This is from Bruce Bawer’s column at Front Page on 9/11/2013, the twelfth anniversary of the Muslim terrorist attacks on America that killed close on 3,000 people. The writer deplores the lies that have been officially disseminated about the name and nature of the enemy, which was and is Islam with its jihadist ideology. He expresses the indignation that too few others have expressed.
… 9/11 was a moment of utter moral clarity that has been succeeded by twelve years of moral chaos. Twelve years of duplicity, flim-flam, double-dealing, humbug. Twelve years of timorousness, incompetence, impotence.
Thousands of lives have been sacrificed in vain; inconceivable amounts of money have gone to waste. America’s financial security and its international standing have been imperiled. And all for one simple reason: because, from the very beginning, the powers that be, in both political parties, chose to lie about the nature of the enemy we were up against.
In the years before World War II began, Winston Churchill spoke up again and again in the House of Commons about the danger that the Nazis represented. His colleagues responded to his eloquent, passionate warnings with ridicule. He was considered a bore, a nag. Some of his fellow Tories viewed his preoccupation with Hitler as an embarrassment. But he didn’t waver. He knew whereof he spoke, he saw what was coming, and he did what he saw as his duty. …
In his TV address immediately after the attacks …
Bush asked everyone to join him in a moment of silence. But it was not a time to bow one’s head in silence. It was a time to be enraged, to speak the facts firmly and clearly, and to plan appropriate retributive action. It was time for a moment of truth.
But nobody wanted to speak the truth.
Three days later, Bush was at the National Cathedral for an “interfaith service of prayer and remembrance” that had been jointly planned by the Cathedral and the White House. An account of the service at the Cathedral’s website recalls that the participants … “stood side by side — Jew, Muslim, Christian”. … Muzammil H. Siddiqi of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) said a prayer. “Today,” pronounced Bush, in his comments at the service, “we feel what Franklin Roosevelt called the warm courage of national unity. This is a unity of every faith, and every background.”
And there, in that service, just a few days after 9/11, you can see it all – the seeds of everything that has been so terribly, tragically wrong about the last twelve years. I remember watching Siddiqi pray on TV that day and thinking: “OK, who is this guy?” The Investigative Project on Terrorism has since answered that question at length. Siddiqi’s group, the ISNA, is tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, and his mosque hosted a lecture by Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the man behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. In a 2000 speech, Siddiqi said that “America has to learn that because if you remain on the side of injustice, the wrath of God will come.” In 1996, he told followers that “Allah’s rules have to be established in all lands, and all our efforts should lead to that direction.” He’s also praised jihad as “the path” to “honor” and expressed support for the death penalty for gays in Muslim countries.
And yet there he was, in that pulpit, at that service. His presence there was an obscenity; to invite his participation was an act of either utter ignorance or sheer dhimmitude. But it was only the first of many such acts. It was the template for the post-9/11 era, the new American order, during which we were told by everyone, from our president on down, that the 9/11 terrorists had hijacked not only airplanes but their religion as well, which, of course, was a religion of peace. That, we were told, was what Islam means: peace. Those of us who knew better and who dared to say so were vilified as bigots, even as the likes of Saddaqi were celebrated as noble bridge builders.
Before too long, the all-important goal of seeking out and destroying the people who had carried out the 9/11 attacks – and sending a lesson to any others who might be tempted to mount similar operations – morphed into a dubious effort to democratize the Muslim world. For a time, Osama bin Laden himself got lost in the shuffle. In the immediate wake of 9/11, Bush committed the U.S. to capturing him “dead or alive”; just a year later he said offhandedly that getting bin Laden really wasn’t a priority.
Meanwhile much of the political left, driven not by a reasoned critique of the administration’s arguments for war but by a fierce partisan animus that in some cases seemed to border on psychosis, made fools like Cindy Sheehan their spokespeople and equated Bush with Saddam Hussein himself.
The brief interlude of national unity on 9/11 soon became a distant memory. When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad spoke at Columbia University in 2007, the audience of PC students and professors cheered him, a bloodthirsty tyrant – partly to prove that they weren’t Islamophobes, and partly because he was the enemy of their enemy, Bush, and thus, presumably, their friend. Many antiwar groups were little more than fronts for jihadist organizations.
In the name of wartime security, a massive national surveillance apparatus was put in place, and airports were staffed with TSA screeners whose solemn task it was to make sure we weren’t carrying fingernail clippers or overly large tubes of toothpaste. Yet while these clowns were busy patting down wheelchair-bound octogenarians from rural Vermont and babies in diapers, Army officials were issuing commendations to a major at Fort Hood who’d made clear his jihadist sympathies and who, in 2009, ended up slaughtering 13 people in a clear-cut act of Islamic terrorism. Major Hasan explicitly affirmed that he was a jihadist – but his superiors, the media, politicians, and ultimately the judge and lawyers at his trial refused to treat him as one, insisting instead on characterizing his massacre as workplace violence. …
The antiwar movement was ardent, vehement, cutthroat – and evaporated almost instantly the moment Obama succeeded Bush.
The level of disinformation about Islam intensified. Bush, while seeking to strengthen America’s ties to its allies, had massaged the Muslim world with insipid rhetoric about our shared heritage as “people of faith”.
Very bad. But far worse was to come:
Obama, while kicking our allies in the teeth, spun outrageous fantasies about Islam, transforming, in his famous 2009 Cairo speech, fourteen centuries of primitive brutality into a glittering parade of moral, cultural, intellectual, and spiritual triumphs.
From that moment on, everyone should have known that the newly-elected president of the United States was emotionally and consciously on the side of Islam. If the American Left knew it as a body and didn’t care, or positively approved, it covered itself in lasting ignominy, whether it understands that to be the case or not.
As the years after 9/11 went by, other major acts of jihadist terrorism occurred around the world. Each time, the mantra from on high was the same: these crimes had nothing to do with Islam. Government officials, military leaders, authors, filmmakers, journalists, teachers, professors – all played their part in obscuring the truth about Islam. …
Most disgraceful of all is the fact that even American servicemen and women were lied to. Many of those who were sent to Afghanistan and Iraq thought they were going there to protect good Muslims, who embodied the innate peacefulness of Islam, from bad Muslims, who had betrayed the faith of their fathers by claiming to kill in Allah’s name. These soldiers thought they were going to bring freedom, equality, and secular government to people who truly wanted those things and who would be grateful for them. These soldiers went into harm’s way unaware of the vast gulf between their own Western mental world and the Islamic mental world … That was the greatest crime of all: keeping the soldiers on the ground in the dark about the true nature of the enemy. …
Too many Americans today, alas, … are driven by a concept of morality that isn’t about making tough decisions in the name of what’s right but is, rather, about doing whatever makes them feel non-racist, non-judgmental, non-prejudiced. It’s all about image – the way they appear to others, and the way they appear to themselves.
9/11 was a day of heroes and of villains, of stark contrasts between good and evil. Yet how quickly the politicians, journalists, and others in positions of power managed to make a muddle of it all. Instead of witnessing a democratization of the Middle East, we experienced a steady Islamization of the West. Instead of seeing freedom bloom in the Islamic world, we saw a rise in Western censorship and self-censorship on the subject of Islam. Some high-profile figures in the West have been put on trial for speaking the truth about Islam, while others have made sophisticated arguments for limiting freedom of expression and for introducing sharia law into Western courts. …
The last twelve years have underscored the vital importance of real leadership. It’s impossible not to compare the leaders we have had during these years to Churchill – and impossible not to dream of what might have been. Even now, Americans in positions of authority are still telling lies about Islam. As a result, millions of Americans still don’t understand the meaning of what happened that day. For many of them, a mere ten-minute lesson in the basics would make a huge difference. But they’ve never had that ten-minute lesson. Instead they’ve been inundated with untold thousands of hours of disinformation. It doesn’t just hamper their understanding of 9/11; it renders them incapable of fully comprehending, and intelligently addressing, every new challenge that comes along in the Muslim world, such as the question of whether the U.S. should bomb Syrian government installations – thus effectively allying itself with some of the very people who attacked us on 9/11 – or should, rather, focus its energies on trying to protect what is left of the free West from the ever-spreading toxin of Islamic rage.
“Need a country? Take ours. It’s okay, we’re dying anyway.”
Who can help laughing? Though of course it’s really very sad when a whole nation goes mad. Even if it’s the Swedes.
We quote from an hilarious – but true – article by that admirable writer on Scandinavian scandals, Bruce Bawer:
Another week, another jaw-dropping development in Sweden. A couple of weeks ago it was the cockamamie “hijab solidarity” campaign, in which non-Muslim women all over the country donned head coverings in tribute to a Muslim woman who claimed a man had yanked hers off. This week, the eyebrow-raising news is that Sweden is offering instant permanent residency to any and all Syrian refugees who apply. These newly minted residents, moreover, will be entitled to bring over their spouses and kids. The reasoning behind this new policy is that the situation in Syria is extremely dangerous right now and not likely to improve anytime soon. …
Before this new policy was announced, the number of Syrians seeking asylum in Sweden was over 1000 a month. But now? The sky’s the limit. Think about it: Syria’s population is 22.5 million, of which about 5000 are fleeing the country every day. More than two million Syrians have fled their country since the civil war began, and there’s no sign of that number abating. As for Sweden, its population is 9.5 million, of which about 1.5 million are foreign-born and about 2.5 million have foreign backgrounds. Earlier this year, Swedish Migration Minister Tobias Billström called current immigration levels “unsustainable” – only to be quickly shut down by Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag, who assured all and sundry that Sweden had no plans to tighten its immigration rules.
What Syrian wouldn’t take Sweden up on such an offer? It means not only a residency card but also an elaborate benefits package including free money, housing, health care, day care – you name it.
Before this week Sweden’s immigration policy was already suicidal; it’s hard not to see the new policy as an effort to turn slow-motion self-slaughter into something more like a leap off a cliff. The sheer numbers aside, how many of the newcomers will be members of Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and so on? …
It will not be long before civil war will break out between the Sunnis and Shias. Maybe the last of the Swedes will realize what they’ve done just before their nation becomes extinct as collateral damage. But will they care? Won’t they die with their hearts full of joy, and their eyes full of tears of gratification, as they watch those wonderful Syrians doing their thing as comfortably and confidently as if they were still at home?
When I read about the new policy, my first thought was that surely there must be somebody in Sweden who’s standing up and shouting: “Stop! Are we all crazy?” So I looked at the editorial pages of a few Swedish newspapers. Nope. The editors of Aftonbladet, for example, complained that Sweden hadn’t gone far enough, and lamented the fact that the rest of Europe wasn’t joining in. Noting that European countries have taken in about 40,000 Syrians, the editors complained that this wasn’t nearly sufficient. “We have built,” they complained, “a ‘Fortress Europe’.”
Yes, “Fortress Europe.” Pause for a moment to take that one in. Over the last couple of generations, Western Europe has welcomed immigrants from the Muslim world on a scale such as the world has never seen. The continent has been transformed in ways that would have been unimaginable a few decades ago. Yet in the view of Aftonbladet‘s editors – and, rest assured, of the Swedish establishment generally – Europe has behaved like a fortress. Summed up in these two words, these twin trochees – “Fortress Europe” – is the very madness of Sweden.
Aftonbladet‘s editors called on Sweden to pressure other EU countries to copy the new policy, and proposed that it make a more active effort to bring Syrians to its shores, namely by plucking them up at refugee camps in Syria and shipping them to Sweden from there. …
Their counterparts at Sydsvenskan concurred, calling on other EU countries to follow Sweden’s lead. Dagen‘s editors, calling the new policy an “excellent decision,” hoped it would set a good example for other countries and that “generosity” would continue to characterize Sweden’s approach to the refugee issue. And at Dagens Nyheter, columnist Eric Helmerson also gave the new policy a thumbs-up. “When your neighbors’ house is on fire,” he argued, “you open your door to them.” He, too, lamented the lack of “solidarity” (as he put it) that other EU members were exhibiting: “It’s scandalous that so many wealthy, peaceful countries are looking away from people in the most severe distress.” He singled out for special criticism certain Swedish municipalities that have hesitated to take in more refugees – partly because of the high cost of maintaining refugees, and partly because of the crime and other social problems that they bring with them. While acknowledging that such difficulties exist, Helmerson insisted that “it is deeply cynical to assume that the problems are insoluble and thus shirk responsibility and compassion.”
Ah, compassion. It ‘s what Socialism is supposed to be all about.
Columnist Ivar Arpi at Svenska Dagbladet joined in the applause for the new policy, calling it “irreproachable.” Striking an unexpected realistic note, however, he pointed out that Sweden’s municipalities just don’t have enough housing or the financial resources to take care of newcomers properly. Plus a fact, the Swedish job market is just plain terrible, with sky-high levels of unemployment, especially among the foreign-born.
How, then, does Sweden expect to pay to house and feed all these refugees? An article that appeared a couple of weeks ago provided an answer. The headline was blunt: “Malmö takes from the old and the sick and gives to immigrants.” The thrust of the report was that the city of Malmö, desperate to find a way to cover its ever-rising expenditures on immigrants (it spends $15 million a year on mother-tongue schooling alone), has proposed severe cuts in outlays for sick and elderly native Swedes.
What? Where’s compassion gone? We could swear it was here a moment ago!
Remember that we’re talking here about a country where the chief justification for high taxes is a generous welfare system that provides a safety net for the unemployed, the ill, and the elderly. Swedes are brought up to view themselves as partners in a covenant with the state: pay your way when you’re able to, and you’ll be taken care of when and if you aren’t. Yet in Malmö, thanks to the soaring costs associated with immigration, the local government can no longer keep its end of the deal.
Consequently, it has proposed that nursing-home fees be raised significantly; that free meals in nursing homes be phased out, forcing residents to cover their own food costs; that senior citizens who until now have been receiving free home care be forced to pay for it; that the elderly poor, who now receive discounts on various health-care services based on their income, be compelled to shell out the full price; and that old people who aren’t ambulatory, and thus can’t make it to a clinic, be charged extra for house calls. As for old people who simply don’t have the money to pay for food, shelter, or vital medical treatment, they’ll be forced to “abase themselves before municipal officials by asking to be exempt from the fees.”
Meanwhile, the Swedish government has ordered that illegal immigrants be given free medical and dental care.
Seen from abroad, it’s very clear where all this is leading. Why can’t the Swedes see it themselves?
In the religion of the Norsemen, unlike most others, Evil was predicted to win the battle that ends the world.
The Norse Prophecies derive from the ancient myth of The Ragnarok which translates, from old Norse to English, roughly as “The Final Destiny of the Gods” or “Twilight of the Gods”. An important part of the Norse Mythological Canon, the Ragnarok describes an epic battle at the end of time or World cycle, between the Gods themselves and between men on the Earth. During the course of events there are a number of various natural disasters, earthquakes and sea surges over the dry land. Mountains topple, the air and the oceans are sprayed with poison, fire and flame ravage the land and then the World is submerged in water. At the end, the World Tree Yggdrasil is destroyed, the Gods Odin, Freya, Loki, Thor etc. are no more and all of humankind perishes also. So the World cycle ends.
The end begins?
In the country that the Left admires most, Sweden, the feminists admire the way Islam treats women. They admire it so much that they are emulating Muslim women and putting on hijabs. Soon it will be burkas. They are doing it voluntarily now, but before long they will be forced to wear the black tent of sexual slavery when Muslims are in the majority and sharia becomes the law of the land. Perhaps it’s just as well that they’re preparing themselves for the new regime.
The picture comes from Front Page, where Bruce Bawer writes:
Europe is awash in dhimmitude, but Sweden is a case unto itself. There’s something desperate and demented about the levels of dhimmitude on display in Ikea-land. In no other European country, moreover, is there so little pushback in the media. …
Sweden has the highest percentage of rapes in the Western world. And the problem is getting steadily worse. Given the progressive Swedish establishment’s fondness for earnest rhetoric about women’s rights, you might think this rape crisis would be a subject of deep concern in the nation’s media. But no – it’s a non-topic. It’s unmentionable. And for one reason: because everyone understands that the ever-increasing incidence of Swedish rapes is directly related to the ever-increasing number of Swedish Muslims. And in Sweden, you can’t talk critically about Islam. You just can’t – not publicly, anyway. When the subject is Islam, nothing is permitted other than the usual mindless multicultural mantras. …
The Swedes are apparently a nation of dupes. A transparent ruse to make them feel guilty of Hijab-phobia worked so well it got all those liberated ladies tied up in head scarves in an eye-wink.
It started when a pregnant Muslim woman (one report put her age at 20; another identified her as a mother of three) claimed that she’d been attacked late Friday night. She was alone in a parking structure in the Stockholm suburb of Farsta, she said, when a man walked over to her, ripped off her hijab, and banged her head into a parked car, making her dizzy. He also growled something to the effect that people like her “don’t belong here”.
Now, if this actually happened, it’s repugnant. But there’s no evidence that it did happen – no eyewitnesses, no surveillance video – and it’s been suggested (although not, of course, in the Swedish media) that the woman’s story could be entirely bogus. In any case, it’s a man-bites-dog tale if there ever was one: Sweden is overrun with Muslim men who rape infidel women, not with infidels who pull headscarves off Muslim women.
Yet when the woman went public with her account, Swedish derangement syndrome kicked in – big time. On Sunday, Aftonbladet ran an op-ed signed by five persons: Bilan Osman, identified as an “anti-racist commentator”; Fatima Doubakil of the Muslim Human Rights Committee; Foujan Rouzbeh, an “asylum rights activist”; Nabila Abdul Fattah, “commentator”; and Nachla Libre, “poet.”
Yes, those are now Scandinavian names.
The five authors asserted that “the woman in Farsta isn’t the only one who has been attacked in this way.” Many Muslim women, they maintained, have been subjected to similar mistreatment by “white Swedish men…on buses, in stores, and at restaurants.” The authors painted a picture of a country filled with white people who “harass, degrade, intimidate, and abuse others in public places because of their religious attire.” And they argued that such offenses have become increasingly common because – and, yes, they actually wrote the following – “Islam and Muslims are described in the media and by political parties as a problem and a threat to Swedish democracy.”
Yes, Islam is a threat to Swedish democracy; but no, the Swedish media virtually never dare to admit this fact, or to say anything that might remotely hint at it. And the only political party that addresses this issue is the Swedish Democratic Party, whose members are not only routinely condemned in the media, in the harshest of terms, but have been repeatedly harassed, degraded, intimidated, and abused by the Swedish government itself.
The op-ed authors went on to demand – and that’s the word they used, “demand” – that Justice Minister Beatrice Ask “appoint a commission to investigate, map, and come up with specific action plans to combat the widespread hate crimes against Muslims.” They called on the government “to stop the march of fascism” (as represented, apparently, by that lone man in the parking structure who allegedly pulled off the woman’s headscarf). And they proclaimed what they called a “hijabupprop” – a hijab action. “We encourage all of our sisters in Sweden – religious and non-religious – to veil themselves on the morning of August 19 to show solidarity with all Muslim women who, all too often, suffer harassment and violence.”
They probably do. But not from Swedes.
The five authors tweeted their call to action on Twitter. The tweet was shared over 65,000 times. The idea was brilliant, providing politically correct Swedes with an excellent opportunity to posture. And it proved a magnificent success.
In “solidarity” with the purported victim, countless Swedish women – including a number of well-known actors, writers, journalists, artists, and politicians – wore headscarves on Monday. And took pictures of themselves doing so. Their photos flooded Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. …
The Swedish news media, notorious for the decorous silence they have long maintained about the country’s rape crisis, were all over this story. The newspapers were awash in stories about the hijab campaign and full of pictures of the famous Swedish women in Muslim headscarves. The hijab campaigners were interviewed repeatedly on TV and radio. One of them, Nabila Abdul Fattah, admitted that their goal was “to normalize the hijab”. …
[A] Muslim feminist Hanna Gadban was furious about the campaign, and tried to remind everyone that the hijab is a symbol of patriarchal oppression. But she was a voice crying in the wilderness. …
The zillions of photos of stupid, self-satisfied infidel women in veils symbolizing female subordination were ridiculous, deserving of mockery, of derisive laughter. But they were also scary. Seeing brainwashed people is always scary.
Linda, 18, victim of Muslim rape-wave in Sweden
See also our posts Raping for Allah, April 4, 2013, and Sweden (silently) submits to Islam, July 19, 2012.
Evil speaks, as so often, in the name of good. And as so often, in an op-ed in the New York Times.
Three Cheers for the Nanny State is by Sarah Conly, an assistant professor of philosophy at Bowdoin College who is also the author of a book titled Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism.
In her op-ed she asks:
Why has there been so much fuss about New York City’s attempt to impose a soda ban, or more precisely, a ban on large-size “sugary drinks”? After all, people can still get as much soda as they want. This isn’t Prohibition. It’s just that getting it would take slightly more effort. So, why is this such a big deal?
Which makes us ask: If it’s so trivial why do it at all?
And we know the right answer: In order to exercise power.
These would-be totalitarians start with small things so you’ll get used to the interference in your private life, get used to them imposing their will on you.
Americans, even those who generally support government intervention in our daily lives, have a reflexive response to being told what to do, and it’s not a positive one. It’s this common desire to be left alone that prompted the Mississippi Legislature earlier this month to pass a ban on bans — a law that forbids municipalities to place local restrictions on food or drink.
Mississippi did that? Bravo, Mississippi!
We have a vision of ourselves as free, rational beings who are totally capable of making all the decisions we need to in order to create a good life. Give us complete liberty, and, barring natural disasters, we’ll end up where we want to be. It’s a nice vision, one that makes us feel proud of ourselves. But it’s false. …
A lot of times we have a good idea of where we want to go, but a really terrible idea of how to get there. It’s well established by now that we often don’t think very clearly when it comes to choosing the best means to attain our ends. We make errors. This has been the object of an enormous amount of study over the past few decades, and what has been discovered is that we are all prone to identifiable and predictable miscalculations.
Oh yes. We know about those academic studies. There are millions of them gathering dust. Each study was conducted and written up to prove something – and lo! managed to prove it.
But did any sane person on earth really need “an enormous amount of study” to “discover” that we often go wrong in trying to achieve something?
Research by psychologists and behavioral economists … identified a number of areas in which we fairly dependably fail. They call such a tendency a “cognitive bias,” and there are many of them — a lot of ways in which our own minds trip us up.
For example, we suffer from an optimism bias, that is we tend to think that however likely a bad thing is to happen to most people in our situation, it’s less likely to happen to us — not for any particular reason, but because we’re irrationally optimistic. Because of our “present bias,” when we need to take a small, easy step to bring about some future good, we fail to do it, not because we’ve decided it’s a bad idea, but because we procrastinate.
Wow! Who’d have thought that people hope for the best? Or that they put off doing things they don’t much want to do? Where would we be without these revelations from “psychologists and behavioral economists”? However did humanity make out before they came along?
We also suffer from a status quo bias, which makes us value what we’ve already got over the alternatives, just because we’ve already got it — which might, of course, make us react badly to new laws, even when they are really an improvement over what we’ve got. …
The crucial point is that in some situations it’s just difficult for us to take in the relevant information and choose accordingly. … [So] we need help.
That help must come, she tells us, from laws, though we’ll be cross about them just because they’re new.
No, we’ll be cross about them because the purpose of law should be to protect freedom, and a law against the sale of large sodas does not protect freedom; it limits it.
Conly is not concerned with freedom. She’s concerned – really truly deeply cares, she’d have you know - whether the soda is good for you or not.
Is it always a mistake when someone does something imprudent, when, in this case, a person chooses to chug 32 ounces of soda? No. For some people, that’s the right choice. They don’t care that much about their health, or they won’t drink too many big sodas, or they just really love having a lot of soda at once.
But – Conly says - just because you like it, and may not be harmed by it, or know when to stop indulging yourself with it, doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a law against it, because most people need to be forbidden it by law for their own good. It’s the age-old excuse for tyranny.
Laws have to be sensitive to the needs of the majority. That doesn’t mean laws should trample the rights of the minority, but that public benefit is a legitimate concern, even when that may inconvenience some.
So do these laws mean that some people will be kept from doing what they really want to do? Probably — and yes, in many ways it hurts to be part of a society governed by laws, given that laws aren’t designed for each one of us individually. … Giving up a little liberty is something we agree to when we agree to live in a democratic society that is governed by laws.
We emphatically disagree. We contend that each person’s liberty should be limited by nothing but everyone else’s. That is the individualist’s view.
But Conly is a collectivist. She says:
What people fear is that this is just the beginning: today it’s soda, tomorrow it’s the guy standing behind you making you eat your broccoli, floss your teeth, and watch “PBS NewsHour” every day. What this ignores is that successful paternalistic laws are done on the basis of a cost-benefit analysis: if it’s too painful [to too many people], it’s not a good law.
You “do” a law. You experiment. If people are badly hurt by it, “it’s not a good law”. Which isn’t to say you repeal it.
Then comes her most fatuous assertion. Of what you should and should not be allowed to do, she says:
Making these analyses is something the government has the resources to do.
What resources? A bevy of bureaucrats?
In the old days we used to blame people for acting imprudently, and say that since their bad choices were their own fault, they deserved to suffer the consequences. Now we see that these errors aren’t a function of bad character, but of our shared cognitive inheritance.
That is to say, human nature. But though she uses the word “our”, she and her fellow statists do not believe they are like the rest of us. They know that they know, as we cannot know, what our ends ought to be, and how best we can get there. And whether we like it or not, they’ll see that we do.
The proper reaction is not blame, but an impulse to help one another.
“Helping one another” is the nice lefty way of saying “interfering in other people’s lives”. “I know better than you what’s good for you”, is the fixed belief of Conly and her fellow busybodies. To which impertinence the right and time-honored retort is, “Mind your own business!”
Conly’s college, where she teaches the virtues of totalitarianism, is critically scrutinized by Bruce Bawer in an article at Front Page. He writes:
If you want to see ideological lockstep and rinse-and-repeat brainwashing in their very purest form, it’s best to look to the small, elite liberal-arts colleges – preferably those that are located out in the middle of nowhere or in adorable little college towns where the colleges themselves set the local tone.
Case in point: Bowdoin … founded in 1794 … located in Brunswick, Maine, has just under 1800 students …
All of whom apparently have a very high opinion of themselves just for having got there. Bruce Bawer quotes (from a recent report) a student saying:
“Our student body represents some of the most intelligent youth of the world. Bowdoin’s worst student is by far and away much more astute than the vast majority of humans.”
Bruce Bawer goes on:
Students are encouraged to see the college itself as … a small-scale model of the better, more progressive world they should strive to help establish after they graduate. …
At Bowdoin, as at other such colleges … identity-studies programs constitute no less than 18 percent of the curriculum. … [And] there’s a proliferation of student clubs based on group identity. Long lost is the idea that it should be an objective, when bringing together kids from a wide variety of backgrounds to be educated, to transcend such categories; on the contrary, the idea is to produce young adults for whom class, race, and gender labels are the very pillars of self-knowledge. …
Women’s studies, black studies, gay studies, transgender studies …
Bowdoin is not concerned with the inculcation of knowledge in its students, but with -
The inculcation of “knowingness” … [These are] ignorant students who have been trained to be smug and self-satisfied, to think that they’ve already got all the answers and that they themselves are the solution to the world’s problems. Why, after all, should they be eager to learn? Academic ideology has already answered all the important questions. Besides, it’s been made clear to them that there’s nothing in particular they need to learn. All of life is an elective. Course content is irrelevant; what matters is that you approach every topic with a reflexive, unquestioning belief in social construction, “social justice,” and “global citizenship.”
They are our betters, who will govern us tomorrow – if we let them.
First a story about a little English boy who was so tormented and terrified by Muslim school fellows that he committed suicide.
Next the story of a Norwegian boy and his puppy, told in an article titled Europe: A Continent in Flight by Bruce Bawer at Front Page:
Danish Christians and Jews are being bullied by Muslim thugs into checking out of their neighborhoods and moving to safer locales. French Jews are taking it on the lam from Paris to settle in marginally less dangerous parts of London. Londoners are leaving their increasingly dodgy city and, literally, heading for the hills. East Oslo is being drained of ethnic Norwegians. And all of them are running scared for one reason, and one reason only: they’re terrified of getting beaten up by primitive thugs with a primitive religion who, at these European taxpayers’ expense, have been imported from some of the most primitive parts of the world.
Years and years ago these cultural hooligans, these religious autocrats, these would-be enforcers of sharia, were welcomed to Europe by clueless, spineless political leaders, and – although the reality of “creeping jihad” has long since set in – they continue to be celebrated by most of those leaders … for purportedly enriching European culture. And all the while, as a result, European culture is quickly going down the tubes.
For a step-by-step account of just what those clueless spineless political leaders did to bring about the Muslim conquest of Europe by immigration, see our post Europe betrayed, February 11, 2010.
When you’re discussing such large-scale phenomena such as this one – hundreds of thousands of Muslims occupying this or that part of this or that city, hundreds of thousands of native Londoners relocating hither and thither in consequence – it can be hard to grasp it all, to reduce the big picture to a comprehensible, human scale. … The other day the Norwegian newspaperAftonbladet reported on [a] European boy who found himself in the jihadist crosshairs and was forced to flee. …
On the evening of February 16, a boy – whose named has been withheld, whether because of his age, or to protect him from reprisals, or both – got on a bus in the town of Egersund in western Norway. He was headed back home to Stavanger, fifty or so miles away, and was carrying his puppy. Upon boarding the bus, he checked with the driver to make sure it was OK to take the dog onboard. The driver said yes: he had no problem with it. Unfortunately, three other passengers, whom Aftonbladet identifies as being “of foreign origin” (another source actually dares to use the word “Muslim”), did have a problem. One of the men walked up to the driver and expressed his strong objection to the presence of the pet; another approached the boy and informed him that if he did not get off the bus with his dog at once, they would beat him up.
What happened next is in dispute. According to the boy, the driver, afraid not to cave in to the men’s demands, pulled the bus over and ordered the boy and his dog off the bus. The driver, for his part, claims that he knew nothing of the tensions between the boy and the Muslims, and insists that the boy left the bus of his own accord. In any event, the undisputed fact is that the boy exited the bus at a spot on the highway that was smack dab in the middle of nowhere. The temperature was below freezing; the time, just before midnight. Fortunately he had a cell phone, and was able to phone a friend to pick him up. When she finally got there, some time later, she said, “he was cold and still and it was plain that the incident had had a powerful impact on him.” The national railway system, which operates the bus, has chosen to accept the driver’s account and will not investigate the boy’s complaint.
Whatever the specific details of the story, the narrative’s main point is clear – as is its larger import. The story of that boy and his dog, simply put, is the story of today’s Europe in miniature – the story of a continent whose natives are increasingly being tormented by Koran-wielding tyrants, and increasingly in flight.
Christians are being severely persecuted in Islamic countries. The only country in the Middle East where they are completely safe from religious persecution is Israel, which is also the only country in the region where Muslims are protected in both law and practice from victimization by other Muslims. But Israel-haters – ie anti-Semites, including the Jewish ones – can and do enjoy transports of Schadenfreude as the Jews are blamed for the suffering of Christians and Muslims at the hands of Muslims.
This is an extract from an article by Bruce Bawer at Front Page:
Perusing these friends-of-Palestine websites, one discovers certain phenomena over and over again – among them a staggering naivete and sentimentality, a colossal ignorance of history (or a remarkable determination to block it out), and a reflexive, vicious hatred of Israel and, yes, Jews. On these sites, Palestine often seems less like a real place on the map, a place where real people live out their lives, than some perverse combination of a poverty-and-suffering theme park for idle, affluent Americans, a laboratory in which Peace Studies practitioners can carry out their experiments, and a destination for left-wing Christian pilgrims in search a virtue fix. On none of the websites I looked at was there so much as the slightest hint of awareness that more than a few Palestinians are in the grip of a self-destructive psychopathology that has been instilled in them by terrorist movements and on which they have brought up their children, almost surely guaranteeing that their people, however much “help” they may receive from all over the Western world, will not develop a normally functioning society or a productive economy in any of our lifetimes, but will continue to be fixated on murder and mayhem.
There’s one running theme in many of the accounts by the “friends of Palestine.” They’ve gone to the Holy Land to observe and get upset about Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians, and in one case after another, to judge by their own accounts, the only thing they actually find to get worked up about is the security procedures that Palestinians have to undergo when they cross from one side of the famous “wall” to the other. Overwrought accounts of what it is like to endure this purportedly insulting, arduous, and humiliating ritual are ubiquitous on these sites. They do not convince. Compared to any number of things that people are being put through in various parts of the world right now on a daily basis, the security procedures at the “wall” seem tame indeed. Virtually never, of course, do any of these websites even admit in passing that the reason for these procedures is the same reason why laborious security procedures have been instituted at international airports in countries around the world: in a word, jihad.
A final point. The websites of several of the Christian friends-of-Palestine organizations note the dramatic decline in the number of Christians in Palestine over the last couple of generations. A typical plaint: “Christians are the minority in this land where the faith was born*. Many Palestinian Christians are suffering and leaving the country.” The implication is always that Israel is at fault. At none of these sites is there any mention of the fact that the number of Christians is declining across the Muslim world, and for one reason only. “Christianity ‘close to extinction’ in Middle East,” read a December 23 headline in the Daily Telegraph. No religious group, theTelegraph noted, is more persecuted around the world than Christians, and their chief oppressors are Muslims, thanks to whom “between a half and two-thirds of Christians in the Middle East have left [the Muslim world] or been killed in the past century.” It’s a phenomenon on a massive scale – but one that the mainstream media rarely report on, and one that all the smug, self-satisfied Christians who profess to fret endlessly about the Palestinians don’t show any sign of giving a damn about.
*Footnote: Contrary to the fixed belief of an overwhelming majority, Christianity was not born in “the Holy Land”. It was born in St. Paul’s mind in Syria, and preached in Greek in the eastern lands of the Roman Empire. It’s extremely unlikely that there were any Pauline (Catholic) Christian communities in Judea until well into the second century. The misnamed “Jewish Christians” (Nazarenes or Ebionites) – the followers of the crucified man Paul called “Jesus” – remained in Jerusalem as long as they could, but did not believe in the divine “Son of God”. Almost everything you read in the New Testament about “Jesus”, “James”, “Peter” and “John” is Paul’s and his converts’ make-believe. (See our series on the birth and growth of Christianity: A man named Jesus or something like that, September 23, 2011; The invention of Christianity, October 28, 2011; Tread on me: the making of Christian morality, December 22, 2011; St.Paul: portrait of a sick genius, January 7, 2012; Pauline Christianity: a mystical salad, February 26, 2012; Christian theology: “the Word made flesh”, December 25, 2012.)
The UN must be destroyed because (to put it very mildly, coolly, and objectively):
- It does no good to anyone
- It does much harm to many
- It is unreformable
- It was a colossal mistake of wishful thinking from its beginning
- It is kept going only because it is a gravy train for its bureaucrats and diplomats at enormous expense to tax-payers, especially Americans
A documentary film made recently by Ami Horowitz and Matt Groff, UN Me, exposes the worst incidences of its uselessness and corruption, violent and cruel actions, and refusals to do what it purportedly came into existence to do.
The following extracts are from an excellent article on the film by Bruce Bawer at Front Page. (It is well worth reading in full.)
UN Me begins by according us a few brief glimpses of the sheer sloth that characterizes the whole shebang. Old UN hands describe the short working days, long lunches, and frequent midday naps that characterize the everyday life of many of its functionaries. Wandering the halls of UN headquarters in New York shortly after 5 PM on a weekday, Horowitz … encounters a virtual ghost town: almost everybody has long since cleared out for the day. This institutional torpor is, he makes clear, emblematic of the whole worldwide enterprise. …
Horowitz reminds us that countries like Libya, Sudan, Zimbabwe, and China have sat on the UN Human Rights Commission – and, later, on the Human Rights Council that was meant to be an improvement on that comically corrupt agency.
In 2010, Iran was elected to the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
At one point in the film, Horowitz asks Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and director of the UN’s 2009 anti-racism conference in Geneva, why Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, of all people, was named keynote speaker at that event. That question, she replies in a small voice, is “not for me to answer.” (No, you don’t get far at the UN by providing honest answers to reasonable questions like that one.)
Horowitz informs us that Article 6 of the UN Charter actually “calls for the expulsion of any nation that consistently violates the principles of the charter.” Yet no member country has ever been expelled under Article 6. Shashi Tharoor, UN information chief, cheerfully explains that it’s best to have everybody “under the same tent.” …
The film covers some of the more egregious scandals involving UN peacekeeping … anecdotes about peacekeepers in various countries who, in their interactions with the people they were there to protect, acted like thugs, got rich trafficking drugs, spent their time whoring, and sexually abused minors. Peacekeepers in the Congo committed literally thousands of rapes. At least one ran a pedophilia ring.
We’re shown video of UN bureaucrats solemnly vowing that errant peacekeepers will be caught and punished. But in fact almost no UN peacekeeper has ever been held accountable for anything.
In Côte d’Ivoire, peacekeepers actually fired on peaceful, unarmed protestors.
They were standing together, men women and children, singing happily when UN sharp shooters fired on them. One of the few times the “peacekeepers” have actually used their arms.
But was anyone punished? No; that’s just not the UN way. When Horowitz, in a sit-down interview with Abou Moussa, head of the UN mission in Côte d’Ivoire, asks about the episode, Moussa gets up and leaves.
The film moves on to the absurdity that is the International Atomic Energy Agency – which, tasked with preventing nuclear-arms proliferation, has actually helped North Korea, Iran, India, and Pakistan to acquire nuclear technology, purportedly for peaceful purposes. Since, as the film notes, the IAEA can only perform inspections in countries that invite it to do so, it spends more than 80% of its $380 million annual budget inspecting facilities in – believe it or not – Germany, Japan, and Canada. …
Iran carries on towards making nuclear weapons. The UN and its agencies can do nothing about it, nor would if they could. Iran’s President Ahmadinejad is one of the most honored, ecstatically applauded gasbags in the UN General Assembly, he who has homosexuals hanged and women stoned to death. Ahmadinejad is the perfect personification of the spirit of the United Nations Organization.
Then there’s terrorism. After 9/11, the UN passed Resolution 1373, which was supposedly designed to fight terrorism. It would appear to be as toothless a measure as was ever ratified by a deliberative body. Horowitz interviews Javier Ruperez, whose title is – get this – Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate of the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the Security Council. Asked what the committee actually does to fight terrorism, Ruperez speaks blandly of the production of reports. Member countries, you see, are asked to file reports indicating whether or not they’re aiding terrorists. The directorate, or committee, or whatever it is also sends inspectors for, oh, a week or so to various countries to find out whether anything fishy is going on there. None of this, of course, actually accomplishes anything. Asked whether the UN has official lists of terrorist groups and of countries that support terror, Ruperez says no: “This is not the practice of the UN.” …
Another question: how does the UN define terrorism? This, Ruperez declares, is still a “pending matter.” …
The UN will not define terrorism because the General Assembly is dominated by terrorism-sponsoring states.
Next up: the Oil for Food scandal – which, as Claudia Rosett, the top-notch UN expert and eloquent UN critic, tells Horowitz, was absolutely “designed to produce corruption.” Allegedly, the objective of the program was to provide food, medical supplies, and so forth to the Iraqi people in exchange for oil; in reality, a bunch of UN big shots, up to and including Security Council representatives … lined their pockets with kickbacks. But, again, the UN did nothing – it was, as Rosett says, “the biggest scam in the history of human relief,” but nobody was fired or jailed. As always, the UN proved that nothing could be more alien to its institutional culture than the idea of accountability.
The Rwanda genocide gets its own sad chapter in UN Me. The head of the UN peacekeepers in that country, General Romeo Dallaire, actually wanted to do the right thing. But when he asked Kofi Annan, then in charge of all UN peacekeeping forces, for authority to take relatively modest action to prevent a looming genocide, Annan said no. Why? Because it was more important to protect the UN’s “image of impartiality” than to protect people from genocide. UN forces were even ordered to withdraw from a school where they were the only thing standing between Tutsi refugees – many of them children and old people – and Hutus with machetes. Result: a brutal massacre for which – yet again – no UN personnel were punished.
Live footage of what happened there is one of the most heart-rending scenes in the film.
While this nightmare was unfolding in Rwanda, Boutros-Boutros Ghali, then secretary-general of the UN, was on a European tour, which he refused to cancel in order to deal with Rwanda.
He had urgently to attend a string of universities bestowing honorary degrees on him for being such a benefactor of mankind.
When he did return to New York, he denied that Tutsi were being exterminated. … Horowitz and Groff even got Jean-Marie Guéhenno, former Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, on camera smoothly asserting that in the wake of the Rwanda genocide, it’s best not to “allocate the blame to one actor or the other.”
Horowitz also interviews Jody Williams, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who was invited by the UN to examine the situation in Darfur and who ended up livid at the UN’s palpable discomfort with her undiplomatic conclusions and its failure to act on her urgent recommendations. …
At film’s end, Horowitz and Graff pose a simple question: what, given all these unpleasant facts, does the UN stand for? The answer, alas, is clear. It stands for itself – period. Like many other pointless bureaucracies, it is about perpetuating its own existence and enhancing its own image – and about seeking to squelch the truth about its fecklessness, incompetence, and absolute lack of a moral compass. It’s also … about providing hack politicians from around the world with yet another career steppingstone, once they’ve risen to the top of the ladder in their own crummy little countries and finished emptying their own citizens’ pockets.
Please watch the film!
The method of terrorism will continue to be used by Muslim jihadis (and others) because it works.
The West, out of cowardice, stupidity, sentimentality, and apathy, has allowed it to work.
How? The BBC provides an example :
The MailOnline reports that the director-general of the BBC, Mark Thompson, defends the notorious pro-Islam bias of his publicly-funded institution on the grounds that if it wasn’t obedient to Muslim demands it would be subjected to terrorist violence.
Mr Thompson said: ‘Without question, “I complain in the strongest possible terms”, is different from, “I complain in the strongest possible terms and I am loading my AK47 as I write”. This definitely raises the stakes.’
He said the BBC would never air a satirical show about Muhammad because for Muslims it could have the same impact as a piece of ‘grotesque child pornography’.
Mr Thompson said the fatwa against Salman Rushdie over his novel The Satanic Verses, the September 11 terror attacks, and the murder in Holland in 2004 of film-maker Theo van Gogh, who had criticised Islam, had made broadcasters realise that religious controversies could lead to murder or serious criminal acts.
That is, if the “religious controversies” concern Islam. Only Islam, the terrorist religion.
Commenting on this, Bruce Bawer writes:
When the most powerful media organization in the U.K. is run by someone whose readiness to admit his utter lack of courage would seem, from all the evidence, to reflect the fact that the concept of courage isn’t even on his radar, it doesn’t bode well for the future of British freedom.
British freedom? Ah yes, we remember it well.
Another point that was important to Thompson was that, as he put it, “for a Muslim, a depiction…of the Prophet Mohammed might have the emotional force of a piece of grotesque child pornography.” He added that “secularists” fail “to understand…what blasphemy feels like to someone who is a realist in their religious belief.” I would humbly submit that Thompson himself fails to understand something rather important – namely, that when the head of an outfit like the BBC starts thinking and talking in such terms, he has become nothing more or less than a sharia puppet.
Another thing Thompson apparently fails to understand is this: when it becomes the duty of citizens in a secular democracy to edit what they say or write in order to avoid committing what the adherents of some religion or other might consider blasphemy, then secular democracy, individual liberty, and freedom of expression are, in practice, no more. I wonder if it has occurred to Thompson at all that for more than a few freedom-loving people in his own country and elsewhere, the fact that a man in his position could follow such an outrageously pusillanimous policy might well, to coin a phrase, “have the emotional force of a piece of grotesque child pornography”?
He cites an instance of how the BBC pr0-Islam bias routinely manifests itself:
The Beeb’s Stacey Dooley is visiting her hometown, Luton, to discover if the situation with extreme Islam is really as bad there as some people say. Upon arriving in town, she stumbles upon a Muslim march whose participants are chanting “To hell with the U.K.” and carrying signs calling for sharia law. There are plenty of women in niqab, one of whom tells Dooley to put on some clothes. For a while you think that Dooley is actually going to wake up and smell the coffee. But in the end, ignoring everything she’s witnessed, the little ditz closes with the standard, canned, de rigueur, mainstream-media conclusion – namely, that both sides need to listen to each other with respect, for the only reason for all this intercultural friction is “ignorance.”
Given the deliberate, depressing refusal of so many members of the British media to face up to the advent of sharia in the land of Magna Carta and Winston Churchill, it was at least a bit cheering the other day to see Brendan O’Neill, in the Telegraph, spelling out the dramatic, and telling, difference between the way in which the framers of the U.S. Constitution understood the concept of rights and the way today’s European leaders think about the same subject.
While the makers of the American revolution “emphasized individuals’ capacity to make judgments…free from state interference,” explained O’Neill, Europe today is plagued by a “paternalistic” notion of human rights “in which the individual is treated as an at-risk creature who must be protected from harm and bullying by…human-rights lawyers.” While the U.S. Bill of Rights concisely sets limits on state power, the European Convention on Human Rights “spends thousands of words telling the state what it should be doing…and how it must go about protecting individuals from abuse and mental distress.” And while the U.S. Bill of Rights makes it clear that free speech is sacrosanct, the European document is awash in weasel words, saying that “freedom of expression” is “subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety,” and on and on.
Which is, of course, simply a very long and legalistic way of saying that in Europe today, even (alas) in Britain, freedom of speech is severely endangered – just as Mark Thompson (whether he realizes it or not) has essentially admitted, and … as the BBC’s own Stacey Dooley, despite having seen reality close-up in her hometown of Luton, still refuses to grasp.
But in Obama’s America freedom of speech is severely endangered in the same way for the same reason. It’s good that a Telegraph journalist has pointed out the difference in theory between the way the American revolutionaries and the US Bill of Rights “emphasized individuals’ capacity to make judgments free from state interference,” and the European “paternalistic notion of human rights in which the individual is treated as an at-risk creature who must be protected from harm and bullying by human-rights lawyers … in the interests of public safety”; but the Obama administration does not feel bound by the US Bill of Rights, and is trying pertinaciously to follow the European model.
The more chilling difference between the European cringe in the face of the Islamic threat and the Obama submission to it, is that Obama and his henchmen are not motivated by fear. Despite the Islamic act of destruction on 9/11, and the exposure of many a jihadi plot in the US since then, it is not Muslim violence that has them eager to submit to Islam, but their own sympathy with it.
The moral foundations of our civilization are crumbling.
Law is the essence of civilization. Certain moral principles underlie all law. Chief among them is that murder is wrong.
Prohibition of murder, theft, fraud, and false witness is much older than the Bible, the Hammurabi Code, or any known codification of laws.
But now, as an intense hatred of humanity is spread by the intellectual elite of the Western world, some of whom even advocate the total elimination of the human species, murder is no longer a crime. It is what enlightened, responsible, university-educated people approve of and believe should become state policy.
Especially they advocate the murder of the most helpless and defenseless – babies and small children.
No doubt the same people who want to kill children because they cost too much to keep in energy, effort and money, will go on protesting against the judicial execution of murderers. They want to protect the guilty and do away with the innocent.
We, unfashionably, see the necessity to protect the innocent and do away with the guilty.
Of course we recognize the existence of moral dilemmas: the question of euthanasia will always remain a difficult one. Whether to kill out of compassion is a different moral question from whether to kill for one’s own convenience.
We hoped to hear an outcry of moral rage against the advocacy of legalizing child-murder by parental choice or state order. We are watching for columnists, pundits, opinion-formers to protest in the strongest possible terms.
We have found, heard, read only a few.
One who can be relied on for moral clarity is Bruce Bawer. He correctly labels the two “ethical scientists” who advocate the killing of children if they’re a nuisance to their parents or the state, Nazis.
[I learned about ] an article … by two individuals named Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva. The former is connected with the Department of Philosophy at the University of Milan and with the Centre for Human Bioethics at Monash University in Melbourne; the latter is associated with the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne and the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at Oxford University. Both share the same job description. They are “medical ethicists”.
The point of their article is simple. They argue for the morality of what they call “after-birth abortion” – in other words, as they bluntly put it, “killing a newborn.” They say that such killing “should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.” They explain that they prefer the term “after-birth abortion” to “euthanasia” “because the best interest of the one who dies is not necessarily the primary criterion for the choice, contrary to what happens in the case of euthanasia.”
Their case for the moral legitimacy of “after-birth abortion” is this: a newborn, they say, has not yet “formed any aim that she is prevented from accomplishing” if you snuff her out shortly after birth. Though newborns, like fetuses, are indeed “human beings and potential persons,” a newborn is not yet “a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life.’” Giubilini and Minerva explain that for them, the word “person” signifies “an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her.” Since newborns are not “persons” in this sense, their “alleged right…to develop their potentiality … is over-ridden by the interests of actual people (parents, family, society) to pursue their own well-being” – for “actual people’s well-being could be threatened by the new (even if healthy) child requiring energy, money and care which the family might happen to be in short supply of.”
So speak the “medical ethicists” – one of them connected with Oxford, no less. It is all quite chilling … Giubilini and Minerva – if I keep repeating their names, it’s because I want to make sure you and I remember them – are purportedly talking here about what constitutes humanity, but their very language is the epitome of inhumanity. And it is all too much of a piece with the language of the Western elite generally, which does a good deal of talking about the poor and the helpless and the greater good, but which, more often than not, is less concerned with attending to difficult real-life responsibilities than with puffing up its own image while making its own existence as smooth, comfortable, and problem-free as possible.
Nazi science: to be straightforward about it, that’s pretty much what Giubilini and Minerva are selling. And a lot of people in our time seem eager to buy it.
This is from Front Page, by Bruce Bawer:
Anti-Americanism is, of course, as European as Apfelstrudel. But over the last few years it’s rollercoastered like the stock market. The invasion of Iraq sent it skyrocketing. It was muted somewhat by the election of a black man as President of the United States. (That Americans, whom Europeans are taught to think of as incurable racists, had done such a thing rendered some veteran America-bashers temporarily mute.) But European anti-Americanism has never entirely gone away, and the troubles America has been through of late have been the occasion for much Schadenfreude, especially given that they’ve provided a pleasant distraction from Europe’s own even more formidable problems.
In our estimation, European anti-Americanism has never abated for a moment but only spread more widely and grown more intense every year since the end of World War II.
Still, it wasn’t until I ran across an article the other day in the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet that I realized European anti-Americanism, thanks to Urinegate [see our post Takingthe Piss, January 14, 2011], is once again in full bloom. The article, written by somebody named Asbjørn Svarstad, begins by noting that the American soldiers who filmed themselves urinating on dead Taliban members may not be the first GIs to have behaved in such a manner. “American commandos who were dropped over Snåsa [in northern Norway] toward the end of World War II,” writes Asbjørn Svarstad, “are suspected of having displayed the same kind of contempt for their enemies.”
The main character in Svarstad’s story is none other than William Colby, who would later become head of the CIA but who back in 1945 was a 24-year-old major in charge of the Norwegian Special Operation Group (NORSO) under the command of the OSS. NORSO … consisted of Norwegian-Americans and Norwegians who were operating behind enemy lines on a mission called Operation RYPE. On May 2, 1945, Colby’s men, who were stationed at a farm called Gjevsjøen, were discovered by five German soldiers, whom they quickly dispatched. According to Svarstad, local Norwegians – and here’s the meat of the story – later claimed that they were then invited by the Americans to urinate on the Germans’ corpses.
One of Svarstad’s sources is Norwegian journalist Ola Flyum, whom he describes as an authority on how northern Norway experienced World War II. Flyum’s verdict on the NORSO episode is as follows: “This kind of behavior says a great deal about the way in which the Americans conducted themselves. The Norwegians were shaken. Such a culture was unknown to them. I see many reasons to examine whether this was a war crime.”
Yes, you read that right. The local Norwegians had lived for five years under the Nazis, who had come to subdue and tyrannize them, to execute troublemakers and cart Jews off to their deaths. But, if Flyum is to be believed, the real trauma for these folks was being invited by their American liberators to relieve themselves on the bodies of their oppressors.
It should be remembered that the Norwegians – unlike the Danes – co-operated officially and enthusiastically with their Nazi occupiers.
Interesting. And even more interesting are the reader comments on Svarstad’s article, which the last time I checked totaled no fewer than 645. Let me emphasize that several readers, to their credit, sought to provide a degree of perspective by bringing up such small details as, ahem, the Nazi death camps. But the overall tone of the comments was set by those who agreed heartily with the implicit message of the article: namely, that Americans are by nature more uncouth – and more prone to violence, war crimes, torture, and abuse of civilians – than anybody else, including the Nazis.
“Most of the Germans,” insisted one reader, “followed the rules and fought a civilized war.” Another agreed, saying that America “is way worse then Nazi Germany ever was.” A third asserted that during the Vietnam War, the US, that “sanctimonious and arrogant s*** country,” had outdone Hitler. A couple of readers cited the Allied bombing of Dresden as proof that America and the western Allies were at least as bad as the Nazis; one recalled having “seen videos from WWII of P51 planes mowing down German farmers in May 1945.” Several readers insisted that it wasn’t the Western Allies that whupped the Nazis and freed Norway, but the Soviets: “America would have been a**-f***ed in a one-on-one against Nazi Germany.”
A number of readers gleefully savaged the American soldiers who urinated on the Taliban. “How many women and children have these brave soldiers killed?” asked one. A running theme was that American soldiers are, as one reader put it, “typical American white trash.” Indeed, the words “white trash” recurred frequently. Left-wing readers who undoubtedly pride themselves on their purported respect for people (especially the underprivileged) of all races and religions, and who fret about the human rights of even the most loathsome members of the species (such as Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden), were quick to deride American GIs as poor, dumb – and, indeed, barely human – hicks: “There’s no doubt that white trash from the US…have lukewarm attitudes toward morality. Without the local minister and sheriff they fumble around, unwashed and drunk, and rape, kill, and film their crimes. They’re garbage.”
Readers who would surely never breathe a critical word about Islam sneered about the nauseating religiosity of American Christians. Several proffered social analyses founded on familiar stereotypes: “This [urinating on the enemy] probably has something to do with American sexual morality. This reminds them of a sexual act, and that’s a no-no in America. But violence and murder are totally OK.” Two or three readers even took the opportunity to attack the Marshall Plan, the purpose of which, they had apparently been taught, was not to help but to exploit.
The Marshall Plan was an act, fully implemented, of immense generosity on the part of the United States which rescued Europe from poverty, hunger, and hopelessness in the aftermath of the war.
The following reader comment was representative of many in its pure, unhinged enmity:
“USA! Degenerate land that steadily gets worse and worse! The world’s misery springs out of that country. Soon it will be Iran’s turn [because Americans are] horny for war. [Kill who you want, women, children, it doesn't matter to America] as long as the money rolls in. Evil, perfectly set in system!”
Why bother with Mr. Svarstad’s silly article and with his readers’ even sillier comments? Partly because the whole thing is a sobering lesson in the power of disinformation. Back in the 1940s, when Americans soldiers were putting their lives on the line to free Europe, could even the most cynical of them have imagined that within a couple of generations, thanks to an army of determined European journalists and schoolteachers, their sacrifice would have been turned into exploitation, their heroism into villainy, in the minds of countless Europeans? Could they ever have conceived that one day the grandchildren of the people they freed from totalitarianism would be maligning them in the most condescending terms and denying that they had done anything worthwhile? …
But this story is not just about disinformation but about moral sickness. For some of the people who posted comments on Mr. Svarstad’s article are not, in fact, ignorant. They know better. They know history. Yet something perverse in their souls drives them to spit on people who have protected them and bow to those who would destroy them. It is an aspect of human nature that is nothing less than chilling.
One thing that certainly comes through clearly in the comments on Svarstad’s article is that in the minds of many Europeans, the Holocaust is barely a footnote. They know that the Nazi occupying forces in Norway rounded up Jews and sent them to their deaths, but, to put it bluntly, they don’t really care.
The Norwegian government did nothing to try and save its Jewish citizens. The very absence of any such effort, of any official protest, of any widespread mood of objection positively assisted the Nazis to carry out their “final solution”.
One conclusion to be drawn from all this, perhaps, is that if you want to free people from some monstrous despot, go ahead. They may indeed cheer you in the streets when you’re done. But be prepared for their grandchildren to spit on your grave.