:: Sunday, July 29, 2012 ::
Department of Justice Sputters on Censorship
Posted by Edward Cline at 12:38 PM
I emailed this letter to Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, at the Department of Justice:
27 July 2012
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
Department of Justice
Your astoundingly evasive and nearly comical response to Representative Trent Franks's direct, simple question today, during a session of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, about whether or not the Justice Department would criminalize speech against any religion (Franks: “Will you tell us here today that this Administration’s Department of Justice will never entertain or advance a proposal that criminalizes speech against any religion?” and three other variations of the same question) tipped your hand and that of your boss, Attorney General Holder, that you and your cohorts would certainly "entertain or advance" the criminalization of any and all such speech, especially in regards to your friends, the Islamic supremacists and lobbyists who apparently hold more sway in Washington than do Americans who value their freedom of speech. I have watched the video of that exchange, as have countless other Americans, and like them wonder just what level of disgusting and craven dhimmitude you and your ilk have stooped to.
You kept begging for "context" but the context was a question that required a simple, honest, straightforward denial or affirmation. That you could not answer such a simple question without sounding like a malevolent Elmer Fudd and fidgeting like a criminal suspect being given the third degree, telegraphed your sleazy, weasel character and informed anyone with a modicum of character judgment that lying is an integral part of your makeup. No decent person could watch your behavior with feeling revulsion. It was with great satisfaction to me that Representative Franks would not let you scurry from your corner and allow you to change the subject.
Be forewarned: I write extensively on the perils of Islam and its barbaric and nihilist nature, and in particular about the brutality of Sharia law – which so many Islamic supremacists have boasted will replace our Constitution, the loudest having been the doyens of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other Islamic organizations in this country – if the Justice Department ever does issue such a totalitarian measure, I shall continue to write what I wish about Islam, which is simply a totalitarian ideology garbed in religious dogma. You are obviously, like your boss, and his boss, and all their advisors, of the Left, and there is an ideological symbiosis between the Left and Islam.
Oh, and I mustn't forget to mention Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her "close" advisor, Huma Abedin, and their efforts to silence criticism of Islam, most notably in partnership with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to have speech critical of Islam treated as legally enforceable "hate speech," whatever its form or intent.
You are a coward, a traitor, and a discredit to your country. You are a perfect fit for this administration. In the context of the principles on which this country was founded, you and your cohorts are the "blasphemers."
The letter is self-explanatory and contains all the information one would need to grasp the context that Perez attempted to evade and switch.
I sent a copy of it to Representative Trent Franks, as well. There has been no response from Perez, and none is expected, although it is likely that my blog articles, here and elsewhere, will come under scrutiny. But I take that scrutiny for granted, because the federal government is already monitoring blog sites for "national security reasons."
The threat contained in Perez's waffling responses extends of course to any kind of speech, particularly speech the government deems "hate speech" or "seditious speech" or "revolutionary speech" directed against its growing powers to regulate, stifle, gag, and destroy. If the Department of Justice criminalizes speech "against religion" (specifically Islam) or imposes any kind of "anti-blasphemy" law, that in itself would be anti-Constitutional, but would, of course, open the door to prohibitions against any kind of speech deemed "dangerous" or "harmful" or "defamatory."
It is clear from the video that Perez did not care for Rep. Franks's context, and wished to switch the focus from an admission of totalitarian ambition to one that would rationalize totalitarianism.
Perez is one of those political creatures whose careers have been solely in government "service." It would not be fair to claim that he knows nothing about the First Amendment of the Constitution. Creatures like him always know what absolutes they are dodging. It was a "hard" question to answer, Franks allegedly "threatened" Perez, and Perez was obviously in need of rescue. Some member of the committee came to his rescue by interrupting Franks on some procedural matter. The video ends there, and we don’t know how the questioning ended.
Perez's nomination for the post of Assistant Attorney General was endorsed or recommended to the Senate Judiciary Committee by literal menagerie of collectivist groups and statist politicians. And there is this revealing "credit" in his "vitae": "He also served as Special Counsel to the late Senator Edward Kennedy, and was Senator Kennedy's principal adviser on civil rights, criminal justice and constitutional issues." Kennedy also endorsed his nomination for the position. That speaks for itself, and is nearly as much an indictment of him as his wanting to leave the door open to censorship.
Instances of Perez's friendliness towards Islam and his willingness to criminalize any speech that smacks of "religious intolerance" (the term preferred by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Hillary Clinton) are numerous. In June of 2012, The New English Review, for example, offered these tidbits about Perez's inclinations:
On October 7, 2010, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Thomas E. Perez, paid a visit to the US Attorney Nashville office and met with local Muslim groups including members of the board of the ICM. Perez told the group that included the Imams the both the ICM and Nashville mosques [about the controversial Murfreesboro mega mosque} that “his office has their back if it turns out that opponents [of the mosque] aren't as interested in zoning esoteric as they are in sidelining the practice of Islam in Murfreesboro.”
Later in December 2011, Secretary of State Clinton would convene an international plenary session with OIC members and other foreign representatives at the State Department. The so-called Istanbul Process conference was directed at developing best practices for combating religious intolerance, a code word for Shariah blasphemy codes adopted by the Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez of the USDOJ Civil Rights Division spoke about development of best practices to comply with the UN religious intolerance resolution.
Call the Assistant Attorney General an infidel "Activist for Allah."
Perez can pontificate on "human rights" with the best of them. In December 2011 he addressed Clinton's State Department on the importance of protecting "religious freedom," in conjunction with the OIC conference chaired by Hillary in Washington that month.
The United Nations Human Rights Council echoed the Universal Declaration in resolution 16/18, which is the basis for this conference. As important as it is to assert such principles, however, it is equally or even more important to ensure that such principles are put into practice.
What is Resolution 16/18? Forbes Magazine published a post-OIC conference article by Abigail R. Esman. She isn't quite sure that it's such a bad thing. However, she begins:
While you were out scavenging the Wal-Mart super sales or trying on trinkets at Tiffany and Cartier, your government has been quietly wrapping up a Christmas gift of its own: adoption of UN resolution 16/18. An initiative of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (formerly Organization of Islamic Conferences), the confederacy of 56 Islamic states, Resolution 16/18 seeks to limit speech that is viewed as “discriminatory” or which involves the “defamation of religion” – specifically that which can be viewed as “incitement to imminent violence”….
….But this latest version, which includes the “incitement to imminent violence” phrase – that is, which criminalizes speech which incites violence against others on the basis of religion, race, or national origin – has succeeded in winning US approval –despite the fact that it (indirectly) places limitations as well on speech considered “blasphemous.”
Resolution 16/18 has undergone many revisions over the years in attempts to create ambiguous enough a language but still seem pseudo-specific enough to lock especially the United States into a commitment to "tweak" the First Amendment to suit Islamic notions of "blasphemy," "defamation," and "intolerance." This is in the notable tradition of Thomas Perez, to switch the context and establish the terms of "legal" censorship. Esman writes:
The background to all of this, unsurprisingly, is an effort on the part of Muslim countries to limit what they consider to be defamatory and blasphemous speech: criticism of Islam, say, or insulting the prophet Mohammed – which, as we’ve learned, can mean anything from drawing a cartoon or making a joke in a comedy sketch to burning a Koran. Such acts – according to some readings of the Koran and, indeed, according to law in some OIC countries – are punishable by death. Hence the riots that met the publication of the so-called “Danish cartoons,” the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, the murder of Theo van Gogh, and on and on.
Books, novels, cartoons, and literature of all kinds could all be charged with "incitement to imminent violence." Prove that they aren't inciting anything. For Islam and Muslims, there is always a handy mob of demonstrators on call ready to claim "offense" and "defamation" and to carry signs that read, "To Hell with Freedom of Speech." They'll always be hovering in the background, prepared to initiate violence just to back up or make credible some attorney's charge that the violence is "imminent." This fact has been demonstrated countless times over the last few decades.
Dhimmified politicians and public figures who endorse restrictions on speech against Islam out of fear of "inciting" such violence are merely cowards. Figures such as Perez do not fear such violence; to judge by Perez's career and the careers of his ilk in the DHS and FBI, they take pleasure in suppressing speech for the sake of suppressing it. That would go far in explaining Perez's behavior when he chose not to answer Representative Franks' s question. He wished to change the subject and present a rationalized, "legalized" option of "entertaining or advancing" censorship.
For the reader's edification, here is a partial list of the organizations that endorsed Perez's nomination:
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights: Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, ADA Watch, Alliance for Justice, American Association of University Women (AAUW), American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), Americans for Democratic Action, Asian American Justice Center, Bazelon Center, Feminist Majority, Human Rights Campaign, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, National Abortion Federatino, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Association of Consumer Advocates, National Coalition for Disability Rights (NCDR), National Council of Jewish Women, National Council of La Raza (NCLR), National Education Association, National Fair Housing Alliance, National Health Law Program, National Partnership for Women & Families, National Women's Law Center, People for the American Way, The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law
As you can see, these are the organizations that are united in an alliance against the individual, against individual rights, and against reason, and all believe that the Constitution can be "tweaked" to sanction their collectivist "rights" and "entitlements." In Perez's view, individuals do not have "civil rights."
One would not otherwise waste time on detailing the career of a political wonk such as Perez, except that his contemptible but signature performance before the Subcommittee on the Constitution revealed the insouciant attitude the Department of Justice, under the aegis of a Marxist, Attorney General Eric Holder, has towards the Constitution and individual rights. In Perez's warped universe, there are only collectivized rights. Remember that he was nominated by President Obama. That also speaks for itself.
I encourage readers to send their own letters of protest to Thomas Perez (to AskDOJ@usdoj.gov – there is no direct email address for him), and a letter of support to Representative Trent Franks (at http://www.franks.house.gov/contacts/new – you will need to use his District's Arizona Zip code, 85308, for a letter to be accepted, but you can use your own address and contact information).
It is important that we let all wannabe totalitarians and career "humanitarians" such as Perez know that the American people are on to him and his "context" games. It is also important that we let Congressmen such as Trent Franks know that Americans are behind him.
It is crucial that we stand up for freedom of speech. Without that freedom, we cannot protect any of our other rights.
3 Comments ::
:: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 ::
The Extremities of Extremism
Posted by Edward Cline at 10:14 PM
In Joel Brinkley's July 20th SF Gate article, "Morsi's silence on extremism speaks volumes," the term extremists occurs five times, extremism once (in the title). Although he employs the term so many times, he does not know what it means. Aside from that paucity of understanding, his incredulity speaks volumes about his ignorance of the nature of the "Arab Spring."
Mohammed Morsi has been Egypt's president for less than a month, and already senior clerics in his country and around the Islamic world are loudly calling for the demolition of the pyramids, Egypt's most important tourist attraction and among the Seven Wonders of the World.
Saudi Sheikh Ali bin Said al-Rabi'i called them heinous "symbols of paganism." In recent days, similar calls have been echoing through Egypt and the region, including one from a Bahraini sheikh who urged Morsi to "destroy the pyramids and accomplish what the Amr bin al-As could not." He was referring to the Prophet Muhammud's companion who conquered Egypt in the seventh century but didn't have the technological wherewithal to accomplish the task.
Morsi is the Muslim Brotherhood's triumphant president of Egypt. The Brotherhood is dedicated to transforming the country into one governed by primitive, brutal, misogynist, barbaric Sharia law.
What's surprising is that Morsi has had nothing to say about this, not a word. Neither has he said anything about numerous "freelance" efforts to enforce other elements of Shariah law across Egypt, even though his new government hasn't said that's his plan.
Of course, what people like Brinkley do not grasp is that Morsi isn't an "extremist." He represents the essence of Islamic religious and political doctrine. He isn't going to question calls to destroy the pyramids or impose jizya on Copts. His "silence" is an implicit sanction of those ideas and worse. After all, he ran on the platform of "purifying" Egypt. What does Brinkley expect Morsi to say? "Oh, that's just extremist talk. Pay no attention to it. I'm really just a moderate."
Or, take Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, who "purified" his country of private property, freedom of the press, and prosperity.
Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez has signaled a preference in the U.S. presidential campaign by comparing Mitt Romney to his own challenger.
Chavez, who is up for re-election a month before U.S. President Barack Obama, has in recent weeks expressed a clear preference for the man currently in the White House….
“I believe the person to best explain the loser’s agenda isn’t Barack Obama but rather Romney, because it’s the extreme right-wing agenda that borders on the fascism of the United States,” Chavez told tens of thousands of supporters in the western city of Maracaibo.
“In the end, it’s the same project,” Chavez said, referring to Obama as “a good guy.” (Italics mine.)
Chavez uses that well-worn equivocation of extremism = right wing = fascism. He's less adept at the Alinsky-inspired spiel than is President Obama, but then most Western news agencies remain firmly in the camp of approving of democratically-elected dictators – it's the voice of the people, you see – so they will never stop agreeing with the Chavez's and Obama's of the world. They repeat the terms like hamsters going round and round in a drum. Right wing is also one of those contentless terms, but it connotes "extremism" and jackbooted fascism or Nazism. Like extremism, it is a purely emotive term, meaning "force used by the filthy rich against the poor."
But I think that extremism is one of the worst terms ever to be coined and over-used." It allows "moderates" and fence-sitters and pragmatists to evade knowledge of what our enemies are up to. It also allows them to defraud the public of the true identity of its enemies.
The terms extremism and extremist date back to the 19th century, nearly always employed in a political context. The Oxford English Dictionary defines extremist as: "One who is disposed to go to the extreme, or who holds extreme opinions." Extremism is defined as: "Tendency to be extreme; disposition to go to extremes." The earliest recorded instance of the term, according to the OED, was 1846.
Of course, extremism can also mean inventing the light bulb, as opposed to almost inventing it. Or shutting a door, as opposed to leaving it cracked open. Or asserting that one owns one's life, as opposed to conceding that one owns only eighty-five percent of it, the balance the property of the state or of the people or of Allah or God or the next door neighbor.
In her article, "'Extremism,' or The Art of Smearing,"* Ayn Rand discusses the role of such terms as isolationism, McCarthyism, and extremism. About extremism, she wrote:
….[M]ost people do not know the meaning of the word "extremism"; they merely sense it. They sense that something is being put over on them by some means which they cannot grasp. (p. 175)
Now consider the term "extremism." Its alleged meaning is: "Intolerance, hatred, racism, bigotry, crackpot theories, incitement to violence." Its real meaning is: "The advocacy of capitalism." (p. 176)
She notes further:
To begin with, "extremism" is a term which, standing by itself, has no meaning. The concept of "extreme" denotes a relation, a measurement, a degree. The dictionary [not identified] gives the following definitions: "Extreme, adj. – 1. Of a character or kind farthest removed from the ordinary or average. 2. Utmost or exceedingly great in degree." It is obvious that the first question one has to ask, before using that term is: a degree – of what? (p. 177)
To answer: "Of anything!" and to proclaim that any extreme is evil because it is an extreme – to hold the degree of a characteristic, regardless of its nature, as evil – is an absurdity (any garbled Aristotelianism to the contrary notwithstanding). Measurements, as such, have no value-significance – and acquire it only from the nature of that which is being measured.
Are an extreme of health and an extreme of disease equally undesirable? Are extreme intelligence and extreme stupidity – both equally far removed "from the ordinary or average" – equally unworthy? Are extreme honesty and extreme dishonesty equally immoral? Are a man of extreme virtue and a man of extreme depravity equally evil?
That was written in 1964. Extremism no longer serves as the boogey man for capitalism. After nearly half a century, her analysis stands, because it delves into the nature of definitions, concepts, and anti-concepts, one of which is extremism. And, as usual, she exhibits her unique and unparalleled prescience with this observation:
Of all the "anti-concepts" polluting our cultural atmosphere, "extremism" is the most ambitious in scale and implications; it goes much beyond politics. (p. 177)
It is now 2012. Isolationism has fallen into the dustbin of discarded neologisms. In fact, the Left and liberals eschew isolationism, because America, in their eyes, has a moral obligation to be the moral policeman of the globe, selflessly expending lives and treasure in a never-ending campaign to bring "democracy" to hell-holes whose populations of cultural zombies have already "democratically" voted for stagnation and tribalism and tradition. America must do this, they claim, because it is the richest and most prosperous country in the world. It is obligated to expend its lives and treasure precisely because it is these things. Just as the rich, and the near-rich, and the middle class must divest their wealth, because they are those things. Or have it expropriated.
McCarthyism occasionally is trotted out by mentalities who have never otherwise heard of Joe McCarthy or who vaguely recall that he had something to do with anti-communism. Those who employ the term – it sounds evil, and conspiratorial, so why not use it? –now do so reluctantly and cautiously because they don't wish to alert their readers that our government is now run by communists, a.k.a., community organizers. They don’t want to risk someone asking, "But wait. Weren't Lenin and Stalin and Mao and Pol Pot and Ho Chi Minh community organizers, too? And then there were Hitler, and Mussolini. Didn't they organize their communities, as well?"
There will be no intelligible response to such a query. No member of the White House press corps will venture to ask it. No journalist will even insinuate it in his copy, because he knows that politicians and bureaucrats now control the press, and that even the slightest allusion to the fact that dedicated communists and statists and totalitarians now run the government will be redacted, blue-penciled, and obliterated from his "news."
As Jeremy Peters reported on July 15th in The New York Times:
The quotations come back redacted, stripped of colorful metaphors, colloquial language and anything even mildly provocative.
Quote approval is standard practice for the Obama campaign, used by many top strategists and almost all midlevel aides in Chicago and at the White House — almost anyone other than spokesmen who are paid to be quoted. (And sometimes it applies even to them.) It is also commonplace throughout Washington and on the campaign trail.
The Romney campaign insists that journalists interviewing any of Mitt Romney’s five sons agree to use only quotations that are approved by the press office. And Romney advisers almost always require that reporters ask them for the green light on anything from a conversation that they would like to include in an article.
From Capitol Hill to the Treasury Department, interviews granted only with quote approval have become the default position. Those officials who dare to speak out of school, but fearful of making the slightest off-message remark, shroud even the most innocuous and anodyne quotations in anonymity by insisting they be referred to as a “top Democrat” or a “Republican strategist.”
They are sent by e-mail from the Obama headquarters in Chicago to reporters who have interviewed campaign officials under one major condition: the press office has veto power over what statements can be quoted and attributed by name.
But modern journalists have nothing to learn from the past. William Shirer, journalist, war correspondent, and author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, returning to Germany in 1934, encountered the very same phenomenon:
… William Shirer found upon his arrival in Berlin in 1934 that “though the German press was heavily censored and rigidly controlled there was no censorship of [foreign journalists’] dispatches.” A colleague warned Shirer that “while you did not have to submit your copy for approval by the authorities before cabling it, you had to weigh carefully what you reported about Hitler and the Nazi regime. If he or his aides, especially Dr. Joseph Goebbels, the fanatical Nazi minister of propaganda and the watchdog of the foreign correspondents, found it unacceptable—out you went,” as had happened to Dorothy Thompson the day the Shirers had arrived in Berlin and to numerous others in the preceding months.
"Quote approval" is just a euphemism for censorship, which is an "extremist" term. Shirer minded it very much. "Mainstream" journalists don't seem to mind being subjected to it at all, as long as they can maintain access to politicians and bureaucrats whose statements must be examined and vetted before being reported to the public. Or not. Truth, facts, accountability, honesty – these are all now the new instances of "extremism."
And under the broad awning of extremism are the notions of "hate speech" and Islamophobia. But gag orders and redacting somehow are not instances of "extremism."
Extremism has had a notorious longevity, precisely because, standing by itself, it means nothing, but in the right context, it can mean anything. It is a term that ignites emotions, not thought. That is its chief asset: the emotional factor.
The term extremist now does double duty: it smears anyone or any movement that opposes big government, reckless spending, high taxes, and so on, and implies that moderates are calm, rational, unhysterical champions of a pragmatic approach to issues, and would someone please banish those Tea Party whackos from our civil discourse? We only want to conserve the status quo, not see it smashed and dismantled for the benefit of the rich, and the near-rich, and the middle class. How can we work to build a perfect, progressive society when these people keep making noises about their vanishing liberty?
Liberty? Freedom of speech? Individual rights? These terms are all to be found in that damnable lexicon of extremism.
In regards to Islam, the term serves to distance or divorce "radical" Muslim politicians who advocate Sharia law, together with their violent underlings – the suicide bombers and other killers in the name of Allah – from a "moderate," peaceful Islam, which, even in its mildest form, is just a "moderate" form of totalitarianism. The pseudo-moderate defenders of Islam say, "Those suicide bombers and Hamas and Hezbollah and the Brotherhood, those extremists, they don't really represent Islam at its best" – but neglect to mention that there is no "best" about or in Islam, neither in its doctrines nor in its practice. Were it possible for the tens of thousands of victims of Islamic jihad – living or dead, in America and abroad – in a collective voice to attest to the "best" face of Islam, one would hear a resounding and eardrum-splitting merde!
A totalitarian ideology is what it is, and nothing else: a totalitarian ideology. It is socialism, which is only an overture to total controls. It is Islam, whose creeping Sharia can only lead to total controls. Secular totalitarianism requires individuals to defer to the state and perhaps give a Nazi or Communist salute as proof of his submission and loyalty. Islamic totalitarianism requires individuals to surrender their individuality and their minds and bow to Mecca as evidence of their submission and loyalty.
Extremism now not only serves as a semi-polite expletive with which to smear any defender of freedom, but also allows an enemy of freedom to point with dissembling insouciance to the guy who is actually practicing what the enemy preaches: indiscriminate violence, force, and destruction.
It is the dedicated, authentic, identifiable, and definable enemies of freedom who are the true "extremists." Slavery and death are their ultimate, most extreme ends.
*In Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, by Ayn Rand. New York: Signet-New American Library. 1967. 349 pp.
6 Comments ::
:: Saturday, July 21, 2012 ::
Who's Destroying Western Civilization?
Posted by Edward Cline at 4:30 PM
In his "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America," Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Akram wrote:
Enablement of Islam in North America, meaning: establishing an effective and stable Islamic Movement led by the Muslim Brotherhood which adopts Muslims' causes domestically and globally, and which works to expand the observant Muslim base, aims at unifying and directing Muslims' efforts, presents Islam as a civilization alternative, and supports the global Islamic state, wherever it is.
The process of settlement is a "Civilization-Jihadist Process" with all the word means. The Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions.
Steve Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism notes:
This May 1991 memo was written by Mohamed Akram, a.k.a. Mohamed Adlouni, for the Shura Council of the Muslim Brotherhood. In the introductory letter, Akram referenced a "long-term plan…approved and adopted" by the Shura Council in 1987 and proposed this memo as a supplement to that plan and requested that the memo be added to the agenda for an upcoming Council meeting. Appended to the document is a list of all Muslim Brotherhood organizations in North America as of 1991.
There are many fine, important, and informative essays and books on just how antithetical Islam is to Western values – to individualism, to private property, to freedom of speech – and on just how insidious and anti-life it is. But few are the books and essays on why Islam seems to be making progress in its "grand jihad" against the West.
Who or what is actually destroying Western Civilization from within? The Islamists? Or the West? What contributes to the Islamists' hubris, what encourages them and instills them with confidence that they can "conquer" the West, and especially the United States. Whose "hands" are working together with those of the "believers" to bring down Western civilization and establish Sharia law here and everywhere?
Islam would be as impotent as Scientology, or of a cult that ascribed mystical powers to pyramids, or a diet of bottles of Shaklee vitamins. Is Islam imbued with some inexorable and ineluctable power to conquer the West?
One thing is that Islamists are shrewd enough to exploit the corrosive policies of cultural relativism, multiculturalism, the commitment to "diversity," indiscriminate "tolerance," subjectivism, and a host of other policies that assault or negate reason and all standards of measurement of value, superiority and inferiority. Islam is as bankrupt of formal philosophy as is the culture it is "sabotaging." The intelligence exhibited by Islamists is merely a feral, predatory intelligence. Islam allows no other kind. Islam does not permit independent thought, only agreement with arbitrary assertions.
A wolf may be predatory, but that is how it is programmed by nature. It has no choice in the matter. A Muslim is a man imbued with volition and the capacity for choice; he chooses to limit himself to an ideology that permits him to be merely feral and predatory and submissive. His mind merely detects his enemy's weaknesses and vulnerabilities – weaknesses and vulnerabilities that are as self-inflicted as choosing to be a Muslim – and plots to exploit them.
Those weaknesses and vulnerabilities are the West's policies, noted above. And what are the philosophical foundations of those policies? The reigning philosophy is that one cannot know anything, either for certain or at all, that all values are relative, or subjective, that reality is whatever one wishes it to be. On one or more of those premises, there are no absolutes that a defender of the West can repair to or uphold.
The Seattle Times reprinted an Associated Press item about a Saudi religious figure warning Muslims and non-Muslims to "respect" the Muslim month of Ramadan.
Saudi authorities warned non-Muslim expatriates on Friday, the first day of Ramadan, not to eat, drink, or smoke in public until the end of the Muslim holy month's sunrise-to-sunset fast - or face expulsion…. The prince newly appointed to handle most aspects of law enforcement is known as a strict adherent to religious rules. Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz was governor of the holy city of Mecca before becoming Interior Minister.
I do not think very many people realize that showing respect and deference to Muslim practices and sensitivities outside of Muslim countries is a form of submission to Islam, regardless of the Islamic holiday or the day of the year. This is especially true of those who know little about Islam and have not grasped the implications of granting such respect. They are more concerned with not wanting to hurt Muslim "feelings" than they are with the content of those feelings.
According to the cultural relativism most Westerners are indoctrinated with today, Muslim "feelings" are sacrosanct and not to be troubled or offended. "Feelings," they are taught, are a tool of cognition, in themselves and in Muslims, so to offend Muslim feelings is to question a Muslim's world view, and a Muslim's world view – in which Allah owns everything and everyone and Mohammad was his prophet – is just as good as anyone else's. Showing disrespect for a Muslim's feelings implies that one's own feelings are somehow superior to his. So a Muslim's feelings must be respected.
There is no such thing as an absolute, goes the line, only perceptions of things filtered by a person's bias or prepossession or taste, and molded by one's culture, and so a Muslim's perceptions are just as valid as anyone else's. These perceptions cannot be judged because there are no absolutes by which to judge them. A host of Western philosophers have said so, such as Descartes and Kant and Hegel, and vetted by thinkers such as William James, Sartre, and John Dewey and many lesser lights.
Who knows, ask the dhimmis-by-default when they bother to ponder the question, and who perhaps have never heard of Hegel or Kant or Descartes, Muslims might be right. "Muslims feel, therefore they exist," is how they might parody Descartes and characterize the Islamic mindset, if they dared to carry the thought to that point. Who is any non-Muslim to judge a Muslim, or what a Muslim believes? While what works for Muslims may not work for non-Muslims, that's just a matter of feeling and up-bringing. It just isn't practical to offend a Muslim's feelings. Who can blame them for rioting and killing when the cultures Muslims immigrate to are hostile to their confidence that theirs is the only true religion and that are not natural environments in which to practice their creed? It is irrelevant that Islam is antithetical and hostile to the notion of individual rights. Muslims must be cut some slack, and be accommodated whenever possible. Civilizational clashes must be avoided. How else can non-Muslims prove they are tolerant and civilized except by respecting Muslims on bent knee and with bowed head?
The rumors that Islam is "eliminating" Western civilization by "sabotaging" it from within it are only half true. Thanks to a philosophy of unreason, promulgated by Western thinkers and taught in the best schools in the West over the course of two centuries, Western civilization is destroying itself "by its own hand." And the United States is proving to be very, very accommodating. It has even elected an unbroken succession of Accommodators-in-Chief, beginning with the Peanut Farmer.
That Brotherhood fellow Mohamed Akram was on to something.
Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann dared to call for an investigation of Muslims in the federal government, especially of Muslims closely or remotely connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. She was immediately attacked by the "gangster government" from all quarters, including that of the mainstream media.
Rep. Michele Bachmann says the Muslim Brotherhood, the international Islamist movement that recently came to power in Egypt, has made “deep penetration” within the U.S. government, and she wants an investigation of its influence within five federal agencies.
The Muslim Brotherhood, perhaps the world’s most influential Islamist organization, has long sought to unite traditional Islam with modern democracy in Middle Eastern nations. Its global influence further increased when one of its candidates, Mohamed Morsi, was declared winner of Egypt’s 2012 presidential election. But Bachmann, R-Stillwater, and four other members of Congress see the Muslim Brotherhood as a domestic threat.
The lawmakers singled out the movement last month in letters to federal defense, diplomatic, intelligence and law-enforcement agencies, requesting investigations into whether — and through whom — the Muslim Brotherhood is exerting influence within President Barack Obama’s administration.
Bachmann, who serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, ratcheted up the rhetoric in an interview last month with radio host Sandy Rios.
“It appears that there has been deep penetration in the halls of our United States government by the Muslim Brotherhood,” Bachmann said. “It appears that there are individuals who are associated with the Muslim Brotherhood who have positions, very sensitive positions, in our Department of Justice, our Department of Homeland Security, potentially even in the National Intelligence Agency.”
One of those individuals is Huma Abedin. Abedin is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's long-time personal advisor, especially on things Islamic.
Robert Spencer wrote about the controversy:
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is at the center of a firestorm over her request that the State, Homeland Security, Defense and Justice Departments, investigate potential “policies and activities that appear to be the result of influence operations conducted by individuals and organizations associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.” This is an entirely legitimate call, as Bachmann abundantly illustrated in a 16-page letter to Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), laying out the reasons for her concerns. Yet even Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who should know better, has upbraided Bachmann, criticizing her for including Hillary Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, among those she noted for having Brotherhood ties.
The Seattle Times also ran an editorial against Bachmann that concludes with a statement that should win the Politically Clueless Award for 2012:
While Abedin's 20 years of public service should save her reputation from assaults by an unthinking zealot who once equated the national debt to the Holocaust, Bachmann's latest actions deserve the same censure in Congress that Joseph McCarthy received for his witch hunt for Communists 60 years ago.
Not knowing or evading the fact that men dedicated to communism and totalitarianism are now running the government? This is an instance of either an appalling ignorance of history, or a willful evasion of the facts. But whichever diagnosis is correct, it underscores a critical disconnection from reality. In the first instance, it represents ignorance of reality; in the second, a willful dislike of reality. Mental lethargy can help to explain the first; mental evasion, the second (and evasion does require mental effort).
Leonard Peikoff, in his seminal, 1967 essay, "The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy" in the Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology by Ayn Rand*, explains this disconnection. After demonstrating the false distinction between "logical" and "empirical" arguments about ice sinking in water, he writes:
This argument confuses Walt Disney with metaphysics. That a man can project an image or draw an animated cartoon at variance with the facts of reality, does not alter the facts….An image of ice sinking in water does not alter the nature of ice [that it floats in water]; it does not constitute evidence that it is possible for ice to sink in water. It is evidence only of man's capacity to engage in fantasy. Fantasy is not a form of cognition.
"Logically," Huma Abedin has been in government service since 1996 (beginning with the Clinton administration) and so must be a loyal American and not dedicated to the overthrow or transformation of the government into a totalitarian, Islamic one. "Empirically," she cannot be a Muslim Brotherhood operative because she has not been seen wearing a suicide vest or caught using a secret decoder ring or photographed using an Islamic drop box to deposit classified government documents. Besides, she is a snappy dresser, something most Muslim women are not. Ergo, it is unconscionable to accuse her of having dangerous and sympathetic Islamic associations.
Further: the fact that man possesses the capacity to fantasize does not mean that the opposite of demonstrated truths is "imaginable" or "conceivable." In a serious, epistemological sense of the word, a man cannot conceive the opposite of a proposition he knows to be true (as apart from propositions dealing with man-made facts). If a proposition asserting a metaphysical fact has been demonstrated to be true, this means that that fact has been demonstrated to be inherent in the identities of the entities in question, and that any alternative to it would require the existence of a contradiction. Only ignorance or evasion can enable a man to attempt to project such an alternative. If a man does not know that a certain fact has been demonstrated, he will not know that its denial involves a contradiction. If a man does know it, but evades the knowledge and drops his full cognitive context, there is no limit to what he can pretend to conceive. But what one can project by means of ignorance or evasion, is philosophically irrelevant. It does not constitute a basis for instituting two separate categories of possibility. (p. 116, Italics mine)
The illegitimate possibilities? According to Senator John McCain, Speaker of the House John Boehner, the MSM, and all those other dhimmis-by-default, Huma Abedin, a Muslim, may or may not be an influence on Obama's foreign policy via Hillary Clinton, regardless of her association or her family's association with an organization dedicated to conquering America and establishing totalitarian rule. As Robert Spencer relates, they are asking Bachmann for evidence now of an investigation that has not been undertaken by those responsible it. That is the "logical" position.
The "empirical" position is: So what if she's a Muslim? She's a nice, hard-working person.
The Western hands helping the hands of Islamic believers to "sabotage" the miserable house of Western civilization are many, small, and mean. Their owners' minds are either permanently lost in a Fantasy Land divorced from reality, or so myopically concrete-bound that they are in pathetic need of the corrective lenses of a rational epistemology.
Ignorant or evasive, together their minds constitute a "brotherhood" of another kind.
*Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology by Ayn Rand. (1966, 1967, 1979) Eds. Harry Binswanger and Leonard Peikoff. New York: Meridian-Penguin. Second Edition, 1990. 314 pp.
11 Comments ::
:: Thursday, July 19, 2012 ::
Objectivist Round Up: The Final Edition
Posted by Nicholas Provenzo at 4:59 PM
After *five years* of managing the Objectivist Round Up, Rational Jenn has decided to retire the Round Up. Many thanks to Jenn for all her work, and here's the link to the last edition.
0 Comments ::
:: Sunday, July 15, 2012 ::
Thomas Ricks Wants Your Kids
Posted by Edward Cline at 9:20 AM
Just when you thought the government was finished scheduling your life and mapping out how you can become an exemplar of gung-ho "giving back" citizenship, another Pulitzer Prize winner concocts still another scheme to best exploit your life, time, and energies. One couldn't imagine a better way to complement the passage of Obamacare and the Supreme Court's upholding it on the notion that penalties are taxes and taxes are penalties than by proposing a new, improved, and eminently fair and cost-saving draft. After all, if we are now all officially wards of the state, why not? If doctors and other medical professionals can be de facto drafted to serve as serfs, why not your children?
Brought to my attention by Daniel Greenfield in his July 14th Sultan Knish column was Thomas R. Ricks's New York Times opinion piece of July 9th, "Let's Draft Our Kids." Greenfield handily dismisses most of Ricks's proposals as the ravings of an ignoramus and lunatic, but I saw something else in Ricks's article that beggared comment. What Ricks is proposing is a scheme for indentured servitude that makes the old Roosevelt era Civilian Conservation Corps look like a Boy Scout jamboree.
Richard M. Salsman, in his Forbes article, "A Finalized Path to Full, Socialized Medicine in America – Thanks to Conservatives," on the Supreme Court's ruling, noted on June 28th that:
With today’s ruling the U.S. government can do virtually anything it wishes to its citizens – liberty and rights be damned, without limit. Officially in America we now have a totally arbitrary and limitless government. That is, we have a “total government.” In short, we’ve got totalitarian government. As to how much further liberty we may lose in our lifetimes, it’ll depend only on how arbitrary and vicious reigning rulers choose to be, or not. There’s no real Rule of Law any more, only the Rule of Men – and these are mostly ignorant, reckless men.
Greenfield regards Ricks as one of those ignorant, reckless men, brimming with collectivist schemes to bring about the full employment of a generation fresh from indoctrination and epistemological lobotomization in the public schools. Greenfield, for example, quotes Ricks:
A revived draft, including both males and females, should include three options for new conscripts coming out of high school. Some could choose 18 months of military service with low pay but excellent post-service benefits, including free college tuition. These conscripts would not be deployed but could perform tasks currently outsourced at great cost to the Pentagon: paperwork, painting barracks, mowing lawns, driving generals around, and generally doing lower-skills tasks so professional soldiers don’t have to. If they want to stay, they could move into the professional force and receive weapons training, higher pay and better benefits.
Greenfield: That "great cost" would clearly be more than balanced by taking hundreds of thousands of teens out of the work force and then paying for their college tuition and health care for life, so that they can do paperwork and paint barracks... even though we can already find volunteers to do this already. And in a shocking turn of events, those volunteers would actually choose military service as part of their career plan.
Those who don’t want to serve in the army could perform civilian national service for a slightly longer period and equally low pay — teaching in low-income areas, cleaning parks, rebuilding crumbling infrastructure, or aiding the elderly. After two years, they would receive similar benefits like tuition aid.
Greenfield: So now we're drafting people into a national workforce to clean parks in low income areas? Or we could just use paroled prisoners, long-term welfare cases and bored liberal kids for that.
And what about "conscientious objectors" who don’t wish to become indistinguishable elements in the Fascist gestalt? What will happen to individuals who value their lives, liberty, property and pursuits of their selfish happiness? Why, they'll be "free" to choose their fates.
And libertarians who object to a draft could opt out. Those who declined to help Uncle Sam would in return pledge to ask nothing from him — no Medicare, no subsidized college loans and no mortgage guarantees. Those who want minimal government can have it.
Greenfield:… sounds reasonable. So long as they wouldn't be expected to pay into the system and get tax discounts so they don't have to pay for anybody else's Medicare, college loans and mortgages for low income areas.
That is, those who don't "volunteer" to serve or who resist conscription will be left to sleep under bridges in discarded cardboard containers and root through garbage bins for scraps of food. In such a society of servitude, individualists will become pariahs and outcasts in their own country – the country founded to protect individual rights. Universal conscription such as Ricks proposes is a prescription for slavery and poverty.
That aspect of Ricks's idea is fundamentally unworkable, as any Alinskyite, fully committed Marxist, or wannabe Nazi will tell you. Those who do not "volunteer" will be forced to choose their mode of servitude. Totalitarians and totalitarianism do not offer anyone optional alternatives. It is but a short leap from "community organizing" to "national organizing." Ask the White House.
It is tempting to suspect that Ricks is probably enamored of that awful Denise Richards vehicle, "Starship Troopers," in which boys and girls donned combat gear to fight telekinetic insects from across the galaxy. In exchange for that "service," and if they survived, they'd get free college education and other societal perks, as well. Or perhaps Ricks dreamed up his scheme from having watched Occupy Wall Streeters demonstrate and riot and engage in criminal actions. "Very nice kids," he might have thought. "But they've got to be channeled into more constructive participation in our democracy."
Ricks is a fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a contributing editor to Foreign Policy magazine, and also the author of several books on the military and military policies. The woozy mission statement of the CNAS betrays it as a left-wing "think tank" dedicated to developing "strong, pragmatic and principled national security and defense policies." It's interesting that the mission statement contains the glaring contradiction of pragmatism and principles. But I could detect nothing substantive in the rest of what the CNAS purports to accomplish.
What inspired Ricks to wax ignorantly on the "benefits" of a new system of compulsory servitude were the remarks of former top commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal in an interview on July 3rd, in Foreign Policy.
"I think we ought to have a draft. I think if a nation goes to war, it shouldn't be solely be represented by a professional force, because it gets to be unrepresentative of the population," McChrystal said at a late-night event June 29 at the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival. "I think if a nation goes to war, every town, every city needs to be at risk. You make that decision and everybody has skin in the game."
So, we should complement a volunteer force with mobs of conscripts in order to be "representative of the population"? Representative of what? Or of whom? Income classes? Levels of literacy? Gender preferences? Since when was our military dubbed to be an instrument of social policy? Oh, that's right. The military has served as a "proving ground" for social policies for decades now. The Democrats especially have been busy emasculating it ever since Bill Clinton's turn in the White House.
He argued that the burdens of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan haven't been properly shared across the U.S. population, and emphasized that the U.S. military could train draftees so that there wouldn't be a loss of effectiveness in the war effort.
So, the burden of sending "our kids" to serve in a military assigned to implement a foreign "social" policy of converting barbaric, backwater Muslim countries into "democracies," no matter the cost in their lives and dollars, should be more equitably shared by everyone. It was never in America's self-interest to invade Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq, or Afghanistan except to retaliate against Islamic organizations and states that sponsored terrorism that had declared war on this country. But the Left has never approved of any war we have fought unless it was preeminently selfless and sacrificing.
McChrystal and Ricks are simply advocating a renewal of the policy originated by Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive wings of the Democrats and Republicans. About our entry into World War I, Sheldon Richman notes:
The messianic President Wilson could not pass up what he saw as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help remake the world. As historian Arthur Ekirch writes in The Decline of American Liberalism, "The notion of a crusade came naturally to Wilson, the son of a Presbyterian minister, imbued with a stern Calvinist sense of determinism and devotion to duty." He was goaded by a host of Progressive intellectuals, such as John Dewey and Herbert Croley, editor of The New Republic, who wrote that "the American nation needs the tonic of a serious moral adventure."
….Within months, the United States had conscription, an official propaganda office, suppression of dissent, and central planning of the economy (a precedent for Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal).
While Richman's thesis, which lays blame on the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 for the rise of Nazi Germany, opposes Ludwig von Mises's thesis that Germany was properly blamed and punished for the war (and I happen to support the von Mises thesis, which can be found in Omnipotent Government, reviewed here), Richman's assertion that the active involvement of the United States in European political affairs laid the groundwork for the next war and for our own brand of statism, is valid.
It is John Dewey's educational philosophy that governs American public schools today, while Herbert Croly, a Progressive, wrote the blueprint for American fascism, The Promise of American Life, in 1909. In it, he claimed that "the traditional American confidence in individual freedom has resulted in a morally and socially undesirable distribution of wealth," and that it was time for the federal government to become more aggressive in economic planning and to assign Americans a better reason for living and working than for their own selfish purposes. Croly explicitly recommended that the United States move from freedom to "corporate (crony) capitalism" and from a Constitutionally limited government to the welfare state. These are the principal characteristics of Fascism.
Thomas Ricks is the trollish heir to the policies advocated by Wilson, Dewey, and Croly in the last century. Nothing he proposes is new or original, as collectivist programs go, except that it proposes to harness the military as the vehicle of servitude. However, the sanctioning of totalitarianism by the Supreme Court and the formal scrapping of the Constitution by the Court have allowed him to come out of the Progressive closet to float his trial balloon of universal conscription.
That his brazen proposals would necessitate a greater national debt is irrelevant. Greenfield in his Sultan Knish column also points out Ricks's utterly reckless ignorance of the dollar costs of his scheme. All collectivist schemes are costly. Costs have never troubled collectivists. But it would be easy to imagine Ricks's appointment to a new Federal Bureau of Human Resources, in which he would lord it over the lives of young people by sending them hither and yon in national service. He would be a natural fit for this new "czardom."
He would also be a perfect companion for another totalitarian, Kathleen Sibelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources. In 2011, Forbes named her "the most powerful woman in the world." And Thomas Ricks would become "the most powerful man in the world."
They could squabble amicably over where to send you and your children. And if you protested or resisted the new conscription, they could flip a coin to decide what to do with you.
4 Comments ::
:: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 ::
The Leftist-Islamic Alliance Against Freedom of Speech
Posted by Edward Cline at 11:20 AM
Robert Spencer, a tireless defender of freedom and the freedom of speech against Islam, was attacked recently in the New York Daily News and charged with having "inspired" Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik to go on his killing spree in July 2011. The writer, Nathan Lean, in his July 9th column, "Expose the Islamophobia industry," connects several other counter-jihadist writers with Breivik's actions, and lumps them all together as "untouchables" who ought to be ostracized.
The Islamophobia industry insists that it is not just a fringe minority who distort an otherwise peaceful faith. Instead, they point to the Koran and suggest that terrorists derive their world views from its messages. If that is so, these anti-Muslim agitators are guilty based on the logic of their own argument. After all, Breivik read and interpreted the writings of people like Spencer and [Pamela] Geller. He deciphered their diatribes much like Osama Bin Laden interpreted the Koran. Both men were compelled to act on the messages they digested.
It is doubtful that Lean has cracked open a Koran, or has heard of the Hadith, or The Reliance of the Traveler. For if he had any solid knowledge of Islam and its principal texts, he would grasp that these works do indeed sanction the violence of Muslim terrorists. He would understand that Spencer has every right to be an "Islamophobe," that is, someone who is fearful of Islam and especially of Sharia law. It is interesting to note that while Lean inveighs against Breivik, who murdered dozens of people, he does not mention the thousands of people killed by jihadists in virtually every country on earth. Moreover, he does not suggest that Breivik also was inspired by al-Qaida, in addition to a potpourri of other "Islamophobic" writers. About Spencer and his outspoken co-counter-jihadists, Lean concludes:
Society has a responsibility to counter these individuals with overwhelming overtures of pluralism — and to systematically push the fear-mongers out of public discourse.
The claim that I "inspired" the Norway mass murderer Breivik because he cited me in his "manifesto" has become a staple of Leftist and Islamic supremacist polemic against people who are trying to defend freedom against Sharia. But it founders on the facts: never mentioned is the fact that Breivik cited many, many people, including Barack Obama, John F. Kennedy, and Thomas Jefferson -- who are just three of the many who are never blamed for his murders.
Also swept under the rug is the fact that whether he is sane or not, Breivik's manifesto is actually quite ideologically incoherent -- so far was he from being a doctrinaire counter-jihadist that he wanted to aid Hamas and ally with jihad groups.
It probably has not escaped the notice of the more observant readers that the alliance of the Left and Islam reflects the same agitprop strategies, chief among is that when the Left's or Islam's policies fail, or produce disasters, or cause deaths, or provoke hostility among the electorate, blame for the failure is shifted elsewhere. When Obama's policies produce the opposite of his alleged goals, he blames Bush, when in fact Obama's policies are a continuation of Bush's soft-pedaled socialism. The difference between Bush's socialism and Obama's is that Bush's policies were founded on an ignorance of economics, or of reality; Obama's policies are intended to negate economics and remake reality.
When Muslims murder, torture, rape, go on rampages, or otherwise resort to violence anywhere in the world to enforce conformity to their ideology, their spokesmen in the West blame "extremists." But they never say that the "extremists" are wrong. The ideology is never at fault, only its finger-pointing "misunderstanders."
Thus, as Spencer points out in his Jihad Watch column, anyone who criticizes Islam is a "misunderstander" who spreads "lies" and "fabrications" and so on about the perils of Islam and can be quick-marched to the same camp with actual jihadists. Then a leap of logic is performed and Muslim violence can be blamed on criticism of Islam. The Left and Islamists "abhor" violence, express "regret" when violence occurs, and do not blame the perpetrators, but instead the "instigators" of the violence, that is, those who exercise their freedom of speech by pointing out the evils and fraud of Islam and the consistent violence its ideology encourages and promulgates. They cluck their tongues in public over the violence sanctioned by their ideology, but chastise anyone who says the violence is part and parcel of their ideology.
They must be "pushed out of public discourse." That is, shamed, humiliated, boycotted, mocked, picketed, and ultimately censored. The irony is that there is no "public discourse" about the nature of Islam and the crimes committed in its name. Nor does the Left and Islam wish there to be.
It is six of one, half a dozen of another. The Left and Islam both promote collectivism and universal submission and subjugation to them. Of course they are allies. With the help of its Muslim occupiers, France recently elected a blatant socialist. Has anyone in this country heard a single Muslim speak out against Obamacare? Has any British Muslim spoken out against Britain's welfare state? No? Why not? Because to oppose collectivism one must advocate individual rights. It is individual rights that the Left and Islam wish to extinguish. They say: Control private property, or expropriate it, and it is extinguished.
In the fantasy universe of collectivists, violence is never the fault of the ideology, it is always the fault of anyone who resists submission to the ideology or criticizes it. For secular collectivists (or the Left), as with Islamists, the fundamental means to the end is force.
The correlation between and alliance of the Left and Islam are not contrived, "constructed," coincidental, or accidental. They are fundamental, natural, and inevitable. Marx and Mohammad have gone forth into the world, holding hands, fingering their beards as their feral and predatory intelligences survey the landscape before them. For example, Marxists, socialists, and other leftists wish to collectivize property. If the property is thus "owned" by the state, then no freedom of speech is possible (except illegally underground, or via samizdat) but the "freedom" to extol collectivism. If property is Islamized – that is, owned, or controlled by Muslims in a fully collectivized society governed by Sharia law (that is, Nazified), with nominal private ownership whose purpose and end are dictated by the state, or by the caliphate – then no freedom of speech is possible, either, except the "freedom" to parrot the party line of Mohammad. In either system, an individual who dares question the ideology gets swatted very quickly. That is what Gulags and chopping blocks and bomb detonators are for.
Then there is the "purgatory" or halfway point between the full collectivization by either ideology, a gray world in which freedom of speech is not expressly forbidden by law, but exists at the arbitrary whim or politically correct discretion of politicians or the judiciary. This is the situation in the United States. Brand any criticism of Islam as "Islamophobic" and the critics are conveniently diagnosed with dementia and committed to Antonio Salieri's Vienna loony bin, the papers signed by people like Nathan Lean. Or by Hillary Clinton and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the United Nations, or Barack Obama, or by Tony Blair and the Prince of Wales, and The New York Times.
James Bloodworth almost gets it right in The Independent (Britain) in his July 5th column, "It’s time to stop using the term ‘Islamophobia’":
There has, however, been an unfortunate consequence of all of this. It is now possible to shut down almost any contemporary political debate by blurring the distinction between legitimate criticism of Islam and the anti-Muslim prejudice of the far-right. This is perhaps best expressed by the appearance on the scene of terms like “Islamophobic racism” – a further extension of the concept of Islamophobia – which conflate the idea of “race” (the way a person is born) with religion (a set of ideas passed on in the home, the school and the community).
Bloodworth is one of those leftists (and The Independent is notoriously leftist) who frown on private property but uphold freedom of speech, meaning, for all practical purposes, that one should be free to speak on any subject, so long as it's standing up at the bottom of a public swimming pool (there are no private swimming pools, except in the backyards of the political elite) and one's words have no untoward or deleterious social consequences. Bloodworth is correct to claim that the inclusion of the idea of racism is illegitimate, because Islamophobia has nothing to do with race. It is a "set of ideas," however, he presumably has not examined very closely. He still harbors a distaste for the term, without examining the root meaning of "phobia," either, which means a fear of something.
A phobia can be an unreasoning fear of things like mice or spiders or cigarette smoke or the number thirteen, or it can be a rational response to a nemesis, such as being knifed or stoned or raped or stalked by a fellow wanting to be propelled in a fireball to Paradise and seventy-two virgins. The desire to speak one's peace, or to preserve one's freedom, he insinuates but does not elaborate, is not a form of bigotry.
On the surface, the Left and Islam indulge in and promulgate the reversal of cause and effect. The mobs of Occupy Wall Street go on a rampage because they do not have the wealth of their victims. Muslims murder infidels because they are disrespectful non-Muslims who enjoy more freedom. But the reversal is only superficial. In fact, causality plays no role in the violence sanctioned by the Left and Islam. In criminal law, the causality of crime is not regarded as a legitimate, rational motive. Motives are not on trial. Murder, property theft or destruction, or felonious assault in the name of an ideology, are not admissible as rational norms of behavior. Only actions are deemed worthy of judgment.
Leftists like Nathan Lean say – and they say it often – that one having something a criminal lacks because of "the system" has denied him that thing is the cause of the violence. The wealthy sui generis are the cause of the expropriation of their property. This illogic can be and has been extended to: The bourgeoisie must be eradicated because they are the bourgeoisie. Jews must be exterminated because they are Jews. Muslims say that if infidels don't have "religion" – their religion – then their lives are forfeit and they must be fitted with fetters and assessed for jizya or just gotten out of the way. Infidels must be conquered or killed because they are sui generis infidels.
If you are a blonde, blue-eyed Swedish woman, or a British school girl, or a red-headed German secretary, you deserve to be raped by a gang of ambitious, "morally superior" Muslims who want a taste of Paradise on earth before they turn into bomb-carriers. Islam grants Muslims dispensation for being in a hurry. If you are rich, or just moderately well-off with money in the bank in spite of paying confiscatory taxes wherever you turn, you deserve to be robbed and collectivized in the name of a fantasy society projected by the looters to miraculously evolve some time after your passing. The Left grants its activists in and out of government dispensation on the basis of need and the sui generis sainthood of a "have-not." For the Left and Islam, every action is forgivable, nothing is criminal.
The reversal of cause and effect is not causality at work, but rather the irrational and the anti-reason. Lighting a bonfire beneath a pile of iron ore is not going to produce an ounce of steel. Gagging anyone who speaks out against censorship is not going to acquit one of the crime of censorship, not unless some dhimmi American judge rules that "Islamophobia" does not qualify as "civil" or "public" discourse.
Pushing "Islamophobes" out of the "public discourse" is not going to stop Islamic jihad, stealth or violent. Muslims will only be encouraged to carry more signs saying "Free speech go to hell." Prohibiting the advocates of individual rights from criticizing socialist policies will only encourage wannabe beneficiaries of socialism to smash store windows, occupy private property, and shut or shout down forums on the price of liberty in the name of "freedom of speech."
And that, in a nutshell, is the symbiosis of the Left and Islam. Its fruit is totalitarianism. Ignore it at your peril.
0 Comments ::
:: Tuesday, July 03, 2012 ::
A Clash of Supremacies over Obamacare
Posted by Edward Cline at 7:19 PM
Before Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, wrote the majority opinion upholding the alleged constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (on one hand, denying its constitutionality under the Commerce Clause, but, on the other, sanctioning the individual mandate as a tax Congress has the power to impose), otherwise known as Obamacare (ADA), several states had announced that they would refuse to implement the law or conform to its specific provisions. At last count there were four, from the original twenty-seven, led by Florida.
Such opposition may move Congress to repeal Obamacare in part or in its entirety, instead of fighting the states (provided Republicans retain control the House and win control of the Senate); it may cause it to "replace" Obamacare with something less onerous (but no less unconstitutional); or it may cause another Constitutional crisis in which the states invoke the Tenth Amendment and are answered by the federal government overriding the states' supposed right to resort to that strategy.
The last major defiance of federal policy by the states on the basis of states' rights precipitated the Civil War.
The questions are: Can the states successfully resist the federal government on this issue? Can they unite in their opposition? Would the federal government back off, or offer a compromise, such as was reached during the Nullification Crisis of the 1830's? Can the federal government override their opposition? Will the federal government threaten to punish states that refuse to comply with Obamacare, e.g., by withholding federal highway funds or Medicaid funds, or by devising another strategy to induce compliance? And if the states champion noncompliance with any facet of Obamacare, on what moral grounds?
Three features of the Constitution will come into play in this pending conflict:
The Tenth Amendment: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, or to the people.
The Supremacy Clause of Article VI, Section 2, which states that the Constitution, and the Laws of the United States…shall be the supreme Law of the Land. This clause applies solely to the enumerated powers granted to Congress in Article I, Section 8, and to no other laws, assumed or imagined. This clause by inference also exempts the federal government from complying with state laws.
The Necessary and Proper Clauseof Article I, Section 8, which reads: To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof. This is the last of eighteen enumerated powers.
The Tenth Amendment, or the "states' rights or sovereignty" Amendment, has a dubious history. It has been invoked by states in the past to impose or legitimate the denial of individual rights to blacks or to sanction the statist mischief or criminal behavior of a state legislature. The Amendment has never been invoked to protect individual rights.
Furthermore, in the 20th century, the argument from state sovereignty or from "reserved rights" lost credibility when states began to accept federal money for various highway, welfare, and other federal programs. By accepting those funds, the states lost a great portion of their vaunted sovereignty. They could claim arm-twisting by the federal government, but once they submitted, the wind went out of their claims to state sovereignty. They became addicted to and dependent on the subsidies in terms of their own budgets and expenditures. They complemented the growth of federal power with the growth of their own powers. It may be too late to reassert their sovereignty now. States maintain that they can pick and choose which powers they reserve (in the name of "the people"). This they might do, but the federal government has in many instances adopted a policy of "benign neglect" in respect to allowing states to assert their own prerogatives.
The Supremacy Clause has been virtually ignored by Congress, because Congress has passed thousands of laws not enumerated in the Constitution ("implied" powers), but whose enactment has been rationalized by Article I, Section 8, whose first clause reads, The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.
The Necessary and Proper Clause has been as troublesome as the first clause, because it corrals together both legitimate and illegitimate functions of the federal government, in addition to all those "implied" or unenumerated powers. The first three clauses, together with the fifth, sixth and seventh, grant Congress powers it should never have been granted, and which have allowed the inevitable expansion of federal power. Proponents of the ADA based much of their sanctioning on the Commerce clause ("among the several States"), interpreting the term regulate to suit their own agenda, and ignoring its original meaning, which was to impose some kind of legal structure on the chaos in trade and commerce between states. The term did not sanction statist controls over commerce. (No kidding, Nancy!)
Naturally, statists counter with, "That was then. This is now. We are not as narrow-minded as the Founders and Framers. We have a broader and superior understanding of the term. Conditions have changed. Society is more complex. We are more enlightened. We have responsibilities the Framers never dreamed of."
Oh, they dreamed of them, all right. Or rather, had nightmares about such powers, which most of them never wanted to delegate or bestow. Those dreams and nightmares are discussed in The Federalist Papers and The Anti-Federalist Papers.
The states cannot oppose Obamcare with a straight face. Their own tax-and-spend-and-regulate programs lift chump change from their citizens' pockets, while Obamacare and other federal programs raid whole bank accounts across the country in what could be called the federal "interstate commerce" in robbery, fraud, and extortion. The states cannot cock a snook at the Supremacy Clause because it contains all the vices and villainy they practice, as well. Virtually the only things the states cannot emulate is to print their own money and run their own postal service.
The aforesaid powers are, from the perspective of recognizing and upholding individual rights, improper and wholly unnecessary. If the states wish to nullify Obamacare, they should understand that their own statist powers ought to be nullified, as well.
The states cannot challenge the Necessary and Proper Claus, either, because they have adopted their own unenumerated powers. For virtually every mammoth federal bureaucracy, in every state there is a Mini Me clone.
The states are the pot proposing to call gang-leader Kate "Ma" Barker black. One could view the conundrum from this perspective: The federal government is Ma Barker, obese, sly, and accustomed to having fancy and expensive things got through her sons' criminal activities; the states are her dependent, obedient, fiscally-challenged offspring. This criminal association creates an image it will be hard for the states to shake, or reconcile with their "principled" opposition to Obamacare, or even deny. You can bet that the federals will remind them of this and their friends in the mainstream will make a lot of noise about it.
The leftist mainstream media have served the federal government for decades now in a triple role: press agent, shill, and graffiti artist. You can count on the MSM to contribute their own confusion, ignorance, and collectivist biases to the fight the conservative governors and legislatures are spoiling for.
Forgotten, however, in all the chatter, lawsuits, and braggadocio over which governments claim prerogative supremacy over clashing legislation – the federal or the states – is the supremacy of the individual who owns his own life and the necessary and proper primacy of his liberty. Denied the recognition that he owns his own life, and seeing the primacy of his liberty negotiated away or simply erased from law, man becomes a part-time or full-time indentured serf.
There is not a single state in the Union that has not enacted its own à la carte nullification of freedom. So, on what grounds can the state credibly oppose the lavish, cannibalistic banquet of Obamacare? All the states can do, in opposition to Obamacare, is clam first "rights" to impose their own statist imperatives.
Put another way: Whose supremacy is it, anyway? Whose supremacy ought to be the issue – the State's, or the individual's?
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