… in perfect safety.
Salman Rushdie does it. As author of The Satanic Verses, which set Muslim mobs raging in the streets of Muslim lands, including those of western Europe, he had to be defended by British conservatives and patriots, because free speech has always to be defended. Many did it only reluctantly, since they didn’t share his leftist political views, or didn’t like his books, or both. But they did it.
Yet Rushdie – an immigrant from Pakistan – had before then judged Britain to be a severely intolerant, “racist” country, though, he conceded, the state of affairs was “not yet” like the Third Reich:
Britain is not Nazi Germany. … Auschwitz has not been rebuilt in the Home Counties. I find it odd, however, that those who use such absences as defences rarely perceive that their own statements indicate how serious things have become. If the defence for Britain is that mass extermination of racially impure persons has not yet begun, or that the principle of white supremacy has not yet been enshrined in the constitution, then something must have gone very wrong indeed.
When Salman Rushdie said this in 1982 in a BBC radio talk, he was as free as any man in Britain. Some years later, in 1989, he did indeed become the victim of intolerance, not British but Islamic, when the Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa was issued in Iran condemning him to death for having written The Satanic Verses. From that moment on, the British authorities, at the expense of the tax-payers, provided Mr Rushdie as a matter of course with constant protection. He then got to know some members of the police force better than he had known any when, in that broadcast speech of his, he had said that the British police “offer threats instead of protection”; yet when he published the speech in a book of essays in 1991, he did not qualify the accusation – or any of his criticisms – by so much as a footnote.
That was all a long time ago. Has he grown any more just, any more perceptive of the truth, as he’s grown older?
The answer seems to be – not much.
Ron Radosh writes at PJ Media:
Leave it to Salman Rushdie to bring back the Left’s favorite stratagem: moral equivalence. During the Cold War, leftists used to say the following: “Sure, the Soviets are doing bad things, but so is the United States.” Those a bit more to the left would advance the argument, and say: “The Soviets do terrible things, but the U.S. is responsible, since its leaders view them, as Reagan did, as ‘the evil empire.’ Since we won’t accommodate their just demands, they have to respond to us with hostility.” Those even further to the left would push the analogy even further, arguing: “The Soviets may do some bad things, but at least they stand on the side of progressive change. The U.S., on the other hand, oppresses Third World peoples and supports right-wing reactionary regimes all over the world.”
A good example of the old moral equivalence was to equate the Gulag in the Soviet Union, in which hundreds of thousands were imprisoned, starved to death and executed in massive frame-ups, with McCarthyism in the United States. During the so-called McCarthy era, relatively few were imprisoned or lost their livelihoods, and many actually guilty of being actual Soviet agents portrayed themselves as innocents accused because of their political views. Yet the Left in America argued both were the same.
Now Salman Rushdie has a lot to be wary of. After the Iranian revolution, the late Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa along with a reward for anyone who murdered him. Because of his novel The Satanic Verses, Rushdie had to go into hiding in different safe houses for a number of years, while under the protection of the British government. Intellectuals and writers in the West rallied to his defense. Eventually, Rushdie came into the open, moved to the United States, and became a favorite in the celebrity world, as well as a best-selling novelist.
In his New York Times op-ed last week, Rushdie complained that … those who stand against abuses of power or dogma are viewed suspiciously.
But where? He gives examples from China, Russia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia – states not noted for tolerance.
Ron Radosh goes on:
His examples are correct, and telling. … .
But then, Rushdie writes the following, and it deserves letting you see his own words, because they are so preposterous:
“America isn’t immune from this trend. The young activists of the Occupy movement have been much maligned (though, after their highly effective relief work in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, those criticisms have become a little muted). Out-of-step intellectuals like Noam Chomsky and the deceased Edward Said have often been dismissed as crazy extremists, “anti-American,” and in Mr. Said’s case even, absurdly, as apologists for Palestinian “terrorism.” (One may disagree with Mr. Chomsky’s critiques of America but it ought still to be possible to recognize the courage it takes to stand up and bellow them into the face of American power. One may not be pro-Palestinian, but one should be able to see that Mr. Said stood up against Yasser Arafat as eloquently as he criticized the United States.)”
Let us take up his two major points. Occupy Wall Street protestors were handled by the authorities with kid gloves. When they took over the park in New York City over a year ago, although it was privately owned, they were allowed to camp out, disrupt and close down local businesses, and engage in anti-social and horrendous behavior — from public defecation to rape of women — without consequences. Rushdie mentioned Occupy for one reason alone: to show his heart is on the Left so that he can get his comrades in that camp to listen to him about how Islamists persecute those they disdain.
It is his second point that is most ridiculous.
Rushdie acknowledges that Chomsky is “a crazy extremist”. But, Ron Radosh rightly says -
Chomsky does not have to show much courage to take on all U.S. administrations and to oppose them as oppressors and imperialists.
Or any at all.
Indeed, he has become an international intellectual superstar, applauded and heralded by the Left at home and all of our enemies abroad, who shower him with high lecture fees and give him a gigantic audience abroad and at home. He is continually on the lecture circuit, has the support of both student audiences and assorted Hollywood and music world celebrities, and writes best-selling books, for which he has no problem finding a publisher. Bellowing “into the face of American power” is hardly an offense that has landed him even in any white-collar prison, not to speak of a Gulag or Gitmo.
As for the late Edward Said, his critique of “Orientalism” became the favored paradigm to explain U.S. policy in the Middle East, and influenced scores of leftist professors of Middle Eastern politics. As for his supposed standing up to the late Yasser Arafat, anyone who recalls what Said’s complaint about Arafat really was will remember that he was angry that Arafat appeared to play the game of engaging in negotiation with his enemies, rather than reject such posturing and commit himself exclusively to armed struggle against Palestine’s supposed oppressors. His former friend Christopher Hitchens pointed out in his own memoir that Said’s “low point was an almost uncritical profile of Yasser Arafat that he contributed to Interview magazine in the late 1980s”.
One might also recall Said’s trip to the West Bank during the first intifada, when he and his young son joined the mob in throwing rocks at Israelis, something of which he was quite proud. To Said, any action taken by Palestinians, no matter how violent, was “resistance.” Again, Hitch well summed up what Said believed, which was that “if the United States was doing something, then that thing could not by definition be a moral or ethical action.” And that is why Said eventually rejected Arafat. He thought that the PLO leader was heeding the agenda of the U.S., by his very action of negotiating with its leaders.
To equate those who are truly courageous — like the brave Chinese dissidents who risk their lives to speak up for democracy, or critics of radical Islam who speak up knowing what their future is likely to be if they live under the rule of Islamic regimes — with critics of U.S. policy who live in our democratic republic is more than preposterous. It is the opposite of moral courage. A man of words and letters, Salman Rushdie should by this time be able to know the difference.
Jillian Becker comments: “There are few writers in the world whose appreciation of a political book is as worth having as Daniel Greenfield’s. Those who regularly read Front Page and his daily essay at his own website, will know this to be true.”
Imagine the UK Without Thatcher
With the recent death of Margaret Thatcher, one novel takes a look at a UK without Thatcher. L: A Novel History by Jillian Becker, the author of, Hitler’s Children: The Story of the Baader-Meinhof Terrorist Gang, is a modern 1984 taking place in an England fallen to the left. A country where the atrocities and horrors perpetrated in the east found their way to the west.
1984 showed us tyranny from the perspective of an ordinary man coping with the tyranny of an omnipresent Big Brother, while L takes us into the mind of Big Brother.
Becker’s L is a child of the modern left, attracted to the violent spectacle of revolution, feeding on blood and pain, gorging on the emotional spillage of the disgruntled, perpetrating riots, terrorist attacks and finally the mass starvation of the United Kingdom.
1984 takes place in the fragments of a lost history, but L develops its history out of the recent past. L doesn’t emerge out of a vacuum. He is the child of privilege, the student of leftist academics and the tyrant who rises out of the class warfare struggles of the burgeoning welfare state.
L abandons his name, going by a single letter, dabbling in dehumanizing Marxist theory while developing a cult of followers, the L-ites, who become the core of a movement that takes over the United Kingdom. L: A Novel History is as much about L, piecing together his inner thoughts from diary entries and newspaper articles, as it is about the milieu of the period and the more moderate figures on the left who hand over power to him and allow him to perpetrate his acts of terror.
As Becker notes in her introduction, there are historical precedents for L, for his associates and the fascist opposition that eventually allies with him. What she has done is transpose the history of various Communist atrocities from Russia and Eastern Europe into an England on the wavering end of the Cold War.
As a fictional history, L: A Novel History assembles painstakingly an entire alternate history in a metafictional narrative composed of newspaper articles, diary entries and historical speculation that combines the perspectives of L, his followers, the L-ites, his opponents, both genuine and disingenuous, and the people of England who react with bewilderment and then horror as the stores are emptied, the food vanishes and they are put through a brutal and degrading process meant to break their spirit.
L’s great obsession is the cultivation of empathy. Like most sociopaths, he is incapable of genuinely empathizing with others, but has a narcissistic obsession with the experience of emotion as spectacle.
Embodying the privileged empathy of the left, L promises to raise up the people, but instead degrades them, robbing them of their dignity, their humanity and finally their lives, in order to force them to identify with the sufferings of the less well off.
L is Big Brother given form, substance and motive. His resentments and narcissism represent all too well the modern left. Obsessed with image, L is driven to be a cult figure and succeeds in achieving true cult status at the expense of millions for his grand experiment in enforced empathy.
The UK has a long literary tradition of dystopias which imagine a descent into fascism, even as in real life it has continued a descent into Socialism. Jillian Becker’s L: A Novel History challenges that fictional narrative with a meta-fictional narrative that warns of what might have been and what may yet be.
May yet be in America …
Margaret Thatcher’s reign over Britain was a pause in the decline of the nation. That is the verdict of almost all the most insightful obituaries that have appeared since her death. She changed Britain, held it for a while as a model to the world of how capitalism can restore wealth and prestige, but did not succeed in reversing its downward trend.
Nevertheless she was one of the British people’s greatest leaders.
Mark Steyn writes:
In Britain in the Seventies, everything that could be nationalized had been nationalized, into a phalanx of lumpen government monopolies all flying the moth-eaten flag: British Steel, British Coal, British Airways, British Rail . . . The government owned every industry — or, if you prefer, “the British people” owned every industry. And, as a consequence, the unions owned the British people. The top income-tax rate was 83 percent, and on investment income 98 percent. No electorally viable politician now thinks the government should run airlines and car plants and that workers should live their entire lives in government housing. But what seems obvious to all in 2013 was the bipartisan consensus four decades ago, and it required an extraordinary political will for one woman to drag her own party, then the nation, and subsequently much of the rest of the world back from the cliff edge.
Thatcherite denationalization was the first thing Eastern Europe did after throwing off its Communist shackles — although the fact that recovering Soviet client states found such a natural twelve-step program at Westminster testifies to how far gone Britain was.
She [Margaret Thatcher] was the most consequential woman on the world stage since Catherine the Great, and Britain’s most important peacetime prime minister. In 1979, Britain was not at war, but as much as in 1940 faced an existential threat.
Mrs. Thatcher saved her country — and then went on to save a shriveling “free world,” and what was left of its credibility. The Falklands were an itsy bitsy colonial afterthought on the fringe of the map, costly to win and hold, easy to shrug off — as so much had already been shrugged off. After Vietnam, the Shah, Cuban troops in Africa, Communist annexation of real estate from Cambodia to Afghanistan to Grenada, nobody in Moscow or anywhere else expected a Western nation to go to war and wage it to win. Jimmy Carter, a ditherer who belatedly dispatched the helicopters to Iran only to have them crash in the desert and sit by as cocky mullahs poked the corpses of U.S. servicemen on TV, embodied the “leader of the free world” as a smiling eunuch. Why in 1983 should the toothless arthritic British lion prove any more formidable?
And, even when Mrs. Thatcher won her victory, the civilizational cringe of the West was so strong that all the experts immediately urged her to throw it away and reward the Argentine junta for its aggression. “We were prepared to negotiate before” she responded, “but not now. We have lost a lot of blood, and it’s the best blood.” Or as a British sergeant said of the Falklands: “If they’re worth fighting for, then they must be worth keeping.”
Mrs. Thatcher thought Britain was worth fighting for, at a time when everyone else assumed decline was inevitable. … [But for her and] anyone with a sense of history’s sweep, the strike-ridden socialist basket case of the British Seventies was not an economic downturn but a stain on national honor.
A generation on, the Thatcher era seems more and more like a magnificent but temporary interlude in a great nation’s bizarre, remorseless self-dissolution.
She was right and they were wrong, and because of that they will never forgive her. … For eleven tumultuous years, Margaret Thatcher did shock them. But the deep corrosion of a nation is hard to reverse …
Not just hard. Impossible. What great power that declined and fell ever rose to greatness again?
China had to turn to the capitalist model set by Margaret Thatcher to save its economy – which it did, spectacularly.
But far from acknowledging a debt, this obituary published in China belittles all her achievements, putting her whole career through the Marxist class-analysis mincer.
Petty, mean, and puerile, it is an exercise in Schadenfreude; sneer after sneer concluding with a spiteful joke:
Thatcher grew up in a classical English petty-bourgeois family. Her father owned two grocery shops in Grantham. He preached the word of God, was staunchly patriotic, and became the town’s Mayor from 1945-6. His self-confidence derived from selecting food that commanded a good price and turned a good profit. His daughter, Margaret, also formed her intellectual outlook around the petty proprietor’s fetish for the magical qualities of prices. …
Her marriage to Dennis Thatcher in 1951 elevated her into the ranks of the bourgeoisie. He had inherited his wealth and felt that business distracted him from dabbling in amateur military escapades. He was generally seen as a blithering incompetent buffoon to be shunted out of ears reach, in case some bigoted diatribe escaped his lips, but Margaret dearly loved him and treasured the life opportunities his wealth had opened up for her. Dennis funded her career change from studying the chemical composition of ice cream, to studying to become a barrister …
The 1960s were characterized by an entrenched social-democratic consensus whereby social and economic development was widely seen as the product of an alliance between theclasses. Employment was easy to come by and wages rose, and public housing, health care and education expanded rapidly. This all smacked of communism to Margaret Thatcher, who was allowed to bark vitriol against socialism to the gleeful cheers of her bourgeois-aristocratic colleagues in parliament.
The victory of the mineworkers against the Conservative government in two strikes in 1972 and 1974 led to an election, which the then Prime Minister, Edward Heath, claimed would answer the question “who runs Britain?” He lost the election to a minority Labour government and Margaret Thatcher became the Conservative Party leader in 1975.
The shopkeeper inside her, meant she automatically gravitated toward economic theory based on price. Her ideology imagined a world of free and unrestricted competitive pressures where atomized individuals replace organized workers. The pathway to this free market utopia involved selling off state resources and public housing at prices that were absurdly low. This created a significant constituency within the working and middle classes who suddenly acquired money from nothing. In this way the shopkeeper’s delusion, that an economy is simply a nation of buyers and sellers, was materially anchored in the minds of those who suddenly had loads of money. In this way a significant minority acquired a material stake in Thatcher’s “property owning democracy.” Making goods and services was replaced by selling second hand bricks; producing coal, steel, ships, trains and cars was replaced by speculative instruments conjured up by a Thatcherite tribe of arrogant barrow boys who were encouraged to take over the trading floors of the City of London, elbowing aside the “toffs” in bowler hats, and revolutionizing financial markets in a cocaine fueled [?] speculative orgy.
So severe was the economic dislocation and the scars of social conflict that the government was thrown into deep crisis. However, luck was on the side of Mrs. Thatcher, as President General Galtieri of Argentina used their nation’s historical conflict over British occupation of the Malvinas Islands to launch a war to take them by force. Thatcher dispatched the British fleet and reconquered the Islands, whipping up a wave of jingoistic flag-waving. Riding a new tide of popularity, the real war began. Its objective was to smash the central core of trade union strength, the National Union of Mineworkers. Huge reserves of coal were stockpiled, the police were militarized, and war was declared on millions of British workers. Thatcher proclaimed the miners’ union to be agents of the Soviet Union. When she described them as “the enemy within” she had the look of hysteria in her eyes. The strike lasted a year and was defeated. This was a result of Thatcher’s determination and an impotent response by the majority of Labour and Trade Union leaders. The defeat of the miners union led to greater control by capital over labour and a long period of passive industrial relations.
The greatest nonsense is spoken about Thatcher’s significance in the struggle against what she called “the Evil Empire” of the USSR. The role of the U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher was insignificant and peripheral. Even though the Soviet press had given her the name, “the Iron Lady,” of which she was so proud. The collapse of the USSR was a result of internal disintegration and not external pressure. …
May the Iron Lady rust in peace!
China’s prosperity is the result of allowing private enterprise. It makes China a rising world power.
Margaret Thatcher died today.
Prime Minister David Cameron says, correctly, that she not only led Britain, she saved Britain.
Simon Richards, Director of The Freedom Association, writes to Jillian Becker, Council member of the TFA and editor -in-chief of The Atheist Conservative (as to all the other TFA Council members):
Margaret Thatcher: Freedom Fighter
So, the news that I and millions of other admirers of the greatest British Prime Minister since Churchill had long dreaded has finally come to pass. Let there be no mistake about it, Margaret Thatcher was one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known.
Faced with a Britain in a parlous state, where defeatism and demoralisation held sway, Margaret Thatcher grabbed the nation by the scruff of its neck and gave it back its self-belief. Decades of socialism and growing state control had undermined not only this country’s economy, but its belief that it had a future. Margaret Thatcher, championing the values that had made Britain great, transformed this country and gave it back its self belief.
After years of surrender to the over-mighty trades union barons, she stood up to them, on behalf of the silent majority, and defeated even [militant trade union leader] ‘King’ Arthur Scargill himself.
When that murdering, drunken tyrant Galtieri invaded the Falkland Islands, she fought to regain what was rightfully ours, restoring pride in Britain and her magnificent soldiers, sailors and airmen.
Margaret Thatcher championed ‘freedom under the law’, realising that a successful society must be based on respect for the individual and for the family. An early collection of her speeches, “Let Our Children Grow Tall”, said it all about her determination to restore independence of mind and self-respect, and grow tall is what a whole generation did. Many, though they benefited from her revival of the British economy and her extension of ownership to countless millions, will never see fit to thank the great Prime Minister who made their own successes possible. That is for them and their conscience.
Maggie, as so many knew her, was, for me, the very definition of courage – the embodiment of Britannia. I shall never forget seeing her, a small, surprisingly frail figure, outside 10 Downing Street on 4 May 1979 – Prime Minister for the first time. That frail figure stood up to the IRA, the PLO, the Soviet Empire, the EU and anybody else who threatened the freedom and democracy she cherished. She made me – and millions of others proud, once again, to be British.
On behalf of The Freedom Association, which upholds that ‘Freedom under the law’ which she championed, I give thanks for the magnificent life of a true fighter for freedom. She will always remain an inspiration to those of us who value individual freedom and the independence of the United Kingdom.
Just so. We at The Atheist Conservative do not “give thanks” for her life, but we are grateful to her for all she did, not just for Britain – which was much – but for the world. Above all, she and President Ronald Reagan won the war against the evil empire of the Soviet Union.
The New York Times in its report of Lady Thatcher’s death, refers to …
…the principles known as Thatcherism — the belief that economic freedom and individual liberty are interdependent, that personal responsibility and hard work are the only ways to national prosperity, and that the free-market democracies must stand firm against aggression.
And this is also from the NYT – which one must remember is hostile to “Thatcherism” but gets this right:
At home, Lady Thatcher’s political successes were decisive. She broke the power of the labor unions and forced the Labour Party to abandon its commitment to nationalized industry, redefine the role of the welfare state and accept the importance of the free market. In October 1980, 17 months into her first term, Prime Minister Thatcher faced disaster. More businesses were failing and more people were out of work than at any time since the Great Depression. Racial and class tensions smoldered so ominously that even close advisers worried that her push to stanch inflation, sell off nationalized industry and deregulate the economy was … courting chaos.
No such disaster, but the contrary happened:
Her policies revitalized British business, spurred industrial growth and swelled the middle class.
And this is from the Telegraph:
Lady Thatcher was the only British prime minister to leave behind a set of ideas about the role of the state which other leaders and nations strove to copy and apply … monetarism, privatisation, deregulation, small government, lower taxes and free trade …
Alas, the victories she won were not to last. The war goes on. We have to fight the same battles all over again, with the same set of ideas, on the the same principles.
Post Script: Jillian Becker in her book “L: A Novel History” considers what might have happened to Britain if Margaret Thatcher had not succeeded in quelling the race riots, defeating trade union militancy, and returning Britain to a free market economy.
Day by day, step by step, Islam advances towards dominance in every Western country, including America.
This is from Front Page, by David Solway:
Terrorism is an effective Islamic tactic, but “entryism” — the penetrating of academia, the media, government, labor unions, protest groups and the very social climate — is even more so. What we are observing is the practice of subversion … The neighborhood mosque, as we have seen, is only the beginning of our troubles. If its pacific nature cannot be guaranteed and its respect for local statutes and civic life assured, its effects will spread outward in waves of destabilization, one of the chief aims of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The mosque’s “pacific nature” and “respect for local statutes and civic life” certainly cannot be assured. And while they last, the forms and institutions of Western civic life are all too easily exploited by the quiet invaders.
Here’s an example of how it’s being done in Britain (via Vlad Tepes):
Note how easily the polite, reasonable, unaggressive voices of opposition are overruled by the bad-tempered chairwoman.
And here we quote from an article by Alan Caruba at Family Security Matters:
“The Faith of the Prophet Mohammed will continue to impact and transform all aspects of American life: social, political, and economic. Save for a cataclysmic event that will shatter demographics, Islam by 2050 will emerge as the nation’s dominant religion.”
The author quotes from a book by Paul L. Williams titled Crescent Moon Rising: The Islamic Transformation of America.
Williams offers facts that are nothing less than astounding.
“Muslims continue to pour into the country occupy positions (vacated by aging Americans) as physicians, engineers, and scientists. Others arrived to perform tasks that American workers are unwilling to perform in food-processing plants, agricultural facilities, and telecommunications. In addition to the Muslims who come here with employment visas, thousands more arrive with student visas to enroll in colleges throughout the country. Still others with ‘diversity’ visas to enrich America’s racial composition.”
“In 1992, nearly fifty thousand Muslims arrived in the United States and received permanent residency status. In 2009, that number soared to 115,000. In truth, no one knows for certain how many Muslim immigrants are presently living in the country.”
“In addition to the legal and illegal Muslim immigrants, eighty thousand refugees enter this country under resettlement programs. Nearly seventy-five thousand from Islamic countries.”
“Islam, at present, is the most rapidly growing religion in the country, with outreach programs on college campuses, in prisons, and within the military.”
“Islam provides an antithesis to secular America”, says Williams, offering a version of “traditional values” that would impose restrictions that few Americans anticipate; a ban on liquor, a reduced status of women, dress codes, and much more. “Muslims do not recognize the legitimacy of all faiths,” warns Williams. …
And those few – Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism – that they do recognize as “legitimate”, are suffered to exist, but sharia requires their adherents to be subjugated, and blood money (the “jizya” tax) to be extorted from them.
In an earlier America, there were restrictions on immigrants from various parts of the world deemed antithetical to the nation’s values. The early waves of immigrants came mostly from England and Nordic nations. They were followed by those from Italy, Germany and Eastern Europe as the need for more workers for America’s growing industries required more immigrants. Asians were not particularly welcome and Arabs were even less welcome. This changed with the Hart-Celler Act, signed into law by President Johnson in the wake of the Civil Rights Act. It ended an immigration quota system that had governed America for most of his history. It was, for the record, widely opposed by a two-to-one margin. It is a legacy from Edward Kennedy who shepherded the bill through the Senate.
It wasn’t until the shock of 9/11 that most Americans became aware of the hostility, the malevolence, and the spread of Islam.
Williams notes, “September 11, 2001, was not a day that changed everything. It was rather the day that revealed how much had changed. The real shock came not only from the devastation, but also the demographics. The world for many Americans became a place suddenly unrecognizable.”
This has already become a fact of life for Europeans and is rapidly become one for Americans, particularly in large urban centers where the presence of Muslims is visible for their dress, the many restaurants and outlets that cater to them, and the increasing number of mosques found everywhere. USA Today reported in February 2012 that “The number of Islamic places in the United States soared 74% in the past decade…the overall number of mosques quietly rose from 1,209 in 2000 to 2,106 in 2010.”
Largely unseen and unknown are the many Muslim organizations throughout the U.S., some of which have been found to have terror connections, and all funded not merely to spread the faith, but to ultimately impose it on our present political structure and open culture. …
Even so, Americans elected and reelected Barack Hussein Obama, the son of a Muslim father and adopted son of a Muslim step-father. He is a President who keeps insisting that al Qaeda is receding as a threat when it is, in fact, a growing threat everywhere. And, soon enough, here again.
On the other hand, offering a ray of hope, there is this by David Goldman, aka Spengler:
By 2050, elderly dependents will comprise nearly a third of the population of some Muslim nations, notably Iran — converging on America’s dependency ratio at mid-century. But it is one thing to face such a problem with America’s per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of $40,000, and quite another to face it with Iran’s per capita GDP of $7,000 — especially given that Iran will stop exporting oil before the population crisis hits. The industrial nations face the prospective failure of their pension systems. But what will happen to countries that have no pension system, where traditional society assumes the care of the aged and infirm? In these cases it is traditional society that will break down, horribly and irretrievably so.
My 2011 book How Civilizations Die (and Why Islam is Dying, Too) assembled evidence that the decline of Islam as a religion explained collapsing fertility, just as the decline of Catholicism explained collapsing fertility in lands once blessed by large families — Spain, Italy, Poland, Ireland, and Quebec. Iran’s total fertility rate plunged to an estimated 1.6% in 2010, barely above Europe’s rate of 1.5 children per female. In 1979, when the Islamists took power in Iran, the average woman bore seven children. Nothing like this sudden snapping shut of the national womb has ever happened before in all of history. And the rest of the Muslim world is headed in the same direction. …
Islamist leaders like Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan have been shouting from the rooftops about the trend for the past five years, as my book reports. Excluding the independence-hungry Kurdish minority, Turkey’s fertility rate is probably around 1.5 children per female, about the same as Iran’s, and a guarantee of national decline.
We are cheered by this information. Though we don’t understand why David Goldman writes: “In September 2006 I warned that the Muslim world was heading towards a demographic catastrophe.”
It may be a catastrophe for the Muslim world, but if the Muslim womb really is “snapping shut”, it is surely extremely good news for the rest of us.
At present the Muslims who are colonizing Europe are bearing children at a higher rate than the indigenous populations. Will the European Muslim womb “snap shut” too? And if so, will the snap come in time to save Europe from falling under the savage totalitarian rule of Islam?
This fascinating article is from Canada Free Press, by Kelly O’Connell:
In Honduras, a novel undertaking has been constructed—private cities whose purpose is to maximize safety and happiness (also referred to as “Free Cities”, “Charter Cities”, “Model Cities”, or in Spanish, “RED—Regiones Especiales de Desarollo”, and “Ciudades Modelo”.). This idea is a capitalist’s dream, but a liberal’s nightmare. And in a most fascinating manner, the idea of a privately owned commons has brought to the surface the multifarious contradictions of the modern age—with our continual demand for “liberty” while the deified state grows into a malignant colossus. …
The full 18-member Honduran Supreme Court must still rule on President Lorbo’s agreement. But even if the idea does die in Honduras, private cities—like those modeled in early colonial America, Singapore and India’s old British empire, are still an option for virtuous, libertarian minded souls. …
The real questions raised by the rise of private cities is what is the nature of the city, man, law and moral authority. Specifically, what is the meaning of law and the state? Further, what gives a country moral authority in which to erect statutes, establish courts, prisons and pass and enforce sentences? …
The idea — a city built by private funds, with rules not derived from a state legislature, but the settlement’s founders. Add to that a private security force and strong walls. And so a libertarian entrepreneur answered the call for action:
Last Tuesday, the government signed an agreement with private investors led by Michael Strong—a libertarian entrepreneur and close associate of Whole Foods co-founder and CEO John Mackey—to construct a city-from-scratch in one of at least three special development regions (“las Regiones Especiales de Desarrollo” or “REDs”) scattered around the country. REDs possess the legal right to establish—or outsource to foreign governments and companies as necessary—their own hospitals [for profit], schools, judges, and even police, all independent of Honduran law. …
The REDs are the brainchild of Paul Romer, the New York University economist who has proposed building “charter cities” as a solution to endemic poverty. Romer believes that importing sound laws and policies into small corners of badly run countries will help leaders reform their governments from the inside-out. Honduras certainly qualifies—the original banana republic is still grappling with the political fallout of a 2009 coup while cocaine traffickers have pushed its murder rate to the highest in the world.
In early 2011, aides to Honduran president Porfirio Lobo invited Romer to the capital of Tegucigalpa to make his case to Congress. Within weeks, Congress passed a constitutional amendment granting Lobo’s government the power to create and administer the REDs.
Is it inherently immoral for private citizens to buy land, recruit residents, write their own laws, and then begin operating as a franchise community? If so, why? After all, what is it that makes a city, state or country legitimate? On the alternative, given the socialist direction many countries in the West are following, is it possible that only a self-derived city could chart a course against the political grain here? Or does mankind have to bow and scrape at the feet of the modern government colossus irrespective of whether it is just, moral, or effective—simply because it is called “government”? …
It’s certainly not “immoral” to establish a private city and “operate as a franchise community”. Morality doesn’t come into it.The first question is: will states, will governments – all to a greater or lesser extent in the hands of statists, liberals, collectivists – allow it? Will the Honduran Supreme Court allow it? We wait to see.
If private cities are inherently illegal, what about the foundations of America, which were done along these same lines? Interestingly enough, the debate in the American colonies was over whether an immoral government had the right to dictate to men how to act. The Founders decided it did not. So the question raised is whether immoral modern governments can derail moral private communities? After all, what is a government in the first place?
What would characterize a “moral government”? If by “moral” is meant “democratically elected and not oppressive”, aren’t all governments in actuality oppressive to some degree and so to some degree “immoral”? And if so, is it not because oppression is inherent in the nature of government and therefore inescapable?
We think that even if the answer to that question is yes, state government is nevertheless necessary – to uphold the rule of law and protect the nation from foreign invasion. Which is where we part company with libertarians (while remaining sympathetic to libertarianism) and anarchists.
Certain anarchists declare their position somewhat confusedly on this question:
A group of writers calling themselves Private-Property Anarchists have taken on [ie challenged] the theory that only the state possesses the inherent ability to organize a government or police its citizens. In a most obvious way this makes perfect sense since government will always be assembled from some group of residents who then decide upon rules, structure and powers of government. Why must we assume one group of freely assembled persons are more acceptable than another? Further, with the failure of much of modern government to address basic needs, how can anyone help but try to find a better way to manage the affairs of men? …
Several aspects of law should be mentioned on this issue. The first is that it is a fairly recent development for the state to own all official policing powers. According to Bruce Benson’s The Enterprise of Law, Justice Without the State, the Anglo-Saxon law was fixated on protecting property. Further, with the development of English lex mercatoria, ie mercantile law, much enforcement and many remedies to this day were created for enforcement by private parties.
In fact, even the criminal code was mainly enforced by private parties in the history of Anglo-Saxon law. … Englishmen also resisted public prosecution because “a private prosecutorial system was necessary to check the powers of the Crown. If not so limited the power of criminal prosecution could be used for politically oppressive purposes.”
The great fear in the liberal establishment is that a private system of government and law will be antinomian, that is—lawless and a mere tool for the use of greedy capitalists and megalomaniacs. Yet, the opposite is true. In fact, people allowed to build their own justice systems for their own small city-states are apt to be more motivated to create justice and order than those presiding over the legislatures of far-flung empires.
But to build a justice system, big or small, is to establish government.
American citizens are certainly not pleased with the state of our justice system. For example, Edward P. Stringham in Anarchy and the Law argues, if the American legal system and police powers are so successful, and in effect the only game in town, why do private police, i.e. security guards, outnumber official state police?
The debate over private cities begs the question of what is a government in the first place. Let’s remember Jefferson’s sublime words from the Declaration:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness….But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.—Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.
If critics attack the lack of inherent authority of private communities, what is their basis? If a private city creates a better economy, a more just police and legal system, and a safer environment than public communities—is it not the latter which are truly the immoral and lawless frauds? We do well to ponder the foundation of legitimate, God-given government. This can only be established upon the rule of law, civil rights and respect by the leaders for the consent of the governed—or all we have left is an illegitimate tyranny.
While we cannot fathom what the meaning of “God-given” can be here (it makes no sense at all, even if everyone who founds a nation and everyone in power is a believer in “God”), we see the writer’s point. “Legitimacy” as commonly perceived on whatever grounds does not in itself make for good governance.
What we wonder is: How would the forum, whatever it is called, set up in a private city to “create a better economy” (ie let an economy run itself, we hope) and establish a police and legal system, be different from any other democratically elected government? If the people as a whole retain too much power over it, will it not soon fall apart under the pressures of conflicting expectations and demands? And if they retain too little, won’t it gather power, grow, and become the enemy of the people just as every government does, even those democratically elected?
We are all for private cities. We like the idea immensely. We would like to see them established. We would like to live in one. We don’t see why they shouldn’t be self-governing. We think the government that such property owners would elect stands a good chance of doing a better job of governing than existing governments do. But we do not think that, given the minimum power it would need to be effective, it would be immune from avarice for power, or resist the temptation to find a compelling necessity to expand and oppress. How to prevent that; how to limit the power of government, is the perpetual problem of all democracies, great and small.
Muslims trying to enforce Sharia law in London.
From the Washington Times:
In what could be the first spillover from France’s intervention in Mali …
Islamist militants attacked and occupied a natural gas complex partly operated by energy company BP in southern Algeria on Wednesday. Two foreigners were killed and dozens of others, including Americans, were taken hostage.
Meanwhile, what’s happening in Mali?
The video and text are from DEBKAfile
On January 11, a few hundred French troops and a handful of fighter jets and gunships launched a campaign against Islamist terrorists in Mali, a West African desert vastness larger than Texas and California combined. This former French colony appealed to Paris for aid to throw back a mixed al Qaeda-rebel advance on the capital, Bamako.
But France, no more than the US, had learned from the Afghanistan War that Al Qaeda cannot be beaten by aerial warfare – certainly not when the jiahdists are highly trained in special forces tactics and backed by highly mobile, well-armed local militias, armed with advanced anti-aircraft weapons and knowledgeable about conditions in the forbidding Sahara.
Within 48 hours, this modest “crusader” intervention had united a host of pro-al Qaeda offshoots and allies, some of them castoffs from the army of Libya’s deposed Muammar Qaddafi.
They are led by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb – AQIM; the West African jihadist MUJAO; and the Somali al-Shabaab which is linked to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – AQAP. Together, they are threatening to execute one by one the 10 or eleven French hostages they are holding as part of their revenge on France.
The French declared their mission to be to dislodge the Islamists from an area larger than Afghanistan in the north, including the principal towns of Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal. Without several thousand special forces’ troops on the ground, this is just a pipedream.
The disaffected Touareg tribes are supporting al Qaeda against the French as part of their drive for independence. Their added value is the training in special forces’ tactics some 1,500 Touareg fighting men and their three officers received from the US.
The US originally reserved them as the main spearhead of a Western Saharan multi-tribe campaign to eradicate al Qaeda in North and West Africa.
Instead, the Sahel tribesmen followed the Touareg in absconding to Mali with top-quality weapons for desert warfare and hundreds of vehicles from US and ex-Libyan military arsenals.
This major setback for US administration plans and counter-terror strategy in Africa tied in with Al Qaeda’s assassination of US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his staff in Benghazi last September. Because the United States held back from direct US military action in both cases, Qaeda has been allowed to go from strength to strength and draw into its fold recruits from Mali’s neighbors. They are tightening their grip on northern Mali and have imposed a brutal version of Islam on its inhabitants, putting hundreds to flight.
France stepped in when al Qaeda drove south to extend its rule to all parts of Mali and pose a terrorist threat to Europe.
Denis Allex, the video narrator, was executed by al-Shabaab, according to its own report which contradicts the reports put out by France claiming that he was killed during a botched rescue attempt in Somalia.
From The Long War Journal by Bill Roggio, 1/16/2013:
Shabaab, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia and East Africa, announced today that it would execute a French intelligence operative who was captured in Mogadishu in 2009.
The hostage, Denis Allex, was the subject of a failed rescue attempt last week by French commandos. …
Shabaab said he was killed after the group “reached a unanimous decision.” …
Shabaab pinned the blame for Allex’s death sentence on France, and denied the French claim that the hostage was killed during the rescue attempt. Shabaab has maintained this position since the first report of the raid, while French officials claimed that Allex was indeed killed during the rescue attempt.
“With the rescue attempt, France has voluntarily signed Allex’s death warrant. Following the failed operation, [French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian], aware that execution is the natural corollary of treachery, announced that the punishment had already been meted out, despite the fact that Allex was at the time alive and safe in another safe house,” the group said.
Shabaab said it would kill Allex after years of attempting to negotiate with France, and finally decided to kill him after the French commandos killed civilians during the rescue attempt. Two French commandos were killed; one of them was captured and subsequently died of his wounds, according to Shabaab. Two days ago, Shabaab released photographs of the captured French commando, who they claimed was the mission commander, and displayed his body with his weapons and gear.
But only announced yesterday that they “would execute” him?
“The death of the two French soldiers pales into insignificance besides the dozens of Muslim civilians senselessly killed by the French forces during the operation,” Shabaab stated.
Shabaab also claimed Allex was sentenced to death for France’s involvement in military operations in Afghanistan, Mali, and other “Muslim lands.” French troops have entered Mali to help the government retake the north from an Islamist alliance made up of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Ansar Dine, andthe Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa. Last week, the jihadist groups advanced southward to take control of Bamako, the capital. The three militant Islamist groups have controlled northern Mali since the spring of 2012.
“Avenging the deaths of these civilians and taking into consideration France’s increasing persecution of Muslims around the world, its oppressive anti-Islam policies at home, French military operations in the war against Islamic Shari’ah in Afghanistan and, most recently, in Mali, and its continued economic, political and military assistance towards the African invaders in Muslim lands, Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen has reached a unanimous decision to execute the French intelligence officer, Denis Allex,” the terror group said.
Shabaab also provided some details on the “botched rescue operation,” which it described as “an abysmal failure; both in terms of intelligence and the ground operation.” The group claimed the French assault team landed outside of the Shabaab-held town of Bulo-Marer and killed “all the villagers that crossed their path.”
“But before the French forces could reach their destination, the Mujahideen in Bulo-Marer were alerted by HSM [al-Shabaab] intelligence teams who had information of the French movements,” Shabaab stated. The description of events roughly matches a report that was published by Shabelle [a Somali media network].
Allex and Marc Aubriere, two French intelligence agents, were captured in July 2009 at a hotel in Mogadishu. Both men were posing as journalists and trainers for the Somali military. Aubriere escaped under mysterious circumstances and it is rumored the French government paid a ransom for his release.
France launched the rescue mission to free Allex as it was feared he would be executed by Shabaab in retaliation for the French intervention in Mali.
Shabaab officially merged with al Qaeda in February 2012 after working closely with the global terror group for years.
Were the French lying about Denis Allex being killed in the botched rescue attempt? If so, why? And in connection with all this, what is the Obama administration keeping from the American people?
These Islamic fighting forces which the might of the Western world, half-heartedly engaged, is signally failing to subdue in Mali, Somalia, Libya, many other parts of Africa, and Afghanistan, and Yemen, can no longer be called “terrorists”. They are the armies of the jihad, unrelentingly mobilized – and winning.
Case One: An Islamic terrorist is kept at taxpayers’ expense in Britain, and protected by European judges from deportation to his homeland Jordan, where he has been convicted for terrorist crimes, on the grounds that Jordan uses torture. And even when the Jordanian authorities give assurances that the monster won’t be tortured, the judges still won’t let him go, just in case the evidence against him in a Jordanian court may be elicited by torture.
Case Two: In Spain, a genuine refugee who has committed no crime under Spanish law but only exercised his right of free speech by criticizing Islam, is to be returned to Pakistan where he will face the death penalty for apostasy.
Abu Qatada, top al-Qaeda terrorist in Europe, lives in Britain at the expense of the taxpayer. Free rent, free education for his children, free health care, social security income – and the cost of his police surveillance alone comes to £100,000 ($150,000) per week.
The Examiner reports:
The man who was designated by the British media as England’s own “terror cleric,” Abu Qatada is now complaining, via his son, that the taxpayer subsidized London home is “small and filthy” …
The hate preacher’s son, Qatada Qatada, complained not only of the cramped and unsanitary digs they aren’t paying for, but also of:
“Racist pressure groups in Britain [who] hold demonstrations outside the house”… and would “scream and curse at us and at Islam.”
It’s good to hear that at least some of the British public are intolerant of the intolerable.
The rent-free Qatada home has been picketed by British citizens who question the government’s wisdom as to the insistence that taxpayer money is used to house, feed and care for the terrorist and his family.
The British government has been attempting to deport Abu Qatada back to his native Jordan since 2001, but has been continually stymied by both British courts and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) located in Strasbourg, France.
The upholding of human rights has largely replaced justice as the raison d’être of law courts in Europe.
Qatada was found guilty in absentia by the Jordanian government on terrorism charges and was subsequently sentenced to life in prison at hard labor.
However, a British Special Immigration Appeals Commission agreed with the earlier ECHR ruling that if sent back to Jordan, Qatada’s human rights would be in jeopardy.
The following are key events in the years-long saga as the British people have attempted to rid themselves of the Jihadist terrorist.
September 16 1993 – The Jordanian father of five claims asylum when he arrives in Britain on a forged passport.
June 1994 – He is allowed to stay in Britain. [!]
March 1995 – Qatada issues a ‘fatwa’ justifying the killing of converts from Islam, their wives and children in Algeria.
May 1998 – He applies for indefinite leave to remain in Britain.
April 1999 – He is convicted in his absence on terror charges in Jordan and sentenced to life imprisonment.
October 1999 – The radical cleric speaks in London advocating the killing of Jews and praising attacks on Americans.
February 2001 – He is arrested by anti-terror police over involvement in a plot to bomb Strasbourg Christmas market. Officers find him in possession of £170,000 in cash, including £805 in an envelope marked ‘For the mujahedin in Chechnya’.
December 2001 – Qatada becomes one of Britain’s most wanted men after going on the run from his home in Acton, West London.
October 2002 – He is arrested by police in a council house in south London and detained in Belmarsh high-security jail.
March 2005 – He is freed on conditional bail and placed on a control order.
August 2005 – The preacher is arrested under immigration rules as the Government seeks to deport him to Jordan.
April 2008 – The Court of Appeal rules that deporting him would breach his human rights because evidence used against him in Jordan may have been obtained through torture.
Evidence against him may have been obtained through torture! Unlikely that he really is a terrorist? Are all British judges milquetoast? What happened to the roast beef of Olde England?
May 2008 – Qatada is granted bail by the immigration tribunal but told he must stay inside for 22 hours a day.
June 2008 – He is released from Long Lartin jail in Worcestershire and moves in to a four bedroomed £800,000 home in West London.
November 2008 – He is rearrested after the Home Office tells an immigration hearing of fears he plans to abscond.
December 2008 – Qatada’s bail is revoked by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) after hearing secret evidence that the risk of him absconding has increased.
February 18 2009 – In a landmark judgment, five Law Lords unanimously back the Government’s policy of removing terror suspects from Britain on the basis of assurances from foreign governments. It is ruled he can be deported to Jordan to face terror charges.
Ah, some roastbeef judges after all!
But not in the European Court of Human Rights. Get ready to be exasperated.
February 19 2009 - Qatada is awarded £2,500 compensation by the European Court of Human Rights after the judges rule that his detention without trial in the UK under anti-terrorism powers breached his human rights.
January 2012 – European judges rule the firebrand cleric can be sent back to Jordan with diplomatic assurances but he cannot be deported while ‘there remains a real risk that evidence obtained by torture will be used against him’.
February 6 2012 – SIAC rules he can be released on bail, despite posing a risk to national security.
February 9 2012 – David Cameron and King Abdullah of Jordan agree on the ‘importance of finding an effective resolution’ to his case, Downing Street says.
February 13 2012 – It emerges Qatada has been released on bail from Long Lartin prison.
April 17 2012 – The cleric is arrested as the Government prepares to deport him to Jordan.
April 18 2012 – Abu Qatada lodges an appeal – potentially delaying his deportation by months.
Since his illegal entry into the United Kingdom in 1993, Abu Qatada has been a multi-million Pound Sterling burden to the British people.
In Spain an ex-Muslim refugee offends not his host nation but Islam, so the Spanish Government wants to deport him to Pakistan where he will face the death penalty.
This report is from Cobourg Atheist, by John Draper:
Imran Firasat is from Pakistan but risked his life and left Islam – he is no longer a Muslim. To escape death, he moved to Spain where he runs a web site. Further, he is on a campaign to criticise Islam – he started with some cartoons …, created a web site which is in both Spanish and English and promoted the controversial movie Innocence of Muslims. The web site also lists 10 reasons why Muhammad was a false prophet … He co-produced a 70min movie The Innocent Prophet that described why he thought Islam to be wrong – why people would be crazy to believe what is in the Qur’an. But he is not a Spanish citizen – he was admitted into Spain as a refugee. So when he announced his plans to release the movie,he was told he could lose his status and be deported back to Pakistan where he would face a certain death penalty for openly leaving and criticizing Islam under Pakistan’s blasphemy Law. He therefore withdrew his name from the movie …
You can find the movie here:
More of the story comes from Islam Watch, by M.A.Kahn:
Under pressure, Firasat withdrew from the movie, but his U.S. collaborator, controversial Pastor Terry Jones, who already had a copy, took Firasat’s name out of the movie and released it from the U.S. on the scheduled date.
Despite Imran Firasat’s best effort to distance himself from the movie by completely taking out his name, the Spanish authority decided to revoke his refugee status, serving him with a letter to the effect within days after the movie was released.
Mr. Firasat has been baffled by the manner his refugee status was revoked, because it usually takes 6 months to process the cancellation of refugee status.
He has been told by the Interior Ministry that he is a threat to Spain’s national security. He was inciting violence against Spain both at home and against Spanish diplomatic missions and interests abroad. …
Imran Firasat, who feels open examination of Islam is necessary for liberty and democracy to survive in the West amidst its burgeoning Muslim populations, says, he wants to criticize Islam, but without instigating violence among Muslims to avoid vandalism, destructions and deaths.
And his movie, despite being on Youtube for over two weeks and watched by tens of thousands of people, there hasn’t been any controversy, criticism or violence, whatsoever. Even then, the decision of the Spanish government to serve Imran Firasat with deportation papers clearly shows how much fear have Muslims stricken into the hearts of Western nations. This is nothing but Muslims’ perfect enactment of Allah’s divine commandment for striking terror into the heart of the unbelievers …
Imran Firasat, who has been struggling with financial difficulties, especially after making this movie – which not only ate up all of savings but he also had to take a loan – has one month to defend himself in Court, failing which he may be put on a plane to Pakistan. …
So is shortage of funds the reason why he isn’t appealing to the European Court of Human Rights where – just maybe – his case will be looked at with the same consideration applied in the case of Abu Qatada? If so, why aren’t Spanish taxpayers bearing that cost, as British taxpayers bore the cost of Abu Qatada’s appeal?
The solution to such puzzles is to be found in this new unwritten principle of European and American political philosophy: If you offend Muslims you are guilty; if Muslims offend you, you are guilty.
Last thought: “Mr. Firasat has been baffled by the manner his refugee status was revoked, because it usually takes 6 months to process the cancellation of refugee status.“ Why do we suspect that Obama and Hillary Clinton – who are persecuting the maker of the video Innocence of Muslims, pretending it caused the murderous attack by Muslim terrorists on the US mission in Benghazi – have a couple of bloodstained hands in the perpetration of this injustice?