Thursday, April 26, 2007

An "Innocent" Islamist's Journey to the Beast's Lair

Here is a new twist on a Breath of the Beast story. It’s an excerpt from a forthcoming book that is on in the Times Online website. I found it because the excerpt was excerpted on Little Green footballs. It is powerful not just because it is, like the other stories we have featured, a first hand encounter and journey from sleep to awakening; but is also a chilling view of the inside of the beast’s lair.
My foremost thought in reading and contemplating this excerpt is that if, in the book, the author can give us a glimpse of the state of mind that could have blinded him to the abundant evidence he must have been exposed to before his trip to Saudi Arabia, it might give us an idea of how to deprogram more of those who are in that same state of denial.

This is well written and takes us from:

During our first two months in Jeddah, Faye and I relished our new and luxurious lifestyle: a shiny jeep, two swimming pools, domestic help, and a tax-free salary. The luxury of living in a modern city with a developed infrastructure cocooned me from the frightful reality of life in Saudi Arabia.

My goatee beard and good Arabic ensured that I could pass for an Arab.

But looking like a young Saudi was not enough: I had to act Saudi, be Saudi. And here I failed.


Two weeks after the terrorist attacks in London another Saudi student raised his hand and asked: “Teacher, how can I go to London?”

“Much depends on your reason for going to Britain. Do you want to study or just be a tourist?”

“Teacher, I want to go London next month. I want bomb, big bomb in London, again. I want make jihad!”

“What?” I exclaimed. Another student raised both hands and shouted: “Me too! Me too!”

Other students applauded those who had just articulated what many of them were thinking. I was incandescent. In protest I walked out of the classroom to a chorus of jeering and catcalls.

This would have been the right place to stop. Unfortunately, the excerpt runs another two paragraphs that are undoubtably intended to soften the effect as much as possible. But, then, that is to be expected in a mainstream media site.

Still, it is brave enough to touch on the forbidden subjects of women, sex, child abuse, and pederasty which I have written about many times (notably here and here). It is a compelling tale, and true. Here's hoping that the book goes further than the superficial place where the excerpt ends.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Terror Attack of the Month Club

You are Already a Member…

One morning, when I was eight years old, I decided to play hooky from the regular activities at overnight camp and wound up coming face to face with a savage scene of sudden terror, blood and death. I had gone off alone in the woods and was been walking along a sandy trail through the woods in the Saco River valley of Maine. There was a sudden flurry of movement about five yards up the trail. I later surmised that the movement I had seen was the instant in which the snake had lunged, snapped its jaws and caught the toad.

In the time it took me to walk the distance to where they were, they were motionless. Still, it was eerily apparent that the snake was swallowing the toad whole- not just whole but alive as well. It was a terrifying moment.

The toad was bigger by half than the snake’s head so the snake’s mouth was fastened around the toad’s haunches. The back third of the toad was already inside the snake; the front two thirds were still free. Held fast by the tiny thorn-like teeth in that cold mouth, the toad still breathed. Every now and then its eyes would blink but that was all the movement it made. The big, expressionless toad eyes were absent any expression- no panic, no appeal, no desperation- not even a hint of resignation. Its fate was already sealed; it was as good as dead already.

As I realized what I was looking at and got over my initial surprise, my instinctive reaction was to want to intervene and try to rescue the toad. It was only as I moved closer that the toad struggled a little as it tried to edge away from me. It was held fast by the snake which was so inflamed by the taste of death in its mouth that it paid no attention to me. I began to realize that even if I tried to rescue the toad, it might not do any good. It had no fight in it and I was very unsure how to handle the snake. My approach had no effect on the snake or on the toad. They were motionless except for the rapid breathing and hypnotic blinking of the toad. I had already in my young life experienced the reaction of our pet cat when I interfered between her and her food bowl. The snake looked pretty large to me just then.

As I stared at them and felt the immediacy of the death I was witnessing, another emotion replaced the fear and fascination. I was suddenly outraged- not outraged at the snake for its blank predation and concupiscent tenacity- but at the toad. Its helplessness made me feel helpless too.

I crouched down and watched for a while until the snake, with a subtle but urgent, peristaltic motion relaxed its hold instantaneously and inched up its teeth on the toad’s body- engulfing another three percent or so of its length. That gulp filled me with a claustrophobia and dread so deep that I couldn’t stand to see any more. I walked away- leaving them to their fates- one the devourer and the other the acquiescent devoured.

I’ll never forget the way the toad looked at me. It comes back to me time and again Even now, forty years later; the blank, blinking eye of the toad haunts me. Of course it is ridiculous to speculate on the motives, behavior and emotions of the toad. I don’t know why toads behave the way they do when snakes begin to swallow them. I do know that I am reminded of it very often by the behavior of my fellow human beings.

It is the look you get from people who are prepared to ignore any fact, accept any contradiction and succumb to any peril in order to support their current state of belief and comfort.

I see that look often when I try to have a real dialog with (most) feminists and many of the gay people I meet. It strikes me as odd that feminists and gay activists can remain blind to the horrors faced by women and gays in any Islamic society. It is even more bizarre to see the blink of the toad flash across their faces as they recover their composure and prepare to rationalize their antipathy toward Israel and western civilization.

I see it in the faces of the glazed, parrots of political correctness and multiculturalism when they refuse to pass judgment on a culture that abuses its children, represses and beats its women and even boldly asserts its own manifest destiny to dominate and convert the rest of the world. I see that blank hopelessness it in the craven unwillingness of western officials to enforce their own laws, in their acquiescence to allow the creeping introduction of Shari’a law.

I see it too in the illogical self-destructiveness that disguises itself as evenhandedness in the leaders of the mainline churches and the Main Stream Media as they comment on the Arab/Israeli conflict. In this professionally bland, morally horrific relativism it presents the struggle as one between “peoples” with equal aims. It looks on Israel’s struggle and adds to her torment by refusing to believe that the Palestinians are the head of a snake that consists of the ruling elite of the entire Arab world. The media is placidly blinking, not able to understand that the snake wants to swallow the entire world into a Caliphate hell where Sharia law will issue fatwas on the like of them.

I also see that look when I make the point to anyone who will listen that it is THE OIL MONEY that is fueling the rise of Caliphate Islam. I’ve made the point in many of my essays on this site. No less an authority than Victor Davis Hanson has made the point. There are even at least two industry web sites that cover the whole business. Link1 1 Link 2 I don’t know how it could be clearer. Yet most people I talk to about it sort of gulp, give you the toad blink and go back to trying to remember whether the minivan has enough gas in it to get through the weekend. Well, guess what folks, every time you fill that gas tank you are renewing your subscription to the Terror Attack of the Month Club.

That’s right, there’s nothing to buy and nothing to order no salesman will call. Simply keep buying gasoline and/or heating oil from your local vendors (they don’t even look like terrorists) and we will send you your attack free of charge. No returns and no refunds. Offer good wherever you don’t bow down worship Allah at least three times a day…

Don’t look now, that snake has us squarely by the butt and we are hardly even struggling.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Indian Guilt and the American View of Islam Part II

There is not a square acre of habitable land on the face of the earth that has not been inhabited by an earlier human population than the one that lives on it today. When the white man came to “The New World” he was not, as some (Lawrence’s “highbrows”) would have it, invading a pair of continents that had been under the stewardship of a single people, living peacefully and in harmony with nature for thousands of years. He was stepping onto a perpetual battlefield where the inhabitants had arrived in successive waves of occupation, conquered and re-conquered each other, committed repeated savagery upon each other and permanently changed the character of the environment. Human sacrifice, slavery and constant low-intensity warfare were universal across both North and South America before the Europeans arrived. The Europeans who trickled in for the first three hundred years and then poured in in immense numbers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries came to escape religious persecution, political domination and limited economic prospects in their home countries. They came here and founded the greatest experiment in liberty, prosperity and self-government ever seen on earth. Without their descendants and The United States of America, the national socialist and communist monsters of the twentieth century could not have been defeated and would have dominated the earth. You can, as I do, feel compassion and even nostalgia for the American Indians but you can only lament their replacement as the dominant culture in the Americas if you believe that life on earth would be better had they not been conquered.

Did I say “conquer”? Yes, I know that the word “conquer” is out of fashion these days. It makes most people very uncomfortable because it is redolent of violence, greed, slavery and colonialism. In this post colonial age The West has a very guilty conscience about all of that and its not that we don’t deserve it. Conquest is a messy and spontaneous process and it gets exceedingly ugly at times. Conquest by force is bloody, and even conquest by cultural conversion can look very harsh. The fact remains, to paraphrase D.H. Lawrence, when cultures that are as different as Western Civilization and the American Indians meet, one must prove fatal to the other.

We in The West try very hard to keep from thinking about conquering anything. Some of us are even ashamed that our culture is so successful and powerful that most of the conquest we do these days is of the non-violent, social and cultural kind. There are any number of leftists who speak of western “cultural hegemony” as if it were a bad thing. They bemoan the loss of native cultures and the metastasization of Hollywood product around the globe while ignoring that fact that the reason why it is happening is that our culture is dominant for good reasons- it offers better protection for the less powerful and it provides better economic opportunity than any other. It is fine for leftists and progressives to bemoan the spread of democracy and capitalism but precious few of them would want to live under any of the alternatives. It is, still, a conquer or be conquered world but we are so used to having our own way and becoming dominant wherever in the world we happen to be that we have forgotten how hard the fight for survival can be and how quickly it can turn desperate. We really need to keep reminding ourselves that just because we no longer have the urge to conquer that no one else does.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali arrived in Europe along with the current wave of Immigrants from Islamic countries but she arrived not as an economic refugee trying to find a way to survive but as a refugee of conscience and belief. Most of the refugees from the failed economies of the Islamic world have not come with her open-minded intent to learn western ways.

Ironically, the guilt and loss of confidence in The West has allowed the Islamic immigrants in Europe to begin the process of degrading European culture. By shear weight of numbers and inert recalcitrance they have been insisting that their traditional and legal practices be accepted by their new home countries even when they are counter to existing law. In an attempt to pacify and integrate their new citizens Germany, Belgium, France, Britain and others have been allowing more and more exceptions in their legal and social fabric, exceptions that will make those countries more like the poverty stricken and depressed countries from which the immigrants fled and less like the productive, welcoming democracies they thought they were moving to. Europe, typified by the French, has been arrogant and complacent enough to believe that what they imagine to be the grandeur of their culture would turn all of their Muslim immigrants into Western European citizens. Now their streets and Metros are plagued by chaos and violence.

In Holland, Hirsi Ali found the Dutch (who have been as conscientiously open-minded and egalitarian as any other country in Europe) to be under siege as well. They have suffered two traumatic assassinations. One was the murder of the prominent politician, Pim Fortyun. The other was of the well-known film-maker Theo van Gogh who was the director and producer of “Submission” the film, written by Hirsi Ali. Submission, only ten minutes long, touched on one of the great vulnerabilities of Islam in the modern world- the repression of and discrimination against women.

No more volatile subject exists for Muslims. The subjugation of Muslim women and their possible liberation by continued contact with The West is the one subject, other than the dignity of The Prophet himself that is absolutely guaranteed to roil Caliphate Muslims to unreasoning savagery.

Hirsi Ali, under threat of death herself has since taken refuge in the United States and recently published a wonderful autobiography, Infidel. Reading Infidel, I am vividly reminded of the lesson I learned in that lecture hall almost forty years ago. In the first two chapters of her book it becomes clear that this extraordinary woman grew up in a family that, in the span of two generations was dislocated from its nomadic tribal roots and thrust into the turbulence that occurs when ancient cultures come into contact with the modern world. The clarity with which she describes the drama of the conflicts that arise when t simple culture that is specifically adapted to meet the demands of a narrow band of ecological and social conditions is confronted by radical changes in both the natural and social environment is striking.

Her father’s father was, she tells us, a feared nomadic raider and petty feudal lord. His name was Magan and was known by the title: The Protector of all He Conquered. As ironic as that name may sound to us, it speaks volumes about the world in which her parents grew up. That title is a holographic representation of Caliphate society. It can be used as an entry point into a more complete understanding of the nature of the proto-feudal strain of Islam that has interbred with modern fascist movements and evolved into a monster. His “might” made Magan “right”, for the people he conquered, it was a matter of good luck that he protected them. The title does not even imply that he was just or fair- only that he kept them under his protection kept them from the additional trauma of being conquered by others. Conquering and being conquered is the story of the human race and whether the conquest is violent or cultural, we ignore this at our own risk.

This brings us back to Lawrence’s idea that. “The Indian way of consciousness is different from and fatal to our way of consciousness. Our way of consciousness is different from and fatal to the Indian. The two ways, the two streams are never to be united. They are not even to be reconciled.” If the two ways of consciousness are fatal to the other, then it must be obvious that there is a contest for survival going on whether the contestants wish this to be the case or not.

So, now we are ready to answer the question, posed above, “Has the western conquest of the Americas has made the world a better place? Is it lamentable?”

The left finds a way to lament. They claim to see no difference between the moral authority of the American experiment (even as they are sheltered under its protective mantle) as compared with Caliphatist Islam. Moral imbeciles like Ward Churchill, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and a host of others promote relativistic absurdities that equate the actions of America and Israel to those of al Qeada and Ahmadinejad and find ways to excuse the violence of those thugs and bullies.. Their arguments are based on that same fulsome emotion, dressed up to look like real discourse.

They do this by establishing certain constructs of “received knowledge” that they try to convince us cannot be challenged. This un challengability is an emotional barrier to free speech and intellectually honest debate. When you ignore the emotional prohibition they are challenged with ease and found to be nothing more than emotional absurdities.

Multiculturalism is chief among these absurdities. Originally conceived as an expression of the bland but laudable liberal impulse to “honor differences” and acknowledge the diversity of cultural influences, multiculturalism has become an overbearing burden to never offend or even “judge” the views and behaviors of other cultures. If rejecting the moral relativism of Multiculturalism seems “insensitive” to us today it is because we have been badgered into buying the premise that all cultures are equally deserving and good. This is absurd.
People like Hirsi Ali, for instance, who have lived in some of these other cultures, know how absurd it is. Hrisi Ali knows first hand the horror of being a woman in Somalia and Saudia Arabia. I have used this quote before but it bears repeating here.
“This is gender inequality: an inequality most obscene, expressed through acts such as mutilation, beatings, rape and murder--and almost all this aggression is justified in the name of culture and creed. Atrocities committed against girls and women in the most intimate setting of all: in the home; by dad or mom; by a brother or a sister; by a husband or his mother. The sort of persecution I talk about is one in which the religious leaders, the politicians, aunts and uncles, fathers and mothers, all share the staunch belief that girls--that women--are born of a lesser god.”
So why can’t we stand up as a civilization for women everywhere? Why do the feminists in The West prefer to quibble about salary differentials in the upper echelons of corporate leadership to campaigning to end the rape, torture and murder of Islamic women? Can they really be that morally blind? Is multiculturalism such an important idea that we have to sacrifice our moral souls and another generation of women and children? Why?

Part of it is that we are genuinely touched by the pathos of cultures like those of the American Indian which we have defeated and incorporated into our own. This melancholy reluctance to effect any change in the culture of others is illogical and misguided. It is driven by the guilt that we can’t stand to talk about, acknowledge or even think about. The guilt of knowing that our great standard of living humiliates other people who don’t live as well is the silly, racist core of the multiculturalist urge. We dearly want to be able to tell them that they are not really humiliated so they won’t be angry with us anymore but we know that this is a lie. In doing so we perform the worst act of humiliation of all, we let them off the hook. In not helping to them to see their position truly, we commit a much worse act of racism- we admit that we don’t think they are up to meeting the truth head on.

We have bought into multiculturalism because we no longer have the fortitude, the honesty or the intelligence to look someone in the eye and tell them, “Look, you are humiliated because you do not have the culture or political leaders or the education to be otherwise. You really need to stop making such a big deal about feeling humiliated. Why not try some of these simple steps toward civilization instead:
1. Specifically outlaw honor killing
2. Stop beating your wife and/or kids.
3. Send your kids to a decent school where they won’t waste their time memorizing an entire “holy book” to the exclusion of learning critical thinking skills and studying arithmetic, science and geography.
4. Forget using Israel, Jews and America as the excuse for being a looser.
5. Understand that your leader (fill in one: Ahmadinejad, Assad, Kadafy, Mubarak, Abdullah etc…) is a tyrant of the worst sort and is actually working hard to keep you ignorant and filled with rage, that’s how your feudal system works.
6. For God’s sake stop thinking of anyone who believes (or doesn’t believe in him) in him (God that is) in a different way than you do as less than human. That only makes you feel worse when you see that those “unbelievers” live better than you do.
If you take care of all that, there would be no need for you to feel humiliated anymore.”

David Yeagley, a Comanche Indian is one who poignantly understands the culture clash from the inside. His work is proof that the valiant Indian traditions of his culture can, if victimhood is refused and intellectual honesty is applied, be part of a modern western world view. Yeagley has written at length about the comparison between the Indian and the Palestinian Arab world. His writing offers the Arabs hope for dignity if they will only drop their humiliation speeches and stop pretending that they are better than the rest of the world. They would be much better off if they learned to follow his lead into the twenty-first century. Yeagley writes,
“Arabs weren’t even in Palestine until the mid-7th century AD, over a thousand years later, after Palestine’s 1,300-year Jewish history. Arabs later living in Palestine never developed themselves or the land, but remained nomadic and quasi-primitive during their 1,200-year stay.
Then a stronger people modern Jews who’d been expelled from their homes in Europe and in Arab countries came in and conquered (without annihilating) the Palestinian Arabs.
As a Comanche Indian, I’m sensitive to this history. I believe the conqueror has a right to what he has conquered. No one owns the land. Only he who is strong enough to possess it will control it and the people living on it. That’s the law of war…,”
He also quotes Theodore Roosevelt:
“Teddy Roosevelt once said, "Let sentimentalists say what they will, the man who puts the soil to use must of right dispossess the man who does not, or the world will come to a standstill." (W. T. Hagan, Theodore Roosevelt and Six Friends of the Indians, 1997). In the end his final telling comment echoes out theme of culture succession, “The land developers, the agrarians, have become stronger than the hunters.”

When D.H. Lawrence wrote “The common, healthy, vulgar white usually feels a certain native dislike of those drumming aboriginals.” He was expressing, albeit in a dated and innocent way, the view that when you live in a world that has more than one culture, there are often “others” who are “unsuited” for life in that culture. At the border lines between cultures the differences as so much more apparent We can’t admit to that feeling anymore- we are too sophisticated and sensitive, too multicultural. But we have to understand that Western Civilization is (at least for the time being) the dominant culture and we have to turn that coarse dislike and revulsion into a realization that the reasons that we find those people either dislikable or adorable come out of the same basic elitism. If we are to treat them as true equals we need to level with them and tell them that the reason for their humiliation is in their culture and their leadership. We also have to take the prudent steps to protect ourselves.

We do need to protect ourselves. We may be blinded to the danger because we are so sure of our safety and our ability to manage social change. We are so confident that we have created a culture that is immune to relapse into tyranny and intolerance that we have felt free to indulge multiculturalism. This is not the case for the other side however. They are not multicultural. The Caliphate Muslims can see the fatal nature of the confrontation so much more clearly because they are the ones who are threatened most immediately by it. Since the end of World War II the influx of oil money, the amazing revolution in globe-shrinking communication technology and the creation and phenomenal success of Israel right on their door step have combined to expose the Arab world to Western culture in a way threatens every dark secret abuse and humiliation. When communication was primitive and Israel was not turning fetid swamps and arid desert into fertile farmland using Arab labor right next door the Arab "leaders" could deny to themselves and hide from their people how lame and infantile they are. Without the artificially maintained veneer of rage and "humiliation speak" that they have paid so dearly to foster, the Arab leadership would be exposed, alone in the spotlight, as the incompetent, despotic ignorant rabble that they are. The Arab Street we hear so much about is the tool of the Arab leadership. They know only too well that the rage, anti-Semitism, anti-American and humiliation idiocy that the drill into their followers is their only screen against being so exposed.

Meanwhile, under the influence of multiculturalism the Left looks at the Palestinians and, as Lawrence might have said, “…performs the mental trick, and fools themselves and others into believing that the “head scarfed”, Kalashnikov toting darling is nearer to the true ideal gods than we are.” That, of course, is mind numbing nonsense- “fatal to our way of consciousness” as Lawrence had it. But to the left it is irresistible; it is full of guilt, pity and bathos – “fulsome emotion”. If The West will commit suicide – the unwillingness to give up both the ugly side and the maudlin of that racism will surely will be the weapon.

One of the two cultures, Islam or The West, must conquer the other and if the end of the conquest is to be humane, there must be a clear winner. Someone has to admit they have been conquered. At the end of the Indian wars there were many moments of despair, bitterness and regret which still haunt America. Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribe gave voice to the Indian defeat in a speech that is both dignified and noble:
"Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before, I have it in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed; Looking Glass is dead, Too-hul-hul-sote is dead. The old men are all dead. It is the young men who say yes or no. He who led on the young men is dead. It is cold, and we have no blankets; the little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are—perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever."

It took several generations and much bloodshed to force that speech out of an Indian. It took another one hundred and forty years for an intelligent and realistic spokesman like Yeagley to put into words the brutal truth that will allow him and his people to go forward as full citizens of the new world of which they are now a full part.If we cannot get the Arab world to make that same transition peacefully, we will have to reduce them by force the way we did with Chief Joseph.

We have to ask ourselves how dedicated we are to this struggle, how hard are we willing to fight to insure that our children do not have to live through a (not yet inevitable) slide into a new dark age- for an ascendant world-wide Caliphate would bring on a very dark age indeed. Anyone who doubts that need only see how the Shia and Sunni are savaging each other for dominance in Iraq. How willing are we to fight for freedom and do we have the courage to see what is required of us - and to do it.

If we cannot find a way to free ourslelves from the dogma of the left and drop multiculturalism so that we can fight with our whole minds, media, hearts and intellects we will have to continue to fight with tanks and bombs. Ultimately, we have to find both the intelligence and mental agility for the cultural approach and the will and strength for the forceful one. If we do not start soon then we might as well avoid the apocalyptic rush and start shopping for turbans and bhurkas now.

Update, Friend Eric Odessit posted this article which has a very promising resemblance to what a an Arab equivalent to Cheif Joseph's speech. It is dignified, realistic and forward-looking.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Indian Guilt and the American View of Islam Part I

Thirty years ago, in a lecture hall at Boston University, I first began to gain an insight into the impenetrable wall of ambiguity that we face when we try to understand other cultures. I was an undergraduate majoring in Anthropology. Our professor had just completed a lecture for the American Indian (I seem to recall they were still called Indians back then) survey course. In that day’s lecture he had made a comment to the effect that it was not possible for an Indian woman of a certain tribe (I can’t remember which one) to leave her husband. A feminist student took exception and approached him after the lecture and I happened to be a bystander as the professor patiently tried a number of ways of explaining to her that there was simply nowhere for a woman to go- no matter what her reason for leaving. In the lives of nomadic peoples there are no homeless shelters and the only survivable economic unit is a traditional family in which every individual played a very specific and confined role. This was clearly not acceptable to my classmate. She put up a vigorous protest, “surely she could go to a friend’s tepee- or set out for another village- even, in a dire circumstance, go back to her parents.” The more the professor smiled and tried to explain that there were simply no resources in such a society to allow for such life choices and that it was a survival issue not a gender-bias one, the more incensed she became. It wasn’t clear to me whether she was arguing in order to get him to admit that he was wrong about his observation or because she somehow felt that putting up a fight about it now could effect some sort of retroactive change for her Indian sisters that lived over a century ago. Then I realized that she was so incensed because like so many students in class she had a finely detailed and impossibly utopian imaginary picture in her mind of what Indian life was like and she simply didn’t want to give up that rosy, personally relevant preconception. This made a very strong impression on me. She was speechless with rage that the professor was accusing her innocent, noble Indians, the people she was convinced were so much closer to truly enlightened and pure beings of being chauvinist, Neanderthal dorks. I was filled with a new appreciation of how prejudiced, ignorant and agenda-driven my fellow intellectuals-in-training were.

Some time later, perhaps as a response, that same professor used the following quote from D.H. Lawrence’s book, Mornings in Mexico. I think it conveys very well the problem of understanding a culture so different from one’s own and it offers an insight into the clash of cultures that is difficult for a westerner to grasp.

“It is impossible for white people to approach the Indian without either sentimentality or dislike. The common, healthy, vulgar white usually feels a certain native dislike of those drumming aboriginals. The highbrow invariably lapses into sentimentalism like the smell of bad eggs. Why? – Both reactions are due to the same feeling in the white man. The Indian is not in line with us. He’s not coming our way. His whole being is going a different way from ours. And the minute you set eyes on him you know it. And then, there are only two things you can do. You can detest the insidious devil for having an utterly different way from our own great way. Or, you can perform the mental trick, and fool yourself and others into believing that the befeathered and bedaubed darling is nearer to the true ideal gods than we are. The Indian way of consciousness is different from and fatal to our way of consciousness. Our way of consciousness is different from and fatal to the Indian. The two ways, the two streams are never to be united. They are not even to be reconciled. There is no bridge, no canal of connection. The sooner we realize this, and accept this, the better, and leave off trying with fulsome sentimentalism, to render the Indian in our own terms.”

I want to be clear, I am in no way saying (and Lawrence wasn’t either) that there is anything wrong, defective or inferior about the Native American. I am saying two things:
1. Once exposed to Western Civilization the Indian way of life was doomed.
2. The life and culture of Indians was so vastly different from ours that it is simply impossible for us to understand the magnitude of the difference.

That being understood, Lawrence had it exactly right and his perception is equally valid when applied to the modern confrontation with Arabian Caliphate Islam. The “highbrows” he was referring to correspond precisely to today’s modern liberals and the rest of the progressive left wing. That fulsome sentimentality he identified in the highbrows is more than matched by the guilty/romantic response of today’s left to the idiotic, provocative accusations of humiliation, cultural degradation and imperialism leveled at all of the west by the Caliphatists.

ShrinkWrapped has a true story on his blog of a client of his who had a particularly bad case of this contradiction. ShrinkWrapped generalizes from this patient’s pathology- “New York liberalism consists largely of sympathy for the deprived, guilt over one's affluence and advantages, and anxiety over aggression and competition. It is a political philosophy that rests on a deep well of emotion and a small dollop of rationality.” ShrinkWrapped is exactly right- what he says goes right to the core of the matter.

Guilt is indeed a powerful force and, in America. Liberal illogic and guilt are inextricably tangeled up together in the history of our relationship with the American Indian. The American Indian is the essential starting point (every bit as much as the colonial past and the holocaust are for Europe) for an American discussion of how to understand Islam in the modern world. There are two main strands in that tangle:

1. For many Americans our historic and emotional relationship with the “native” population is our emotional template for our reaction to the Israeli/Arabic drama If we respond only emotionally to it we miss the very real differences between the two situations.
2. The cultural confrontation with the American Indian and the change it effected between two unequal and very different cultures is a very powerful paradigm that can help us to understand the clash with Islam- if we read it carefully.

The mistake of, to paraphrase Lawrence, “rendering the Islamic Arab in their own terms” has caused many a true, reasonable liberal to become a dupe of the Caliphate and an unwitting dhimmi. Because the liberal mind-set predisposes a left-them to view all other cultures through that self-centered prism of guilt and primitivist love, they are almost powerless to see the danger. How else to explain the left’s blindness to the endless, gory catalogue of atrocities that have been committed in the name of Jihad? It makes understandable (if still unforgivable) how fervent feminists and devoted gay rights activists remain blind to the horrors gays and women face in Islamic countries across North Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

As we face an opponent, who captures unarmed civilians workers and journalists, humiliates them in front of a camera and then hacks their heads off with a butcher knife for a public relations stunt; the cowed and guilt-ridden left can do no better than to find fault with our professional armed forces (that are bound by and enforce an internationally sanctioned code of conduct). The beheaders become cultural heroes while the American prison guards at Abu Ghraib are viewed as getting off with a slap on the wrist even after being tried and punished for their behavior. Notwithstanding Abu Ghraib (where is the comparison?) is there any logic or moral responsibility in that preference?

No- it is entirely based on emotion. That emotional combination of sympathy, guilt, unsupported opinion and dreamy primitivism that lead my classmate so long ago to idealize the less complex culture of the American Indians is very common and disturbing. Among liberals there is a nearly fanatical desire to see other cultures as “nicer, freer and more desirable than ours”. This primitivism is a key feature of the personality of the modern left. It is amplified in practice by the tendency of many on the left to rely too much on emotion and opinion and too little on understanding and fact. The combination of good intentions, sympathy and intellectual laziness is the most dangerous geopolitical force the world has ever seen.

Karl Marx spun his fantastic intellectual web of class warfare and communism from it, basing his proposed paradise of the worker on a kind of pass/fail society where no one is allowed to suffer any more or less than anyone else. It has taken a century and untold millions of lost and shattered lives for the real world to prove that this egalitarian dream was a sham destined to evolve into an unworkable nightmare.

Nevertheless, it keeps popping up and causing the left to take the wrong side in just about any conflict you can name. It causes many feminists and activist gays to speak out in blind support of the Palestinians and Islamic countries where women are little more than abused chattel; and homosexuals, if they are allowed to live at all, are brutalized outcasts. It is threatening Israel’s existence today and it has weakened many western democracies to the point that their survival as true democracies, ruled by law and vote, is in doubt.

The west only has one option; we have to start talking honestly and openly about subjects like the American Indian and learning how to handle the guilt and other raw emotions in a rational way. My next post will expand on the painful subject of the Indians and their fate and how it reflects on our response to Caliphate Islam.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

OK, This is Really Why They Hate Us !

I am a little overwhelmed by the reception that this first chunk of the promised Big Post has received. A lot of you have linked it and commented in various ways. While I am grateful for the response, I feel that one of those strains of commentary needs a clear answer. Many of you have written strongly worded responses saying things like: Islam is hateful and that, in essence, hate is what Islam and the left have in common. One of the reasons I find this disturbing is that I am always tempted to agree with it.

It is too simple and easy, though. I see hate as more of a symptom than a cause. The whole thing with Islam and the left is pretty complicated and hate is so simple. Let me try to summarize how I explain their relationship.

The problem is that hate usually grows out of a conflict that appears not to be resolvable. In the case of the Caliphate Muslims, they see much more clearly than westerners can that co-existence is not a possibility. Even if they wished it, which some of them might, it has to be clear to them that the vitality, openness and power of the west will eventually cause their totalitarian controls to disintegrate. This is why they feel humiliated. They know that the simple fact of our existence is fatal to them. This is why the lack of humor is so striking.

In the same way, the left feels kinship with them because they share that same doomed feeling of futility and humiliation. The Modern Left knows that with the fall of the Soviet Union, the Capitalization of China, successful modernization of India, Mexico and much of the old Soviet block and the defection of the best minds (Hitchens, Podhertz, Kristol, et al) they are no longer the “Modern Left”, they are merely “What’s Left”. It has never been more apparent that their ideas are mawkish, cheap and unworkable.

Both the left(overs) and the Caliphate Muslims hate us out of their envy, stubbornness and hurt pride. We don’t humiliate them- they humiliate themselves and that infuriates them.

This is not to say that the battle is won. If we cannot wake up our felloe westerners who have been put to sleep by the excess of power and safety that we have had since WWII, we can lose. We need to stop getting into futile shouting matches with the progressives and socialists and find ways to talk meaningfully to the parts of the liberal left and center that is as yet unaware of the monstrous evil at the gate. Our survival depends on it.

I have many more thoughts about the underlying cause of the hatred and I’ll be posting them soon…

Sunday, April 8, 2007

The Emergence of the Agélaste Left

Dear Reader,
That big post I've been promising has gotten to be so big, I've had to break it up and publish it in smaller bites. Here's one:

Totalitarianism is never content to rule by external means, namely, through the state and a machinery of violence; thanks to its peculiar ideology and the role assigned to it in this apparatus of coercion, totalitarianism has discovered a means of dominating and terrorizing human beings from within.
Hannah Arendt

I was walking my kids to school the morning after the last Presidential election when I witnessed an embarrassing spectacle. As my sons and I approached the school I saw a neighbor of ours, a young mother of two elementary school students, jumping up and down on a map of the United States that was painted on the asphalt of the school yard. She was shouting something. As we got closer I could see that she was jumping repeatedly on Ohio and shouting “I hate you Ohio!” over and over. She looked at me, and said, “I can’t believe they did this! Can you believe it?”

Well, actually, there were two things I couldn’t believe. The first, thing I found unbelievable was the violence she displayed. Violence? Well, yes, it was minor violence but it was pretty shocking in a symbolic way, shocking in much the same way that burning the American flag is shocking.

The other thing I couldn’t believe was her presumption.

Call me old fashioned; or just chalk it up to my being in the conservative minority in this very liberal, high income suburb that I live in, but I have always thought it was good form not to make a public display of my political opinions. Stumping in support of a candidate before the election is different; a respectful request for support for people and ideas you believe in is an honorable part of our civic tradition. But this was a bald faced assumption that as a person she assumed to be “good” I would be equally dismayed by the result of the election. I can tell you that I generally avoid that kind of assumption about other people and nearly every time I have let myself slip into it I have been embarrassed by the result. But embarrassment is only experienced by those who are willing to grant others the dignity of having their own thoughts.

In my last post I quoted Milan Kundera on Kitsch. I need to go back to Kundera and that same speech, his Jerusalem Address, once again to most accurately define what I found so offensive in this presumption. Kundera uses the word agélaste. Rabelais, he tells us, coined the word to denote people who do not laugh because they have no sense of humor and “…are convinced that the truth is obvious, that all men necessarily think the same thing, and that they themselves are exactly what they think they are.” My neighbor’s behavior, that morning fit that definition to a tee.
The moderate and progressive left for all its claims of good intentions and intellectual righteousness has for some time been slipping into a form of totalitarian fundamentalism. The totalitarian progressive left is, I fear an, as yet, undiagnosed epidemic among the upper middle class and the academic and political elites of Western Civilization. As with most epidemics, it has been hard to define in its early stages. In recent years however, it has begun to manifest itself in ways that are impossible to ignore.

For instance, why is there a marked and growing support for Islamism among the left-leaning sectors of the western countries? On the face of it, it makes no sense that a movement within the Muslim world that declares publicly that it wants to either kill or convert everyone else on earth to Islamism, which believes in slavery, misogyny, anti-Semitism, racism, gay bashing(and murdering!), religious intolerance (exclusivism, really), the teaching of hatred and murder to kindergarteners and the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians with terror should be lionized by people who profess to hold “humanitarian” ( or, at least, humanistic) values above all others. Why, too, does that same left-wing so despise Israel, a country founded in Democracy, having a strong socialist component, and which far out shines any of its neighbors in human rights and minority freedoms? The answer to this conundrum is one of the diagnostic markers that prove the existence of a totalitarian system of belief. When there are such obvious internal contradictions that are held by a self-identified group of people who police each other for the correctness of their thought without regard to the actual logical content of that thought it is totalitarianism. I discussed this in my post about Islamofascim. Here is part of a quote from a New Yorker Magazine article by Louis Menand that I used to illustrate the point. “The mysterious part of totalitarianism’s appeal—and here we return to the Problem of the Loyal Henchmen—is that its official ideology can be, and usually is, absurd on its face, and known to be absurd by the leaders who preach it. This is because the mob is made up of cynics; for them, everything is a lie anyway. And the masses’ hostility is free-floating. It has no concrete object: the masses are hostile to life as it is. The more extreme and outrageous the totalitarian ideology, therefore, and the more devoid of practical political sense, the more ineluctable its appeal.”

This is where the agélaste’s lack of a sense of humor turns lethal, for the hard core of any fascist system is the agélaste. Eliminating humor is essential to the totalitarian system. In His novel The Joke, Kundera has a Communist sympathizer saying, “No great movement designed to change the world can bear to be laughed at or belittled. Mockery is a rust that corrodes all it touches.” A sense of humor would allow people to see the irony in the internal contradictions and turn laughingly away from it. The modern Progressive, leftist and liberal movements lack any real humor. What passes for humor in those precincts is actually more accurately classified as ridicule and mockery. While driving the other day I saw an excellent example, bumper stickers that read, “So Many Right-Wing Christians So Few Lions”. This is not humor. It is, rather, a kind of puerile, jejune attempt to wrap a hate message in a clever phrase and hurl it through the windshield of any car that had the misfortune to be driving behind. This is the very sort of message that the owner of that car would, no doubt, condemn utterly if it were aimed at any of the liberally approved minorities. How would he respond to- “So Many Black People, So Few Lynch Mobs”? I can’t see how one is any worse than the other. Political correctness, tone deaf “humor” and the conceit of “true belief”, are turning the mainstream left into a confederacy of Agélastes.

This by no means applies to all left-leaning citizens; there are many clear-thinking individuals on both sides of the center who can see these contradictions clearly enough to be troubled by them. For those with the good will and intellectual freedom to debate and consider the evidence on both sides, there is hope. If they can also avoid the paralysis that results from moral relativism they will be part of the solution of the problem. The problem arises from those who become devoted to anti-establishment worldviews to the extent that their individual intellect and discriminatory power becomes subservient to the intellectual framework of that “ism”. They come to believe that Jews and the corporate business world and government are somehow controlling their lives. They feel that in retaliation they have to support an extreme brand of progressive liberalism that is a true totalitarian ideology. In the grip of this reactive totalitarianism they no longer care about their own contradictions, as Menand pointed out above. This agreement to believe in and support the absurd is the binding energy that allows so many “liberals and progressives” to ignore the obvious contradictions between the values they profess and their sympathy for Islamism (and antipathy for Israel). As Voltaire wrote, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”.

Totalitarian systems loath each other but they hate the individual human being, his sense of humor and his free thought much more. That is why the Totalitarian left and Caliphate Islam find common cause with each other. In each of them, it is the system not the people in it or the ideals they hold that are important; the individual is an object of suspicion and disdain. As Hannah Arendt wrote in The Origins of Totalitarianism, “Totalitarianism strives not toward despotic rule over men but toward a system in which men are superfluous,” The devotion to a strict fundamentalist interpretation of the Koran and the seemingly opposed devotion to the total and complete adherence to the intellectualized principals of the western left differ in their content but not in their disregard for reality and the complex nature of humanity.

This is why so many elite campuses are so inhospitable to Jewish and Christian speakers of any but the leftist point of view while they positively swoon in reverence over speakers from Islam who represent terror as an instrument of social control, the subjugation of women and death or conversion for all unbelievers. Even left wing speakers who do not toe the Agélaste Left party line are drowned out and not allowed to speak in today’s academia. Speakers of both the left and right who dare defy the intellectual Taliban of academia and support Israel or speak in support of American values are routinely harassed, drowned out and intimidated socially, academically and even physically. This is a universal characteristic of totalitarians of any stripe, they are more comfortable with other totalitarians, no matter how diametrically opposed their ideas, than they are with those who can see and point out the absurdity of their slavery to empty ideas and pathetic rationalizations.

It is no accident that Academe is a stronghold of the Agélaste Left. In the hothouse of tenure, and with loyal cadres of duped and inexperienced students who eagerly shout down any opposition, the modern University is the last and most secure refuge for bright but craven and bone-lazy “geniuses” who spin vivid verbal riffs on their wishful dreams of what the world is like even as they are entirely insulated from the harsh realities that the business people and workers they so smarmily patronize have to face every day. Socialism and Communism have failed everywhere they have been tried except in the hermetically sealed aviaries of academia. Year after year the tenured Macaws of the professorate gather their favorite toadies up into their own self-congratulating ranks and push the rest out into the “real world” for which they have conspired to keep them ill-equipped. Thinking independently in some regions of academia calls down a fate worse than death- expulsion into the market place where only production of goods and services for which others will pay money earns a living. This is how the elite corps of the Agélaste Left terrorizes its true believers to believe even past the point of self-destruction.

It is shocking but not surprising that the hierarchies of some of the mainline protestant churches have become hotbeds of the Agélaste Left. One need look no further than the Israel Divestment movements within both the Episcopal and Presbyterian churches. To see that the hierarchies of these two once-great churches have been hijacked by leaders that are in step with the collectivist progressive hostility to the war on terror here and in the Middle East is to witness the greatest and saddest irony of all. It is shocking and ominous that decades of inter-faith bridge-building has been so swiftly undermined by this totalitarian wave of blind Agélaste Leftism among mainline religious leaders. The Agélaste Left leaders of these churches do not speak for the masses of Presbyterians and Episcopalians in the pews. There are strong indications that there is little grass root support for the attempt to handcuff Israel in her life and death fight with a foe that has sworn to destroy her and has openly promised to kill as many Jews and Christians as possible. Those leaders are merely trying to put words into the mouths of their flocks. What is worse, they do it in the name of God. Only to them, God apparently is a leftist who would rather see misguided even-handedness weaken the hand of an egalitarian, religiously tolerant, democratic and egalitarian country like Israel against the blood-thirsty onslaught of another totalitarian movement most of whose own people, when they are given the opportunity to choose, would rather live in America or Israel.

On the other hand, none of those on the left who reflexively bash America and Israel for “crimes against humanity” are crowding onto airplanes to go live under The Caliphate and Sharia rule either. I think it’s safe to say none of them would last a month in a country ruled by Sharia Law. Indeed, they would be lucky to only have their hands cut off rather than be buried up to their waists in the dirt and be stoned to death or have their heads sawn off with a bread knife in front of a video camera.

Neither do they give us a convincing picture of anything (within reason) that America or Israel could do to please them. Israel, they seem to feel, should lay down her arms and try to make a unilaterally disarmed peace with the Arab world- that Arab world that has sworn Israel’s destruction and is holding the Palestinian refugees hostage against her existence. That would please the Agélaste Left doubly. Israel would then be unable to stop the terrorists or interrupt their infrastructure; and then, shortly thereafter, there would be another genocide- the death of all the Jews in Israel- that they could condemn America for not stopping. If its one thing the Agélaste Left enjoys more than mourning dead Jews, it’s blaming America and finding fault with the very institutions that shelter them and their self-destructive antics from annihilation by the despots, terrorists and repressive maniacs they so lionize.

You know that they are the Agélaste Left because anyone with even a rudimentary sense of humor would see the irony of that!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Why the Liberal Media Whores Out for Terror

As I have said for the past few weeks, I have a major piece on the way- It is almost done but here is an out-take from it that will give you a hint about what it is about.

It is no coincidence that the ascendance of emotion over logic is a particular characteristic of fascist Islam. But it also runs through the entirety of the left from “the center” out to the farthest radical left wing. The emotional objection creeps up on logic and warns it off many subjects and points of views. There is always a point at which “how can such a thing be allowed to happen in our country” slides into “It makes me uncomfortable when you say that,” and that turns in to, “You just can’t say that kind of thing” and then metamorphoses into the overriding taboo of multiculturalism- “You can’t apply western standards to other cultures…” No matter how much evidence they are presented with, they are unable to understand facts and ideas because of their commitment to their emotions about the situation.

Under the equivocal spell of multiculturalism, the rage, humiliation and vengeance of the Caliphate Muslims becomes so enthralling as to be irresistible to a mass media that thrives only on mass appeal. It’s maudlin emotions and simplistic logic suffice as a vehicle for the bloody spectacle.

Milan Kundera would call this constriction and strangulation of debate by the incremental advance of emotional reactions “Kitsch”.

It is the ultimate indictment of the Main Stream Media and he wrote it in 1985!

Here is Kundera on Kitsch:
“The word "kitsch" describes the attitude of those who want to please the greatest number, at any cost. To please, one must confirm what everyone wants to hear, put oneself at the service of received ideas. Kitsch is the translation of the stupidity of received ideas into the language of beauty and feeling. It moves us to tears of compassion for ourselves, for the banality of what we think and feel…Given the imperative necessity to please and thereby gain the attention of the greatest number, the aesthetic of the mass media is inevitably that of kitsch; and as mass media come to embrace and infiltrate more and more of our life, kitsch becomes our everyday aesthetic and moral code.” The Art of the Novel, Jerusalem Address: The Novel and Europe, Milan Kundera, 1986, Harper & Row