In an article on the suicide of Europe, containing much we agree with, the excellent and erudite Victor Davis Hanson writes at the National Review:
Like atheism, childlessness reflects the assumption that ego-driven rationalism and satisfaction of the appetites are all there is and all that there ever will be.
And it is that point in particular that we want to discuss.
But first – the important points he makes:
Because of what Europe has become, it now has few viable choices in dealing with radical Islamic terrorism. Its dilemma is a warning to Americans that we should turn away from a similar path of national suicide.
After suffering serial terrorist attacks from foreign nationals and immigrants, a normal nation-state would be expected to make extraordinary efforts to close its borders and redefine its foreign policy in order to protect its national interests.
But a France or a Belgium is not quite a sovereign nation any more, and thus does not have complete control over its national destiny or foreign relations. As part of the European Union, France and Belgium have, for all practical purposes, placed their own security in the hands of an obdurate Angela Merkel’s Germany, which is hellbent on allowing without audit millions of disenchanted young Middle Eastern males into its territory, with subsequent rights of passage into any other member of the European Union that they wish. The 21st-century “German problem” is apparently not that of an economic powerhouse and military brute warring on its neighbors, but that of an economic powerhouse that uses its wealth and arrogant sense of social superiority to bully its neighbors into accepting its bankrupt immigration policies and green ideology.
The immigration policies of France and Belgium are unfortunately also de facto those of Greece. And a petulant and poor Greece, licking its wounds over its European Union brawl with northern-European banks, either cannot or will not control entrance into its territory — Europe’s window on the Middle East. No European country can take the security measures necessary for its own national needs, without either violating or ignoring EU mandates. That the latest terrorist murders struck near the very heart of the EU in Brussels is emblematic of the Union’s dilemma.
As far as America is concerned, a fossilized EU should remind us of our original and vanishing system of federalism, in which states were once given some constitutional room to craft laws and protocols to reflect regional needs — and to ensure regional and democratic input with checks and balances on statism through their representatives in Congress. Yet the ever-growing federal government — with its increasingly anti-democratic, politically correct, and mostly unaccountable bureaucracies — threatens to do to Americans exactly what the EU has done to Europeans. We already see how the capricious erosion of federal immigration law has brought chaos to the borderlands of the American Southwest. It is a scary thing for a federal power arbitrarily to render its own inviolable laws null and void — and then watch the concrete consequences of such lawlessness fall on others, who have been deprived of recourse to constitutional protections of their own existential interests.
Europe’s immigration policy is a disaster … Europeans — for a variety of 20th-century historical and cultural reasons — often are either ignorant of who they are or terrified about expressing their identities in any concrete and positive fashion. The result is that Europe cannot impose on a would-be newcomer any notion that consensual government is superior to the anarchy and theocracy of the Middle East, that having individual rights trumps being subjects of a dictator, that personal freedom is a better choice than statist tyranny, that protection of private property is a key to economic growth whereas law by fiat is not, and that independent judiciaries do not run like Sharia courts. It most certainly cannot ask of immigrants upon arrival that they either follow the laws of a society that originally made Europe attractive to them, or return home to live under a system that they apparently rejected.
All good so far. Then:
I omit for obvious reasons that few present-day Europeans believe that Christianity is much different from Islam, and apparently thus assume that terrorists might just as well be Christians.
But he hasn’t omitted it, has he? A bitter regret has stepped quietly into the article and lingers by the door – a regret that Europe has (broadly speaking) abandoned its religion.
He goes on, cogently again:
… In Europe, immigrants are political tools of the Left. The rapid influx of vast numbers of unassimilated, uneducated, poor, and often illegal newcomers may violate every rule of successful immigration policy. Yet the onrush does serve the purposes of the statist, who demagogues for an instantaneous equality of result. Bloc voters, constituents of bigger government, needy recipients of state largesse, and perennial whiners about inequality are all fodder for European multicultural leftists, who always seek arguments for more of themselves. …
Which is the case in America too. As he says:
The same phenomenon is with us in the United States … [where] importing the poor and the uneducated expands the Democratic constituency. …
The Western therapeutic mindset, which maintains that impoverished immigrants should instantly have what their hosts have always had, trumps the tragic view: that it is risky, dangerous, and sometimes unwise to leave one’s home for a completely alien world, in which sacrifice and self-reliance alone can make the gamble worthwhile — usually for a second generation not yet born.
Demography is Europe’s bane. One engine of unchecked immigration has been the need for more bodies to do the sorts of tasks that Europeans feel are no longer becoming of Europeans. …
Again that is also true of America.
But more curious is the reason why Europe is shrinking — the classic and primary symptom of a civilization in rapid decline.
Europeans are not having children for lots of reasons. A static and fossilized economy without much growth gives little hope to a 20-something European that he or she can get a good job, buy a home, have three children, and provide for those offspring lives with unlimited choices. Instead, the young European bides his time, satisfying his appetites, as a perpetual adolescent who lives in his parents’ flat, seeks to milk the system, and waits for someone to die at the tribal government bureau. After a lost decade, one hopes to hook up with some like soul in her or his late thirties.
The last eight years in the U.S. have seen an acceleration of the Europeanization of America’s youth.
Socialism … insidiously takes responsibility away from the individual and transfers it to the anonymous, but well-funded, state. … Why seek children and the honor of raising and protecting them when the state can provide all without the bother and direct expense? Why have a family or invest for the future, when the state promises a pleasant and politically correct old-age home?
Without a Second Amendment or much of a defense budget, Europeans not only divert capital to enervating social programs, but also have sacrificed any confidence in muscular self-protection, individual or collective.
Even postmodern nations remain collections of individuals. A state that will not or cannot protect its own interests is simply a reflection of millions of dead souls that do not believe in risking anything to ensure that they are safe — including their own persons and those of their family. Finally, Europe is Petronius’s Croton. It does not believe in any transcendence as reified by children or religion. If there is nothing but the here and now, then why invest one’s energy in children who live on after one dies? Like atheism, childlessness reflects the assumption that ego-driven rationalism and satisfaction of the appetites are all there is and all that there ever will be.
Europe’s perfect storm is upon us. A shrinking, statist, and agnostic society that does not believe in transcendence, either familial or religious, is now in a war with near neighbors of a very different sort. In the Middle East, the fundamentalists are growing in numbers, and they most certainly do believe that their own lives are nothing in comparison to the Phoenix-like resurrection of their Caliphate and the sensual pleasures in the hereafter that will reward their martial sacrifices in the here and now. Of all the many reasons why immigrants to Europe so often dislike their generous hosts, the simplest may be because they so easily can.
… It would take another St. Jerome (“All were born in captivity and siege, and do not desire the liberty they never knew. Who could believe this?”) to chronicle the Western tragedy.
As a general rule, whatever Europe is now doing, we should do the opposite — for our very survival in an increasingly scary world.
So, an article saying much that needs to be said.
But we come back to this: Europe “does not believe in any transcendence as reified by children or religion. If there is nothing but the here and now, then why invest one’s energy in children who live on after one dies? Like atheism, childlessness reflects the assumption that ego-driven rationalism and satisfaction of the appetites are all there is and all that there ever will be.” And: ” A shrinking, statist, and agnostic society that does not believe in transcendence, either familial or religious, is now in a war with near neighbors of a very different sort.”
His argument is that Europeans now do not think, or feel, or believe that there is any larger purpose to be served than the achievement of their own private personal ambitions and pleasures; no goals beyond their own individual lives worth putting their energies into. Previous generations believed they had a posterity in their children, the continuation of their families; and/or in the immortality of their nation; and/or in a spiritual afterlife.
And that is true. They did.
Then their nations were taken away from them, blended into a monstrous political entity called the European Union. What Frenchman, or Italian, or Englishman will ever say: “Breathes there a man with soul so dead/ Who never to himself has said/ This is mine own, my native … European Union”?
And what of their losing the desire for descendants? That’s harder to explain. In addition to the fading away of marriage, the dread of the expense of children, the shrinking from the emotional risk of entering into the responsibilities of relationships, there is a much larger source of discouragement; what one might call a cosmic despair: our knowledge of global doom. By “global doom” I don’t mean “global warming”, but the certainty that this world in which we exist and act, will one day itself cease to exist. It may be only in about 3 billion years that the final doom will come upon it, but go it will, for sure.
Whether or not those explanations are the right ones – perhaps among many others – it is a fact that Europeans are not having enough children to ensure the survival of their nations, even if they were to take back national sovereignty from the bureaucratic dictatorship of the EU.
This means they are discarding the future, as individuals and as a bridging generation between their nation’s yesterday and tomorrow. And because they have no future to work or build for – what have they to defend? So when another culture, a savage culture that arose and remains in the ignorant Dark Ages and knows nothing of the physical destiny of this planet, invades their continent, and increases with many children, and believes that making war ensures their endless and dominant continuation on earth and immortal happiness after death, there is nothing effective standing in its way. No one to bar the gates. No one to fight back. The imaginary spokesman of the dying European culture with no stake in the future says, “Come in, if you want to. Take what you want. Do as you will. I won’t be around much longer to know or care what happens here.” (“A shrinking, statist, and agnostic society that does not believe in transcendence, either familial or religious, is now in a war with near neighbors of a very different sort.”)
Hanson suggests that the Europeans’ discarding of the future, and consequent abandonment of the greatest civilization the human race has ever attained, is not only tragic – which it is – but also immoral. He implies this by adding to the causes – familial, national – that kept European Man going for centuries, the cause of religion. He plainly considers it a highly desirable thing that human beings should believe that their time on earth is not the whole of their existence. He believes in an afterlife as formulated in Christian doctrine. The quality of that afterlife for each individual may depend on how the individual Christian behaves in his earthly life. Hoping for heaven, he will be good according to the precepts of his faith. (Now that is true of Catholics, whose church allows that good works as well as “the grace of God” can bring one to heaven. But many Protestant sects, most notably Calvinists and Lutherans, teach that only God decides your eternal destination, and he does that even before you are born, so what you do can make not a jot of difference to the iron ruling. The only encouragement such churches offer the faithful is that if you live dutifully, obedient to the commandments of your God, you will be perceived as a person destined for heaven, and thus perceived, you may live in hope.)
One way or another, Christianity – Hanson seems to assume – helped Europeans be strong in defense of their inheritance, prolific in procreation to ensure their posterity, and above all continent in their appetites for the hope of heaven.
And that may very well have been true. But we deny that lack of religious belief now is a cause of the self-inflicted doom of Europe. It seems plain to us that lack of interest in this life – beyond personal attainment and pleasure – is at work.
Atheism does not assume that “ego-driven rationalism and satisfaction of the appetites are all there is and all that there ever will be”. Some atheists might assume it, but there is nothing about atheism that logically involves any such assumption.
Atheists are more likely to strive harder in this life to know, to achieve, to build, to love and hate, defend and attack, as well as to think and enjoy, than those who believe that their final, greater, and possibly happier destiny is in another world. Atheists who learn and build are very likely to want descendants to continue their discoveries, further their achievements, and add to their works, since only those they beget and what they bequeath will survive their death.
By that reasoning, atheism could have been the salvation of Europe. We might propose that far from the loss of Christianity dooming the European nations, it is the legacy of Christianity as self-abasement, non-resistance to evil, the choice of self-sacrifice, and the love of martyrdom that has primed Europeans through their inherited moral culture to let this death happen to them. And if that is so, what we are seeing is the logical end of Christian history in the age of science.
But as the Christian religion peters out in disbelief, its acolytes perish unresisting at the hands of other – passionate – believers.
Now if only Muslims could be persuaded to abandon their faith, their belief that they must conquer and subdue all others and gain an afterlife in paradise … what then? Europeans might still be dying out, but at least not in agony and terror.
Pat Condell, stinging – and as right as ever:
Frankly, the waterboarding, if it was up to me, and if we changed the laws or had the laws, waterboarding would be fine. I would do a lot more than waterboarding. You have to get the information from these people.
So said Donald Trump on NBC’s Today show last Tuesday, March 23.
We agree with him. And, somewhat to our surprise since PowerLine has declared itself to be anti-Trump, Paul Mirengoff of that excellent website does too.
According to reports, the terrorists who carried out last week’s attacks in Brussels acted sooner than originally planned because they feared that captured terrorist Salah Abdeslam would inform authorities of the attacks. Apparently, they need not have worried.
Belgian officials questioned Abdeslam only lightly, and not at all about possible new attacks. Instead, using the discredited law enforcement model, they focused on the Paris attacks of last November, presumably hoping to obtain a confession.
Back in the days of the controversy over waterboarding, there was talk about a “ticking time bomb” scenario. The question was: When we know there’s time bomb ready to go off, but don’t know the location, is it okay to waterboard a captured terrorist who likely has knowledge of the impending attack?
Opponents of waterboarding, having no satisfactory answer, tended to pooh-pooh the question. It was based on an unrealistic scenario, they insisted.
Tell that to the victims of the Brussels attacks.
In reality, most captured terrorists present a variation of the ticking time bomb scenario. These days, organizations like ISIS are constantly planning new attacks. A captured terrorist who has been active recently might very well know something about upcoming attacks in his locale.
It’s unlikely that even in the Age of Obama, the U.S. would have handled Abdeslam as ineffectively as the Belgians did. One can imagine our people declining to question the terrorist for 24 hours because he was hospitalized and then questioning him only for a fairly short time because “he seemed very tired” after surgery. But I doubt that we would have failed to ask about future attacks.
But how far would we have gone to obtain answers? … What if Abdeslam proved to be among the one-third of detainees who don’t cooperate without enhanced interrogation?
In that scenario, no one with a decent regard for innocent human life could object to the use of enhanced interrogation techniques on a terrorist like this. Abdeslam was the mastermind behind the Paris attacks. … This was a ticking time bomb scenario.
It’s time to revisit the question of enhanced interrogation, a question that the U.S. answered incorrectly during a lull in the terrorist threat.
The writer, it seems to us, clearly enough implies that the “correct” answer is Donald Trump’s.
It will be interesting to see whether, if Trump is elected to the presidency, the mere fact of his coming to power will deter Muslim terrorism – as the mere fact of Ronald Reagan’s entering the Oval Office on January 20, 1981, persuaded Iran to release the American hostages it was holding, on that very day.
… says Sweden to its vicious Muslim colonizers.
That soft protest is about as far as the West itself dare go, it seems, to defend itself against the onslaught of savage Islam.
The welfare state’s generosity has “made it weak”, a Swede confesses.
Truer words were never spoken.
Seems it’s too late to stop fear by marching against it! Who would have thought?
The Belgians, being full of love for all mankind, planned to do it – and then realized it might not work. It might even attract more terrorism.
The Pope says use love to stop terrorism. But the Belgians are not totally convinced he is right.
Katie Hopkins writes at MailOnline:
So let’s just get this straight.
A peace march in Belgium was cancelled over fears ISIS could use it to launch another attack on Brussels.
Belgium security forces decided a March Against Fear, however topical, would be ill-advised because the fear is grounded in truth, and marching isn’t going to make it go away.
This is a bit like the people who say they are standing up to terror by continuing to use the underground. They are not actually standing up to anything. There is no real show of defiance. Everyone is scared to death.
In truth, they are gambling on the old adage lightning never strikes the same spot twice. Or for a more modern twist, suicide bombers never target the same subway twice in a week.
But if you live in jihadi central, that’s a pretty risky bet to place.
In place of the March Against Fear, a few pro-migrant groups turned up at the Old Stock Exchange in Brussels to watch mourners light candles for the dead, and shove a bit more leftie clap-trap down their throats, reminding them that irregular migrants are good people at heart and the last suicide bombers were actually home-grown, so not technically migrants at all. So that’s ok then.
In response, a group of anti-immigration protestors gathered at the Place de la Bourse to unfurl an anti-ISIS banner and vent their frustration at the direction in which the self-styled capital of Europe appears to be heading. …
The March Against Fear was cancelled because there was too much fear, and a riot broke out because the police objected to a peaceful protest.
There are a few things I notice around these incidents in Europe;
- Firstly, the anti-immigration protestors are always referred to as thugs. The language around them is universally ugly, despite the fact they are protesting against the very people who think it is acceptable to detonate themselves next to small babies wearing suicide vests filled with nails and shrapnel.
- They are called the far-right and lazy associations are made between them and Hitler. Even though in the UK it appears to be Labour supporters who have issues with Jews.
- Clearly Nazi salutes have no place in modern Europe. No one wants to see violence against the police, stones thrown or graffiti. But if you look carefully, trouble-making groups on the left such as No Borders build a far more subversive brand of trouble.
- The dreadlocked gangs of migrant-lovers, turning a blind eye to the destruction of Europe, are never referred to as the far-left. They are affectionately called anarchists, as if they are teenage boys, experimenting with Death Metal and living raw vegan.
- Despite absolutely no police response to terrorists … or marauding migrants … their rapid reaction to the presence of a handful of PEGIDA [Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West] overwhelming.
In Cologne, 150 officers were sent to police the migrant attacks on women on New Years Eve, resulting in 676 criminal complaints being filed. In comparison, 1700 riot police with water cannon were sent to stop a subsequent PEGIDA march through the city.
Whilst it seems perfectly acceptable to turn the water cannon on nationals, determined to stand up for their country and culture, it is never acceptable to criticise migrants, terrorists or extremists planning attacks.
It seems to me there is a yawning gulf between the treatment and reporting of the far-left and the far-right, and and even bigger chasm between nationals and migrant populations, who lack respect for the culture they have joined.
The left are so busy kowtowing to the rights of those who have chosen to join our culture, the right has lost the freedom to defend the culture they have chosen to join.
The police have an almost magnetic attraction to events which offer predictable policing – such as a PEGIDA March through a city centre, but are incapable of defending people from the actual threat of terror we all feel. …
People talk about the rise of the far-right. I fear the dominance of the smug, self-centred left … is far more threatening and far more real.
And the Pope is one of that company.
Every time we post something against Hillary Clinton on our Facebook page, some commenter pounces on us with the declaration, “Nothing against her has ever been proved.”
Much against her has been proved. The scandal is that she has not been subject to condign punishment, as any other citizen would have been for any one of the same crimes.
This video, titled Hillary Clinton: A Career Criminal, only skims the surface of the ugly story of Hillary Clinton’s crimes, deceptions, and corruption.
No god, or supernatural messenger of a god, ever wrote a single word or dictated anything to any human being.
Persons who set down “God’s word” may have thought that a god told them what to write; felt that a god told them what to write; believed that a god told them what to write, but they themselves, mortal inhabitants of this natural world, wrote every line, every sentence, every law, every commandment, every story, every poem, every prophecy, every proverb in every “holy book” that ever was. If those who wrote were not the same as those who composed what they wrote, it is certain that the composers were also mortal men.
This must seem so obvious to atheists as to be hardly worth saying. It is so clearly a fact. Incontrovertible.
But billions of people do not accept the fact. And among the billions are thousands, possibly millions, of intelligent, erudite, and even reasonable people!
One such intelligent, erudite, and reasonable man is Maajid Nawaz, a Muslim and reformed “Islamist”, who founded Quilliam, “a London-based think tank that focuses on ‘counter-extremism’, specifically against Islamism, which it argues represents a desire to impose any given interpretation of Islam on society”.
In conversation with atheist Sam Harris, Nawaz argues for a reformation of Islam through constructive interpretations of its “holy scripture”. [We are concerned here only with Nawaz’s side of the discussion. What Sam Harris says is well worth reading.]
The chief “holy book” of Islam is the Koran. Muslims believe it is “God’s final revelation to humanity”. They believe it was dictated to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel, who first appeared to him when he was forty years old as he lay in the Cave of Hira in the year 609, and that the full “revelation” was delivered at intervals through the rest of his life, a period of 23 years. Muhammad was illiterate. He recited to his companions what he said the angel Gabriel recited to him, and they wrote it down.
Nawaz asserts – for which we applaud him: “Islam is, after all, an idea; we cannot expect its merits or demerits to be accepted if we cannot openly debate it.”
And he argues: “Any given subject has multiple interpretations, which demonstrates that there is no correct one. [His emphasis.] If we can understand that, then we arrive at a respect for difference, which leads us to tolerance and then pluralism, which in turn leads to democracy, secularism, and human rights.” And: “My organization … [takes] the unequivocal view that no place on earth should seek to impose any given interpretation of religion over the rest of society.”
He sums up his mission thus:
A complete overhaul of cultural identity patterns and a reformed scriptural approach is required. … Such scriptural reform must involve denying those who approach texts vacuously … from absolute certainty that theirs is the correct view …
The greater part of his contribution to the discussion is concerned with differences of interpretation of the “holy scripture” by the learned men of Islam: his point being that the Islamic texts have been and still can be subject to interpretation; and that new interpretations can assist a reform of Islam for this age, when bad interpretations are inspiring or causing evil actions by large numbers of Muslims banded together in terrorist organizations.
Maajid Nawaz has bravely assumed “the responsibility to counter” the “scriptural justification” for Islamic “extremism”. He sees this as a way to make Islam compatible with the values of the West. We take his word for it that such interpretations are possible, and that spreading them through the Islamic world may help to bring about his obviously meritorious ends.
Let us assume – wishing him well with his project – that his interpretations of Islamic “holy scripture” (the hadith as well as the Koran) are enormously and wonderfully attractive and persuasive; that hundreds of millions Muslims come to accept them, perhaps even a majority of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world today. The very case he demonstrates, that the texts are forever open to interpretation cannot but mean that there will still be bad interpretations, still likely to inspire evil actions.
How likely is it that a reformed Islam will become so prevalent that “extremist” interpretations inspiring “Islamism” will be completely and forever abandoned, totally superseded, obliterated? If likely, then that would be, of course, a good result of Maajid Nawaz’s movement. But if unlikely, then his proposed remedy for the savagery, the cruelty and mass murder being carried out by such organizations as al-Qaeda and ISIS, is no remedy at all. It is worth trying. It may lessen the effects of Islamic “extremism”. But it is no remedy.
As long as there are multitudes who believe that they are in possession of “the word of God”, and that God tells them to harm others who do not believe the same as they believe, there will be no remedy.
In time, perhaps, religion will die out as a motivating force of human activity. We long for that to happen. But we cannot see that it will happen any time soon.
1. Islam: A Dialogue, Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz, Harvard University Press, 2015.
2. page 88
3. page 105
4. page 109
5. pages 116,117
6. page 121
… is under debate today, because President Obama, speaking in Argentina, said that there is no significant difference between capitalism and communism.
If you can bear to listen to him, here’s the video.
It is an exercise in taqiyya – Islamic tactical deception – at which he is adept. His history shows plainly that Obama knows full well there is a difference, and he strongly favors communism. (See our post, A very disgraceful speech, immediately below.)
And here’s Milton Friedman explaining that capitalism is the only system that lifts millions of people out of poverty:
Barack Hussein Obama is sympathetic to Communist regimes because he was raised from infancy to be a Communist and has continued throughout his life to like Communism.
As a young adult he was trained in the “community organizing” school of Communist radical Saul Alinsky.
In 1986, at the age of twenty-three … Obama was hired by the Alinsky team “to organize residents on the South Side [of Chicago] while learning and applying Alinsky’s philosopy of street-level democracy”.
So David Horowitz writes in his book Radicals*. The chapter titled A Radical Machiavelli outlines the whole story of Obama’s rise to power, diligently following the Alinsky way in order to use power for the radical transformation of America.
It should come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention that Obama chooses to make friends with Communist dictators – notably, this month, with the blood-drenched Castro Brothers who are still ruling Cuba.
They weren’t very eager to entertain him. No Castro or his deputy met the president of the United States at the airport when he landed. Raul Castro took him to a ball game, where Obama cheered delightedly (soon after he’d been informed that jihadis had bombed America’s NATO ally Belgium, causing massive loss of life and injury). Later he danced the tango. And he made a speech.
What did he say?
We quote from an article by Carlos Eire at PowerLine:
A classic example of Obamaspeak, this boilerplate speech consisted of four essential elements: some truths (few in number), several myths (plentiful), many platitudes (even more plentiful), and a string of lies (all braided with the myths and platitudes). …
Nowhere in this speech do the Castro brothers show up. Nowhere are their many crimes against humanity mentioned. Nowhere is any blame laid on them for enslaving and ruining “the Cuban people” or for poisoning relations with the United States. In their place, another abstraction shows up to play the part of the villain: “ideology”.
As he has done countless times before, Obama inserts himself in history as the ultimate slayer of the “Cold War” dragon, which is always drawn by him as a caricature, a fairy monster of sorts with no teeth and no fire in his breath, whose scales are fluffy and whose wings are as diaphanous as all abstract thoughts. “Ideology” in Obamaspeak, is no real threat to life and limb, no powerful enslaving force, but an illusory phantom from some distant past …
To ensure that his Cuban audience recognized his power to dispel this toothless abstraction, Obama [told] them: “From the beginning of my time in office, I’ve urged the people of the Americas to leave behind the ideological battles of the past.”
Never mind the Castro brothers, or the tens of thousands of Cubans murdered by them, the hundreds of thousands imprisoned and tortured, or the two million driven into exile, or the nuclear missiles they pointed at the United States, or the soldiers and spies they’ve sent all over the world, or the terrorists they have sponsored. …
Anywhere you look, it is easy to spot platitudinous metaphors and abstractions in this Obamaesque tapestry. There are so many of them, in fact, that they are hard to tally. So let’s just mention the more disturbing ones.
“In many ways, the United States and Cuba are like two brothers who’ve been estranged for many years,” he said, “even as we share the same blood.”
What blood? As it turns out, the closest Obama came to identifying that blood was to babble on about superficial similarities between Cuban and American culture, especially in the realms of music and sports.
Obama also spoke of “hope” repeatedly. He even had the nerve to tell Cubans of “hope that is rooted in the future that you can choose and that you can shape, and that you can build for your country.”
What hope, as long as the Castro dynasty is in control? What is this amorphous “hope” or this amorphous “future”? What of this “choosing” and “shaping”? How is that to happen when there is no civil society in Cuba, no rule of law, no chance to express oneself freely, no private property, no free market economy? …
The biggest lies in the speech have to do with history, and all of these falsehoods come straight from the Castro regime’s Ministry of Truth …
In Obama’s thinly disguised Marxist narrative there is a constant dialectic between an imperialist power (the United States) and an unjustly exploited subaltern (Cuba), and in this poisoned relationship, the United States is responsible for most of Cuba’s ills.
The exploitation, said Obama, began with the Spanish-American War: “The blue waters beneath Air Force One once carried American battleships to this island — to liberate, but also to exert control over Cuba.”
After that, with “control” over Cuba, the United States could not help but behave very badly. “Before 1959,” said Obama, “ some Americans saw Cuba as something to exploit, ignored poverty, enabled corruption.”
This is pure Castroite propaganda, which all Cubans born after 1959 have had force-fed to them as “history”. And in this false “history”, of course, it is always assumed that the Castro are the heroes who rescued Cubans from all of the exploitation.
That an American president should parrot such lies tells us a lot about the character of such a president, and the real-world value of his speech to the enslaved Cuban people. …
One of the biggest [lies] is the claim that the so-called embargo “was not working” and that it was “hurting the Cuban people”. This could be seen as the linchpin of Obama’s argument for “normalizing” relations. It sounds reasonable. But the truth is that the embargo was not put into place to force the collapse of the Castro regime, but to contain the damage it could do to the United States and its allies. And as far as that goal was concerned, the so-called embargo was indeed working.
As to the claim that the embargo hurt the Cuban people, nothing could be further from the truth. What really impoverished the Cuban people and made them destitute was the insane economic policies of the Castro regime. Cuba has been trading with every other country in the world while the embargo has been in place, and for the past decade and a half the island has been visited by tens of millions of non-American tourists. Yet, despite the opportunities made possible by such exchanges, poverty, deprivation, and repression continued to be the lot of all Cubans.
This lie about the “embargo” forms the basis for another equally heinous one, the claim that “the United States of America is normalizing relations with the Cuban people”. …
There is no real “normalization” going on insofar as the lives of Cubans are concerned. In fact, repression has increased and the economy has worsened since Obama began warming up to the Castro regime in December 2014. Secondly, the so-called “normalization” process does not involve “the Cuban people” at all, but only the Castro regime, that is, Raul Castro, his geriatric military junta, and his slightly younger oligarchs.
Obama also lied about the changes supposedly taking place in Cuba, such as the economic improvements brought about by self-employment, which are highlighted with a series of bogus feel-good stories about cuentapropistas or entrepreneurs. Every Cuban knows that the self-employment ruse is one of the biggest lies of all, and no ticket to prosperity or freedom, because the Castro regime owns absolutely everything on the island. …
The speech reaches a crescendo with the invocation of the term “reconciliation” …
What makes the use of this term incorrect in the case of Cuba – and what makes all talk of “reconciliation” a lie – is that genuine reconciliation involves penance and an admission of guilt on the part of wrongdoers. Those guilty of the worst sins in recent Cuban history – the Castro brothers and their supporters – have not only refused to admit their guilt, but actually remain in power and refuse to stop abusing the human rights of the Cuban people.
Until those who rule Cuba step aside and admit their guilt – and until those at the top ranks are tried in a court of justice for their many crimes against humanity – there can be no genuine “reconciliation” in Cuba.
To speak of “reconciliation” as the payoff of Obama’s many concessions to the Castro regime is akin to speaking of “reconciliation” between a rapist and his victim while the rapist continues to rape his victim repeatedly, with no remorse and no end in sight.
Finally, to sum up his own vapid, narcissistic, and self-aggrandizing rhetoric, Obama closed the speech with a Spanish rendition of his 2008 campaign slogan, si se puede (yes, it’s possible, or yes we can).
Yes, sure. Tell that to the Ladies in White, Obama, please, as they are beaten and arrested every Sunday. Tell that to the political prisoners who rot in tiny cells. Tell that to the Cuban schoolchildren who are fed lies and propaganda disguised as “education” and who have no hope of ever earning more than twenty dollars a month as adults. Tell that to the mother whose son or daughter just drowned while trying to flee on a flimsy raft from the hell that is Castro’s Cuba.
Tell them, please, how anything is possible other than what the Castro regime deigns to dole out to them.
Until there are no more masters and no more slaves, there can be no end to slavery.
For Obama to fling his campaign slogan “yes we can” to Cubans is no different from some Northern abolitionist visiting a Southern plantation to tell the slaves to ignore their chains and think happy thoughts.
To employ that recycled slogan in Cuba was downright shameful, and a very fitting end to a very disgraceful speech.
*Radicals: Portraits of a Destructive Passion by David Horowitz, Regnery, 2012. (Our quotation comes from p. 181.)
A world war is being fought, by one side only: Islam.
The other side, the civilized West and its outposts and allies, is letting the invaders into its territory and suffering the enemy’s attacks from within, over and over again.
The West has far greater military and technological strength than Islam. Yet it is choosing not to fight back. Or, where it now and then does, it chooses not to win.
There is surely no precedent for such an irrational, suicidal choice in all recorded history.
Sohrab Ahmari reports in the Wall Street Journal:
Islamic State jihadists staged a triple-bombing in the Belgian capital — two at the Brussels airport and a third at a metro station downtown — that killed [more than] 30 people … It was the latest reminder that Islamic terrorism is now a permanent and ubiquitous hazard to life in every city, on every continent.
In coming days European authorities will level reproaches about the missed warning signs, security lapses and the larger failure to integrate Belgian Muslims. Commissions will be formed. Sympathetic memes will proliferate on social media. Je suis Belge.
This routine has become numbingly familiar. And these habitual responses, while understandable, defer a reckoning with a larger truth: Not a single day now goes by without an Islamist suicide bombing, rocket attack, shooting spree, kidnapping or stabbing somewhere in the world.
Consider the past 10 days [up to March 22, 2016, when the bombings in Belgium were carried out].
On Sunday, March 13, jihadists sprayed gunfire on sunbathers in Grand Bassam, a resort town in the Ivory Coast popular with Westerners and wealthy Ivorians. The attack, which was claimed by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, killed 16 people, including Burkinabe, Cameroonian, French, German, Ivorian and Malian citizens.
On Monday, March 14, two Palestinians fired on Israelis waiting at a bus stop in Kiryat Arba, in the West Bank, wounding one soldier before Israeli forces killed both. A third Palestinian terrorist rammed his car into an Israeli army vehicle in the area and was shot dead. Israel has suffered a wave of Arab knife-and-car attacks for six months, known as the stabbing intifada.
On Tuesday, March 15, al Qaeda’s Somali franchise, al-Shabaab, kidnapped three Red Crescent aid workers in the country’s southwest, according to local media. The abductions followed al-Shabaab’s seizure of a village in central Somalia, amid a broader Islamist resurgence in the Horn of Africa. The aid workers were freed a day later after local villagers pleaded for their release.
On Wednesday, March 16, a pair of female suicide bombers blew themselves up at a mosque in Nigeria, killing 24. No group has claimed credit, but the bombing took place in Nigeria’s Borno state, the birthplace of Boko Haram, an Islamic State affiliate that is Africa’s most savage terror outfit.
On Thursday, March 17, the stabbing intifada claimed a fresh victim when a pair of Palestinian terrorists jumped and wounded an Israeli soldier with a knife in Ariel, in the West Bank. Israeli security forces killed both assailants.
On Friday, March 18, suspected al Qaeda fighters fired rockets at the Salah gas facility in Algeria. No one was injured, but BP and Norwegian oil giant Statoil, which operate the facility, withdrew some staff and suspended operations.
On Saturday, March 19, a bomb went off in a tony shopping district of Istanbul, killing three Israelis (two of whom were U.S. citizens) and one Iranian, and wounding 39 others. This was the fifth mass-casualty terrorist bombing in Turkey in as many months, most of them claimed by or attributed to Islamic State. The same day, a mortar assault on a checkpoint in El-Arish, Egypt, killed 15 policemen. A Sinai-based Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility.
On Sunday, March 20, al-Shabaab overran a Somali military base just 28 miles from the capital, Mogadishu, killing at least one person and seizing several vehicles. Also on Sunday, the Istanbul governorate canceled a hotly anticipated soccer match after receiving “serious intelligence” regarding a planned terror attack.
On Monday, March 21, Islamist fighters likely affiliated with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb targeted a hotel in the capital of Mali, Bamako, that houses a European Union military-assistance mission. EU personnel were unharmed, and one attacker was killed by hotel security.
Brussels was the first major terrorist incident in the West since November’s jihadist killing spree in Paris and December’s in San Bernardino, Calif.
You could create a calendar like this one that stretches back for weeks and months, and the above doesn’t even include the civil wars and humanitarian calamities in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan.
The Syrian vortex is especially perilous. It has been drawing the barely stable nations that surround Syria into its spin and spewing out battle-hardened jihadists along with millions of legitimate refugees. The biggest refugee crisis since World War II was bound to pose serious security threats to Europe.
Meanwhile, the longer Islamic State and al Qaeda thrive in Syria and Iraq, the stronger their adherents and affiliates elsewhere will become.
(In fact, there have been even more such attacks in that period. See The Religion of Peace for a more comprehensive list. And see their tally of lethal Muslim attacks world-wide since 9/11 in our margin.)
Here’s a picture of the train bombed by Muslim holy warriors in Brussels yesterday (the dead bodies cut off by the publishers, not by us).
And here’s the scene after one of the Muslim holy warriors’ bombs exploded at Belgium’s international airport.