Thursday, September 30, 2010

Further on the Belgian Tervuren Investigation

Sandi Weldon has left a new comment on your post "RE: A Belgian Tervuren Investigation.":
Sandi: I guess my point to you was that while no breed of Belgian Tervuren can tell you that they don't have epilepsy in their lines, we can all help each other by being open about the problems we have produced. No breeder who has been breeding almost any breed of dog for some time can tell you that their lines are free of problems. It just doesn't work that way. So you need to look for a breeder who is open about what they have produced in the past, and what they know about the dogs in the pedigree of their current puppies. This breeder is being truthful, while the one who will tell you they have no problems is not.
I also don't know where you got the number 30% tervs suffering from epilepsy. Health surveys undertaken by the National Club show the numbers to be around 17-20%, which is still a very high number. I don't know of any reputable US breeders in the current times who are having 20% epilepsy show up in their puppies. I think we have made progress by being open with each other about this and other health issues.
Nope, you wouldn't buy a puppy from me, because I won't tell you that my lines are clear of health problems. And, I won't sell you one because I have yet to produce the perfect dog. So, we're in good shape then, aren't we?
You may well say that this message doesn't address your point either. My point to you is that you can stop looking for a line of Belgian Tervuren that is clear of any health issues, because there is no such thing, in this or in any other breed. It seems to me you would be well served by doing your research and finding a reputable breeder who will help you make an informed decision.
Lawrence: Anyone reading this note needs to realize that I was considering the Tervuren back in 10-09. After that investigation I decided to eliminate the Tervuren from the list of the breeds I was considering because I was not willing to risk getting a dog with epilepsy. Sandi Weldon wrote me a note in 2-10 in response to my 10-09 note (not too different from her above note) and I responded to her in the note referenced above. Her second note is as you see above, but there is roughly one year between the time I did the investigation and the present. I am not doing any current thinking about the Tervuren.

Nevertheless some of her comments are provocative. As to where I got the 30% figure, I don't recall what I was referring to a year ago, but I found the following this evening: "Epilepsy is present in the Belgian.  It is estimated that anywhere from 6% - 30% of Tervuren are affected.  It is in practically every dogs pedigree out there.  Conscientious breeders will not breed from affected animals (those that themselves seizure) but may judiciously use non-seizuring relatives in their breeding program.  If someone tells you their lines are seizure free, be suspicious...if there were such an animal, breeders would be lined up for miles to breed to those lines!  Sadly, the mode of inheritance of epilepsy is as of yet, unknown.  However, studies are underway to identify the DNA of affected and carrier animals, we hope that a marker test will become available within the next year or two.  Then, in time, it may indeed become possible to have dogs that are epilepsy free."

I also saw the figure 21% in a couple of places: http://www.k9web.com/dog-faqs/medical/epilepsy.html is one of them. This abstract surveyed 938 dogs, 738 of which had no seizures. That comprises a seizure rate of 21 % .

As to Sandi's warning to stop looking at the Tervuren; I gave up on the Tervuren back in October 2009.

The breeds on my current list are the Rhodesian Ridgeback because I am very familiar with the genetic problems in this breed and unlike the Tervuren, Ridgeback breeders can breed around the more serious problems.

The Beauceron is on my list. This is a European working breed which seems not to have been corrupted by the AKC world quite yet. There is a breeder near me who seems to emphasize defensive dogs. She also breeds the Belgian Malinois and runs a K-9 training course. The Malinois wouldn't suit me but the Beauceron might.

The Airedale is on my list because I've located a breeder who breeds "working Airedales." He isn't at all concerned about showing his dogs. He has been breeding them for a long time and claims to produce healthy dogs.

The Irish Terrier is on my list. This isn't a popular breed, but seems to be pretty healthy.

There are breeders of all of the above breeds fairly close to me; so when the time comes I'll check them out more carefully -- although I've already checked out the Irish Terrier breeders. The downside of that breed is its pugnaciousness around other dogs.

Also, my wife decided she wanted a lap dog and after much discussion and negotiation she opted for a Schnoodle; which is 1/2 miniature Schnauzer and 1/2 Miniature Poodle. The breeder is in Gilbert Arizona and has been breeding Schnoodles for 23 years. She claimed that her pups were healthy. I liked the idea of the larger gene pool than that of either of the derivative breeds.

Penitential Europe and Self-Affirming America

http://city-journal.org/2010/20_3_european-conscience.html

The title of this City Journal article is "Europe's Guilty Conscience, Self-Hatred is paralyzing the Continent." It was written by the French writer and philosopher Pascal Bruckner and translated by Alexis Cornel.

I thought while reading it of Leftist Billy Blogblather's "hatred," who speaks as though he has objectified his hatred of whites, but inasmuch as he is white, I don't see how that can work terribly well -- perhaps it is somewhat like what Bruckner sees in Europe. Bruckner not only describes European funk, he sheds light on America's more positive attitudes. The contrast he makes is between Guilt-ridden Europeans and optimistic Americans.

After describing with a very broad brush Europe's history, and how Europeans wallow in self-hatred and embrace their monumental Guilty Conscience, Bruckner writes, "But a civilization responsible for the worst atrocities as well as the most sublime accomplishments cannot understand itself solely in terms of guilt. The suspicion that colors our most brilliant successes always risks degenerating into self-hatred and facile defeatism. We now live on self-denunciation, as if permanently indebted to the poor, the destitute, to immigrants—as if our only duty were expiation, endless expiation, restoring without limit what we had taken from humanity from the beginning. This wave of repentance spreads through our latitudes and our governments like an epidemic. An active conscience is a fine and healthy thing, of course. But contrition must not be limited to certain parties while innocence is accorded to anyone who claims to be persecuted."

There is no reason for the U.S. to feel that same level of guilt. The U.S. didn't create slavery, imperialism, fascism or communism. It didn't create either of the World wars. It didn't create the holocaust. When Europeans want to sweep America up in an agony of Western guilt, they have to hark back to days before it was the United States, when it was still a European colony. Or they have to dwell on the Slaves that were brought to the U.S. largely by Europeans. Or they need to dwell upon the U.S. activities during the Cold War which to a significant extent were intended to protect Europe. In Bruckner's view, the level of guilt isn't commensurable. He writes, "The United States, despite its own faults, retains the capacity to combine self-criticism with self-affirmation, demonstrating a pride that we lack. But Europe’s worst enemy is Europe itself, with its penitential view of its past, its corrosive guilt, and a scrupulousness taken to the point of paralysis. How can we expect to be respected if we do not respect ourselves, if our media and our literature always depict us by our blackest traits? The truth is that Europeans do not like themselves, or at least do not like themselves enough to overcome their distaste and to show the kind of quasi-religious fervor for their culture that is so striking in Americans."

We note here that his statement does not apply to all Americans. Billy Blogblather is a Leftist living in Tennessee and he doesn't fit into this category. Billy doesn't display a quasi-religious fervor for American culture. Instead he displays a European-like hatred of his own culture.

Bruckner continues: "We too often forget that modern Europe was born not during a time of enthusiastic historical rebeginning, as was the United States, but from a weariness of slaughter. It took the total disaster of the twentieth century, embodied in Verdun and Auschwitz, for the Old World to happen upon virtue, like an aging trollop who moves directly from debauchery to fervent religious belief. Without the two global conflicts and their parade of horrors, we would never have known this aspiration for peace—which is often hard to distinguish from an aspiration for rest. We became wise, perhaps, but with the force-fed wisdom of a people brutalized by carnage and resigned to modest projects. The only ambition we have left is to escape the furies of our age and to confine ourselves to the administration of economic and social matters.

"While America is a project, Europe is a sorrow. Before long, it will amount to little except the residue of abandoned dreams. We dreamed of a great diversity where we might live well, seek personal fulfillment, and, if possible, get rich—and all this in proximity to great works of culture. This was a worthwhile project, to be sure, and such a calm condition would be perfect in a time of great serenity, in a world that had finally achieved Kant’s “perpetual peace.” But there is a striking contrast between the stories that we Europeans tell ourselves about rights, tolerance, and multilateralism and the tragedies that we witness in the surrounding world—in autocratic Russia, aggressive Iran, arrogant China, a divided Middle East. We see them, too, in the heart of our great cities, in the double offensive of Islamist terrorism and fundamentalist groups aiming to colonize minds and hearts and Islamize Europe.

"There is nothing more insidious than a collective guilt passed down from generation to generation, dyeing a people with a kind of permanent stain. Contrition cannot define a political order. As there is no hereditary transmission of victim status, so there is no transmission of oppressor status. . . ."

I wonder here whether there is a unique American "collective guilt" passed down from generation to generation in Leftist elements of the American South. Have there been Leftist elements in the South for so many generations?

" . . . Europe has vanquished its most horrible monsters. Slavery was abolished, colonialism abandoned, fascism defeated, and communism brought to its knees. What other continent can claim more? In the end, the good prevailed over the abominable. Europe is the Holocaust, but it is also the destruction of Nazism; it is the Gulag, but also the fall of the Wall; imperialism, but also decolonization; slavery, but also abolition. In each case, there is a form of violence that is not only left behind but delegitimized, a twofold progress in civilization and in law. At the end of the day, freedom prevailed over oppression, which is why life is better in Europe than on many other continents and why people from the rest of the world are knocking on Europe’s door while Europe wallows in guilt.

"Europe no longer believes in evil but only in misunderstandings to be resolved by discussion and dialogue. She no longer has enemies but only partners. If she is nice to extremists, she thinks, they will be nice to her, and she will be able to disarm their aggressiveness and soften them up."

Further down, Bruckner writes, " In its worst moments, Europe seeks peace at any price, even what Saint Thomas Aquinas called a bad peace—one that consecrates injustice, arbitrary power, and terror, a detestable peace heavy with vicious consequences. Europe postulates freedom for all but is content with just its own. It has a history, whereas America is still making history, animated by an eschatological tension toward the future. If the latter sometimes makes major mistakes, the former makes none because it attempts nothing. For Europe, prudence no longer consists in the art, defended by the ancients, of finding one’s way within an uncertain story. We hate America because she makes a difference. We prefer Europe because she is not a threat. Our repulsion represents a kind of homage, and our sympathy a kind of contempt."

Even further down Bruckner writes "Our lazy despair leads us not to fight injustice but to coexist with it. We delight in tranquil impotence, and we take up residence in a peaceful hell. We allow ourselves to be overwhelmed with words of blame, a role we willingly adopt so as to be accountable to no one and to avoid taking any part in world affairs. Remorse is a mixture of good will and bad faith: a sincere desire to close old wounds and a secret wish to be left alone. Eventually, indebtedness to the dead prevails over duty to the living. Repentance makes of us a people who apologize for old crimes in order to ignore present ones."

One might expect a "healthy soul," to borrow William James' expression who lives in Europe amongst so many "sick souls" to consider moving to a healthier climate, and I see that Pascal Bruckner "will be a visiting professor at Texas A&M University this autumn." But what can someone like Billy Blogblather, someone who lives in this "healthier climate" but finds it as unhealthy as Europe do? I have no answer to that. I do not understand Blogblather -- no more than I do the modern European. I wonder how many read this article in France and if any were swayed by it. Given the content, I would guess not many and no.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blogblather searching for an amicable hate group

Billy Blogblather wrote, "Since about the age of 13 I've wished I were [black] -- so that I could hate white people without reserve.  Lawrence makes me wish I were a [black] Muslim"

He added what amounts to a smiley after that by saying "Life is fun."

It may be, and I couldn't help thinking that the New Black Panther Party may be just what Billy is looking for:

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Billy seems to be looking for a hate group. Wikipedia tells us, " The Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center identify the New Black Panthers as a hate group.[3][4]

"The NBPP attracted many breakaway members of the Nation of Islam when former NOI minister Khalid Abdul Muhammad became the national chairman of the group from the late 1990s until his death in 2001. The NBPP is currently led by Malik Zulu Shabazz, and still upholds Khalid Abdul Muhammad as the de facto father of their movement.

"In April 2010, Malik Zulu Shabazz appointed French Black supremacist leader Stellio Capo Chichi as the representative of the movement in France.[5] Capo Chichi has been holding the position of head of the francophone branch of NBPP."

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Above is Minister King Samir Shabazz, also known as Maurice Heath, the New Black Panther Party's Philadelphia leader.

I know that a lot of white people identify with non-white groups. I would think these other groups would be open to repentant whites, but, unfortunately for Billy Blogblather, I see no evidence of that in the case of the New Black Panther Party.

Billy might try to have his skin darkened by the Nip and Tuck people -- or he might consider an alternate organization: The White Panthers for example:

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They say, "The White Panthers stand in the vanguard of the most powerful movement for social change in America, that dynamic episode generally referred to as Rock n Roll. It is the sole organization in the entire history of struggle against the oppression of Rock in the United States, that is armed to promote a revolutionary agenda, and it represents the last great thrust by people for equality, justice and freedom."

RE: Are Bahrain and Kuwait guilty of Islamophobia?

"Anonymous" has left a new comment on your post "Are Bahrain and Kuwait guilty of Islamophobia?":
Anonymous: How can a person accuse his co-faithful of Islamophobia? Please write sense!!!

Lawrence: I've admitted to not liking "one -liners" because they don't make sense, and this one is no exception. While out in the yard watering my plants I puzzled over who Anonymous might be and how he could be ignorant of the meaning and application of "irony."

Christian Fundamentalists tend to shy away from tropes. They have a hermeneutical rule created by Darby, Scofield and Chafer: If the text can be taken literally then it must be taken literally. But after considering these Fundamentalists, also known as Dispensationalists, for a few moments, I decided it probably wasn't one of these. I don't think a Christian Fundamentalist would care what I said about Muslims.

At last, in the absence of certainty about this writer or what he meant, I tentatively concluded that he was probably a Muslim -- one who subscribes to Islamic Literalism: The words of the Koran means one thing and one thing only. If it can be taken literally, then it must be taken literally.

But is there not also the sense in this one-liner that Muslims may close seditious mosques, but Infidels may not? Such a concept violates (or used to violate) our Western sense of fair play and justice. Our laws are supposed to apply to all equally. But Muslims inspired by Islamist ideology and Sharia Law don't see things that way. They think an Infidel (defined as every non-Muslim) anywhere in the world, has no right to infringe on anything Muslims (at least Muslims at the level of Mosque leaders) want to do. But on the other hand they believe their Sharia Law should be applied throughout the West.

In other words, what Muslims do to each other is none of our Western-business. But it is not okay for Westerners to apply all their laws to Muslims. Only those laws that are Sharia-compliant may be applied.

In case the Anonymous Muslim still doesn't understand what I'm talking about, I will speak as literally as I can: Any individual or group that practices sedition should be proscribed. Our governments need to protect our citizens against enemies who intend to harm them. Mosques that produce terrorists or form centers for recruitment of terrorist organizations do intend harm to our citizens and ought to be shut down.

I don't fault a person who doesn't know the meaning of Irony, but I will deride Western government officials who don't know the difference between religious freedom and sedition.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Wafa Sultan in California

I am intrigued by the frequency with which people fleeing repressive regimes for intellectual reasons, end up in California -- often Southern California. I thoroughly approve. Let them keep coming. Wafa Sultan strikes me as such a person. I discovered reference to her while reading about Multiculturalism's negative impact on Europe. Wikipedia describes her as follows:

"Sultan was born into a large traditional Muslim[1] family in Baniyas, Syria.[2][3][4] She immigrated to the United States in 1989, where she moved to Los Angeles, California and became a naturalized citizen. Sultan became notable after the September 11, 2001 attacks for her participation in Middle East political debates, with Arabic essays that were circulated widely, and for television appearances on Al Jazeera and CNN.

"On February 21, 2006, she took part in Al Jazeera's weekly 45-minute discussion program The Opposite Direction. She spoke from Los Angeles, arguing with host Faisal al-Qassem and with Ibrahim Al-Khouli about Samuel P. Huntington's Clash of Civilizations theory. A six minute composite video of her remarks was subtitled and widely circulated by MEMRI on blogs and through e-mail; The New York Times estimated that it has been seen at least one million times.[1] In this video she criticised Muslims for treating non-Muslims differently, and for not recognizing the accomplishments of Jewish and other members of non-Muslim society while using their wealth and technology. The video was the most discussed video of all time with over 260,000 comments on the video-sharing website YouTube[5]

"Sultan's latest book, A God Who Hates: The Courageous Woman Who Inflamed the Muslim World Speaks Out Against the Evils of Islam, was released on October 13, 2009. [6]

"Sultan describes her thesis as witnessing "a battle between modernity and barbarism which Islam will lose". It has brought her telephone threats,[1] but also praise from reformers. Her comments, especially a pointed criticism that "no Jew has blown himself up in a German restaurant", brought her an invitation to Jerusalem by the American Jewish Congress.

"Sultan believes that "The trouble with Islam is deeply rooted in its teachings. Islam is not only a religion. Islam [is] also a political ideology that preaches violence and applies its agenda by force."[7] In a discussion with Ahmad bin Muhammad, she said: "It was these teachings that distorted this terrorist and killed his humanity".[8] Sultan stated that she was shocked into secularism by the 1979 atrocities committed by Islamic extremists of the Muslim Brotherhood against innocent Syrians, including her witnessing while she was a medical student of the machine-gun assassination of her professor, Yusef al Yusef,[9] an ophthalmologist from the University of Aleppo renowned beyond Syria. "They shot hundreds of bullets into him, shouting, 'God is great!' " she said. "At that point, I lost my trust in their god and began to question all our teachings. It was the turning point of my life, and it has led me to this present point. I had to leave. I had to look for another god."[10]

Here is Wafa Sultan defending Geert Wilders: http://www.youtube.com/user/ukTruthSeeker . She is impressive.

Because of my willingness to take Enoch Powell at face value, a British Lady provided me with some Leftist responses to him. I did not find them convincing. I searched a bit further on YouTube and found Multiculturalism and Islamification in Britain -- Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnJcsQYZEGU&feature=fvw I found it too depressing to watch all the way -- and of course I didn't watch Part 2 and don't know if there are subsequent parts. This video does present the dangers I believe will confront every European nation that continues with high rates of immigration accompanied by no means to accomplish integration. However, I couldn't tell from this video whether I was watching prevailing phenomena or isolated incidents. Surely these phenomena can't be quite all encompassing quite yet or Britain wouldn't be able to function as a nation.

After abandoning "Multicultralism and Islamification in Britain" I found Wafa Sultan -- a voice of reason and encouragement. She is convinced that Western secular society will win out over Islam. Eventually, enough light will be allowed to shine on Islam that it will be exposed as the barbaric religion that it is. When I read or hear of someone condemning the Koran as presenting a doctrine of hate, I continue to consider it possible that some of the more vicious doctrines might be viewed by Moderates through a filter of amelioration. Nothing in the Koran permits such a view, but I am aware of times in Islamic history when Islamist-type belief and behavior was not the norm. Perhaps something like that can be returned to. I noticed that at one point Wafa Sultan didn't exclude such a possibility, but at other times she spoke as though there was no hope for Islam.

Someone challenged me about my being a Christian but still favoring a Secular Society. This is a murky area I will admit. In Wafa Sultan's case when she turned from Islam to Secularism, she was giving up religion entirely. In my case I mean the sort of secularism that doesn't impose a religion but allows individuals to believe whatever they like. I am a Christian and do not believe our secular western societies have anything inherent in them that precludes its people from practicing religion. Obviously forceful Muslims throughout Europe are forcing their Sharia-type religion on the rest of society as much as the can. I oppose that. I want society to remain secular. I don't want Muslims to win out and turn Secular Western society into Sharia-Law. I don't want to be forced to be a Muslim.

Enoch Powell and the Widow in his “River of Blood”

The British lady who "frivolously" directed me to Enoch Powell was mildly outraged when I took him seriously, and much more outraged when I discovered the "River of Blood" documentary. As to the latter, she thinks Martin O'Neill of the New Statesman has the correct perspective: http://www.newstatesman.com/life-and-society/2008/03/powell-speech-british-film-bbc

I am not as impressed with O'Neill's article as the British lady apparently was. The first thing I notice is that he doesn't address Powell's main point: too much immigration is bad! Where is the argument, other than the sarcastic one I produced in a recent post, that lots of immigration is good?

O'Neill does what Leftists do time and time again, pick out some quibble, some small point, some tangent and build it up as though that was what Powell's main argument was.

O'Neill calls Blakeway's film "cowardly" because it seeks to put the so-called offensive things (that became these quibbles and tangents) in perspective. I say O'Neill is cowardly for not being willing to address Powell's main point: too much immigration is bad!

Also, O'Neill suggests that Powell's opinion was a minority one, supported by few people and abandoned by all right-thinking Britains today. That is not what I got from Blakeway's film. Surely the parliamentary cheering when Powell gave his River of Blood speech was real. Surely his popularity which comprised a majority of Britains after that speech was real. Surely the argument that if a vote had been conducted at the time, he would have been elected Prime Minister was supported by evidence at the time.

Here is an interest bit the Irate British lady wrote me: And, we don't need your impressions, Lawrence.  The text of the speech is on the web. Powell makes little use of the views and words of others.  He does, early on, quote a white constituent.  Later, he invokes a letter from another white constituent, reporting the alleged plight of an elderly white woman allegedly harassed by (black) immigrants.  It didn't happen, Lawrence. A massive effort was made to find the woman. No such woman could be found. But eventually, years later, she was identified. We do now have an idea what happened.  The story Powell recounts is untrue."

Perhaps this British lady failed to see the following article which shows that the story Powel recounts is true: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-433497/Widow-Enoch-Powells-Rivers-Blood-speech-really-did-exist.html

The lady's name is Druscilla Cotterill: " For almost 40 years, her identity - indeed, her very existence - has remained a tantalising mystery, known only to a diminishing handful of people.

"But it can now be revealed that this apparently unremarkable woman played a pivotal role in a moment of British history.

"For she has been identified as the inspiration for Enoch Powell's infamous 1968 'Rivers of Blood' speech, in which he warned of apocalyptic social consequences if the rising tide of immigration was not halted.

"Evoking the highly emotive image of 'the River Tiber foaming with much blood', Powell railed against proposed anti-discrimination laws which would make it a crime to refuse services or housing on the grounds of race.

"Crucially, he used the potent story of a beleaguered, elderly constituent as evidence that it was Britain's white population who were being victimised in their own country."

Enoch Powell -- too much immigration

A British lady responded to my note about Victor Davis Hanson and Bruce Thornton both being Classicists which considered the idea that a study of the classics might enable a person to better understand the implications of large-scale immigration. The lady mentioned Enoch Powell as also being a classicist. This was intended, as she later said, as a "frivolous" response, for Enoch Powell has been vilified over the years for some of his comments on immigration.

I did look him up in Wikipedia before posting my note including Powell alongside Hanson and Thornton as being especially insightful about the dangers of too much immigration, but after receiving the suggestion that there was something wrong with Powell I spent yesterday afternoon attempting to find out what it was. What I had seen on Wikipedia didn't warn me off, but perhaps if I dug deeper . . .

I found two YouTube documentaries on Enoch Powell. I watched the first one which is in 5 parts and is entitled "Rivers of Blood":

Enoch Powell -- Rivers of Blood Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HP7fETsKYkA&feature=related

Enoch Powell -- Rivers of Blood Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhvpaVSEEcQ&NR=1

Enoch Powell -- Rivers of Blood Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eap2f14ZpUc&feature=related

Enoch Powell -- Rivers of Blood Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmZneyZQUz0&NR=1

Enoch Powell -- Rivers of Blood Part 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWelzNHhmFo&NR=1

Enoch Powell -- Rivers of Blood Part 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hu4f6rX1KEQ&NR=1

I just skimmed this next one because it seemed to use the same footage as the above. I didn't feel ambitious enough to look for the actual differences.

Enoch was Right -- Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJQMz-fZzC0&feature=related

Enoch was Right -- Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMPDKzdUwpo&feature=related

Enoch was Right -- Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fp2lorGQV0o&feature=related

My impression after watching the "Rivers of Blood" documentary is that the British multiculturalists and others vilified Powell for some poor uses of words. His main argument had to do with the dangers of too much immigration, but this argument seems never to have been dealt with by the multiculturalists. Instead they honed in on his use of such words as "pickaninny." But many of the words and expressions he was criticized for seem to have been voiced by others. He was quoting them. He was trying to describe the views of the people who had to deal first-hand with the immigrants.

When Powell delivered his Rivers of Blood speech in parliament, he was applauded. A majority of Britains, especially the working class people, seem to have adored him.

At the end of Rivers of Blood, a former multiculturalist comments that when in Britain they abandoned the idea of integration and encouraged immigrants to retain their own languages and cultures, they never foresaw that one day they would be confronted by a group that wanted Sharia Law and the right to engage in honor killings.

I heard comments in the first documentary to the effect that Enoch stirred up the immigrants in a bad way. He caused them to take up arms. If that is a true (which I don't believe) then he was at fault. But to blame his opinions for an immigrant "backlash" is very like blaming Terry Jones for intending to burn some Korans. Did Powell's opinions and Jones intensions cause backlashes? Many still think that this is possible: that such words cause others to commit violence. And it may be the multiculturalism amongst us that enables such an irrational notion to be taken seriously. In English and American law no murderer would be excused from his crime by claiming that an insult made him kill the person who insulted him. We in Britain and America value our right to think, write, and speak without fear of imprisonment or death. But as a result of high rates of immigration and multiculturalism, that "right" is being eroded.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Europe's immigration "backlash"

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/24/sweden-immigration-far-right-asylum

The above article was sent to me by someone as pessimistic about Europe as I am; however, I see a glimmer of light in this Guardian article written by Ian Traynor in Malmo or Jason Rodriques, I can't tell which. The article is entitled "Sweden Joins Europe-wide backlash against immigration, its asylum polices are the continent's most generous. But the Public mood is now changing."

"Backlash isn't a word I would choose to describe the events in this article. However, it seems to me that anyone of intelligence should have expected some sort of reaction from ordinary Europeans unless policies incapable of changing actually changed. The sort of change necessary to preclude a backlash would be to get the European populations to want these incoming immigrants to integrate with them, and for the immigrants themselves to give up their Sharia-based religion and accept European secularism. Or for the European leaders -- who need immigrants to pay taxes so they can provide the entitlements to the people they want to vote for them -- to reverse their policies. But absent these impossible changes, Europe will be left to drift. The immigrants will continue to be crammed willy-nilly into the people, and the people will be expected to cope.

Those of us who are pessimistic about Europe expect the people to go right on "coping" until Europe becomes Eurabia. But a "backlash" was considered a possibility -- not a very strong one in a people Robert Kagan called "Venus" to America's "Mars." But I recall discussing a possible backlash a time or two. While on the one hand Europe seems too Venusian to change, on the other, is it possible to imagine that the people who brought us two world wars will tolerate being overrun by the nasty a set of hoodlums they describe to us in their newspaper articles?

Of course Europe is still a long way from a real backlash. The occasion for the article is that a sufficient number of Swedes "voted for an extreme-right movement accused of being Islamophobic that broke into parliament in Stockholm for the first time, probably condemning the country to a fragile minority government." That statement reeks of disapproval. The Swedish people who have switched their vote in hopes of getting some relief from the immigrants being piled on them get no respect from Ian Traynor or Jason Rodriques. That some Swedes are having truck with a "movement accused of being Islamophobic" is not something they can approve of. But do they or anyone else in Malmo or the rest of Sweden offer any viable alternatives? No. So they would sit idly by while more and more immigrants were stuffed into Malmo and expect the natives to take it and go on taking it without a whimper or an objection. Shoot, as wimpy as Europe has become that might work. Heck, it is working.

Traynor and Rodriquez go on to discuss what they consider backlashes in other nations of Europe. Sarkozy of France has expelled some Gypsies. Geert Wilders continues to gain political strength in the Netherlands. Heinz-Christian Strache is expected to take more than 20% of the vote as he runs for mayor of Vienna. Jobbik has gained a parliamentary foothold in Hungary. In Italy the Northern League is growing in popularity. In Germany the book by Thilo Sarrizin is the "political sensation of the summer."

I'm sorry Traynor or Rodriquez, none of that sounds like a real backlash to me, but it is interesting and ought to interest Europe's political leaders. The message it sends to me is that you European leaders would be wise to restrict immigration and clamp down on the excesses of your immigrants. You had better do something about your mess or there will be a backlash . . . maybe.

Livy, Enoch Powell and Thilo Sarrazin

In response to my note comparing Bruce Thornton to Victor Davis Hanson, someone referred me to Enoch Powell who was another brilliant classicist who objected to the influx of immigrants into Europe. This is far too small a sampling to permit any decisive conclusion, but I have read a bit further in Livy's Early History of Rome and noticed that Rome was able to do something that modern Europe was not.

Rome in its early days had a population problem. It had a very small population. It couldn't field an army large enough to overwhelm its enemies. So over a period of the two centuries I have read about thus far, it has incorporated city after city into Rome. It didn't just claim cities and leave the population where it was; it moved entire populations into Rome itself, and Livy reports no problems with these populations. These immigrant populations didn't burn horses or issue fatwas against Roman centurions. They fit in rather well. In no time some of these integrated leaders became kings of Rome. Rome knew how to integrate immigrant populations. Also, the immigrants had to give up their old ways. This wasn't discussed by Livy. He just assumes that once they moved to Rome they were Romans. They knew the Roman language and behaved like every other Roman.

The closest Livy comes to describing a problem had to do with matters of jealousy. Rome was to a very large degree a meritocracy. If some general could defeat Rome's enemies and become beloved of the Roman people, then he could be voted King by the Senate. This caused some of the descendants of Ancus and others to feel jealousy. Why should Servius become king when they were true descendants of Roman royalty and not immigrants? But debate ended when Servius achieved a great victory on the battlefield. After that it was clear that Servius' popularity was too great for jealous rivals to gain any advantage.

The three classicists mentioned would know these things. It would be natural to ask, why was Rome so successful at integrating their immigrants while we have so much difficulty integrating ours? One obvious reason is that Britain, and any Liberal Democratic nation, doesn't have the means to force an immigrant population to integrate. If they want to enter a European nation and retain all the earmarks of their previous nationality, there is nothing in European law to prevent them. When this happens, when an immigrant population prefers to enter enclaves with people who have the same heritage they do -- rather than try to integrate into a population that doesn't seem to want them, difficulties arise. This isn't speculation. Difficulties have arisen.

So what can be done about it -- about these immigrants who continue to flood into European nations without the likelihood that they will integrate? One obvious solution would be to shut off immigration. Who cares if the various European nations can't reproduce enough children to maintain current population levels? Ah . . . the Europeans do. They want young people, and they don't care where they get them, to work hard and pay taxes so that they will be able to retire in comfort. Actually, when described as baldly as I have it sounds a bit like slavery -- bringing these immigrants into your European country so they can work and support you in retirement. It would be one thing if you like them, but you don't. You don't want to mix with them any more than you want them mixing with you. They are in effect slaves.

Of course they don't behave like slaves. Unfortunately for you Europeans they have many more rights than the slaves of old. As to those "rights" it does not good for your Politically Correct Leaders to claim that you are racist. It is what it is. They won't integrate into you and you won't integrate into them. So stop bringing them into your countries. Learn to retire on something less. What good is your retirement money when these immigrants burn your car out front, if not your house and you?

Just this morning I read an article that proves you don't need to be a classicist to come to the above conclusions about immigration: http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/you-cant-say?page=3 . This article will appear in the Weekly Standard. It is by Christopher Caldwell and entitled, "You Can't Say That, Against its wishes, Europe's political class is hip-deep in immigration debates." The key "offender" in these debates is Thilo Sarrazin who published a "taboo-breaking book" in Germany. ". . . Thilo Sarrazin, [was] a member . . . of the Bundesbank’s board of governors. Sarrazin’s book is Deutschland schafft sich ab (roughly, “The Abolition of Germany”). The controversy it has unleashed resembles the one that America had in 1994 over Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein’s book The Bell Curve. That was a book about the role of intelligence in society that wound up being read as a book on race. Sarrazin’s is a book about Germany’s economic future that detractors have cast as a book about how immigration is ruining Germany’s “stock.” The widespread criticism the book has received from establishment politicians has not blocked—and may even have spurred—its success. It has been a number-one bestseller for a month. Stores have been sold out for days at a time."

Caldwell writes, "I have not yet read the book, and won’t judge its arguments until I do. But genetics is distant from the heart of the book​. It is mainly an account of the actuarial nightmare that confronts the German welfare state, owing to a shrinking working-age population and a leveling off of productivity gains. Mass immigration has been an economic failure, Sarrazin believes, and immigrants from Muslim countries provide—for cultural reasons, it must be stressed—relatively poor raw material for assimilating into German society.

"Sarrazin is a serious economist, with a real expertise in budgets and labor markets. He is also a Social Democrat who looks at Germany’s highly developed welfare state as the great achievement of its postwar governments. All Social Democrats do, but like American Democrats they are split into two tendencies. There are those who believe that people of the left should demand maximal welfare benefits, to be limited only by countervailing political pressures. Many of these members have lately bolted to join former East German Communists in the Left party (Die Linke). There are also Social Democrats who believe that the first task of politicians is to ensure a stable financial basis for the benefits they dish out. Sarrazin was the leading voice of that latter tendency in the Berlin city-state government, the German equivalent of a Robert Rubin or Larry Summers.

"Sarrazin was also a bit of a freelance intellectual. He did not mince words, as most postwar Germans politicians do. In a multicultural city, he laid the blame for a lot of budgetary ills at multiculturalism’s door. It was convenient for the city’s left-leaning mayor, Klaus Wowereit, to have him exiled to the world of high finance in Frankfurt. But Sarrazin did not keep his counsel when he took his Bundesbank seat in 2009. Interviewed in the magazine Lettre International a year ago, he opined, “I don’t have respect for a person who lives off the state while expressing contempt for it, who doesn’t plan for the education of his children in a rational way, and is constantly producing new little Kopftuchm├Ądchen”—a coinage of his own that can be translated as “headscarf girls.” Sarrazin was demoted to a less glamorous portfolio at the bank. He began writing his book to document what he was talking about. (As if lack of documentation were his failing.)"

As we know from our own experiences, Leftists turn all such concerns into matters of race, and they did that with Sarrazin as quickly as they could. A poorly chosen illustration was all it took to satisfy Leftist leadership. Caldwell writes, "While no convincing case has been made that Sarrazin is inclined towards anti-Semitism, his remarks made it possible to attack his book without appearing to be merely censoring his unpopular remarks on immigration.

"When we say 'unpopular,' we mean unpopular among the German political classes, who condemned Sarrazin almost univocally. You can count the exceptions on one hand. There was Edmund Stoiber, the former Bavarian minister president from the Christian Social Union, who warned that the last time public sentiment against heavy immigration was ignored—in the 1990s—the result was the rise of right-wing movements. Wolfgang Clement, the SPD budget czar, thought Sarrazin’s points were reasonable.

"The need to discipline Sarrazin in the teeth of widespread public support posed very tricky questions for almost all of Germany’s institutions. It was as hard as passing a health care plan that nobody wants. It was particularly hard for Sarrazin’s party, the SPD. The party head, Sigmar Gabriel, who led the effort at ousting Sarrazin, admitted that mail and emails from members were running 9-to-1 in Sarrazin’s favor. As one Bavarian SPD leader told the press, “Our party members need enlightenment, and yet more enlightenment.

"Gabriel insisted that he was not objecting to the book, which he had not read, but to Sarrazin’s “core thesis” of genetic determinism. And that core thesis, Gabriel said, was “close to” Nazi ideas of “racial hygiene.” This is typical of immigration debates: Gabriel would not accuse Sarrazin of actually holding Nazi views, because Sarrazin does not. So he criticized Sarrazin’s views on the grounds that they have “overtones” of views that he doesn’t hold. “This smacks of . . . ” “It is almost as if . . . ” “There is an uncomfortable echo . . . ” Once this is your standard, you can ostracize anyone for anything and still make believe the discussion you’re censoring is something “well worth discussing.” No one’s censoring anybody! It’s just that absolutely everything that questions the immigration status quo is deemed to fall short of some ever-shifting standard of intellectual propriety.

"In the end, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats did not escape damage.'The only solution is education, education, education,' was about the best response she could manage to the question of what she would do about the issues Sarrazin had raised. The Christian Democrats are an umbrella party of Christians, free marketers, and conservatives. The conservatives found all of this a bit mealy-mouthed. There was talk of a rupture in the ranks. A poll found that if Sarrazin were to start a political party, 18 percent of Germans would consider voting for it. In almost every newspaper, there were forebodings that Sarrazin might wind up as the German equivalent of Geert Wilders, the Dutch anti-Islam party leader, or, worse, that the truculent impatience with the German ruling classes that he had unleashed might signal the beginnings of some Teutonic Tea Party.

"Now the German debate has come to resemble the American one. The magazine Der Spiegel mentioned “the danger of an emotional and irrational debate that would give a new impetus to the rightmost fringe.” True, the right has got some impetus out of the Sarrazin affair. But the taboo that is being broken is not the one the German mainstream press thinks. Until now the debate over immigration has been platitudinous, based on moral uplift, lecturing, and exhortations to fellow feeling. Sarrazin’s book merely asks Germany’s political leadership to look at the numbers. The threat to them is not of an irrational debate but a rational one."

The issues seem clear. The information is available for anyone to see. Sarrazin is an economist and not a classicist; so he casts, apparently (I haven't read his book either) the issues in logical terms. So will these self-indulgent Europeans, who think (as their Welfare States have encouraged them to think) that the Government owes them their entitlements, vote themselves out of this difficulty? Or will they go on accepting immigrants into their nations that hate them and won't do enough work (according to Sarrazin) to maintain the entitlements they so desperately want to keep? Bruce Thornton who wrote of Europe's "Slow Suicide" is pessimistic about Europe's willingness to make wise decisions about their immigrant problem, and I agree with him.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Livy on the "peaceful reign" of Ancus

After the reign of Numa, as we saw, a less-peaceful king was elected, one who revered the warlike Romulus more than the peace-loving Numa, but Numa's influence remained and a grandson of Numa, Ancus, sought to emulate his ideals. He too wanted a reign of peace in Rome:

Livy, The Early History of Rome, page 69: "Ancus was deeply conscious of his grandfather's noble record. . . . In the belief, therefore, that nothing was more important than the restoration of the national religion in the form established by Numa, he instructed the pontifex to copy out from his commentaries the details of all the various ceremonies and to display the document in public. To the war-weary Romans the prospect of peace seemed assured, and both they and their neighbors began to hope that the new king was to prove a second Numa."

But as we know (or ought to know), it isn't enough for a single nation to want peace. Ancus and his Roman people wanted peace but that was no assurance that they were going to get it. Roman's Latin neighbors thought a weakling had ascended the throne, much as Khrushchev once thought we had elected a weak president in Kennedy. Such people do not rejoice in a neighbor's peace but seek to take advantage of it:

"This was Latins' opportunity. There had been a treaty between Rome and Latium in Tullus's reign, but now the Latins felt that they might in the changed circumstances be a match for their old enemy. Accordingly they raided Roman territory, and to the subsequent demand for restitution returned a haughty answer, convinced that Ancus was no soldier and would play the king only amongst his shrines and altars."

Livy tells us that Ancus' love for peace didn't mean he couldn't be a good soldier if Rome's national security was involved. Livy then goes on to describe the war between Rome and Latium and Ancus' ultimate victory, but what interests me is the obviousness of these events. Surely Ancus should have known that he couldn't declare unilateral peace, that some neighbor, some ambitious leader some place was going to take advantage of his desire for peace. But perhaps Rome in 625 BC was too new, too inexperienced. Perhaps there is an excuse for Ancus' naivete.

But is there any such excuse for a modern? Beginning, perhaps in the period described by Roger Shattuck in The Banquet Years, the Origins of the Avant-Garde in France in 1885 to World War I, we see a nihilistic giving up. Why prepare to fight a war? What does it all matter? Bruce S. Thornton credits the victory of Scientism for this nihilism. Why plan for the future? Why have children? Let is eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. Of course, when France played this out and endured their Vichy period, they decided that they didn't want to do that again. They are a wee bit more willing to fight for their independence nowadays, but they still behave a bit loopy, as though they have not entirely recovered from their bad experience of being conquered by Germany.

Must we make excuses for France? They should have known better, but they were heavily influenced by Scientism, the belief that science has all the answers. They quit believing in God. Bruce Thornton quoted G. K. Chesterton to say that when people quit believing in God that doesn't mean they believe in nothing. They believe in everything. We see that in the modern world with the belief in all sorts of superstitions and occult practices. But that doesn't seem to describe France in their pre-Vichy years. They didn't believe in everything. They sought escape of one kind or another and sought to nihilistically avoid the future. The Avant-Garde of Alfred Jarry, Henri Rousseau, Erik Satie and Guillaume Apollinaire was a pitiful affair. They provided the philosophy that was prevalent in France prior to World War II. France was in the same condition that Rome was in the beginning of Ancus' reign -- minus the religion and minus the will to fight if their national survival depended upon it.

Bruce Thornton, Victor Davis Hanson, and Europe’s “slow suicide”

A friend sent me the following article, entitled "Policies Based on Illusion" by Bruce Thornton: http://www.city-journal.org/2010/eon0923bt.html

I was intrigued enough to Google Bruce Thornton and found the following YouTube interview:

http://fora.tv/2008/03/06/Uncommon_Knowledge_Bruce_Thornton

The friend who sent me the Thornton article is not a big fan of Victor Davis Hanson, but what a coincidence that Thornton is also a classicist and also teaches at the University of California at Fresno -- where Hanson once taught. I suspect that Hanson wouldn't have responded quite the way that Thornton did during the YouTube interview but only, I suspect, because of focus. Thornton is interested in the impending fall of Europe while Hanson's seems more focused on America's internal problems. To put it another way, Thornton seems more of an internationalist (in terms of interest) while Hanson is more of an Americanist. But this is only an impression based on very little knowledge of Thornton.

Perhaps it seems incongruous to call someone an Americanist who has written on Greek history and "the Western Way of War," but my impression (without having followed Hanson terribly closely) is that his wide ranging interests have dwindled.

My interests seem closer to Thornton's so I ordered his Decline and Fall, Europe's slow suicide; whereas I have not read a book by Hanson in a long while.

Based on the interview, Thornton seems willing to address all the knotty questions about Europe's future and America's relationship with Europe.

Ignoring the peace of Numa for Left-Wing aggravation

Blogblather responded to my "musings" on the peaceful reign of Numa as described in Livy's The Early History of Rome. He makes no reference to Livy or Numa, nor discusses the implication of Numa's reign of peace in the history of Rome or the history of any subsequent nation. Instead he employs his Leftist criteria to my musings. They weren't musings for Blogblather but some insidious Right-Wing-Conspiracy of a note. Honest, Billy, I've an interest in Livy and hope to keep on reading him. Nevertheless, in a spirit of give and take, even when the take is insult and ridicule, I'll strive to turn as many of his insults as possible into arguments in order to address them properly.*

Blogblather: America is not a peace loving country because it has been at war continually since 1941.

Lawrence: A nation that loves peace might be forced to fight a war. Perhaps Billy means that we are not a pacifistic nation because we don't refuse to defend ourselves when attacked or threatened. I think Billy must have the Cold War in mind when he says we have been continually at war since 1941. Yes, we believed that we needed to defend our national interests by opposing Communism. If Billy wants to fault us for that, this would mean that he is taking a position that was favorable to our enemy during the Cold War.

Billy is a Socialist and so probably didn't consider the threat posed by the Soviet Union as a serious one, but those of us who love our Liberal Democracy did. We were not interested in giving in to Communism. We were willing to fight to defend our way of life, but this doesn't mean we didn't prefer peace -- just not peace at any price, nor peace "in our time" by surrendering to an enemy.

Thus, Blogblather's argument doesn't hold up, for it is possible to love peace but be willing to fight a war in order to defend our national interests.

Blogblather: Some of the wars the U.S. fought cannot be shown to be in defense of the nation, therefore they cannot be shown to be in its national interest. Those in this category are Korea, Vietnam, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Peru, Angola, Grenada, Panama, Serbia, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lawrence: Our national interest isn't strictly the protection of our national borders. At one time it was, but it certainly was not during the Cold War. Our strategy against Communist aggression was to oppose it wherever we could. The first piece of aggression occurred in Korea. We had a commitment to South Korea. When the North invaded the South, we went to the defense of our ally. Does Blogblather disapprove of our going to the defense of an ally? Would he say we were war-mongering by defending our ally? Perhaps he would, but I disagree, and going to war to protect an ally is not evidence that we love war and not peace. If a friend is in danger, it is the honorable thing to go to his defense if we are able. We as a nation love peace, but failing to protect our nation and our allies is no path to peace we have ever wished to take. Aside from the fact that while it might bring short-term gratification for some it provides no peace in the long run. Blogblather should reread the note he responds to, and he will see that Numa's reign of peace was possible only because the previous king, Romulus, had defeated all of Rome's enemies. Defeating one's enemies is a very effective path to peace.

Vietnam, El Salvador, Nicaragua were other cases of opposing Communist aggression.

I don't consider the U.S. efforts in Peru or Angola as war. We did support anti-Communist efforts in Angola and oppose drug trafficking in Peru. Opposing the trafficking of drugs to the U.S. is also considered to be in our national interest. Perhaps Peru was a little more like war, but Truman would have called it and the other cases as Police actions. That too was largely to oppose drug trafficking. The war in Kosovo was supposed to be handled by European forces, but when they couldn't get it stopped, the called Clinton for help. We went to the aid of European allies in that case. Iraq invaded another ally, Kuwait, and we went to that ally's aid. Iraq's refusal to live up to the cease-fire agreement was largely to blame for the continuation of that war (which had never formally ended) later on. The War in Afghanistan was a result of the ruling Taliban forces harboring Al Qaeda which was responsible for the destruction of our World Trade Center.

Thus, all the cases presented by Blogblather do not describe an American love of war; quite the contrary. When allies are attacked we strive to stop the attacker, to restore peace. When criminal activities representing harm to American citizens or our allies are conducted, such as drug trafficking, we strive to stop that.

Blogblather: The point of separation of church and state is that the government is free from religious dictums.

Lawrence: I don't believe Blogblather has his history quite right on this issue. We may recall that the England we were striving to free ourselves from had a State Religion. We didn't want that here; so the First Amendment prohibited the State from imposing an official religion. The Left has done some marvelous things with this Freedom of religion we have enjoyed. They have striven to make it a "Freedom from religion," but that wasn't the original intent. Here are the actual words from the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"; so Billy has this "freedom" exactly backward. But such a mistake is consistent with his ideology. As a Socialist he is more worried about protecting the freedoms of the Government than those of the people.

* In removing Blogblather's insults and ridicule and recasting his statements into what I imagine an intelligent Leftist approve, I may have altered or left out more than I should have. If so, I apologize. My intent was to make (or create) logical sense out of Blogblather's statements. Also, I didn't address certain insults that Blogblather might think I should have turned into arguments, as to those, I blame my own inadequacies for being unable to do anything with them.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Musings on Peace in the Reign of Numa

In reading Livy (in Aubrey de Selincourt's translation) who lived from 59 BC to 17 AD writing about Rome's second king, Numa Pompilius, who lived from 753 to 673 one isn't sure how much of what was written is legend and how much based on actual fact. Nevertheless, this is part of Rome's history and believed by Romans, more or less, from the time of Pictor (circa 200 B.C.) to Livy's time and beyond. With that disclaimer, let's look at Rome's peace-loving king Numa:

Rome's first king was the very warlike Romulus. Numa was not like that. He "prepared to give the community a second beginning, this time on the solid basis of law and religious observance. These lessons, however, could never be learned while his people were constantly fighting; war, he well knew, was no civilizing influence, and the proud spirit of his people could be tamed only if they learned to lay aside their swords. Accordingly, at the foot of the Argiletum he built the temple the temple of Janus to serve as a visible sign of the alternations of peace and war: open, it was to signify that the city was in arms; closed, that war against all neighbouring peoples had been brought to a successful conclusion. Since Numa's reign the temple has twice been closed . . . Numa himself closed it after first securing the goodwill of all the neighbouring communities by treaties of alliance.

"Rome was now at peace; there was no immediate prospect of attack from outside and the tight rein of constant military discipline was relaxed. In these novel circumstances there was an obvious danger of a general relaxation of the nation's moral fibre, so to prevent its occurrence Numa decided upon a step which he felt would prove more effective than anything else with a mob as rough and ignorant as the Romans were in those days. This was to inspire them with the fear of the gods."

Livy then goes on to describe how Numa did that; which I'll skip, but Livy tells us that Numa accomplished his goal, after which ". . . the whole population of Rome was given a great many new things to think about and attend to, with the result that everybody was diverted from military preoccupations. They now had serious matters to consider; and believing, as they now did, that the heavenly powers took a part in human affairs, they became so much absorbed in the cultivation of religion and so deeply imbued with the sense of their religious duties, that the sanctity of an oath had more power to control their lives than the fear of punishment for law-breaking. Men of all classes took Numa as their unique example and modeled themselves upon him, until the effect of this change of heart was felt even beyond the borders of Roman territory. Once Rome's neighbours had considered her not so much as a city as an armed camp in their midst threatening the general peace; now they came to revere her so profoundly as a community dedicated wholly to worship, that the mere thought of offering her violence seemed to them like sacrilege."

COMMENT: At this point my mind skipped ahead to more modern pacifistic schemes. I notice first that the moderns don't advocate the sort of commitment to religion that Numa did. Why should the modern commit to pacifism? Simply because pacifism is better than war -- that's all the argument we get. Not killing people is better than killing them. We can notice up front that Numa's long reign was followed by that of Tullus Hostilius who much preferred the warlike ways of his grandfather Romulus. We may presume that Numa's efforts had a civilizing effect on Rome, but they didn't bring peace beyond his reign and they didn't turn Rome into a pacifistic city. But ignoring the events that occurred after Numa for a moment, and assuming that what he did was good, what do modern Pacifists have of a like nature to attract modern converts?

Numa isn't described as being an abject pacifist. Livy describes his concern as civilizational. Numa wanted to civilize Rome. He didn't declare for pacifism "no matter what." The Temple to Janus could be opened again if Rome were attacked, but Rome preferred (in the days of Numa) peace to war.

We Americans, at least those of us who love rather than hate our nation, think of ourselves as peace-loving. We prefer peace to war. In the days before Britain turned over their reigns as being the world's policeman (more or less), it was difficult to get America into a major war. Anyone who examines the history of any war we got into will see that the buildup to our wars was slow. In the days before the Cold War we didn't have an effective standing army. We needed to be provoked in a serious way before we opened our temple door. Yes, I have heard the anti-American assertions that the provocations that sent us to war were not always very serious, but that was not the view of those in government who called for the war. Our tradition is of being slow to anger and slow to war.

Assuming what I have written in the previous paragraph to be true for the sake of discussion, what could our pacifists or even our peacemakers present to other nations as something to be emulated? Numa's Rome could describe its commitment to religion. Can we in the U.S. do that? A majority here describe themselves as Christian; why can't we build upon that? The reason is that, unlike our Islamic neighbors, we relentlessly separate Church from State. We can't say that we are a Christian State committed to peace.

We in the West do have a Christian history, but in modern times it has been replaced in many social arenas Secularism. Okay, what about the Secular pacifists, what do they have to offer to other nations as an example? Can they point to their own piety, to the way they worship at the Secular temple of Janus of the Closed Door? I don't think so. When China, among other nations, looks at us, they see licentiousness, profligacy, and self-indulgence. Numa wanted his Romans to be a civilized moral people. If our Secularists could put forward that sort of example, the Chinese for one, would be impressed, but they can't. In the interests of "liberty" aka "licentiousness" they are busy nullifying most of the virtues our founding fathers admired. Instead they exalt "civil rights." These Civil Rights, unfortunately, don't match any set of "moral virtues" known to man.

I am very much in favor of Civil Rights. They are neutral -- at least they ought to be when it comes to virtue -- but I notice that the neutrality has begun to suffer. We, like most nations in the West, are going to great extremes to protect the "civil rights" of Radical Muslims, but when a modern day Christian pastor behaves like a Muslim radical -- in a mild way -- the whole force of American Secularism and a few other isms descended upon him in a far from mild way. Prior to Terry Jones' Koran burning intention, I would have described myself as opposed to book burning of any sort, but why, if America respects the right of any American, or anyone else, to burn an American flag, or a Bible, do we jump all over Terry Jones for only threatening to burn some Korans? If you in Muslim lands want to burn Bibles and our American flag, then I say back off when one of our civil-rights protected citizens wants to burn some Korans.

Francis Fukuyama imagined that when all nations became Liberal Democracies, something he believed was inevitable; the world would be permanently at peace since Liberal Democracies don't war with one another. Despite our disinterest in piety and morality in the West, Fukuyama, would say, we are destined for world peace. Samuel P. Huntington didn't believe that. He believed that the world's eight Civilizations were going to go on clashing with one another, perhaps not forever, but on into the future that he saw.

Realistically, peace, including world peace is only achievable when there is either a balance of power or one nation has whipped all the others -- as Romulus whipped all the cities that neighbored Rome. The UN was initially based on that concept. The idea was that if the major nations banded together they could stop any of the lesser nations from fighting wars. But as we know that was about the time the Cold War started; so almost immediately these major nations started warring (coldly). Now, who knows what the UN is?

And we mustn't forget Tullus Hostilius. He wasn't as civilized or as pious as his predecessor, but he was at least as true to human nature, probably more so. When we think of Rome today, we think more of warlike rules like Hostilius than of the peaceful ones. But it is possible to think of both of them as types of any successful nation. Most of us in the world want our neighbors to have peaceful intentions, to be willing to work hard for a peaceful solution to any problem, but at the same time, we realize that if all such attempts fail, then war may be the recourse , at least it will be for any nation interested in self-preservation -- unless that nation has relatively little power, in which case it will seek to ally itself with some nation with a greater ability to conduct a war, much as Kuwait did when faced with an attack by Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Are Bahrain and Kuwait guilty of Islamophobia?

http://hosted2.ap.org/AZMES/140fe8300e9c43bab097b794ca7594c6/Article_2010-09-20-ML-Bahrain-Crackdown/id-eae666c72f854bd0a4d4eeec45896e58

Kuwait has been cracking down on Shiite leaders preaching dissension from mosques right along. Bahrain let things go a little far. "Bahrain's king warned that mosques would be key targets in sweeps against suspected Shiite dissent in his tiny Gulf nation and vital U.S. ally. The first blow was a big one: stripping the citizenship of a powerful Shiite cleric with close ties to Iraq before next month's parliamentary elections."

Could we get away with something like that in Europe or America? Definitely not in America, and while I can't keep up with all the weird happenings in Europe, I doubt it. We have some mosques that are clearly sowing "dissent" against our nation such as the Al-Farooq Mosque in Brooklyn, but for fear of being called Islamophobic we let such mosques go right on sowing dissent and sedition. We are helpless. We can't do a thing. And if someone not in a position of American political, business, university, media power, like Terry Jones, tries to do something to oppose Islamic acts of sedition, at least as he seems them, a giant hand reaches down from the ethereal reaches of American power to squash him.

But look again at the article. Assume for a minute that leaders in Bahrain and Kuwait know a bit more about Islam than we do and then ask why they can go ahead and proscribe mosque activity while we in American cannot. Perhaps they know something we don't. Islam, as evidenced by the code of Sharia, has a strong political element. Thus, it is possible to oppose a mosque if it engages in seditious political teaching without rejecting Islam. Bahrain and Kuwait are not renouncing Islam, but they are opposing the political actions of Shiite mosques.

Did the offended Shiite leaders accuse Bahrain of Islamophobia? No, of course not, only we in the West can be that silly. They accused Bahrain of a Civil Rights violation: "'This is the worst crackdown on human rights,' said Mohammed al-Tajer, the lawyer representing 15 of the 23 coup suspects. 'We are all banned from talking about the events of the last few weeks, but I can't keep quiet about these violations.'"

We in Europe and America don't know what to do with our Muslims who cause trouble. We make believe no trouble is being caused on the one hand and tremble at offending them because of the trouble that will cause on the other. If a Muslim goes on a killing spree, you won't find that he was empowered to do it by Muslim teaching. The media looks for psychological reasons. But the king of Bahrain hasn't our Western hang-ups: "King Hamad told a cabinet meeting Sunday that Bahrain would not be a 'spring board' for unrest in the region."

France's Burqa banning and Florida's Book Burning

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100920/ap_on_re_eu/eu_france_terrorism_threat

This is an interesting story because France is much further down this pacifistic road than we are. Very few people sided with Terry Jones intention to burn some Korans in hopes of getting the Ground Zero Mosque moved. Huge numbers feared that such an action, the burning of Korans would "cause" large numbers of frenzied Muslims to kill huge numbers of Americans.

I vented my disgust over this Lib-Leftist wimpy capitulation. I resented the idea that America was letting itself be bullied by Muslim thugs. "You'd better do what we want," the Muslim mantra demands, "or we will kill some people, burn some things, and blow some things up." "You'd better do what we want," the Muslims demanded "or you'll be really really sorry."

Like training a child or a dog, if you give in to their tantrums you are going to have a miserable companion in a few years. That is what has happened in France. They gave in time and time again. Now, their Muslims don't want to be thwarted ever again in anything.

After banning the Burqa, all France is running about in terror hoping to fend off the expected rage-filled tantrum.

Here in the U.S. we are still hounding Terry Jones for having the temerity to scare the wits out of our timid little Left-wing souls.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Muslim Brotherhood doesn't like "Sharia: the Threat to America"

Earlier this week, the Center for Security Policy published a 177-page document entitled "Sharia: the Threat to America": http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/p18523.xml

Not surprisingly, the Muslim Brotherhood didn't like it. The Muslim Brotherhood's Official English Website posted a response at http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=26442 . Tellingly, when I began reading this response I thought I was reading a typical Lib-Left article. It didn't begin with the content of the document or its arguments, but by lambasting the people who wrote it. And when it did quote something, it was in order to condemn the writer of Islamophobia. Also, many of the quotes that seem at first reading as though they are from the document are actually from other sources.

It is remarkable that an Islamist organization which declared war against the rest of the world, and would like to turn all non-Muslims into dhimmis has the gall to condemn people who are critical of them and their schemes as Islamophobes. We, who are not Lib-Leftists oppose Islamism. We oppose the teachings of Sayyid Qutb who wrote the definitive Islamist documentation while a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. What gall to accuse people who oppose Islamism as being Islamophobes.

On the other hand, I wonder whether Leftists will be able to read this Muslim Brotherhood article and disagree with it.

In a recent note Billy Blogblather, invoked a list entitled "USA has bombed the following countries since 1945." The list consists of the following;

China (1945-46 & 1950-53)
Korea (1950-53)
Guatemala (1954 & 1960 and 1967-69)
Indonesia (1958)
Cuba (1959-60)
Congo (1964)
Peru (1965)
Laos (1964-73)
Vietnam (1961-73)
Cambodia (1969-70)
Grenada (1983)
Libya (1986)
El Salvador & Nicaragua (all of the 1980s)
Panama (1989)
Iraq (1991-?)
Sudan (1998)
Afghanistan (1998 and 2001-02)
Yugoslavia (1999)

Billy appends the following: "I thought I counted 28 countries at one time, but I can't think of
them now.  I know there are more than this."

Why produce such a list? And why isn't there a context for each entry? Did Billy care why we were fighting wars at those times? Apparently not. I infer that he is busy once again counting the ways in which he hates his country. I would challenge Billy to put all those dates in context and then list the times he thinks his country was justified in fighting a war. My impression is that he never thinks his country is justified, at least not since World War II. And probably any Socialist would agree with Billy. The reason is that they were rooting for America's enemies during the Cold War. Now that the USSR has failed and fallen, there is only Islamism. What's not to like, they imply by their writings and actions, in a group attacking the U.S. just as we Lib-Leftists did during the Cold War?

I continue to be interested in Terry Jones because he is the Christian Fundamentalist equivalent of Muslim Fundamentalists. Attack the latter and you are an Islamophobe. Attack the former and you receive nods of approval. Islamophobia is bad. Christianophobia is good. Why? Because Lib-Leftists and their media are atheistic and they have been busy opposing Christianity for a long time. Then, why not oppose Islam as well? I have never heard a Lib-Leftist do any soul-searching over this discrepancy. Do any of them see that they are being inconsistent? Do they really think that opposing Islamism is akin to racism while opposing Christianity is something different?

Billy Blogblather asserted that Terry Jones First Amendment Rights were not infringed as a result of his threatened Koran burning. The list of ways in which his rights were infringed is almost as long as Blogblather's list of American bombings. Pressure was applied by the President, Attorney General, Secretary of defense, General Petraeus. The bank decided to cancel Jones loan on his church property. The IRS decided to check Jones tax returns. The city of Gainesville decided to charge Jones for all the trouble he has caused by threatening to exercise his First Amendment Rights: "The cost of policing the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville for the planned Quran burning that never happened is expected to come to about $100,000 each for the Gainesville Police Department and the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, according to officials.

"Gainesville City Manager Russ Blackburn said the city intends to present a bill for the costs to the church's senior pastor, Terry Jones, reports The Gainesville Sun.

"And the Sheriff is also considering billing the church."

Favoring an Islamic Mosque, Islamic teaching, Islamic leaders is far more respectable, it would seem, than a Pastor who is attempting to oppose Sharia compliance (something Rauf has announced he is in favor of) and what can only be described as a "victory Mosque." It is either a Victory Mosque or all the people involved in its advocacy are ignorant of Muslim history and the history of the original Cordoba Mosque.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Jack Kerwick, Leftism and Ground Zero Mosque


http://www.intellectualconservative.com/2010/08/31/the-ground-zero-mosque-part-iii/
Kerwick has written three articles on the Ground Zero Mosque.  This is the third.  He subtitles it, "While the 'mega-mosque' may signify for the Muslim the triumph of Islam over the Infidel, for the leftist it marks a decisive victory in the storied campaign to 'fundamentally transform' our civilization into the post-Christian, post-'capitalist,' 'multicultural' utopia that he longs for it to be.
Kerwick's take on Christendom and Leftism is perceptive.  He writes, "First, among the characteristics that distinguish the leftist from his rightist counterpart is his insatiable penchant for "change," an appetite that is the obverse of an incessant restlessness informed by a belief in the evanescence of imperfection. The leftist doesn't just want "change"; he believes in it. He endorses exactly those constellations of beliefs that the religion of his ancestors long ago condemned as heretical, Pelagianism and Gnosticism: he is a Pelagianist by reason of his faith in the power of human beings to achieve salvation by their own works, unaided by Divine grace; and he is a Gnostic insofar as he is convinced that the secret to salvation is accessible to only a few enlightened souls — namely, those who think as he does. The leftist is an idolater, and his supreme idol is himself, but because even he has not yet succeeded in extricating himself fully from the influence of the Christian religion of which his civilization is the product, to escape the semblance of pride, he offers his utterances and deeds as homage to, not human beings, but a lifeless, bloodless abstraction that he calls Humanity."
Kerwick's second point is equally insightful, "Second, the leftist tends to have a largely distrustful, and even antagonistic, disposition toward Christianity, the dominant religion of the West. Christianity he indicts for all manner of the world's ills, from the Crusades to the Inquisition, from Salem witch trials to slavery, from European pogroms to Jim Crow discrimination and segregation. Christians — to whom in the contemporary American context he derisively refers as "the Religious Right" — the leftist believes, are "racist," "sexist," and "homophobic," to say nothing of hypocritical and hubristic. The leftist views the average Christian as hostile to science, the arts, and "Enlightenment" generally, a troglodyte who spares no occasion to resort to "superstitious" rhetoric so as to impede "progress." Hence, the leftist labors tirelessly to weaken the Christian's influence over the culture to which his imaginative genius and piety gave rise, alternating between invocations of the fiction of a so-called "separation clause" in the Constitution, on the one hand, and preachy declarations concerning the lie — a species of wishful thinking on the leftist's part — that "America is no longer a Christian nation," on the other."
As to the reasons the Left and Islamism seem to be marching in sync, Kerwick writes, ". . . while the leftist and the Islamic fundamentalist alike repudiate in no uncertain terms the "Militarism," "Imperialism," and "Capitalism" of the West, only the latter succeeded in doing so in a way that promised to arrest the attention of the entire world.
"The United States is "the jewel," the apex of Western civilization, and the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were, to the leftist as well as the Islamic fundamentalist, the most visible and potent signs on all of the Earth of the West's economic and military supremacy, respectively. More specifically, the one symbolized "the inequalities" engendered by "capitalism," while the other was a symbol of "the slaughter of indigenous peoples" inevitably accompanying 'imperialism.'
"In short, the leftist and the Islamic fundamentalist hold in contempt the same things."
How does Kerwick tie the Left's contempt for these same things to the Ground Zero Mosque?  He writes, "It should then be unsurprising that the leftist favors the construction of "the Ground Zero" mosque. In the heart of the financial district of the world, in the place where the grandest monument to the West's "greed" once stood, an edifice no less symbolic than the World Trade Center itself will be erected. Yet while this "mega-mosque" may very well signify for the Muslim the triumph of Islam over the Infidel, for the leftist it signifies a triumph, for sure, but the triumph of a new America (and, by extension, a new West) over an old one. It marks a decisive victory in the leftist's storied campaign to "fundamentally transform" our civilization into the post-Christian, post-"capitalist," "multicultural" utopia that he longs for it to be."
I recall that Bernadette Dohrn, wife of Bill Ayres and one of those who launched Barack Obama's political career once spoke of her sorrow over the failure of the Soviet Socialist Republic and wished that next time they would achieve a better Socialism.  And if Leftists who agree with her see Muslims wanting to tear down Liberal Democracy as much as they do, they should at least take a break from their efforts to reflect on who they have aligned themselves with.  They have a very dangerous ally, an ally in its early days which conquered most of the known world.  What have Leftist conquered compared to that?  If they don't long for a revived Soviet Union as fervently as Islamists long for a reawakening of Mohamad's Jihad, then when have they?