How Much Do You Have to Hate Someone Not to Proselytize?

Francis Schaeffer on the Origins of Relativism in the Church

One of My Favorite Songs

An Inspiring Song


Sunday, October 31, 2010

From Question the Culture

This is quoted from the masthead of the latest addition to the blogroll, Question the Culture, quoting, in turn, C.S. Lewis:
You cannot go on 'explaining away' for ever: you will find that you have explained explanation itself away. You cannot go on 'seeing through' things for ever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it.

Andrew McCarthy on Grasping the Obvious

Free democratic systems, moreover, are based on notions of liberty, private property, and equality. In stark contrast, many Islamic traditions reject freedom of conscience, freedom to make law that countermands sharia, economic freedom, equality for Muslims and non-Muslims, and equality for men and women, to name just a few key divergences. But even if none of this were so, mightn't Occam's razor have reared its head by now? After fourteen centuries, there is no secular democratic tradition in Islamic society. Given that secular democracy is the best guarantor of liberty and prosperity, is it not self-evident that some precinct of the umma would have adopted it by now, without any help from us, if Islamic society were innately receptive?
This hints at my number one complaint about how we are conducting our "war on terror": we persist in this deranged idea that we can successfully convert nations into Western-style representative republics, when they have no historical interest in any such thing, when, in fact, their dominant belief-system strongly militates against such a conversion. It is a fool's errand.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Yet Another Quote from The Grand Jihad

Mr. McCarthy, perhaps inadvertently, on why so many Americans have a hard time believing that there are people in government who want to dictate the minutia of our lives:
Ordinary people do not obsess over societal "progress." For the vast majority of us, the personal is not the political. Our attention and passion are reserved for our families, friends, neighborhoods, jobs, and avocations--for living life, not for prescribing how life should be lived. Ordinary people don't eat, sleep, and breathe societal engineering.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Oh, Thank You, O Tolerant Leftists, Peace Be Upon You...

I have to admit, I had not read anything but the headlines on this story until Dan Phillips took note of the story. It is now apparently against the law in some places to--you might want to sit down for this one--advertise, in church, for a Christian roommate.

I **** thee not.
The ad "expresses an illegal preference for a Christian roommate, thus excluding people of other faiths,” according to the complaint filed by the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan.

"It's a violation to make, print or publish a discriminatory statement," Executive Director Nancy Haynes told Fox News. "There are no exemptions to that."

Haynes said the unnamed 31-year-old woman’s case was turned over to the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. Depending on the outcome of the case, she said, the woman could face several hundreds of dollars in fines and “fair housing training so it doesn’t happen again.”

Harold Core, director of public affairs with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, told the Grand Rapids Press that the Fair Housing Act prevents people from publishing an advertisement stating their preference of religion, race or handicap with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling.


...Haynes said officials plan on pursuing the matter.

"We want to make sure it doesn't happen again," she said.
Care to take a crack at how many protected freedoms this violates?

Some of you out there who fancy yourselves a little bit on the liberalish side like to tell me, from time to time, that this "culture war" thing is all in my head.

Bull. You just don't see it, for the same reason a fish doesn't know it's in the water.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

There's Your Religion of Peace

Warning: this is truly bad.
Via Jihad Watch.

Yes, it's pretty sick. The whole religion is pretty sick.

Oh, I know what you're going to say, some of you. "MOTW, those are the extremists."

And all I have to say is:

a) It is perfectly consistent with Muhammad's own life and example, and

b) Those "extremists" appear to be running whole countries, or close to it. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen--whole countries given over to fairly stringent interpretations of sharia. How many millions of people have to embrace an Islam with strong historical precedent and ample support from Islam's scriptures before you concede that it isn't really "extreme"?

Oh--you were wondering, "What was the woman's 'crime'?" Apparently, she was seen out with a man.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The American Thinker on Trade Policy

The post from which this material is quoted was published some little time ago, maybe as long as a month. The whole thing is worth reading. Not that I agree with every jot and every tittle, but it is worth your time.
In the trade war between the mercantilist countries and the U.S., China and the other mercantilists intervene in our markets by manipulating the price of the dollar, as compared to their currencies, so that our goods are overpriced and their goods are underpriced in world markets. In the meantime they keep our products out of their markets through various tariff and non-tariff barriers.

There are three positions on trade when a country is being punched-out by mercantilists:

1. Unilateral Free Trade. This is the Republican establishment's pacifist strategy of just taking the punches to afford an example to the rest of the world. This has been U.S. policy for three decades.
2. Protectionism. This is liberal Democrats' "industrial policy" strategy of protecting government-preferred industries with tariffs and subsidies. Pres. GW Bush did it with respect to steel and was forced by the WTO to back down. Pres. Obama did it with respect to tires produced in China and succeeded in enforcing it.
3. Balanced Trade. This is the conservative pro-free-market strategy of balancing exports with imports in order to defeat the mercantilist strategy of maximizing exports and minimizing imports. It takes advantage of a special WTO rule that lets trade deficit countries impose import duties or limitations in order to bring trade into reasonable balance. China, the largest of the mercantilist countries, only lets its people buy 27¢ of American products for every $1 we buy from them. They use a variety of tariff and non-tariff barriers to keep out American products, forcing American companies to locate their factories in China in order to sell to the growing Chinese market.
I don't think the writer has it exactly right here, but he makes the fundamental point, one that I have been making over and over again since I first began to read about this issue:

Free Trade, as envisioned by so may libertarian-leaning economists, does not actually exist. It is strictly a theoretical construct. Other countries find ways to protect their markets. Personally, I am dead set against subsidies, but tariffs--I did think it mildly amusing that the writer seemd to think "tariffs" were "bad" and "import duties" were okay, despite them being much the same thing. Shoot, I think they are exactly the same thing, and there is nothing, per se, wrong with them.

I am not unaware that tariffs/import duties come with certain problems. My personal preference would be to institute the Fair Tax, which would have much the same effect as tariffs when it comes to trade, that is, it would create a massive tax advantage to manufacturing in the United States, but it should allow us to avoid some of the problems commonly associated with tariffs. However, if I can't get the Fair Tax, enacting tariffs (accompanied by big cuts in income tax rates) would be far preferable to what the writer calls "unilateral free trade." That is just wishful thinking masquerading as a trade policy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

But Nobody Gives Two Squats What You Think About It

Yes, I'm afraid there's a touch of snark to the title. Perhaps it would have been more polite if I said, "Unfortunately for your argument, what you 'think' has no relevance to the subject actually under discussion."

Let me explain. It has been pointed out that there are certain popular (or less so, depending on who you ask) programs that some Tea Partiers hold to be unconstitutional.

What do some bloggers have to say in refutation of this? Their reply to the idea that program X is unconstitutional?

They disagree because they think that government has a role to play in caring for the poor and elderly.

Now, remember: what is in question is whether or not program X is constitutional. What government's proper role is, is not in question. It is, in fact, irrelevant to the question of whether or not program X is constitutional. You might think program X is the perfect fulfillment of the perfect government's role in caring for people, but that has nothing to do with what the Constitution actually says. If you want the Constitution to permit program X and it doesn't, your opinion on government's proper role won't change that.

More on Oklahoma Martial Arts Frauds

So help me, one of the things in life that just "gets" me is how easily otherwise skeptical people will fall, when it comes to seeking out martial arts instruction, for the most pathetic lines of BS imaginable. They may have figured out that certain television evangelists are frauds, they may have figured out that Tibetan Go-whatsis-berry juice isn't really the fountain of eternal youth, and so forth, but let someone claim that they created the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, or have teacher's level certification in Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do, or have multiple tenth-degree black belts, or to have mastered multiple martial arts systems by the age of twenty-five, and does their bullsnort detector go off? Do they even bother to google the supposed "master" to check out his claims?

God forbid!

We have a few martial arts frauds in Oklahoma. I will not name names. At least one of them is notoriously litigious. But to reiterate what I have said before: if you are not fairly experienced in martial arts--and I am not claiming to be an expert myself, mind you--the odds are **** good that, confronted with someone who is a little bit better than you are and who can spew a good line of swill, you won't be able to tell the difference. In other words, you, Mr. Joe Off-the-Street-Smuckatelli, who's never gotten past yellow or green belt in anything, just by looking and watching, you will not be able to tell the difference between someone who's gotten fairly good at some material that he learned by ordering DVDs on kenpo and pressure points and someone who's actually been practicing in person under established instructors for twenty years. More often than you might think, you will not be able to tell the difference between different systems of martial arts. If I put them all in the same uniforms, like as not, you wouldn't be able to tell the Shotokan guy from the Japanese Goju Ryu guy from the ITF Taekwon-do guy. You will not be able to tell the diffence between somebody who is really good at Ed Parker's Kenpo and someone who's picked up a little kenpo from videotapes and added it to his taekwon-do repertoire.

And people do lie about their martial arts backgrounds. There are people who've made up whole systems based on God-knows-what, and are passing themselves off as "masters."

How the heck do you find out?

Well, for a start, you might take the obvious step of googling them. If you google the name of a "master" of a purportedly old system of martial arts, and you can't find out who his instructor was, or who his instructor was, and so forth, that's usually a red flag. In the older systems, everybody knows his "lineage." That is, they can all tell you, "I took from so-and-so, who took from so-and-so, who took from so-and-so."

If you google his supposedly classical martial arts system and find that all the results point directly or indirectly back to him, well, that doesn't seem terribly likely, now does it?

If you google the guy's name and find out that the folks at Bullshido have made him a running joke, that's not a good sign.

If the guy claims to have invented the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, you might, for the love of all sanity, google "who created the marine corps martial arts program."

Exactly why the heck people would make stuff like this up, I'm not sure. Yes, there's a little money in it. If you've got fifteen dupes students, each coughing up fifty-sixty-seventy simoleons a month for whatever it is that you're teaching, sure, that's pretty good pocket change. It just seems to me that if you're going to tell whoppers of that magnitude, you ought to be getting more than that sort of chump change out of it.

Look, there is good martial arts instruction to be had in Oklahoma. There are two RyuTe instructors, though one of them (mine), due to ill health, is not likely to take any more students. There are actually several pretty good Japanese Goju Ryu teachers, who can trace their lineage very clearly right back to Yamaguchi Gogen. There are some Okinawan Goju Ryu instructors. There are some very legitimate instructors of Ed Parker's Kenpo. There are a whole cluster of good Aikido clubs.

Every single one of them can be checked out on the web and their claims investigated. If you're interested in martial arts, for your own sake, CHECK THEM OUT!

End of rant.

They Saith, Over at The American Thinker...

For its part, the Tea Party, which began as a movement named after a historical American event, has the potential to morph into a political organization that eclipses the Republican Party. A GOP that aims to mollify Tea Party supporters with the ol' Beltway shuffle, followed by cocktails with political adversaries at the Club, may eventually find itself walking amidst the ghosts of the whigs.
...mmmmmm. Could be, maybe. All I know is this: I'm gonna be in Oklahoma City four times this week. Oklahoma City is home to Sgt. Grit's. I will probably make it a point to stop by and pick up one of these. If I can keep myself from feeling guilty over dropping a twenty on a t-shirt that I don't actually need.

(Now, I just know some dim bulb is gonna click on that link and say, "1775! Doesn't that idiot know it was 1776? Or 1773, if you're talking about the Boston Tea Party?" For you, just for you, let me point out that that is a Tea Party/Marine Corps t-shirt, and 1775 was the year of the Marine Corps' birth. So there.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Michael Medved on Islam and Muslims

Not much to add to this. Anything in bold reflects my emphasis.
The real question [that]...should confront the nearly 40% of Americans who say they feel positively impressed by Islam and its influence.

What aspect of Muslim teaching and achievement most inspires such respondents? The daily reports of suicidal violence from every corner of the globe, with fellow-Muslims (invariably) as the primary victims? Or the well-known association of Islamic piety with open-hearted respect for the rights of women, homosexuals and infidels? Or is it the sterling record of economic progress, cutting age technology and social justice achieved by precisely those societies (like Saudi Arabia, Iran or Afghanistan) that take Shariah law most seriously? Or would Islam’s American admirers cite the record of Muslim charities in the U.S., the most prominent of which (remember the Holy Land Foundation?) have been shut down by the government for their lavish support of murderous terrorist groups like Hamas?


The spiritual leader of the proposed Islamic Cultural Center near Ground Zero insists that the true problem is extremism, not Islam itself. “The real battlefront today is not between Muslims and non-Muslims,” declared Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to the Council on Foreign Relations, “but between moderates of all faith traditions against the extremists of all faith traditions.”

This ignores the huge differences --both quantitative (Islamic radicals are vastly more numerous) and qualitative (Muslim fanatics endorse uniquely murderous rhetoric and deeds) – between extremists in one faith tradition and all others.

A Christian fundamentalist may talk about burning Korans; Muslim crazies regularly burn buildings- and people. Even after Pastor Terry Jones called off his idiotic barbeque of the Islamic holy book, Muslims reacted with deadly riots in Kashmir that killed 16 and wounded sixty, while burning several schools and other government buildings.

Some Americans may dislike the style of worship in Pentecostal or Catholic churches, but the faithful (no matter how tackily dressed) never surge out of their sanctuaries on Sundays with fury and blood-lust, looking for non-believers to stone and property to destroy. Every Friday, however, somewhere in the vast Muslim world, some congregations of the devout react to their uplifting prayer services by going directly from their mosques to rousing orgies of rage and violence.

This observation isn’t an expression of bigotry; it’s a factual product of reading the newspaper, and regularly monitoring international news. The lame-brained insistence that all faith traditions deserve equal respect (or equal condemnation) doesn’t demonstrate tolerance or broad-mindedness; it expresses, rather, a refusal to take any religion seriously enough for honest evaluation of its virtues and flaws.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

P.J. O'Rourke on the Upcoming Elections

Via Kat:
Perhaps you’re having a tiny last minute qualm about voting Republican. Take heart. And take the House and the Senate. Yes, there are a few flakes of dander in the fair tresses of the GOP’s crowning glory—an isolated isolationist or two, a hint of gold buggery, and Christine O’Donnell announcing that she’s not a witch. (I ask you, has Hillary Clinton ever cleared this up?) Fret not over Republican peccadilloes such as the Tea Party finding the single, solitary person in Nevada who couldn’t poll ten to one against Harry Reid. Better to have a few cockeyed mutts running the dog pound than Michael Vick.


This is not an election on November 2. This is a restraining order. Power has been trapped, abused and exploited by Democrats. Go to the ballot box and put an end to this abusive relationship.
Anyone who knows me that I have no great love for the Republican Party per se. To me, it is merely an instrument through which I hope to get the most conservative candidates possible elected, and too often, it fails me. I have serious doubts as to whether much of the leadership has any real clue what conservatism actually is. God knows--God knows!--some of the folks running on the Republican ticket this year could be replaced with better people. But be that as it may...

Holy crow, folks, today's Democratic Party is not merely to the left, it has--as a whole, there are always individual Democrats who don't fit this description--completely lost its sporkin' mind! Given a choice between not-consistently-conservative and out-of-their-sporkin'-minds, I'll take not-consistently-conservative every time. Of course I will. Why wouldn't I?

I Vaguely Remembered Something About Chile...

...and Star Parker, bless her soul, reminded me. Emphasis is mine:
Chile stands out as an example of achievements only possible when people commit to freedom and free markets.

It boasts the highest per capita GDP in South America and the third highest in the Western Hemisphere. Last December it became the first South American country to be invited to join the exclusive club of the world’s top industrialized nations, the OECD – Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

But back just a little less than 40 years ago, Chile was a typical, poor South American nation, with intrusive government and sluggish growth.

How was it transformed?

Read a short essay called “How the Power of Ideas Can Transform a Country,” by one of the leaders that made it happen – Jose Pinera.

He relates how, in the mid- 1950s, the Catholic University of Chile signed a cooperation agreement with the Department of Economics of the University of Chicago, then home to the world’s top free market economists, including the legendary Milton Friedman.

Thus began the education of a generation of young Chileans in the wisdom of economic freedom. Beginning in the late 1970s, these young leaders, with newly minted PhDs, helped implement new economic reforms in Chile protecting private property and promoting free trade.

A graph showing annual economic growth in Chile over the last hundred years looks like a hockey stick. From the early part of the twentieth century until 1980, the line is flat, averaging less than one percent growth per year. But beginning 1980, growth takes off in a vertical surge, averaging over 4% per year.

One of the most sweeping reforms, done by Jose Pinera, then Chile’s Minister of Social Security, was the transformation of Chile’s government Social Security system, identical to what we now have in the U.S., to a system of individually owned private retirement accounts. Chile’s payroll tax based government system was broken and bankrupt, as ours is today.

The reform, enacted in November 1980, restored the solvency of Chile’s retirement system and brought personal ownership and wealth to Chilean workers. After 30 years, these personal accounts have averaged annual returns of 9.2% above inflation.
Now, not that George Bush was so hot, he wasn't, God knows, but do you remember what happened when he noted the obvious, that Social Security was on the ropes, and proposed to privatize a little, just a little, of the system? Do you remember how he was demonized for that? Do you remember how that tiny bit of privatization was denounced as a "risky scheme?"

Tell it to the Chileans. Their retirement system appears to be working. Ours is in the red, so I understand, this snappin' year!

Just to drive the point home: leftist crap doesn't work. Never has, never will.

On the other hand, if a person's ever considered trying to emigrate to a country where economic freedom is not an epithet, Chile has to be considered.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

From The American Thinker on the First Amendment

The confusion arises from the different methods of reading the Constitution. Spitzer is relying, as most lawyers and politicians do, on case law ruled on by myriad judges and justices taking into account precedent and stare decisis. Loesch is relying on a literal reading of the same document where clear sections have been litigated out of use. In this case, the part of the First Amendment which reads: "...or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Tea Partiers, like Loesch, see that for what it is, an administrative omission, a tactical obliteration without taking the necessary steps to amend the amendment.

"Prohibiting the free exercise thereof," would seem to mean exactly that. Due to the fact that this phrase comes after the non-establishment clause, it would seem to clarify the meaning. In essence, since the federal government cannot establish a religion, it also does not prohibit the free exercise thereof. The federal government cannot hinder one's free exercise of their religion, i.e. not in the classroom, the jury box, the bench, or the museum for that matter. In fact, it would seem that such places in government are expressly prohibited from limiting that freedom, whereas some private organization might indeed prohibit religious expression.

The part of the amendment that Spitzer is focusing on is the non-establishment clause, but it has not been made clear what "establishment" means. To a literalist, like Loesch, establishment means to create a Church of the United States, just as there was a Church of England, in which taxes were raised to provide a budget for the church. Theoretically, a citizen could be made to attend, contribute and even pray. Freedom from the Church of England was a motivating factor in the development of America, so it is quite clear to the average intellect that the founding fathers would not like to create the same monster on the new shore. Far from trying to exclude religion from government, even a cursory reading of the works of George Washington or Benjamin Franklin would lead one to believe that specifically the Christian religion was integral to the soul of the new union, not banished from it as Spitzer apparently believes.
I've an old post on the subject, in need of a little revision, that I've been meaning to put up again. I suppose I shall have to get 'round to it sometime soon. For now, suffice to say that it is absurd to think that the Congress that framed the First Amendment had any intention of establishing a sort of atheism-by-default approach to government. Their passage of the Northwest Ordinance, alone, is sufficient proof of that, even without taking into account multitudinous other proofs.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Fourth (and Probably the Last) Quote from The Grand Jihad

I am not making this the last quote from The Grand Jihad because it is a bad book; far from it! Overall, it is a very good book, with my main caveat so far being that, in discussing the Muslim Brotherhood's multitudinous front groups, Mr. McCarthy too frequently uses just the acronyms, perhaps forgetting that those of us who do not spend every waking moment thinking about Islamists are having a hard time keeping up with him.

Seriously, a flow chart would have been nice.

However, be that as it may, the book is extremely informative, and as soon as the "used" price at Amazon drops down to a level acceptable to my budget, I'll buy a copy for my own shelves. This last quote discusses something that I have discussed with people on Facebook and in person: sharia creep, or creeping sharia.

I once pointed out, in a Facebook comment on a friend's post, that it was hardly likely, when England started allowing large numbers of Muslims to immigrate, that they thought they would one day have sharia courts in England, but that they now do. Someone else--a stranger to me--then talked about how the sharia courts in England only deal with relatively minor matters of Islamic law, and that I should start looking into these things more deeply rather than just exhibiting ignorant, knee-jerk Islamophobia (I am paraphrasing his words rather freely here, I admit).

I am often amused when someone accuses me of ignorance. I plead guilty to the charge, absolutely--as Will Rogers said, everyone is ignorant, only on different subjects--but if Will was right, then that implies that my accusers are ignorant on at least some things, too. In my experience, their areas of ignorance frequently correspond to my areas of knowledge--that is, they know least about the things I know most about. If I am less than expert about the niceties of the supposedly sixty percent of Muslims who are not interested in Islamism, they are less than expert about the hegemonistic ambitions of the forty percent of Muslims who are--to say nothing of the history of Muhammad's life.

At any rate, this is not, by any means, all that Mr. McCarthy has to say about creeping sharia, but it is a lot. And that is why I am making it the last quote from his book, good as it is. You see, I am afraid that I am on the edge of crossing the line from providing interesting and informative quotes that will encourage you to go out and read the book, to just making it unnecessary for you to read the book.

Go read the book. You need to. Here's the last quote. As usual, anything in bold reflects my emphasis:
This is not to say Islamists are failing to prioritize the Islamicization of Western society. Like Abdel Rahman's theory, under which violent jihad proceeds on two tracks, Sheikh Qaradawi has a plan for Islamicizing Western societies on a macro level while the micro-work of gradual sharia implementation proceeds. That plan is the establishment of autonomous Muslim enclaves, parallel societies adherent to sharia law. It is a gambit analysts have aptly labeled "voluntary apartheid."

That it is a Trojan-horse cannot be seriously doubted. Qaradawi is candid: "Were we to convince Western leaders and decision-makers of our right to live according to our faith--ideologically, legislatively, and ethically--without imposing our views or inflicting harm upon them, we would have traversed an immense barrier in our quest for an Islamic state." Notice, again, the mindset: without inflicting harm upon them. One might think it difficult to fathom anything more harmful to individual liberty than the establishment of an Islamic state. Yet, that's not how we think. Qaradawi adroitly reads the West's temperament: We're tunnel-focused on terrorism, concerned only about forcible damage to life, limb, and property. As long as we're told there will be no harm he rightly figures we'll assume he means no terrorism. If terrorism is not in the equation,we go back to sleep--amenable to all manner of accommodation, even to sowing the seeds of our own destruction at the behest of people who tell us, flat-out, that their goal is conquest. In our suicidal dispostion, "democracy" somehow requires this of us.

The enclave strategy has already been implemented to great effect in Europe. Qaradawi made it sound unthreatening enough. In early 2005, at a session of his European Council for Fatwa and Research, he encouraged the continent's sizable Muslim population--which is still a minority, for now--to integrate into European society. There was just one caveat: the integration must be done "without violating the rules of sharia." There is only one way such an integration can happen on Qaradawi's terms: Muslims must capitalize on their unity and growing strength to pressure Europe into adopting sharia, bit by bit.

Obviously, the strategy is working. The eminent Bernard Lewis stunned Western readers when he predicted that Europe will be Islamic by the end of the twenty-first century, but, judging from the whirlwind pace of things, he may be several decades behind the curve. Already, the landscape in Europe, as well as Australia, is dotted by "no-go" zones: Muslim neighborhoods where police no longer patrol, sovereignty having been effectively surrendered to the local imams, shura councils, and Muslim gangs. In France, for example, police estimate that some eight million people (12 percent of the population--and climbing) live in the country's 751 zones urbaines sensibles, sensitive urban areas.

And when French police do make arrests, an ever greater percentage of the offenders is Islamic, with Muslims now constituting 60 percent of the national prison population. In 2005, an effort to arrest two Muslim teenagers, who electrocuted themselves trying to hide in a power station, touched off three weeks of mass rioting, arson, and vandalism. Over 8000 cars were torched and nearly 3000 people arrested. Rioting has broken out sporadically ever since. Press coverage, though, is muted: The authorities have encouraged the media to suppress the story for fear of reigniting the rampages of what journalists euphemestically call "youths" of "South Asian" heritage.

The United Kingdom may be in even greater crisis. There, the Islamic ascendancy dovetails with the Labour government's transnational progressivism in a campaign against cultural Britishness. As the columnist Leo McKinstry observes: "England is in the middle of a profoundly disturbing social experiment. For the first time in a mature democracy, a Government is waging a campaign of aggressive discrimination against its indigenous population." Sharia has become a key element of that campaign.

Exploiting the feature of British law that permits parties, on consent, to bring their legal disputes to "voluntary arbitration tribunals" rather than law courts, a Muslim commercial-law barrister named Faisal Aqtab Siddiqi shrewdly established a sharia court as the "Muslim Arbitration Council." Quipping that "these are early days," the brilliant writer John O'Sullivan notes tht the British sharia court "so far only handles civil cases such as divorces and inheritance disputes, since British society isn't ready for such innovations as public floggings and hand-choppings."

Still, the present caseload is plenty alarming. English police officers are enforcing sharia judgments on domestic violence complaints--meaning there have been instances of investigations dropped after the Islamic authority sides with accused husbands, in deference to the Koranic endorsement of spousal abuse. There has also been at least one decision awarding an estate's male heirs twice as much as the female heir.

And by granting extra welfare benefits to men with multiple families, England, like much of Europe, is giving tacit approval to Islamic polygamy (Muslim men may marry up to four women; women, you'll no doubt be stunned to hear, are restricted to one husband). Similarly, thanks to Muslim activists and feckless bureaucrats, the British welfare state--honoring a decree from the European Court of Human Rights--forces taxpayers to subsidize suspected foreign terrorists whom the government seeks to monitor under anti-terror laws but cannot deport because of Britain's alien-coddling immigration laws.

Simultaneously, "hate speech" laws have been interpreted by police and bureaucrats in Britain's immigrant Muslim hubs to bar such exhibitions of "racism" as the raising of the Union Jack (or wearing clothes that bear its likeness)--a stigma also being attached to national flags in the Netherlands, Sweden, France, and other European countries. Meanwhile, writing in the Brussels Journal, the commentator Fjordman recounts instances of Britons being banned from swimming at a popular sports club in London during "Muslim men only" sessions; assaults on Christian clerics in London; and a police threat to Christian preachers in Birmingham: Desist handing out gospel leaflets lest you be arrested for committing a "hate crime"--or, worse, beaten by local Muslims without intervention by the police (after all, you've been warned).

Then there is the matter of violent crime, particularly rape, by Muslim immigrants. Rape, the unspoken epidemic of Western Europe, is as much and more about psychological domination as it is about physical gratification. As a violent jihadist tactic, it has long been an infamous weapon in the Sudanese Islamist regime's genocidal arsenal, used first against Christians and Animists in the south in the early Nineties and, more recently, in western Sudan against the Muslims of Darfur, whom Islamists judge to be insufficiently Islamic. Now, with the tide of immigration, jihad by rape has been imported to Europe, where indignation by the politically correct press is predictably reserved not for the perpetrators but for the few journalists willing to report on it.

Consistent with Sheikh Qaradawi's aforementioned view that the rape victim is to blame for her plight if she has failed to adhere to fundamentalist protocols for women's attire, Shahid Mehdi, a top Islamic cleric in Denmark, has explained that women who fail to don a headscarf are asking to be raped (an admonition also given voice by Sheik Faiz Mohammed, a prominent Lebanese cleric, during a lecture he delivered in Australia). Not surprisingly given such encouragement, Fjordman painstakingly documents that it has become a commonplace for young Muslim men to participate in sexual assaults and absolve themselves from culpability. As a psychologist working in the prison system, the incomparable Theodore Dalrymple witnessed the six-fold spike in Britain's Muslim inmate population between 1990 and 2005. He bluntly notes that "thanks to their cultural inheritance, [the Muslims'] abuse of women is systematic rather than unsystematic as it is with" white and black inmates. Robert Spencer elaborates:
The Islamic legal manual Umdat al-Salik, which carries the endorsement of Al-Azhar University, the most respected authority in Sunni Islam, stipulates: "When a child or a woman is taken captive, they become slaves by the fact of capture, and the woman's previous marriage is immediately annulled." Why? So that they are free to become the concubines of their captors. The Qur'an permits Muslim men to have intercourse with their wives and their slave girls: "Forbidden to you are...married women, except those whom you own as slaves" (sura 4:23-24).
As atrocious as rape is on its own, the Sudanese experience demonstrates that it is even more harrowing as a component in a broader intimidation campaign. Writing in Frontpage Magazine, the former Australian army officer Sharon Lapkin has recounted (my italics):
Retired Australian detective Tim Priest warned in 2004 that the Lebanese gangs, which emerged in Sydney in the 1990s--when the police were asleep--had morphed out of control. "The Lebanese groups," he said, "were ruthless, extremely violent, and they intimidated not only innocent witnesses, but even the police that attempted to arrest them" Priest describes how in 2001, in a Muslim dominated area of Sydney two policement stopped a car containing three well-known Middle Eastern men to search for stolen property. As the police carried out their search they were physcially threatened and the three men claimed they were going to track them down, kill them and then rape their girlfriends..... As the Sydney police called for backup the three men used their mobile phones to call their associates, and within minutes, 20 Middle Eastern men arrived on the scene. They punched and pushed the police and damaged state vehicles. The police retreated and the gang followed them to the police station where they intimidated staff, damaged property and held the police station hostage. Eventually the gang left, the police licked their wounds, and not one of them took action against the Middle Eastern men. Priest claims, "In the minds of the local population, the police are cowards and the message was, 'Lebanese [Muslim gangs] rule the streets.'"
The situation, Lapkin learned, was the same in Malmo, Sweden's third largest city, where police concede that they are no longer in control. Muslim immigrant gangs rule the streets. To make their dominion emphatic, even ambulance personnel are routinely attacked and abused. They won't go into many neighborhoods without police protection, and the police, in turn, will not enter without additional back-up.

Islamists are taking the measure of the West and finding it to be a shallow, self-loathing husk.


Sharia creep, moreover, does not stop at the Atlantic's eastern shores--far from it. Witness, for example, a 2005 proposal by Ontario's former attorney general to incorporate sharia in the Canadian legal code. Like emerging British sharia, the scheme would have approved the use of Muslim law to settle such domestic relations matters as divorce and child custody involving the province's estimated 600, 000 Muslims.


As for the American dawa front, Zeyno Baran offers this assessment:
Qaradawi...has repeatedly advised Muslims living in the West to create their own "Muslim ghettos" to avoid cultural assimilation. If American Muslims start forming parallel societies, it will be much easier for the Ikhwan to push for the introduction of sharia in these societies. While this may seem far-fetched, it cannot be so easily dismissed given how close the Islamists came to introducing sharia for Canadian Muslims. And since most of the American Muslim organizations are in the hands of Islamists, who enjoy seemingly unlimited money, media attention, and political influence, few non-Islamists would be able to fight back.
Now, again, knowing that part of the deliberate strategy of quite a large hunk of Dar al Islam is emigrate to Western nations, form enclaves, demand (or just unilaterally implement) parts of sharia law, gradually expand the enclaves and adherence to sharia, and that the deliberate use of fear, intimidation, and violence are not off the table, just how far are you willing to go in your quest for cultural tolerance? Are you willing to extend tolerance to an ideology that demands the extinction of yours?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Muslim Stats

Since I know you want to know, here are some stats. From Andrew C. McCarthy's book, The Grand Jihad:
Islam's apologist legions counter-factually assure you that Muslims overwhelmingly reject terror. They intimate that violence is the only issue and that nothing "radical" is afoot as long as terrorism is not in the mix. Abdur-rahman Wahid, a globally renowned Muslim moderate whom we'll discuss momentarily, estimates--without offering any supporting data--that radicalism, or what he calls the "virulent ideology," holds sway over only 10 to 15 percent of Muslims. He cheerily posits that the remaining "85% to 90%" is comprised of the "traditional and sufi leadership and masses, who are not yet radicalized" (and notice the word yet, which tells you everything you need to know about which way even he knows the wind is blowing). Even if he were right about the comparatively paltry "radical" population, we'd still be talking about nearly 200 million people. But the problem is that Wahid is not right. As bracing as that huge number may be, he is low-balling. The actual numbers are closer to the opposite of the lopsided preponderance of ur-tolerant moderates he portrays.

In 2007, the University of Maryland joined with the pollster World Public Opinion to survey Islamic views. The poll included Muslims from the Middle East and North Africa to Southeast Asia, Arab and non-Arab. The results were jarring. Nearly two-thirds, 65.5 percent, said they would endorse the requirement of "a strict application of sharia law in every Islamic country." In fact, they said they would like to see all Muslim countries unified under a single caliphate, a position shared even by half of Indonesian Muslims. As we shall see, Islam in Indonesia is thought, with justification, to be among the moderate brands on the planet. Yet even there fundamentalism is on the rise, particularly in Aceh, where sharia rules and where the provincial parliament last year enacted the time-honored penalty of stoning to death for adultery. As the intrepid writer Sadanand Dhume observed, homosexuals and those who engage in premarital sex "drew a lighter rebuke...100 strokes of a rattan cane."

The 2007 poll figures match up with what related global polling suggests. In 2008, for example, 40 percent of British Muslims (i.e., close to a million people, including many British-born converts to Islam) favored the implementation of sharia in Britain--with 32 percent holding that killing in the name of religion is at least sometimes justifiable, 40 percent favoring a prohibition against mingling between the sexes, and 33 percent endorsing a global Islamic caliphate. In Pakistan, a plenary Muslim country of 175 million people, four in five favor strict enforcement of sharia (over half "strongly" so). Not surprisingly, in a 2007 poll, Pakistanis by a five-to-one margin preferred Osama bin Laden (at 46 percent approval) to then-President George W. Bush (9 percent)--bin Laden also easily topped Pakistan's then president Pervez Musharraf (38 percent).
Now, really: just how comfortable are you really with large, concentrated numbers of Muslims--say, in Detroit--when you know that probably about a third of them think that "killing in the name of religion is at least sometimes justifiable?" I mean, really, let's just suppose that the situation is no more complex than hinted here, and that two-thirds of Muslims--that would be the perpetually-invoked "most Muslims," wouldn't it?--do not agree with that statement. Let's say that it's just forty percent of Muslims who want to see their country adopt Sharia law, and sixty percent don't.

That still leaves a darn lot of Muslim "extremists" to deal with, doesn't it?

Just how "extreme" is a point of view that claims a third or more of its target population? That is the dominant belief system of whole countries? With numbers like that, isn't it part of mainstream Islam?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Andrew C. McCarthy on Barack Obama

This is quoted from The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America. Anything I have emphasized is in bold.
It is vital to bear in mind that the president is an Alinskyite, so steeped in the ideology of the seminal community organizer that he became a top instructor in Alinskyite tactics for other up-and-coming radicals. Alinskyites are fifth-columnists. They have, in substance, the same goals as open revolutionaries: overthrowing the existing free-market republic and replacing it with a radical's utopia. That is why Obama could befriend such unrepentant former terrorists as Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn and take inspiration from Jeremiah Wright, a black-liberation theologist.

Alinskyites, though, are more sophisticated, patient, and practical. They bore in, hollowing out the system from within, taking on the appearance and argot of the heartland. Their single, animating goal is to overthrow the capitalist social order, which they claim to see as racist, corrupt, exploitative, imperialist, etc. Everything else--including the cultivation of like-minded Islamists--is negotiable. They reserve the right to take any position on any matter, to say anything at any time, based on the ebb and flow of popular opinion. That keeps them politically viable while they radically transform society. Transform it into what, they haven't worked out in great detail...except that it will be perfect, communal, equal, and just.

This shallow nihilism makes alliances easy to strike...and, when necessary, to shove allies under the bus. If Islam needed pushing aside for a time to secure power, Islam would be pushed aside. Yet the president's Islamic heritage is deeply rooted. As we shall see, to the extent Obama had a religious faith in his formative years, it was Islam. That doesn't make him a Muslim, much less the Muslim "Manchurian Candidate" of anti-Obama paranoia. There is no record of his ever having professed Islam as an adult (profession of the faith being the first pillar of Islam). While much about Obama remains a mystery--despite the 850 pages' worth of autobiography and policy prescriptions he had published by the age of forty-five--the religion he publicly professes is Christianity, and there is no reason to doubt him on that score.

No reason because his formal religion is nearly irrelevant. The faith to which Obama actually clings is neocommunism. It is a leftism of the most insidious kind: secular and uncompromising in its rejection of bourgeois values, but feverishly spiritual in its zeal to tear down the existing order, under the banner of its all-purpose rally-cry: "social justice."

Neocommunists need not adhere to a formal religion. Instead, they tend to infuse causes like environmentalism, privacy, and secularism with religious fervor. For most leftists, though, religion is a useful tool. It is never a straitjacket because neocommunists consider themselves no more bound by the strictures of creed than by the constraints of tradition.

Thus is Obama the Christian the most uncompromisingly pro-abortion president ever to hold the office, just as he was the senate's most vigorous supporter of abortion rights--and, before that, while serving in the Illinois legislature, an apologist for infanticide as the remedy for botched abortions in which the baby inconveniently survived. In America, where it has become declasse to question, much less examine, a person's fidelity to his avowed religious creed, formal religion is endlessly malleable. This is a tremendous asset for the necocommunist. Formal religion lends a patina of transcendence to his attack on the existing order. And any religion will do if its principles can be marshaled--however faithlessly--into a rationale for dissolving American constitutional democracy.

This explains how Obama can purport to have found Christ through the baleful Jeremiah Wright. It explains how he could sit comfortably for twenty years in Rev. Wright's Trinity Church in Chicago, soaking up the fiery pastor's Black Liberation Theology, a pseudo-Christian Marxism colored in anti-Semitic hues, defined most clearly by its anti-Americanism. Sure, when Wright became an electoral issue for Obama, the candidate cast him aside, much as he had cast his Islamic heritage aside, pretending to have been absent or wearing earplugs during the Rev's more bombastic Sundays. But the truth was always there for anyone willing to see it: The grievance-mongering, race-obsessed Obama had imbibed enough to find in Wright the inspiration for his second bestselling me-book, The Audacity of Hope, and to parrot such standard Wright tropes as: "White folks' greed runs a world in need." It should have surprised no one when Obama staffed his White House with race-baiting Marxists, including "Green Jobs Czar" Van Jones, an admitted communist who, when not claiming 9/11 was somehow both America's just desert and an inside job, brooded about "white polluters" conspiring to "steer poison into the people of color communities."

Neocommunism is leftism liberated by the collapse of the Soviet Union. Many naively believed the Soviet demise would be a cautionary tale for the left, a warning against the hubris of big-government schemes to perfect man and society. The opposite, instead, is the case. David Horowitz, today's most eloquent and incisive observer of the revolutionary left, the movement in which he was raised and on which he turned so fiercely, offers a perfect diagnosis:
Far from instilling humility in progressives..., the collapse of socialism has revived their self-righteousness and renergized their assault on the democratic West. The disappearance of the Soviet block has had only one consequence of note. It has lifted the burden of having to indefensible regime. Because the utopian vision is no longer anchored in the reality of an actually existing socialist state, the left can now indulge its nihilistic agendas without restraint.
Nihilism is the key. Today's hard left is defined by what it is against: the United States, free-market capitalism, and any foreign policy premised on defending American interests or promoting individual liberty. Only this part of the agenda is concrete, leaving neocommunism elastic enough to strike alliances with any movement that shares it. What neocommunists are for, by contrast, is a set of abstractions--"social justice," "equality," "redistributive rights," the "rule of law," and, of course, "our values." The details of those can be worked out later, once the more pressing imperative of undoing the existing order has been realized.

This explains Obama's ruinous spending, the trillions in debt, far surpassing in just a few months the total debt accumulated since the nation's founding. Not content with that accomplishment, the president is rushing headlong to bankrupt the treasury permanently with additional trillions for nationalized healthcare and crushing tax increases--which experience assures us will reduce total revenues available for redistribution--including a "cap and trade" energy scheme that will nullify industry's capacity to generate value. Critics from the right and what used to be the mainstream left are dumbfounded, wondering aloud whether the new administration is in over its head. This drastically underestimates Obama. Quite the opposite of overwhelmed, he has methodically done exactly what was predicted by those who took the time, during the 2008 campaign, to study his radical background: exploiting the new administration's wind-at-its-back period to crush the capitalist system under an enormous commitment of future dollars, a commitment that will be nigh impossible to roll back once the public is finally roused from its slumbers. This "change" is not designed to create a new system. Its purpose is to destroy the old one. What comes next is negotiable.
The more closely you look at Palpatine's background, history,and associations, the more impossible it becomes to believe that he is just an economically naive, run-of-the-mill Democrat. He really did teach Alinskyite tactics, and Saul Alinsky really did teach his students to do just as Mr. McCarthy describes.

It is no longer possible to give
Palpatine and rather a lot of his fellow Democrats the benefit of the doubt.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Well, Isn't That Just Rippin' Brilliant...

It was just a couple o' weeks ago that I found out the Chinese were cutting off supplies of rare earth materials to Japan. Now, it appears they're cutting us off as well.

Don't have a clue what rare earth materials are? This is from the article:
... rare earth elements...have broad commercial and military applications, and are vital to the manufacture of products as diverse as cellphones, large wind turbines and guided missiles.
Now, given that:
Despite their name, most rare earths are not particularly rare.
What could possibly be the problem? Surely we can just go out and mine our own? Hah! More fool you! mines are likely to take three to five years to reach full production, according to industry executives...
How did we wind up in this situation, you ask, where
China mines 95 percent of the world’s rare earth elements...
How did we wind up letting A HOSTILE NATION control our supply of stuff that, for the most part, we can mine ourselves?

Very simple: the poisonous doctrine of free trade (again: not at all the same thing as free markets. Stay with me here. Don't get confused.). We refused to protect our rare earth industry with tariffs, and because China has
...lower costs and weak environmental enforcement...
the industry moved over there!

Brilliant. Just %&*(in' brilliant. Takes a degree to come up with ideas like that, let me tell you...

From The Grand Jihad

This is from Andrew C. McCarthy's The Grand Jihad. Emphasis is mine:
In 1979, Smadar Kaiser, her husband Danny, and their two small daughters, four-year-old Einat and two-year-old Yael, were awakened in their northern Israel apartment at midnight by gunfire and exploding grenades. A team of terrorists sent by Abu Abbas's Palestine Liberation Front was in the neighborhood. While a trembling Smadar hid with Yael in the dark, suffocating crawl space, the terrorists grabbed Danny and Einat and marched them down to a nearby beach. There, one of the four shot Danny in front of his daughter so that his death would be the last sight she'd ever see. Then the ruthless ringleader, Lebanese-born Samir Kuntar, bashed in the four-year-old's skull against a rock with the butt of his rifle. Hours later, upon finally being "rescued" from the crawl space, two-year-old Yael, too, was dead--accidentally smothered by her petrified mother in the effort to keep her quiet as the terrorists searched for more Jews to kill.

The Israelis captured Kuntar, who was sentenced to life in prison. For years, however, Palestinian leaders and masses agitated for his release, lionizing this monster as a "brave leader" and "model warrior." In 2007, the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert finally capitulated, exchanging Kuntar and other imprisoned terrorists for the remains of two deceased Israeli soldiers. Kuntar was welcomed to the West Bank as a conquering hero. The Palestinian Authority granted him and another released terrorist honorary citizenship "as an act of dedication to their struggle and their heroic suffering in the occupation's prisons."
You know, if you just put Jihad Watch in your Google Reader list, you know that this is not as unusual as some people would have you think. The quantity of material flowing through Jihad Watch is almost mind-numbing. There is no way I can find time to read it all. The headlines--all about Muslims all over the world up to no good, the overwhelming majority of the material being drawn from legitimate news accounts--change with upsetting regularity. There is absolutely no way anyone who bothers to do even a little reading on this subject can ignore the plain and obvious facts that Muslims who take the Qu'ran and the hadiths at face value are, at the least, supportive of violence against non-Muslims, and that they are on the increase.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Accidentally Stumbling Upon Greatness

No, not my greatness, dear reader, I would not be so foolish as to make such a claim. I refer to the greatness of Garet Garrett, or at least the greatness of his forward to his book, The People's Pottage.

Y'see, Mrs. MOTW brought home, quite unbidden, a library book she thought I might like. It was titled The Conservative Bookshelf, and I quickly found that the author thereof had political ideas very similar (not identical) to mine own. In them, he recommended the work of Garet Garrett, of whom I do not believe I had heretofore heard. So I looked to our local library, and much to my surprise, I found that they had something by Mr. Garrett.

I have only just started the book, but I must confess myself duly impressed. The forward alone, written in 1953, is a thing of greatness. I wish everyone would read it. I reproduce most of it here and ask you, gentle reader, to consider what Mr. Garrett says in light of the last two years of political history.

I will provide more quotes later on. Anything in bold (including bolded italics) reflects my emphasis.
A time came when the only people who had ever been free began to ask: What is freedom?

Who wrote its articles--the strong or the weak?

Was it an absolute good?

Could there be such a thing as unconditional freedom, short of anarchy?

Given the answer to be no, then was freedom an eternal truth or a political formula?

Since it was clear to reason that freedom must be conditioned, as by self-discipline, individual responsibility and many necessary laws of restraint; and since there was never in the world an absolute good, why should people not be free to say they would have less freedom in order to have more of some other good?

What other good?


What else?


And beyond that?

Beyond the sympathies of we, and all men as brothers, instead of the willful I, as if each man were a sovereign, self-regarding individual?

Well, where there is freedom doubt itself must be free. You shall not be forbidden to interrogate the faith of your fathers. Better that, indeed, than to take it entirely for granted.

So long as doubts such as these were wildish pebbles in the petulant waves that gnaw ceaselessly at any foundation, perhaps only because it is a foundation, no great damage was done. But when they began to be massed as a creed, then they became sharp cutting tools, wickely set in the jaws of the flood. That was the work of a disaffected intellectual cult, mysteriously rising in the academic world; and from the same source came the violent winds of Marxian propaganda that raised the waves higher and made them angry.

Even so, the damage to the foundations might have been much slower and not beyond simple repair if it had not happened that in 1932 a bund of intellectual revolutionaries, hiding behind the conservative planks of the Democratic party, seized control of government.

After that it was the voice of government saying to the people there had been too much freedom. That was their trouble. Freedom was for the strong. The few had used it to exploit the many. Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost, boom and bust, depression and unemployment, economic insecurity, want in the midst of plenty, property rights above human rights, taking it always out of the hide of labor in bad times--all of that was what came of rugged individualism, of free prices, free markets, free enterprise and freedom of contract. Let that be the price of freedom, and who would not say it was too dear?

So, instead of this willful private freedom, trust the government to administer freedom, for all the people alike, especially the weak. To begin with, the government would redistribute the national wealth in an equitable manner. Then its planners would plan production and distribution in perfect balance, and thus no more boom and bust; the government then would see to it that everybody had always enough money to buy a decent living, and beyond that it would provide for the widows and orphans, the sick and disabled, the indigent and the old.

To perform these miracles it would require more freedom for itself--that is, freedom to intervene in the lives of people for their own good, freedom from old Constitutional restraints that belonged to our horse-and-buggy days, and freedom to do as it would with the public purse. And if it should be said that this increase in the government's own sphere of freedom meant a curtailment of the individual's freedom, it came to this--that the individual was asked to surrender only the freedom to starve and what he received in return was freedom from want. Was that not a good bargain?

What the people did in fact surrender was control of government.

They did not intend to do that. For a long time they did not realize they had done it, and when at last it came to them they were already deeply infected with a virus that devours the copy book virtues, creates habits of dependence and destroys the valiant love of self-responsibility.

The crisis was moral.

Happily for their designs, the New Deal physicians found the patient in a state of economic pain, extreme but not fatal, and proceeded to administer imported narcotics, all habit forming, such as:

(1) Repudiation of the United States Treasury's promises to pay.

(2) Confiscation of the people's gold by trickery.

(3) Debasement of the currency.

(4) Deliberate inflation.

(5) Spoilation of the savers, whose little rainy day hoards melted away.

(6) Deficit spending to create buying power by conjury.

(7) Monetization of debt.

(8) The doctrine of a planned economy.

(9) A scheme of taxation, class subsidies and Federal grants-in-aid designed ostensibly to redistribute the national wealth for social justice, but calculated in fact to reduce millions of citizens to subservience, to bring forty-eight sovereign states to the status of provinces and to create in the executive principle a supreme government with extensive new powers, including the power to make its own laws by simply publishing from its bureaus rules and regulations having the force of law, disobedience punishable by fine or imprisonment.

These physicians kept saying to the patient, "Now aren't you feeling better?" Many, very many, were feeling immediately better, and because they were feeling better and because the government offered to provide them all with economic security forever, they were easily persuaded to exchange freedom for benefits, until at last they had surrendered, almost unawares, the most elementary freedom of all, namely, the right to receive in your pay envelope the full reward for your labor and do with it what you will.

Thus the Welfare State was built. The facade was magnificent; the cornerstone rested on quicksand; the moral cost of it may be reckoned in terms such as these:

If the great Government of the United States were a private corporation no bank would take its name on a piece of paper, because it has cynically repudiated the words engraved upon its bonds.

The dollar, which was long the most honored piece of money in the world, became an irredeemable scrap of paper, with no certain value.

The executive power of government was exalted to be the paramount power, uncontrollable, and the exquisite Constitutional mechanism of three co-equal powers--the Congress to make the laws, the President to execute the laws and the Supreme Court to interpret the laws--no longer functioned.

The symbol of Executive Government is the President. Actually, Executive Government became a vast system of bureaus and commissions writing 90 per cent of our laws, touching our everyday lives to the quick.

The purse and the sword were in one hand, which is solemnly forbidden by the constitution. In fact this was so. True, Congress still appropriated the money, but it could no longer pretend to understand the budgets that came from the White House and bitterly complained that it could not appropriate money intelligently. And as for the sword, the State Department, speaking for Executive Government, held that to be an obsolete provision of the Constitution which says only the Congress hsall have the power to declare war. The President alone could make war, as he did in Korea.

In these twenty years a revolution took place in the relationship between government and people. Formerly government was the responsibility of people; now people were the responsibility of government.

This change was silently geared to the popular idea of Social Security, for which the money was to come from a law of compulsory thrift imposed upon the individual and a pay roll tax imposed upon employers, all to be managed by a paternal Federal government. But this Social Security is delusive. In the first place, you have no surety that the money the government takes currently out of your income or your wage envelope as a social security tax will be worth as much when you get it back as it was when the government took it. Indeed, it is now worth only half as much as it was when the government began to take it a few years ago. With one hand it held out the apple; with the other hand it introduced the worm that was going to devour it. The worm was inflation. Secondly, as fast as the government receives those social security taxes it spends the money and puts in place of it a paper promise to pay you when you are entitled to receive it back, so that the only security behind all this Social Security scheme is more government debt. The right way would be to meet the cost of Social Security currently by an annual tax on the national income.

Nor is that all.

As the religious apostate seems to pass under a kind of emotional necessity to revile the symbols and images of his abandoned faith, so in the last twenty years the popular meaning of old American words has undergone enormities of semantic change and are scourged accordingly. The word freedom itself has come to be regarded as a reactionary word, if you use it to mean, freedom from the coercions and compulsions of government, even when they might be benign. Individualism is a word that will class you with the greedy few who wish to exploit the many for profit. The honorable word capitalism is anathema. Likewise nationalism and sovereignty. And the mere thought of America first, associated as that term is with isolationism, has become a liability so extreme that politicians feel obliged to deny ever having entertained it. But if you use the word freedom to mean freedom for mankind, that is all right.
It does occur to me that some readers may not understand what Mr. Garrett means by:
...the power to make its own laws by simply publishing from its bureaus rules and regulations having the force of law, disobedience punishable by fine or imprisonment.
...Executive Government became a vast system of bureaus and commissions writing 90 per cent of our laws, touching our everyday lives to the quick.
It is not so hard to understand. Think about our government and our country today.

How much of what the FDA holds companies responsible for is law passed by the Congress and signed by the President?

How much of what OSHA holds companies responsible for is law passed by the Congress and signed by the President?

How much of what the EPA holds companies and individuals responsible for is law passed by the Congress and signed by the President?

It would not be difficult to multiply examples. The reality today is that much of what has the force of law in our country has never been passed by Congress and signed by the President. Congress long ago abdicated much of its law-making (and repealing) responsibility. Instead, too often we create bureaucracies with the power to make rules and regulations and the power to punish people for disobedience. It is a hideous expansion of government that was never envisioned by the people who created the Constitution.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Paying Attention to Geert Wilders' Trial?

Of course you're not. Hardly anyone in the United States is, despite its momentous nature.

Wilders, of course, is on trial in the Netherlands for saying perfectly true and applicable things about Islam. This happens to be against Dutch law. Diana West sums it up for you, emphasis mine:
...Dutch prosecutors announced in January 2009 that Wilders would go to trial for "insulting" Muslims and "inciting" hatred against them...

What we know now we knew then: that this trial presented a watershed moment. Wilders, leader of a growing democratic movement to save his Western nation from Islamization, risks one year in prison for speaking out about the facts and consequences of Islamization. Such speech is prohibited not by the Western tradition of free speech Wilders upholds, but rather by the Islamic laws against free speech that he rejects. Wilders' plight demonstrates the extent to which the West has already been Islamized.

"It is irrelevant whether Wilder's witnesses might prove Wilders' observations to be correct," the public prosecutor stated back at the beginning. "What's relevant is that his observations are illegal."
Since when are observations "illegal"? Under communist dictatorships is one answer. Under Sharia is another.


Topping the OIC wish list is its effort to criminalize criticism of Islam in the non-Muslim world. And this is what makes the Wilders case is so significant. It's one thing if Islamic street thugs mount assassination attempts in Western nations against violators of Islamic law (i.e., elderly Danish cartoonists), or Muslim ambassadors to Western nations lobby them to punish such violations (the free press), or OIC representatives introduce similar Sharia resolutions at the United Nations. It would be something else again if a Western government were itself to convict a democratically elected leader for violating the Sharia ban on criticizing Islam. That's not war anymore; that's conquest.
Note carefully the italicized and bolded statement from the Dutch prosecutor: the fact that what Wilders said is true is no defense!

Now, let me draw this a little tighter for you: we are talking about the Netherlands, that land famous for "tolerance" so great that its "red-light" districts are famous the world over, so great that it legalized so-called "homosexual marriage," so great that possession of small amounts of certain recreational drugs is a de facto legality. This oh-so-"tolerant" country has put a man on trial, and is threatening to send him to jail for a year, for the "crime" of saying perfectly true things about Islam.

Now, let me ask you this: twenty years ago, when there weren't quite so many Muslims in the Netherlands, if someone had said to the Dutch, "Creeping sharia is a threat; one day, you won't even be able to openly voice your opinion about Islam without threat of fine or imprisonment. Too many Muslims in our country will prove to be a grave threat to such basic freedoms as freedom of speech," what do you think the Dutch would have said?

Maybe about the same thing they're saying in the United States now? That saying such things is bigotry and xenophobia? That most Muslims "aren't like that?" That such things constitute hate speech?

Monday, October 11, 2010

On Alton Brown

Well, I found out that Alton Brown, of "Good Eats" fame, is apparently a Baptist, apparently a Southern Baptist, at that.

Now, knowing how intimately being a Southern Baptist and cooking are related, I can't help but wonder how his membership at a Southern Baptist church has affected the dynamics there. I mean, who would want to compete against Alton Brown in the annual church chili cook-off (and if your church doesn't have an annual chili cook-off, I guess something's wrong with your church. Just my opinion, of course)?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Peter Heck on Christianity and Government "Charity"

More than a few Christians, especially young Christians, are confused on this point:
They tell us that obedience to Christ comes in the form of high taxes on the wealthy to fund social programs for the poor. Even if these programs weren't as miserably ineffective as what they are, look at what they foster: envy, greed, bitterness and resentment. Not exactly the motivations of love and altruism that Jesus said were to be at the heart of our goodwill.

In truth, there is not one recorded instance of Christ advocating government confiscation and redistribution of wealth in the name of charity.

Jesus did say: "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' (Matthew 25:40)

Jesus did not say: "The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you forcibly took from the masses through taxation in the name of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

Jesus did say: "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (Matthew 19:21)

Jesus did not say: "If you want to be perfect, go, get elected to high office and then use the law to confiscate the property of those who have, and give to those you deem more worthy of it. Then claim you are following me."

You get the point. Barack Obama's social gospel of government sponsored theft is a flat contradiction to what Jesus taught.
In my experience, the way this argument usually unfolds involves blatant equivocation, although the person making the argument doesn't realize that that's what he's done. People say things like this: "But MOTW, don't you agree that we need to help the helpless?"

Well, sure. The questions, though, are, "Who are 'we?'" and "Exactly what is 'helpless?'" If you don't get those answers spelled out clearly and mighty dadgum quick, you will find that instead of talking about the church and people who legitimately cannot work or who have been diligently looking but cannot find it, you are talking about government and any body of people from whom votes can be bought for the price of some public "charity."

Friday, October 8, 2010

Food Stamp Perspective

Mr. Buchanan provides a little historical perspective on food stamps:
“The lessons of history … show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.”

These searing words about Depression-era welfare are from Franklin Roosevelt’s 1935 State of the Union Address. FDR feared this self-reliant people might come to depend permanently upon government for the necessities of their daily lives. Like narcotics, such a dependency would destroy the fiber and spirit of the nation.

What brings his words to mind is news that 41.8 million Americans are on food stamps, and the White House estimates 43 million will soon be getting food stamps every month. A seventh of the nation cannot even feed itself.

...a Food Stamp Act was signed into law by LBJ appropriating $75 million for 350,000 individuals in 40 counties and three U.S. cities.


Yet when Richard Nixon took office, 3 million Americans were receiving food stamps at a cost of $270 million.


By the time he left office in 1974, the food stamp program was feeding 16 million Americans at an annual cost of $4 billion.

Fast forward to 2009. The cost to taxpayers of the U.S. food stamp program hit $56 billion. The number of recipients and cost of the program exploded again last year.

Among the reasons is family disintegration. Forty percent of all children in America are now born out of wedlock. Among Hispanics, it is 51 percent. Among African-Americans, it is 71 percent.

Food stamps are feeding children abandoned by their own fathers. Taxpayers are taking up the slack for America’s deadbeat dads.


Obesity rates have soared. Forty percent of all the kids in city public schools from kindergarten through eighth grade are overweight or obese.

Among poor kids, whose families depend on food stamps, the percentages are far higher. Mothers of poor kids use food stamps to buy them sugar-heavy soda pop, candy and junk food.


The Department of Agriculture in 2004 denied a request by Minnesota that would have disallowed food stamp recipients from using them for junk food. To grant the request, said the department, would “perpetuate the myth” that food stamps users make poor shopping decisions.

But is that a myth or an inconvenient truth?


What we have accepted today is a vast permanent underclass of scores of millions who cannot cope and must be carried by the rest of society — fed, clothed, housed, tutored, medicated at taxpayer’s expense for their entire lives. We have a new division in America: those who pay a double fare, and those who forever ride free.

We Americans are not only not the people our parents were, we are not the people we were. FDR was right about what would happen to the country if we did not get off the narcotic of welfare.
Two thoughts, if you're willing to put up with them long enough to read them:

1) FDR was indeed right. Personally, I don't think he really gave a rat's rear end; I am pretty sure that like most leftists, he thought that no price would be too high to pay for the expansion of government. But look at what's happened via the so-called "Great Society" programs, through our so-called "War on Poverty": bluntly, poverty won. The number of "poor" people has not diminished, it has increased. Part of this is because government keeps defining poverty in such a way as to continually guarantee that a lot of people will qualify for these government handouts. It's a good way to keep the serfs dependent, you know. Part of this is because, just as FDR and many others have noted, the availability of handouts is destructive to the work ethic. In economics, this is known as a "moral hazard." It is a real thing, not some chimera dreamed up by right-wing fanatics who want to see babies starve.

The upshot is that anti-poverty programs do little to alleviate or reduce poverty; instead, they escalate and exacerbate it.

2) Money is fungible. If you're not familiar with this concept, I will briefly explain: one dollar substitutes for any other dollar. A dollar you receive in food stamps is a dollar that you can now spend on gasoline, on internet service, on cigarettes, on beer, etc. It is because money is fungible that those of us who are not on food stamps--and I am not trying to be overly judgmental here, I am well aware that in this economy, people who never expected to be on food stamps are getting them--are constantly gobsmacked to see those who are talking on their cell phones in the Wal-Mart checkout line. "How the dickens can they be on food stamps and afford a cell phone?" people ask?

The answer is obvious: it is because they are on food stamps that they can still afford a cell phone, or cable tv, or soda pop, or beer, or cigarrettes.

One of the most indelible impressions I have received in my adult life forever reinforced the concept that money is fungible. At one church, I used to go out on visitation quite regularly. We went in teams, and one night, one of the members of my team was an elderly lady who happened to be in charge of the church's benevolence ministry. That night, she wanted to go visit a family who'd come to the pantry for food assistance, and to whom we'd given, of course, some food.

Imagine our surprise when we arrived at the home and found, to the best of my recollection, four men, all drunk out of their minds on beer. "How," you might ask, "did they afford beer when they were in such desperate straights as to go begging for food?" The answer is, again, obvious: it was not so much that they were desperate for food. They were desperate for beer, and did not want to spend their beer money on food for the family. So they went to the church, and the church, in essence, via the fungibility of money, bought their beer for them. Let me hammer that home for those who aren't getting it: one dollar substitutes for any other dollar. The dollars that household received in food became dollars spent on beer. We bought their beer, we just didn't know it.

Now, let me carry this into a wider context: because money is fungible, in a very real sense, when we give people food stamps, we are often not buying them food. We are buying them all the things that they would like to have but otherwise would not be able to afford. Because they have been freed from the burden of a realistic food budget, they can now buy other things.

How does it feel to be taxed for the sake of paying for other people's cell phones? Because that is exactly what's being done to you. And ironically, all that government taxing and spending is part of what's killing the job market!

Monday, October 4, 2010

God Love Pat Buchanan...

Again, it should be noted that I don't agree with Mr. Buchanan on everything. Perhaps most notably, I think he substantially underrates the threat militant Islam poses to the world (ourselves included) and overrates how quiet Dar al Islam would be if we just completely dropped everything in the Middle East and cleared on out of there.

My principle objection to how we have been fighting the War on Terror is that we keep operating on what I believe to be a very bad assumption: that we can, for lack of a better word, "democratize" societies grounded on beliefs that simply do not, and never have, esteemed democratic values or republican government. Foreign policy based on bad assumptions is ultimately doomed to failure.

But on the following, yes, I do believe Mr. Buchanan has a point...
Every patriot will do what is necessary and pay what is needed to defend his country. But national security is one thing, empire security another.

Why should Americans, 65 years after World War II, be defending rich Europeans from a Soviet Union that has been dead for 20 years, so those same Europeans can cut their defense budgets to protect their social safety nets?

President Eisenhower told JFK to bring the troops home from Europe, or the Europeans would wind up as permanent wards.

Was Ike a closet isolationist?

Almost $14 trillion in debt today, we borrow from Europe to defend Europe, borrow from Japan to defend Japan, borrow from the Gulf Arabs to defend the Gulf Arabs. And we borrow from Beijing to send foreign aid to African regimes whose U.N. delegations laughed and applauded as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the General Assembly that 9/11 was an inside job by the U.S. government. Have we lost all sense of self-respect?

In his 1969 “Silent Majority” address, Richard Nixon said that, after Vietnam, America would provide Asian allies with weapons and assistance in defending their freedom. But Americans would no longer do the fighting.

Why are U.S. soldiers still on the DMZ, 57 years after the Korean War? Why are Marines still on Okinawa, 65 years after Gen. MacArthur took the surrender? Cannot Korea and Japan, prosperous and populous, conscript the soldiers for their own defense?

National security, yes. Empire security we can no longer afford.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What? You Haven't Seen Food, Inc?

That's what I wanted to ask the folks over at the-blog-that-shall-not-be-named when they excoriated Senator Coburn for holding up an alleged "food safety" bill. If they'd take the trouble to watch Food, Inc, they might learn a couple of things, like that some of our biggest food safety problems are exacerbated by government involvement (quick example: we have a few too many scares with e coli, right? E Coli grows well in the digestive systems of cows that are
fed corn. We, of course, finish off, or fatten up, our cows on corn. Not that corn's their natural diet or anything
[That would be grass, for you non-rural folk]. We fatten them up on corn in large part because corn is cheap. Corn is cheap because the government subsidizes it. The government subsidizes it because of lobbying from certain giant corporations...) and that large corporations have a nasty habit of squeezing out competition by means of government muscle (Just google "monsanto + soybeans." Just google it. That's all I'm sayin'.)

I didn't have time to go into detail, though, and just left them to wallow in what they incorrectly perceived to be the moral high ground. However, what Stanislav, a Russian blogger, posted today reminded me of the whole thing. I haven't looked in detail at the bill, and don't know whether Stanislav is correct in the details, but...well, go ahead and read this:
In America, the House has already passed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act S.510 bill and only the Senate is left to pass their version and commingle them into a unified monstrosity. The bill is designed to destroy the small farmer in America, the very caste of people who is the most likely opposition to the control of the moneyed elites.

Though the American small farmer is a dieing breed, with hundreds of thousands of families throwing in the towel over the past decade, he is not dieing out fast enough.


The paperwork restrictions on farmers, the amount of effort to put in perfectly filled out copies or to face $500,000 fines on the first infraction, will guarantee that only the large agro giants are left standing in rather short order. On top of this the FDA will have full authority to dictate each and every detail of how food should be grown and under what conditions to the American farmer.
This is one of the ways it's done, folks, that is, this is one of the ways large corporations get rid of the small fry. For more details on this sort of thing, you can read Crunchy Cons; Mr. Dreher has a fairly lengthy discussion of this stuff.

Used to be, people in this country had enough sense to laugh when someone said that the most frightening sentence in the English language was, "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you."
You haven't seen Food, Inc, have you? You went out and spent your movie money on something with explosions, or to see Bella snog that dimwit vampire, didn't you?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Just What I Been Talkin' 'Bout for Years!

One of the objections I've long had to free trade--again, let me reiterate for those who don't know, free trade and free markets are not the same thing, I oppose the one and support the other--is that if you lose some of your industries to foreign competition in the name of free trade, you might just find your tuchus in a sling if you have to, like, go to war. Or something.

Pat Buchanan says, illustrating this very point:
A fortnight ago, a Chinese trawler rammed a Japanese patrol boat in the Senkaku Islands administered by Japan but also claimed by China. Tokyo released the ship and crew, but held the captain.

His immediate return was demanded by Beijing.

Japan refused. China instantly escalated the minor incident into a major confrontation, threatening a cut off of Japan’s supply of “rare-earth” materials, essential to the production of missiles, batteries and computers. Through predatory trading, China had killed its U.S. competitor in rare-earth materials, establishing almost a global monopoly.


The Chinese tiger is all grown up, and it’s not cuddly anymore.

And with Beijing’s threat to use its monopoly of rare-earth materials to bend nations to its will, how does the Milton Friedmanite free-trade ideology of the Republican Party, which fed Beijing $2 trillion in trade surpluses at America’s expense over two decades, look now?

How do all those lockstep Republican votes for Most Favored Nation status for Beijing, ushering her into the World Trade Organization and looking the other way as China dumped into our markets, thieved our technology and carted off our factories look today?

The self-sufficient republic that could stand alone in the world is more dependent than Japan on China for rare-earth elements vital to our industries, for the necessities of our daily life, and for the loans to finance our massive trade and budget deficits.

How does the interdependence of nations in a global economy look now, compared to the independence American patriots from Alexander Hamilton to Calvin Coolidge guaranteed to us, that enabled us to win World War II in Europe and the Pacific in less than four years?
That is only part of what's going on. Don't get me started about machine tools, and machinists, and tool-and-die makers. You don't wanna know.