Enlightenment, atheism, reason, and the humanist Left 25

This is a kind of review. But it is more of an argument about ideas that vitally affect the real world.

I am in emphatic agreement with roughly half of what Professor Steven Pinker says in his new book Enlightenment Now: the Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress*, and in vehement disagreement with the rest of it. Like him, I esteem the Enlightenment most highly; profoundly value science; and certainly want progress in everything that makes us happier and better informed, our lives longer, healthier, less painful, and more enjoyable. Like him, I am an atheist. It is chiefly with his ideas on Humanism that I disagree. Which may seem strange since humanism is atheist. And, certainly, on all his criticisms of religion I am in complete accord. More than that: where small “h” humanism is concerned with humane morals – the imperative to treat our fellow human beings and other sentient beings humanely – the great professor and I could sing in harmony.

“The moral alternative to theism,” he writes, “is humanism.”

But Humanism-the-movement holds principles that I not only do not like, but strongly dislike. They are principles of the Left. And  while he is not uncritical of the Left, Professor Pinker upholds those principles. Humanism, wherever it may be found, is a Leftist ideology. And because the Humanist movement is well-established, widespread, its opinions prominently published, and taught (or preached) where scholars gather, atheism is assumed by many to belong to the Left, inseparably, part and parcel of its essential ideology.

Atheism may be indispensable to the Left, but Leftism is not necessary to atheism.

Atheism as such carries no connotations. No political or ethical ideas logically flow from it. It is simply non-belief in the existence of a divine being. Nothing more. A person’s atheism does not itself make him more humane or less humane.

Steven Pinker implies that it does. Although he states that “atheism is not a moral system … just the absence of supernatural belief”, he also declares that “secularism leads to humanism, turning people away from prayer, doctrine, and ecclesiastical authority and toward practical policies that make them and their fellows better off.”

He reasons along these lines:

“Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis.”

Not from holy books. Agreed.

“Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change.”

Agreed.

There being no supernatural moral authority, and as human beings have natural needs –

“Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience.”

So far, no cause for quarrel. But he elaborates on this last statement to demonstrate that Humanists do this “deriving” well:

“Humanists ground values in human welfare, shaped by human circumstances, interests and concerns and extended to the global ecosystem …”

There it comes, as if it followed logically from scientific knowledge and humane secularism, one of the main obsessions of the Left: concern for the planet, for which, the Left claims, human beings bear responsibility. The words “man-made global warming” silently intrude themselves; as does the “solution” for it – global governance, by those who know what the human race must do; total communism, the highest principle of the Left; its vision of a whole-world Utopia. Though Steven Pinker himself is not a Utopian, he writes a good deal in this book about the virtues of “globalist” politics. He sees globalism as an enlightened, reasonable, science-based, progressive, humanist creed. To “maximize individual happiness”, he remarks, “progressive cultures” work to “develop global community”. He has much praise for international institutions – including, or even led by, the (actually deeply evil) United Nations. He is confident the UN and other international bodies such as the EU, formed after the end of the Second World War, can help keep the world at peace. In fact, there has not been a single year since 1945 when the world has been without a war or wars.

To the globalist view he opposes the populist view. Not wrong when stated thus. But he does not see the populist view as the one held by 63 million Americans who voted Donald Trump into the presidency of the United States because they wanted more jobs, lower taxes, and secure borders; or that of the British majority who voted to withdraw their country from the undemocratic and corrupt European Union. No. He sees populism as a cult of “romantic heroism”, a longing for “greatness embodied in an individual or a nation”.

He is adamantly against the nation-state. He thinks that those who uphold the idea of the nation-state “ludicrously” envision a “global order” that “should consist of ethnically homogeneous and mutually antagonistic nation-states”. Who has ever expressed such an idea? And he puts “multiculturalism” (the failing experiment of enforcing the co-existence of diverse tribes within a nation’s borders) on an equal footing with “multi-ethnicity” (the melting-pot idea that has worked so splendidly for the United States of America).

To him, nationalism is ineluctably authoritarian and fascist. He sees President Trump – who is in fact unswervingly for individual freedom – as a “charismatic leader” of the dictatorial Mussolini mold. The politics of the Right for Professor Pinker are irredeemably dyed in the wool with Nietzschean anti-morality, “superman” aspirations, and genocidal urgings. Libertarianism is tainted with it too. He writes: “ … Ayn Rand’s celebration of selfishness, her deification of the heroic capitalist, and her disdain for the general welfare had Nietzsche written all over them.”

Interestingly – and restoratively to my esteem for him – he also asserts that certain Marxists and certain Leftist movements are equally, or even more, colored with Nietzsche’s inhumanity: “[Nietzsche] was a key influence on … Jean-Paul Sartre, Jacques Derrida, and Michel Foucault, and a godfather to all the intellectual movements of the 20th century that were hostile to science and objectivity, including Existentialism, Critical Theory, Post-structuralism, Deconstructionism, and Postmodernism.”

Steven Pinker’s humanism, then, is not far to the Left, just “left-of-center”. And most of the humanists I have known (and argued with) would also place themselves on that section of the political spectrum. “[T]he moral and intellectual case for humanism is, I believe, overwhelming …,” he writes.

He concludes (and here he specifically rejects Utopianism):

We will never have a perfect world. And it would be dangerous to seek one. But there is no limit to the betterments we can attain if we continue to apply knowledge to enhance human flourishing. This heroic story … belongs not to any tribe but to all humanity – to any sentient creature with the power of reason and the urge to persist in its being. For it requires only the convictions that life is better than death, health is better than sickness, abundance is better than want, freedom is better than coercion, happiness is better than suffering, and knowledge is better than superstition and ignorance.”

That is the vision of the Decent Thinking Western Man. He believes that all human beings ultimately want the same things; that the good life is defined for all in the same general terms; that all  would agree to the Golden Rule, which has been “rediscovered in hundreds of moral traditions”.

But are those beliefs true? He himself records that there are many who do not value knowledge above ignorance, reason above superstition, freedom above coercion, even life above death. Which is to say, he writes about Islam (in which there is no Golden Rule). He knows Islam has no trace of “Enlightenment humanism”. He declares it an “illiberal” creed, and observes that “[M]any Western intellectuals – who would be appalled if the repression, misogyny, homophobia, and political violence that are common in the Islamic world were found in their own societies even diluted a hundred fold – have become strange apologists when these practices are carried out in the name of Islam.”

He finds one explanation for the double-standard of these intellectuals in their “admirable desire to prevent prejudice against Muslims”. But when it comes to revulsion against ideologists of repression, misogyny, homophobia, and political violence, is it prejudice or is it judgment? He says also that some of the apologetics are “intended to discredit a destructive (and possibly self-fulfilling) narrative that the world is embroiled in a clash of civilizations”. (Or, as I see it, of civilization against barbarism.) I wonder how anyone can look at the drastically changing demographics of Europe, or at least the Western part of it which will surely be under Islamic rule before the century is out, and not notice the clash.

But he does say that “calling out the antihumanistic features of contemporary Islamic belief is in no way Islamophobic”. Being the decent thinking Western man that he is, he is firmly for critical examination of all ideas.

His optimism shines out of the book. He thinks Islam can be reformed, even that a Muslim Enlightenment is possible. He believes there was an earlier age of Islamic Enlightenment, an “Islamic Golden Age” which could serve as a precedent. Well, if one wants to see bright possibilities, Islam may come to prefer science to the assertions of its prophet. It may become humane in its law and stop oppressing women. It may contribute to human progress. But whatever changes may come to Islam in the future, at present it does not value life above death, freedom above coercion, knowledge above superstition. And there is no good reason to believe it ever will.

 

Jillian Becker    April 12, 2018

 

*Enlightenment Now: the Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker, Viking, New York 2018. The quotations in the article come from the last chapter, Humanism.

Blackwards to tribalism 4

Those glorious Greeks of old conceived and implemented an Idea that took civilization thousands of thought-miles forward: individuals from any country, any nation, any tribe, could live together under the same rule of law.

What bound them, what commanded their loyalty, would be the Law rather than the Land: the Ius not the Rus – in the language of the grand old Romans who adopted the same idea. 

In the Roman Empire, at first, all the religions of all nations and tribes were tolerated, though tolerance and respect were demanded also for the gods of Rome.

It was a demand that the Judeans, who worshiped one god only, objected to. Their obstinacy on that score did not serve them well.

The Judeans became actively rebellious against Rome, whose protection they had originally invited. The Romans put down the rebellions, finally abolishing the province of Judea entirely. The Judeans turned into the wandering tribe of the Jews.

Before the first of the two great insurrections that ended in the dispersion of the Jews, an energetic Roman citizen of vast ambition came to the Judean capital, Jerusalem, from Tarsus in the Roman province of Cilicia in Asia Minor, and started a movement that was ultimately to destroy and replace the Roman Empire.

He called himself by the Hebrew name Saul (later changing it to Paul). He took the idea of the One  God and mixed it up with mythologies of Roman gods, claiming that the One God had a Son who was killed and rose again from the dead. He named the Son by the Greek name Jesus. His Jesus had been a living person, a Judean who had led a small weak rebellion and was executed for it. His followers maintained that he had “risen in the flesh”, and Saul/Paul was so excited by the tale – enhanced by the claim that the resurrected man was the long hoped-for Jewish Messiah (“Christos” in Greek) – that he invented a new religion. It came to be called Christianity. He moved about the Greek-speaking Eastern Roman Empire from whence he’d come, preaching it; finally taking it to Rome itself, where he died. He won converts. No one knows how many in his lifetime. Some of them reverted to their old polytheism or Judaism, but a fair number remained faithful to the new two-in-one divinity. Some converts composed books about the life of “Christ Jesus” – which Paul himself had not been interested in. The books, and Paul’s letters, eventually provided the mythology of the new religion.Through them the two-in-one divinity became a three-in-one divinity, a “Holy Spirit” being added to God-the-Father and God-the-Son.  The Son was chronicled as being begotten by the Jewish God upon a virgin mother (a concept familiar to the polytheists of classical times).

By this means and that means, the religion spread; through Paul the wandering preacher, the books of the myths, and the appeal that the religion itself had (with its promise of a blissful everlasting afterlife for the obedient faithful, and despite the threat of an eternity of torture for the disobedient unfaithful, the judgment being made by the Triple God alone). It became the Catholic Church, highly organized everywhere, headed and led by the the Church in Rome. More than a hundred years after Paul’s death, a Roman Emperor embraced Paul’s religion, and a few decades later Christianity was imposed on the whole Empire as its the official religion. Gone was the tolerance of earlier years. A few decades more, and Rome itself, weakened by Christianity, fell to the barbarians. The Church slowly took the place of the old order. The Church became the Roman power throughout western Europe. (The Eastern Empire, with the Emperor seated in Constantinople, is another story.)

Paul of Tarsus, though he never knew it, sustained and extended the power of Rome through his invention. But the Great Idea of the Greeks in the days of their glory, and of the Romans in the days of their grandeur, was changed.  Sure, individuals from any country, any nation, any tribe, could live as a “community” under the same rule – but it was the rule of the Roman Catholic Church, and that law was a different kind of law. It was the imposition of dogma: an orthodoxy, a uniformity of belief, essentially intolerant. 

Darkness descended. The Great Idea died.

It rose again after many hundreds of years. It was resurrected as the Idea on which the United States of America was founded.  

For two hundred and twenty-two years the Great Idea has made the United States of America, with a population of individuals deriving from many lands united as one nation under the law, free, prosperous, and powerful. United by Ius not Rus. Geographical origin, ethnicity, physical appearance, religion had no bearing on the rights the law gave all who lived under it. The unifying rule of law insisted on tolerance. By doing so, it guaranteed liberty. 

Now, it seems, that is changing. The Great Idea is under attack in the USA.

Tribes are being formed; some friendly to each other, some inimical to each other. Political cliques and cults, secessionists, states’ governments, defy the federal law. Many prefer to think of themselves as Blacks rather than as Americans, and their enemy as Whites. They actively seek to return to the savage ways of inter-tribal strife. It is atavism. It is a drawing down of darkness as intolerance spreads.

A good description of the disintegration is given by Sultan Knish. He writes (in part) at his website:

The Nation of Islam [NOI] preaches that black people are the master race. It doesn’t just hate white people, Jews and a whole bunch of other folks. It hates them out of a conviction in its own superiority. According to its teachings, “the Blackman is the original man” and lighter skinned people were “devils” created by an evil mad scientist to rule over black people until they are destroyed by UFOs.

It even teaches that monkeys are descended from white people.

Progressive media essays defending Obama, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Danny Davis, Mallory and other black leaders for their Farrakhan links have urged concerned liberals to look at the positive aspects of the Nation of Islam, its love for black people, not the negative, its hatred for white people.

But it is the “positive” that is the problem.

Intersectionality promises to package tribal identity politics into a utopia of social justice. But the essence of tribalism is the superiority of your people and the inferiority of all other groups. …

The clown car of identity politics runs smoothest when it has a common enemy: white people. Coalitions like the Women’s March assemble an array of groups who are united by their hatred of Trump, white people, Israel and root beer. And it works as long as no one lifts up the hood and looks at the engine.

Black nationalism is racist, sexist, anti-Semitic and homophobic. The Nation of Islam isn’t an exception. From Jeremiah Wright, “Italians… looked down their garlic noses”, to Eldridge Cleaver, “rape was an insurrectionary act” to Amiri Baraka, the ugliest possible supremacist bigotry is its natural state.

“We are all beautiful (except white people, they are full of, and made of s___),” Amiri Baraka wrote. “The fag’s death they gave us on a cross… they give us to worship a dead jew and not ourselves.”

“I got the extermination blues, jew-boys. I got the Hitler syndrome figured… So come for the rent, jewboys,” the Guggenheim fellowship, PEN and American Book Award winner, and former Poet Laureate of New Jersey ranted.

Baraka was one of the country’s most celebrated black nationalist poets and he was a former member of the Nation of Islam. Baraka’s Black Mass circulated the NOI’s racist creation myth.

It was the NOI’s conviction of black superiority and white inferiority that attracted Baraka and so many other black nationalists. The NOI is one of a variety of black supremacist religious groups, from the similarly exotic Moorish and Black Hebrew churches, to NOI splinter groups such as Five-Percent Nation and black nationalist churches like the one attended by the Obamas and presided over by Jeremiah Wright.

But religious black supremacism is only a component of a larger cultural movement that lies at the heart of black nationalism and mingles historical conspiracy theories with racial supremacism.

The comingling of black nationalism with intersectional politics has produced a new generation (often of second-generation radicals) that dresses up its racism not only in the lyricism of the old black nationalism of Wright and Baraka, but in the obtuse academic jargon of intersectionality.

That’s where Tamika Mallory and Ta-Nehisi Coates come from. But political word salads and poetry only conceal what you choose not to pay attention to. And that’s why we’re talking about Louis Farrakhan.

The mass of progressive media articles, essays and explainers deployed to protect the Women’s March can be summed up as, “Stop paying attention.” And what we’re not supposed to be paying attention to is the slow death of liberalism and its substitution by the intolerant tribal extremism of identity politics.

Intersectionality is a lie. Like the Nation of Islam, it’s not just a lie in its negative hateful aspects, but in its promise of a utopia once the “white devils” and their “white privilege” are out of the way.

Groups of identity politics extremists and their white cishet [pronounced “sis-het”, meaning heterosexual and “not transgendered”, ie. normal. – ed.] lefty allies can only be briefly united by the negative, not the positive. The “call-out culture” meant to spread social justice through the movement isn’t just a form of political terror; it fails to reach the innate bigotry of each identity politics group. …

Identity politics movements can’t fight bigotry, because they are naturally bigoted. Instead of actually rejecting bigotry, they project it on a convenient target like Trump, and then pretend that by destroying him, they can cleanse society. The more targets they destroy, the more they need to find to maintain an alliance whose only true unifying principle is a mutual denial of each other’s supremacist bigotries. And so the battle against racism becomes a war against microaggressions and structural white supremacy.

The whole thing is a ticking time bomb. And it keeps going off every few years. When it blows up, lefty activists rush out, as they are doing now, to plead, wheedle and warn that the real enemy is “white supremacy” and everyone needs to stop paying attention to the racist or sexist views of their own allies.

These “rainbow coalitions” of racist radicals don’t fight bigotry; they mobilize bigots for racial wars.

Tamika Mallory praising Farrakhan isn’t shocking. It would be more shocking if she didn’t. It’s hard to find major black figures in politics and the entertainment industry who don’t hang out with him.

Both Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama, the first two serious black presidential candidates, did. The Congressional Black Caucus hosted him. London Mayor Sadiq Khan acted as his lawyer. The list of black entertainers is all but endless. Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube (both members), Michael Jackson, Eddie Murphy, Spike Lee, Arsenio Hall, Common, Kanye West, Mos Def, Young Jeezy and Erykah Badu to name a few.

Not every individual who meets up with Farrakhan necessarily shares all his bigoted views, but many find his tribal affirmation of black superiority appealing and they value that more than they do any kind of tolerant society. That’s what Tamika Mallory, in her own awkward way, was trying to tell us.

Black nationalism is a tribal cause. It will always put its people first. The same is true of the rest of the hodgepodge of political identity groups that form up the intersectional chorus. No amount of calling out will change that. That’s why the calling out is mostly directed at safe targets, preferably white.

There is no larger unity at the end of the rainbow. Only smoother versions of Farrakhan. Barack instead of Baraka. Rants about “white devils” and “satanic Jews” filtered through academic jargon.

A movement of bigotries can only divide us. And that’s all identity politics has to offer America. Instead of equal rights in a united nation, we will be members of quarreling tribes. And those tribes, like Farrakhan’s fans, will be incapable of seeing members of other tribes as having the same worth they do. …

The left claims that it’s fighting for equality. What it’s actually fighting for is a tribal society where the notion of equal rights for all is as alien as it is in Iraq, Rwanda and Afghanistan, where democracy means tribal bloc votes and where the despotism of majority rule invariably ends in terror and death.

Big issues 9

What are the Big Issues of the day?

  1. Donald Trump has been elected president of the USA, which is (a) impossible and (b) intolerable. 
  2. President Trump has or has not called shithole countries “shithole countries”; and can it really be true that he weighs only 239 lbs. and is in good health?
  3. It has come to light that over the last thirty years or so, for the first time in history, women have been pursued by men for sexual gratification, which is wrong except when Bill Clinton does it.
  4. Studies show that white men run everything and must be replaced in all leadership positions by non-whites and women.
  5. The academic discipline of mathematics is racist and sexist, and must be made more comprehensible to feminists and other non-intellectuals by infusions of emotion.
  6. In a hundred years or so the planet could be a degree or two warmer than it is now.

There are other issues, good and bad, but they are comparatively trivial. Fox TV, conservative papers, some users of social media, and right-wing radio bring them up, but the mainstream media have the good sense not to excite or trouble the public over them.

  1. The United States is in the grip of economic recovery.
  2. The Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton corrupted the Intelligence agencies and the Department of Justice, by bringing them into a conspiracy to falsely accuse Donald Trump of collusion with the Russians in order to scuttle his candidacy, and later to try to nullify his election as president.
  3. Nation states are coming to an end as borders are opened and vast numbers of refugees from shithole countries are moving into the West, which will soon experience radical transformations of their laws, culture and values to turn them into shithole countries.
  4. Chief among the transformers are Muslims, whose law, culture and values will bring women – even feminist women – into subjection.
  5. Muslims are further advancing their conquest of the West by means of terrorist attacks which can and do kill anybody anywhere at any time.
  6. The aggressive states of North Korea and Iran are threatening nuclear war.

Admittedly the nuclear war threats are noticed sometimes by the mainstream media – but only because they are entirely the fault of President Trump.

Darkness returns 4

This is our Facebook abstract of Mark Steyn’s review of the film Darkest Hour, about how Winston Churchill saved Britain and the world from Nazi Germany:

We are at the great hinge moment of the twentieth century. That year in which the moth-eaten British lion and its distant cubs stood alone is, more than any other single factor, the reason why the world as ordered these last seventy years exists at all. Joe Wright’s film is very good on the sense of one small island on the periphery of Europe having the noose tightened almost hour by hour. Britain and its lion cubs fought on, playing for time until first the Soviets and then the Americans joined the war against Germany, Italy and Japan. At its heart, the story of one long-serving politician in the spring of 1940 is the definitive example of the Great Man theory of history. It was his very particular qualities – ones that did not necessarily serve him well in peacetime or in other wars – that changed the course of human events. As with Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, one’s admiration for the film is tempered by a terrible profound sadness – for a people who “won the war, and lost their country anyway”: the “long island story” is ending, and without anyone feeling the need to lie choking on the ground over it. To anyone old enough to remember an England where one could “walk into any pub in the country and ask with perfect confidence if the major had been in”, that sense of loss can bring tears to the eye. This is the film of an actual, real-life superhero. You leave the theater with the cheers of the House ringing in your ears …and return to a world where quoting Churchill in his own land can get you arrested.

Read the original in its entirety at Mark Steyn’s site here. It is well worth reading. We introduce it with our abstract in order to use it as a springboard for observations of our own.

Among all that stirs emotion there, above all, for us, is this:

… a terrible profound sadness – for a people who “won the war, and lost their country anyway”: the “long island story” is ending, and without anyone feeling the need to lie choking on the ground over it.  

It is astonishingly true that hardly a murmur of regret is heard from the educated classes of Great Britain, the classes of hereditary leadership, the political talking heads, the opinion formers, the professoriate, the historians, the think tanks, the men and women at present in power or firmly seated in the establishment, for the loss of their country.

They do not want to talk about it. And they do not want you to raise the issue.

Many are pretending that it isn’t happening; or that, if it is, it’s a bother that will  just go away.

But yes, there are those who are choking on the giving away of their country. They are the “horny handed sons of toil”. From the scorned and bullied working-class. The class for which the rulers claimed socialism needed to be established, but for whose opinion the rulers never give a toss.

The “Football Lads” march silently in their tens of thousands to the sites where Muslim immigrants have carried out acts of terrorism. They stand there in sorrow.

Tommy Robinson, who was once a “football hooligan” is now a leader of such resistance as there is in England. He is heavily and persistently harassed by police and frequently locked up for months on end by complicit judges on false charges. He is a brave man who has been abominably treated.

Anne Marie Waters almost certainly won a  recent election held for a new leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), but was summarily informed she had lost it. UKIP might still stand for British independence from Europe under its usurping leader, but it will cast a very disapproving eye on any of its members who might “lie down on the ground and choke” over the end of the “long island story”. So Anne Marie Waters formed a new party called the ForBritain Party. The establishment and the media are calling it a “far right” party to discredit it.

Unspoken, but fully implied by real events is this declaration by the government and the media;

We want the end of the island story. The end of England. The end of Britain. We want it to become a tyrannical Islamic state.

One of the EU Commissioners says that Europe is “too white”. He wants to see it go black and brown. He wants it to be flooded by migrants from the Third World.

A former prime minister of Sweden says that the country he led belongs not to the Swedes but to the Muslim immigrants.

Some say this is happening to Europe because it feels guilty for its past imperialism and colonialism. A Leftist notion now almost universally accepted.

But Sweden had no colonies.

And among those European countries that did, Britain brought enormous benefits to its conquered territories: notably a fair judiciary, freedom of speech, a free press, and in many cases literacy. For Britain to be ashamed of its vast and splendid empire is absurd and even disgraceful. Yet its shame was manifest when England hosted the Olympic Games and told the world how proud it was of its (rotten) National Health Service, and made not a mention of its empire.

France took good cooking to its foreign conquests.

True, some European countries brought mostly dread. Germany did. And Spain and Portugal with their Inquisitions. To know what horror Belgium brought, one has only to read Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

Almost all these empires have shriveled away. There are only bits and pieces left of the old British Empire.

But the most important good that Europe – chiefly Britain – gave to the human race, to be taken and kept by any who will for its immeasurable benefit, was the Enlightenment.

The values on which the United States of America was founded were Enlightenment values (not “Judeo-Christian” values as we have argued fully elsewhere.)

They are the values – reason, individual liberty, property, rule of law, equal justice under the law for each individual – that need to be defended. But they are not being defended in western Europe, all of which, including Britain, is bending to primitive, cruel, unjust Islamic laws and traditions. 

The United States of America – saved from Europe’s fate by President Trump – remains, at least for the present, the last best hope of mankind.

God, Squanto, turkeys and venison 3

We wish our readers, commenters (in particular our valuable contributing commenter liz), visitors, critics, silent appreciators and deprecators – all who are left to us by Google’s traffic-directing policies – a very happy Thanksgiving.

Here are some historical facts, seasoned (warning) with religious beliefs, about the first Thanksgiving feast. It comes from Prager University:

Posted under History, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Thursday, November 23, 2017

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The racists 1

Real “racism” is discrimination on racial grounds by law. That was the racism of the Democrats who fought for the right to keep people enslaved and later enacted the Jim Crow laws.

But the Democrats and their allies now regard racism as the worst of all crimes, and use the word “Racist”, regardless of its meaning, to brand their political opponents as scoundrels of the worst kind.

From our Leftist Lexicon:

Racist: everyone who does not agree with every current doctrine of the Left.

In the light of that, has the time come to turn the label “Racist” into a badge of honor?

Hillary Clinton called patriotic Americans “deplorables”. Now many Trump voters proudly call themselves “Deplorables”.

And there is a great precedent for turning the insult of a group into a badge of honor for every member of it:

From an article by Carl Chinn at Voices of War and Peace:

The Kaiser was certain that his great army would sweep in to the sea that small force of British soldiers sent to help the French when war with Germany broke out on August 4, 1914. So sneering was he of the British Expeditionary Force that he commanded his forces to ‘exterminate first the treacherous English and walk over General French’s contemptible little army’. … When the veterans of the British Expeditionary Force … banded together [after the Germans were defeated] in associations to remember their fallen comrades they took as their name the derogatory term used by the Kaiser. In so doing these “Old Contemptibles” transformed its meaning. No longer did it signify something shameful; instead it shouted out of men who were brave, patriotic, comradely, self-sacrificing, dogged, and unconquerable.

But no. It would not be possible to do this with the “Racist!” insult. Being racist is not a falsely perceived quality, like being “contemptible” and “deplorable” in the eyes of one’s enemies; it is a falsely perceived belief. And most of those to whom the belief is ascribed – Republicans and conservatives of all ethnicities, and whites in general –  not only are not racists, they abominate racism and have done so for far longer than the Left.

Karl Marx was a vicious racist. It is important to know this. He poured contempt on Jews and Blacks. His anti-Semitism was fierce, though he himself was a Jew by descent. He considered Latins and Slavs to be “inferior races”. The Slavs, he opined, should be wiped out in a revolutionary war. And he was all for the continuation of slavery in America. (See here, where relevant quotations may be found.)

The Comintern, created by Lenin in 1919 to promote world Communism, only decided to stop advocating keeping the blacks down in South Africa in the 1920s. The switch from “class analysis” to “race analysis” (to use Marxist jargon) came in 1928. Until then the  slogan of the Communist Party of South Africa was “Workers of the world unite and fight for a white South Africa”. The change meant that at last the Communist Party took up the cause of the oppressed blacks – and did it much harm, making it easy for the white nationalist government to continue their apartheid policy throughout the Cold War.

But it wasn’t until the advent of the New Left in the late 1960s that Communists in the West finally abandoned their championing of the proletariat as the “revolutionary class” – because the working-classes in the West had become contemptibly and deplorably prosperous and “bourgeois” under capitalism – and substituted other groups that they could call “oppressed”, chiefly the peoples of the Third World.

From then on anyone who did not share their (secular) religion, was a “racist”.

The Racist-in-Chief  in the eyes of the Left is now President Donald Trump.

David Horowitz writes at Front Page:

Let’s start by noticing the obvious. The biggest hate group in America – by a wide margin – is the anti-Trump chorus, which has advanced from calling him “unfit to be president” to accusing him (in the words of CNN’s Ana Navarro) of being “unfit to be human”. In between are malignant accusations that he is a “neo-Nazi,” a “white nationalist” and a “white supremacist” … Nor is the hate confined to Trump alone but includes his aides and supporters. Congressman Jerrold Nadler and other House Democrats have even attacked Trump’s policy adviser Stephen Miller as a “white supremacist” for defending a merit-based immigration reform. The attacks from the anti-Trump left also include the charge that America itself is a “white supremacist” country.

In a nation which for eight years was headed by a black president, had two chief law enforcement officers who were black, has recently had two black secretaries of state and three black national security advisers, and has elected more than 10,000 black government officials; in a nation that has been governed for fifty years by statutes that outlaw discrimination by race and whose national culture is saturated with non-white heroes and icons – in such a nation, people who refer to America as “white supremacist” would normally be dismissed as an oddball fringe, members of a fraternity that includes people who think Elvis is still alive and on the moon. Unfortunately, we live in times that are not normal.

Recent events have turned out crowds in the tens of thousands denouncing “neo-Nazis” and “white supremacists” both real and imagined, who number in the hundreds, if that. Yet the outpouring of righteous rage in a veritable orgy of virtue signaling has extended across both ends of the political spectrum, as though Nazism hadn’t been defeated more than seventy years ago, or racial discrimination outlawed for sixty. The ranks of actual neo-Nazis and white supremacists are so minuscule that besides the universally despised David Duke and Richard Spencer there are no figures on this “alt-right” that even informed observers could actually name.

In contrast to the trivial representatives of organized Nazism, there are – to take one obvious example – tens of thousands of members of the American Communist Party, also a defeated totalitarian foe. Yet no one seems alarmed. There have been “Million Man” marches led by black racists Farrakhan and Sharpton, while “white nationalists”,  and Klan members can’t attract a sufficient number of supporters to even constitute a “march”. Black Lives Matter is an overtly racist and violent group that is led by avowed communists and has allied itself with Hamas terrorists. It is an organization officially endorsed by the Democratic Party and lavishly funded by tens of millions of dollars contributed by Democratic donors like George Soros. But the self-congratulating denouncers of Nazism and white racism find nothing wrong with them.

On any rational assessment, “white supremacy” as a descriptor of American society or American institutions or a significant segment of the American right is loony toons paranoia. Yet on the political left it is now an article of faith, and also a convenient weapon for disposing political opponents. …

Notwithstanding the marginal existence of actual Klansmen and “neo-Nazis” in American culture and institutions, the term “white supremacy” currently turns up 3.7 million references in a Google search – a tribute to its rampant mis-usage. Of these references, 1.2 million are linked specifically – and absurdly – to Donald Trump. The term “white nationalism” turns up 4.2 million references, of which 2.1 million are linked directly to the president. Only a slightly lower number – 1.8 million – link Trump to “Nazi”. The parity of the numbers is easily explained by the fact that in the lexicon of the left they are identical. As a leftwing smear site created by the Southern Poverty Law Center explains, “White nationalist groups espouse white supremacist or white separatist ideologies.”

It is not “supremacism” as such – the dominance by one race over the whole nation – that these liars and calumniators are against; it is only “white supremacism”. The black supremacism constantly shouted for by BLM and other black separatist groups is applauded by the whites on the Left.

The malicious charge that Trump and his supporters are white racists is the central meme of a concerted effort to overthrow the Trump presidency before it has run its course – or before it had even gotten started. …

Obviously the terms “white supremacy and “white nationalism” can’t actually mean what they say. If they did, one would have to conclude that half the country had simply lost its mind and morals. To make sense of the terms one has to understand them as expressions of an ideology that has emerged out of its university incubators to become a dogma of the Democratic Party and progressives generally. This radical perspective, known as “cultural Marxism”, divides society into a white majority that oppresses, and “people of color” who are oppressed, attributing all racial and ethnic disparities to “racism”. …

If eighty percent of corporate executives are white, that is prima facie evidence of what the left calls “institutional racism,” even though there are no racists pulling strings to keep non-white people down. Racism is redefined as defending the invisible system – e.g., the system of standards – that allegedly perpetuates these disparities. But note the hypocrisy. If 95% of the multimillionaires in the National Basketball Association or the National Football League are black, no one regards these as anything but disparities based on merit.

The unexamined premise of the argument that regards white Americans as racists is that statistical disparities are all the result of oppression. But who is oppressed in America? There are an estimated 65 million refugees in the world today fleeing oppression, but not one of them is fleeing oppression in the United States. Why do Haitians and Mexicans risk life and limb to come to America? To be oppressed? They come because in America they have more rights, more privileges and more opportunities than they would in Mexico and Haiti, which have been governed by Hispanics and blacks for a hundred years and more.

The reality that the academic theory of faculty leftists tries futilely to deny is that America is the least racist most tolerant multi-ethnic, multi-racial society in the history of the world. America has outlawed racial supremacies of any kind. …

But this hateful movement is not really about Trump. It is about America. Beyond that it is about the left’s attack on the democratic societies of the West in general, and specifically their foundations in individual rights rather than group identities. This was evident in the reactions to the major foreign policy address Trump delivered in Poland on July 6. His speech was a full-throated and often eloquent defense of the West and its values, and of America’s role in defeating the Soviet Union and the global Communist empire. In a climactic passage, Trump delivered a paean to the values that had inspired the West’s resistance to the totalitarians left and right, to the values that created western civilization. These were the values – above all that of individual freedom – that the wars against Nazism and Communism had been fought to defend. …

On finishing this tribute, Trump issued a call to the people of the West to rally again to the defense of these values in the face of the new totalitarian threats that confront us:

The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?

Despite, and more likely because of its reaffirmation of American values, Trump’s speech was immediately attacked by the political left.The common theme of these attacks was once again the left’s race war against Trump and the country he leads. Slate.com, an online publication of the Washington Post ran with this headline: “The White Nationalist Roots of Donald Trump’s Warsaw Speech.” The Bernie Sanders’ left at Salon.com repeated the accusation: “Trump’s Alt-right Poland Speech: Time to Call His White Nationalist Rhetoric What It Is.” The respected Atlantic Monthly followed with this: “The Racial and Religious Paranoia of Trump’s Warsaw Speech.” For the left, American patriotism is white nationalism.

The political left is relentless in its commitment to identity politics, which is a not so subtle form of racism. This animus is rooted in a racial and gender collectivism that is antagonistic to the fundamental American idea of individual rights applied universally and without regard to origins – to race, ethnicity or gender. The war to defend this idea is what created Trump’s candidacy and has shaped his political persona.

An American patriotism – which is precisely not about blood and soil, [and] which is the antithesis of racism and collectivism – is what drives Trump and his presidency. “If we are loyal to our country we will be loyal to each other; if we have patriotism in our hearts there will be no room for prejudice; we are black and brown and white but we all bleed patriot red.” This is the mantra of Trump’s inaugural address; it was the mantra of his announcement of a new strategy to fight the terrorists in Afghanistan; and it is the mantra behind the call to “make America great again”.

Patriotism – a specifically American patriotism – is the loyalty that unites us and makes us equal. It is this patriotism with which the political left is at war, and the reason they hate this president and are determined to destroy him. 

If they succeed, Racism will replace Liberty as the essential value on which the United States of America is established.

Down with history 2

The statue of General Robert Edward Lee is taken down in New Orleans:

Was General Lee worth commemorating?

Well yes, actually:

 

Posted under History, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, August 19, 2017

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Great days of the glorious crusades 2

From Jerusalem: The Biography by Simon Sebag Montefiore, a description of what the Crusaders of the First Crusade did when they reached Jerusalem in 1099:

The fighting raged there for hours; the Franks went berserk, and killed anyone they encountered in the streets and alleyways. They cut off not only heads but hands and feet, glorying in the spurting fountains of cleansing infidel blood. Although carrying out a massacre in a stormed city was not unprecedented, the sanctimonious pride with which the perpetrators recorded it possibly was. “Wonderful sights were to be seen,” enthused one eyewitness, Raymond of Aguilers, the Count of Toulouse’s chaplain: “Our men cut off the heads of their enemies, others shot them with arrows so that they fell from the towers, others tortured them longer by casting them into the flames. Piles of heads, hands and feet were to be seen on the streets. It was necessary to pick one’s way over the bodies of men and horses.”

Babies were seized from their mothers, their heads dashed against the walls. As the barbarity escalated, “Saracens, Arabs and Ethiopians” — meaning the black Sudanese troops of the Fatimid army — took refuge on the roofs of the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa. But, as they fought their way towards the Dome, the knights hacked a path across the crowded esplanade, killing and dicing through human flesh until “in the Temple [of Solomon, as the Crusaders called al-Aqsa], they rode in blood up to their bridles. Indeed it was a just and splendid judgment of God that this place should be filled with the blood of unbelievers”.

The Jews sought refuge in their synagogues, but the Crusaders set them on fire. The Jews were burned alive, almost a climactic burnt offering in Christ’s name. Godfrey of Bouillon took off his sword and with a small entourage circled the city and prayed, before making his way to the Holy Sepulchre.

A ghoulish delight was taken in the dismemberment of the victims, which was treated almost as a sacrament. “Everywhere lay fragments of human bodies, headless bodies and mutilated limbs, strewn in all directions.” There was something even more dreadful in the wild-eyed, gore-spattered Crusaders themselves, “dripping with blood from head to foot, an ominous sight that brought terror to all who met them.” They searched the streets of the bazaars, dragging out more victims to be “slain like sheep”. Each Crusader had been promised possession of any house marked by his “shield and arms”: consequently the pilgrims searched the city most carefully and boldly killed the citizens, culling “wives, children, whole households”, many of them “dashed headlong to the ground” from high windows.

On the 17th [July], the pilgrims (as these slaughterers called themselves) were finally sated with butchery and “refreshed themselves with the rest and food they greatly needed”.

The princes and priests made their way to the Holy Sepulchre where they sang in praise of Christ, clapping joyously and bathing the altar in tears of joy, before parading through the streets to the Temple of the Lord (the Dome of the Rock) and the Temple of Solomon. Those streets were strewn with body parts, decaying in the summer heat.

The Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade, Venetians and Franks, attacked the Christian capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, Constantinople, in April, 1204. Here’s a brief description of what happened from A Short History of Byzantium by John Julius Norwich:

Once the walls were breached the carnage was dreadful. … Not for nothing had the Franks waited so long outside the world’s richest capital. Now that the customary three days’ looting was was allowed them, they fell on it like locusts. Never since the barbarian invasions had Europe witnessed such an orgy of brutality and vandalism; never in history had so much beauty, so much superb craftsmanship, been wantonly destroyed in so short a space of time. Among the witnesses was Nicetas Choniates:

They smashed the holy images and hurled the sacred relics of the Martyrs into places I am ashamed t mention, scattering everywhere the body and blood of the Saviour … As for their profanation of the Great Church, they destroyed the high altar and shared out the pieces among themselves … And they brought horses and mules into the Church, the better to carry off the holy vessels, and the pulpit, and the doors, and the furniture wherever it was to be found; and when some of these beasts slipped and fell, they ran through them with their swords, fouling the Church with their blood and ordure.

A common harlot was enthroned in the Patriarch’s chair, to hurl insults at Jesus Christ; and she sang bawdy songs, and danced immodestly in the holy place … nor was their mercy shown to virtuous matrons, innocent maids or even virgins consecrated to God …

“And these men,” he continues, “carried the Cross on their shoulders, the Cross upon which they had sworn to abstain from the pleasures of the flesh until their holy task was done.”

It was Constantinople’s darkest hour – even darker, perhaps, than that which was to see the city’s final fall to the Ottoman Sultan. But not all its treasures perished. While the Franks abandoned themselves to a frenzy of destruction, the Venetians kept their heads. They too looted – but they did not destroy. They knew beauty when they saw it. All that they could lay their hands on they sent back to Venice – beginning with the four great bronze horses which, from their high platform above the main door of St. Mark’s, were to dominate the Piazza for the next eight centuries. …

The Fourth Crusade … surpassed even its predecessors in faithlessness and duplicity, in brutality and greed. By the sack of Constantinople, Western civilization suffered a loss greater than the sack of Rome in the fifth century or the burning of the library of Alexandria on the seventh – perhaps the most catastrophic loss in all history, Politically, too, the damage was incalculable. Byzantium never recovered any considerable part of its lost dominion. Instead, the Empire was left powerless to defend itself against the Ottoman tide. There are few greater ironies in history than the fact that the fate of Eastern Christendom should have bean sealed by men who fought under the banner of the Cross.

 

(Hat-tip to Cogito for the Montefiore quotation)

Posted under Christianity, History, War by Jillian Becker on Saturday, August 5, 2017

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Good night France, good night Europe 9

732 C.E. A Frankish army saves Europe from Islamization, winning the Battle of Tours under the command of Charles Martel (Charles the Hammer).

2017 C.E. France capitulates to Islam and ensures the Islamization of the greater part of Europe?

From Gatestone by Giulio Meotti:

 After two years and 238 deaths at the hands of Islamic terrorism, what did France do to defeat radical Islam? Almost nothing.

It is this legacy of indifference that is at stake in the looming French presidential elections.

If Marine Le Pen or François Fillon win, it means that France has rejected this autocratic legacy and wants to try a different, braver way.

Whatever her faults (we suspect she is an anti-Semite like her father, though she has tried to put distance between her opinions and his on this as on other issues), we hope she wins because she would not only try to stop the Islamization of France, she would also try to take France out of the corrupt undemocratic European Union. François Fillon – to his credit an admirer of Margaret Thatcher – is also against Islamization, but not against the EU. 

If Emmanuel Macron wins, France as we have known it can be considered pretty much over. Macron is, for example, against taking away French nationality from jihadists. Terrorism, Islam and security are almost absent from Macron’s vocabulary and platform, and he is in favor of lowering France’s state of emergency. By blaming “colonialism” for French troubles in the Arab world, and calling it “a crime against humanity”, he has effectively legitimized Muslim extremist violence against the French Republic. …

France’s fake war began in Paris with a massacre at the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. Twelve cartoonists and policemen were massacred by two brothers who shouted, “We avenged Muhammad, we killed Charlie Hebdo”. After a few days of marches, vigils, candles and collective statements such as “Je Suis Charlie”, half of the French intelligentsia was ready to go and hide underground, protected by the police. These are academics, intellectuals, novelists, journalists. The most famous is Michel Houellebecq, the author of the book Submission.

In which the protagonist, an academic, decides to convert to Islam because he can then have more than one wife.

Then there is Éric Zemmour, the author of the book, Suicide Française (“The French Suicide”); then the team of Charlie Hebdo, along with its director, Riss (Laurent Sourisseau); Mohammed Sifaoui, a French-Algerian journalist who wrote Combattre le terrorisme islamiste (“Combating Islamist Terrorism”); Frédéric Haziza, radio journalist and author at the journal, Canard Enchaîné; and Philippe Val, the former director of Charlie Hebdo. The latest to run was the Franco-Algerian journalist Zineb Rhazaoui; surrounded by six policemen, she left Charlie Hebdo after saying that her newspaper had capitulated to terror and refused to run more cartoons of Muhammad.

“Charb? Where is Charb?” were the words that echoed in the offices of Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015, the day he and his colleagues were murdered. “Charb” was Stéphane Charbonnier, the editor of the magazine that had published cartoons of Muhammad. Charb was working on a short book, On Blasphemy, Islamophobia and the true enemies of free expression, posthumously published. Charb’s book attacked self-righteous intellectuals, who for years had been claiming that Charlie Hebdo was responsible for its own troubles, a childlike view, popular throughout Europe. It is based on the notion that if everyone would just keep quiet, these problems would not exist. Presumably, therefore, if no one had pointed out the threats of Nazism or Communism, Nazism and Communism would have quietly vanished of their own accord. Unfortunately, that approach was tried; it did not work. The book also criticized “sectarian activists”, whom he said have been trying “to impose on the judicial authorities the political concept of ‘Islamophobia’.”

As for “the Left“, he wrote: “It is time to end this disgusting paternalism of the intellectual left” — meaning its moral sanctimony. Charb delivered these pages to his publisher on January 5. Two days later he was murdered.

Now, some of these people he was calling out are trying to hide their cowardice by attacking him. In recent weeks, a number of cultural events in France have tried to “deprogram” the public from paying attention this extremely important book. A theatrical adaptation of it, attended by one of the journalists of Charlie Hebdo, Marika Bret, was scheduled to take place at the University of Lille. However, the president of the University, Xavier Vandendriessche, said he feared “excesses” and the “atmosphere”, so he eliminated Charb from the program. Twice. The play’s director, Gérald Dumont, sent a letter to the Minister of Culture, Audrey Azoulay, mentioning “censorship”.

At the same time, Charb’s book also disappeared from two events at a cultural festival in Avignon. “How to reduce the dead to silence”, tweeted Raphaël Glucksmann. “Killed in 2015, banned in 2017”, Bernard-Henri Lévy summed up.

During the past two years, the publishing industry itself has played a central role in censoring and supporting censorship, by censoring itself. The philosopher Michel Onfray refused to release his book, Thinking Islam, in French and it first came out in Italian. The German writer, Hamed Abdel Samad saw his book Der islamische Faschismus: Eine Analyse (“Islamic Fascism: An Analysis”), a bestseller in Germany, censored in French by the publishing house Piranha.

The French courts, meanwhile, revived le délit d’opinion – a penal offense for expressing political opinions, now an “intellectual crime”. It was explained by Véronique Grousset in Le Figaro:

“Insidiously, the law blurred the distinction between the discussion of ideas and the personal attack. Many organizations are struggling to bring their opponents to justice”.

It means that the legal system is hauling writers and journalists to court for expressing specific ideas, in particular criticism of Islam.

In just two years in France, Muslim organizations have dragged to trial great writers such as Georges Bensoussan, Pascal Bruckner, and Renaud Camus. It is the Islamists’ dream coming true: seeing “Islamophobes” on trial to punish their freedom of expression.

Charlie Hebdo’s physical massacre was therefore followed by an intellectual one: today, Charb’s important book cannot find a room in France for a public reading; it should, instead, be protected as a legacy of courage and truth.

Even in French theaters, free speech is being crushed. Films about Islam have been cancelled: “The Apostle” by Carron Director, on Muslim converts to Christianity; “Timbuktu” on the Islamist takeover of Mali, and Nicolas Boukhrief’s “Made in France”, about a jihadist cell. A poster for “Made in France” – a Kalashnikov over the Eiffel Tower – was already in the Paris metro when ISIS went into action on the night of November 13, 2016. Immediately, the film’s release was suspended, with the promise that the film would be back in theaters. “Made in France” is now only available “on-demand”. Another film, “Les Salafistes”, was screened with a notice banning minors. The Interior Ministry called for a total ban.

After the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, the country seemed for a short time to return to normalcy. Meanwhile, thousands of Jews were packing up to leave France. At the request of local Jewish community leaders, the Jewish skullcap disappeared from the streets of Marseille, and in Toulouse, after an Islamic terrorist murdered a Jewish teacher and three children in 2012, 300 Jewish families pack up and left.

France’s never-begun war on terror …  collapsed around the three most important measures: removing French citizenship from jihadists, “de-radicalizing” them and closing their salafist mosques. …

 The Territorial Information Center (SCRT) recommended that there are 124 salafist mosques in France that should close.

Only Marine Le Pen has demanded that.

Three days after the November 13 Paris massacres, President Hollande announced a constitutional reform that would strip French citizenship from Islamic terrorists. Faced with the impossibility of finding a shared text by both Houses, as well as with the resignation of his Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, Hollande was forced to cancel the move. It means that hundreds of French citizens who went to Syria for jihad can now return to their country of origin and murder more innocent people there.

The Bataclan Theater – the scene of a massacre in which 90 people were murdered and many others wounded on November 13, 2015 – recently reopened with a concert by the performer Sting. His last song was “Inshallah” (Arabic for “If Allah Wills”). That is the state of France’s last two years: starting with “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is the greatest”), chanted by the jihadists who slaughtered 80 people, and ending with a phony invocation to Allah by a British singer. “Inshallah,” said Sting from the stage, “that wonderful word”. “Rebirth at the Bataclan,” the newspaper Libération wrote as its headline.

The director of the Bataclan told Jesse Hughes, the head of American band Eagles of Death Metal: “There are things you cannot forgive.” True. Except that France has forgiven everything. The drawing on the cover of Charlie Hebdo after the massacre – a weeping Muhammad saying, “All is forgiven” – was the start of France’s psychological surrender.

The first round of the 2017 French presidential election will be  held on April 23, 2017. If no candidate wins a majority, a run-off election between the top two candidates will be held on May 7, 2017.

Victory for Marine le Pen would also be a victory for Donald Trump’s populist revolutionary movement agains the globalist ruling establishments of the West which have invited the hordes of Islam into their countries.  

Make war not love 3

Last week Bashar al-Assad attacked his own people and killed many of them with poison gas. President Trump ordered that two US ships patrolling the eastern Mediterranean fire cruise missiles to destroy the Syrian airfield from where the gas was carried and the aircraft that carried it.

We were delighted that he did. We cheered. The mass-murdering  tyrant Assad and his allies and supporters, Russia and Iran, were being shown that the United States was no longer going to stand by while they committed such atrocities. We also applauded Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s announcement that Assad must go.

We invited our readers, both here on The Atheist Conservative website and on our Facebook page, to tell us what they thought about President Trump’s action.

Few agreed with us. Most said that Assad should be left in place because who knew what would follow his deposition. We argue that whatever followed, Syria could hardly experience worse than it has under Assad’s rule.

They argued that there was no firm evidence that Assad was responsible for the gassing. Some wanted him to be blamed and punished fairly, justly, as in an American court of law; not taking his past record into account; looking only at this particular atrocity and whether the evidence was strong enough for him to be found guilty of it.

Some declared that they had until now been Trump supporters, but his stroke against Assad had changed their view of him.

How many, we wonder, of those who voted Donald Trump into power now think he has done something so wrong that they regret their choice?

We cannot know. We do not trust the polls, and there is not going to be another presidential election in the near future to give the answer.

We can only point out that if we lose Trump, we lose the war. He is all we’ve got between us and the end of our civilization.

What war? How will it be the end of our civilization if we lose it?

Let’s look round the world and see what’s happening.

This is from an article at Gatestone by Guy Millière, titled Geert Wilders and the Suicide of Europe:

For years, the Dutch mainstream media have spread hatred and defamation against [Geert] Wilders for trying to warn the Dutch people – and Europe – about what their future will be if they continue their current immigration policies; in exchange, last December, a panel of three judges found him guilty of “inciting discrimination”. Newspapers and politicians all over Europe unceasingly describe him as a dangerous man and a rightist firebrand. Sometimes they call him a “fascist”.

What did Geert Wilders ever do to deserve that? None of his remarks ever incriminated any person or group because of their race or ethnicity. To charge him, the Dutch justice system had excessively and abusively to interpret words he used during a rally in which he asked if the Dutch wanted “fewer Moroccans”. None of Wilders’s speeches incites violence against anyone; the violence that surrounds him is directed only at him. He defends human rights and democratic principles and he is a resolute enemy of all forms of anti-Semitism.

His only “crime” is to denounce the danger represented by the Islamization of the Netherlands and the rest of Europe and to claim that Islam represents a mortal threat to freedom.  …

What is happening in the Netherlands is similar to what is happening in most European countries. In the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden, the number of no-go zones is rapidly growing. Islamic riots occur more and more often. Ethnic gangs are growing more violent. Ethnic cleansing is transforming neighborhoods. Jews are leaving for Israel or North America.The Muslim population is sharply increasing. Radical mosques are proliferating. Islamic organizations are everywhere.

Politicians who dare to speak the way Geert Wilders does are treated the way Geert Wilders is treated : scorned, marginalized, put on trial.

The vision of the world in Western Europe is now “hegemonic”. It is based on the idea that the Western world is guilty; that all cultures are equal, and that Islamic culture is “more equal” than Western culture because Islam was supposedly so long oppressed by the West. What adherents of this view, that the West is guilty, “forget” is that Islam long oppressed the West: Muslim armies conquered Persia, the Christian Byzantine Empire, North Africa and the Middle East, Spain, Greece, Hungary, Serbia and the Balkans, and virtually all of Eastern Europe. The Muslim armies were a constant threat until the marauding Ottoman troops were finally turned away at the Gates of Vienna in 1683.

This European vision also includes the idea that all conflicts can be peacefully settled, that appeasement is almost always a solution, and that Europe has no enemies.

It also stands on the idea that an enlightened elite must have the power, because if Adolf Hitler came to power through democratic means eighty years ago, letting people freely decide their fate might lead to ill.

The dream seems to be of a utopian future where poverty will be overcome by welfare systems, and violence will be defeated by openness and love.

Repeat: Islamic terrorism “will be defeated by openness and love”.

It is this vision of the world that may have prompted Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel to open the doors to more than a million unvetted Muslim migrants, despite a migrant crime wave and an increasing number of rapes and sexual assaults. The only candidate likely to beat Angela Merkel in this year’s German elections is a socialist, Martin Schulz, a former European Parliament president.

In France, Marine Le Pen, the only candidate who speaks of Islam and immigration, will almost certainly be defeated by Emmanuel Macron, a former minister in the government of François Hollande — a man who see no evil anywhere.

It is this vision of the world that also seems to have led British Prime Minister Theresa May to say that the Islamic attack on March 22 in Westminster was “not an act of Islamic terrorism”.

This romanticized, utopian vision of the world also explains why in Europe, people such as Geert Wilders are seen as the incarnation of evil, but radical Islam is considered a marginal nuisance bearing no relation to the “religion of peace”. Meanwhile, Wilders is condemned to live under protection as if he were in jail, while those who want to slaughter him — and who threaten millions of people in Europe — walk around free.

Of all the countries in Europe where the indigenous Europeans have capitulated to Islam, the one most eager to submit to that supremacist totalitarian conqueror is Sweden. Recently a jihadi drove a truck into a crowd of Swedes, killing four.

What will the Swedes – what remains of them – do to save themselves from Islamic terrorism?

They will ban the use of vehicles in Swedish cities:

Virginia Hale reports at Breitbart:

Cars and other vehicles “have turned into deadly weapons”, and should be banished from cities to stop attacks like the one in Stockholm from happening in future, according to Aftonbladet editorialist Eva Franchell.

Crackdowns on immigration or extremist ideology are not the way forward when it comes to terror prevention, according to the veteran journalist, writing after Friday’s terror attack in Stockholm left four people dead.

Instead, it is cars — which she calls “effective murder machines” — that Franchell says “[which] must simply be removed from city centres and places where people gather, if people are to be protected in future”.

Vehicles are “easy to steal, and so nothing has been able to stop their advance”, writes Ms. Franchell.

It just isn’t reasonable that a big truck can be driven right into one of Stockholm’s busiest streets on a Friday afternoon right before Easter.”

Noting how it is a popular destination for tourists, Franchell says the city centre must be a “safe environment” for visitors to enjoy. She described it as “remarkable” that it is possible to drive around the Swedish capital’s medieval old town.

Outlining her vision for a car-free Stockholm, she argues: “Most problems with regards to mobility and public transport can be solved, and deliveries to shops and restaurants could take place at times when people aren’t out on the streets.”

“Vehicles have been allowed to dominate our cities for decades and it’s the people who need space. It’s vital now that cars be regulated,” the piece concludes.

The idea of reducing the number of cars in Swedish cities was backed last month by Sweden’s environment minister, who argued that driving is a gender equality issue as well as a matter of shrinking the nation’s carbon emissions.

“Cars are driven largely by men so by giving a lot of space to cars; we’re giving a lot of space to men — at the expense of women,” Karolina Skog explained.

Cars are evil, and the need to get rid of them is a feminist issue. Two big important fights to be engaged there, with cars and sex inequality.

So are we and President Trump in a very small minority of Westerners who think that we should use all our strength to defeat Islam and its helpers and allies?

We don’t know. But there are voices raised on our side.

This is from the Investigative Project on Terrorism, by Yaakov Lappin:

The conflict in Syria has long ceased being a civil war, becoming instead a clash between coalitions and blocs that divide the entire Middle East.

The Iranian-led axis is the most dangerous and highly armed bloc fighting in Syria. Bashar al-Assad’s regime is not an independent actor, but rather, a component of this wider axis. In many respects, Assad is a junior member of the Iranian coalition set up to fight for him.

Russia joined the Iranian axis in 2015, acting for its own reasons as the pro-Assad coalition’s air force, helping to preserve the Syrian regime.

This coalition enabled the Assad regime to conduct mass murder and ethnic cleansing of Sunnis from Syria, while also using unconventional weapons against civilians in an effort to terrorize rebel organizations into submission.

Feeling confident by its growing control of Syria, Iran also uses its regional coalition to arm, finance, and deploy Shi’ite jihadist agents all over the Middle East, and to attack those who stand in the way of Iranian domination.

The Iranian-led axis has been able to spread violence, terrorism, and Islamic militancy without facing repercussions.

Until recently, the United States focused its attention exclusively on Sunni jihadist threats – ISIS and al-Qaida-affiliated groups. While these terrorists certainly need to be attacked, turning a blind eye to the activities of the more powerful radical Shi’ite coalition did nothing to stop the region’s destabilization. In this context, Assad’s numerous crimes against humanity went unanswered.

This helped embolden Assad to use chemical weapons. It also gave the Iranians confidence to magnify their meddling in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, and to target many other states. The end result is Iran’s enhanced ability to export its Khomeiniest Islamic fundamentalist doctrine.

That sent a troubling message to America’s regional allies, who, in the face of these threats, formed a de facto coalition of pragmatic Sunni states – a coalition that includes Israel.

On April 6, the U.S. sent a signal that something may have changed. A cruise missile attack on an Assad regime air base, in response to a savage chemical weapons massacre in Idlib, Syria, was, first and foremost, a moral response to an intolerable act of evil.

But the strike also carries a wider prospective message about Washington’s new willingness to enforce red lines against Assad and his Shi’ite allies.

Potentially, it is an indication that the U.S. is willing to use its military prowess beyond the objective of targeting ISIS, and that it recognizes that Sunni jihadists are not the only global security threat that warrants the use of military force.

Statements by senior Trump administration officials indicate that a shift has occurred. “What you have in Syria is a very destructive cycle of violence perpetuated by ISIS, obviously, but also by this regime and their Iranian and Russian sponsors,” National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster told Fox News Sunday.

Russia must choose between its alignment with Assad, Iran, and Hizballah, and working with the United States, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday. The firm comment was made hours before he touched down in Moscow for talks.

According to U.S. officials, the April 6 missile attack destroyed 20 percent of Assad’s fighter jets. It represents the first time that Washington has taken military action against a member of the Iranian-led coalition.

The strike could evolve into a “dialogue of deterrence” that the U.S. initiates against dangerous actors. These radical actors all have “return addresses”, and are likely to prove responsive to cost-benefit considerations, despite their extreme ideology. They may think twice before considering further development and usage of unconventional weapons.

Washington is now able to exercise muscular diplomacy – the only kind that is effective in the Middle East – and inform all members of the Iran’s pro-Assad coalition that the deployment of unconventional weapons will not be tolerated. It can also begin to rally and strengthen the pro-American coalition of states in the Middle East, who seek to keep a lid on both ISIS and Iran.

With American officials indicating that they are “ready to do more” in Syria if necessary, signs suggest that the strike represents the start of a policy of deterrence, and leaving open future options for drawing additional red lines.

In theory, should Washington decide that Iran’s transfer of weapons and extremist Shi’ite military forces to other lands has reached unacceptable levels, or that Iran’s missile development program has gone far enough, it could call on Tehran to cease these activities. This call would carry substantially more weight following last week’s missile attack on the Syrian airbase.

The U.S. is in a better position to inform Assad and his allies that there is a limit to how far they can go in pursuing their murderous ambitions.

While the objective of creating a renewed American deterrent posture is vital, it should not be confused with plans for wider military intervention in the seemingly endless Syrian conflict.

There is little reason to believe that conventional weapons use against Syrian civilians is going to stop any time soon, or that the enormous tragedy suffered by the Syrian people is about to end.

And there is certainly no indication that the U.S. is planning to initiate large-scale military involvement in this failed state.

Hence, the missile strike should be seen for what it is: an attempt to boost American deterrence, which can then be leveraged to restrain radical actors that have, until now, been operating completely unchecked.

That is a message that will likely be heard loud and clear not only in Damascus, but also in Tehran, which has not given up its long-term ambition of building nuclear weapons.

North Korea, which helped build Syria’s plutonium nuclear plant (destroyed in 2007 in a reported Israeli air strike), and which maintains close links with Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, can be expected to take note as well.

If a policy of strategic deterrence follows the strike, it could have an impact on a coalition that is not just keeping Assad’s regime alive, but spreading its radical influence in many other areas.

In Syria, the Iranian Republican Guards Corps (IRGC) oversees ground operations across many battlefields to prop up Bashar al-Assad. Iran has gathered and armed tens of thousands of Shi’ite militia members from across the region into Syria, and manages a local force composed of 100,000 members. They fight alongside the Syrian Arab Army against Sunni rebel organizations, thereby increasing and entrenching Iranian influence.

The IRGC and its elite Quds Force are also helping to fill Hizballah’s weapons depots in Lebanon, with a vast array of surface-to-surface projectiles that are all pointed at Israel, often using Syria as an arms trafficking transit zone. Syria acts as a bridge that grants Iran access to Lebanon, and allows it to threaten both Israel and Jordan.

Jordan, an important U.S. ally, is deeply concerned by Iran’s actions in Syria, as evidenced by recent comments made by King Abdullah, who told the Washington Post that “there is an attempt to forge a geographic link between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah/Lebanon.” IRGC forces are stationed within a mere 45 miles from Jordan’s border, he warned, adding that any hostile forces approaching the Hashemite Kingdom “are not going to be tolerated”.

Hizballah, a Lebanese-based Iranian Shi’ite proxy, evolved into a powerful army by sending 7,000 to 9,000 of its own highly trained members into Syria’s ground war. It helped rescue the Assad regime from collapse, and took part in battles stretching from Aleppo to the Qalamoun Mountains northeast of Damascus.

Last year, the Arab League and the Sunni countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council all declared Hizballah to be a terrorist entity.

Just as Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias have poured into Syria, the same has happened in Iraq, where 100,000 fighters supported by Tehran fight alongside the Iraqi government forces against ISIS. The IRGC’s network extends to Yemen’s Houthi Ansar Allah forces, who receive Iranian assistance. Ansar Allah, a heavily armed Shi’ite military force, fires ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia on a regular basis.

The IRGC and Hizballah have been linked to a recent large-scale terrorist plot in Bahrain.

If the message addressed in the cruise missile strike is followed up with a strategy of deterrence, addressed to Ayatollah Khamenei as much as it was addressed to Assad, the U.S. could begin projecting to the world that it recognizes the threat posed by Shi’ite jihadists as much as it takes seriously the threat from their fundamentalist Sunni equivalents.

Washington’s campaign to pressure Russia to distance itself from its Middle Eastern allies could play an important part of this message.

It will take more than pressure. It will take war. If we want to save ourselves, we need all the cruise missiles we can make, and probably all the nukes too.

But if the West has no stomach for war, then it will perish in a state of “openness and love”, congratulating itself on its virtue: its fairness, its peacefulness, its generosity, its tolerance, its refusal to be racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, or sexist. A great moral victory. And then – no more fairness, peacefulness, generosity, tolerance. No women driving cars. Just Islam.

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