Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The End of Reason

I have been working on the next installment of my Cultural Insanity series and it is on the way, but since posting the first part I have seen something related to it that I would like to report as a separate post. Frankly, I have been a little distracted by monitoring the response to my first Cultural Insanity post; after all although I was trained as an anthropologist and not unfamiliar with psychological theory, in making the analogy between a personality disorder and two very different cultural sub-groups, I was treading on somewhat unfamiliar ground.

I was elated when ShrinkWrapped, a psych-blogger whom I respect enormously picked up on my ideas and posted a not unsupportive discussion of it mixing in material fro Dr. Sanity and Victor Davis Hansen. of it.

A day or so later Solomonia put up a post citing the video of a classic television confrontation between Ayaan Hirsi Ali and “an anti-American Canadian interviewer”, Avi Lewis of Canadian Television.

Lewis, in this clip, personifies the smug, self satisfied, passive aggressive argumentation style of the “progressive left”. But the very slickness of his approach combined with the emptiness of his arguments alerted me to something that I had never realized before about the way they argue. I saw immediately that I had identified another aspect of the psychological blindness that the lefties and Islamists have in common. It points back to my original diagnosis of Borderline Personality.

… They (the left and the Islamists) focus, as Avi Lewis does in this interview,on picking out isolated examples of widely disapproved of, squalid and reprehensible behaviors from Israel, America and The West (as when Lewis says “they shoot abortion doctors in the US”)and insisting that they are proof that we, as nations and a civilization, are not living up to our high ideals. Thus Israel, The U.S. and the west is held to account for an idealized, utopian standard of perfection without margin for error. The fact (and they never stoop to dispute the fact) that Israel, America and the west in general are far better in comparison to the rest of the (far more squalid and reprehensible) real world is avoided when possible and brushed off as rationalization when unavoidable. In the event that it is pointed out forcefully that the rest of the world is so much less democratic and desirable and that it is always an option to leave and that no one leaves- in fact, America is still the great magnet of immigration it has always been as Hirsi Ali does here the leftist will always shift the subject. Lewis counterattacks with a jocular but passive aggressive suggestion that she must have had to go to a special school to learn “these American clichés” as part of her application process”. This begs the question which Hirsi Ali asks this dope- "why don't you and your leftist friends go somewhere else?" Naturally, they'll never admit it but there IS no other place that they could tolerate and there is certainly very few that would tolerate them.

For the sake of accuracy I must point out that what I described in the last three sentences above did not occur as I first described it in that comment. What Hirsi Ali actually said was that she did not believe Lewis’ description of the plight of Muslim Americans was nearly as dire as Lewis described it to be. And she offered the opinion that if they were truly feeling under siege that they would do what other people all over the world have done when they have felt to be under siege, they would move away. She pointed out that there is no such population movement as this taking place and that there would not be. The first time through I had thought that I heard this exchange to include a challenge to Lewis on why he persists in living in a western country. I was mistaken. I believe that if she had made that challenge, the exchange would have gone much as I outlined it.

After seeing this post and responding to it in the comment stream I continued to reflect on this new insight into this essential similarity in tactics between the Islamists and the left. It was beginning to occur to me that there was something else, something deeper that I had not reached yet.

Meanwhile, for two days the comment trail on ShrinkWrapped’s post had been quite supportive- until someone with the screen name copithorne wrote a comment using a tactic out of the same family. Since I quote copithorne’s full comment in my reply I’ll let my reply speak for both…

A two sentence fisking:

copithorne says:

"Diatribes about "the left" in which no "leftist" appears -- no quotes, no policy positions -- are expressions of projection of a disowned shadow."

I say:

Leftists who don't bother to read a sincere analysis thoroughly enough to observe that it actually began with a live example of a leftist argument and then label such analysis as “diatribe” are intentionally projecting their own aggressive rejection of discourse on the conservative analyzer. It is not necessary (in informed and reasonable circles) to have exhaustive actual quotes of Hitler’s hate speech to know that he was a genocidal anti-Semite. It is not generally in question that Lenin and Stalin tried to institute a paradise of the workers by slaughtering, starving and persecuting them in their millions. Just so, if characterizations of the left hit their mark and sting to the degree that the only feasible defense seems to be a trivial
pettifogging by attacking the lack of “quotes” and “policy positions” it means that he has no real rebuttal for the characterizations themselves. It is a disingenuous trial lawyer’s trick to subvert meaningful point/counter point with meaningless "discovery” of inconsequential minutia. Note that he neither actually points to a faulty idea nor does he contradict anything ShrinkWrapped, Dr. Sanity, VDH or I say. If there is a disowned shadow in the neighborhood I say copithorne might do well to look and see if it’s connected to his own feet.

copithorne says:

This currently seems to be the total sum of contemporary conservative politics -- the appeal of having enemies on which a person can project material of which they are unable to be self-aware.

I say:

Who is projecting here? All I see is customary leftist rejection of all contradiction to his “ideas” on any technicality no matter how flimsy or arbitrary. It’s the pedant’s refuge, rejecting the student’s ideas and labor because they are beyond him with the
stinking hypocrisy that his footnotes are in the wrong format and his bibliography is not long enough.

So, up to this point, I have been concentrating on understanding how this method worked on a practical level. Now I had begun to see clearly that it was not just intentional blindness to (and twisting of) the the reality of the situation but, in fact, reflected the selective vision of splitting and dissociation. Assuming the unearned and undeserved position of moral, spiritual and intellectual superiority they are not open to dialog but insist on ignoring what we say and either “correcting our papers” or rejecting our thoughts and ideas on technicalities.

Then, on the blog Cuanas, I found another posting of the Lewis/Hirsi Ali interview with this comment posted by a fellow named Irfan Yusuf.

Irfan Yusuf said...

So let me get this right. This woman has little or no knowledge of the varieties of religion or communities she criticizes (apart from her own Somali upbringing).

She was caught by the Dutch telling lies to gain migration status. She told Ian Buruma that she committed "immigration fraud".

And now the Americans are lapping her up as some kind of long last(sp) daughter. Had she not been so anti-Muslim, you'd have tossed her in immigration detention yourself, if not in Guantanamo Bay (heck, her name is "Ali" and that's a common Ayrab (sp) terrorist name, isn't it?).

I can't wait to see how your evangelical conservatives behave when you realize (sp) she is pro-abortion and wants those teaching creation science to be thrown into prison.

What I see here is more like squirming to keep from seeing the truth. At a loss to prove Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrong or even mistaken about anything, Irfan does a crazy little Islamic tattletale dance (oooh, look she is a baaaad girl! Don’t talk to her! Don’t listen to her!) while at the same time accusing us of being blindly anti-Muslim. Here is the answer I posted:

Mr Yusf, exactly how much do you have to know about a bunch of communities in which the leaders and the apparent majority of the citizens consider anyone who worships a different God less human, practice honor killing, celebrate the killing of innocents in terror attacks and vow to make the entire earth into a Caliphate where everyone will be subject to the terror of Islamofascism in order to be qualified to criticize them? Something tells me that when her co-filmmaker and friend Theo Van Gogh was butchered in the streets for the film they made together and a threat against her was pinned to him with the murder weapon she earned the asylum of the United States of America.

If you think a technicality like a lie she told in order to insure her own escape from the hell of living under Islamic rule is going to persuade us to think less well of her you are even more blinded by your cultural disease than most of your compatriots. It’s pathetic that you write it as though we might think that it invalidates what she says and writes. Is that all you've got?

I should also have pointed out to Mr Yusuf that even if some of the more literal minded Christian evangelicals do not find her positions on abortion and evolution to be in agreement with theirs, they will issue no fatwas calling for her death, neither will they justify trying to treat her as a second-class citizen for it. Oh well, he wasn't really listening anyway...

I have been trying to pull this all together in my mind and, in the end, I keep remembering a short, pathetic little comment on ShrinkWrapped’s post that I had ignored as twaddle at first. The commentor’s screen name is Post Hole Digger, which I assume means he is a PhD in something.

Huh, here I thought that what I wanted was to see a world of peace and kindness,and to do toward others as I would want done toward me. I am now ashamed to admit, but I even thought that was actually a good thing. But now you explain that I'm really just insane. Instead of virtues, I have a grave psycho/emotional dysfunction. I just never realized.
This is not twaddle, it is the cry of a lost soul. Post Hole Digger is right, only his sarcasm is misplaced. Both Islamism and Leftism are attempts to see a world of peace and kindness. That is very nice to say but the unfortunate fact is that this is not a world of peace and kindness. There is no such world. This is a world that contains peace and kindness along with hatred, love, avarice, generosity, violence and cruelty. Both Leftism and Islamism are nothing more than ideologies that pretend to be able to control and rationalize the unfathomable complexity of life.

To anyone not enmeshed in their borderline systems the actual out come of their utopian schemes, proven out in the past, is obvious.

The Islamists would have their Caliphate where everyone and everything would submit to the will of Allah. That sounds OK until you ask who is interpreting Allah’s will for us. As it has turned out in the past, it has most often been the most bloodthirsty political infighter or conqueror capable of rising to the top of the Shari a system who has gotten to say what’s on Allah’s mind. The best that The Caliphate has been able to offer in the past has been the more moderate, slightly less megalomaniacal son or grandson of the deceased bloodthirsty political infighter or conqueror.

As for the poor, deluded lefties like PHD, they are destined to be frustrated by their efforts to help their fellow man. But for all their talk about equality, sharing, peace, love and understanding, if put to the test of leadership, they would, like all other leftist/socialists who have ascended to leadership (Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Hitler, Pol Pot, etc…) turn to violence, coercion and despotism out of their exasperated zeal to reform humanity against its wishes and nature. It is not insane to do toward others as one would want done toward one's self- that is a great moral principal- but it is insane to assume that others are on the same program and have the same vision of what is good.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Cultural Insanity - Part I - The Diagnosis

I’ve been quiet for a week and as you might know by now that means I’ve been working on something big Here is the First of a two part essay-

In a recent post on his own blog Richard Landes printed a letter he had received from someone who had heard him interviewed on the radio. The letter cited numerous “facts” that were obviously false and claimed to point to evidence that was clearly “cooked” and kneaded into a pungent soufflé of anti-Israel canards.

Landes, never one to miss a challenging “teaching moment”, wrote a lengthy reply. In the course of his reply, he addressed the superficial reasonableness of the letter writer’s arguments. He wrote:

“The important point here is not that your position isn’t “reasonable” — and as supported by evidence as mine. It’s a legitimate one. And under normal circumstances, we could agree to differ, just as Ptolomean and Copernican astronomers could differ without grave consequences in the 16th century. But don’t try to send a space ship beyond the solar system using Ptolomean calculations.”

It might seem that Landes goes a little too far in his charitable concession that his interlocutor’s point of view was “reasonable” and “just as supported by evidence” as his own, but Landes is following an honored and sadly neglected academic method, one that is designed not to merely support a point of view in a contest but rather to test it against alternatives and see which one is more successful at describing reality. So without looking any further than the narrow frame of reference in which the letter writer framed his point of view, they seemed just to present competing and equally valid ways of looking at the situation.

Landes’ then proceeded to widen the frame around the argument to show that, like the Ptolomean system, the narrow view taken by the radio listener does not work once you expand the frame to a wider and more comprehensive view of reality. The Copernican system is, of course, much more useful in space travel because it more closely approximates the real positions, relationships and movement of the heavenly bodies; and Landes’ view is much more robust and able to account for the reality of the conflict between Western Civilization and those who wish to rule the world with collectivist systems.

That point, elegantly stated, traces the stark fault line between the strangest sets of bedfellows the world has ever seen and the most successful civilization in history. The fatally conjoined, murderously quarrelsome twins of the Sunni and Shia Caliphate Cults and the liberal/socialist/communist/collectivist bastard children of The West (fascists all !) all have this in common, that they simply lack the ability to see the cultural frame of world events in any but the narrowest perspective. This is more than a willful blindness and it is not a product of stupidity of ignorance either. As I observe the smug, suicidal behavior of the progressive/socialist/liberal left and compare it with the belligerent, intolerance of the Caliphate Muslims seem to me to be in the grip of a similar kind of mental illness. They are all “collectivists” and there is something about people who believe in giving up one’s rights and prerogatives to a group of any kind that renders them unable to behave in a broader self-interest- even while they believe that they are doing the righteous thing. One way to explain this apparently inexplicable behavior is that it represents a cultural analog of a mental illness known as Borderline Personality Disorder.

I am not in favor of criminalizing or dehumanizing people because of their ideas and I believe that calling anyone that disagrees with you “insane” is an intolerant and unproductive tactic. I also Acknowledge that, just as it is dangerous and inexact to apply models of animal behavior to human beings, and that it is perhaps even more tricky to project individual psychology onto social and cultural groups Nevertheless, the parallels here are striking and, I believe, very instructive.

Wikipedia defines Borderline Personality Disorder this way:

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is defined as a mental illness primarily characterized by emotional dysregulation, extreme "black and white" thinking, or "splitting", and chaotic relationships. The general profile of the disorder also typically includes a pervasive instability in (1) mood, (2) interpersonal relationships, (3) self-image, (4) identity, and (5) behavior, as well as a disturbance in the individual's sense of self. In extreme cases, this disturbance in the sense of self can lead to periods of dissociation.[1]

Dissociation is the key. The leftist and the Islamist (infact collectivists of any stripe) are dissociated from their own very natures. They deny basic human truths in a defensive but doomed effort not to have to deal with issues that cause them tremendous anxiety.

Wikepedia continues:

“The disturbances suffered by those with borderline personality disorder have a wide-ranging and pervasive negative impact on many or all of the psychosocial facets of life, including employability and relationships in work, home, and social settings. Comorbidity is common; borderline personality disorder frequently occurring with substance use disorders and affective disorders. Suicidality and completed suicide are possible outcomes without proper care and effective therapy.”

Whether it is the abrupt and violent suicide culture of such diverse groups as al Qeada, Hamas and Hezbollah or the slow cultural/intellectual suicide of multiculturalism, it is compellingly apparent that the definition applies in both cases. Caliphate Islamism and Leftist liberalism both predispose their adherents to lose the ability to see the wider moral and ethical frame of the world around them.

This explains why, even though their idiosyncratic and xenophobic ideological systems are mutually contradictory, they don’t find it important to argue with each other. That’s because at the moment the contradictions amongst them are orthogonal - that is to say, in the presence of the dominant Western and American cultural and political influence, they really don’t interfere with each other. Their common disease makes them natural allies against that larger, more psychologically stable power structure that seems to them to humiliate and mock them by its very existence.

Of course, that alliance would evaporate the instant one of them ever got into a position of power. As soon as Islamists take over in an area, whether in Iraq, Waziristan or (most recently) in Gaza, they immediately behead, shoot, disembowel and torture anyone that represents moderation or reasonableness. The left, given the opportunity, in the USSR, China, Korea and Cambodia has always done the same. But while Western civilization is the common enemy, an Islamic Caliphateist who believes that women are inferior to men can accept (or at least ignore) the ranting of an anti-Israel socialist woman who believes that no human being is any more deserving than any other because she, as he does, finds it so much more important to deny the reality and moral superiority of Israel- a country whose founding principals are not orthogonal to but directly opposed to his. Indeed, the very existence of Israel is a challenge to his most basic beliefs and desires. She, on the other hand, remains blind to the plight of Muslim women and the lack of even the most rudimentary freedom of expression in the Muslim Caliphate because she has dissociated those things- split them off from her reality because they are intolerable for her and her illness has so weakened her that she cannot contemplate them.

Wikipedia provides this a list of diagnostic criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR). The presence of five out of nine of these is considered diagnostic of borderline personality.

Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment…
A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, promiscuous sex, eating disorders, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). [Again, not including suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5]
Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats, or self-mutilating behavior.
Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
Chronic feelings of emptiness.
Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).
Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.

I’ll admit at the outset that my definition of the progressive/socialist/liberal left is pretty broad and fuzzy around the edges. To try to define it down would be to miss the point. My point is that beyond a fairly narrow band close to the center of the political spectrum, the left has so swallowed the failed progressive agenda that they all suffer from the same cultural malaise. Here are the symptoms I see for the left:

1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment…
a. Objections to the Israeli Security fence and the Mexican border fence.
2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
a. The idealized view of Caliphate Islam as “freedom fighters” and “non-materialistic religious devotees while at the same time devaluing them with the “racism of lowered expectations” by not holding them to the same high standard in human rights, public discourse, child welfare and civil governance as expected of other people.
3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
a. Self-hatred:
i. Concentration on the “human rights record of Israel” while the Arab/Islamic, Chinese, Korean, Zimbabwean and Rssian records are orders of magnitude worse
ii. Public displays of disgust with America even though it is the greatest country and most finest democratic experiment in the history of mankind
4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, promiscuous sex, eating disorders, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). [Again, not including suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5]
a. Advocacy of sex-education that emphasizes techniques and birth control and derides abstinence and relationship counseling.
b. The introduction of legislation to control the content of food beyond basic safety standards. The move to outlaw trans-fats in some locals is symptomatic of food-faddism and group eating disorders.
5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats, or self-mutilating behavior.
a. Multiculturalism leads to the inability to discriminate between right and wrong and to protect the culture from death-cult attacks
b. Persistent belief that “War is Not the Answer” even when an enemy has sworn to destroy and rule over you.
6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
7. Chronic feelings of emptiness.
8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).
9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.
a. Conspiracy Theories (9/11 truth movement, Bushitler stole the election)
Well, there’s six, a diagnosis plus one. I’m sure there are a lot more- suggestions and additions are welcome …

Here’s my take on the symptoms of The Caliphate:

1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment…
a. Objections to the Israeli Security fence
2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
a. Humiliation and rage over everything The West is and does stems from the dissociation of the knowledge that their culture is actually inferior.
b. Honor killings
c. Rampant child and sexual abuse
4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, promiscuous sex, eating disorders, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). [Again, not including suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5]
5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats, or self-mutilating behavior.
a. Suicide martyrdom raised to a cultural ideal
6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
a. The “Arab Street” in general
7. Chronic feelings of emptiness.
8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).
a. The two Intifadas
b. The Cartoon-ifada
c. The Pope-ifada
d. The Paris street riots

9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.
a. Jew Hatred
b. Dhimmi laws
c. Conspiracy theories (9/11 was an Israeli plot, etc)
There’s six there too. It’s only six because of time restraints- suggestions and additions welcome here too.

Let me make it clear, I’m not a psychiatrist or psychotherapist so I don’t know what the prognosis is for individuals with this disorder or what price their family members and neighbors pay for their proximity to them. I do have a degree in anthropology, however, and I am able to see into the cultural scale of the problem. It is not hopeless but is is frightening.

Loren Eiseley who was a great anthropologist and paleontologist of the old school, knew the pathology of culture well. In his great essay The Star Thrower he wrote, “Man would kill for shadowy ideas more ferociously than other creatures kill for food, then, in a generation or less, forget what bloody dream had so oppressed him.” That is culture on a rampage. My next post will focus on the hope for recovery and reconciliation.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Liberals Don't Commit Crimes- They Just Make Crimes Out of Everything Not Liberal

Several weeks ago a new friend (a fellow blogger! ) wrote to me to say that she liked my blog and that she had a Beast Story of her own. She gave me a precise of that story and I could see that although there was clearly something of a beastly nature there, it was not clear to me that it really fit in with the kinds of stories I was looking for for Breath of the Beast. I read it several times and finally decided that the smell of the beast was strong on her story that I had to follow up on it. I wrote back to Nancy and asked her to give me more- to flesh-out the story so that I had something more to go on.
I am finding out that it is a peculiarity of Beast Encounters that often we don’t recognize them right away- sometimes its only as we recall them years later, that we see how the impression left by them fits the footprint of the beast. The art of Beast Tracking- something I am learning to do as I go along- requires attention to detail, sensitivity and, above all, memory.

Nancy’s story comes out of our public school system. The educational system is a favorite lair for the beast. As I have already pointed out, there are dimly lit recesses in our schools where in the dim light of “progressive” moral relativism, liberal sentiments intermingle and breed with leftist ideologies. The result is not always as obvious as in the case of “Lego Town” and the dangers are not as transparent as collectivist prejudice and propaganda. There are, to be sure, pestholes where our children are indoctrinated and defiled with cultural poisons that threaten to leave us susceptible to the terror and virulence of the Caliphate. But even more insidious and destructive is the way in which good, moral people like Nancy Coppock are weeded out of the teaching profession to make room for ever more compliant and “progressive” teachers.

Here is Nancy’s story:

My Beast Story
Nancy Coppock

My own brush with the Beast came back in the spring semester of 1991. I was a humble middle school remedial reading teacher in a small Texas town outside this major university town. I was a good teacher, an achieving teacher, as the California Achievement Test scores proved. I had taught at this school for 8 years with incredible results, improving reading scores every year. I was friendly with teachers and staff and exhibited a positive work ethic.

I tell you this to let you know that I took my job very seriously because to me, the best thing I could do for mid- to below-average students, many minority and poor, was to make sure they could read to the best of their ability. I believed that a lack of historical context made it difficult for my students to achieve in social studies, state history, and American history classes. I used young adult literature to match these classes with biographies or historical fiction, and filled in with just fun books that were at my student’s intellectual level rather than reading level. My teaching style was to be positive, caring, charitable discipline-wise, and to create an aura of the fantastic world of learning.

During this year, I was given a small special education class. The students' classifications were different from my regular remedial readers. Due to several factors, this class dwindled to only one student. This student was very intelligent but his emotional problems had severely stunted his education. By 8th grade this was becoming extremely apparent, as he was being mainstreamed into regular classes. When a special education student is mainstreamed into a regular classroom, his records are private and the other parents are not made aware of these things.

I was a very empathic person as a child, because at the age of 12, my youngest sister was born with a form of retardation. Therefore, I grew up in a family where "normal" was more a setting on the dishwasher. Having grown up loving and accepting people as they were, I immediately was able to see this young man as an individual. He could be cunning to the point of scariness, but his sense of justice could be pointed in the right direction if done with honesty and fairness. The principal noticed this when I was able to shame the young man into accepting just discipline. He had committed the particular offense, and was trying to blur the situation with extraneous information but he knew that I knew the truth.

The student respected me almost instantly for this quality. The principal was amazed. So, when I informed the principal that my class had dwindled to this one student--which to me was completely cost ineffective--the principal put his arm on my shoulder and told me, "We see you have a way with Duane. Maybe this is a time for him." When I countered that I was not a counselor, he said, “We all have to be counselors sometimes.” These were his exact words.

So, Duane and I began. Besides reading, we also worked on assignments from his English teacher. Soon, he began to ask me questions like "Why don 't you have children, Mrs. C.? You would love one so much." Straightforwardly I answered, "We don't always get everything we want and besides if I did have my own kids, I might be so filled up and preoccupied that I paid no attention to you. Now get back to work." I knew that He harbored deep anger and could hold a grudge for a perceived fault forever, but that if gently prodded in the right direction, he could be a complete lamb. With me he found a safe harbor and answers to the imponderables of life that he could trust.

Once, I used an event from his past to try to point him in the right direction. I said, “I heard something about you from kindergarten. I heard that when Mrs. Duane tried to give you a paddling for being bad, that you took the paddle out of her hand and started hitting her with it! What on earth where you thinking?” He was a great big young man and he just laughed and laughed. “I don’t know what I was thinking. That was sure a dumb thing to do. That was so wrong.”

One day he came into the classroom and pulled down my maps saying he was just looking for an island, somewhere he could go to get away from everybody and just live. It was incredibly sad. I used the situation to teach a lesson on maps and the globe.

Later, such talk was to be used against me, but I thought it important for Duane to be treated like a valid person who had questions about the realities of life, which it seemed like his emotional disturbance was preventing him from learning. Here I was, a teacher committed to creating the aura of learning being the most exciting endeavor in life, and it was like Annie Sullivan banging away at Helen Keller: W-A-T-E-R. I had been told I had a way this young man. I had been told that we all have to be counselors sometimes. I had only one student for this class and I struggled to balance his necessary schoolwork with trying to educate him about life's realities and to give him confidence that he could control his emotions to accept these realities.

It was emotionally draining for me. After that class I still had 2 other classes to teach with the last class being predominately 8th grade boys who had reached their saturation point of listening, learning, and sitting still. It was a grueling schedule but I was not a complainer.

Unbeknownst to me, my student began to tell several other teachers that I was just too nice and somebody was going to hurt me. I was completely unaware of this development.

One Friday a few weeks before Spring Break, I was in the portable classroom next to mine visiting with the other remedial reading teacher. We tried to stay generally in the same chapter of the books we taught and we discussed our lesson plans and such. The student was quiet and puttering around the room, as kids will. Suddenly he plunged a sharp pair of scissors downward toward my face. He stopped himself just short of contact and I could see the sharp point just inches from the point between my eyes. We stood as if locked together; the class bell rang and he lowered the scissors and quietly put them away.

I was taken completely unawares. If he had wanted to hurt me, it would have been over, as I didn't even have time to raise my arm in defense. I closed my eyes and prayed for God to meet me. It was surreal and my mind wasn't blank, but it wasn’t processing this reality. I just went on as if nothing had happened and automatically knew I needed to greet my next class at the door. I finished the day and it was as if the event had been erased from my mind. The other teacher didn’t ask me about the event. As I made my commute home, my mind began to recollect that something happened. Something weird. When I got home I called the other teacher and asked her if it had really happened.

I then called the principal. My first concern was for the student. I wanted to make sure that he understood what he was being punished for. This was so paramount that I made a foolish statement: I said that I didn’t want Duane punished because there was an undercurrent of animosity between he and the principal.

I just wanted Duane to know that he could not ever do such a thing again. That I got his message loud and clear. That I was teaching a rowdy bunch of boys who were all in some sort of juvenile parole program, in a portable building, detached from the world. And, the ultimate reality check was that a student doesn’t have to bring a weapon from home. The danger is in the intent of the mind. A person intent upon doing evil can use, as a weapon, any of the things I thought of only as tools: a pencil or pen, scissors, compass points, a broken piece from a desk… If someone wants to do evil, the intent is first in his mind. As clearly as I had learned my lesson, I wanted him to learn this lesson because otherwise he would be forever lost.

It was then I learned that a taxpayer paid private psychologist, whom I had never seen or heard of, worked with him once a week. The doctor invited me to attend a session with Duane to discuss the event. The session was very stilted and contrived. In fact, Duane just got up and left the room for 15-20 minutes. I don’t know where he went. The doctor just sat there and asked no questions of me and when I asked where Duane went, the doctor said he often left during sessions. Several days later, the doctor brought him by my room and he apologized. It was all stilted and contrived. There was no real honesty, nor were we allowed to talk to each other. We were told to stay away from each other and we did and it just broke my heart to see him buzzing around the hallway when I was on morning duty. It was as if he wanted me to know he was sorry and that he was worried about me, but we couldn’t just talk to each other.

One morning, I had heard through the grapevine that Duane had come into the office and demanded to be punished. What he got was the arm on the shoulder telling him to be a good’ol boy and everything was going to be all right. To me, that demand was a plea for help, for absolution. He needed punishment to get beyond this event. We needed to talk to each other, the way we had been. The fact that we weren't allowed to talk to each other was a sort of stigma that maybe we had been doing something improper and this was the reason –– had done what he had done. This was the undercurrent I was getting from other teachers. That this would have never happened to them, because they knew better than I. Which leads quickly to the notion that I got what I deserved.

I happened to see the doctor in the hall the day of the demand for punishment and asked if I could attend another session. When asked why, I told about the plea for punishment and that I felt like he needed some sort of absolution. Well, that conversation ended abruptly. I was told it would be *inappropriate *for me to attend another session and was sent on my way. Evidently, the doctor went straight to the school counselor, who then typed up a memo listing the reasons why I should be sent home from school because I was dangerous to Duane.

Things like not wanting to punish Duane but now wanting him punished, being fearful of going to the portable building that my class was in, crying, and even not eating in the teacher’s lounge... I was going over to the cafeteria because I didn’t bring a lunch. Everything was listed as reasons that I was the danger not only to Duane, but to the entire campus. Also noted was that they wanted to talk my husband into having me committed to the hospital for which the doctor worked. At the end of the day, I was asked to go over to the superintendent’s office to discuss something. I was informed that I was to not return to work until a psychiatrist had examined me and found me suitable for work. The superintendent either through mistake or on purpose handed me a sheaf of papers with the bottom page being the incriminating memo.

The odd thing is that while everyone knew about the event, no one talked about it openly. No one ever asked me what I thought about the situation. No one asked me how I was doing. The one voice of encouragement was a quickly whispered, “We think you are getting a bad deal” as we passed in a crowded hallway. It was like the elephant in the room that went unmentioned. I could walk into a room and it was like turning on a light in a kitchen full of roaches. I was totally alienated. The event was simply not discussed. I couldn’t bring it up. Duane and I were not to talk to each other. It was a surreal situation. I couldn’t believe I was being treated this way. If people think you are crazy, then everything you do is seen through that prism. I was no longer one of the people I had taught with and worked with for years, I was different. I was a reminder of what could happen to them all. And even more horrifying, Duane, unbalanced as could be, was sitting next to everyday parents'--your--children, and the parents didn’t have a right to know! Unbelievable. And I was the one everyone needed protection from.

I received my walking papers from the superintendent with promises that if I did as they requested, we could all sit down and talk. So, I found myself sitting in front of a computer where some metro-sexual psychologist had set me up to take this “test”. He left me in the little closet and I began. Finally, the questions got into things that were I to have talked about in the class room, I would have been in trouble. Things like, did I believe Jesus walked on water? Did I believe Jesus turned the water to wine? “Oh my God,” I thought and just laid my head on the desk, thinking, “Here I am because they do not want to hear what I think, under the threat of having someone else commit me to a mental hospital and thereby losing my right of autonomy, and now they are asking me the most personal questions about my faith. What if it's all a trick? The doctor overseeing the test gave me the creeps, so I didn't trust him at all. "Oh, God,” I prayed, “Just tell me what to say so I can get out of here a free woman.” So, that’s the way I answered those questions. I just wanted to be able to leave the office, get in my car and drive to my house and lock the door.

That was the event that ended a stellar teaching career. The metro-sexual doctor didn’t stamp me approved or disapproved. Instead I was stamped on the forehead with a big question mark. I was tainted. I cared what people thought. The meeting the superintendent promised never happened. When I told my principal that I didn’t think I was being treated fairly, I received a blistering dressing down in front of the secretary: "Well that’s your opinion." I closed my mouth and finished the year, including having Duane as my student. On the last day of school, Duane cried like a big baby, wondering what he was going to do without me. That I was the only one that understood him. I told him that if his head was spinning and he picked up a weapon he was messing up and to please never forget this lesson. He was in anguish because he knew I had been punished for what he had done. I encouraged him to go, fly, live a good life, be free.

At our last teacher meeting, we heard a “sermon” about how a wayward student had come back to his hometown and had apologized at the church for having been a problem in his earlier years. We were told how we never knew how what we say to our students is going to take root and finally sink in and change a life for the better. I wanted to tell them all that while that may be true, if something strange happens while you are going that extra mile, brothers and sisters, you are on your own. But I said nothing, just laid my throbbing forehead on the cool Formica of my desk. My only victory was that they didn’t make me cry. I was beaten and crushed in every way but in my mind. My trust for my fellow man was zero. My fear of rowdy 8th grade boys was growing exponentially. I had endured a great loss that I could not discuss with anyone because I could see the disbelief in their eyes and know that my story to them was a complete fabrication. I had a life with a dark spot upon it that could never be adequately explained without the hearer's suspended disbelief allowing a kernel of truth to settle in and change their entire perspective of the goodness of humanity and the state of affairs in our public schools. Such are the marks I bear from the beast.

On the last teacher workday, I had a letter to the editor published in the weekly small town paper. I didn't say anything about the event, only alluded to a problem. I told who I was, what I had done for the district, and that promises had been made and not kept. I wrote that this was not out of concern for myself, but for fellow teachers and students. That day, I was extremely weary. I had finished the year and held my head up through every sort of humiliation. A group of teachers came to the door of my classroom and asked me to step outside. This was to be the final humiliation as they berated me for my letter. "We don't appreciate what you have done..." They did not make me cry. I maintained my dignity and said that I was sorry they felt that way. We were all supposed to meet in the school library for a luncheon, a final meeting, and then dismissed for summer. When the teachers left, I told the other remedial reading teacher that was still in her room and not a part of the final lynch mob, that I was going home. And so I left and no one has contacted me since.

Over the years I have learned that the Superintendent, the counselor, and the curriculum director all moved to other districts that summer. I don't know if there is any connection. These are just interesting facts.

A few years ago, there was a robbery involving a victim being shot in the leg, a high-speed chase where the robber pulled over his car and shot at the pursuing police. It was Duane. I went to the sentencing and introduced myself. When I told him I had never stopped caring about what was going to happen to him, this grown up criminal teared up and almost started crying. I urged him to think about Jesus because He could heal all his hurts. Then the officers led him away.

All said, this entire story was just a giant bonfire of humanity. The rest of them upon hearing of his arrest probably shook their heads, saying "We did all we could for that boy, but we knew this was where he was heading." I haven't found my happy ending. I pray for the restoration like the Biblical Job,. Instead, I receive small tender mercies to get me through the day, like daily manna in the wilderness. I'm still a thought-criminal struggling to make a living and just trying to live a normal life after being crushed to point of emotional death and he's a felon who will be contained in a prison cell for every second of his 75 year sentence. The beast always enjoys a good human bonfire.

So, it's not about Caliphate Islame but when I got to this paragraph, I knew why I had been so drawn to Nancy Coppock and her story- Here is the "Other Head" of The Beast:

“ One morning, I had heard through the grapevine that --- had come into the office and demanded to be punished. What he got was the arm on the shoulder telling him to be a good’ol boy and everything was going to be all right. To me, that demand was a plea for help, for absolution. He needed punishment to get beyond this event. We needed to talk to each other, the way we had been. The fact that we weren't allowed to talk to each other was a sort of stigma that maybe we had been doing something improper and this was the reason –– had done what he had done. This was the undercurrent I was getting from other teachers. That this would have never happened to them, because they knew better than I. Which leads quickly to the notion that I got what I deserved.”

There is was, the same liberal prejudice that mutated into Lego Town was at work denying this young man what he needed most, the knowledge that he would be held responsible for his deeds; Being rewarded with the knowledge that, even though he would suffer for it, some one had better expectations of him.

You can just imagine the mewling, fawning intellectual rationalizations, “We are here to educate – not to punish” or “If we treat this as a serious thing, we will have to call in the police and we will lose control of the situation.” That kind, liberal, conflict averse principal might as well have driven Duane to the state penitentiary that very day- he would, at least, have saved Duane’s victim a bullet in the leg.

He, of course, also condemned Nancy Coppock to losing her profession at the same time.

I finish reading this story with a deep sense of tragedy. There are two tragedies really, there is it the solitary, neglected life of Duane- a result of both his shattered home life that isolated him and the system that “protected” him from the kind of help he needed the most. And there is the tragedy of Nancy Coppock who, because of her innate sense of what is right and moral ran afoul of the liberal, secular humanist, moral relativism that turns what is best and strongest about us into something untouchable.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Two First Encounters- The Hatred of Women

Here is a matched set of “First Encounter” stories. Sometimes you have to be able to see just below the surface of things in order find the beast. I have been fascinated with discovering unseen monsters all my life. It may have started with a thing I fell in love with as a boy and I still do today. On calm, sunny days I will seek out the nearest river or lake. Usually the surface of natural bodies of water seem to be opaque, a safe hiding place for the cold, predatory world of fish, amphibia and reptiles that live there. It is possible to pierce that barrier and discover a world of both beauty and terror that you could only imagine otherwise. If you move around a little and get at the right angle to the sun, the surface of the water looses its glare and you can see right through the surface and, if the conditions are right, all the way to the bottom. Then all you have to do is wait and watch. If the surface isn’t rippled by too much wind and the water has to be clear enough you will have a window into a place you never knew existed.

I started Breath of the Beast with my own “beast story” . I hoped that I would get a lot more stories from people all over the world. The outpouring of stories I had hoped for did not come so I have continued to tell the stories about the beast however they come to me. I have found others myself (e.g. Chesler, Erica Sherman) and posted them here and I have reported on other instances where I have observed The Beast rear its head in my life and in the affairs of others.

Until very recently, though, I have not had any submitted to me that I have felt were usable by themselves for the blog. Back in March, for example, I received a very frank and interesting email from a man named Mark Nelson. His story was, I thought memorable and important but not so unassailable that it could stand on its own as a full post.

I wrote Mr. Nelson that I would use his story, but not right away. I had no idea at the time that it would take me three more months to find the right context in which to retell his story. It was not until this past week that another reader gave me that context in the form of the perfect companion story. These two stories, one from a young man on the east coast and one from an older man on the west coast, complete each other in much the same way that finding a clear pond on a windless, sunny day completes the conditions required to observe an other wise unseen world.

Here is Mark’s story:

Sir -
I found your blog very interesting and revealing of things we'd prefer to ignore.

My first brush with the Beast took place in 1983 while I was going to grad school at the U of Colorado. We had a few Middle Eastern students in the program, most of them Iranians it seemed. But one guy I remember spending some time with was a Saudi named Adnan. He appeared to be thoroughly Westernized - he chased coeds, he drank. I even have photos in my album of him downing a beer in a friend's backyard. He was in tune enough to know that most of the American students called the Middle Easterns "CJ's", for "camel jockeys". I found out that his was just an act, that when he went back to SA - he was a minor relative of the royal family - he was a devout Wahabbi. He even had a bride he was destined to marry back in Arabia.

But, the encounter with the Beast occurred one day when I was downtown in Boulder, strolling with my fiancée down the outdoor mall. We came upon Adnan and some unknown (to me) Arabian friend. I introduced my fiancée to Adnan, and he was very effusive, shaking hands and chatting merrily. He, in turn, introduced us to his comrade, saying that this was his cousin. This "cousin" had glared at us from the moment we encountered the two guys. He said nothing, never shaking hands or anything. When we went our separate ways, my fiancée related how she had never encountered such fierce,
unspoken hatred.

The look this guy gave - mostly to her - was one of supreme loathing. We never have forgotten this Arab.

Since then I have had closer encounters with the Moslem world - Desert Shield/Storm - and these have confirmed what you know to be true. Keep up the good writing.

Mark Nelson

Perhaps you see my problem with this story as a self-sufficient avatar of the beast. “Well,” one might say, “maybe the cousin was having a bad day.” Or Maybe Mark and his fiancée were hypersensitive to cultural differences in greeting behavior. Without a dire and explicit threat such as the one to my daughter in my story or the visceral shock that Erica had when she saw her beast in the newspaper or the hard experience of Phyllis Chesler in Afghanistan, his subjective impression of that brief encounter might be called into question.

So until now I have kept Mark Nelson’s email message because I felt its strength and authenticity but I couldn’t bring myself to run it as a post because I felt unsure of its ability to shock and persuade.

What has changed now is that I have received another email of a beast encounter that reminds me of Mr. Nelson’s story. I think the combination of two is very dramatic and instructive.

Here is James Glendenning’s story:

Dear Sir,
I'm new to your blog. Came via Shrinkwrapped, which I frequent.

One of the things that has confounded me since 9/11 has been the seeming inability of the MSM to show outrage at the cruelty and barbarism of the Islamists. They are capable of massive outrage at every mistake, misstep, or act of cruelty by our side.

You asked readers to write, describing encounters with the beast. I believe I have had one.

My wife and I are in our seventies, retired and, like most old people, wouldn't harm a fly. We are also open and friendly toward others. We have traveled in Europe, Africa, and Asia where we found that a ready smile and kind word are usually returned.

We do our weekly grocery shopping on Mondays at Safeway in Burlington, Washington. It was around noon when we entered the store and we decided to get a bite of lunch in the deli that has delicious salads, roast chicken, basmati rice, and other tasty food.

There were two men of Middle Eastern descent eating at one of the tables. As my wife and I sat down at a table near them I looked at them and smiled. They both glared at me with looks of such hatred it almost took my breath away. As we ate I could not keep myself from glancing at these two. They seemed intensely angry as they glared at us and other people who passed by. They muttered back and forth in a furtive manner, as if they had secrets.

My wife wrote a note on a napkin. "I'm not leaving this store until those two are gone!" She had noticed them and their aura of barely contained rage as well. She was afraid they might follow us out of the store with violence on their minds.

Finally, they finished their meal and with angry, hostile looks around, swaggered out of the store.

These men may not have been Islamic terrorists. However, everything about them spoke to me of the term, "Dead men walking." A term which I had heard Islamic jihadis in the Balkans referred to. Whenever I think about who we are up against in this war, I think about those two men. They seemed angry at the world and the cold, deadness behind their eyes seemed to say, "I'm already dead and I'd like to take you with me."

That encounter happened over 4 years ago and we can't get it out of our minds. Possibly just the fantasies of two over-sensitive old people. One thing is for certain, whoever those men were they were intensely angry and hostile to normal society.

Jim Glendenning

Here is a post with the same apparent vulnerabilities as Mark Nelson’s, and yet as soon as I read this one, I knew that the two of them made a complete post.

Mr. Glendenning, with a generosity of spirit characteristic of Americans, Israelis and The West in general, offers the sentence, “Possibly just the fantasies of two over-sensitive old people.” as a way of cushioning his criticism of those young men. He is willing to offer to deny or correct his own eyes, heart and mind if someone will step forward and prove to him that his own experience was mistaken or misguided. Then, in the next sentence, he affirms his judgment, “One thing is for certain, whoever those men were they were intensely angry and hostile to normal society.”

So Mr. Glendenning is confronted with the same dilemma that Mr. Nelson was, “Why do they hate us?”. They are taken by surprise. In their own context and on a much a less lethal level they experienced the awakening that we all had thrust upon us on 9/11. They got a glimpse through the surface of the water and saw the flash of a predatory beast as it swam by.

With those two conjoined sentences Mr. Glendenning has made his something more than a run-of-the-mill “First Encounter with the Beast” story. He has demonstrated the two critical differences between Western Civilization and the Caliphate.

The first big difference is that for most of us in The West, we can look at both side of almost any issue and, if not agree with both; at least consider them on their merits. This is the hallmark of free societies. In both of these cases the writer had encountered clear and open hostility. It might have been non-violent but the aggression and hatred that they observed can’t be questioned. Their initial reactions were a mixture of shock and self-doubt. Self-doubt has a very important role in the openness of Western Civilization. It can, as I have pointed out many times, be carried too far and become paralyzing but it is also a critical difference that makes Western Countries better places to live in than Islamic ones. As Dr. Sanity has written http://drsanity.blogspot.com/2005/08/shame-arab-psyche-and-islam.html, “As long as an individual is capable of self-doubt and self-reflection about his behavior; he is able to remain open-minded and willing to search for a better understanding of himself and others.”

The remarkable thing about both Glendenning and Nelson is that they had the intelligence and the courage to make sure that they were sure that they trusted their first reactions and then draw their conclusions without resort to either xenophobic or supine, self-flagellating liberal self-blame. When Glendenning writes, “One thing is for certain, whoever those men were they were intensely angry and hostile to normal society.” And Nelson writes “The look this guy gave - mostly to her - was one of supreme loathing. We never have forgotten this Arab.” They are both standing up for what they believe with moderate but determined voices, voices we should all listen to carefully.

The most important commonality between these two stories, though, is one that it is exceedingly easy for a westerner to miss. It lies below the surface of the social and cultural interaction that we consider “public”. To understand what we are seeing, it requires ththe knowledge that we are looking through that surface into another world, a world where beasts we never imagined swim. Nelson hits on it in that sentence that I have just quoted above. He wrote, “The look this guy gave - mostly to her (speaking of his fiancée) - was one of supreme loathing.” It is very significant that both Mr Glendenning and Mr Nelson experienced their moments of revelation in the presence of their female companions.

Nelson and Glendenning, as most of us in The West, are cannot imagine the atavistic darkness and perverted symbolic power of the emotions that surround women in Caliphate Islam. It is impossible to underestimate the magnifying effect that sexual politics has on the virulence of the response of the Islamic world to The West. Western women- equal, free and collegial with their men threaten the very core of the Caliphate male’s identity. David Gutman, in an article in Front Page Magazine, wrote this about they way in which the behavior and comportment of women are the tipping point of all of the accumulated shame and rage that builds up in an Honor/Shame culture:
“Arab women are elected for the special role of the inferior who, by definition, lacks honor. Arab men eradicate shame and bolster their shaky self-esteem by imposing the shameful qualities of the dhimmi, submission and passivity, upon women. Trailing a humbled woman behind them, Arab men can walk the walk of the true macho man.” Saving Arabs From Themselves By David Gutmann
FrontPageMagazine.com | August 12, 2005

This post at Richard Landes’ Augean Stables cites a very telling line from Mahmoud Darwish the Palestinian poet. This little quote conveys precisely, the madness into which contemplating western women can lead an Islamist male. He is telling the story of the result of an encounter between an female Israeli soldier and an Islamist man.

“He wore a mask, took courage, and murdered his mother, because she was an easy prey for him, and because a woman soldier stopped him and exposed her breasts to him, saying: ‘Does your mother have such as these?’”

I have made the point before that Muslims are not humiliated by the west, they insist on being humiliated by their inability to survive in the presence of the west. This little vignette of madness proves that point. The Islamist male paragon is treated to a gander at a pair of breasts. Although we are spared the purple descriptive language, we are left to surmise that he finds them attractive. His reaction is to kill his own mother. We ask, is this because the woman soldier in this fantasy of his mentioned his mother? Is it because the Oedipal implications of the question makes him realize that the source of his madness and impotence is his old and twisted relationship with his mother? Or is it that his imagining of the Soldier’s breasts exerted a power over him that he could not bear to admit.

Richard Landes writes, “in the pathological state of Palestinian/Arab honor right now, the men kill their daughters and sisters for being raped, but not the rapist — because the girl, even as she is family, cannot fight back, whereas the rapist can.”

As Richard points out, the encounter with the breasts of the Israeli Soldier is undoubtedly apocryphal. The form Darwish gives it is very illuminating, though, and it sheds a very sharply focused light that penetrates the surface of our two beast stories. The very existence of female Israeli soldiers is a cataclysmic loss of face for Caliphate Muslims. Not only are women supposed to be inferior in the Caliphate, Jews and other infidels are less than inferior. So what is a poor Caliphatist to do when he is fascinated to the point of having daydreams about strong independent women who he shouldn’t even be considering to be human beings? How does it make him feel when he meets an engaged couple, like Mark Nelson and his future wife, who are planning a life together and the husband attempts to introduce her and she puts her hand out to shake his. Or how about sitting in a restaurant and seeing a couple the same age as your parents- only instead of your mother following ten paces behind your father and living in fear of being beaten for slight or imaginary offences, this motherly woman is walking arm and arm with the gentlemanly husband and they are enjoying life together with mutual caring and respect.

I will go a step further than Landes, and add another dimension to his statement. The Islamic woman is not beaten and/or killed by her sons, brothers, fathers, uncles, enthusiastically helpful neighbors (see my last two posts) and husbands only because she is too weak to fight back, she is beaten and killed and made to live underneath the shameful shroud of the burqah because she represents everything that Islamic men will never enjoy out of life because they are trapped by their honor and their shame.

This is why Islam needs a Caliphate to control and censure every aspect of human existence. This is why Islamic men put on masks and commit atrocities in their own houses and around the world. This is why they hate us. When they look through the surface of the water at us they see, with utter clarity, the humiliation to which they insist upon subjecting themselves every day.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Special- Let's Make This Fourth of July a Thankful One

"[Mariners] have written one of its most brilliant chapters. They have delivered the goods when and where needed in every theater of operations and across every ocean in the biggest, the most difficult and dangerous job ever undertaken. As time goes on, there will be greater public understanding of our merchant's fleet record during this war [World War II]."
President Franklin D. Roosevelt

This is a personal July fourth message about some of the greatest heroes of World War II a group that includes my father Moshe Mendel ben David. My dad spent much of the war as a sitting duck, operating a radio in a little metal box perched atop a liberty ship filled to the gunwales with some of the most dangerous cargoes ever carried by seagoing transport. In fact the Merchant Marine as a service, sustained the highest mortality rate of all services in World War Two. One trip it was high octane aviation fuel the next it was munitions. He sailed in convoy through the Mediterranean, the North Sea and the vast Pacific never knowing what enemy submarine or dive-bomber was stalking his ship. Other than infantrymen and bomber pilots, this was the most hazardous duty in the war.

When he got back, he was not accorded any of the veterans’ benefits that the other branches of the armed forces enjoyed. Had President Roosevelt lived, it might have been different. He (see above) had an appreciation for the sacrifices and contribution of the Merchant Marine. He was even on record as predicting that there would be a greater recognition. Roosevelt passed away before the end of the war however and it was not until a few years ago that the surviving Mariners were finally accorded veteran status.

My dad, as most of his comrades, never complained- he didn’t really talk about it at all. Now, to attempt a redress of the terrible neglect of this group of heroes, a bill has been introduced into congress to give a token Thank You to those hearty survivors of the Merchant Mariners of World War II. My dad is ninety-one years old and most of his fellow WWII Mariners are over eighty. I’d like to urge everyone who reads this post to please visit the web page of the sponsors of the bill. On it you will find a state by state guide to the congress and how they are lining up on this bill. If your congressional representative is not a sponsor of this bill please, for the sake of justice and the conscience of the nation, urge them to join the supporters on the bill.