The Left, as a whole, in the Western World, has become far more extreme in this century than it was in the last. The Socialist and “Conservative” parties of Europe, the Democratic Party of America, the universities everywhere, the media and the film industries, book publishers, song writers, judiciaries, and a slightly varying half of the voters in almost all Western countries, are predominantly of one opinion, consciously or semi-consciously, articulately or silently, that Marx and Lenin, and even (though their names may be spoken a shade more sotto voce) Stalin and Mao, were right.
This is from Front Page, by Vladimir Tismaneanu:
It has become fashionable among leftist circles to invoke a return to Lenin, to radicalism, to utopia. Among those who advocate such imperatives to “retest the communist hypothesis” one can count French philosopher Alain Badiou, a former admirer of the Khmer Rouge, and Slovene thinker, Slavoj Zizek, the new idol of Western university campuses, subject of documentary hagiographic movies, and prophet of a new phantasmagoric world revolution.
To know more about Slavoj Zizek, see our post Red alert, January 21, 2009. And to get the flavor of the man, watch the video at the foot of this post.
Did the partisans of such positions ever stop to think how it would sound a call for “retesting the Nazi hypothesis”? One must be totally oblivious to history, an incurable cynic, in order to ignore the fact that Leninism, just like National-Socialism, means political terrorism, the apotheosis of fanatical partisanship, the boundless cult of violence and nihilism, etc. In short, Leninism presupposes … the destruction of the inner man. Leninism is theoretical and practical anti-humanism.
‘The inner man” in this context means the individual for himself alone, not as a unit of “society”.
There have been conferences and symposia where Lenin is presented, in an academic context and without any trace of compassion for the millions of victims of “the great experiment”, as the philosopher of the break with an order putatively condemned by history.
The “order putatively condemned by history” is of course capitalism, or the free market. Those who condemn it and praise “the great [Communist] experiment” have not noticed that the free market has brought widespread prosperity wherever it has been allowed to, or that Lenin’s experiment, the miserable Soviet Union, failed and fell and lost the Cold War.
All in all, it is unsurprising that the prophets of violence worship Lenin. What is surprising is that intellectuals, who should have learnt from the catastrophes of the 20th century, are engaged in an endeavor driven by programmatic irresponsibility. It is simply shocking that in countries where the Leninist model was implemented, one can still read and hear hymns honoring the architect of a criminal system.
Should we be amazed by all this? What could one expect from the epigones of Georg Lukacs, the Marxist philosopher who declared … that he preferred the worst form of socialism to the best incarnation of capitalism. …
Georg Lukacs was the Hungarian Commissar, and philosopher of drama and art, on whom Jillian Becker’s character L is based in her novel L: A Novel History.
Real history does not matter for such sectarians. What does matter is the dogma to which they are faithful in total disregard of reality. … It is quite telltale that one of Hugo Chavez’s intellectual heroes was Istvan Meszaros, one of Lukacs’s former students who … has remained a flaming Marxist, faithful to the dialectical sophistries of his mentor.
An excellent example of such world-view is a recent memoir by a Romanian Marxist intellectual, Ion Ianosi, who happened to be deeply involved for long stretches of time in the ideologization of the country’s culture during communism. The volume’s title is My International. Some critics glorify the book as testimony of heartfelt sincerity. What is missing in those more than 800 pages is an honest analysis of Bolshevism as justification of social genocide. Ion Ianosi seemingly excels on topics such as “Marx and Art”, “Lenin and Art”, pretty much the same fields for which his expertise was called upon during his activity within the Romanian communist party’s Agitprop. But Ianosi shies away from trying his expert pen on topics such as the crimes against humanity inspired by the Marxist-Leninist ideology.
Even before the Bolsheviks’ coming into power, it was clear that Lenin was a fanatical propagandist, a utopian ideologue fixated on social purity and purification, an heir to Robespierre and St. Just, but no philosopher. Philosophy implies doubt and Lenin was the man without doubts. …
Lenin was the practitioner of a simplistic, partisan, and exclusivist philosophy. He rejected emphatically any possibility for a middle path, of a tertium datur between what he called “bourgeois ideology” and the “proletarian” one.
We at TAC are all for “bourgeois ideology”, if the bourgeoisie as such – the successful middle class – can be said to have such a dusty thing as an ideology. We value the middle class, anyway, above the others, because out of it has come almost every one of those men (and handful of women) who have advanced our civilization and augmented the glory of our culture in the last five hundred years. (Though also most of those who’ve done our civilization the worst harm, such as Marx, Lenin, Lukacs …)
Lenin’s Manichaeism [bourgeois bad, proletarian good] was inexorable. For Lenin and his followers, ideas were (are) always the manifestation of class interests. … This is the meaning of a notion essential for the Leninist conception about ideas, ideologies and philosophical consciousness: partiinost – partisanship, class position, militant commitment, total and abject subordination to the party line.
Leninism is a revolutionary doctrine that sanctifies political violence and condemns entire social categories to state-engineered extinction. It is … rooted in the visceral contempt for the rule of law, legality, and the universality of human rights. “Back to Lenin” means a return to barbarism, blindness, and murder.
We are not enamored of the phrase “human rights”. We prefer to speak of human freedom, which we suppose is what Professor Tismaneanu, who has lived under Communism in Romania, probably means.
Now here’s Slavoj Zizek. He starts at about the 2 minute mark. Don’t expect to be rewarded for over 15 minutes of paying attention with any impressive ideas. He says nothing much, but with strong emphasis, and what he does say is notably wrong. For instance, that Norway is intolerant of immigrants! (Go here to test this notion, and to any other of Bruce Bawer’s numerous articles on the same subject.) He thinks the major political groupings in Europe are now the “capitalist anti-immigrants” on one side and the [Islamic] immigrants on the other. (Would it were so! ) He calls himself a Leftist, though oddly declaring that in America there is “an excess of anti-capitalism”; calls Fox News “the enemy”; and implies that the worst problem facing mankind is … you guessed it … global-warming.
There is a formula for a nation’s success and happiness: have children and a free market economy.
Other nations may hate you and envy you; attack you with words, sanctions, terrorism, and rockets; but still you will thrive, prosper, innovate, and grow.
Caroline Glick writes:
A lot has changed since the 1990s. Twenty years after Yitzhak Rabin shook Yasser Arafat’s hand on the White House lawn and so officially ushered in Israel’s Age of Terror, most Israelis don’t really care what the Europeans or the Arabs think of us.
The Europeans prattle on about Israeli racism, and threaten to put yellow stars or some other nasty mark on Israeli goods. They ban Israeli books from their libraries in Scotland. They boycott Israeli universities, professors and students in England. In Italy they hold rallies for convicted mass murderer Marwan Barghouti at their national Senate. And in France they butcher Jewish children.
And then the likes of Catherine Ashton [EU Representative for Foreign Affairs] expect us to care what they think about us.
Well, we don’t.
… The Europeans and the Americans and their Israeli followers miss the fact that the easiest way to build a secure and peaceful world is not by wooing terrorists. The best way to achieve these goals is by accepting the world as it is. This is what the Israeli people has done. True, we needed to have our fantasies blown away in suicide bombings before we reconciled ourselves to this simple truth. But life has been better, happier and more secure since we did.
The “international community’s” inability to accept that sober-minded contentment is better than pipe dream fantasies has caused leftist writers in Israel, Europe and the US alike to express mystification at a recent survey carried out by the OECD, which ranks Israelis among the happiest people in the world. The ranking made no sense to commentators.
Israelis work harder than other members of the OECD. We complain more than other members of the OECD. We don’t have “peace.” And yet, we are among the happiest people in the OECD.
What gives? For decades before we embarked on the phony peace process, Israel was a model socialist state. We had paralyzing tax rates and failed government industries that crowded private entrepreneurship out of the market. Monopolies ran every sector and provided shoddy goods and horrible services at astronomical prices. The Histadrut labor union owned most of the economy along with the government and in every sector, Histadrut commissars ensured that anyone with an ounce of initiative was subject to unending abuse. …
Just about the time we began extricating ourselves from our socialist straitjacket, we were also recognizing that the peace thing wasn’t everything it was cracked up to be. And at that point we began to understand that happiness and success aren’t about what other people give you – money, treaties, a phone line after a five-year wait. Happiness and success are about what you accomplish.
We think that statement bears repeating: Happiness and success are about what you accomplish.
At that point, sometime between 1996 and 2000, Israelis began creating large families and embracing the free market.
Today, with an average of three children per family, Israelis are the fecund outliers of the industrial world. … There is a direct correlation between children and human happiness. This is why fruitful Israelis have the lowest suicide rate in the industrial world.
When you have children, you have a future. And when you have a future, you work hard to secure it, and have a generally optimistic outlook. …
Israelis are also happy because we see that we can build the future we want for our families and our country even without another glitzy signing ceremony at the White House every six months. Our country is getting stronger and more livable every day. And we know it.
Those on the international stage that share our view that life is about more than pieces of paper signed with Arab anti-Semites recognize what is happening. For them Israel is not “that shi**y little country.” It’s “The Little Engine that Could.”
Take the Chinese. Last July China signed a deal with Israel to build an inland port in Eilat and a 180- km. freight railway to connect Eilat to Israel’s Mediterranean ports in Ashdod and Haifa. The purpose of the project is to build an alternative to the Suez Canal, in Israel. The Chinese look at the region, and they see that Egypt is a failed state that can’t even afford its wheat imports. The future of shipping along the Suez Canal is in doubt with riots in Port Said and Suez occurring on a regular basis.
On the other hand, Israel is a stable, prosperous, successful democracy that keeps moving from strength to strength. When the freight line is completed, as far as the global economy is concerned, Israel will become the most strategically important country in the region.
Then there is our newfound energy wealth. Israel became energy independent on March 30, when the Tamar offshore gas field began pumping natural gas to Israel. In two to three years, when the Leviathan gas field comes online, Israel will become one of the most important producers of natural gas in the world.
Moreover, in 2017, Israel will likely begin extracting commercial quantities of oil from its massive oil shale deposits …
Geologists assess that the field alone contains some 250 billion barrels of oil, giving Israel oil parity with Saudi Arabia. Chinese, Russian and Australian firms are lining up to sign contracts with Israeli energy companies. International analysts assess that Israel’s emergence as an energy power will have a stabilizing impact on the global economy and international security. Israel can end Asia’s oil and gas hunger. It can reduce European dependence on Russia. It will remove OPEC’s ability to dictate world oil prices through supply manipulation.
Israel’s discovery of its energy riches couldn’t have come at a more propitious time. Had Israel discovered its oil and gas 65 or even 20 years ago, we wouldn’t have had the economic maturity to manage our resources responsibly. But now, with our free market, our hi-tech sector and our entrepreneurial culture, we can develop and manage our resources wisely and successfully.
At 65, Israel is becoming a mature, responsible, prosperous and powerful player in the international arena. The only thing we need to ensure that we enjoy the fruits of our labors is security. And the one thing we can do to squander it all is place our hopes in “peace.”
And so we won’t, ever again.
Seventeen months ago, on September 30, 2011, we posted an article on how Islam was winning its jihad against the non-Islamic world.
Here’s part of it:
Islam’s terrorist tactic is proving hugely powerful and has gained victories that would have been unimaginable a few years ago. It has cowed all the governments of western Europe, and innumerable authorities at all levels in the US. Islam is advancing day by day. Its terrorism is not practiced continually in all target countries, but the threat of it, and the memories of what has been done and could be done again at any moment, are always there. Because authorities are afraid, Islam creeps on.
Day by day, in Western countries into which Muslims migrate in ever-growing numbers, Islam gains its concessions, its privileges: here a mosque; there a partition of a public swimming pool for Muslim women; here a prayer room in a government building; there the removal from a public library of famous children’s books with pictures of pigs in them; here (in Britain for instance) the allowing of sharia courts and the upholding of their rulings by the state; there entitlements tamely paid to multiple Muslim wives by a welfare state with laws against polygamy; and here and here and here the establishment of faculties of Islamic studies, or even whole colleges, with immense grants of money from the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia. Chunks of history, such as the Holocaust, are omitted from school courses because they might offend Muslim students – let truth be damned. Defense contracting companies in the US fall under the ownership of Muslims, who divert a part of the profits – and what defense secrets? – to the Muslim Brotherhood. In places of hot battle, Iraq is plagued with terrorist attacks day after day; and in Afghanistan the Taliban is undefeated and undefeatable, and ready to re-assume its despotic rule when the coalition soldiers have departed. In Libya an al-Qaeda leader has seized a position of power. And all the while, the mullahs of Iran are preparing to attack the West with nuclear weapons.
True, there have not been any more planes flown into buildings in America, but smaller plots of destruction and mass murder are constantly being laid. True, some of them are foiled, but some are attempted (such as an underwear bomb in a plane over Detroit) and some carried out (such as the massacre at Fort Hood), and the motive behind all of them remains: jihad, the holy war of Islam, perpetually waged one way and another for the conquest of the world by successive generations of Muslims, and coming closer to success now than ever before in history.
Not a word needs to be changed.
Here’s a justly angry video about Afghan asylum-seekers accepted into Sweden. For supporting, coddling, protecting them, their hosts are repaid with rape and arson. The Afghans know they can get away with it, so they indulge themselves to their savage hearts’ content.
Terresa Monroe-Hamilton at Right Side News reports and comments with intense indignation:
[The victim] now resides in an insane asylum, while her attackers are either roaming free or soon will be. Let me spell it out for you in indelicate language – they brutally raped her to the point of her intestines coming out and now her insides are screwed up. She suffers fecal incontinence – in other words, she can’t control her bowels anymore. She’s 29 for cripes sake! Normally, I would say she is lucky to be alive – but that is debatable.
Here are two stories of asylum-seeking in Europe.
News story one:
Abu Qatada could be here for life: Judges admit he’s very dangerous but won’t kick him out… as HIS human rights come first
See our posts The tale of a Muslim terrorist parasite, January 18, 2012, and Human rights are wrongs in Europe, January 6, 2013, for the long drawn out and infuriating history of Abu Qatada in Britain.
The judges said that while Qatada’s deportation was “long overdue”, his risk to the public was not “a relevant consideration” under human rights laws.
Q: What about the “human rights” of his reluctant host population?
A: In Europe, Muslim rights always take precedence.
The verdict drew a furious response from the Tories and sparked new demands for the Government to ignore the courts and simply throw him out of the country.
The Appeal Court yesterday upheld an earlier verdict that sending the hate preacher to face a terror trial in Jordan would not be fair.
Being “fair” is a traditional British – and now apparently European – value. The idea of being “fair” to a terrorist is a lunacy – unless one understands it as first putting him or her in the hands of those inventive US soldiers at Abu Ghraib and then executing him.
Home Secretary Theresa May will now lodge a last-ditch appeal to the Supreme Court. If that fails, it would raise the prospect of Qatada … Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe – never being deported. He could apply to be freed within days.
He is in Belmarsh high-security jail for breaching his immigration bail conditions. He “has been linked to a long list of international terrorists [and] featured in hate sermons found on videos in the flat of one of the September 11 bombers.”
Qatada … has now defied the wishes of six Labour and Tory home secretaries over eight years.
Yesterday Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Labour and the Liberal Democrats’ refusal to contemplate big changes to human rights law is inexplicable given problems like this. I am bitterly unhappy that we have to wait until the next general election to sort this out.” …
Ministers have been trying for a decade to send Qatada to Jordan, where he is accused of plotting a terrorist atrocity …
His removal was originally approved by the British courts, only to be halted by the European Court of Human Rights last year. Judges in Strasbourg said he would not get a fair trial because some of the evidence used against him may have been obtained by torture. Controversially, Mrs May opted not to appeal against this verdict. …
Instead, she and her ministers secured personal promises from the Jordanian authorities there would be no use of torture evidence, and began the deportation process again in the UK legal system.
But last November, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission said it was not satisfied with the assurances, and halted Qatada’s removal. The court said it must reflect the Strasbourg ruling. …
Tory MPs have repeatedly urged Mrs May to ignore the courts and throw Qatada out.
But that would mean taking the unprecedented step of defying judges in both Europe and Britain.
Last night, there was growing unrest among Tories at the failure to get rid of the cleric.
Backbencher Dominic Raab said: “The Government made a strategic mistake in the way it argued this case. There is nothing in the European Convention or UK law that says we have to guarantee fair trials at the other end when we deport foreign criminals or terrorists. If we had made clear that we rejected Strasbourg’s ruling – and meddling – on principle at the outset, the UK Border Agency could have deported Qatada without the UK courts stopping them.”
He will probably be freed, and if he is -
Qatada would go back under round-the-clock surveillance estimated to cost £100,000 a week, or £5million a year.
News Story Two:
Iranian Christians Denied Asylum Even Though Arrest, Torture and Death Await Back in Iran
Iranian Christian applying for asylum in Sweden have been denied their request for asylum even though authorities know these Christians face arrest, torture and death if they were to be forced to return. …
A number of Iranian Christians facing persecution for their faith back home have reportedly been denied asylum in Sweden, despite authorities being aware of the hardships awaiting them if they are returned to their homeland. …
Sweden … has been described as one of the most progressive countries in the world. However [or should that be "Therefore", since Progressives are on the side of Islam? - ed], the Swedish Immigration Board is rejecting their request despite knowing that the converts face arrest, torture and even death back home. …
The Immigration Board has apparently questioned the validity of the converts’ Christian faith, accusing them of trying to scheme their way to asylum. But the senior pastor of the Iranian church in Stockholm has testified that the believers have served on the worship team at the church and contributed to Iranian Christian TV networks and websites. …
“We have told our families in Iran that we are Christian now, and they have disowned us. So we don’t have a family to return to. Our blood is now halal – it is holy for Muslims to kill us,” said Ali Roshan and Mahtab Shafadi, who were denied asylum to Sweden with their young daughter.
So back they must go. Unless … we wonder …. what if they applied to Britain for asylum?
Naa! Obviously, Europe prefers Muslims.
Note well: All this grief comes from religion.
Obama did not hide his intention to transform America. He stated that he would. What he did not say is what he would transform it into. But even a superficial acquaintance with his upbringing among dedicated Communists, education by Marxist professors, chosen affiliations to revolutionary and even terrorist Leftists, and activity as a “community organizer” could have told anyone paying attention in what direction he would try to move the country if he was elected to the presidency. He clearly intended to transform, if he could, a free capitalist country into an unfree socialist country. (What could not have been foreseen, but has become starkly clear, is that he also favors the advance of Islam in the US and the world.)
How a radical Leftist activist, once in power, might set about transforming America into a socialist country was blueprinted by Saul Alinsky - initiator of “community organizing” – in his Rules for Radicals. And Saul Alinsky had a blueprint in the works of Antonio Gramsci.
There’s an excellent survey of the life and works of Antonio Gramsci at Discover the Networks. Here’s an extract:
Antonio Gramsci was born in Sardinia on January 22, 1891. After graduating from the Dettori Lyceum in Cagliari, he won a scholarship to the University of Turin in 1911; by this point in his life, he was ideologically a socialist.
Four years later he became an active member of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) and began a journalistic career that saw him develop into one of Italy’s most influential writers. In the Turin edition of Avanti! (PSI’s official organ), Gramsci wrote a regular column on various aspects of the city’s social and political life.
Also active in educating and organizing Turin’s workers, Gramsci in 1916 began speaking periodically at workers’ study-circles on such topics as the French and Italian revolutions and the writings of Karl Marx.
When Russia’s Bolshevik revolution broke out in 1917, Gramsci embraced the goal of spreading socialist transformation throughout the capitalist world.
In the spring of 1919, Gramsci co-founded L’Ordine Nuovo: Rassegna Settimanale di Cultura Socialista (The New Order: A Weekly Review of Socialist Culture), which became an influential periodical among Italy’s radical and revolutionary Left. Meanwhile he continued to devote much of his time and energy to the development of the factory council movement, which sought to advance the cause of a proletarian revolution in Italy.
In January 1921 Gramsci aligned himself with the Communist minority within PSI at the Party’s Livorno Congress, and soon thereafter he became a central committee member of the Italian Communist Party (PCI).
From May 1922 to November 1923, Gramsci lived in Moscow as an Italian delegate to the Communist International. In 1924 he relocated to Rome and was named general secretary of PCI. He also began organizing the launch of PCI’s official newspaper, L’Unità (Unity).
In 1926, Italy’s Fascist government enacted a host of “Exceptional Laws for State Security,” designed to suppress political opposition. On November 8th of that year, Gramsci was arrested in Rome and was sentenced to 5 years in confinement on the island of Ustica. In June 1928, his prison sentence was increased to more than 20 years, including a stint in solitary confinement. …
He died, still under guard, in a Rome hospital in 1937.
During his years as a prisoner, Gramsci filled 32 notebooks (containing almost 3,000 pages) with his political and philosophical meditations on how Marxist theory could be applied practically to the conditions of advanced capitalism. …
Gramsci accepted Marx’s assertion that perpetual struggle between the ruling class and the subordinate working class was the driving mechanism that ultimately made social progress possible. But he rejected the notion that direct physical coercion by police and armies was the method of choice for achieving and maintaining victory in that struggle. Rather, Gramsci held that if a population at large could, for a period of time, be properly indoctrinated with a new “ideology”—specifically, a set of values, beliefs, and worldviews consistent with Marxist principles — a Marxist system could be sustained indefinitely and without coercion or force. In short, Gramsci held that Marxists needed to focus their efforts on gaining “hegemony” (i.e., control or dominion) over the core beliefs of non-Marxist societies; to change the population’s understanding of what constitutes basic “common sense.”
Such a development, said Gramsci, would never occur naturally as a result of some inexorable, unseen, “historical laws” that Marx had accepted as axiomatic. Rather, Gramsci asserted that Marxism’s potential for transforming society was wholly dependent upon the willful initiative of activists committed to using a “reversal strategy” designed to establish a “counter hegemony”—i.e., an alternative dominant worldview—in opposition to the existing capitalist framework.
Specifically, Gramsci called for Marxists to spread their ideology in a gradual, incremental, stealth manner, by infiltrating all existing societal institutions and embedding it, largely without being noticed, in the popular mind. This, he emphasized, was to be an evolutionary, rather than a revolutionary, process that, over a period of decades, would cause an ever-increasing number of people to embrace Marxist thought, until at last it achieved hegemony. Gramsci described this approach as a “long march through the institutions”.
Among the key institutions that would need to be infiltrated were the cinema and theater, the schools and universities, the seminaries and churches, the media, the courts, the labor unions, and at least one major political party. According to Gramsci, these institutions constituted society’s “superstructure,” which, if captured and reshaped by Marxists, could lead the masses to abandon capitalism of their own volition, entirely without resistance or objection.
Gramsci’s formula was followed by Marxists throughout the Western world. “The long march through the institutions” was doggedly pursued. From the 1960s on, they began to achieve success, perhaps beyond their own optimistic expectations. And in 2008 their efforts were crowned by the election of Barack Obama to the most politically powerful position in the world.
Socialism (or “Communism” – even in the USSR the two words were used interchangeably) is an economic dream-system that cannot succeed. So it will not succeed. But it takes time for a socialist state to fail completely, and in the meantime it does ruinous and painful harm.
In Europe the failure of socialism is gathering pace as calamities crowd to a fall.
In America the harm is only just beginning.
Reality to Feminists: Give up, go home, stay close to the marital bed and the kitchen.
According to this report, tens of thousands of Western women are converting to Islam because they long to submit themselves - to a husband and to Allah. It comes from Radical Islam, by Abigail R. Esman:
The first thing the Dutch girl did once she’d converted to Islam was change her name – to Soumaya, she says, because “she was the first martyr. She was prepared to die for Allah.”
Soumaya … is one of a wave of tens of thousands of Westerners who convert to Islam every year, more than 75 percent of whom, astonishingly, are women. Equally surprising is the fact that most of these women gravitate to conservative Islamic groups – the more misogynistic and oppressive ones – insisting all the while that they feel “liberated” and “free.”
Reading through dozens of stories of such women, one can’t help but notice the similarities among them. All claim to have embraced Islam of their own free will; yet an overwhelming majority, like Soumaya (whose story was profiled in the Dutch newspaper Het Parool), converted only after dating (or wedding) a Muslim man, usually – interestingly enough – a Moroccan (even in countries like England, where Moroccans do not form the majority Muslim population).
Others speak of “finding themselves” after years of wild drink and drugs – a pattern similar to that found in male prison converts, who often are convinced by other Muslim inmates to seek salvation through Allah. They repeat, as if by rote, the same rhetoric about escaping the sexual objectification of women by adopting the hijab or full-body abaya …
Hilariously, Soumaya, along with all the other young women profiled, appears photographed in hijab and a full face of makeup – which, of course, is what women wear in order to appear more beautiful to men. In so doing, they ignore … the very essence of what such coverings in fact represent: The notion that a woman is nothing but a sexual object, and therefore must be kept hidden …
Young female converts speak of wanting to be a good Muslim and a good wife; the two become equated, acted out in a life of feminine submission, first to her husband and then, by extension, to Allah.
Free marketeers should never let go of the proposition that taxation is theft.
However, as they are realists, they have also to concede – very grudgingly – that some money must be given to a government. As little as possible. Just enough for it to do what only a government can do: protect the country and the freedom of everyone in it.
So okay, governments may take a small percentage of earners’ incomes and label it “not stolen”.
But they always take more, and that’s morally abhorrent.
They make their immorality look honest by dressing it in laws.
Needless to say, the biggest thieves are the socialists. The more socialist a government is, the more it robs the nation. The fatter the government, the thinner the people.
Every now and then a government reveals its naked criminality. As now, for instance, in Cyprus, where the state is visibly extending its prehensile claw to snatch people’s money out of the banks. It calls the looting a tax.
This is from an article by Paul A. Rahe at Ricochet:
This weekend, the government of Greek Cyprus — under pressure from the European Union — negotiated a bailout that had as one of its provisions an assessment on the capital of those with deposits in the banks on Cyprus.
“An assessment on the capital” implies taxing, but the intention is to steal a portion of it.
Those with under 100,000 Euros in their accounts are slated to receive a 6.6% haircut while those with more than 100,000 Euros in their accounts will be docked 9.9%.
Rumor has it that the first proposal by the EU muggers in power was to seize 40%.
Whether the government can secure the approval of the Cypriot legislature for this unprecedented move remains unclear. There is talk of lowering the tax on deposits under 100,000 Euros to 3% and of raising the tax on larger deposits to 12.5%. But while the difference no doubt matters to ordinary Cypriots, whose savings are modest, and to the Russian oligarchs who have parked huge sums in the Cypriot banks, when viewed from a larger perspective, it matters not one whit. Indeed, at this point, it does not even matter whether the Cypriot government backs off from this plan altogether.
Banks are fiduciary institutions. They rely on trust; and, if there is a breach of trust, they are cooked. Individuals deposit money in banks instead of stuffing it in their mattresses because they believe that it will be safe there. Once they realize or even suspect that the money they put in the bank is anything but safe, they will take what is left of their money and run — and the bank will collapse. …
The Greeks will draw their own conclusions, as will the Spanish and the Italians and perhaps even the Irish and the French. No one who lives in a country that is in financial trouble and that may need emergency help from the European Union will entrust his loose change to a bank in his own country. The Euros in his mattress will retain their full value; those which he entrusts to the bank may, at least in part, be confiscated. …
That’s assuming the state won’t expropriate his Euro-stuffed mattress.
It would be hard to imagine what one could do to turn an ongoing crisis into a total catastrophe that would be more effective than the terms imposed by the European Union on Cyprus. That such a move is in contemplation is an indication of the degree to which the authorities in Brussels and Nicosia are in the grips of desperation.
And are foolish. And criminal.
Greek Cyprus got into in trouble in large part because of … Russian [mafia] deposits. The banks there had a great deal more money than they knew what to do with on the island, and so they loaned money to their less than creditworthy cousins in the republic of Greece. Now they have obligations that they cannot pay, and so they have turned to Brussels.
Had Greek Cyprus not joined the Euro, this problem would be relatively easy to solve. The government could simply devalue the currency and give the Cypriot banks’ Russian depositors a haircut in this time-honored fashion. That is what was done with considerable regularity in places such as Greece and Italy before they joined the Euro; and, if the Cypriots could do it now, it would have this virtue. The haircut imposed on their own citizens would — initially, at least — be less onerous. Abroad, the savings of the Cypriots would buy them less, to be sure. But, at home, for a while, it would buy them what it had before. Moreover, what the Cypriots produced at home would be more competitive in the world market — since its purchase would set the buyer back less — and as a tourist destination the island would be more attractive, since accommodations and food would for foreigners be cheaper than it had been. For a time, there might even be a boom.
I am not suggesting that devaluation is a joy nor that its long-term consequences are salutary. It isn’t a joy, and the consequences are not good. Inflation is apt to erupt, and inflation can all too easily become habitual. But a devaluation of the currency would not lead to a complete collapse of credit, which this tax on savings might well achieve.
Credit, you need to keep in mind, is what makes the world go round. Modern economies do not operate on cash. They operate on credit — which is to say, they rely on the very trust against which the European Union and the Greek Cypriot government have launched a devastating attack.
Bill Tatro points out that such robbery by the state could happen in America:
To think those types of financial and economic events couldn’t happen here, hmmmmm…..In 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared a national bank moratorium (he closed all banks.) Then, via Executive Order 6102, the government confiscated all gold and gold certificates, exchanging them for paper. Consequently, if you didn’t surrender your gold, you went to jail. The price of gold was set at $20.67 per ounce. Yet, within a year, the government reset the price to $35.00 per ounce, effectively fleecing the American public by 69%.
And speaking of rip-offs, just remember that … in 2009, President Barack Obama [when he bailed out GM] rejected the rule of law for GM senior and subordinated debtholders, thus relegating them to the back of the line. …
[And remember that] after extensive 2011 Congressional analysis failed to discover where the missing $1.6 billion of MF Global customer money had gone, J.P. Morgan was recently found to not have disclosed the risks taken and monies lost by the excess deposits as compared to the loans domiciled at J.P. Morgan. …
Following the “lost decade” of investment (2000-2009) which shed a very bright light on the failure of self-directed retirement accounts, former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner discussed the possibility of nationalizing IRAs and 401ks [retirement savings accounts] …
So, regarding the current situation involving the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, can it happen right here in our country? …
It has happened, it is happening right now, and it will continue to happen.
An IBD editorial reports and comments:
Markets tumbled after Cyprus and the EU said they might tax private bank accounts to pay for a bailout. …
As bad as tumbling markets around the world are, they seem to be the only signal strong enough to catch the attention of Europe’s otherwise unaccountable bureaucrats who have long since learned to ignore street riots.
As stocks fell from Tokyo to New York, Europe’s leaders are scrambling to say they had nothing to do with the cause — the shutdown of all Cyprus banks and ATMs for at least three days and the expropriation of a large chunk of each now-captive account, as a “tax” to pay for Cyprus’ $13 billion EU bailout, Europe’s fifth.
Cyprus Prime Minister Nicos Anastasiades bitterly asserted he had been “blackmailed” by the EU and the International Monetary Fund to go along with the idea on Saturday, or there’d be no bailout. …
Aside from the fact that no fiscally responsible country should need a bailout and the roots of Cyprus’ financial crisis is based on long-term big-spending government and low-information voters, the bank shutdown nevertheless sets an ugly precedent rooted in the growing arrogance of EU power.
Until now, tax hikes and haircuts for bond-holders have been how Europe’s bailouts have been handled. …
Confiscating savings in banks and denying people access to their property without warning is something entirely different — and will do great damage to citizens’ willingness to save, invest and build wealth.
Oh sure, the rationale was that most of the depositors were shady foreigners, particularly from Russia, laundering money. But the photos of Cypriots banging on bank doors and protesting, much as the people of Argentina did when the same thing happened to them in 2002, tells a different story of human suffering.
The expropriation of the tiny country’s savings may have seemed like an easy test case for the EU because the population is small and some of the depositors are rich and unsympathetic, but the blowback will hit savings and investment — and future economic growth — all over Europe.
Worse still, it could catch on here.
Already Congressional Democrats are plotting the expropriation of Americans’ private 401(k) and IRA retirement savings accounts in favor of “a guaranteed income.”
If bank accounts can be casually expropriated in Cyprus to pay for big-spending governments and bailouts, there is no reason a nice slice of the $19 trillion in retirement accounts can’t get the same treatment.
First a story about a little English boy who was so tormented and terrified by Muslim school fellows that he committed suicide.
Next the story of a Norwegian boy and his puppy, told in an article titled Europe: A Continent in Flight by Bruce Bawer at Front Page:
Danish Christians and Jews are being bullied by Muslim thugs into checking out of their neighborhoods and moving to safer locales. French Jews are taking it on the lam from Paris to settle in marginally less dangerous parts of London. Londoners are leaving their increasingly dodgy city and, literally, heading for the hills. East Oslo is being drained of ethnic Norwegians. And all of them are running scared for one reason, and one reason only: they’re terrified of getting beaten up by primitive thugs with a primitive religion who, at these European taxpayers’ expense, have been imported from some of the most primitive parts of the world.
Years and years ago these cultural hooligans, these religious autocrats, these would-be enforcers of sharia, were welcomed to Europe by clueless, spineless political leaders, and – although the reality of “creeping jihad” has long since set in – they continue to be celebrated by most of those leaders … for purportedly enriching European culture. And all the while, as a result, European culture is quickly going down the tubes.
For a step-by-step account of just what those clueless spineless political leaders did to bring about the Muslim conquest of Europe by immigration, see our post Europe betrayed, February 11, 2010.
When you’re discussing such large-scale phenomena such as this one – hundreds of thousands of Muslims occupying this or that part of this or that city, hundreds of thousands of native Londoners relocating hither and thither in consequence – it can be hard to grasp it all, to reduce the big picture to a comprehensible, human scale. … The other day the Norwegian newspaperAftonbladet reported on [a] European boy who found himself in the jihadist crosshairs and was forced to flee. …
On the evening of February 16, a boy – whose named has been withheld, whether because of his age, or to protect him from reprisals, or both – got on a bus in the town of Egersund in western Norway. He was headed back home to Stavanger, fifty or so miles away, and was carrying his puppy. Upon boarding the bus, he checked with the driver to make sure it was OK to take the dog onboard. The driver said yes: he had no problem with it. Unfortunately, three other passengers, whom Aftonbladet identifies as being “of foreign origin” (another source actually dares to use the word “Muslim”), did have a problem. One of the men walked up to the driver and expressed his strong objection to the presence of the pet; another approached the boy and informed him that if he did not get off the bus with his dog at once, they would beat him up.
What happened next is in dispute. According to the boy, the driver, afraid not to cave in to the men’s demands, pulled the bus over and ordered the boy and his dog off the bus. The driver, for his part, claims that he knew nothing of the tensions between the boy and the Muslims, and insists that the boy left the bus of his own accord. In any event, the undisputed fact is that the boy exited the bus at a spot on the highway that was smack dab in the middle of nowhere. The temperature was below freezing; the time, just before midnight. Fortunately he had a cell phone, and was able to phone a friend to pick him up. When she finally got there, some time later, she said, “he was cold and still and it was plain that the incident had had a powerful impact on him.” The national railway system, which operates the bus, has chosen to accept the driver’s account and will not investigate the boy’s complaint.
Whatever the specific details of the story, the narrative’s main point is clear – as is its larger import. The story of that boy and his dog, simply put, is the story of today’s Europe in miniature – the story of a continent whose natives are increasingly being tormented by Koran-wielding tyrants, and increasingly in flight.
An American industrialist argues with a French government minister.
The story comes from the left-biased Washington Post, told by Edward Cody:
It is a battle of archetypes: Morry “the Grizz” Taylor, the millionaire American capitalist who owns the tire manufacturer Titan International, has taken on Arnaud Montebourg, a handsome French Socialist and political comer whose evocative government title is minister of productive recovery.
In an unusual public exchange, the two have been trading insults about the work habits of the French, who, according to folklore [and not the facts? - ed], attach more importance to coffee breaks and long, winy lunches than to efficient production. It is an old and entertaining subject but one that has assumed new urgency in the fifth year of an economic crisis affecting France and its European neighbors.
In a letter to Montebourg, Taylor started the battle by saying bluntly that French workers at a tire plant he had visited are overpaid, lazy and coddled by a Socialist government enforcing such legally mandated rights as a 35-hour workweek, five weeks vacation and early retirement. But the biggest problem, Taylor said, is what the workers do, or not, while on the job.
“The French employees get high salaries but only work three hours,” he wrote in the letter, which was made available to the French media this week. “They have an hour for their breaks and their lunches, chat for three hours and work for three hours. I said this in front of French union representatives. They said that’s the way it is in France.”
To which the “political comer” replied with a load of BS and added an irrelevant historical reference in a childish bid to puff up his national pride:
Montebourg shot back that Taylor’s accusations were “as extremist as they are insulting” and revealed “a perfect ignorance of what our country is.” He added: “Do you at least know what La Fayette did for the United States of America?” …
At this point the author of the report, Edward Cody, sees fit to pour what he thinks is justified derision upon Mr Taylor:
Taylor, a 68-year-old arch conservative, ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1996 on a platform summed up in the title of his book “Kill All the Lawyers and Other Ways to Fix the Government.” (Montebourg is a lawyer by profession.) Although he got only about 1 percent of the vote in GOP primaries, Taylor has gone on his merry way buying up dying corporations for profit.
Having got only 1 percent of the vote in the GOP primaries, he should have refrained from carrying on with his business, or refrained from making it profitable? Is Mr Cody unaware that this sentence is a non sequitur as well as a give-away of his absurd leftist mind-set? He seems to believe that you are justified in whatever you do only to the extent that you are voted for. To parody Descartes: “I’m voted for, therefore I can pursue my career.”
Montebourg, 50, who garnered 17 percent of the vote in the Socialist Party’s presidential primaries last year, has positioned himself in President Francois Hollande’s government as an industrial nationalist. … He has advocated protectionist measures to ward off competition from cheap-labor countries such as China and vowed to protect France’s wheezing factories from predatory foreign capitalists by nationalization if necessary.
Good for him. It’s a reliable recipe for making the parlous condition of the French economy even worse.
In any case, the work habits of the French have long been a hot topic here, the subject of jokes but also of such serious discussion that even the Socialist government has tried to reform the labor laws.
So Taylor was not “perfectly ignorant” about them after all.
The conversation has intensified in recent months, as France’s economic growth has flat-lined and factories continue to close, producing a 10 percent unemployment rate. For many economists, a big culprit is the high cost of production — an hour of work is $46 in France, compared with about $30 in the United States.
Despite the discouraging statistics, Taylor’s company tried for several years to buy part of the failing Goodyear tire factory in the northern city of Amiens, intending to abandon general production to specialize in heavy-duty agriculture tires. But the negotiations fizzled because, Taylor charged, French unions made unreasonable demands that were backed by the government.
When Goodyear announced Jan. 31 that it planned to close the plant, putting 1,250 French employees out of work, Montebourg wrote to Taylor suggesting that negotiations might resume on the plan for a partial acquisition. But the American would have none of it.
“Do you think we are that stupid?” he wrote back. “Titan is the one with the money and the know-how to produce tires. What does the crazy union have? It has the French government.”
Bravo, Mr Taylor!
Montebourg retorted that 20,000 foreign companies operate in France, including 4,200 American subsidiaries that employ nearly half a million people and find they can do business just fine. “Far from your statements, which are as ridiculous as they are nasty, all these businesses know and appreciate the quality and the productivity of the French workforce, the commitment, the know-how, the talent and the competence of French workers,” he said.
Unwilling to leave it there, Taylor granted an interview Friday to the French news service Agence France-Presse and fired off another missive to Montebourg by e-mail.
“The extremist,” he told the minister, “is your government and its lack of knowledge on how to build a business.” Relentless, he added: “Since you bring it up, why is unemployment so high in France and especially among young people? It is because of your government’s policies, sir.”