“Old civilizations put to the sword” 6

… and the flame-thrower, and the mortar shell, and the bulldozer, and the wrecking-ball …

Islam is one of the most ruinous forces in history. Giulio Meotti wrote this short account of its barbarous destruction of the world’s heritage of past civilizations.

(Note: Wherever Meotti uses the word “Islamists” we would use the word “Muslims” or “jihadis”. We do not believe there is a variety of Islam that needs a different name.)

Around the year 645 A.D., Omar Ibn Al Khattab, the second caliph and a successor of Muhammad, set fire to the library of Alexandria.  …

The world lost several centuries of knowledge and thought due to that Islamic fire.

Today another caliph, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, has issued a fatwa against the World Heritage Sites of the Middle East. The much vaunted Middle Eastern richness is shrinking to a cultural desert

For over five thousand years, many civilizations have left their mark in Mesopotamia: Assyrians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Arameans, Jews and Romans. Their ancient buried cities, palaces and temples are scattered throughout what is now northern Iraq and eastern Syria. Now most of the archaeological wealth is under the control of the Islamic State. Two days ago, Isis leveled the “green church” of Tikrit, the symbol of Assyrian Christianity in the seventh century.

Among the most important sites now under the control of Islam are four ancient cities – Nineveh, Kalhu, Dur Sharrukin and Ashur – which, at different times, were the capitals of the powerful Assyrian empire. The greatest damage has been wreaked by Islam on the Palace of Kalhu, from which the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II reigned in the ninth century B.C.

They have destroyed some of the “ziggurats”, the impressive temples that rise into the sky. The non-Islamic tradition of Mosul no longer exists. The Islamists have destroyed thirty historic sites, including the shrines of the biblical prophets [well, anyway, biblical characters - ed0] Seth, Daniel and Jonah.

In Syria, the Islamic terrorists have demolished relics as part of their “purge of paganism”, destroying Assyrian statues. In a video, they unashamedly claim the duty of the mujahideen is to “remove the appearance of evil”.

Harta, the archeological site … is in IS hands and risks destruction.

The Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo had just recently reopened to the public after nine years of renovations, when last January a bomb destroyed it. It contained masterpieces of the Umayyad, Abbassid, and Ottoman periods. During the uprisings that led to the removal of President Mohammed Morsi, in August 2013, the Mallawi Museum of Minia was almost totally destroyed.

In Cairo, meanwhile, the manuscripts of the Cairo Institute went up in smoke, including the legacy of the Napoleonic expedition of 1798 in the land of the Pyramids. Nothing was saved from the great work “Description de l’Egypte”, curated by two hundred scholars led by the curator of the Louvre, Vivant Denon.

Presumably that was the original manuscript. There must surely be copies elsewhere. But still it is a loss to be deplored.

The head of the Association for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, Hagag Ibrahim, said that the Institute has been subjected to a second “Tatar invasion”, comparing it to the Mongols who in 1258 burned the library of Baghdad, whose waters turned black from ashes of thousands of precious manuscripts.

In Libya, the “treasures of Benghazi”, coins, jewelry, and small statues of antiquity have been lost since the revolution of May 2011. …

The great library of Al Saeh in Tripoli, Lebanon, was recently given over to the flames by the Islamists.

A year ago, in Mali, hundreds of manuscripts of the Ahmed Baba Centre in Timbuktu were burned due to the irrational fury of the mujahideen. This was a body of work that ranges from the ninth century to this day … in many languages, such as Arabic, Sonrai*, Bambanà [?] and Hebrew.

They destroyed the door that leads into the sanctuary of the mosque of Sidi Yahya. According to legend, the entrance to the monument had to remain closed for ever, and its opening would cause the end of the world. “See – there is no end of the world,” proclaimed [the Muslims] in front of a stunned crowd shocked by [what was to them] the sacrilege.

In Israel, Palestinian Islamists have destroyed the Tomb of Joseph, while the artifacts from the ancient Temples of Solomon and Herod in Jerusalem are scooped out piece by piece from the levels below the Temple Mount to make it seem that the presence of mosques on the Mount is the first example of construction on the site.

The Izz ad-Din al Qassam, the military wing of Hamas, recently leveled – with bulldozers – the ancient Mediterranean port of Anthedon, three thousand years of mosaic floors and columns of the Roman, Byzantine destroyed. To do what on the site? Construct a terrorist training camp.

In India, the temple of Ram at Ayodhya was destroyed to become the Babri Masjid mosque.

The great [statues of] Buddha in Afghanistan were leveled by the Taliban of Mullah Omar following a fatwa. …

In the Swat Valley, in Pakistan, the Taliban recently destroyed Buddhist statues in Jahanabad …

The Islamic State has just destroyed the ancient Armenian Church of Der Zor, (re)consecrated as a memorial of the Armenian Genocide.** …

Nothing has changed. The Islamists plan to make a tabula rasa out of entire civilizations.

 

*From Wiki: The Songhai (also Songhay or Sonrai) are west Africans who speak Songhai languages, the lingua franca of the Songhai Empire which dominated the western Sahel in the 15th and 16th century.

** This genocide of the (Christian) Armenians was launched by the (Muslim) Ottoman Turks in 1915.

Posted under Arab States, Art, Commentary, History, Iraq, Islam, Israel, jihad, Libya, middle east, Muslims, Syria, War by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, October 1, 2014

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Leaving religion for good 6

We dearly love an article we can enjoy examining critically. Best of all we like an opinion that we partly agree with and partly do not.

This article is by Star Parker, whose columns at Townhall on political issues we generally like. And here  again we have no quarrel with her political views. It is her conviction that religion is necessary and good that sparks our opposition.

A new Pew Research Center survey of opinion about the importance of religion in American life shows an interesting picture.

Over the last 12 years, the percentage of Americans that think religion is losing influence in American life has increased dramatically. In 2002, 52 percent of those surveyed said religion is losing influence. In 2014, 72 percent of Americans said religion is losing influence.

To us, of course, that’s good news.

However, while increasing numbers of Americans feel religion is losing influence, most feel this is a bad thing.

Fifty-six percent say that the waning influence of religion is a bad thing compared to 12 percent that say it is a good thing.

In a survey done by Pew in 2012, 58 percent of Americans said religion is “very important” and only 18 percent said it is not “too important” or “not important at all”.

This raises some interesting questions.

One clear one is why, when Americans think religion is very important, has the percentage of Americans who think religion is losing influence in American life increased almost 40 percent over the last 14 years?

Another one is what are the political implications? Certainly, in the Republican Party, there is an increasingly vocal libertarian leaning faction that sees religion as costly political baggage.

Yes – and that is one of the libertarian views with which we are in strong sympathy.

I attribute why almost three fourths of Americans feel that religion is losing influence in American life, while most feel this is a bad thing, to the law of unintended consequences.

She goes on to describe the disaster of welfare policies. We too think they have been – and continue to be – disastrous.

Many Americans have been unwittingly supporting policies for more than a half-century that they thought were good ideas and consistent with their values which have been neither. Now more Americans are beginning to appreciate the damage that has been done and how far the nation has strayed from their own sense of right and wrong.

Take the example of welfare.

When Aid to Families with Dependent Children program was dramatically expanded in the 1960s, it seemed morally correct for government to get more aggressive in the lives of the poor, particularly poor black women. … Massive increases of government in the lives of low-income black families were accompanied by a tripling of single parent households and out-of wedlock births, laying the groundwork for intergenerational poverty.

Right. Those have been and are the causes of “intergenerational poverty”.

But we omitted a sentence. It was this:

Who appreciated that the program would undermine the very religious, traditional values that keep families intact, essential for the work ethic that leads people out poverty?

It may well have been the case that Church-taught values contributed to a belief that children should be born to married parents. Many held that belief also because it is plainly best for children to be raised by a mother and a father. The principle is good whether endorsed or not by a religion.

We contend that it is because the state took over the responsibility of providing for children that men could so easily opt out of the traditional role of bread-winner to their families. It was government incursion into private life that did the damage to believers and non-believers alike. Their religion or lack of it had nothing to do with the “unintended consequences” of welfarism.

Now it’s happening in the whole country. As we’ve gotten more government telling Americans how to save for retirement, how to deal with their health care, how to educate their children – American families have been damaged and out-of-wedlock births have increased six-fold from 1960 to 42 percent today. Government has displaced family.

Right.

Some say today we have competing views about the role of government.

Conservatives and progressives do have different views about the role of government. That is not a matter of opinion, but a fact.

I would say we have competing views about what life is about.

Yes. We think life can be “about” anything that free individuals want to make it. Star Parker thinks that life was created, and the creator had a purpose, and that purpose, though impossible to define, is somehow helped along by this or that set of religious doctrines. About which set of doctrines in particular, there are “competing views” among the multitude of religions, each of which claims to teach “the truth”.

One view – a decidedly secular, materialistic view – sees no mystery in life.

We have a decidedly secular view – materialistic too in that we see the need to sustain our physical existence as well and as pleasantly as we possibly can. But we do not think there is no mystery.  On the contrary, we are aware that humankind knows very little. To learn more, to explore what we do not know about our universe and ourselves is the most exciting adventure of our conscious lives, and discovery is the engine of all progress.

Pretending to know that there is a purpose to life known only to a supernatural being who created it but chooses to keep his purpose secret, is to opt out of the great adventure.

The left wing version, which dominates the Democratic Party, says government can solve all of life’s problems.

Or most of them. And it’s a wrong and dangerous belief.

The hard-core libertarian version, found among some Republicans — says just leave everybody alone — you don’t bother me and I won’t bother you — and everything will work out for the best.

That is an absurd encapsulation of the libertarian view. No intelligent libertarian thinks that if people are left to make their own choices, if they are self-reliant, “everything will work out for the best”. Every individual will make his own successes and failures – and take responsibility for them. He knows that government cannot solve “all life’s problems” – and, what’s more, does a pretty poor job of solving the one problem it exists to solve: how best to protect liberty.

The other view maintains that you can’t have a free society that is not also a virtuous society.

A free society starts off with the virtue of being a free society. Freedom needs to be protected by law, and, if it is, crime will be punished, foreign enemies will be kept away, and the people can prosper. How good they are in their private lives remains forever dependent on individual character and choice.

It was what George Washington meant when he said in his farewell address that “of all the dispensations and habits that lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports”.

We are sorry we can only partially agree with George Washington on this. Morality, yes. Religion? What religion has a history that can withstand moral criticism? Some – Christianity and Islam in particular – have a history of carnage and cruelty. That Christianity preaches against both make its actual record all the worse.

It is my sense that more Americans are beginning to wake up to the unintended, damaging consequences of the often well-intended government policies they have been supporting for many years.

More Americans are beginning to appreciate that we can’t separate our fiscal and economic problems from our moral problems and that if we want to recapture our freedom and prosperity, we must recapture our virtue.

Certainly. But we won’t do that by returning into the mental darkness of religion. We can do it by limiting the powers of government and recovering the idea of liberty as the highest value. That is political and moral virtue.

Undermining the West: left-slanted revisionist history teaching 8

APUSH stands for Advanced Placement United States History. Members of the College Board’s APUSH Curriculum Development and Assessment Committee have identified themselves as the authors of the APUSH Curriculum Framework.

This “Framework” lays down the history that students must be taught.

We quote criticism of its prescriptions from the excellent Heartland Institute:

The Framework omits Benjamin Franklin, Dwight Eisenhower, Martin Luther King Jr, and many other key figures in American history. [The authors] accuse critics of “misunderstanding our document”. Unfortunately, we have not misunderstood anything; the document is clear. The Framework devotes pages 28 to 80 to a detailed outline of the “required knowledge” students are expected to learn in their AP U.S. History course. The Framework unequivocally states, “Beginning with the May 2015 AP U.S. History Exams, no AP U.S. History Exam questions will require students to know historical content that falls outside this concept outline” (emphasis added).

The Framework is a lengthy document that provides more than enough space to include key figures and seminal documents from American history. The College Board [has not] … explained why the Framework does have space to include Chief Little Turtle, the Students for a Democratic Society, and the Black Panthers, but does not have space to include Dwight Eisenhower, Jonas Salk, and Martin Luther King Jr. The omissions have been widely criticized. …

The authors invite critics to examine the just-released AP Practice Exam. They contend that reviewers will find “a rich and inclusive body of historic knowledge”.  In reality, reviewers will find an exam that tests a surprisingly limited range of topics. …

President Ronald Reagan is the only historic figure who actually generates specific questions. In one question, Reagan’s famous “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” quote is used to reflect “increased assertiveness and bellicosity.” …

[The authors] insist that the Framework strikes “a careful balance between teaching factual knowledge and critical analysis.” We believe the APUSH Framework fails to meet the test of providing a balanced curriculum that acknowledges both the nation’s founding principles and its continuing struggles to be faithful to those principles.

Heartland then provides “a list of biased statements taken verbatim from the Framework” (all page references given).

Here is our abridged version of its most important points, with our own emphasis in bold on the most egregious examples of where leftist intention to indoctrinate is plain, and our comments added to the Heartland comments:

“Teachers can explore the roots of the modern environmental movement in the Progressive Era and New Deal, as well as debate the underlying and proximate causes of environmental catastrophes arising from pesticide use and offshore oil drilling.”

Interpretation: “You can debate it all you like, but we’re telling you what the causes are anyway.”

“Many Europeans developed a belief in white superiority to justify their subjugation of Africans and American Indians, using several different rationales.”

Which Europeans would those be? Whoever they were, the British – they claim – were the worst in this respect:

“Unlike Spanish, French, and Dutch colonies, which accepted intermarriage and cross-racial sexual unions with native peoples (and, in Spain’s case, with enslaved Africans), English colonies attracted both males and females who rarely intermarried with either native peoples or Africans, leading to the development of a rigid racial hierarchy. Reinforced by a strong belief in British racial and cultural superiority, the British system enslaved black people in perpetuity, altered African gender and kinship relationships in the colonies and was one factor that led the British colonists into violent confrontations with native peoples.”

Nothing about the British being the first nation ever in the history of the world to put a stop to slavery and the slave trade within its jurisdiction? Seems not.

The sole statement about the New England colonies is that “founded primarily by Puritans seeking to establish a community of like-minded religious believers, [they] developed a close-knit, homogeneous society and – aided by favorable environmental conditions – a thriving mixed economy of agriculture and commerce”. Omitted are the Pilgrims, Mayflower Compact, Winthrop’s “City Upon a Hill,” Roger Williams and religious toleration, New England town meetings and the birth of democratic institutions, and much more [of this period].

The sole statement about the Middle Colonies is: “The demographically, religiously, and ethnically diverse middle colonies supported a flourishing export economy based on cereal crops.” Omitted are William Penn, the Quakers, Pennsylvania policy of religious toleration, and the fact that their economic prosperity attracted a diverse mix of ethnic and religious groups. The Framework’s dominant theme is that American history is really the story of identity groups and conflicts.

The sole reference to George Washington is that his Farewell Address “warned about the dangers of divisive political parties and permanent foreign alliances”.

The sole reference to the Declaration of Independence is: “The colonists’ belief in the superiority of republican self-government based on the natural rights of the people found its clearest American expression in Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and in the Declaration of Independence.”

The Framework omits both Jeffersonian and Jacksonian democracy. This sort of biased statement reinforces the Framework’s consistently negative portrayal of the American experience: “Many white Americans in the South asserted their regional identity through pride in the institution of slavery, insisting that the federal government should defend their institution.” And: “Resistance to initiatives for democracy and inclusion included proslavery arguments, rising xenophobia, anti-black sentiments in political and popular culture, and restrictive anti-Indian policies.” 

This is how the Framework describes the Monroe Doctrine and the annexation of Texas: ” The U.S. sought dominance over the North American continent through a variety of means, including military actions, judicial decisions, and diplomatic efforts.”  And: ” The idea of Manifest Destiny, which asserted U.S. power in the Western Hemisphere and supported U.S. expansion westward, was built on a belief in white racial superiority and a sense of American cultural superiority, and helped to shape the era’s political debates.” In fact, Manifest Destiny expressed America’s mission to spread its democratic institutions and technology across the continent. This revisionist definition clearly expresses the Framework’s negative biases.

The sole references to President Lincoln are to “Lincoln’s election on a free soil platform [and] Lincoln’s decision to issue the Emancipation Proclamation”.  The Framework omits the Gettysburg Address.

There is plain anti-business bias. “Business interests battled conservationists as the latter sought to protect sections of unspoiled wilderness through the establishment of national parks and other conservationist and preservationist measures.” And capitalism is consistently portrayed negatively. “A number of critics challenged the dominant corporate ethic in the United States and sometimes capitalism itself, offering alternate visions of the good society through utopianism and the Social Gospel.”

The construction of the transcontinental railroads was a major American achievement, but is portrayed in an entirely negative light, thus: “As transcontinental railroads were completed, bringing more settlers west, U.S. military actions, the destruction of the buffalo, the confinement of American Indians to reservations, and assimilationist policies reduced the number of American Indians and threatened native culture and identity.”

America’s contribution to the Allied cause in World War 1 is described thus: “Although the American Expeditionary Force played a relatively limited role in the war… ” And: “The mass mobilization of American society to supply troops for the war effort and a workforce on the home front ended the Great Depression [factually incorrect as the depression bottomed out in 1933 - ed] and provided opportunities for women and minorities to improve their socioeconomic positions.” And: ” Wartime experiences, such as the internment of Japanese Americans, challenges to civil liberties, debates over race and segregation, and the decision to drop the atomic bomb raised questions about American values.” The Framework’s complete coverage of World War II is contained in those sentences. It omits all mention of American military commanders, battles, and the valor of our servicemen and women who ended the long night of Nazi oppression.

Also note that the Framework completely omits the Holocaust.

The Korean War and the Vietnam War are dealt with in one sentence  “The United States sought to ‘contain’ Soviet-dominated communism through a variety of measures, including military engagements in Korea and Vietnam.”

Then an issue is raised that the authors clearly regard as far more important than wars and genocide:

“Activists began to question society’s assumptions about gender and to call for social and economic equality for women and for gays and lesbians.” 

Though the Framework omits Rosa Parks and Dr. King, it does have room for the SDS and the Black Panthers: “Teachers have the flexibility to [ie they really should] use examples such as the following: Students for a Democratic Society, Black Panthers.”

And here is how they want the final victory of the US over the evil empire of the USSR taught:

This is the Framework’s simplistic explanation for how and why the Cold War ended: “President Ronald Reagan, who initially rejected détente with increased defense spending, military action, and bellicose rhetoric, later developed a friendly relationship with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, leading to significant arms reductions by both countries.”

No “debate’ about the victims of the Communist regimes is prescribed. By implication, the history of the USSR, China, Cambodia, is proscribed. To mention the millions killed, imprisoned, enslaved, starved, or worked to death by Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot might distract students from building their disgust with the Framework’s garbled, misleading, and thoroughly evil version of their own country’s history.

The concluding statement is that: “Demographic changes intensified debates about gender roles, family structures, and racial and national identity. ”  And the authors recommend (“teachers have the flexibility to use”) examples such as the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” debate.

From the framework document alone it would be easy to draw up the American Communist Manifesto. Simply assemble: Environmentalism … anti-fossil fuel …  victimization of women and homosexuals … down with white men … one (Left) party rule … anti-NATO (“foreign alliances”) … anti-US military strength … RACE … Marxist utopianism …

The main point of the document is that the United States has been an oppressive, murderous, cruel, racist, destructive, genocidal, polluting, avaricious, inhumane power. Implied is that it must change into a collectivist egalitarian utopia under  Communist one-party rule.

And that is how the history of America is to be taught to its own rising generations.

Beware the church militant redux! 28

A writer by the name of Enza Ferreri has written an article against Reason. She probably doesn’t see that that is what she’s done. But that is what she’s done. She writes:

It’s all very simple. We can’t fight Islam in the West without fighting the enablers of Islam in the West, namely the Leftists.

So far, so good.

And, since the Left has many different and separate aspects, we have to fight against each one of them. Secularism, environmentalism, global warming alarmism, homosexualism, militant feminism, sexual relativism, multiculturalism, anti-Christianity, Islamophilia, post-nationalism, internationalism are just as important targets to attack as Marxist economics, the expropriation of the capitalist class (or, in its modern reincarnation, redistribution of wealth), and the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The words we have put in bold mark the issues we dispute with Enza Ferreri.

We don’t know what “homosexualism” is, or “sexual relativism”.

We consider sexual choices to be private matters (unless they involve children). They are certainly not dangerous threats to the survival of the West.

But while we agree with the author on her other “targets”, we emphatically disagree with her when it comes to secularism and anti-Christianity.

First, secularism:

Secularism is not the same as Leftism. Between the founding of the United States of America and the dawning in the 1960s of this Leftist age, there was a very long stretch of secularism, liberty, and prosperity.

But in those times and those countries where a church (in the widest sense) has been the ruling power, there has always been tyranny. What greater tyranny can there be than the imposition of an orthodoxy on every mind?

Communism and Nazism also impose orthodoxy, and punish dissent as cruelly as a theocracy. That is one of the reasons why we class these ideologies as religions. Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, Maoist China were not secular states; they were orthodoxies, as tyrannous as the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, or the newly declared Islamic State now.  

The secular state, and only the secular state, is a free state.  Secularism is freedom. Freedom is only possible in the secular state. 

Next, anti-Christianity:

In a free, secular society, people are free to be Christians. But people are equally free to criticize Christianity.

Neglecting any of these fronts is like fighting a war leaving a battleground to the enemy, like fighting on the Western front and leaving totally undefended the Eastern one.

Secularism and atheism are certainly the first lines of important wars.

So she contends that the prime enemy in her war is freedom. That being so, she has no case to make against Islam or Marxism.

For all that she seems to be speaking for tolerance (being against Islamophilia) and reason (being against environmentalism, global warming alarmism, “militant feminism”); and against Islam (aka multiculturalism) and Marxism (redistribution etc.), she is actually speaking for her own choice of intolerant, irrational, orthodox tyranny.

A secularist West will always lose to Islam, because it will have enough compassion, tolerance and self-restraint from violence that are the remnants of its Christian heritage, but it will have lost the ideals, the passion and certainty of fighting for a just cause that were once part of Christianity and have disappeared with its erosion.

Her assumptions are arrogant to an extreme. Compassion, tolerance and self-restraint from violence are not the legacies of “a Christian heritage” but of enlightened reason.

It is pointless to try and fight one irrational belief, such as Islam or Marxism, by setting up another irrational belief, such as Christianity, in opposition to it. There is no better reason to believe in the Trinity than in Allah or the inevitability of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Two quotes here serve as epigrams. Robert Spencer wrote in his great work Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn’t: “People who are ashamed of their own culture will not defend it.” And Dennis Prager said during one of his radio broadcasts, “Only good religion can counter bad religion.”

We admire much that Robert Spencer and Denis Prager write. And we think Spencer makes a point here worth thinking about. But to Prager’s assertion we say, nonsense!

Some people claim that there won’t be a religious revival in Europe because we are past believing in God. That this is not true can be seen by the high – and increasing – number of Westerners who convert to Islam. Many of them give as a reason for their conversion the need for absolutes, boundaries and well-defined status. A journalist writing for The Spectator on this subject explained why she is Catholic:

But above all, I like the moral certainties. I don’t mind the dogma one bit. I would rather dogma and impossible ideals than confusion and compromise. In that sense, I do identify with those who choose Islam over the way of no faith, or a seemingly uncertain faith, like the woolly old C of E.

Confusion and compromise is inescapable. How can dogma – which is to say being incurably wrong –  and “impossible ideals” be better than admitting the truth of scio nescio: I know that I do not know? It is as if the culture on which such persons as the quoted Catholic and the author of the article have been raised was never affected by Socratean doubt, the Enlightenment, the assumption of ignorance upon which all true science proceeds.

William Kilpatrick, in Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West – a book I thoroughly recommend reading -, writes: Brian Young’s friends said he was troubled by the decadence of Western society. David Courtrailler’s lawyer said, “For David, Islam ordered his life.” These are the sorts of reasons ordinary converts to Islam give. A common refrain from converts is that Islam provides a complete plan for life in contrast to the ruleless and clueless life offered by secular society. As Mary Fallot, a young French convert, explains, “Islam demands a closeness to God. Islam is simpler, more rigorous, and it’s easier because it is explicit. I was looking for a framework; man needs rules and behavior to follow. Christianity did not give me the same reference points.” If you look at the convert testimonials on Muslim websites, they echo this refrain: Islam brings “peace”, “order”, “discipline”, and a way of life that Christianity and other religions fail to offer.

Islam brings peace!  He – and she – can say that with a straight face? While IS (ISIS, ISIL) is rampaging through Syria and Iraq mass-slaughtering, impaling, crucifying, decapitating, raping, enslaving; while Hamas is firing thousands of rockets into Israel; while civil war rages in Syria; while Yezidis, Kurds, Baha’is, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, other Muslims are being daily killed and constantly persecuted by Muslims?

Astonishing that some women crave the “order” and “discipline” of subjugation; when the “discipline” is exerted by enslavement, beatings, whippings, stonings, legal discrimination.

Human beings will never be past the need for believing in something bigger than themselves, because that need is part of the human mind.

Where are there human beings who do not know that natural forces are “bigger than themselves”? Who among us does not know that we are mortal?

She continues in the same vein. We’ll not irritate our readers with all of it. She is a true believer. And what she believes is that Christianity is good and true.

We will skip to what she quotes as wisdom from a Catholic primate:

A clear direction was given by Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, Archbishop of Bologna, Italy. As early as 30 September 2000, before 9/11, when very few in the West even thought of worrying about Islam, he delivered a very forward-looking speech, which included this premonition:

… Either Europe will become Christian again or it will become Muslim. What I see without future is the “culture of nothing”, of freedom without limits and without content, of skepticism boasted as intellectual achievement, which seems to be the attitude largely dominant among European peoples, all more or less rich of means and poor of truths. This “culture of nothingness” (sustained by hedonism and libertarian insatiability) will not be able to withstand the ideological onslaught of Islam, which will not be missing: only the rediscovery of the Christian event as the only salvation for man – and therefore only a strong resurrection of the ancient soul of Europe – will offer a different outcome to this inevitable confrontation.

The culture of reason is not a “culture of nothing”. It is a culture of rational humility; of admitting ignorance and trying to find the truth, even if one can never be certain one has found it. Skepticism is the only engine of discovery.

“Freedom without limits”? Freedom of action always has a limit. In a free society, everyone’s freedom is limited by everyone else’s under the rule of law. But indeed the freedom of the mind has no limits, nor should it have any.

Notice the snide swipe at riches and “hedonism”. Do you think that he, as a cardinal, pigs it in some hovel?

By “truths” he means the  patent absurdities of Christian theological belief.

“Libertarian insatiability”. What the heck does that mean?

If the Western culture of reason, secularism, liberty, skepticism, science, cannot withstand the onslaught of Islam, it will be because that culture has been abandoned by people like Enza Ferreri.

She goes on to blame shrinking birthrates on secularism.  Then she ends with this:

Militant atheists à la Richard Dawkins have not really given enough thought to the long-term consequences of their ideas, which we are beginning to see.

And of which we are reminded whenever, for example, we read in the news of doctors and missionaries who die of Ebola while assisting affected patients for Christian charities. Not many atheist charities are involved in that work.

How many cures for diseases have been found by scientists among whom atheists are in a huge majority? The medical researchers who eliminated smallpox; those who found how to detect the beginnings of cancer and treat it before it becomes lethal, and how to restore wholeness to lepers and replace a faulty heart or kidney …. the list could run on for hours … cure more people than all the martyrdom-seeking self-righteous preachy Christians out to save their imaginary souls by “assisting affected patients” have ever done or could do in a thousand years.

As a reminder to readers who have a strong stomach of what happened when the Christian Churches provided “order” and “discipline” to Europe and wherever else they could reach, we recommend The Grand Inquisitor’s Manual by Jonathan Kirsch, and our own post Calvin: a chapter in the terrible history of Christianity by Jillian Becker, April 25, 2010. (Put the title in our search slot.)

Nothing IS (ISIS, ISIL) is doing now in the name of Islam is worse in type or degree than what those Christians did in the name of Christianity.

The world needs saving from religion.

The long reign of terror: Vladimir Putin and his predecessors 7

We took this excellent though horrifying video from Front Page.

We feel the need  to comment on only one thing. At the end, Bill Whittle says that Obama is “up against” the mass murderer Putin. But we doubt Obama sees Putin as an opponent. Obama was raised as a Communist. We think he is more likely to see Putin – even now – as an ideological ally than as an enemy.

Good thinking 6

Daniel Hannan speaks as intelligently as always in this interview. We are somewhat less favorably impressed by the present Conservative government of Britain than he is, but  we fully agree with everything he says about America – how great it was, how wrong it’s going. And we also like what he says about the EU. Asked by the interviewer if he see the Euro in danger of collapsing, Hannan replies, “No, I see the Euro in danger of surviving.”

 

(Hat-tip Don L.)

No difference between Islam and Islamism 3

… a Turkish atheist from a Muslim background writes in an article denouncing Islam.

We have taken it from Jihad Watch. The writer is Serkan Engin, who has asked for it to be published although it endangers him in Turkey. (He is a socialist, but is not advocating socialism in this article.)

Why Islam is Worse than Nazism

I am an atheist author and poet, who had lived as a Sunni Muslim for 23 years from birth, and I am still living in a Muslim country, Turkey. Also, my parents and all of my relatives are still Muslim. So, my critics about Islam can be easily consider this an inside view.

I know that the title of this essay seems assertive, but I will explain the rightness of this title step-by-step in this essay.

First of all, you have to learn about Islam that if you are an “outsider”, a non-Muslim, for example, a Christian, an atheist, a Buddhist, a Jew or whatever else, all Muslims have the “right” of killing and raping you, grabbing all your properties, your country, land, money and anything else. They take this “right” from the book of their belief, the Quran. In other words, they take this “right” from their belief’s core, the theology of Islam.

Here are some examples of this in verses from Quran.

This verse of Quran is about “all non-Muslims”, all “heretics”! — Christians, Buddhists, atheists, Jews, etc. — describing them “who wage war against Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad)”

Surat Al-Ma’idah (5.33):

Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment.

And this verse of the Quran is about the order to kill the humans who left Islam, the apostates:

Surat An-Nisa’ (4.89):

They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah. But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper..

… You have heard many times that “Islam is a tolerant religion”. That is the biggest lie that you can hear all over the World, and this lie is used as a mask to hide the terrible face of Islam. There is NO difference between Islam and Islamism. This is the main error that the modern world make about Islam. There are not different forms as Islam and Islamism, they are the same thing, and they have the same content. This separation is just only an illusion, and it is used by Muslims to hide the brutal, hateful, oppressive,murderous, genocidal face of Islam.

Islamic theology is based on the verses of the Quran and Hadith. Hadiths are the words and actions of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and all Muslims must follow these words and actions in addition to the orders of Quran. For example, you have to defecate as Muhammad did, and you have to clean yourself as he did, or you can rape and enslave a “heretic” woman in a war as a sex slave as Muhammad did, or you can torture your enemy in a war to learn the place of his hidden money, as Muhammad did.

You “must” cut the hand of a thief as Muhammad did, not give him any prison sentence as do the modern laws.

You must stone a woman to death as Muhammad did, because she had sex outside of the rules of Islam (but you must only whip her partner a hundred times). If you are a Muslim, you can never set them free while considering that their sexual actions are about their own personal relations and freedom, in accord with modern laws. You must definitely apply the punishments of Muhammad such as stoning the woman to the death and whipping her partner a hundred times if you want to be a good Muslim.

You must kill the man who left the belief of Islam, as Muhammad did. You can’t say “This is his own choice and he has the freedom of thought and belief”, because it is an order of the Quran that you “must” kill the persons who were Muslim before and then left the Islamic religion.

You must kill all homosexuals according to the orders of Islam. No Muslims can say according to Islam that their sexual orientation is their own natural right, in accord with the human rights norms of our age.

You have the “right” to marry a little girl at 9 years old, as Muhammad did. In other words, you can rape a little child legally in Islam and make her a sex slave, and also a domestic slave till the end of her life.

You can lie alongside of your dead wife for 6 hours, as Muhammad did. In other words, you can rape the dead body of your wife for 6 hours after her death.

Here is Islam … Here is the “tolerant religion” … Here is the right way to the heaven … Here are the orders of Allah … Here are the actions of Muhammad…

You can easily see how civilized the Muslim countries of the world are because of Islam, such as Afghanistan, Nigeria, Turkey, Iran, Sudan and the others. You can see how much they have contributed to the history of philosophy, the history of art, and the history of science of the whole world. You can see how respectful they are to human rights, women’s rights, children’s rights, the freedom of expression and thought, the freedom of the press, the freedom of belief, etc.

The first genocide wave of 20th century, the Armenian Genocide, the Assyrian Genocide and the Pontic Greek Genocide, was perpetrated by Turkish and Kurdish people of the Ottoman Empire and the new Turkish Republic, getting motivation from the “rights” that they had because of Islam: the “rights” of killing and raping the non-Muslims, enslaving their women and little girls as sex slaves and also domestic slaves, and grabbing their money, houses and lands. However, “The Committee of Union and Progress”  … was based on Turkish nationalism; they used Turkish and Kurdish people easily for these genocides because of the Islamic religion’s content about non-Muslims. All the Turkish and Kurdish Muslims believed that they would go to the heaven if they killed more non-Muslims, as do today’s Islamist terrorists.

The owners of the second genocide wave of 20th century were Nazis, as you know. They took the genocides of the Turks as a sample. It is know that Adolf Hitler said to his military commanders, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?,” while they were talking about the reaction of the world about the genocides that they were planning to perpetrate.

Nazism was considered a legal and respectable ideology at the beginning of the 1930s, and then the world saw how dangerous Nazism was. Millions of people died because of Nazism, and today it is illegal to support Nazism in any civilized country. You can never make propaganda about Nazism legally. Today, Nazism is not considered as a genuine thought alternative, and it is not included in the freedom of thought and expression.

Serkan Engin is wrong there. Western countries do not (and rightly do not) forbid the promotion of Nazism. Plenty of praise for it can be found in the “social media”. Neo-Nazi groups are proliferating and enlarging in many European countries. It is still, however, generally abhorred in the court of public opinion. As the ideology of Islam should be.

In Europe, you are more likely to be punished under the law for telling the truth about Islam, even in private, than for spreading Nazi or Islamic race hatred – and hatred of free speech!

As I have detailed above, Islam is against the human rights norms of our age, and it has more dangerous content than Nazism. Islam is not a belief alternative, it is just a crime against humanity, and any crime shouldn’t have freedom in our modern world. So, Islam must be declared illegal all over the world, as is Nazism, because of its vandal content and commands that are against human rights. All actions about Islam must be forbidden and the propagandists of Islam must be judged because of instigating to the crimes of murder, rape, [property] grab and crimes against humanity. Otherwise, the world will meet with a big tragedy when the Islamists will get more power, as the world suffered because of Nazism.

If the article doesn’t demonstrate that Islam is worse than Nazism, it confirms that it’s quite as evil.

Declaring an ideology illegal will not eliminate it. But Islam could be anathematized by public opinion if the Western governments, the media, and the schools and academies were to tell the truth about it continuously and consistently.

There’s no sign that that’s likely to happen. Which is why articles like this need to be widely circulated.

One hundred years ago today World War One began 1

Today is the centennial anniversary of the start of the First World War. On 28 July, 1914, the Austro-Hungarian army fired the first shots, to crush rebellious Serbia. What happened then, and why, is traced in this video. 

Blame is laid on the growth of nationalism, and even more on imperialism – the acquisition of colonies by the powers of Europe on other continents, in fierce competition with each other, Britain being far and away the  winner. The fact that at least some empires, chiefly the British, brought incalculable benefits to the lands they conquered, colonized and ruled, is touched on briefly; in our view, too briefly.

We think it is an overview worth watching, though there are points where we would place a different emphasis.

We agree with the presenters that the day World War One broke out was the day Europe began its terminal decline.

 

Libertarian conservatism 4

From time to time visitors to this website or our Facebook page query the idea – even the possibility – of there being such a thing as atheist conservatism. They are – almost always, as far as we can make out – Americans whose understanding is that the word “conservative” denotes Christian conservatism. To them, therefore, to speak of  “atheist conservatism” is to commit a contradiction in terms. Some have called it an oxymoron.

In Europe too, conservatism has a Christian coloration. Conservative political parties usually declare themselves to be Christian –  for example, the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) of Germany. But their support does not come only from Christians. And in Britain the established Church of England has been called “the Conservative Party at prayer”, but the party does not exclude members of other Christian denominations or other religions, or the non-religious.

Yet it is an American conservatism that we embrace. It is faithfulness to the Constitution, to the essential idea that the United States was intended to embody as a nation: the idea of individual liberty protected by the rule of law.

The shortest answer we give to those who accuse us of being self-contradictory is to tell them what our prime principles are:

  • individual freedom
  • a free market economy
  • small government
  • low taxes
  • strong defense

And we point out that those are core principles of American conservatism. The Constitution – southern state critics please be reminded – does not require citizens to be Christian, or religious at all.

Just as often, perhaps even more often, we are told that we cannot be both conservative and libertarian: that the two traditions are separate and even inimical to each other, to the point of being mutually exclusive. Even if that were  true (and we don’t think it is), we consider it unnecessary to take tradition into account. The issue needs to be looked at philosophically, not historically. Our conservatism, holding the firmly conservative principles we have listed, is manifestly a conservatism of liberty.

And we think it is now, more than ever before, that the libertarian view should direct the political agenda of conservatism. A heavy counterweight is needed to bring America back from its tipping over into collectivism by the Left. Individual freedom urgently needs to be saved.

What is stopping conservatives from accepting libertarianism as its future? The libertarians themselves. Frequently, their public statements reveal them to be inexcusably ignorant of world affairs. They often advocate naive isolationism. They seem to lack a sense of what matters. The legalization of drugs could be wise and necessary, but it is not worth making a hullabaloo about  when jihad is being waged against us. A person should arguably be able to marry any other person or persons – or things – that they choose, but it is much more important that America should remain the world’s sole superpower.

John Hinderaker also thinks that this should be “the libertarian moment”. And he too reproaches libertarians with an underdeveloped sense of what matters to the existence, liberty, safety, and prosperity of the nation. 

He writes at PowerLine:

Every major strand of American conservatism includes a strong libertarian streak, because the value of liberty is fundamental to just about all conservative thought. But today, especially, is said to be the libertarians’ moment. What once was a fringe movement, politically speaking, has moved front and center in our political life.

And yet, in my view, libertarians of both the capital L and small l varieties punch below their weight. They have not contributed as much as they should to the conservative movement. This is partly because libertarians tend to founder on foreign policy, where many are merely modern-day isolationists. But it is also because they have tended to focus on secondary, or tertiary, issues of domestic policy.

A couple of years ago I was invited to a gathering on behalf of Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico who then was a libertarian candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. I was well disposed toward him, but when he started talking, his first subject was legalization of drugs. Now he is the CEO of a marijuana company. Rand Paul is probably the leading libertarian at the moment; he purports to take seriously the threat that someone drinking coffee in an American cafe will be struck by a drone-fired missile.

American liberty is indeed under attack, and a libertarian movement is needed more than ever. But the threat to freedom is not drug laws or drone attacks.

The principal threat is the administrative state, which increasingly hems in everything we do and depends hardly at all on the will of voters. …

Calvin Coolidge, who knew the Progressives well and understood how antithetical their vision of government is to America’s founding principles [said]:

It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning cannot be applied to this great charter [the Constitution]. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

Today we labor under an administrative state that has metastasized far beyond anything Coolidge could have imagined. It constrains our freedoms, it lays waste to our economy, it has largely rendered Congress irrelevant, and it threatens to make just about anyone a criminal, since no one can possibly keep track of all of the myriad regulations with which we are encumbered. And let’s not forget that the administrative state is run by liberals, for liberals.

Despite the fact that it is antithetical to the Constitution and to American traditions, there is little opposition to the administrative state as such. Conventional politicians suggest that regulations can be made less irrational and less burdensome – a good idea, certainly – but hardly anyone questions the fundamental concept of Congress delegating its powers to unelected and mostly unaccountable agencies that are charged with managing just about every aspect of our lives. Nearly everyone considers the administrative state, as such, to be inevitable.

Why don’t libertarians stake out a “radical” position on domestic policy? Why not argue, not just for a moderation in the inevitable drift toward a more and more powerful administrative state, but for a return to the Constitution’s central principle – the very first words of Article I – that “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States…”, a Congress that is accountable to the people.

A battle is being fought for the liberties of the American people and, frankly, it isn’t going well. The fight has little or nothing to do with drugs and drones. If libertarians are serious about preserving and expanding liberty, they should join the fight that matters. A libertarian movement that focuses on a rollback of the administrative state would be “radical,” but it also would put libertarians in the vanguard, not on the fringe, of American conservatism.

The Bergdahl charade 1

We think the recovery of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl from the Afghan enemy, by exchanging him for five Taliban prisoners of war, has to be looked at the other way round: by which we mean that the main object of the exercise was not the recovery of Sergeant Bergdahl, but the freeing of the five Taliban prisoners.

This is our reconstruction of what happened:

Obama wants to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay aka Gitmo. He said he would close it way back when he was campaigning for his first presidential election. He gave orders for it to be closed soon after his election to the presidency. He failed to get other countries to hold the prisoners. He attempted getting them moved to the US to be tried in civil courts, but failed. Now he is coming towards the last two years of his eight years in office, and is thinking of his “legacy” – what the historians will say of his presidency. It has been a series of failures both domestically and abroad. His far-left “base” is saying that he hasn’t even managed to close Gitmo – a cause dear to its heart.

If only Gitmo could be emptied of its prisoners! But what excuse could the administration find for releasing them?  Then someone – possibly even Obama himself – had the bright idea that the prisoners could be exchanged.

Question: How many Americans are being held captive by the Taliban?

Answer: One.

Only one? Can we exchange all the prisoners in Gitmo for just one American?

Maybe not all. But we could exchange a bunch of them for him. Let’s exchange the worst of them. The most dangerous. Then perhaps we could just release the rest as being lesser dangers.

Make it so.

If Obama was told that Sergeant Bergdahl was a deserter and not worth exchanging for five high-value Taliban leaders, it would not have troubled him. Far from it. He could all too easily understand a man deserting from the US army.

And then he met Bowe Bergdahl’s parents, and found them to be his sort of people: hippy types – and better still, one of them, the father, a convert to Islam.

To us Bergdahl Senior comes across as a 1960s type rebel who has never grown up. Who rebels against his country  as an adolescent rebels against his parents; not  because he really admires Muslims and Afghans – whom he probably knows little about – but because he wants to stick his tongue out at his own world, to annoy it, to pretend he is superior to it, to make it take notice of him. Which it is doing now.

For Obama – what a show, what a photo-op. In the Rose Garden. The press, the cameras.  I, Obama, with the parents of the soldier I am bringing homeA grand charade on a bright summer’s day. A happy occasion. How splendid we look, I and they.  

And what a gorgeous distraction from the real purpose: the freeing of the Taliban leaders, getting to the closing of Gitmo.

No, we cannot prove any of this. But we think it highly plausible.

The entire episode, it seems to us, is an encapsulation of quintessential Obama.

On display, all at once, the elements of his character and his fixed ideas as he has consistently shown them to us: bragging, showing off to a vast audience, lying, hypocrisy, love of Islam, hatred of the US, hatred of the US military, churlish contrariness in giving an enemy the advantage over America, adolescent leftist ideology that is more spite than idea.

The consequences of releasing the five most dangerous Taliban leaders from the cages they belong in (graves would have been better for them) will be bad, but Obama will never take the blame for what must ensue.

The consequence of  bargaining with terrorists for the release of a hostage (Sergeant Bergdahl counting as one rightly or wrongly) will be the seizing of Americans to be traded for prisoners and money. But Obama will never admit that he set the fatal precedent.

For that too is part of his essential nature: never to admit or even understand that he was wrong.

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