominates the three official branches of government. One of the pitfalls in our modern, complicated and fast-changing society is that we are bombarded with such large amounts of information every single day that it is hard to decide which information is important and which is not. We have to rely on “gatekeepers” to filter out important information, and if those “gatekeepers,” the mass media, are heavily infiltrated by people with an anti-Western agenda, this creates very serious problems.

The writer Christopher Lasch in his book The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy from the 1990s talks about how certain elite groups such as lawyers, academics and journalists threaten the democratic system by cutting themselves off from their own people. They all make a living from treating words and information as commodities, and the market for these commodities is increasingly international. He also warns against the consequences of the breakdown of religion.

I have recently started to fear that our democratic system, as it is currently fashioned, cannot survive this century. Cynically speaking, there are two basic tasks a government needs to perform in order to claim legitimacy for collecting taxes:

1.   Keep criminals off the streets and maintain public order, so citizens can go about their affairs and conduct trade in reasonable safety. If this fails, and if ordinary citizens do not feel a minimum amount of security for their lives and property, trade and investments suffer, and the economy breaks down.
2.   Uphold the territorial integrity of the country, and defend its borders and its citizens against external threats.

Right now, governments all over the Western world are performing poorly on the former, and failing abysmally on the latter, while still collecting obscene amounts of taxes. This situation simply isn’t sustainable for much longer. Our nations need to regain control over our own borders. The problem is, we are faced with the most massive migration waves in the history of mankind, at the same time as international law and human rights fundamentalism is crippling our ability to maintain our integrity, and while our political and business elites care less and less about their own people.

Have we reached the end of the Golden Age of governments accountable to the people? I hope not, but we have to make significant changes to the system to make it work, and I must admit that I cannot yet envision how all of these changes will look like, nor how we will go about to get them implemented.

Viking longboatI have debated the issue of Vikings vs. Muslims with some Scandinavians. Some have claimed that they were the Al-Qaida of medieval Europe. But Vikings valued truth and keeping their word to maintain their honor, instead of saving face. They had blood feuds, kept slaves and raided the Christians of Europe. Yet even though the Vikings could be brutal (“Thou shalt not kill” is a Christian concept), they still had an honor codex that was tied to acts of courage.

I’ve seen many examples of gangs of Muslim immigrants attacking lone victims, homeless people, handicapped people, etc. I’m not sure the Vikings would have done that. Not necessarily because it was wrong to use violence, but because the manner would have been dishonorable. Which means that we were superior to Muslims even during our most barbarian periods. Besides, most of us have evolved from such brutality. Muslims haven’t.

Scandinavian women also enjoyed far greater freedom than Muslim women in the pre-Christian Viking Age, which they retained in the Christian period afterwards.

According to Bernard Lewis in his book What Went Wrong?, “The difference in the position of women was indeed one of the most striking contrasts between Christian and Muslim practice, and is mentioned by almost all travelers in both directions. Christianity, of all churches and denominations, prohibits polygamy and concubinage. Islam, like most other non-Christian communities, permits both. (…) Muslim visitors to Europe speak with astonishment, often with horror, of the immodesty and forwardness of Western women, of the incredible freedom and absurd deference accorded to them, and of the lack of manly jealousy of European males confronted with the immorality and promiscuity in which their womenfolk indulge.”

This is all good, and we should be proud of it. But we now have a situation where men and women are presented not just as equal but as identical. At the same time women are implicitly and sometimes explicitly treated as better than men. This same illogical double standard mirrors that of Multiculturalism, where all cultures are equal yet Western culture is evil.

The Chinese talk about yin and yang, the feminine and the masculine aspects of nature, which are complementary and should ideally be in a state of balance. In modern Scandinavia, we have yin in abundance, but will shame yang and make him feel guilty for existing if he ever shows up. But a society cannot survive without an element of traditional masculinity.

As the columnist Jack Kelly says, “It is the soldier, not the priest, who protects freedom of religion; the soldier, not the journalist, who protects freedom of speech. History teaches that a society that does not value its warriors will be destroyed by a society that does.”

As I’ve demonstrated before, the ancient Greeks were pioneers in accurately depicting real life in arts. In modern times, linear perspective was developed during the Italian Renaissance, starting with Giotto, but developed fully in the early 15th century into the geometrical method of perspective by Filippo Brunelleschi. Something similar had never been produced by any other artistic tradition, be it Chinese, Indian or Middle Eastern. This totally different view of art probably reflected a totally different view of the world in general, and a break with previous traditions and authorities.

Leonardo da Vinci studied nature scientifically and used his own eyes to ensure that his work corresponded to reality as accurately as possible. This can be seen in his studies of the proportions of the human body depicted in his famous drawing The Vitruvian Man. He went beyond the authority of tradition and past masters, which is why the lady portrayed in the Mona Lisa looks so amazingly lifelike. This mentality is why the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions took place in the West.

Niccolò MachiavelliIn the early 16th century, writers such as Niccolò Machiavelli and painters such as Leonardo da Vinci were trying to describe the world as it actually is. In the early 21st century, Westerners have abandoned any pretense of doing so, and are instead living in an imaginary reality of how an ideal world should be. We could perhaps learn a thing or two from our ancestors. But is it conceivable that this Western desire to experiment, to disregard tradition and go beyond what has been done in the past can also in some cases be a flaw?

Maybe some of those traits which previously used to be our greatest assets, such as our respect for women, for human rights, individual freedom and our openness to outsiders have been carried into such extremes that they have become liabilities. Perhaps even initially good ideas can turn bad if practiced without moderation. The key word, which we seem to have forgotten, is “balance.” According to a conservative Swedish friend of mine, many of the seemingly crazy excesses now on display are not so much a perversion of Western civilization as a fulfillment of it. What has happened is that Westerners have carried many of the seeds of our culture into their theoretical (and extreme) limits. This has left us confused; we have fulfilled our civilizational mission, and don’t know what to do next.

The Canadian writer Naomi Klein believes that the terror attacks of September 11th 2001 were caused by Western racism. On the contrary, they were triggered by excessive anti-racism. If you believe the story of Michael Tuoheya, a former U.S. Airways ticket agent, he checked in terrorist leader Muhammad Atta for a flight that day. According to Tuoheya, “I said to myself, ‘If this guy doesn’t look like an Arab terrorist, then nothing does.’ Then I gave myself a mental slap, because in this day and age, it’s not nice to say things like this.” Atta joined three other hijackers and crashed into one of the World Trade Center’s towers in New York City.

Modern Westerners are increasingly unwilling to risk our lives for anything, but we are willing to die for anti-discrimination any day. Anti-racism is the new God, an angry God requiring your unquestioned submission and if necessary death — a bit like Allah, incidentally.

It is possible to view the history of the West as one of freeing oneself from the constraints of the past, and of granting equality to ever-expanding circles of people, starting with universal suffrage for men, later for women, then equality for all ethnic, religious and sexual subgroups and eventually even for non-citizens and enemies. The West has led the world in innovation for centuries. Yet perhaps this disposition, which has been the Western Man’s greatest strength, can also be his curse. Perhaps he sometimes breaks down restraints that are needed, and insists on equality where no equality naturally exists. His self-image has been to question tradition on every level, to always move forward. The Western Man has freed himself from the restraints of his traditions, his religion, his culture and the memories of his past. More recently, he has also rid himself off his sex, his skin color, his very physical being. He is, in essence, nothing, and is thus constrained by nothing. The Western Man is thus free at least.

The Western man was the first to create parliamentary democracy, the first to reach the North and the South Pole and the first to travel to the Moon. He always likes to go where no man has gone before him. The sad thing is that there is now so little unchartered territory, so few boundaries left to breach. What to do? Well, embracing organized national suicide is something no man has ever done before, presumably for very good reasons. The Western Man smells an opportunity to once again lead mankind into unchartered territory, and boldly seizes it. He may not be sensible, but at least he’s first, and to the Western Man, that is what matters above all else.

The Little Muslima Mermaid?

Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid seems to have converted to Islam overnight. According to yesterday’s Politiken (my translation):

The Little Mermaid in Muslim Clothing

The Muslima MermaidPolice don’t know who clad the Little Mermaid during the night in a veil and long robe, but she has her clothes off again.

Denmark’s important symbol overnight had converted to Islam.

Unknown culprits culprits draped the mermaid in a black and burgundy costume, while her face was covered by a veil, declared the duty officer of the uniformed police.

Although there was no sign or other object on the mermaid, a deeper purpose is suggested by this action.

“She has just been uncovered again, and we will look into this further,” said the duty officer of the uniformed police.

Not the first time

The police have no idea who dressed up the mermaid in Muslim garb.

It was reported via the central alarm at 5:33 this morning by a man who had discovered “The Muslim Mermaid”.

This is not the first time that creative designers have caused the Little Mermaid to flirt with Islam.

In 2004 the mermaid was clothed in a burka with a caption “Turkey in the EU?”

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Will all this political theater cause the mermaid to moved to a more remote location? That’s a possibity, according to an article in the Copenhagen Post last year:

The Little MermaidImagine moving the Eiffel Tower a few metres further to the left, or the Statue of Liberty just a little closer to Manhattan. The City of Copenhagen is considering something similar for its own landmark — the Little Mermaid Statue.

As a way to protect the bronze statue from vandalism and reduce the wear and tear on it from tourists, the Copenhagen City Council is considering moving the 1.25m, 175kg statue a few metres further out into the water, Jyllands-Posten newspaper reported last week.

During the course of her life, the 93-year-old Little Mermaid, sitting on a rock in ankle-deep water on the Copenhagen waterfront, has suffered frequent acts of vandalism. It has been beheaded — three times, had an arm cut off and been blown off its rock by explosives.

Some free advice for the Danish authorities: treat Den Lille Havfrue the same way we treat our major monuments in Washington D.C.: Set up a 24/7 security cordon around her, with concrete barriers, X-ray devices, armed guards, and government agents who wand all the tourists who want to get near her.

That’ll show ’em.

Hat tip: LN, via email.

Self-Delusion among Scandinavian Foreign Ministers

KGS, who blogs at Tundra Tabloids, sends along his translation of an article was published in today’s Helsingin Sanomat (subscription required), the New York Times of Finland, on the editorial front page.

As KGS notes,

This is a classic textbook case of European intellectuals refusing to accept reality, namely that the Palestinians who support Hamas are fighting for the good of the whole Ummah. Then there is the moral equivocation of both sides (regardless of the truth) and the trashing of UNSCR 242, the basis for “the land for peace” formula.

This is why Scandinavia needs to be the focus of wider attention. They are far too boisterous and influential for their numbers, and their opinions are too far off the track to be of any constructive, positive use.

First, here’s the entire editorial. I’ll fisk parts of it afterwards.

The Middle East Needs encouragement in the Peace Process

“Positive steps forward in the peace process are now possible, but they demand active participation by the international community”

Many observers who have long followed the Middle East peace process are frustrated, and right now this feeling is strong.

Israel’s government is close to dissolving, while the Palestinian government is suffering from disagreement. The stabilization of the situation could take months.

Presumably therefore, any kind of diplomatic initiative right now would be in vain. In our opinion the assessment of the situation is correct, but the conclusions are completely mistaken. In spite of all the difficulties there are four factors that exist, that could lead to peace. If the United States and Europe do not take hold of these possibilities, it could present itself to be a fateful mistake.

The Arab League’s peace initiative is the first possibility. The initiative offers Israel in unambiguously clear language, full relations and a wide normalization for a return to the pre-1968 [actually 1967 —KGS] borders and negotiated agreement concerning the question of refugees.

The Arab League should now clarify its proposal and explain it directly to the Israeli people. Israel’s leaders have reacted rather positively to the proposal and therefore Arab leaders should begin an international diplomatic, political action and convince Israelis of their constructive intentions.

The second possibility consists of the Palestinian groups’ Mecca agreement and the basis of the agreement which formed the national coalition government. According to some opinions this was regrettable because the inclusion of the Hamas will not bring peace, according to them, Hamas should removed from the government.

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The international community, especially European countries, should establish relations to the new government and break the economic and diplomatic boycott. Attempts to oppose the government and its area of movement have made it difficult for them achieve a ceasefire and reach a political agreement.

From the basis of discussions between representatives of the International Crisis Group (ICG) and leaders of Hamas, we have become aware of important opening suggestions — from the position of continuing the peace process — in the fundamental questions.

This includes promises from both sides over a comprehensive truce and unanimity that a state within the 1967 borders is a joint goal of the Palestinians.

This also includes recognizing President Mahmoud Abbas as the only one empowered to negotiate with Israel and to assure that agreements ratified by each and every institution within Palestinian democratic order will be adhered to.

These promises must naturally be clarified and verified, but it must happen solely in an exchange of dialogue with the Palestinian government.

The economic boycott, according to which Palestinian aid is steered past Palestinian officials, has not led to a decrease in aid. Instead it has lead to a more closed and ineffective process. It has weakened hard-built Palestinian institutions. Aid should be therefore given through the Palestinian state treasury office, which is now lead by a generally esteemed minister.

The third possibility is Syria’s newest awakening to openly negotiate with Israel without any preconditions. Many suspect that Damascus is only trying to avoid its growing international isolation and resist the founding of an international tribunal, which would solve the murder of Lebanon’s prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri.

Regardless of Syrian appearances, the definitive factor is nonetheless its desire to sit at the same negotiation table.

Syrian commitment could mean that the danger of a new conflict between Hizbullah and Israel would decrease, that Hamas would become more moderate and send a message to Iran that it also should reevaluate its politics again.

An opposite development in which President Bashar al-Assad’s overtures are left unanswered, means without a doubt that Syria in the future will act destructively in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq.

The fourth and final possibility is composed of the newest, one-of-a-kind joint understanding of Arab and Israeli goals for peace. An Israeli and Palestinian as well as Israeli and Syrian peace agreement have been affirmed and approved in many opinion polls, unofficial discussions and agreement suggestions.

We presented at the ICG in 2002 one suggestion, and the developments afterwards haven’t shaken our conclusion. The international community now has time to present a detailed and exhaustive vision for Middle East peace.

Such a vision is needed to encourage the sides to be prepared for necessary compromise.

If we wait until ideal conditions for peace to materialize some time, that’s a bad excuse for inaction. It also means that we effect the conditions in that they will never appear at all.

Our opinion in Europe and in Northern Europe, is that every real advancement (for peace) available be taken advantage of and used. The Middle East conflict has already for too long poisoned international relations.

Former foreign minister Denmark

Former foreign minister Sweden

Former foreign minister Finland

Former foreign minister Norway

Israel’s government is close to dissolving, while the Palestinian government is suffering from disagreement.

Hoo, boy! That’s a disingenuous summary. An Israeli government may be dissolved by the President, and new elections will be held. Hamas and Fatah are killing each other in the streets. Same thing.

The Arab League’s peace initiative is the first possibility. The initiative offers Israel in unambiguously clear language, full relations and a wide normalization for a return to the pre-1968 [actually 1967 —KGS] borders and negotiated agreement concerning the question of refugees.

How many times have we heard this one before? When do we get to say, “Been there. Done that.”?

Arab leaders should begin an international diplomatic, political action and convince Israelis of their constructive intentions.

With words, apparently. Actions never speak louder than words if you’re a friend of the Palestinians.

Attempts to oppose the [Hamas] government and its area of movement have made it difficult for them achieve a ceasefire and reach a political agreement.

The West is responsible for all of the problems in “Palestine”. Any violent activity is somehow caused by our less than fully indulgent attitude towards the Palestinians.

Aid should be therefore given through the Palestinian state treasury office, which is now lead by a generally esteemed minister.

We are obliged to do this despite the proven track record of the Palestinian Authority, with the recent disappearance of more than five billion dollars.

An opposite development in which President Bashar al-Assad’s overtures are left unanswered, means without a doubt that Syria in the future will act destructively in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq.

The wishful thinking in this one is truly breathtaking. There has never been the slightest indication that Boy Assad or his father has ever been interested in acting non-destructively towards Israel and Lebanon. Every overture and concession by the Western powers is just exploited as an opportunity to extend the long and brutal arm of Syrian power even further.

On and on and on.

And then there’s the old mantra: both sides… both sides… both sides… repeated over and over until all our brains turn to jelly.

Update From Islamberg

Muslims of AmericaI wrote a review and critique last week of Paul Williams’ article about Islamberg, the Muslims of America/Jamaat ul-Fuqra headquarters near Hancock, New York.

A reader from New York was prompted to write and add additional corrections the record. He says that he lives just outside Deposit, right on the doorstep of Islamberg:

First of all, it’s “Cuz’ ins” “not Cousins” [referring to a bar in Deposit mentioned by Dr. Williams]. It’s on Front Street in Deposit, about a block from where there was a data processing center and where the Muslimahs worked. That’s a day care center now. (Do we want Muslims processing our data?)

The interesting bit of information I picked up this week is that, yes, the JuF brats are now being homeschooled. We must remember they were kicked out of the Hancock school system and dumped on Deposit. Then they were bringing knives to school but apparently that wasn’t such a big deal. Recently, however, they began destroying lockers and such and that got them kicked out of Deposit as well.

This may account partially for why Muslimahs are no longer seen in town, but I do wonder why they are never seen in town anymore.

One was signed up at the Curves some years back. If people are talking about their absence, that suggests it’s a noticeable change. Don’t they need to shop anymore, or are they just staying in their trailers with the curtains drawn homeschooling the next generation of jihadis?

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This is a reminder that Jamaat ul-Fuqra is characterized by its separateness from the rest of American life. The same thing is true of all other Muslim communities wherever they may be found among non-Muslims: they remain separate and unintegrated, as required by the Koran.

Do you remember when the Black Muslims, a.k.a. the Nation of Islam, were criticized for their advocacy of separation from mainstream American society?

That was before Multiculturalism became the regnant orthodoxy in the West. Now separateness is to be encouraged and celebrated.

But it’s a good idea to remember that such separation provides the ideal environment in which Jihad against our culture can be incubated and encouraged.

“Homeschooling the next generation of jihadis.” Indeed.

China, Censorship, and the Bible

On Friday I posted about complaints filed in Hong Kong against the Bible as a violent and indecent book, demanding that it be kept away from minors. It seemed to be another strange story out of China, and some of our commenters speculated that the Chinese government, being afraid of Christianity within China, was using this pretext for a crackdown on Christians.

However, as is often the case with China, things are not entirely what they seem. A reader with a thorough knowledge of affairs in Hong Kong wrote us this morning:

I am writing to you to comment on your article ‘A Holy Book of Violence and Indecency’. The actual background of the controversy has not been made clear in the original article. In February and March a controversial sex survey was published in the Chinese University student newspaper. These two editions of the student newspaper were subsequently classified as ‘indecent’ by the Obscene Articles Tribunal in Hong Kong. Obviously in protest and as a publicity stunt student activists then lunched the campaign against the Bible.

Though I have no doubt that the Mainland Chinese Government will not allow any challenge to its authority, this controversy was not created by the government but rather by some local student activists. To illustrate the development of events I have copied some short news bulletins from RTHK, the official Hong Kong broadcaster, here:

Student editors expect sex articles to be deemed ‘indecent’

2007-05-12 HKT 16:01

The editors of a student journal who published a controversial sex survey say they’ve been told it’s very likely that the Obscene Articles Tribunal will rule that the articles were indecent. The Chinese University student newspaper caused a stir after it published articles about sexual desires, and a survey about bestiality and incest in its February and March issues. The student editors say they’ve been told by tribunal staff that the articles will be officially classified as indecent on Tuesday.

Sex articles in editions of Chinese University newspaper classified as ‘indecent’

2007-05-15 HKT 00:59

The Obscene Articles Tribunal has classified as ‘indecent’ two editions of a Chinese University students’ newspaper. They contained articles based on a controversial survey about students’ sexual desires — which included questions about incest and bestiality. The Tribunal’s ruling will be published in newspapers tomorrow.

More Bible complaints

2007-05-16 HKT 16:45

Hundreds more complaints against the Bible have been received, following the launching of an anonymous website yesterday. The site urges people to pressure the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority into reclassifying parts of the Bible as indecent. The site was set up after TELA classified two issues of a Chinese University student publication as indecent. A spokesman for TELA said that so far they had received 838 complaints relating to certain chapters in the Bible.

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Plea not to penalise students

2007-05-17 HKT 13:13

The Hong Kong Federation of Students has urged the authorities not to penalise the editorial team of a Chinese University newspaper that published a controversial column about sexual desires. The Obscene Articles Tribunal has classified two of the articles as indecent. The Federation also called on the Chinese University to withdraw a warning letter issued to students.

Chinese University rules out action for now in sex row

2007-05-17 HKT 22:57

The Chinese University says it won’t take disciplinary action at the moment against those involved in the controversy over a sex survey in a student newspaper. Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jack Cheng, said alumni from the university had volunteered to give legal advice to the students involved. However, speaking after a meeting with the students, Professor Cheng ruled out giving them financial assistance to launch an appeal against a ruling by the Obscene Articles Tribunal.

Government says TELA won’t deal with frivolous complaints

2007-05-19 HKT 17:07

The government says the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority will not deal with “frivolous” complaints from the public. The Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Joseph Wong, said longstanding religious texts or literature have not violated standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by members of the community. His comments followed Tela’s decision not to submit the Bible to the Obscene Articles Tribunal for classification despite receiving more than two thousand complaints about its content.

CUHK students appeal to Obscene Articles Tribunal to review its ruling

2007-05-19 HKT 18:35

A group of Chinese University students has filed an application with the Obscene Articles Tribunal urging it to review its ruling on articles in their student publication. The Tribunal earlier classified two issues of the paper as indecent because they contained questions about incest and bestiality. This meant they cannot be distributed to youngsters. If prosecuted, the editors could face a maximum fine of 400-thousand dollars and one year in prison.

Our reader goes on to say, “This goes to show once again that the MSM (Reuters, AFP in the article you quoted) cannot be trusted to report events in their true and proper context.”

And all I can say to that is, “Amen!”

Fifty Years

I found this amusing piece on a Dutch blog. I did an internet search on it, attempting to discover the original source, but all of the versions I found reported it as coming from an email message, or referred to other blogs which reported it that way.

If anyone knows the author, let me know, and I’ll give him/her/it a well-deserved citation.

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See what fifty years will do:

Scenario:   Jack pulls into school parking lot with rifle in gun rack.
1956   Vice Principal comes over, takes a look at Jack’s rifle, goes to his car and gets his to show Jack.
2006   School goes into lockdown, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.
Scenario:   Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.
1956   Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up best friends. Nobody goes to jail, nobody arrested, nobody expelled.
2006   Police called, SWAT team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark. Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it.

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Scenario:   Jason won’t be still in class, disrupts other students.
1956   Jason sent to office and given a good paddling by Principal. Sits still in class.
2006   Jason given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. School gets extra money from state because Jason has a disability.
Scenario:   Billy breaks a window in his father’s car and his Dad gives him a whipping.
1956   Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.
2006   Billy’s Dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang. Billy’s sister is told by state psychologist that she remembers being abused herself and their Dad goes to prison. Billy’s mom has affair with psychologist.
Scenario:   Mark gets a headache and takes some headache medicine to school.
1956   Mark shares headache medicine with Principal out on the smoking dock.
2006   Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.
Scenario:   Pedro fails high school English.
1956   Pedro goes to summer school, passes English, goes to college.
2006   Pedro’s cause is taken up by state Democratic party. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro’s English teacher. English banned from core curriculum. Pedro given diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he can’t speak English.
Scenario:   Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the 4th of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, blows up a red ant bed
1956   Ants die.
2006   BATF, Homeland Security, FBI called. Johnny charged with domestic terrorism, FBI investigates parents, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated, Johnny’s Dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

The Mothers of all Problems

Our Dutch correspondent Michiel Mans recently us the essay below, a meditation on bureaucracy and multiculturalism.

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The Mothers of all Problems
by Michiel Mans

Actually, in practice, the Mothers usually are Fathers. Fjordman gives an explanation for Swedish behaviour in his essay. I think the picture is broader and applicable to the whole Western world. Part of the problem is even applicable to all large organizations, including governments and civil service bodies. It is what I call the ‘Yes Minister’ effect. This splendid BBC comedy series showed, in typical British fashion, the intricate functioning of bureaucracy with its stupidity, its hollow swollen language, the emptiness of words and promises, and the sometimes narcissistic self-interest apparent in many. Sir Humphrey Appleby, the Permanent Secretary of the (fictional) Ministry of Administrative affairs, was the recognizable epitome of all bureaucratic evil. Jim Hacker, his Minister, personified all evil in weak politicians.

Even in ancient Egyptian times there were complaints about bureaucracy, so it seems to be a natural law. Within a large organization, things tend to deteriorate from pragmatic efficiency into senseless complexity, halting progress and stalling any necessary reorganization. If you cannot see the whole of an organization, you cannot see or imagine what effects your actions and activities have on the organization. In such cases one tends to think about, and mind, only one’s own shop. You are but a tiny cog on a gear in the works. That gear is your world. Little exists outside of it. This is not how civil servants think, it is how people think. And, over time this way of thinking often destroys the whole.

Because of the layered hierarchy of the organization, those in higher places lose contact with the many sub-worlds below them. Those living there, often see the brass as the enemy. It takes certain skills and character traits to function in such large organizations and rise through the ranks. Nowadays “managers” are inserted sideways or straight into the top, never seeing the floor. In these large structures certain back-end products tend to float to the top. The Sir Humphrey and Jim Hacker personalities thrive. They collect and promote people with similar character treats and skills. They tend to collect many anyway. Most of them usually have Alpha minds, often of the watery kind. That is one reason why civilisations, or big corporations, can go down the drain.

The chance of collapse arises when longer periods of rest and stability prevail. Routine sets in and there is insufficient stimulation to adapt, reorganise, or modernise in order to stay ahead of problems. The Western world has had an unprecedented period of more than sixty years of peace and prosperity, at least on their own territory — some countries still went to war, usually in faraway places.

The last two big wars, the First and Second World Wars, are important factors in the present “line of thinking”, or lack of, within — in particular — our ruling European elites. These events of mass slaughter and the loss of liberty many suffered for some years, gave the already existing processes or thoughts of freeing the whole world new impetus. Everybody must be free, and everybody must be seen as equal. Hence the decolonisation, the abolishment of apartheid in the US. The elite, the intellectuals and politicians looked with horror and dismay at their recent history of oppression, slavery and colonisation, seeing Hitler — never again — as the worst example of all that Western society could produce.

And herein lies the problem. We analysed only our own sins. They were without a doubt horrible sins. “Never again” was a correct conclusion. However, other conclusions were wrong or one-sided. The West was not the fountain of all evil, it was at times, the best in all evil. Our technological supremacy made our guns the most destructive, our ships could transport more slaves and our superior organizational skills could control larger territories efficiently for our purposes. The elites forgot that non-Western nations colonised, enslaved and oppressed as much and sometimes even worse than we did. The Ottoman Empire enslaved more Africans and Arabs for a longer period than the West did. Traditional slavery existed even longer in (former) Ottoman and Arab territories. Saudi Arabia and Yemen abolished slavery in 1962, Mauritania in 1980. In parts of Africa traditional slavery still exists today. Arabs and Africans are still into trades, practices, and methods long abolished elsewhere. Only in Asia, e.g. Pakistan, can you find similarities on a comparable scale.
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The past year I saw several documentaries made by courageous journalists, who traveled with illegal African migrants. In one case, a journalist traveled with people who tried to reach the Spanish territories in the Atlantic off the African coast. The smugglers were a sadistic bunch of thugs who had crammed people in barely floating boats, in a fashion recognizable for any Kunta Kinte. The smugglers were Africans. In North and East Africa smuggling practices are similar and the syndicates are run by Africans and Arabs. It is slavery in all but name, and thousands die. The smugglers ship people who, strange as it may seem, volunteer to be “slaves”. Since those who migrate and endure are usually the bravest and most entrepreneurial of their societies, fewer capable or willing people remain to improve the situation which the migrants try to escape. The migrants, those who survive, enter a continent with overcrowded nations, where people speak different languages, are educated, and are not really pleased to see them. Yet, the elites let it happen, so they keep coming. The elites insist we must be “culturally enriched” and pleased to see them. It is not the migrant who is to be blamed, or hated — those who facilitate this process are to be blamed.

Our elite thinks that all cultures are equal and because we have changed some of our evil ways, all people have, or at least endeavour to do so. Alas, cultures are not equal. Even people are not equal. People are born man or woman, rich or poor, black or white, smart or dumb and growing into short or tall people. As a consequence, to some degree partly depending on culture, people have more or less opportunities to develop and prosper. Some cultures, by their nature, create more opportunities for individuals than others. In some cultures, minorities or disabled people, are protected and supported. In others they are outcasts. One only has to look at the attitude towards HIV patients within various cultures to see this inequality.

The above, I hope, shows the lunacy of the belief in multiculturalism as an enrichment of society. It is possible but depends, for example, on the level of development of the imported culture. People all over the world want to live in a prosperous and peaceful society. People also want to live in societies with people whom they may not all want to befriend, but at least can identify with. In Europe the elites accept and understand the wishes and whims of immigrants, the Muslims in particular, yet ignore or even criticize the natives who express similar wishes. These natives are xenophobic racists. The elites and the migrants are oblivious or blind to the fact that when Europeans “flooded” them, calling it their colonies, the natives were not very thrilled to see them coming with all their demands and wishes. A few settlers with a few wishes usually worked, many settlers with many wishes didn’t. Only force could make it work. At least, for the Europeans. In many ways the reverse is happening now. And the natives, surprise, surprise, are not particularly pleased to see them. As ever…

Migration is like cooking. “You cannot mix large amounts of ingredients too quickly. Some ingredients should be used with caution and in moderation.”

Perhaps next time, “the Fathers of all Solutions”. Or probably mum.

On the Road

Gates of Vienna is doing a road show for the weekend. We’re in Williamsburg to attend the graduation of the Future Baron Bodissey from the College of William and Mary. We’re so proud of our boy!

Blogging may be light over the next forty-eight hours. We’ve brought the laptop with us, and the motel has wifi, but still… my normal situation has a cyberspace cable jacked into the back of my head, so it’s just not the same.

But you’ll see occasional reports from us.

Weather:   Sunny.
Coffee:   Pretty bad.
Dymphna:   Still sleeping.
Local news:   The woman at the desk downstairs says that the recent 400th anniversary festivities at Jamestown have tied Williamsburg in knots. First there was the Queen’s preliminary visit – along with Dick Cheney — two weeks ago, and then President Bush came last weekend for the official anniversary. But the worst of all was the Democrat Party Caucus, which came to the Burg by Amtrak a month or so ago. The security for it closed off a long stretch of Lafayette Street from Richmond Road to the train station. The local folks weren’t very happy about that one.

[No more news below.]

A Tarheel Jihad

In response to my post about Israel’s situation asking for more local analogies to the attacks on Sderot, Foghorn, who blogs from central North Carolina at Turner Mountain Broadcaster, has taken up the call.

His scenario — The Rockets Red Glare: Distance and Context — comes from where he lives in the Piedmont to our south:

Living in central NC, I chose Greensboro, used the scenario from the Gates of Vienna post, and created this map to show what might happen if similar rocket attacks were launched from a militant site (a shopping center) just “over the border” (just south of I-40 on the map) in our part of the world. Qassam One Rockets would be able to reach Greensboro Coliseum, which seats over 21,000 for big events. Qassam Two Rockets would be able to reach…

Go over to Foghorn’s place to find out what the mujahideen with a Qassam 2 would do to Greensboro.

[Nothing follows.]

“A Star of God”

She should not have survived, this resilient one. But she not only made it out of hell, she flourished in spite of what anyone would have predicted.

InfideAyaan Hirsi Ali is a remarkable person. Her autobiography, “Infidel”, is an extraordinary tale, even though the title is a misnomer. The book should have been called “Apostate,” for that is now her Muslim identity. If she were merely an infidel, her rise from dirt-poor Somalia to the Dutch parliament would not be nearly so interesting.

Perhaps the publishers thought we infidels wouldn’t know the difference between the two designations. However, the reality of her success has made her a marked woman precisely because her unforgivable sin and the shame she has brought on her family is directly due to her flight from Islam, i.e., her apostasy. Were she merely an infidel, her ignorance could be excused; the fundamentalists wouldn’t care.

This is a story of faith: its devout practice, and then the shedding of it when Ali came into contact with the Western world. As an adolescent she was as pious as Mary Theresa, the girl in my class who went on to become a nun. The Muslim Brotherhood’s teachings came to her neighborhood and Ali became one of their most devout practitioners:

I began praying in the evenings sometimes. It is a long ritual. First you wash and cover yourself in the long white cloth, fixing your gaze to the floor because Allah is present and you do not look God in the eye. You recite the opening chapter of the Quran… Then you prostrate yourself, with your palms open toward Mecca, the heartland of religion. You say Praise to Allah, and stand up again; you say another verse of the Quran — you are free to choose which verse. You repeat the whole procedure, two, three of four times, depending on what time of day it is… Then you sit and end the prayer by looking sideways, first right and then left, and you cup your hands together and ask for God’s blessing. You beg: Allah make me wise, forgive my sins. Bless my parents and give them health, and please Allah, put my parents in Paradise. Please Allah, keep me on the safe path.

Then you take your prayer beads, which are a multiple of thirty-three — or as I did, for I had no beads, you use your finger bones. Each hand has fifteen bones in it, counting the base of your thumbs, so two hands plus the three digits of one extra finger, are thirty-three. You say Praise be to Allah thirty-three times; God forgive me thirty-three times; Allah is great thirty-three times; and then, if your choose you may also say Gratitude to Allah

Prayer is a long procedure, and it is required five times a day. In the beginning I almost never managed to do all of it, but it felt good to be trying.

Ali’s mentor in this progression was Sister Aziza, who had formerly lived in the world (she held jobs as an airline attendant and a bank teller) but had turned her back on all that to become a teacher at the Muslim Girls’ school that Ali attended. Her impact was a revelation for Ali’s sixteen-year-old yearning adolescence:

Sister Aziza was different from any other teacher we had ever had. For one thing, she wanted to be called by her first name, Sister Aziza, rather than Miss Said. For another, she was veiled. Not just with a headscarf, which many teachers wore; Sister Aziza cloaked herself in full hijab. Thick black cloth fell from the top of her head to the tips of her gloves and the very limit of her toes. It was spectacular. Her pale, heart-shaped face stood out against a sea of black… and he had a smile in her eyes. She never shouted the way the other teachers did.

Is it any wonder that Ali became enthralled with this beautiful woman, the apex of Muslim femininity?

Her classes were compelling, but I didn’t become an instant convert. And what was so great about Sister Aziza was that she didn’t mind… She told us God didn’t want us to do anything — not even pray — without the inner intention. He wanted true, deep submission: this is the meaning of Islam. “This is how Allah and the Prophet want us to dress,” she told us. But you should do it only when you’re ready … ”

[… ]

As women, we were immensely powerful, Sister Aziza explained. The way Allah had created us, our hair, our nails, our heels, our neck, and ankles — every little curve in our body was arousing… only the robe worn by the wives of the Prophet could prevent us from arousing men and leading society into fitna, uncontrollable confusion and social chaos.

She was strict about obedience and hygiene. Every month, Sister Aziza told us we must shave our underarms and pubic hair to make ourselves pure. We must purify ourselves after our periods. Womanhood was both irresistibly desirable and essentially filthy, and all these interventions were necessary to earn Allah’s pleasure.

… there were two kinds of struggle for Allah and the first effort was the jihad within ourselves: submission of our will. We must want to obey our parents and to behave in a manner that spreads kindness.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was hooked. She asked her mother for money to have the tailor make a hijab of her own. She began wearing it to school:

It had a thrill to it, a sensuous feeling. It made me feel powerful: underneath this screen lay a previously unsuspected, but potentially lethal, femininity… I was unique… Weirdly, it made me feel like an individual. It sent out a message of superiority: I was the one true Muslim… I was a star of God. When I spread out my hands I felt like I could fly.

Anyone who has raised a teenager knows full well this stage of self-absorbed search for an identity. Hirsi Ali had found her answers to the questions of “who am I?” Of course, it didn’t last terribly long — the stumbling block for her was the necessity for an unreciprocated obedience to a man. Even in Somalia she had somehow absorbed the notion of equality; if she must obey her husband, then he too must obey her. It proved to be a fatal contradiction in the life she was constructing for herself.
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Hirsi Ali’s brutal treatment at the hands of her frustrated and abandoned mother — the constant beatings while being tied up, the rage that filled their home — brought her to a decision: her mother had been caught up in this world and then abandoned by Ali’s father; she vowed this would never happen to her:

I was beginning to rebel internally against women’s traditional subjugation. In those days, I was still wearing a hidjab. I thought a lot about God, how to be good in His eyes, and about the beauty of obedience and submission. I tried to still my mind so it would become a simple vessel for the will of Allah… But my mind seemed bent on being distracted from the Straight Path.

You could see where this “small spark of independence” would lead. She simply could not “comprehend the unfairness of the rules, especially for women.”

It is important to know this Ayaan Hirsi Magan before she metamorphoses into Ayaan Hirsi Ali (her grandfather’s name). Without their childhood stories we cannot truly understand the adults we think we know. She took her grandfather’s name to avoid being tracked down by her father’s relatives when she escaped from an arranged marriage to a Canadian Muslim and jumped the train to land in Holland as a would-be refugee.

Her success in her new country is also remarkable, especially when you consider the odds against a Somalian refugee ending up as a member of the Dutch Parliament for seven years. The fact that she was eventually hounded out of the country, living under constant security because of the hatred the fundamentalists had for this uppity apostate, does not make her life there a failure.

During her life in Holland, Ali shed her Muslim faith and became an atheist. That part of her journey seems fated: once the fire has been extinguished, it cannot be lit again. So she sets out to discover what her life will be as a non-believer. In the book at least, she appears not to have a quarrel with religion per se, though she is suspicious of any inroads it might make into political life. One can hardly blame her. However, the limits of her personal history are visible here: she doesn’t know enough history to understand that the religious impulse can be retained without harming the commonweal. The consuming, all-or-nothing Islam of her childhood predestines her passage from all to nothing. That is the pity of fundamentalism of any sort.

So now she lives here in the U.S., working for the Heritage Foundation. Given her leftist leanings, it is an odd match, but I think it will be a fruitful one.

Yes, she still lives a guarded life. Like Salman Rushdie, she will never be entirely safe. But this is a resilient woman. Wherever she goes, however many times she has to re-invent her life, Ali will land on her feet, orient herself and keep going.

As I said in the beginning, Ayaan Hirsi (Magan) Ali is a remarkable person. Reading her life will leave you pondering your own.