With his usual perception and wit, Mark Steyn writes:
The Islamic State [IS] released a 22-minute video showing Flight Lieutenant Muath al-Kasasbeh of the Royal Jordanian Air Force being doused in petrol and burned to death. It is an horrific way to die, and Flt Lt al-Kasasbeh showed uncommon bravery, standing stiff and dignified as the flames consumed him. And then he toppled, and the ISIS cameras rolled on, until what was left was charred and shapeless and unrecognizable as human. …
Even by the standards of his usual rote cookie-cutter shoulder-to-shoulder shtick that follows every ISIS beheading of western captives, the President could barely conceal his boredom at having to discuss the immolation of Flt Lt al-Kasasbeh:
Aaand it, I think, will redouble [pause] the vigilance aaand determination on the part of our global coalition to, uh, make sure that they are degraded and ultimately defeated. Ummmm. [Adopting a whimsical look] It also just indicates the degree to which whatever ideology they’re operating off of, it’s bankrupt. [Suppressing a smirk, pivoting to a much more important subject.] We’re here to talk about how to make people healthier and make their lives better.
The lack of passion – the bloodlessness – of Obama’s reaction to atrocity is always striking. He can’t even be bothered pretending that he means it. …
Given the general halfheartedness of Obama’s “coalition”, King Abdullah [of Jordan] could have been forgiven for also deciding to head for the exit.
Yet he understood the necessity of action. Obama, by contrast … does nothing. His war against ISIS was supposed to be one in which the US would not put “boots on the ground”, but instead leave that to our allies. The allies have the boots, but they could use some weapons, too. Obama has failed to supply the Kurds or anybody else with what they need to defeat our enemies. It’s becoming what they call a pattern of behavior. …
Obama cannot react to atrocities committed by jihadis because he is emotionally (we cannot say intellectually, because unlike his Democratic fans we do not think he has much of an intellect), on their side; which means that, whether he realizes it or not, he is on the side of evil.
Mark Steyn clearly sees that IS is evil. He goes on to consider why it is that tens of thousands of volunteers go eagerly to join its army and help it carry out its atrocities.
You’ll recall Hannah Arendt’s tired and misleading coinage “the banality of evil”, derived from her observation of Adolf Eichmann at his trial in Jerusalem.
We explain when and why she said it, and why it is misleading, in our post The cultivation of evil, the sickness of Europe, July 20, 2010.
Mark Steyn quotes an earlier article of his:
Hitler felt obliged to be somewhat coy about just how final the final solution was. As Eichmann testified at his trial, when typing up the minutes of the Wannsee conference, “How shall I put it? Certain over-plain talk and jargon expressions had to be rendered into office language by me.” Even the Nazis were reluctant to spell it out.
The Germans didn’t have social media, but they had newsreels, and Hitler knew enough not to make genocide available to Pathé or “The March of Time”. He had considerations both domestic and foreign. Pre-Wannsee, in Poland and elsewhere, German troops had been ordered to shoot Jewish prisoners in cold blood, and their commanders reported back to Berlin that too many soldiers had found it sickening and demoralizing. So the purpose of “the final solution” was to make mass murder painless, at least for the perpetrators – more bureaucratic, removed, bloodless.
As for foreign considerations, Germany expected to be treated as a civilized power by its enemies, and that would not have been possible had they been boasting about genocide.
Seventy years on, the Islamic State has slipped free of even these minimal constraints. They advertize their barbarism to the world, because what’s the downside? Let’s say the guys who burned Flt Lt al-Kasasbeh are one day captured by Americans. They can look forward to a decade or two of a soft, pampering sojourn in the US justice system, represented by an A-list dream-team that’ll string things along until the administration figures it’ll cut its losses and ship them to Qatar in exchange for some worthless deserter.
As for the upside, “the banality of evil” may have its appeal for lower-middle-class Teuton bureaucrats, but the glamor of evil is a far more potent and universal brand. The Islamic State has come up with the ultimate social-media campaign: evil goes viral! At some level German conscripts needed to believe they were honorable soldiers in an honorable cause, no different from the British or Americans. But ISIS volunteers are signing up explicitly for the war crimes. The Islamic State burned Flt Lt al-Kasasbeh alive not only to kill him but to inspire the thousands of ISIS fanbois around the globe. …
For many of its beneficiaries, modern western life is bland, undemanding and vaguely unsatisfying. Some seek a greater cause, and turn to climate change or LGBTQWERTY rights. But others want something with a little more red meat to it. Jihad is primal in a way that the stodgy multiculti relativist mush peddled by Obama isn’t. And what the Islamic State is offering is Jihad 2.0, cranking up the blood-lust and rape and sex slavery and head-chopping and depravity in ways that make Osama-era al-Qaeda look like a bunch of pantywaists.
Success breeds success. The success of evil breeds darker evil. And the glamorization of evil breeds ever more of those “recent Muslim converts” and “lone wolves” and “self-radicalized extremists” in the news. That’s a Big Idea – a bigger idea, indeed, than Communism or Nazism.
Islam, as we know, means “submission”. But Xtreme-Sports Hyper-Islam, blood-soaked and baying, is also wonderfully liberating, offering the chance for dull-witted, repressed young men to slip free of even the most basic societal restraints. And, when the charms of the open road in Headchoppistan wear thin, your British and Canadian and Australian and European welfare checks will still be waiting for you on the doormat back home. …
As the world burns, Obama, uh, redoubles his, uh, vigilance, uh uh uh… Whatever.
Mark Steyn reminds us that “civilization is a fragile and unnatural state of affairs”. Its would-be destroyers now, in the early twenty-first century, are: the environmentalists; the world-government advocates and all the rest of the collectivists, whatever they call themselves – progressives or socialists or communists; and, above all, most dangerous, already destroying as much as they can of the heritage of civilization, and winning battle after battle, encountering no effective opposition – Islam.
Obama won’t name it, not even by using the polite form of its name that most politicians and commentators use, “Islamism”.
But be assured that against something or other, he is redoubling his vigilance.
Quotation from an announcement, in the form of a letter, posted on the website of the US Department of State:
U.S. Plans To Lead in Resettling Syrian Refugees
Anne C. Richard
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
December 9, 2014
… Only a small fraction of those who want to be resettled can be – only about one hundred thousand refugees per year, worldwide. There are more than six times that many Syrian refugees in Jordan alone. …
We applaud the 25 countries that have agreed to resettle Syrian refugees, including some who will be accepting UNHCR refugee referrals for the first time. The United States accepts the majority of all UNHCR referrals from around the world. Last year, we reached our goal of resettling nearly 70,000 refugees from nearly 70 countries. And we plan to lead in resettling Syrians as well. We are reviewing some 9,000 recent UNHCR referrals from Syria. We are receiving roughly a thousand new ones each month, and we expect admissions from Syria to surge in 2015 and beyond.
Like most other refugees resettled in the United States, they will get help from the International Organization for Migration with medical exams and transportation to the United States. Once they arrive, networks of resettlement agencies, charities, churches, civic organizations and local volunteers will welcome them. These groups work in 180 communities across the country and make sure refugees have homes, furniture, clothes, English classes, job training, health care and help enrolling their children in school. They are now preparing key contacts in American communities to welcome Syrians.
I am inspired both by the resilience of refugees we resettle, and the compassion of those who help them. Resettlement cannot replace what refugees have lost or erase what they have endured. But it can renew hope and help restart lives. That can make all the difference.
So thousands of Syrians are about to be brought into the United States. They are likely to be only the first wave of refugees from the mainly Muslim Middle East.
Refugee Resettlement Watch lists the states where nearly 10,000 mostly Muslim refugees were resettled in the first two months of the current fiscal year.
Once settled here, they can bring their relations to join them.
Under the Obama administration, the Muslim population of America is increasing constantly by immigration. They do not need amnesty. They start receiving “entitlements” immediately on arrival.
But the UN won’t allow Western countries to decide which refugees they’ll accept.
Canada wants to accept Christians and Yazidis, not Muslims with their incompatible law and ideology. But the UN won’t allow Canada to do that.
This is from Front Page by Daniel Greenfield:
The UN’s refugee agenda has an agenda and it’s not refugees, it’s Islamic invasion.
The federal government is seeking to resettle more Syrian refugees, but only from the country’s religious minorities, according to sources close to discussions around Canada’s position on refugees from the war-torn nation.
Sources close to the discussions say Canada is seeking to resettle only refugees from Syria’s religious minorities, something that would likely be difficult for the UN’s refugee agency to accept.
The UNHCR’s policy on refugees says a resettlement state determines the “size and composition” of who and how many refugees it accepts, and “therefore has full control with respect to decisions on individual cases”.
“Nevertheless, UNHCR urges all states to be guided by the agency’s internationally recognized criteria on eligibility, global needs and priorities”, the policy says.
As far as global needs go, the Middle East has plenty of safe refuges for Sunni and Shiite Muslims, it has none for Christians and Yazidis. It only makes sense that the West should fill the need for safe refuges that don’t exist in the Muslim world for non-Muslims, while the Muslim world takes in its own refugees.
Such as the “Palestinians”? The policy of the Arab states has always been NOT to accept refugees for settlement and integration – especially not Arabs from the Palestine region, sentenced by their fellow Arabs to suffer as much as possible as a reproach to the world for allowing Israel to exist.
Is Putin testing Obama’s “flexibility“?
In Obamaspeak, “flexible” doesn’t mean compromising a little, bending to some extent; it means being willing to act in an unprincipled way, even perhaps to the extent of acting against one’s country’s interests.
Fox News reports:
An F-22 fighter jet
Two U.S. F-22 fighter jets intercepted six Russian military airplanes that were flying near Alaska, military officials said Friday.
Lt. Col. Michael Jazdyk, a spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, said the jets intercepted the planes about 55 nautical miles from the Alaskan coast at about 7 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday.
Tensions are high between the United States and Russia as the two countries are increasingly at odds over Ukraine, where Russian-backed insurgents have been fighting for control of parts of the country.
The Russian planes were identified as two IL-78 refueling tankers, two Mig-31 fighter jets and two Bear long-range bombers. They looped south and returned to their base in Russia after the U.S. jets were scrambled.
At about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, two Canadian CF-18 fighter jets intercepted two of the long-range Russian Bear bombers about 40 nautical miles off the Canadian coastline in the Beaufort Sea.
In both cases, the Russian planes entered the Air Defense Identification Zone, which extends about 200 miles from the coastline. They did not enter sovereign airspace of the United States or Canada.
Jazdyk said the fighter jets were scrambled “basically to let those aircraft know that we see them, and in case of a threat, to let them know we are there to protect our sovereign airspace.”
In the past five years, jets under NORAD’s command have intercepted more than 50 Russian bombers approaching North American airspace.
NORAD is a binational American and Canadian command responsible for air defense in North America.
What is Putin’s intention? Why does he think he can do this?
We found answers to those question in this article by J. E. Dyer at Liberty Unyielding. Commander Jennifer Dyer is a retired US Naval intelligence officer who served for 21 years. Her articles deal with important military issues and are invariably well-informed and interesting.
Russian bombers proliferate today in the air space off North America and Europe, operating at an activity level not seen since the very height of the Cold War. This isn’t something to shrug off.
Although it’s certainly attributable to Vladimir Putin’s current, proximate geopolitical intentions – to defy NATO, press his aggression against Ukraine, and intimidate the Baltic Republics – it’s also an expression of strategic posture harking back to the conventions of the Cold War.
Bringing out the Bears is a strategic signal. In Europe, the Russians could use Tu-160 Blackjacks and Tu-22M Backfire bombers to fly aggressive routes around the northern perimeter. The Blackjacks (sometimes called the “B-1-ski”) are understood to have a strategic role; the shorter-range Backfires, as dedicated bombers rather than multi-role aircraft, send a similarly aggressive signal.
But the Tu-95 Bear H bombers have for decades been the backbone of the airborne leg of Russia’s strategic “triad”: ICBMs, ballistic-missile submarines, and nuclear-armed bombers. When Russia deploys Bear Hs, the strategic signal is unmistakable.
Americans watching the drama unfold have a visceral sense of this, in part because the media routinely refer to the Bear Hs as “nuclear bombers.” The Bear Hs are more properly called long-range bombers or strategic bombers; they may or may not be carrying missiles with nuclear warheads. The aircraft are capable of carrying AS-15 “Kent” long-range cruise missiles, which were designed to be fitted with nuclear warheads, but they won’t necessarily have them mounted on a given flight. …
The post-Cold War status quo involved three fundamental features: a mutual (U.S. and Russia) stand-down of constantly-ready nuclear forces, which occurred in the early 1990s… ; verifiable adherence by both sides to the basic elements of our arms control agreements; and continuity in the strategic postures of both parties.
The last feature was the first one to be decisively breached … Through a series of actions from 2009 to 2013, the Obama administration overturned the premise on which, for the preceding 25 years, the U.S. had negotiated for arms control and proposed to guarantee global stability.
In 1983, Reagan established missile defense, and not mutual assured destruction, as the basis for U.S. security and global stability. … Although Obama has not publicly repudiated the U.S. missile defense posture, he has dismantled it with a series of policy actions. All but a few thousand Americans, at most, are unaware of this arcane reality – but Russian decision-makers perceive it quite clearly. …
The Russians for their own reasons have long disputed America’s missile defense-based policy. Obama’s unilateral decision to give it up has cut the whole strategic stability situation adrift, and the Russians in 2014 are happy to take advantage of that.
Regarding the other two features of the post-Cold War status quo, Russia has been engaging in violations of both START and the INF treaty for some time now; the Bush and Clinton administrations made an issue of that, but the Obama administration has not given it importance, and violations by Moscow have become more egregious.
The US and Russia signed a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) in 1910. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was signed by the US and the Soviet Union way back in 1987.
The weak performance of this one feature would be more tolerable if the other two were in line. But in addition to the slow, bureaucratic collapse of the U.S. posture under Obama, Russia has since 2010 opened the door to breaching the third feature: the stand-down of ready nuclear forces. In 2010, Russia modified her national security strategy to permit preemptive use of nuclear weapons – a change to a policy that had stood since before the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.
Then, about three weeks ago, Russia publicly floated a threat through the common method of quoting a retired general in the state-run media. This general, Yuri Yakubov (formerly the commander of Russia’s Far Eastern military district and a senior staffer in the ministry of defense), had an ominous message. Interfax quotes Retired Army General Yuri Yakubov as saying:
[The national military strategy] for the country should in the first place clearly identify the potential enemy of Russia, which is not in the military doctrine of 2010. In my view, our main enemy is the United States and the North Atlantic bloc [NATO].
In particular, in my opinion, you need to carefully consider the forms and methods of the operation of Aerospace Defence, in close cooperation with strategic nuclear deterrence forces, the Strategic Missile Forces, strategic aviation and the Navy. Thus it is necessary to study the conditions under which Russia could use the Russian strategic nuclear forces (SNF) pre-emptively.
The preemptive use of nuclear weapons implies readiness to employ them quickly, against preselected targets. …
Russia would feel much more constrained about nuclear tough talk if the United States were setting and enforcing boundaries. But we’re not. It’s essential to understand this.
Putin has his current, proximate reasons for wanting to convey threats to the U.S. and NATO – reasons having to do with perceived Russian interests in South Asia, the Far East, and the Eastern Mediterranean as much as with Eastern Europe. But Russia wouldn’t be going high order with the overt strategic signals – the aggressive Bear flights – if Putin thought he was going to get real pushback from Washington …
Putin is pulling a really big weapon, with the accelerating implications that he feels free to break away from the post-Cold War strategic status quo. This pattern, if nothing else, should be a clue to his seriousness.
But there are other gathering clues, such as the reports in just the last couple of weeks about frankly threatening comments he has made to European leaders. …
Putin made [the following] statement during a conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko, who in turn, relayed his words to European Commission (EC) President Jose Manuel Barroso, during the latter’s visit to Kyiv last Friday (12 September), in which Poroshenko briefed the EU chief on threats.
If I want, Russian troops in two days could not only be in Kyiv, but also Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Warsaw and Bucharest.
Putin is burning bridges by doing this. He is clearly not trying to hold out hope of a restored status quo.
And that in turn means that the “push” has started: the push from a former stakeholder that will cause the status quo to fully collapse.
An F-22 from the 302d Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf AFB, AK intercepts a Russian Tu-95MS Bear H. (USAF image)
The admirable Douglas Murray is interviewed intelligently on Canadian TV about the pro-Hamas anti-Israel protests erupting in the capitals of Europe.
Mark Steyn is being sued for libel in Canada by Michael Mann of Mann-made global warming – and is counter-suing the lying scientist.
In addition to lying about global warming with his infamous “hockey-stick” graph, Mann falsely claims that he was awarded a Nobel prize.
Kim Jong-un, dictator of North Korea, has just held a farcical general election, and finds himself the winner with 100% of the votes.
Very few Muslims (about 7 out of 1.6 billion) have won Nobel prizes, and many Muslims believe that is because of “Islamophobia”, so Iran will award prizes to the overlooked Islamic worthies.*
That is the background to this Mark Steyn joke:
Kim Jong-Un casts his vote for Michael E Mann’s Mustafa Prize
Mark Steyn writes:
Good news for fake Nobel Laureate Michael E Mann. Iran is launching an Islamic Nobel Prize to be named after Mustafa (ie, Mohammed). Given that he wants it so badly, maybe we can nominate Dr Mann for a Mustafa Prize.
* Recently an Iranian ayatollah claimed that Einstein (one of at least 193 Jews out of 13.75 million who really have won Nobel prizes) was a Shi’a Muslim.
The war 5
Among the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls there is one titled The War of the Children of Light and the Children of Darkness.
It is a perpetual war: Good against Evil.
It is fought in most of the world’s mythologies, and in almost all of them Good will win in the end. (The exception is that of the Norsemen. They foresaw the triumph of Evil.)
Dennis Prager, writing at Townhall, describes how the two sides of the conflict appear to him now:
In both personal and public life, you can know a great deal about a person or a group if you know what most bothers them – and what doesn’t bother them.
A news item this past week made this point with glaring clarity. It reported a meeting that the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights had on Friday. Before revealing the subject of that meeting, let’s review for a moment what is happening in the world …
North Korea continues to be an affront to the human species. That North Korea, whether or not it had nuclear weapons, is not a central concern is an indictment of humanity.
That the West, with the noble exception of Canada under Stephen Harper, is appeasing the dictators of Iran, is an indictment of the West.
Add to this list the U.N.’s and the world’s ignoring of the Chinese government’s continuing suppression of all dissent and its decades-long violent eradication of Tibet’s unique and ancient culture.
Then add the slaughter of millions in Congo over the last decade, the 100,000-plus killed in Syria just last year, most of them civilians killed by their own government, and the blowing up, burning alive, and throat-cutting of untold numbers of innocent people by violent Islamists on a daily basis.
In other words, if what bothers you most is evil – the deliberate infliction of cruelty on people by people – North Korea, Congo, China, Syria and radical Islam will bother you more than anything else on the world scene.
So, then, what was the subject of the meeting convened Friday by the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights?
The alleged racism of the name of the National Football League’s Washington team, the Redskins.
That’s right. All these horrific evils are happening as you read this, and … the United Nations had a meeting about the name Washington Redskins.
The U.N. is not alone in paying undue attention to the Redskins’ name. The left in the United States is nearly obsessed with it. President Barack Obama has spoken out against it. The Washington Post editorial board has demanded that the team drop the name. In the herd-like way that governs media, innumerable columnists and sports writers have written passionate columns against the name, and increasing numbers of sports writers have vowed to never again write or speak the name.
This left-wing obsession with a non-evil exemplifies the left’s moral universe. That universe is preoccupied with lesser evils while nearly always ignoring the greatest evils.
Preoccupation with real evil is the greatest difference between right and left. The right was preoccupied with fighting Communism while the left … was preoccupied with fighting anti-Communists.
The right today is preoccupied with fighting Islamism; the left is preoccupied with fighting “Islamophobia.”
One way of putting it is that the right is preoccupied with fighting evil and the left is preoccupied with fighting those who fight evil.
The right is preoccupied with defending Israel against those who wish to annihilate it. The left is preoccupied with Israeli apartments on the West Bank.
This difference was made manifest last week in the address given by the one world leader to exemplify the right’s preoccupation with evil, Canada’s prime minister, Stephen Harper. Talking about all the condemnations of Israel, Harper said:
“Think about the twisted logic and outright malice behind that: a state, based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law, that was founded so Jews can flourish as Jews, and seek shelter from the shadow of the worst racist experiment in history, that is condemned, and that condemnation is masked in the language of anti-racism. It is nothing short of sickening.”
Yes, but the writer does not go nearly far enough. The Left is not merely preoccupied with fighting those who fight evil, it is occupied with doing evil. The Left is in alliance with Islam. Its (bewilderingly unintelligent) intelligentsia invent a fake need to “save the planet” from “climate change” as an excuse to advance their own tyrannical rule, reduce population, and impoverish and destroy civilization.
And where are our warriors of the Right to stop them? Let’s see: there’s Stephen Harper and … Well, a few more names may spring to mind. And we do have the immense power of Reason on our side.
Which side is winning, would you say?
UNRWA should go.
(Indeed, the UN and all its agencies should go.)
This is from the Council on Foreign Relations, by Elliott Abrams. (We have cut out the bits where he praises the UN and its agencies, because we consider the UN to be a center of global evil.)
Since the end of the Second World War, millions of refugees have left refugee camps, and refugee status, and moved to countries that accepted them – quickly or slowly – as citizens.
Post-World War II Europe was an archipelago of displaced persons and refugee camps, housing 850,000 people in 1947 – Czechs, Poles, Lithuanians, Germans, Latvians, Greeks, and many more nationalities. By 1952, all but one of the camps had closed. …
Hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Europe went to Israel after 1948, and then hundreds of thousands more arrived from Arab lands when they were forced to flee after 1956 and 1967. The children and grandchildren of these refugees, born after their arrival, were never refugees themselves; they were from birth citizens of the new land, as their parents had become immediately upon their own arrival. …
The exception to this refugee story is the Palestinians. In most of the Arab lands to which they fled or travelled after 1948 they were often treated badly, and refused citizenship (with Jordan the major exception) or even the right to work legally. And instead of coming under the protection of UNHCR [the UN High Commissioner for Refugees] , they had a special agency of their own, UNRWA, the UN Relief and Works Agency. In the decades of its existence, it has not solved or even diminished the Palesinian refugee problem; instead it has presided over a massive increase in its size, for all the descendants of Palestinian refugees are considered to be refugees as well. Once there were 750,000; now there are five million people considered by UNRWA to be “Palestinian refugees.” And UNRWA is now the largest UN agency, with a staff of 30,000. UNHCR cares for the rest of the world with about 7,500 personnel.
The political background to this story is simple: only in the case of Israel was there a determined refusal to accept what had happened during and after World War II, with the establishment of the Jewish state and the increase in its population by the acceptance of refugee Jews. Of all the world’s refugees, whom UNHCR tries normally to resettle, only the Palestinians are an exception. UNRWA presides over generation after generation of additional refugees, and Arab states and leaders make believe that some day they can turn back the clock and send them – and their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren – to Israel. …
UNRWA should cease to exist, and Palestinian refugees should be handled by UNHCR with the intention of resettling them. …
Lest that position seem idiosyncratic, consider this: in 2010 Canada cut off its funding of UNRWA, and just now the Netherlands government has said it is considering the same action. How did they explain this? The foreign minister told parliament that Holland would “thoroughly review” its policy and the ruling party called UNRWA’s refugee definition “worrying”. UNRWA, said the party spokesman, “uses its own unique definition of refugees, different to the UN’s. The refugee issue is a big obstacle for peace. We therefore ask the government acknowledge this discrepancy, which leads to the third-generation Palestinian refugees.” Correction: fourth-generation, actually.
It is worth noting that there are many other criticisms of UNRWA: that it overlooks terrorist group activity in some camps, or allows members of Hamas and other terrorist groups to hold UNRWA staff positions. But those are criticisms of how UNRWA is carrying out its mission, while the deeper problem is the mission itself. That mission might accurately be described as enlarging the Palestinian refugee problem forever and thereby making any Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement tremendously more difficult if not impossible to achieve.
Closing UNRWA would in the end be a great favor to Palestinians who live outside the West Bank and Gaza … Some of those individuals will [we would say “may” – ed] some day move to the West Bank or Gaza, but they do not need UNRWA to do that. None of them will ever move to Israel, and the existence of UNRWA helps to maintain the cruel myth that they will.
The “peace process” seems stalled today; no negotiated final settlements is on the horizon. … Starting the process of closing down UNRWA would be a move toward peace, as it would replace the permanent perpetuation of the Palestinian refugee problem with a process designed to reduce it in size and some day solve it.
Even by Religion of Peace standards it was an unusually bloody weekend, with nearly 300 people massacred by Holy Warriors in suicide attacks in Yemen, a funeral in Iraq [at least 70 killed including children], the shopping mall in Kenya [at least 62 killed including many children, 175 injured], and a double bombing at a church in Pakistan [more than 80 killed]. – from The Religion of Peace.
More than 500 civilians killed by the forces of Islam. And nothing is being done to oppose them.
It is not a clash of civilizations, as is often said: it is a clash of civilization with barbarism. But either civilization has not yet woken up to that reality, or it is conniving at its own destruction.
One story of the massacre in the Kenya shopping mall is of the barbarian warriors entering a children’s shoe shop, demanding that the children trying on shoes recite “the Shahada” – a tribal chant about their nasty god, set down as the opening lines of the Koran – and shooting dead those who could not. Bullets in the little bodies. They were not Muslims so they had no right to live, according to the creed of the Muslim barbarians.
Most reports agree that it is a group belonging to the Somalian terrorist organization al-Shabaab, affiliated with al-Qaeda, that carried out the massacre of shoppers and their children in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. Among them are five Muslims from America, one from Canada, one from Finland, and one from Sweden. At the time of this writing there are still gunmen in the building on the loose, and they may be holding hostages.
Of the five from America, three are from Minnesota, and they – Daniel Greenfield reports at Front Page –
… were the subject of a propaganda recruitment video released by the organization Thursday. Titled The Path to Paradise: From the Twin Cities to the Land of Two Migrations, the nearly 40-minute post allegedly details the travels of Dahir Gure, Muhammad Al-Amriki and Mohamud Hassan to Somalia over 2007 and 2008.
In one segment, Al-Amriki, born Troy Kastigar, likened his experiences to being at an amusement park.
“If you guys only knew how much fun we have over here, this is the real Disneyland,” he said. “You need to come here and join us, and take pleasure in this fun.”
In a Townhall article today, David Stokes comments on a Time magazine cover story titled “The Child Free Life: When Having It All Means Not Having Children.” The theme is interesting to us – the scarcity of children in most of the First World, particularly in Europe.
The author recalls a speech President Theodore Roosevelt gave in France:
Finally, even more important than ability to work, even more important than ability to fight at need, is it to remember that chief of blessings for any nations is that it shall leave its seed to inherit the land. It was the crown of blessings in Biblical times and it is the crown of blessings now. The greatest of all curses is the curse of sterility, and the severest of all condemnations should be that visited upon willful sterility. The first essential in any civilization is that the man and women shall be father and mother of healthy children so that the [human] race shall increase and not decrease. If that is not so, if through no fault of the society there is failure to increase, it is a great misfortune. If the failure is due to the deliberate and willful fault, then it is not merely a misfortune, it is one of those crimes of ease and self-indulgence, of shrinking from pain and effort and risk, which in the long run Nature punishes more heavily than any other. If we of the great republics, if we, the free people who claim to have emancipated ourselves from the thralldom of wrong and error, bring down on our heads the curse that comes upon the willfully barren, then it will be an idle waste of breath to prattle of our achievements, to boast of all that we have done.
That’s right. Theodore Roosevelt told the French that they needed to keep having babies.
At the time of Roosevelt’s speech, France was a major world power. Today—not so much.
And he ascribes a reason for the numerical decline of the French nation:
There is enough blame for such decline in global influence to go around, but the increased secularism of Europe, with its penchant for socialized everything, has certainly played a role.
By “secularism” David Stokes clearly means the increasing absence of religious belief in states that have long – if not always – been secular. It is the absence or fading of religious belief that he blames (at least in part) for the dying out of Western nations.
Now more than 100 years later, there is an even greater threat to their cherished way of life. If only the French today would rediscover Teddy’s advice and reverse the birthrate trend—they might have a fighting chance. But such is the mindset of secularism, it is all about self and “fulfillment.” Issues of family, not to mention progeny are secondary, if thought about at all. Marriage is deferred—even eschewed. Children are planned—or better, planned around. And over time the birth rate in Europe has fallen far short of what is needed to keep up with the various demands of the future. In other words, the nations are aging. There are fewer children, yet more grandparents—a trend that will continue and accelerate.
All he says about the trend is true, but is he right about the cause?
He goes on, factually correct:
It takes a fertility rate of 2.1 births per woman to keep a nation’s population stable. The United States is drifting away from that. Canada has a rate of 1.48 and Europe as a whole weighs in at 1.38. What this means is that the money will run out, with not enough wage-earners at the bottom to support an older generation’s “entitlements.”
But even beyond that, the situation in France also reminds us of the opportunistic threat of Islamism. It is just a matter of time before critical mass is reached and formerly great bastions of democratic republicanism morph into caliphates. In the United Kingdom the Muslim population is growing 10 times faster than the rest of society. In fact, all across Western Europe it’s the same. The cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam are on track to have Muslim majority populations in a decade or two. A T-shirt that can be seen on occasion in Stockholm reads: “2030—Then We Take Over.”
And he concludes:
A few years ago, Britain’s chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, decried Europe’s falling birthrate, blaming it on “a culture of consumerism and instant gratification”.
“Europe is dying,” he said, “we are undergoing the moral equivalent of climate change and no one is talking about it.”
The Rabbi was right, and so was Teddy.
Was the Rabbi right?
Why are the indigenous peoples of Europe and other parts of the First World dying out?
Why are the Europeans willing to let the Muslims take over their countries?
Is it because of socialism?
On the one hand it can be argued that socialism discourages you from having children because the state – you believe – will look after you in your old age. It will care for you if you fall ill. It will make it easy for you to house and feed yourself because, if you don’t want to work, it will give you money. No need for more wage-earners in the family.
And there is a strong streak of anti-human life in the ideology of the far left. Among environmentalists in particular. They say that there are too many people on the planet – and angrily deny that the numbers are declining. Some even want there to be no people on the earth at all. They maintain that the absence of human beings would be better for shrimps and reptiles.
On the other hand, the socialist welfare state pays people to have children. In America, for instance, millions of women can have children without having a husband or wage-earner to help keep them because with every baby they get more money from the state. And the state also pays for the children’s education.
But then again, socialist economics don’t work. Sooner or later socialism brings an economy to disaster. Is it anticipation of dire poverty that keeps people from breeding? About half the voters in most western countries regularly vote for socialism, so that can’t be a compelling reason.
All this considered, the argument that socialism is to blame for the suicide of the West is not convincing. It may account for an eventual death by inanition, but not for the slow suicide.
Is it because of “consumerism”?
Perhaps. But what proof is there? Do anecdotes about individuals and couples saying they prefer to use their money for a high standard of living – cars, travel and so on – rather than on raising children, prove the case? Not unless they reflect the decisions of a majority, and who has collected and counted them?
By “consumerism” (the preferred term now for what they used to call “materialism” or “conspicuous consumption”) its critics mean comfortable living, good cars, travel and so on. In other words, they ascribe the fall in the birth-rate to prosperity.
Did prosperous people in past times not have children, or choose to have only a few? Not as far as we know. In Victorian times most families, rich as well as poor, were large. And since those who owned much had much to pass on and keep in the family, wealth may have positively stimulated reproduction.
But of course in the days when wealthy families were large, parents had servants to look after their children. Most people now, even if they can afford live-in servants, do not have them. So perhaps it’s not so much the desire for more luxurious living but the desire not to be “tied down” by children. Having to stay in with them at night. Not being able to go on holiday when you choose because of their school schedule. Not being able easily to part from their other parent when you’re sick of him or her.
Implied by the word “consumerism” is another word: “capitalism”. Though not all who condemn consumerism may be aware that the one word is haunted by the other. As David Stokes’s column appears at Townhall, we may reasonably assume that he’s a conservative. American conservatives are not consciously against capitalism; they are against socialism, as we are. But too many of them are religious. Too many of them are Christians. It is Christian puritanism that inspires the strange prejudice – if not against prosperity as such, against the signs of it: high living standards, costly cars, expensive travel and so on. Only in theory, we observe. We confidently expect that most religious critics of “consumerism” have – or aspire to have – a high standard of living for themselves, own costly cars, and jet to their summer vacation on a cruise-ship or a multi-starred hotel. They are seldom in fact less materialistic or less self-indulgent than the “secularists” they scorn. And they are not against having children. The American fertility-rate – which is the measure of population stability, or increase, or decrease – has until very recently been stable while Europe’s declined.
But what of religion? Is its absence the cause we are looking for?
Is it because of “secularism”?
By “secularism” David Stokes clearly means the fading of religious belief in states that have long – if not always – been secular. And it is the absence or fading of religious belief that he blames for the dying out of Western nations.
Such is the mindset of secularism, it is all about self and “fulfillment.”
Is there no self-fulfillment in having children? Don’t many feel that having a child is more self-fulfilling than anything else?
It does seem to be the case that fewer people are religious, or most people are less religious in Europe now. How did religion formerly keep the birth-rate up?
The mainly Catholic countries used to have bigger families because birth control was forbidden by their Church. So perhaps now that the Roman Church has lost much of its power, more Catholics use contraception. But that explanation doesn’t affect the traditionally Protestant countries of northern Europe, and there too the indigenous populations are shrinking. (And one thing Christians who bemoan the dearth of children seem to forget is that St Paul recommended celibacy. Marry if you must, he taught, but it is better to remain unmarried and chaste like him and Jesus Christ. Not a formula for re-populating Europe.)
The bible states that Jehovah enjoins the Jews to be fruitful, to multiply. And Israel is one of the few Western countries where the population is increasing – although Israel is a secular state. Perhaps the old religious injunction continues to have a subliminal effect.
So if socialism is not the reason why the people of the West are ever more unwilling to have children, nor “consumerism”, nor “secularism” – what is?
We don’t know. Nobody does.
But if the suicide of the West means the loss of our civilization – which it very well may – it will be a great tragedy. One of the greatest tragedies of history.
Jillian Becker August 11, 2013
Of only we – the human race – could control the cosmic forces at work in our galaxy!
To be more realistic, we could at least try to manipulate the forces that affect the climates of our own planet. The best we can do at present is make small local changes. Plant a forest and get more rain. That sort of thing. Sometimes we wonder if there’s anything we could do – for instance – to warm the planet a little. Wouldn’t that be good?
But for the foreseeable future it must remain a dream.
This is from PJ Media, by Tom Harris:
On December 15, … leading scientists appeared before the Canadian Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources to challenge global warming advocacy. The hearing was the first of its kind in Canada. …
Guelph University Professor of Economics Dr. Ross McKitrick led off the hearing, explaining that the foundation of the climate scare — the science as promulgated by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — cannot be trusted:
The so-called Climategate emails confirmed the reality of bias and cronyism in the IPCC process. … IPCC Assessments are guaranteed merely to repeat and reinforce a set of foregone conclusions that make up the party line.
McKitrick explained how his research showed that much of the warming seen in the IPCC surface temperature record is almost certainly a result of urbanization, agriculture, and other land use changes, not greenhouse gases (GHG). He also found that the 50-year record of temperatures measured by balloons does not show the warming trend forecast by climate models.
University of Ottawa (U of O) Professor of Earth Sciences Dr. Ian Clark addressed the committee:
We have not really seen any global warming for the past 10 years. … This is in stark contrast with the IPCC forecast of an increase of some 0.2 degrees per decade.
Clark explained that 20th century warming is merely one of a series of warm periods in the last 10,000 years. During these intervals, carbon dioxide — the greenhouse gas most targeted by governments around the world — was relatively steady:
CO2 had nothing to do with these warming periods.
Clark continued, showing that the last 500 million years show no correlation between temperature and CO2. He explained that water vapor is in fact responsible for the majority of the greenhouse effect. Clark also promoted the theory that the Sun, not CO2, is driving climate change. …
U of Ottawa Distinguished University Professor Dr. Jan Veizer spoke next:
Many people think the science of climate change is settled. It is not. … [The Sun] drives the water cycle; the water cycle then generates climate, and climate decides how much jungle, how much tundra and so on we will have, and therefore drives around the carbon cycle. … The sun also warms the oceans that emit CO2 into the atmosphere. Atmospheric CO2 is thus the product and not the cause of the climate.
Veizer explained that solar output must be amplified to explain recent warming:
The IPCC argues that because no amplifier is known, which is an invalid assertion, man made greenhouse gases must be responsible. … However, this is an assumption. … There is no actual empirical experimental proof that carbon dioxide is a driver.
Veizer then showed that changes in cloudiness can account for much of the past century’s warming. Clouds have an enormous impact on temperature, he explained, and cloud extent appears to be controlled largely by cosmic rays entering the atmosphere, which are regulated by the Sun.
Carleton University Professor of Geology Dr. Timothy Patterson discussed how his research in the fjords of British Columbia revealed consistent correlations between solar cycles and climate over the past 5,000 years:
Hundreds of other studies have shown exactly the same thing. … The sun, and not variations in carbon dioxide, appears to be the most important driver of climate change. … Solar scientists predict that by later in this decade the sun will be starting into its weakest solar cycle of the past two centuries, and this will likely lead to unusually cool conditions on earth, which may persist for decades. … It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world.