Do You Have to Try Every Stupid Thing You Think Of?

Ava Lon normally spends most of her time translating Polish, German, and French for Vlad Tepes and Gates of Vienna, but sometimes she reads and comments at both blogs.

The following essay has been adapted from a response she made to a comment at Vlad’s place on an article from the Polish press that she translated.

Do You Have to Try Every Stupid Thing You Think Of?

by Ava Lon

To Perfect Child:

You think that even though Islam is an evil ideology, it should be legal, because outlawing it would be against the First Amendment.

There are good ideas and bad ideas. A car with square wheels is a bad idea, and anyone who would like to drive it will find that out at their first attempt. It takes less than five minutes to figure it out, for those who believed that theoretically it should work and that it was worth to build it to convince themselves.

What if, on the restaurant menu, in the drinks section, they put, in addition to iced tea, sodas and fruit juices, a bolder option: Poison? Now we could discuss it and see if we all agree whether it’s a good or a bad idea to drink poison, or we could just try it, because we are free to try everything ourselves. Could you still be upset with the restaurant for selling poison if they warned you, and you drank it anyway?

Islam is poison. It is warning you what it is, and yet you accept the invitation?

There are bad ideas that will take longer than five minutes to show how bad they are: we can indeed not only talk about them every time ( which I strongly recommend), but additionally try them out (which isn’t necessary, in my opinion, if it has already been demonstrated how bad they are). But is using your fragile body, instead of your stronger, more resilient mind (an idea can upset you, but won’t kill your mind) a really good idea?

There’s confusion between discussing Islam (which should be allowed and encouraged), and letting Islam be Islam and do what it does. There’s confusion between theory and practice, between speech and action. There are several problems related to that second thing, action: we already have laws that forbid what Islam does; so we don’t have to forbid it separately. Oh, no? This is very contradictory:

  • on the one hand, you forbid stealing, but you allow Islam (which actively encourages stealing from infidels). Why would you make exception for Islam?
  • You forbid murder, yet you allow Islam, (which encourages the killing of infidels, gays, apostates, rape victims and cheating wives). Why would you make an exception for Islam and allow it?
  • You forbid false witness in court and slander, yet you are OK with Islam (whose doctrines of taqiyya and kitman mandate that their adherents to lie in order to promote Islam). Why Islam preaching deception is all right with you?

You let them build mosques, worship, wear unhealthy — and in many ways dangerous — clothing (no peripheral vision when driving, and who is hiding beneath that burka or niqab?), segregate boys from girls, practice FGM, marry prepubescent girls, rape little boys, and so on. Do you say, “Stop”, or do you talk about it and wait until they feel so inadequate and ridiculous that they stop all that nonsense by themselves?

Have you seen that happen, ever?

How do you explain to kids who are told one thing at home and another one at school? (about stealing for example? or about violence towards females?) We already see it everyday in schools all over the Western world. But we wait until someone gets hurt, and then we are surprised.

The problem with tolerating Islam in the name of the free speech and democracy is as follows: Can you legalize an ideology that forbids free speech (or that uses frees speech to spread one of its messages, the lying one) wherever and whenever it sets foot, and which is telling you up front that it will gain power using democracy and then discard it? (The democracy, that is, not power.)

We all know an ideology like that, and it was called Nazism. It promised to take away freedoms and commit genocide, and it delivered. Today it’s forbidden in many European countries, but what do they know? They should let someone start a Nazi party again, in the name of free speech and democracy and see whether it gets ridiculed and has no followers and it then doesn’t build camps and it doesn’t pull people out of their beds in the middle of the night and shoot thousands of them, somewhere in the woods of Katyn where no one can find them, without due process or….

…Wait, that’s communism and it’s still legal.

So some European countries forbid Nazi parties, but actively inform their citizens about the dangers of letting Nazis organize and act again. I really insist on the difference between freedom of speech, which I am fully behind, and freedom of action (a.k.a. anarchy, because that’s what you get when all is permitted), because I believe in the prevention of crime.

Communism never had its Nuremberg process. Its crimes never stood trial before the world, one that would have condemned it as an ideology and sentenced its adherents to death or prison, depending on their zeal in making everyone “equal” and “happy”.

Islam never had its day in court either. And it should.

  • Nazism was a piece of cake compared to communism: they defined target and they neutralized it. The word was divided into “us” and “them” and “they” had to be destroyed. Theoretically “we” were safe; only the enemy was in danger.
  • Communists pretended to be everybody’s friends (provided you joined them; unlike Nazism, where Jews couldn’t simply become Nazis in order to be safe), claiming they wanted defend the weak, help the poor and feed the hungry. Of course they only managed to produce more weak, poor and hungry people. They failed, you might say. No, they didn’t. That was the objective, and they were simply lying to you. They never meant to keep anyone safe or happy except for themselves.
  • Islam is the most dangerous one because it defines its target, it lies or tells the truth, depending on the audience, and it hurts both the “us” side (dar al-Islam) and “them” the unbelievers (dar al-Harb). No-one is safe. Ever.

Look how much energy it takes (and I think it should be done, no matter how much more it might take in the future), to inform kids in schools and the general public, about horrors of Nazism. It is an ongoing work, it can never be finished once and for all, because new children are being born, and the grownups also need to be constantly reminded how bad Nazism was.

If this treatment is also to be prescribed for Islam, I’m all for it, but remember: Muslims don’t care about ridicule. While a wannabe Nazi party member might care about what you think about him and not join the party because of people’s disapproval, a Muslim is not looking for your approval. He is looking for Allah’s approval, and with that your soft, Western ostracism simply cannot compete. Just like Allah himself, Muslims only understand power and violence and they don’t really care if their neighbors, at the lemonade stand, smile at them and say ‘Hi’. All right — they WILL sue for discrimination, but NOT because their feelings were hurt, but because they want to subdue you, their neighbors, as the infidels you are.

The trap we’re all falling into, and what differentiates Islam from Nazism, is the fact that Islam wants to be called a religion. And all religion is sacred in America. Religion, just like Caesar’s wife — in ancient Rome — must be above suspicion. Religion cannot be bad? They are all the same?

There was once an America without pesky Europeans and their Western values: pre-Columbian America. Its happy and sorrow-free inhabitants enjoyed lots of free activities, such as waging wars, enslaving other sorrow-free inhabitants and practicing their religions. Those three activities were inseparable for Aztecs, for example, who attacked their neighbors in order to capture some of them and then sacrifice them to their gods. You know, all those pre-Columbian cutting-edge (pun intended) open heart surgeries — performed on a conscious “patient” — with a stone knife? Or skinning alive, such a culturally enriching practice, especially for the neighbors, who were being enriched, skinned alive and had their beating hearts cut out of their chests. There were also sacrifices through immolation, beheading, starvation, drowning and bludgeoning. Some gods required cannibalism.

Or take ancient Egypt, where, as we saw in some royal graves, the servants were killed after the funeral and left in the grave, in the funeral chamber, so they would serve their master through all eternity. Lovely system of beliefs, a.k.a. religion. But it’s OK, it was only during First Dynasty, no big deal…

Did you know that in Sparta, in ancient Greece, young boys were lashed in front of the statue of Athena until their blood covered the marble? But, yeah, all religions are the same, all are good and all have the same message and identical moral values, so let’s try them all out.

Now imagine, that some Mexicans want to go back to the beliefs of their ancestors. Of course we would allow it. It’s a religion. Or rich Egyptians who have their servants put inside their graves, for the afterlife. Or Greek immigrants going back to their roots (that’s called radical, from Latin radix, root) and revive the old flogging custom. We might talk about it while watching; it would be very culturally enriching.

But yes, do that, talk about it and then, against all common sense, let them build their temples and practice what they are preaching. Why believe them, when they say they need human sacrifice? No, we absolutely need to see it for ourselves, in every coming generation, until we are all dead or converted to that cult. Until there is no more free speech and freedom and choice and tolerance and coexistence.

Religion cannot be bad? They are all the same?

Of course it can be bad, because religions, like all other ideas, can be good or bad. They should be scrutinized, but they don’t need to be tried out after the scrutiny. People should be warned about bad ideas, by all means, but not forced to experience them, if someone has done so already. I don’t have to find out every morning how to bake bread, thank God; somebody did it for me. I can, if I want to, try and improve the recipe, or invent a new one, but I don’t have to, if it’s not my cup of tea.

To exit the 20th floor of a high rise building, one can use stairs or an elevator, or simply jump out of the window. We can always discuss the merits of each solution, but do we really have to try out all three of them, to see which one is the best?

On 9/11/2001 people were left with only one solution in order to escape the burning Twin Towers: they had to jump to their deaths. Islam made them. Islam really leaves you with only one solution: death. And it takes away the alternatives: stairs and elevators.

Too many people experienced Islam and paid for it with their lives for us to happily let others try it out again and again and again. It is not only dangerous for new generations, it is above all disrespectful of all the victims of Islam, in all fourteen centuries, who — if we don’t learn the lesson and forbid Islam, and warn everyone about it, if we ignore their sacrifice — died for nothing.

34 thoughts on “Do You Have to Try Every Stupid Thing You Think Of?

  1. I. Am. Speechless. Ava.

    Thank you for this excellent piece of writing. I will safe this as a document and post it anywhere and as often as I can. Of course crediting you, dear friend.

    You hit the nail on the head on every single point you made.

    You mention anarchy. The other day I thought of this: anarchy is impossible. There’s always a guy or a group with bigger guns and more power. In other words, only when I am able to lunch an anarchist in the head and kick him in the groin and he does not call the cops on me, will I believe him that he’s an anarchist.

  2. Our ancestors in Christendom got it broadly right. If you were a Muslim, and you professed your religion publicly or propagated it to others, you could be put to death as a heretic or a blasphemer.

  3. I totally agree. Just because something calls itself a religion, somehow it is inviolate. But all we need to do is have one law for everyone, rich, poor, black, white, male, female, indeterminate, believer or non believer. Applied without favour, maybe, with a symbol of a lady, blindfolded with the scales of justice in her hand. Oh sorry, we had that…… and now it seems we have a set of laws applicable to certain groups as the government sees fit. We are no longer impartial in regards to colour of religious belief. I sometimes see the parallels, to the reign of Mary I. If you are white, particularly if you are male, then may the fates help you.

  4. Well said and much needed.

    Having read Fraser’s Golden Bough pretty early in life, I’ve long been suspicious of this idolatry of religion. It has been increasingly a source of concern to me in recent years. Clearly it is costing us much today.

    It was one of the few problems that our founding generation doesn’t seem to have anticipated in our framing, or at least warned of. I suppose they never expected the Barbary pirates to actually show up here and claim rights. Oh well.

    Thanks and keep slugging.

    • The sad thing is that the unconverted do not wish to hear. They have stopped up their ears with the corks of the bottles of wine that they have drunk.
      As for freedom of conscience, I have read some of the accounts of the Church of England that the Puritan Pilgrims fled. In some ways the Anglican Church made the Church of Rome look like the better choice. The Founders did not want that which they fled England for to become the way things would be in America. You must give them credit for doing their best, and the devil for doing his worst to pervert the freedom into dystopia we suffer today.

  5. “What if, on the restaurant menu, in the drinks section, they put, in addition to iced tea, sodas and fruit juices, a bolder option: Poison? Now we could discuss it and see if we all agree whether it’s a good or a bad idea to drink poison, or we could just try it, because we are free to try everything ourselves. Could you still be upset with the restaurant for selling poison if they warned you, and you drank it anyway?”

    In Victorian Britain, arsenic and many other poisons were freely available, but they had to be coloured blue or black to distinguish them from other household substances, and those buying them had to sign a poison book. ( This freedom, of course, is now long lost to us). It is indeed necessary that poison be called poison, rather than being represented as something harmless or bendficial: as Jonathan Swift remarked in Gulliver’s Travels “Man may be allowed to keep Poisons in his Closet, but not to vend them about as Cordials.” The problem is that few people dare to call the poison what it is.

    “You let them build mosques, worship, wear unhealthy — and in many ways dangerous — clothing (no peripheral vision when driving, and who is hiding beneath that burka or niqab?), segregate boys from girls, practice FGM, marry prepubescent girls, rape little boys, and so on. Do you say, “Stop”, or do you talk about it and wait until they feel so inadequate and ridiculous that they stop all that nonsense by themselves?

    Have you seen that happen, ever?”

    Yes. I have. During the early twentieth century, the veil and other traditional Muslim customs were largely abandoned in most Arab countries: as Albert Hourani pointed out in the UNESCO Courier article “The Vanishing Veil,” the wearing of the hijab was virtually extinct in Egypt by the 1950s.

    “Muslims don’t care about ridicule.”

    Are you kidding? Just look what happens to people who ridicule them: for example see the previous post on this website at
    They know perfectly well how devastating such ridicule can be: that is why they are determined to suppress it. Free speech, to have any meaning, must apply to all, including Muslims: but non-Muslims must be equally free to criticize Islam. It is this latter freedom which is in danger, and has already been largely destroyed in many parts of the so-called “free” world: see the following article at

    • Charlie Hebdo, Kurt Westergaard cartoons, and of course many other cases too, should give some hints on how muslims care about ridicule.

    • Your argument about Muslims spontaneously abandoning traditional customs is a moot point in today’s world where hot money from Saudi and other Gulf nations is fueling the global spread of Wahhabism like a wildfire.

      • I am not suggesting that this happened spontaneously: it took the efforts of intellectuals and campaigners both from within the Muslim world and from the West, such as Qasim Amin, the 1st Earl of Cromer, and Eugenie le Brun. The need today is for similar figures to counter the propaganda of the Wahhabis and toher reactionaries.

  6. Great writing Ava, I will use your argument as many places as possible. Thanks for this “ammo”.

  7. Been thinking about this one lately. Yes, in (west) Germany, nazism was suppressed. Has it really worked out so well? It is the formerly western Germans who are most susceptible to the new religion of gutmenschen. In the east, the commies banned all parties and ideologies except their own. They blew it, because somehow, this treatment created inoculation against such BS. Nowadays commies are not banned but continue as a party, and viable at that. But they’ve been declawed. In France, scientology was banned, but not in the United States. Neither has the communist party been banned, despite the McCarthyites. It was dealt with by other means. Even cults are not banned. When Muktananda was diddling the kids of his devotees, they got him on that or tax evasion, whatever, but they did not ban the guruism he was peddling.

    I saw recently on the interwebs, someone saying, there is no need to ban Islam. Just keep our right to ridicule it, to criticize it, to hoot it down.

    I think I agree. And then the questions shifts… because if the PTB are not willing to enforce the hallowed laws regarding free speech and many others in the face of creeping Sharia, what makes you think they will enforce the law if the law bans Islam?!

    I say, let’s not get ourselves into a corner of going against our broader conviction. Even the Jones’ Temple was not banned. It was forced to flee by the IRS I believe.

    Let’s all back free speech, and gather allies all along the way. Islam will wither in the light of day, once people know it, and once we absolutely withdraw our support from politicians and bureaucrats who keep it in the dark like a vampire in its coffin, protected and shielded by the lies they tell.

    • By the previous, I did not mean that banning Islam should not be discussed. It should be, everywhere. Ayaan Hirsi Ali feels that talking about the burka et al, is an unwise diversion. Talking about the underlying substance, Islam itself, is the important thing.

    • So, your solution is “Let’s discuss it.”
      I thought that was the error Ava was arguing against.

  8. This is the mind warp of leftists pretty perfectly defined. This mentality can be seen on Youtube wherein young leftists smash each other with fists or objects simply to see what happens. It can be seen in movies like Dumb and Dumber. It can be seen in our governments foisting moslems on us, I guess, simply to see what happens. OK, wait, you’re telling me that if I put this loaded gun to my head and pull the trigger, that it will blow my brains out? Well,what if I don’t believe you and do it anyway?


  9. I actually find the essay to be confused. I do not agree with it in the least.

    The essayist, Ava Lon, confounds the idea of banning Islam with the evidence or assertion that Islam is dangerous and not a true religion. Those are completely different ideas. I don’t have any doubt Islam is dangerous, but that’s not the point.

    The question she raises is, should Islam be treated as a religion or should Islam be banned?

    As Vera points out, so far, in any cases where Western authorities have had any discretion in prosecuting speech, they have chosen to prosecute critics of Islam. Every case.

    So, now we are going to say, let’s override our traditional (US) right to speech, and give the authorities the legal power to ban speech or movements they deem to be dangerous. Duh. What do you think is going to get banned: Islam, or the counter-jihad?

    There is the problem of special privileges for religion. I personally believe that any exception of laws made in deference to religion is a direct violation of the clear wording of the first amendment. “Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion…”.

    This to me means no zoning variances, no tax exemptions, no loyalty-oath exemptions, no draft exemptions. This sounds radical, but I think the words of the Constitution mean what they say, not the opposite if buttressed by enough Supreme Court decisions.

    This doesn’t mean you can’t have zoning variances, tax exemptions, etc. It means, that religion can’t be the basis. Non-profit community service status, belief in the evil of war, etc can justify any exemptions: just not religious belief. Making specific exemptions for religious reasons is a direct violation of the Constitution.

    Once you cut out general legal advantages accruing to religion, then the Islamic subversion has less power. There is no power to compel public places to have foot baths, no compelling businesses to give prayer time off, no legal pressure on school systems to provide pork-free lunches. Islam is piggy-backing off generally unconstitutional privileges that other religions also claim.

    I think there is absolutely every reason to have laws forbidding dressing in public such that you can’t tell the identity of a person. But, it can be rationalized as a public safety feature, which it is, and not a specific prohibition of the burka or niqab. Similarly, the normal laws on female genital mutilation or legal age of consent or laws on polygamy should simply be enforced. The only religious involvement would be the Muslims screaming they were not able to practice their religion, which would be beside the point.

    Ava Lon talks about the advocacy of Nazi dogma being illegal. We all know the effect of such legislation. It is effectively illegal to talk about white nationalism or the intrinsic flaws of Islam. Black or Hispanic or Islamic nationalism always gets a pass. My point is, let all of them compete on the basis of ideas, with direct advocacy of violence always being prosecutable. Making the denial of the Holocaust, or the advocacy of Nazi ideas illegal only allows these ideas to be circulated underground, with no factual contradictory information presented. In point of fact, the Nazi conspirators who claim Hitler didn’t persecute Jews can be squashed like a bug in open debate.

    Anyway, it is the number of Muslims, rather than the suppression of Islam, which makes the difference. Spain tried suppressing the practice of Islam in 1492, forcing the Muslims in the territory to either convert or emigrate. Like the Jews, many converted in public, but kept their Islamic practice in private. Unfortunately for Spain, the practice of Islam involves supporting rebellion and invasions, so in the 1600’s, Spain had to finish the job, and just flat-out kick out all the proto-Muslims.

    Anyway, the only real way to control Muslims is to keep them out. I would argue the Constitution grants rights to citizens, so a non-citizen does not have the right to be discriminated against in terms of religion. In other words, it is perfectly within the wording of the Constitution for legal and administrative immigration policy to keep out every last Muslim who wants to immigrate.

    Odius Truth did bring up a very interesting point by pointing out that in the 1960’s, Muslim women virtually ignored Muslim requirements for women’s dress and deportment.

    This is a video where Gamal Nasser literally brings down the house by skewering the head of the Muslim Brother for wanting Muslim women to wear hijabs

    And yet, once political Islam manifested itself, modernization went out the window, and Muslim women reverted to dreary Muslim type.

    In other words, allowing or forbidding the practice of Islam is not only unconstitutional. It is irrelevant and extremely dangerous, in that it gives the illusion that Islam is not as dangerous as it is. If you’re going to allow Muslims inside the country, then allow them whatever practices do not conflict with the laws. And, you can craft laws not wedded to a particular religion that forbid wearing identity-covering clothing, inhuman slaughter, mutilating surgery on minors. And houses of worship should certainly not have any special right to be observed by security agents.

    • “And houses of worship should certainly not have any special right to be observed by security agents.”

      Huh? Do mean authorities should not have special authorization to observe houses of worship?

  10. When I was young my father contructed a jungle jim in our back yard. I got the idea when I was about 4 or 5 years old that I could fly, I used to watch Superman (Christopher Reeves in black and white) I though it would be very cool to fly. So one day I climbed to the top of the jungle jim, IIRC about 6 or 7 feet high and jumped like I was taking of just like Supes. I ended up doing a belly flop onto the ground and Wow!, did that ever hurt. It’s a very good thing that little boys of that age are basically made out of rubber.

    I haven’t done EVERY stupid thing, but I have tried a few. Some of my stunts were done on a bicycle, because I was also a fan of Evel Knievel. I managed to avoid hurting myself but the picture of the kind playing with electricity reminds me of young Rick.

  11. In this case, personal choice is best for the reason that the analogy between poison available and Islam available breaks down when “poison” is personalized: The best example is alcohol on the menu and a recovering alcoholic must choose to avoid. I’m referring to the alcoholic who, if drinks, one of three things happens–jail, institutions (including hospitals) or death.

  12. “Islam is the most dangerous”…

    …for the reason that the victims are either impotent to defend themselves, suffer from the Leftists’ cognitive bubble of fantasy or impotent to defend themselves: The former refers to Muslim victims, the latter refers to those not-of-the Left.

  13. @ Nash Montana. You say “anarchy is impossible.” That’s what governments want you to believe and why so many people mistakenly equate anarchy and chaos.

    Anarchy is simply the absence of government and there have been examples of anarchy throughout history that lasted thousands of years. The resilience of anarchy is the lack of a centralized government whose fall would result in a sudden collapse and surrender of the entire nation.

    Two examples albeit brief:

    1) The Basque nation existed before the Roman Empire and survived long after it. They had no central government, no borders and thus needed no armies to defend non-existent borders. When adversaries marched through, they did business with them. Romans liked olive oil so the Basques grew olives. From the Vikings they learned to air-dry cod, build long-boats that sailed the Atlantic to the rich Grand Banks off Newfoundland and became premier suppliers of Cod to Europe.

    2) An alliance of 5 (of about 50) anarchic Germanic tribes annihilated three Roman legions at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 CE thus halting the Roman expansion and conquest of northern Europe. It forced Rome to realize the conquest of so many individual tribes without a centralized government would have been prohibitively expensive so they lasted another 14 centuries.

  14. A cry to outlaw Islam, while attention grabbing, is absolutely counterproductive and (in fact) injurious to the cause of those “freedom fighters” among us.

    This is exactly the type of argument that makes ‘us’ sound like racist loons. (Yes…I am fully aware of the difference between racism and religious discrimination. I use the word “racist” here as representative of the perspective of “the other side”.)

    More importantly, think about what you are advocating here! This is nothing short of totalitarian.

    Have you forgotten that the Puritans and Pilgrims left Europe for America to escape this PRECISE type of tyranny?! They left so that they could practice religious freedom. (Whether Islam should be considered a religion or military code is a completely different debate altogether.)

    There are two obvious answers:

    First, apply and actually enforce laws (broken repeatedly by Muslims, without consequence) EQUALLY regardless of religious beliefs.

    Second, but most importantly, dispose of the absurd (although brilliant) blasphemy laws. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule.” ~S.D. Alansky.

    We must restore the freedom to criticize and ridicule Islam. It cannot stand up to that.

    • …the Puritans and Pilgrims left Europe for America to escape this PRECISE type of tyranny?! They left so that they could practice religious freedom.

      They ended up practicing their own form of religious tyranny. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was a theocracy. Which is why William Penn established yet another colony with religious freedom.

      Other Englishmen established a commercial colony in the Tidewater area – i.e., Virginia. The state church there was the Church of Virginia and it was under the thumb (willingly) of the Church of England in contradistinction to those “Pilgrims”. It wasn’t until the (English) Methodist preachers became circuit riders in the western reaches of Virginia that John Wesley’s “methodism” began to rival the more urban Episcopal Church. Both are now mainline denominations, slowly becoming irrelevant as they preach a socialist gospel…the current form of America’s “liberation theology”.

      BTW, the Democrat Vice-presidential candidate is a Christian of the extreme “liberation theology” espoused by the Sandanistas. In his youth, he served with the Sandanistas. Were he to succeed Hillary, he’d be far more dangerous than the Clinton machine.

      For a thoughtful look at what has divided America since the beginning, see here:

      American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America

      It was published four years ago and remains the #1 book in the category of “State and Local Government”

      Good insight into why the southwest is so different from, say, the Tidewater area, or Appalachia or Yankeedom. Hint: the colonization of the southwest began a century or so before those “Pilgrims” set foot in New England. One reviewer (of more than 600 of ’em) called it “The Unified Field Theory of American History”. Thus if you tend toward lumping OR splitting, the book will appeal. The reviewer says:

      If you like your history big, all-encompassing, different, quirky, and bound to make you think, you’ll love this one.

      It’s basically a follow-up to David Hackett Fisher’s Albion’s Seed. That book, which came out in 1989, posited 4 basic cultures that settled the US, and which continued to have a huge influence up to this day.

      To those cultures (Puritan New England, Quaker Pennsylvania, Cavalier Tidewater, and Scots-Irish Appalachia), Woodard has added a few more (New Netherlands and the Deep South, for example), and extended coverage of them up to the current day. He does an excellent job showing how different the nations were at the time of the Revolution, and why uniting the country was as difficult as it was. He also shows how the different cultures extended across the landscape (for example, a Yankee influence in the Western Reserve of Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota as well as a similar influence on the “Left Coast”). He does a good job showing how immigration fits in as well (basically, the original cultures were so strong that immigrants went where they fit in). Finally, he shows how the current impasse between red and blue states can all be tied back to a basic cultural division between Yankeedom and the Deep South. It really does help explain “what’s the matter with Kansas?”

      I particularly agree with his summation of the mercantile foundation of New York City being built on the Dutch spirit of commercial endeavor. There is a “New York State of Mind” that exists nowhere else…but it began in Amsterdam. We owe more to the Dutch than we allow.

      OTOH, I could have done without the Yankee preaching at the end. The South didn’t call those folks “DAMN Yankees” without good cause.

      • “If you like your history big, all-encompassing, different, quirky, and bound to make you think, you’ll love this one.”

        I do! Thanks for the tip and link…I just ordered it!

    • I agree with you re the idea of “outlawing” Islam. What is do-able, and what Trump proposes, is an investigation of Islam’s barracks in this country – i.e., the mosques. Carefully vet new immigrants, too. We could ask, say, Israel for directions on wall-building and -gasp!- profiling. Or we could apply Saudi Arabia’s template for “immigrants”.

      The groundwork for vetting mosques has already been done. See David Yerushalmi’s participant observation ethno-anthropological work on the subject, reprised here:


      Thus, there is a need for the study and corroboration of a relationship between high levels of Shari’a adherence as a form of religious devotion and coalitional commitment, Islamic literature that shows violence in a positive light, and institutional support for violent jihad. By way of filling this lacuna, the authors of this article undertook a survey specifically designed to determine empirically whether a correlation exists between observable measures of religious devotion linked to Shari’a adherence in American mosques and the presence of violence-positive materials at those mosques. The survey also sought to ascertain whether a correlation exists between the presence of violence-positive materials at a mosque and the promotion of jihadism by the mosque’s leadership through recommending the study of these materials or other manifest behaviors.

      Let’s not give up hope entirely: their findings showed that 20% of mosques are NOT radicalized. That’s what can be built on.

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