Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why wasn't there a Nuremberg trial of Vichy criminals?

Why wasn't France treated as an enemy in the same way that Germany was? The answer is de Gaulle. De Gaulle insisted that Vichy was illegitimate. It wasn't really France. David Schoenbrun, in his The Three Lives of Charles de Gaulle on pages 127-8 quotes de Gaulle saying, "There are both good and bad Frenchmen, but France is only good. Frenchmen are mere mortals, but France is immortal. The state is a passing manifestation of a system of government, but the nation is the emanation of an eternal spirit. In that sense it was quite conceivable -- indeed, necessary -- to envisage Frenchmen fighting Frenchmen and Free France fighting Vichy France. 'Vichy, being what it was and not at all France,' would have to be fought. . . ."

Schoenbrun writes, "De Gaulle's concept of the false and the real France eventually led him into conflict with the United States even more than with the British. The British had officially declared that in their view the Petain regime was not an independent government, and they had recognized de Gaulle's Free France movement, if not as a government, at least as the sole organization empowered to speak for French interests. However, from 1940 to 1943 the United States granted no recognition of any kind to Free France or to de Gaulle but, on the contrary, recognized Petain as the legal government of France and accredited an official American diplomatic mission to his capital at Vichy, and even after breaking with Vichy the United States continued to recruit and support Vichyites in North Africa.

"The American people, shocked by the fall of France and the abject surrender of Petain, may have been thrilled by the defiant courage of the patriotic Charles de Gaulle, but the American government, perhaps sharing the same general sentiments, felt it could not afford the luxury of shaping policy for sentimental reasons."

COMMENT: One recalls de Gaulle's famous "I am France" and can understand why he felt enmity toward the U.S. which believed no such thing. Petain was leader of France and Roosevelt would deal only with him.

De Gaulle's declaration that the Vichy government was illegitimate ended up being the prevailing understanding, the one that was acted upon. Britain and the U.S. had other things to worry about; so they were happy to let de Gaulle deal with France. Yes, they initially occupied France, but merely as a second front against Germany; something Stalin had been demanding. They had no wish to conquer or occupy France as France; although for consistency's sake they might have.

Britain and the U.S. tried the Germans responsible for Nazi excesses, but why didn't they also try Frenchmen guilty of like excesses? Because, de Gaulle insisted, Vichy wasn't really France and the Real France, de Gaulle himself, would deal with the Vichy pretenders. Oh, they were punished, but as collaborators, not representatives of an official French government.

I am not arguing that there should have been a Nuremberg-like trial for France -- I have my doubts about the one they held in Germany -- but I do think it interesting that France was treated differently from Germany. De Gaulle managed to get his manic view of France accepted by a depressed world, and that even today is the prevailing view. Vichy wasn't really France during the Vichy years -- de Gaulle was.

Monday, October 25, 2010

On allies and enemies

A Leftist Lady accused me of rewriting history in my previous note because I referred to Saddam Hussein as an enemy. She reminded me that we backed Saddam Hussein during the Iraq/Iran war.

The first inference I must draw from her accusation is that if a nation was an ally in 1989 it couldn't be an enemy in 1991. It is not hard to find examples that contradict that strange belief. For example, Hitler and Stalin were allies until Hitler sent his armies against the USSR. And of course, Britain and France were enemies and allies with the U.S. during different times in history.

Also, she implies that Liberal Democracies may not change their polices whenever they change Chief Executives, but this is clearly not true. Ronald Reagan could theoretically have loved Saddam Hussein (which he didn't), and that wouldn't have prevented George Bush Sr. from hating him; which he apparently did.

Also, she implies that nations that the U.S. treated favorably during the Cold War must continue to be treated favorably regardless of their subsequent actions. This is also not true. By attacking Kuwait, Saddam Hussein went against US policies.

The focus in my previous note was on the European nations that opposed the US when it was confronting Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Iraq was an enemy of the US at that time and France, Germany and one or two other European nations were supporting Iraq rather than the US. Livy reported that the Latin's and Hernici sided with Rome's enemies after Rome had been invaded by Gaul and was thought to be weak. France, Germany and some others sided with America's enemy, Iraq during the resumption of that war, not perhaps because they thought the U.S. weak, but because they thought they could keep the US from taking action against Iraq by stalling them in the UN.

Rome in 389-386 B.C. - seeking peace

Seeking peace in the Fourth Century B.C.

Romans much preferred peace, but they had put a variety of theories to the test and the only method that assured them peace, was the defeating of their enemies. During one such test, when they thought they were in no danger of war and therefore needn't prepare for one, they were overrun by the Gauls. Most of Rome was overrun. Rome's best General, Camillus, happened to be elsewhere because his political enemies had gotten rid of him, but his patriotism hadn't abated and he rallied some of the Romans who had fled from the Gauls, turned them around, and drove the Gauls from Rome.

As one might readily imagine, Camillus' enemies were never again successful against him. The invasion by Gaul occurred in 389 B.C. when Camillus was about 65.

The ease with which Gaul invaded Rome caused some of Rome's traditional enemies to get ideas -- and Rome's traditional allies to think they should look elsewhere for their protection:

[from Livy, Book VI] "But the Romans were not left in peace for long to discuss amongst themselves their plans for restoring their State after its disastrous downfall. On the one hand their old enemies the Volscians had taken up arms with the intention of wiping out the name of Rome; on the other, according to traders' reports, the leading men from all the peoples of Etruria had met at the temple of Voltumna and sworn to combine forces in war. There was also fresh alarm at the revolt of the Latini and Hernici, who ever since the battle of Lake Regillus had remained on friendly terms with the Roman people with no suspicion of disloyalty for nearly a hundred years. And so with such serious causes for alarm on all sides, as it was obvious to all that the name of Rome was not only suffering from the hatred of her enemies but was even held in contempt amongst her allies, it was determined that the republic should be defended under the auspicious of the man who had brought about her recovery, and that Marcus Furius Camillus should be named dictator. . . ."

Rome had learned that it couldn't conduct a war by committee. It takes an executive to manage a war effectively. When the U.S. goes to war, it is our executive who manages it. In Roman times, they didn't have a permanent executive, so in times of danger they appointed a "dictator," who resigned as soon as his job was over. Surely, in those times after the invasion of Gaul, there was no better man for the job than Camillus. And sure enough, he organized some armies and defeated the immediate threats.

When Roman soldiers would have escaped to Canada if they could have:

In 386, the men of Rome faced a threat the people didn't think they could win: " . . .Satricum, where the Antiates had concentrated not only the fighting forces of the Volscians recruited from the younger generation, but also vast numbers from the Latins and Hernici, drawn from peoples who were in excellent shape after long periods of peace. This combination of a new enemy with their old one had a disturbing effect on the army's morale. The centurions reported to Camillus, as he was already drawing up his line of battle, that the soldiers were dispirited and reluctant to arm, were loitering and hanging back as they left the camp, and had even been heard to say that they would be fighting against odds of a hundred to one and an army of such a size as could hardly be withstood even if it were unarmed, still less when armed.

Camillus inspires his soldiers:

"'Soldiers,' he cried, 'what is this gloom, this reluctance, which is so unlike you? Is it the enemy whom you don't know -- or me -- or yourselves, under my leadership (to say nothing of your capture of Falerii and Veii and massacre of the Gallic legions when they had occupied your own city) you have recently celebrated a triple triumph for a threefold victory over those very Volscians and Aequi and over Etruria. Or can it be that because I gave you the signal as tribune, not as dictator, you do not recognize me as your commander? I have no wish for absolute authority over you, and you should see in me nothing but myself; my resolution has never gained anything from dictatorship, any more than it lost anything through exile. Nothing in any of us has changed, and we bring the same qualities to this war as we brought to earlier ones. Let us then expect the same outcome. At the first clash everyone will act in accordance with his training and habit: you will win, they will run away."

COMMENT: Camillus needed a bit more than this speech to get his army moving. He had to get out in front with a standard bearer and shout "Attack soldiers." He got a standard bearer to throw his standard into the enemy ranks and urged his men to retrieve it. At last they got going and then it was as Camillus said it would be. Then, despite their superior numbers, the enemy ran.

A few things occurred to me while reading this section in Livy:

Allies: The Latins and Hernici reminded me of certain European nations after the Cold War. They had been left at peace because their more powerful neighbor, Rome, had been available to fight off the enemies that threatened them. But they had no deep-seated love for Rome. When Rome was in trouble after the Gallic invasion, they were quite willing to side with Rome's enemies when they believed Rome could no longer withstand them.

It is interesting, however, that the Latins and Hernici hedged their bet. They held back and waited to see how the others were going to do against Rome. When they ran away as Camillus predicted, the Latins and the Hernici backed away. Had Rome lost, they would have piled on their erstwhile protector like a pack of dogs, but when Rome was victorious, the Latins and Hernici were able to congratulate them and make excuses for their presence amongst Rome's enemies.

Several European nations decided to back Saddam Hussein, one of America's enemies, after the Cold War. They didn't actually join Saddam in his battle against the U.S., but then neither did the Latins and Hernici join the actual battle against Rome. But there was support, and this support inspired Rome's and America's enemies to fight. They thought that with the support they had been pledged, they could win.

Modern-day Liberal Democracies have an advantage over the city-states of the Latins and Hernici. France might side with the Germans in World War II, but afterwards, De Gaulle can come in and say that the Vichy French were illegitimate and never represented France. He, De Gaulle, was therefore free to disallow and take no responsibility for anything the Vichy government did. And if Chirac supported Saddam Hussein against America, this action can be readily forgotten when Nicolas Sarkozy takes office. We can be friends with France once again.

Progress: While I have heard no coherent argument from the Left about "progress" I believe they would assume that we have "progressed" quite a lot from the period I am addressing. Some of us, who aren't, Leftists, might say that one of the ways in which we have progressed is that we have become Liberal Democracies, and Liberal Democracies have vested interests in remaining at peace with one another. But Leftists, much as Islamists, do not like Liberal Democracies; so I don't think they can claim Liberal Democracy to be a sign of "progress."

I sometimes get the impression that Leftists think Human Nature has "progressed" in some way, but where is the evidence of that? Do they have whole ranks of Gandhi's and Mother Theresa's? If so, I haven't seen them? There has been no improvement in Human Nature. One could more easily argue that there has been a deterioration in it.

There has been technological progress, but in terms of "peace," it has created as many problems as it has solved. I doubt that the Left can be referring to technology as their progress.

We have the same human nature that the Romans did, and as a consequence can learn from their history.

Animosity: The Romans seem very modern in their animosity. The Plebeians felt animosity toward the Patricians, and the Patricians felt as much if not more against the Plebeians. And if any individual, such as Camillus were to gain a great reputation, there was sure to be someone seeking to undermine it. Our modern journalism that seeks to undermine almost every individual that achieves a degree of fame or success isn't engaged in anything new.

City States and Multiculturalism:

We can learn something about Multiculturalism from the city-states of the Italian peninsula in the fourth century B.C. We can learn that as long as they are distinct entities, not sharing a common language and not having common interests, they can never be sure of remaining at peace with one another. Perhaps philosophy can't teach us this lesson, but history can. Rome tried to live at peace with the different cultures in nearby cities, but it never worked. The other cultures kept going to war against them as soon as they looked distracted (usually because of political bickering) or weak (as after the Gallic invasion). We know that later on, the Romans did find a solution to this problem: They invited these other cultures to become Roman.


While no one in Rome proposed a pure pacifism as far as I know, there were times when the common soldier was unwilling to fight. The Senate was not above creating an enemy in order to get the Plebeians out of Rome and occupied in a war. We have heard the charge that the Soviet Union and later on, Islamists, were "created" as enemies to keep the Military Industrial complex churning. Since I was a cog for a while in the "Military Industrial Complex," my own experience is that this charge against America is false. I never saw any evidence of it. We did propose new technology, but we never proposed a new war. The Senate of Rome did propose wars, and sometimes the Plebeians and the Tribunes who represented them saw through these wars and sought to avoid fighting them, but these wars were not entirely a creation of the Senate. There really were enemies out there, and when they saw the Roman plebeians refusing to fight, they occasionally invaded Rome.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Intellectuals don't honor Liberal values either

Blogblather continues to argue that "Patriotism, heroism, Western Civilization" and "Nationhood" have no value for him and, presumably, for anyone else. These are "abstract nouns" he declares, and "have as much substance as shadows."

These are indeed abstract nouns, but our nation's forefathers invested them with blood and meaning. If we set philosophy aside and examine our history, we can learn that.

The City Journal has an applicable article by Sol Stern. It is a book review of Paul Berman's The Flight of the Intellectuals and is entitled "The Intellectuals Keep Flying." It is subtitled "The New York Review of Books seeks to discredit Paul Berman." Berman writes, "It’s understandable that the book—and, indeed, all of Berman’s work since the 9/11 terrorist attacks—would discomfit The New York Review. Just as his 2003 bestseller Terror and Liberalism did, Berman’s new volume criticizes liberals for their frequent denials when confronted with violent assaults against their own democratic societies by radical Islamist movements. This failure of nerve Berman attributes partly to political correctness (excessive multiculturalism and moral relativism) and partly to cowardice. Berman’s main exhibit for the intellectuals’ “flight” from universal liberal values is two members of The New York Review’s all-star team: the aforementioned Timothy Garton Ash and the Anglo-Dutch journalist Ian Buruma. Berman skewers both writers for bestowing respectability on the self-proclaimed Islamic “reformer” Tariq Ramadan, despite his abhorrent views on women and gay rights and his tortured apologetics for radical Islam. While going easy on Ramadan, Garton Ash and Buruma scorn the courageous Muslim dissident Ayaan Hirsi Ali for her “enlightenment fundamentalism.” These impeccable liberals, writes Berman, “sneered at Ayaan Hirsi Ali for having taken up the ideas of Western liberalism and celebrated Tariq Ramadan for having done nothing of the sort.”

Note that Stern and Berman refer to "Intellectuals' flight" from "universal liberal values." These values aren't the ones I have listed, but that's okay, they reject them as well.

But, enough of "abstract nouns"; consider actual events: " Berman’s main exhibit for the intellectuals’ “flight” from universal liberal values is two members of The New York Review’s all-star team: the aforementioned Timothy Garton Ash and the Anglo-Dutch journalist Ian Buruma. Berman skewers both writers for bestowing respectability on the self-proclaimed Islamic “reformer” Tariq Ramadan, despite his abhorrent views on women and gay rights and his tortured apologetics for radical Islam. While going easy on Ramadan, Garton Ash and Buruma scorn the courageous Muslim dissident Ayaan Hirsi Ali for her “enlightenment fundamentalism.” These impeccable liberals, writes Berman, “sneered at Ayaan Hirsi Ali for having taken up the ideas of Western liberalism and celebrated Tariq Ramadan for having done nothing of the sort.”

Berman doesn't mention the abstract nouns Blogblather finds so objectionable, but he mentions womens' and gay rights. Surely these are dear to the heart of any "liberal" and yet Berman's exemplars, Ash and Baruma laud the Muslim Taraq Ramadan, even though he would sacrifice these liberal values and then scourges (figuratively) the already abused (by Muslims) Ayaan Hirsi Ali. If you are willing to send traditional American values skittering into the corner as shadows, what about Womens rights? What about Gay Rights? What about coming to the defense of a female refugee from Islamic abuse?"

Years ago I read Berman's Terror and Liberalism. Berman was no Bushite, but he couldn't swallow the slavish "Liberal" support of Saddam Hussein -- denied in words, those shadowy things, but advocated in deeds. Surely Liberal values must not be compromised in any treatment of Saddam Hussein and his evil regime, but compromised they were. Perhaps it has gotten easier over time. What worry about the violation of "Liberal Values," if they are shadowy worthless things like suitcases that can be packed with anything anyone likes?

This is why "history" is a better vehicle for addressing these matters than "philosophy." With philosophy blogblather can argue that there is no such thing as transcultural rationality -- and mean whatever he likes. But Ayyan Hirsi Ali has a history as does Taraq Ramadan and we can examine them, if we are willing, and see where they came from, what they have said, and what they are about. One loves the abstract value "freedom." The other seems awfully comfortable with Islamic values that are inimical to traditional "Liberal Values."

Will the Blogblathers of this modern world be convicted by the relation of these facts? Alas, no. They are willing to cast facts, as quick anyone can produce them, into the same dark corner they sent the traditional American values.

Is European Multiculturalism really on its way out?


The above article, written by Soeren Kern, is entitled "The Beginning of the End of European Multiculturalism"

Blogblather notes that I have posted articles describing the dangers of European Multiculturalism, specifically, the slow encroachment of Muslims who refuse to integrate. Europe will become "Eurabia" if this trend continues. He then finds me at odds with myself for posting notes about Geert Wilders and others who are attempting to turn their nations around. Either they will be turned around or they won't. Why can't I make up my mind, Blogblather wonders?

Well, yes, Holland would be on the right track if they followed Geert Wilders' lead, and while he has garnered immense popularity, the Dutch court still has him on the dock and may still send him to jail. Multiculturalism is far from dead in Holland or anyplace else in Europe. If one looks for encourage signs, as Soeren Kern does, one can find them, but this just means that not everyone in Europe as succumbed to the Multiculturalist ideal, not that any nation is making the decision to abandon it.

Kern quotes from Merkel's October 16 speech: "We are a country which at the beginning of the 1960s actually brought [Muslim] guest workers to Germany. Now they live with us and we lied to ourselves for a while, saying that they will nott stay and that they will have disappeared again one day. That is not the reality. This multicultural approach—saying that we simply live side by side and are happy about each other—this approach has failed, failed utterly."

Kern goes on to write, " Merkel's sobering comments follow the publication in October of a survey by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, a think tank linked to the center-left Social Democratic Party [SPD], which found that 55% of Germans believe that Arabs are "unpleasant," and over 33% believe the country is being "overrun" by immigrants. The study also noted that "far-right attitudes" are not isolated at the extremes of German society, but to a large degree "at the center of it.

"The debate over what to do about Germany's broken immigration system has been simmering for years, but began in earnest in August, when Thilo Sarrazin, a prominent German banker, and also a long-time member of the SPD, published a controversial new book titled "Germany Does Away With Itself." The book broke Germany's long-standing taboo on discussing the impact of Muslim immigration by highlighting painful truths about the current state of affairs."

Further down Kern writes, "Rather than acknowledge the legitimate concerns of millions of European voters -- that a large percentage of immigrants are not integrating into European society -- Europe's politically correct ruling elite for years has focused its energy on silencing dissent by branding those who refuse to buy into its multicultural worldview as racial bigots.

"Now, however, increasing numbers of European voters (including many on the political left and far-left) are protesting the entrenched paternalism of Europe's ruling class by moving to the political right in search of solutions to some of Europe's most intractable (and mostly self-inflicted) problems. Center-right and far-right parties are currently governing in Britain, France, Germany and Italy, and now sit in the parliaments of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary, Latvia, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

"This political trend spells big trouble ahead for European multiculturalism. Although the term multiculturalism can be defined in many ways, in contemporary Europe it generally refers to an anti-Western ideology, disguised as liberalism, that encourages people of different (namely non-Judeo-Christian) faiths and cultures to settle in Europe without any expectation of them integrating. In practice, European multiculturalism often fosters an animus against Western values and encourages newcomers in anti-Western behavior, rather than promoting the common values of nationhood."

COMMENT: Strangely, these seem to be the views of my favorite Leftist, Billy Blogblather; so perhaps he isn't as original as I gave him credit for. He too could be said to favor "an anti-Western ideology," and I have no doubt that he also favors the immigration of "different (namely non-Judeo-Christian) faiths and cultures" to settle in Europe or America "without any expectation of" their integrating."

Kern writes "In practice European multiculturalism often fosters an animus against Western values and encourages newcomers in anti-Western behavior, rather than promoting the common values of nationhood." I suspect Blogblather would say "hear, hear," to that.

Since Blogblather and the other Leftists who disguise themselves as "Liberals" do correspond closely to Kern's description of them, one might ask what else they resemble. My impression is that their beliefs resemble those of a suicide, or a group of lemmings bent on leaping from a cliff. The Principle-less Leftists, suicides and Lemmings are all bent on their own destruction, and only one of these three realizes it.

No Country for Old Men -- or anyone else

Last night I watched "No Country for Old Men." Tommy Lee Jones plays the central character in the movie. He plays Sherriff Ed Tom Bell, the "old man" that his modern world is no longer a "country for." The second significant character is Llewelyn Moss, played by Josh Brolin. He is out hunting antelope in West Texas and comes across a drug deal gone bad. There is only one man left alive and he is dying. Moss discovers a satchel full of money and takes it.

The third significant character in the movie is Anton Chigurh played by the Spanish actor Javier Bardem. Chigurh is a psychopathic killer who is extremely principled, but his principles are not those of society -- not those of Sherriff Bell's "Country." They are his own. He kills people without mercy, but he will also spare someone if they guess right on a coin toss.

Chigurh reminds me of Billy Blogblather in a recent interchange we had -- not that I think Blogblather is a relentless killer -- far from it, but I do think he makes up his own principles, and in doing that he exemplifies this Country that is not for those of us who want to retain the principles that many of us still value.

Lawrence referring to Blogblaher: "He does not value patriotism, heroism, Western Civilization, or Nationhood."

Blogblather, calling himself "Miss Piggy": "You've got that right. Moi doesn't value them because those terms don't have any real definition. They're "God" words -- without any doctrines even -- they're just sounds that people throw around. Now, if you want to discuss the specific things that Moi values very highly about this country, then let's do that. Moi doesn't talk "patriotism." If you want to discuss specific moral decisions and the courage to pursue them, then let's do that. Moi doesn't doesn't have the first inkling what "heroism" means. If you want to discuss Western Civilization, you'll need to get a syllabus together. It's awfully large topic. We can take specific incidents and beliefs within Western Civilization over the centuries and perhaps come to some common ground. Nationhood??? Moi doesn't know the hell that means. The online etymological dictionary traces "nation" to "c.1300, from O.Fr. nacion, from L. nationem (nom. natio) "nation, stock, race," lit. "that which has been born," from natus, pp. of nasci "be born" (Old L. gnasci; see genus). Political sense has gradually taken over from racial meaning, -- hood the dictionary traces to "a large group of people with common ancestry." "state or condition of being," from O.E. -had "condition, position," cognate with Ger. -heit, Du. -heid, all from P.Gmc. *khaidus. Originally a free-standing word, cf. O.E. hed "position, dignity," O.N. heiĆ°r "honor, dignity," Goth. haidus "manner;" it survives in English only in this suffix." So does Lawrence mean "the dignity or manner of the race??" A lot of Southerners would feel comfortable with that meaning. Nationhood?? What's the national difference between the US and Canada except that Canada has a mostly sane society? Whereas we are a nation of gunslingers. What's the national difference between the U. S. and most European countries -- from whom we mostly came? Nothing except that they care about the health and welfare of all their citizenry, whereas we only care about the super wealthy. Nationhood. Yeah, Moi's all for that."

Lawrence: Blogblather's explanation for why he doesn't value "Patriotism, heroism, Western Civilization, or Nationhood" strikes me as somewhat original. He appears to have given the matter some thought, but the fact remains that he is rejecting traditional principles and making up his own. Blogblather doesn't believe in killing of any sort, but where is the overarching belief-system that enforces his particular view of this "Country"? He doesn't have any; so there is nothing (if we were to abolish the remnants of tradition principles that Blogblather rejects) to prevent Anton Chigurh from enforcing his own principles on those he confronts as he chases after the money Llewelan Moss found. And Sherriff Bell, representing Traditional principles isn't able to defeat Chigurh. Instead, he retires from office.

In this morning paper I found another example of someone who makes up his own principles. The French Valley police don't know who he is, but they do know that he slipped some valuable rings off a dying woman's fingers. The woman was 39 years old and dying of cancer. She died a week after her rings were stolen. She valued those rings because they had been handed down to her. She wanted her daughters to have them after she died. Alas, someone making up his own principles like Billy Blogblather, Anton Chigurh, have made French Valley a little less desirable to live in.

But wait. Maybe an over-arching set of principles is on its way to rescue Blogblather from his anarchism. I notice that Juan Williams was just fired from NPR for confessing that he sometimes feels uneasy when he gets on a plane and sees several Muslims dressed in traditional garb behaving weirdly -- or something like that -- So off goes Juan's head -- figuratively of course, but once Sharia Law is formally instituted and not just inferred by agencies like NPR, then heads may be lopped off in real time. Anton Chigurh's principles will no longer prevail . . . no, wait . . .

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Islamists vow attack if Dutch implement Wilders’ anti-immigration policies


This article is from the Dutch site, Expatica.com.

A senior Afghan Taliban official has warned of an attack against the Netherlands if its new government implements the agenda of anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders, the Volkskrant daily reported Monday.

"If the Netherlands maintains or intensifies its anti-Islam policy, it is certain that the Netherlands will be the target of an attack by a jihadist group," Zabiullah Mujahed, a long-time Taliban spokesman, is quoted as having told the newspaper.

Wilders, who campaigns to "stop the Islamisation of the Netherlands", went on trial on October 4 for calling Islam "fascist" and likening the Koran to Hitler's "Mein Kampf".

His Party for Freedom has signed a pact to provide a new minority, rightist coalition government of Christian Democrats and liberals with the votes they need in parliament in return for a voice in policy formation.

The agreement commits the new government, inaugurated last Thursday, to a hardened immigration policy that will include the introduction of a burqa ban and measures to sharply reduce immigrant numbers.

"If he (Wilders) succeeds in manipulating the Dutch parliament to pass more anti-Islamic legislation ... there is no doubt that Muslims from other countries will take action to help their Muslim brothers and sisters," Mujahed said.

He added that the Taliban was "very careful in its relations with the Netherlands" because "it was the first country that decided to stop the occupation of our country".

A dispute over continuing military aid to Afghanistan led to the collapse of the previous Dutch coalition government in February, and the subsequent withdrawal of Dutch forces after four years in that country.


The Dutch are obviously conflicted: How can one be Politically Correct and stop one's country from being swallowed by Islamists at the same time? It is a knotty question. Apparently the Dutch leaders are still willing to let the situation drift. Geert Wilders is trying to put the brakes on this drift, but he is being opposed by powerful forces, and now the Islamists have added one further reason why the Dutch should just give up and do whatever the Islamists want: If you don't do what we want, they say, we will hurt you. This is the message of the extortionist, but extortion has worked down through the ages and seems to work well in a demoralized Europe. So maybe the Dutch will give in once again.

On the other hand, Geert Wilders seems to be becoming more and more popular. The Multiculturalist Emperor has no clothes, and while Geert Wilders is paying the price for pointing that out, many, following his lead are seeing him more clearly.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Is the European version of Western Civilization doomed?

A European asked whether I might have some underlying goal behind my note "When is it appropriate to Surrender?" (http://www.lawrencehelm.com/2010/10/when-is-it-appropriate-to-surrender-to.html). He thought it might be a "surrogate" having to do with surrendering to Islamism. I'd hate to think any of my discussions were surrogates for anything. It follows the previous note "Salamis, and is Western Civilization worth Saving" (http://www.lawrencehelm.com/2010/10/salamis-and-is-western-civilization.html ) which contrasts those who fought the Battle of Salamis with Europeans today who don't seem willing to fight for much of anything. The Battle of Salamis was written by Barry Straus (Professor of history and classics at Cornell) and subtitled "The Naval Encounter that Saved Greece -- and Western Civilization." There is good evidence that is exactly what happened. Our Western Civilization would not exist had Greece lost that battle to Persia. Did the Greeks know that is what they were fighting for? No, of course not, but it is valuable to examine what it is they were fighting for. Strauss mentions, among other things, "Democracy" and "Freedom," which are key ingredients in what we today term "Liberal Democracy." The contrast between that time when Western Civilization was saved and this when it is being eroded, is stark.

In a series of notes not so long ago I discussed the pacifistic and anarchic inroads that ultimately degraded France's ability to withstand Nazi Germany. It is all well and good to say that one should fight for one's beliefs, but what happens if one decides not to? Just as many Greek City states capitulated to Persia, so did much of France's population capitulate to Nazi Germany.

Europe has grown weak largely because of its experiences during World War II and the Cold War. Europe doesn't trust its largest nation, Germany, and Germany doesn't trust itself. "Stop me before I Kill again!" might be Germany's unspoken desire, and Europe has been trying to do that through its union, its monetary system, and its weakened military capability. And in this same vein does it surprise us that they have instituted multiculturalism in Europe? They invite other cultures into Europe and then don't insist that they integrate. This is the reality of what has been occurring in Europe. And part of that reality, I am suggesting, may be due to Europe's sense of guilt. They have caused the two most horrendous wars in World History -- maybe Western Civilization isn't worth saving.

No European is saying that it ought to be replaced by Islam or Islamism, but this is something like their attitude toward Christendom. They have abandoned Christianity and no that doesn't mean they want to embrace Islam, but a negative (having no religion at all) is not a good defense against the aggressive religion Islam. By the same token, if they have abandoned their faith in Western Civilization, as I believe they have, while that doesn't mean that they want to replace it with Islamism, they are not in a very good position to oppose the Islamists. They find themselves in regard to both religion and politics in a position of trying to oppose something (Islam and Islamism) with nothing.

This European also suggested that Ancient Greek thought was a product of multiculturalism, I think that would be a difficult argument to prove. Not so long ago I spent some time with Heidegger's concept of tradition. Heidegger wanted Germany to hark back to its traditions, but Europe doesn't want to hear that message today. It wants to abandon its traditions. It wants to "progress" not devolve back into tradition, and that seems to be in effect, especially when we view the threat of Islam and Islamism, tantamount to the abandonment of Western Civilization.

The Greeks harked back to their traditions when they opposed Persia. Were those traditions multicultural? I don't know that they were. Language, for example, evolves. Take English. Was the language of Chaucer from another culture or merely part of our Western tradition? I assume the latter. The Athenians and the others at Salamis harked back to their traditions. They evoked their beliefs and ideals and fought against a tyrannical empire and won.

That is very different from what is going on today in Europe. Apathy and anarchy have bit deep into Europe's soul and Europe may not have the will to withstand a younger more vibrant culture.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

When is it appropriate to surrender to an enemy?

Yesterday I posted a note entitled "Salamis, and is Western Civilization worth saving?" (http://www.lawrencehelm.com/2010/10/salamis-and-is-western-civilization.html )

Billy Blogblather responded with,

LAWRENCE (quoted from the above note): If a Greek city surrendered to Persia then it wasn't invaded. Tribute was paid and a deal was struck, but once you fought against Persia then your doom was sealed. Men were killed or taken into slavery, women raped or enslaved children and old people killed -- who wanted that? It was much better, those 1469 Greek States believed, to surrender and pay tribute. Of course that option wasn't open to Athens, Sparta and a few others. They had fought against Persia in the past; so they needed to be punished. Surrender was not an option for the ancestors of our Western Civilization -- although it seems to be an option for the European heirs to this civilization.

BLOGBLATHER: So what's your point? Better dead than Red? Better Red than dead?

COMMENT: Blogblather's comment was so far from anything that related to my note, anything I was thinking about it, or anything I could imagine about it that I dismissed it as a joke that missed its mark. But this morning I realized that Blogblather was being consistent. He does not value patriotism, heroism, Western Civilization, or Nationhood. But rather than say something like that, he tries to put the onus back on me. The inference, if I am now reading him right, is that since I do value patriotism, heroism, Western Civilization and Nationhood than I am making the point, better Islamist than Dead.

Had Blogblather lived in 480 BC during the time of the Battles at Thermopylae and Salamis, he would not have been one of the 300 standing with Leonidas, nor one manning the oars of a trireme at Salamis. Assuming he had a choice, he would have been with one of the cities that surrendered to and sided with Xerxes. He would have been an Ionian, Phoenician, Carian, Cypriot, Cilician, Pamphylian or a Lycian.

I would warn Blogblather from history that just because the people from those cities decided "better Persian than dead" didn't guarantee them a long life. Persia was a totalitarian empire. You might have been a Carian and thanked your lucky gods that you were part of the Persian Empire and not dead, but if you were available when Xerxes was building his army and navy, then you might well have been drafted. Instead of being one of the Spartan 300, you could have been one of the 20,000 killed by them. Or, you might have been forced to man one of the oars in a Carian Trireme. As to how you might have fared in the latter case, I refer you to Aeschylus, who fought for Athens at Salamis.

[From Aeschylus "The Persians" translated by Seth G. Benardete]

Persian Herald reporting to Xerxes mother:

". . .

A great concerted cry we heard: 'O Greek

Sons, advance! Free your fathers' land,

Free your sons, your wives, the sanctuaries

Of paternal gods, the sepulchers

Of ancestors. Now the contest's drawn:

All is at stake!' And babble Persian tongues

Rose to meet it: no longer would the action

Loiter. Warships struck their brazen beaks

Together: a Grecian man-of-war began

The charge, a Phoenician ornamented stern

Was smashed; another drove against another.

First the floods of Persians held the line,

But when the narrows choked them, and rescue hopeless,

Smitten by prows, their bronze jaws gaping,

Shattered entire was our fleet of oars.

The Grecian warships, calculating, dashed

Round, and encircled us; ships showed their belly:

No longer could we see the water, charged

With ships' wrecks and men's blood.

Corpses glutted beaches and the rocks.

Every warship urged its own anarchic

Route; and all who survived that expedition,

Like mackerel or some catch of fish,

Were stunned and slaughtered, boned with broken oars

And splintered wrecks: lamentations, cries

Possessed the open sea, until the black

Eye of evening, closing, hushed them. . . ."

Blogblather's Leftist slogan sounds rather pathetic in light of the fact that Death isn't actually being presented as the alternative to surrender in Europe. Very few have been threatened with actual death, and those who have, such as Salman Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, and the Danish cartoonist have gone into hiding, fled their countries, or both. No, the threat is that if these Islamic Fundamentalists aren't surrendered to -- in regard to what they are demanding -- they will throw tantrums, go into rages, carry insulting signs, threaten death to those who oppose them (without the means for carrying those threats out), burn a few cars, and blow themselves up.

If we could bring forward in time an educated person from one of the city-states that surrendered to Persia and describe to him the surrender that is occurring in Europe today, I am convinced he would be amazed. "Have you no backbone? Are there no men left in Europe. We surrendered to overwhelming odds, but you surrender to nothing -- and without a fight."

But if we had a European Multiculturalist handy to rebut him, he might say "wait, wait. It isn't as simple as that. We have this theory that we have progressed in Europe beyond the old national wars and that we can all get along if we let everyone have whatever culture he wants."

Surely our visitor from the past would be equally stunned by this statement. He might look about him in Europe (we'll give him a bit of omniscience), raise an eyebrow and observe, "and how much longer do you intend to pursue this theory of yours. In my day we knew better than to try anything so nonsensical, but you people appear to have degenerated a bit."

Friday, October 15, 2010

Salamis, and is Western Civilization worth saving?

I've been reading The Battle of Salamis by Barry Strauss (2004). It is subtitled "The Naval Encounter that Saved Greece -- and Western Civilization."

The battle that Strauss writes about occurred in 480 BC. The Persian Empire was the largest and most powerful force the world had ever seen, and its Emperor Xerxes had decided that it was high time to destroy Greece -- at least that part of Greece that had fought against Persia in the past. His predecessor, Darius I, had lost at Marathon and he Xerxes wanted to avenge the Marathon loss and build his own reputation at the same time.

The internal conflicts of the Greeks dwarfed anything the West has gone through in modern times. Did we endure two World Wars? The Greeks endured wars that killed a greater percentage of their population. Did we dilly dally instead of preparing for a serious threat from Hitler? The Greeks were much better at dilly-dallying. Strauss credits Themistocles with finessing the Greeks into defeating the Persians at Salamis, and his task was much greater than Churchill's when he finessed the Americans into supporting the British during World War II. I was surprised to learn that there were as many Greeks fighting for Xerxes as fighting against him.

One would think that the Greeks would be united in their desire to oppose submitting to Xerxes, but the "Freedom" admired by the Athenians and the "Law and Order" admired by the Spartans had their detractors then as they do today. Xerxes built the largest army and navy ever seen by that time, but he had other reasons for being confident. One important reason was that it was easy to find Greek traitors. You may recall, if you saw the movie 300, that it was a Greek traitor that showed Xerxes army how to get behind Leonidas and his 300 Spartans at Thermopylae. Xerxes Persia had become a "haven for losers in Greece's power battles." One of his chief advisors was the former Spartan king, Demaratus. But there were many others and not every Greek nation was willing to fight against the Persians.

The fighting vessel of the day was the Trireme. As they assembled for battle, the Greeks had 333 Trireme's and the Persians 1327. The Greek ships were heavier, slower and had fewer Marines on board. The victory of the American navy over the larger and better equipped Japanese navy in the Pacific was remarkable, but much more was at stake at Salamis. Even had the Japanese destroyed the American navy in the Pacific, they were in no position to conquer the American mainland. Not even the most ambitious militarist in Japan proposed that, but if the Greeks were defeated at Salamis, that would have been the end of them. The Persians typically took defeated soldiers, the ones they decided not to kill, as slaves, raped the women, and killed the old people. The Athenians had evacuated Athens and fled to Salamis when they realized they couldn't stop the Persians from taking their city; so all the ancestors of our Western Civilization were there at Salamis. It would have been an easy matter for the Persians to do whatever they wanted with the Athenians on Salamis Island if they had been victorious at sea.

Think of a Greek philosopher or dramatist you admire. If he created his work after 480 B.C., he would never have produced it if the Persians had won at Salamis. Consider the dates of these contributors to Western Civilization: Socrates (469-399), Plato (428-348), Aristotle (384-322), Sophocles (497-406), and Euripides (480-406).

Think also of the Athenian love of Freedom. Democracy in Athens lasted for 250 years. This ideal was passed along to the Romans. I have read the first 5 books of Livy's The Early History of Rome, which takes Rome down to 386 B.C., and Rome's internal struggles, struggles that often put them at a disadvantage against adversaries, were most often about Freedom. The Commons wanted it and the Aristocrats didn't want them to have it. Livy assumes that Freedom and Democracy are good things, but if Greece had been defeated in 480 B.C. at Salamis, would he have assumed what he did when he wrote (Livy lived from 59BC to 17AD)?

But today Liberal-Leftists don't value Western Civilization all that much, and someone who does, like Geert Wilders, is put on trial, or like Hirsi Ali hounded out of Europe. "Multiculturalism" is what modern Leftist-Liberals value today. They don't just say that all other cultures have a right to exist. They say that they all have a right to exist within our nations.

To paraphrase what seems to be the current, politically correct, European sentiment, one might say, "Come one come all, and if you don't like Western Civilization, not to worry. We don't like it all that much either. Do you want to set up enclaves that work against European governments? Well, go right ahead. We don't mind. One civilization or government is as good as another, and if truth be told, we are rather ashamed of ours at the present time."

If we were to expand our parallel between the Greeks at the time of Salamis and the present time, we can see the European nations surrendering to the modern equivalent of Persia without a fight and America like Athens the last bastion of Western Civilization willing to hold out (several have written in this vein, e.g., the Canadian Mark Steyn in America Alone). At the time of Salamis there were 1500 Greek City-States, but only 31 joined in the coalition against Persia. As Strauss writes, "In fact, more Greek city-states fought on the other side. Persia was too strong and loyalty to the idea of Greece too weak to make the Hellenic League any more powerful. Athens, Sparta, and the few other city-states that stood up to Persia spoke harshly of Greek traitors, but most Greeks would have shrugged their shoulders at the charge."

If a Greek city surrendered to Persia then it wasn't invaded. Tribute was paid and a deal was struck, but once you fought against Persia then your doom was sealed. Men were killed or taken into slavery, women raped or enslaved children and old people killed -- who wanted that? It was much better, those 1469 Greek States believed, to surrender and pay tribute. Of course that option wasn't open to Athens, Sparta and a few others. They had fought against Persia in the past; so they needed to be punished. Surrender was not an option for the ancestors of our Western Civilization -- although it seems to be an option for the European heirs to this civilization.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rome in 418 B.C. -- thoughts on soldiers, recruitment, and pacifism

I am currently in book four of Livy's The Early History of Rome; on page 321 of the Penguin edition of Aubrey de Selincourt's translation.

There was no possibility of a pacifistic stance from 1200 B.C., at the beginning of Livy's book one, to as far as I've read in book four, which takes me to 418 B.C. Not only was pacifism not a feasible stance, neither was a lack of patriotism. It wasn't just the willingness of the plebeians to fight that enabled the city of Rome to survive, they needed to fight better than the warriors of the other cities. Back in those times, to lose a war often meant ceasing to exist. In the long run, I suppose, every city on the peninsula and even further afield lost out to Rome and ceased to exist, but in 418 there were quite a few that were still active and still capable of giving Rome a lot of trouble.

Rome had a problem that we in our modern-day Liberal Democracies no longer have, a class struggle between the Patricians and the Plebeians. The Plebeians were needed to fight and the Patricians to lead in battle. The Patricians claimed all the ownable land of Rome for themselves. This struck the Plebeians as unfair. While they were thankful for the loot (soldiers didn't get paid in anything else) they wanted some land for themselves. They had been struggling for quite a long time to get a land-law passed. Patricians didn't own it all. Some was kept in common and the Plebeians wanted it, but the Senate (made up of Patricians) is saved time and time again from passing such a law because new wars regularly broke out.

During each emergency, and Livy tells us it was the rare year when there wasn't a war or the serious threat of one, the Plebeians were forced to set aside their complaints and gird their loins for battle. Adding to their disgust was the fact that they would have to submit to the very people they were complaining about. Not only did the Patricians own the bulk of Rome, they also had the skill to lead in battle. Just why the Plebeians didn't have that skill is a bit of a mystery, but on the occasions when the plebeians were given the right to choose whoever they wanted to lead them into battle, they invariably selected a patrician. They had no affection for most of the patricians but they set that aside when they considered the importance of winning a war. They would rather win a war than win their class struggle. And there was inevitably a talented patrician in the wings who would rather lead them to victory than keep them from gaining a political advantage of some sort.

Sometimes the Roman class struggle made Rome seem virtually defenseless, and at times it very nearly was. They even went to war on more than one occasion without the heart for it. But an ineffective general could be fined most of his fortune and a big part of his job was inspiring his troops to do battle. Also, if he looked really good he might be elected Consul and common soldiers who distinguished themselves might be elected Tribune. Good things happened when they were victorious and bad things happened, sometimes very bad things, when they were not.

In 420 B.C enemies were threatening. They weren't exactly at the gates but they weren't far from them and the patricians and the plebeians were bickering. They were in no condition to go to war. Finally "an interrex [a temporary dictator] was appointed who had the courage to face the situation squarely -- Lucius Papirius Mugilanus; he showed no tenderness to either party, and boldly declared that patriotism was dead, and that without God's providence and the lucky accident of the truce with the Veii and the unadventurious policy of the Aequians the country would long ago have been done for. 'But suppose', he said, 'a threat should come from that quarter --- would you want us to be caught without any patrician in a position of authority? Or without an army -- or a general to raise one? Civil war is hardly a good weapon for repelling an invader; and were we to be faced with both at once, God himself would hardly be able to avert our total destruction. Why cannot each party yield a point and agree upon a compromise?"

The Aequians had done rather well in some battles -- a bit better than the Romans. Also, they had allied themselves with the Labici; so things were looking bleak for Rome. However Rome pulled itself together.

"Success had so far spoiled the Aequians that they were no less careless and arrogant than the Roman commanders had been before their defeat. . . in the very first clash the dictator completely disorganized their front line by a cavalry charge followed by a massed infantry attack . . . So high was the spirit of the Roman troops that the Aequians were unable to hold them; they broke and retreated in disorder to their camp, which was assaulted and taken in even less time and with even less effort. The camp was sacked and the soldiers permitted to keep whatever of value it contained, and immediately afterwards the cavalry returned from its pursuit of the fleeing enemy with the news that the whole force from Labici had been defeated and that many of the surviving Aequians had taken refuge there; on the next day, therefore, the Dictator ordered an advance to Labici which was promptly surrounded, entering by scaling-ladders, and sacked. Thus a week after his appointment the dictator brought his victorious army back to Rome, and resigned. The Senate, at a full meeting, passed a resolution to send settlers to Labici, and 1,500 people left Rome to settle there, with a grant of about one and a half acres of land each. . . ."

As of 418 B.C. Rome was still just a city and not a nation or an empire. We see that a neighboring city, Labici, when it was defeated ceased to exist. The Labici land was used to alleviate one of Rome's problems. The Plebeians wanted land? Let them have Labici land. Labici was about 20 miles from Rome and 1,500 people may not have been an insignificant number since the census in 464 B.C. was 104,714 registered citizens "apart from widows and orphans."

COMMENT: We have come a long way in one respect. Nations don't cease to exist quite as readily as cities did back in 418 B.C. Germany and Japan were defeated but went right on existing, and it is hard to imagine a circumstance in which a nation or even a group of nations would drive another nation out of existence. Both the Germans and the Russians moved large groups of people but they didn't destroy an entire nation.

And as we have seen, it is now possible for a nation to take a stance (although they wouldn't describe it as baldly as I do) that might be described as follows: "What difference does it make whether we win or lose? No difference at all. So why shouldn't we surrender before the war starts -- or at least give up before it has gotten very far along? We'll save lots of lives that way -- many more than if we seriously contend with our enemy."

In effect that is what France did during World War II. Their Vichy period is a good test case for that approach. In retrospect there probably aren't any Frenchmen who still think that it made no difference whether they seriously contended against Germany. De Gaulle came sweeping in after the war and redefined everything. Those with the Vichy mentality weren't French after all. Only De Gaulle and his Free French warriors were entitled to the name. But De Gaulle and most of the intensity surrounding their Vichy period is dead and it is possible to view that period for what it was: an experiment in going to war half-heartedly, much as the Romans did before they appointed their interrex. When they appointed him, they got very serious about winning. The French never did.

In 418 B.C. all the city states were equal in regard to weaponry, but that isn't true today. Osama bin Laden had a point when he taunted the U.S. about being unwilling to shed its blood. I believe it was during the Clinton administration when he said that. America was still suffering from the political fallout over body bags from the Vietnam War; so high-altitude bombing seemed the best way to avoid more of them from Kosovo or wherever else we fought. Bin Laden said his forces weren't afraid of shedding their blood and because America was, his forces and ideology would surely win. He was a bit premature in that assessment. America showed in Afghanistan and Iraq that it wasn't afraid to shed its blood, but even then, to move behind bin Laden's taunt, we have a tremendous advantage. Even when we aren't engaging in high-altitude bombing we have technology that places almost any conceivable enemy at a disadvantage.

But even with this technological advantage we need soldiers who are willing to fight with the same degree of enthusiasm and competence as the Roman soldier. Even with a technological advantage, the American soldier will sometimes need to move into harm's way where he may very well shed some blood. Bin Laden was wrong. We can still field an army with a sufficient number of soldiers who are willing to shed their blood if necessary. The technological advantage allows these soldiers to understand that they are far more likely to shed an enemy's blood than the reverse.

I could almost say that the political squabbling and bickering Livy describes is very like that going on amongst the Left and Right, Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. -- except with a population of only 104,714 registered citizens apart from widows and orphans in 464 B.C. everyone able to do so was expect to fight in Rome's wars. Maybe the Senators no longer fought, but they did when they were young. Every able-bodied Roman male citizen was expected to fight when there was a war. In modern-day America that isn't true. There are all sorts of ways to avoid military recruitment. Furthermore, because so many wanted to avoid going to Vietnam and the Leftist press was so effective at denigrating our efforts there, we are at present trying all-volunteer military forces. The Marines always preferred that. They didn't want anyone that didn't want to be a Marine, but the other forces recruit people who didn't want to go to war. Now, enough young people, both men and women, have volunteered so that present-day operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have not suffered.

If the time ever came when insufficient numbers of men and women volunteered; then recruitment drafts would have to be resumed in emergencies. With that in mind, I would think it prudent of Left-wing and Pacifistic critics should reverse their political positions in this respect. As long as America produces men willing to volunteer to fight our wars, then the Left-Wingers and Pacifists can stay safely home and avoid them. But if their political arguments eventually silence the opposition, and no one is willing to volunteer, then when the next emergencies occur, America will have to resume recruitment drafts and they will have to go to war, like it or not.

They seem rather like the Islamists in one respect. Whenever they win the political control, they destroy the confidence of the people who elected them. No doubt that's unfair of me to say in light of the Left's current disappointment in Obama, but even if he had been as wonderful as they hoped and even if they found some way to vote him interrex, he would one day die and whatever was wonderful about him and his reign would be replaced by something else.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Morality, Hatred, and the Geert Wilders trial

In one discussion group I'm in there is a discussion of morality. I admit to not paying it proper attention because it seems to me the term followed the examples. A debate pitting dueling philosophers over the establishment of morality strikes me as missing the history -- that is, what really happened -- at least in Western Civilization.

"Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Later on the term "morality" was applied to these commandments. If you believe in and obey these injunctions then you are moral. If you violate them, especially if you are a serial violator, then you are immoral.

If we attempt to build "foundations" of morality without crediting the Christian history of our Western Civilization, then we may fail to make sense. Take what is going on in the Geert Wilders trial. In brief, Wilders has offered his opinion about Islam and about the dangers of Dutch immigration policies. He is accused of inciting his fellow Dutchmen to hate Muslims. It seems to me that these Dutch jurists have gone rather far from their Christian roots. "Hate," is a word that has been forced out of its traditional meaning and applied by the Politically Correct as modern means to achieve Modern, Leftist-Liberal ends.

If we return to our Christian tradition we see that Hate is a neutral term. We are not to hate our brother or God, but we are to hate evil. We learn that God hates all sorts of things. For example, He hates a double-minded man, wrong paths, sin, those who hate him, falsehood, and those who hate peace.

So hatred isn't wrong if it involves hating evil, falsehood, wrong paths, etc. So if the Dutch Jurists don't want to completely make up a new set of laws based on Leftist-Liberal fancy, (and setting aside for the moment the question of whether this trial is based on anything in Western tradition) they need to deal with what it is that Wilders hates. If he can show that he hates those who hate peace and advocate murder, for example, then surely he is being correct in his hatred. Consider just a couple of examples of this peace-hatred that we find ready to hand:




Is Wilders wrong to hate these Peace haters? A better question to ask is why the Dutch Jurists don't hate them as well.

COMMENT: Is not any man that moves into our West and consequently into our Western Tradition compelled by the very contract he has made during the immigration procedure to live at peace with our Western tradition? Is he not a "double-minded" man if he promises to live at peace with this tradition but once he has become a citizen declares this tradition anathema and a violation of Sharia? Notice the signs in the above photos. Do they not violate our Western traditions of tolerance and free speech?

If the people in the above photos stood on enemy soil and voiced those sentiments, they might be logical "single-minded." But to come to the West, enter into it, and then hate it and want to "behead," "slay," "butcher," and "exterminate" those of the West who are not violating Western Standards is "double-minded." "Deceitful" is another term for what they are doing.

So what should we in the West do in the face of such people? Should we give in to their rage and to their threats of violence? Many Western leaders would answer in the affirmative. Yes, they would say, let us give in to them. They wouldn't like my leaving this so baldly. They would want me to add their "reasons" for giving in to them, the reasons they repeat to themselves and each other, but I see no need to do that. They are, even if we listen to all their reasons for doing so, giving in to them.

I applaud Geert Wilders for hating what is evil, and as such times as these, during the Dutch trial of Wilders for hating evil; I am reminded of some things I was told by my Drill Instructor during Boot Camp. He said that we should not expect "civilians" to understand us. They spend their time engaged in peaceful activities and neither understand, nor (often) appreciate what the warriors in our society have to do to keep them at peace. This peace is a gift that the warriors of each generation fought to give them. What a shame it will be if Leftist-Liberal "Civilians" give in to our enemies without a fight.

Wilders is behaving as a warrior in regard to the Islamic threat facing the Dutch. The Dutch Leftist-Liberal "Civilians" who want to put him in jail for his courageous words (in the opinion of this former Marine) ought to be ashamed of themselves. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Will Geert Wilders’ courage get him sent to jail?


The above article was written by Jacob Laksin. In the photo below we see Muslims using one of their favorite arguments. Some of us might wish they had larger vocabularies, but fear of this sort of argument had the Obama administration hopping about in panic when Terry Jones threatened to burn some Korans.


Laksin refers to the Western fear of this argument when he writes, "It is . . . worth noting that much of what the popular press has derided as 'Muslim bashing' is actually a well-warranted anxiety on the part of the Dutch populace about the increasingly restive, radicalized, and unassimilated Muslim immigrants in their midst. From the killing of libertarian politician Pim Fortuyn in 2002, to the 2004 murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by a Dutch-Moroccan Islamist, to the upsurge in violent attacks on gays in Amsterdam by Moroccan street thugs, to the death threats and daily harassment that have driven critics of radical Islam like Ayaan Hirsi Ali from the country, the Dutch have become acutely aware of the wages of the country’s immigration policy from the Muslim world. At the same time, the official appeasement of Islamic sensibilities, represented most recently by the Wilders trial, and the crisis of national confidence exemplified by a Dutch justice minister’s notorious assertion that Islamic Shari’a would be welcome in the Netherlands so long as it was democratically introduced, have underscored just how attenuated the country’s defenses against Muslim religious radicalism have become."

Further down Laksin writes, "France, Britain and Germany are perhaps the best known examples of European countries struggling to cope with their Muslim minorities, but they are hardly the only ones. Sweden, where one-in-seven residents is now foreign-born, has in recent years witnessed many of the same problems stemming from its unassimilated Muslim community. It has responded by making its immigration policies more restrictive and, just last month, voting into parliament an anti-Islam party for the first time. Policies to limit Muslim immigration have also been passed in Denmark, where the publication of the Mohammed cartoons by Copenhagen-based paper Jyllands Posten tragically demonstrated the gulf in values between the Western and the Islamic world. Norway, where Muslim attacks on Jews have become more common, has similarly struggled to reconcile its tolerant culture with Islam, and the creeping Islamization of the country is now a perennial election issue. Insofar as Islam is now a major political issue, much of Europe is literally going Dutch."

As to Wilders, despite optimistic references to withdrawn welcome mats, the Dutch government is still trying to shut Wilders up and the Western Liberal Press continues its attempts to marginalize Wilders as an extremist, but "the Freedom Party’s success is attributable to its platform of reducing asylum seekers from Muslim countries and cutting immigration from non-Western countries by half. An honest account of the debate taking place in the Netherlands would require acknowledging that in his alarm about the consequences of Muslim immigration and in his desire to see it reduced, Wilders is simply representing the views of a growing number of Dutch voters. The Dutch people have spoken – and they have sided with Wilders."

We might agree that Wilders wants to withdraw the Dutch welcome mat and "a growing number of Dutch voters" want to see him do it, but Dutch leaders keep trying to dust off the mat and put it back in place. Rather than side with this "growing number of Dutch voters" who agree with Wilders, they are trying to find some way to put Wilders in jail for these very anti-immigration arguments. Perhaps if Wilders had kept his position vague, all would have been well with him, but "for his troubles in calling attention to the barbarism and militancy of foundational Islamic texts – cited and acted upon by al-Qaeda and other jihadist terror groups – Geert Wilders has been roundly condemned in the international press as an “Islamophobe,” a “racist,” and an instigator, sometimes with the sinister implication that he deserves whatever punishment his Islamist enemies threaten to deal out." [As to what that punishment might be, see above photo]

"And if the media’s reporting on the grisly murders committed by Islamist fanatics (and, in Fortuyn’s case, their disgruntled apologists) is evidence of anti-Muslim incitement, it’s hard to see what at this point does not constitute an offense to Muslim sensibilities. Presumably, if everyone just kept their mouth shut about Islamic extremism, it would cease to be a problem.

Defeatist as it is, that really is the mentality that the self-appointed arbiters of political correctness in the media and beyond have embraced. The trial of Wilders, after all, is nothing more than a high-profile attempt to silence the bearer of bad news about Islamism in the Netherlands. In that sense, the more urgent question is not why the Dutch are so concerned about radical Islam, but why so many in a position of influence are not – and why they are so determined to blame everything and everyone for Islamic extremism except the source itself."

To hear the Liberal-Leftists tell it, the Western World, at least their tilt of it, is "progress." As to their method of argument about this Leftist "tilt," they have borrowed from their sometimes allies. They don't say "Kill Lawrence," for example, but they are free with more sophisticated equivalents like "Extremist, and Islamophobe. It amounts to the same thing in that they don't wish to argue, they just want to kill (in the case of the Radical Islamists) or condemn (in the case of Liberal-Leftists).

One Liberal Leftist thought it a shame there wasn't some place in the world that retained 18th century morality so that I could move there. Or, when enough people wake up to the bankruptcy of Liberal-Leftist ideas, perhaps I'll be able to stay right here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Has Europe removed its Welcome mat?


Martin Walker from Dusseldorf for UPI.com writes, "The common thread that runs through these purely political crises is immigration. In Belgium, Holland and Sweden, the political system was disrupted and traditional party loyalties broken by the impact of small new anti-immigration parties. They emerged from the political right but gathered force by taking working-class votes from the traditional left-wing parties.
The impact of this kind of anti-immigration sentiment is more widespread. Switzerland last year had a referendum that banned the construction of new minarets for mosques. Sarkozy in France is moving against the Roma because he hopes to win back support from the anti-immigrant Front National. And one reason why Britain's Conservatives had to resort to a coalition with the Liberal-Democrats was that the anti-immigrant British National Party won enough votes to deny the Conservatives support in constituencies they had hoped to win."

"In Germany, central banker Thilo Sarrazin was put on the cover of Der Spiegel as "the peoples' hero" after the German establishment rallied to force him off the Bundesbank board after denouncing his new anti-immigration book "Germany is Destroying Itself." He claims that Europe's top economy is being undermined, overwhelmed and made "more stupid" by poorly educated, fast-breeding, badly integrated and unproductive Muslim immigrants and their offspring."

There is no indication that the German government plans to put Thilo Sarrazin on trial for his "hate speech," but maybe that is in the works. Walker goes on to discuss in broad-brush fashion matters in Holland, Italy, France, and Denmark. He concludes "the trend of policy is clear; Europe has removed the welcome mat."

That assessment strikes me as a bit premature. At present some deals have been made with so-called "right-wing extremists" who want to restrict immigration, but I don't believe the "non-extremist" governmental elements have really taken this matter to heart. If they can throw the Geert Wilders out of government and shut up the Thilo Serrazin's I believe the Liberal-Leftists will resume their multiculturalist adventures. Perhaps, and fortunately for Europe, the Islamic encroachment is not a clever conspiracy. Islamists are committed idealists, even more so than Liberal-Leftists and they will not compromise their beliefs for political advantage. They will go right on killing infidels unless their Imams get them to put their fervor on hold; which strikes me as a difficult thing to do. If European Muslims continue with their acts of murder and mayhem the Wilders may never get thrown out of office and the Sarrazins may never shut up and the European immigration-problem (including its aftermath) may one day come under control. I offer this merely as a theoretical possibility. Belief in it requires more optimism and faith in my fellow Westerner than I can generate.

Wilders, the Gadfly in Holland's Politically-Correct Ointment


Am I the only one who sees the Irony in this? Not so many years ago, the Liberal-Left rage was all about Free Speech. "Let no restrictions be placed upon it" was the mantra that rang throughout all the nations in the West. "Anything that can be said, may be said," would have been something any Leftist might sign up to.

In retrospect, it seems that all the Liberal-Left really cared about was pornography and obscenities. They used their Freedom of Speech to be able to get those things, and succeeded admirably; so much so that more morally conservative societies such as China were appalled. When I recently remarked on that, a Liberal-Leftist responded by asking why I cared what China thought. Well, I do. We used to be more morally conservative and I think we lost something when we gave that up. I would like to see the Western moral pendulum swing back in that direction.

Now the West is being attacked on various Levels by political, militant, radical Islam. Surely if ever there was a time to use our vaunted "Free Speech" it would be now, now that we need to stir our people and governments up to action. If not actual action then at least we should be hearing the warnings from our more enlightened politicians. Surely, we, the Western Free, will have individuals speaking out freely on the Islamic danger.

We don't have to look far to see that Liberal-Leftists don't admire politicians, thinkers, writers and even pastors who use their Freedom of Speech to warn against the encroachment of Radical Islam. The Media has been scandalous in its self-censorship when it comes to young Muslim Men committing violent acts. The media doesn't know why those young men did those terrible things. Disgusted conservatives created the term Sudden Jihad Syndrome to cover this Media disgrace. Islamist teaching urges young men to do this very thing -- go out and kill infidels. But our Liberal-Leftist Media claims not to know why these young men do it. It is a great mystery to them -- sort of like SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. SJS, Sudden Jihad Syndrome, is no mystery to anyone who has studied Radical Islam or even recent history without Liberal-Leftist presuppositions. Islamist teachings urge these young men to kill infidels and many of them do.

I have remarked about the scandalous treatment of Terry Jones. For 20 years he worked at a Christian Mission in Germany and developed certain opinions about what he saw there. Convinced that he had the Freedom of Speech, he spoke out against certain Islamic activities. I don't know what they were, but the German Turkish element in Germany apparently got him declared persona non grata; so he returned to the U.S. and resumed using his Freedom of Speech -- in Florida. He decided to do something. There was no law against burning Korans; so he decided to do that to emphasize the dangers he saw attending the Ground Zero Mosque. Enormous pressure was applied upon this Christian pastor to back off. The FBI showed up at his house seeking to dissuade him. High Ranking members of the Obama administration put pressure on him. His bank cancelled the mortgage on the church, and somewhere along the line he caved in to this pressure.

Does no one else see the irony in this, of the Liberal Leftists who seemed to be on the side of the Freedom of Speech no matter what castigating this little Terry Jones pastor in every way they possibly could?

No, well what about Geert Wilders? He is not a little Christian Pastor. He is the leader of the Dutch Freedom party. He has been speaking out against Radical Islam in Holland and represents a position growing in popularity throughout Europe. He wants a stop to Islamic immigration. Any pragmatist would see the reasonableness of his proposal. Muslims are for the most part not integrating. They live in enclaves, and they engage in acts of violence out of all proportion to their actual numbers. They have demonstrated that they represent a counter-productive element in all European nations. Do the Dutch Liberal Leftists invoke Voltaire and say that while they disagree with Wilders they will defend to the death his right to say whatever he likes? Not at all; they are seeking to put him in jail for "hate speech." What is this "hate speech" other than a Liberal Leftist ploy to shut those up who try to warn against the imminent dangers of European policies regarding Islamic immigration and its aftermath?

It is obvious that laws can be created to revoke "Freedom of Speech." The law against "hate speech" is one such law. Are Politically Correct leaders in the Netherlands going to be able to shut Wilders up? He doesn't seem to be going as quietly as Terry Jones did. We read in the Guardian article that while "one of Europe's leading Islam-baiters, went on trial today charged with hate speech and inciting racism . . . the case was swiftly engulfed by uncertainty after a challenge over alleged judges' bias."

Well, yeah, that should be obvious. Any Politically-correct Judge is going to be biased against Geert Wilders. What is this "uncertainty" the Guardian refers to. Nothing could be more certain than that the Liberal-Left will do everything they can to shut Wilders up. Apparently an appeals court ruled that Wilders should face charges for having written an article in which he said, " I've had enough of Islam in the Netherlands; let not one more Muslim immigrate … I've had enough of the Qur'an in the Netherlands. Forbid that fascist book."

Interestingly, while the Dutch Courts are trying to figure out what to do about shutting Wilders up, he has accomplished some of his goals by political means. Increased numbers in Holland are supporting Wilders. He won parliamentary seats in the last election. The Conservative Party needs Wilders seats to make the new government work; so they have given Wilders a quid pro quo. For his cooperation in forming the government, they have agreed to "ban the burqa, crack down on immigration, and pursue more Eurosceptic policies."

"The new government is expected to be sworn in next month, led by Mark Rutte, the VVD leader, as prime minister." I suppose this could be the "uncertainty" the Guardian is referring to. How can Wilders be put on trial for advocating some of the things the current VVD government has promised to do?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Duffy the Schnoodle on a Blustery Day

When I looked out my study window at 09:00 yesterday morning, I saw rain drops on the Spanish Tile; so I decided that we would go to the river. I got on my boots and grabbed my knapsack. My Ridgeback girls were right behind me. I went down the hall to Susan's room and asked, "does Duffy want to go to the river with us?" Duffy is a four-month old Schnoodle (one-half Miniature Schnauzer and one-half Miniature Poodle) who weighs about ten pounds. I'm not sure Duffy understood my question; although he may have. In any case when he saw my knapsack, my boots and my hiking hat, he began barking in excitement. I didn't need to hear Susan's answer to know that he definitely wanted to go.

This was Duffy's first exposure to Rain, and at first he tried to shake it off, but it wasn't raining hard and didn't seem uncomfortable to me. Duffy apparently soon felt the same way because he began doing his usual things, running out to the end of the leash as Ginger or Sage chased by, sniffing the droppings of whatever animals had been there before us, digging in the sand, and watching the girls chase each other.

This was Duffy's seventh trip to the river and he was exceeding my expectations. I had worried that he would continue to object to being on leash while the girls got to run free, but he didn't. He doesn't have his full size yet, but he probably has no more than six or seven pounds to go and that is too small to contend with the occasional feral dogs and coyotes we sometimes see down there. Ginger at perhaps 100 pounds and Sage at around 85 are too much for the coyotes and feral dogs we've seen. I worried about them also, when they were young, but they happily chase whatever they encounter. Perhaps Duffy, if I let him off leash might want to chase the rabbits and squirrels, but what would happen when he met his first coyote? At ten pounds he stays on leash. Whether I'll let him off when he reaches adulthood remains to be seen.

Duffy is a cocky little guy. He marches along on leash like he owns the river, and that remained true despite the wind and rain. His little ears were blown back, but he purposely marched on, ignoring the trees being bent over us and the river sand being stirred up and flung at us by what I would estimate to be 20 to 25-knot wind gusts.

I tried also to keep an eye on Sage. She had an operation a week previous to remove a hematoma in her right ear flap. It was healing well enough, but I tried to pick a route along the dry river bed that stood the best chance of not containing anything for her to pick up and perhaps set back her healing in some way. She is the chief scavenger of our little pack and true to her nature it took no time for her to discover a raccoon carcass and come marching proudly by us munching on a raccoon leg.

Three of us are still recovering from our river outing of yesterday, but not Duffy. He needed his morning wrestling match with Ginger as usual. How does a 10-pound Schnoodle wrestle with a 100-pound Rhodesian Ridgeback? I was a bit skeptical about it too, but Duffy has managed to her heart's content. He leaps through the air at Ginger. I have watched Ginger's head and have not seen it move from the impact. Ginger is a very powerfully-built, but she is also very gentle and usually loves to play. By flicking her head she can send Duffy flying, but he is back at her again in a flash. He can keep it up much longer than she can. I hear Ginger's playful growls behind me in my study, but when her growls get louder and more menacing I decide the game has gone on long enough and call a halt. Another of Duffy's pleasant qualities is his willingness to listen. When I turn and say that's enough (using my "mean" voice) he gives it up, and usually decides on his second favorite thing, chewing on one of Ginger and Sage's bones.

Susan plans to drive to Tucson to show off Duffy to her niece, who is very much a small-dog person and anxious to get a look at Duffy. I will be interested in learning how Duffy fares against their other dogs, especially their Miniature Schnauzer Charlie. I'll be very surprised if Duffy doesn't have them all whipped into shape in short order.