Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Updated Feed URL for The Rule of Reason

Apparently, The Rule of Reason's old RSS feed no longer updates, so here's a link to the new feed:

http://ruleofreason.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Boston: The MSM's Exploded 'Journalism'

Over the years, I have watched via Internet video countless IED (Improvised Explosive Device) explosions detonated on American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So, when I read the news of the Boston Marathon bombing of April 15th, and watched the videos of the incident, I was certain that it was a terrorist bombing that killed three people and injured over 170, some losing their limbs, and not an exploding fire hydrant or propane-fueled hot dog stand.

Then came the avalanche of hastily-written bulletins and aired news reports with earnest-looking reporters, half-thought-out educated guesses, "expert" speculations, and plain "yellow" journalism and words and images strung together just to fill print space and air time.

Shortly after the Boston bombings flung bodies and limbs and shrapnel over a Boylston Avenue sidewalk, the Mainstream Media itself exploded to reveal the debris of modern journalism.  

Certain that it was indeed a terrorist act, and once the authorities had confirmed that two pressure-cooker IEDs had been set off, I began researching and writing a column about it, and attempted to sift through all the cascading hysteria and hair-pulling and come up with some solid facts and conclusions. I found it virtually impossible to compose a coherent article on the subject. The haphazard stories of who was responsible or not responsible for the bombings, and whom the authorities had arrested or not arrested, or whom the authorities were looking for, kept flickering in the news and my mind like a badly edited silent movie whose last nitrate frames had disintegrated. My mind shut down, and refused to function as it usually would when addressing an important topic.

I gave up on the effort and decided to wait it out. That patience paid off, for the terrorists turned out to be two Chechen brothers who "inexplicably" turned jihadist. They were Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26.   But in the meantime, some distracting but interesting developments also caught my attention, and none of them reflect well on either the MSM or the Obama administration or on the FBI.

There was the episode of the "running man" seen in a security camera video fleeing the scene of one explosion. He was reportedly tackled by a civilian and somehow turned over to the police. Whether or not he was the same 20-year-old Saudi student who suffered burns and was taken to a local hospital, or someone else entirely, hasn't been confirmed. His name and that of the civilian who apprehended him remain unknown.

The student was Abdul Rahman Ali Al-Harbi. Photographs of a smiling, geeky-looking kid in a hospital gown were published. He looked like he wouldn't hurt a fly. It turned out that he was definitely a "person of interest" because his family has terrorist ties. Not long after the bombing, both President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John "Swift Boat" Kerry, he of the bogus combat film, combat medals, and French pedigree, met with Saudi officials in Washington and arranged for the kid to be deported back to Saudi Arabia.

Walid Shoebat remarked and provided this information about Al-Harbi's own antecedents:

Perhaps a quick look at the Arabic sources should raise the eyebrows of every American relative to the extent of the problem at hand. Many from Al-Harbi’s clan are steeped in terrorism and are members of Al-Qaeda. Out of a list of 85 terrorists listed by the Saudi government shows several of Al-Harbi clan to have been active fighters in Al-Qaeda:

#15 Badr Saud Uwaid Al-Awufi Al-Harbi
#73 Muhammad Atiq Uwaid Al-Awufi Al-Harbi
#26 Khalid Salim Uwaid Al-Lahibi Al-Harbi
#29 Raed Abdullah Salem Al-Thahiri Al-Harbi
#43 Abdullah Abdul Rahman Muhammad Al-Harbi (leader)
#60 Fayez Ghuneim Humeid Al-Hijri Al-Harbi

             Then you have Al-Harbi clan members in Gitmo:


Salim Salman Awadallah Al-Sai’di Al-Harbi
Majid Abdullah Hussein Al-Harbi
Muhammad Abdullah Saqr Al-Alawi Al-Harbi
Ghanem Abdul Rahman Ghanem Al-Harbi
Muhammad Atiq Uwaid Al-Awfi Al-Harbi

In the meantime, Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano answered questions about the Saudi student, as visibly displeased with them as a Cub Scout den mother being asked about the birds and the bees:

“I am unaware of anyone who is being deported for national security concerns at all related to Boston. I don’t know where that rumor came from,” Napolitano said....“I’m not going to answer that question. It is so full of misstatements and misapprehensions that it’s just not worthy of an answer,” she responded. “There has been so much reported on this that’s wrong, I can’t even begin to tell you congressman. We will provide you with accurate information as it becomes available.”

Or picture the late cross-eyed comedic actor Marty Feldman, mugging for the camera, with his arms crossed, pointing in opposite directions. Then the FBI issued a statement about the confusion that reigned in the MSM about the bombing suspects:

Contrary to widespread reporting, no arrest has been made in connection with the Boston Marathon attack. Over the past day and a half, there have been a number of press reports based on information from unofficial sources that has been inaccurate. Since these stories often have unintended consequences, we ask the media, particularly at this early stage of the investigation, to exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting.

The press had published shots of several Middle Eastern-looking men in the Marathon crowd. They looked nothing like the Chechen suspects who were ultimately cornered.

But Jeff Baum, who lost both legs in the explosion, was able to identify the younger Chechen (I can't force myself to call him an American citizen, a status he was granted on September 11th, 2012), Dzhokhar, because he and Baum looked into each other's eyes just before Dzhokhar left the bomb bag at Baum's feet. Then there's the FBI itself, forbidden to "think" Islamic, which already had a file on the older brother, Tamerlan. It was deep-sixed when, alerted by the Russian government, the agency found "nothing" disturbing about him. The London Telegraph reported:

Michael McCaul, the chair of House Homeland Security Committee, said the FBI must explain why it failed to keep track of Tsarnaev after the 2011 interview, particularly after he visited his family in Dagestan, which is a known centre of Islamist militancy and training facilities.

"If he [Tamerlan Tsarnaev] was on the radar and they let him go, if he was on the Russians' radar, why wasn't a flag put on him, some sort of customs flag?" Mr. McCaul asked on CNN, adding that there were clear signs that Tsarnaev had been radicalized during his trip.

Other than resorting to stammering that it was incompetent, the FBI had no comment on these failings. And exploiting a chance to pontificate on the bombing, Obama at first acknowledged that it was an act of terrorism, but then reverted to type and called it a "tragedy." Excuse me, Mr. President, but accidents and acts of nature are "tragedies." Terrorist plots to kill and maim are terrorism. They don’t live in the same moral or metaphysical room. Or would you rather call the Boston bombings "racetrack violence"?

Other "experts" were called in to stem the panic and smooth out the rough edges of the ongoing reporting.

Such as David Axelrod, aka Axle Grease, former senior advisor to Obama and now a political analyst for NBC and MSNBC, who said about the Boston Marathon bombing: "...let's not put any inference into this, let's just make clear that we're going to get the people responsible."

That is: Let's not be beastly to the Muslims or Islam. For all we knew, he inferred, it might have been the ghost of Timothy McVeigh who planted the bombs, or Daffy Duck. Let's not jump to hasty conclusions. Let's not infer that it's been Muslims over the last twenty years who have exploded bombs in crowds, that isn't justification to imagine that they were at it again. Muslims, you know, and as Obama reminded us in Cairo, have contributed so much to Western civilization – except when they're trying to destroy it.

Axle Grease apparently contracted Chris Matthews' version of Legionnaires Disease. He can't rule out violent anti-government radicals:
"The word has taken on a different meaning since 9/11. You use those words and it means something very specific in people’s mind," Axelrod told NBC News' Chuck Todd. "And I’m sure what was going through the president’s mind is — we really don’t know who did this — it was tax day."

He continued, “Was it someone who was pro — you know, you just don’t know. And so I think his attitude is, let’s not put any inference into this, let’s just make clear that we’re going to get the people responsible.”

What's with this "we" business, since Axle Grease is no longer in the White House? And, "we're" going to get the people who did this" -- just as "we" got the people responsible for Benghazi? You know, we (that is, you and I and everyone else with at least half a scruple and a brain pan larger than a brontosaurus's) have had to exert extraordinary patience while sifting through all the vacuous and ambiguous information that has been filtered out to the press and then through the press to us to ascertain with some certainty that this was indeed a jihadist, probably Al Qada "strike," one that has been promised for some time by our non-enemies and devotees of the "religion of peace."

The liberal media preferred that a white "right-wing extremist" be found responsible for the bombs, but the whirlpool of flotsam and jetsam of evidence in the end didn't conform to the media's wishes. Still, Chris Matthews and several other "experts" proffered their own conclusions before the culprits were killed or caught.  

News Busters reported that Matthews opined:

Just hours after explosions rocked the Boston Marathon on Monday, Chris Matthews speculated, "Normally domestic terrorists, people, tend to be on the far right." He then reconsidered and suggested, "...That’s not a good category, just extremists, let’s call them that.

During live coverage, the Hardball host highlighted a possible explosion at John F. Kennedy's presidential library and thought this could be a personal attack on the Democratic Party: "...But going after the Kennedy Library, not something at Bunker Hill, not something from the Freedom Trail or anything that kind of historic, but a modern political figure of the Democratic Party. Does that tell you something?" (Police are now considering the incident at the JFK library to be fire-related.) One can only guess what it tells Chris.

Then Matthews had this exchange with Clint Van Zandt:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, Michael, Tax Day today. That came up. You know, I was thinking of all the iconic events, or being told about them today. Of course, I knew it was Tax Day because I got them in. But of course, it's Patriots Day. It's also the Boston Marathon. And would you as an expert be thinking domestic at this point? I don't think Tax Day means a whole lot to the Arab world or Islamic world or the, certainly not to al Qaeda in terms of their world. It doesn't have any iconic significance.

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER: At this point, as an investigator, you don't want to shut down any options, but based upon the type of explosive that appears, the size of the explosive, the way it was done, this is well within the capability of somebody with too much time in front of the internet who was looking up bombs and who hates government, who hates America. For whatever his or her reasons for doing something like this, this is well within the realm of one person.

Do not expect Matthews or Axle Grease to eat their words. Liberals never apologize for their errors, slanders, or libels. They just change the subject. They're protected by the equivalent of diplomatic immunity. As with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the truth doesn't matter if it doesn't fit the fatal fantasy world of the Leftist agenda. Truth is a bourgeoisie invention and device to fool the citizenry. What's done is done and let's move on. It doesn't matter. The wise Caucasian lady said so.

National Public Radio, that taxpayer-supported, soft porn propaganda "news" outlet for the federal government that broadcasts tearful documentaries about the plight and travails of Mexican migrant mothers and immigrant Muslims, and celebratory ones about wolves reintroduced into their original stomping grounds so they can feed on cattle and sheep, shared Matthews' tingle-laden obsession with right-wingers who as everyone knows have left thousands of bodies blown to bits strewn over American malls and marathons. On April 17th, Dina Temple-Raston, on "All Things Considered," opined:

The thinking, as we’ve been reporting, is that this is a domestic, extremist attack….April is a big month for anti-government and right-wing individuals….There’s the Columbine anniversary. There’s Hitler’s birthday. There’s the Oklahoma City bombing. The assault on the Branch Dividian compound in Waco.

A river of information flows through Temple-Raston's mind, so it was natural that she went phishing, not for credit cards or personal information, but for data that fit her delusions. I guess Hitler wouldn't have much minded having his birthday of April 20th moved back to American Tax Day and Boston Marathon Bombing Day of April 15th.

Finally, the New York Times ran an unbelievably sympathetic article on the Tsarnaev brothers. That article has now been revised to seem less sympathetic. The DC Caller reported on April 19th:

The sympathetic portrayal of the men — who murdered three civilians, including a child, wounded 180 people, murdered one unsuspecting police officer and wounded another officer — was met with quick condemnation on social media networks.

Since The Daily Caller’s Jim Treacher took a screen-grab of the article, the Times changed the layout of the page to one more seemingly aware of the hundreds of victims and their friends and families, the entire United States and much of the non-terrorist planet.

The Times was caught with its pants down, and after being excoriated by the "social media," it hastened to pull up its pants and rewrite history, a la Nineteen Eighty-Four. We've always been at war with Eastasia, right, and not with Eurasia? And Chechnya is just a kind of Russian Detroit, it couldn't possibly turn out vicious terrorists, just poor lost souls who had trouble "fitting in."

Among others, Daniel Greenfield and Walid Shoebat have both investigated the backgrounds of the Saudis and the Tsarnaev brothers. Much of the information on both Tsarnaev brothers was readily available on the Internet. But the FBI and DHS have been too busy monitoring the email and Facebook accounts of ordinary Americans, to bother with time bombs waiting to explode. Greenfield, in his column, "Refusing to be Terrorized," concluded a comment on Obama's insipid speech and on the whole "let's move on with our lives" mentality:

While we refuse to be terrorized, those who insist on terrorizing us continue swarming into this country. A hundred Muslim nations have sent their progeny to live their tortured lives here, until they grow tired of infidel rule and decide to do what they do back home. Kill. And then we once again can refuse to be terrorized at an interfaith service in which the clergy of the murderers stand side by side with the clergy of the murdered.

The day may come when we finally refuse to be terrorized. They will not do it by going back to do their part for the next shopping season, the next interfaith service and the next healing speech. They will refuse to be terrorized by closing the door on terrorism for good.

What is this column about? It is about the price paid for evasion of the knowledge, the evasion of the identify of our enemy, which is Islam. Clinton, the two Bushes, and Obama have all claimed that the West is not at war with Islam. But at the risk of repeating myself, and reiterating what writers such as Greenfield and Shoebat and Steve Emerson and Ali Hirsi and others have pointed out: Islam is at war with the West.

And that won't do, it's too close to identifying their own corrupt souls or minds. They're all James Taggarts (Atlas Shrugged), and you know what happened to him after Galt told him in the torture room, "I told you, didn't I?" And Taggart crumbles when he sees the nature of his own evil. It's that little clump of malevolent black glop that's the core of his being. That's the MSM, that's Obama, that's his wife, that's Napolitano, and the Clintons. The roll call is long with dozens and dozens of names.

They can't permit themselves to concede the truth or even glimpse at it without destroying themselves. So they dance around it and look for scapegoats, for fall guys, for anything that will reveal that they're no better than the Chechen brothers or their family or OBL. That disguise is several onion-skin layers deep. If tyranny -- I mean, real brass knuckles, gulag style, firing squad tyranny -- ever comes to this country, the MSM will have played a large part in making it  possible. They'll all be complicit, whether they're with local TV affiliates or are major broadcasters and newspapers.

Someone might counter: But they're ignorant, they're innocent of any malice.

 No, they're not. They try too hard at it. They refuse to think.

Yes, the "lone wolf" mantra is popular with the MSM. The only conspiracies credible to MSM are right-wing ones, or patriotic ones, or anti-government ones, or anti-tax ones. Islam, an ideology festering right under the MSM's noses, is not a credible candidate. It is off-limits. After all, Muslims are nice people, they wouldn't hurt a flea, except infidels of all stripes. The government says we must "respect" Islam. Yes, Islam, the paragon of ideological evil, an ideology whose means and ends are destruction for destruction's sake.

I'm guessing that Obama's ilk would have advised the Jews at Auschwitz that they ought to have respected Nazism.

You really must ask yourself: how can so many "journalists" be so fatally delusional?

A clue to that condition is that their own ideology is copacetic with Islam's, and if they ever questioned Islam's means and ends, they must also question their own means and ends. And if one bans a fact from one's thinking – that is, if one deliberately evades or represses a fact necessary to reach a factual conclusion – that makes one as culpable as the terrorist.

And that is how and why the MSM's claim to "objective journalism" can explode in a furious, week-long, panic-driven tarantella of paroxysms of wishing reality away, of denying that A is A.

Friday, April 12, 2013

James Madison vs. Frank Nitti

Daniel Greenfield, in his Sultan Knish column, "The Chicagoization of America" (April 11th), remarked about the workings of urban machine politics:

In 2012, tribal politics became national politics. The country was divided and conquered. A campaign run on convincing a dozen separate groups to be afraid of each other and of the majority made all the difference, not in some urban slum, but from sea to shining sea. The country had at last become the city. And considering the state of the city... the state of the union does not look good.

His column featured a photograph of Saul Alinsky, author of Rules for Radicals and other Democracy for Dummies and Democrats tracts that serve as hands-on instruction manuals for liberals, leftists, and out-and-out communists and socialists in how to acquire power and disenfranchise everyone but their patrons. In other words, elective gangsters. Such as Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, who admired Alinsky and his "community organizing" philosophy so much she wrote her Wellesley senior thesis on them and even interviewed Alinsky.

Greenfield does not mention Alinsky in the column, which is about how "democracy" has become a game and tactic of criminal politicians who manipulate contentious voting blocs and vested interests. He did not need to. Alinsky's face and that photograph in particular are too familiar. Alinsky boasted that he befriended and fraternized with Chicago gangsters. That is entirely appropriate, given the state of Chicago and American politics as described by Greenfield.

Here is an anecdote in Alinsky's own words about how cozy he was with Frank Nitti, Al Capone's "enforcer." Nitti liked Alinsky and allowed him to look over the criminal's books:

Once, when I was looking over their records, I noticed an item listing a $7500 payment for an out-of-town killer. I called Nitti over and I said, "Look, Mr. Nitti, I don't understand this. You've got at least 20 killers on your payroll. Why waste that much money to bring somebody in from St. Louis?" Frank was really shocked at my ignorance.

"Look, kid," he said patiently, "sometimes our guys might know the guy they're hitting, they may have been to his house for dinner, taken his kids to the ball game, been the best man at his wedding, gotten drunk together. But you call in a guy from out of town, all you've got to do is tell him, 'Look, there's this guy in a dark coat on State and Randolph; our boy in the car will point him out; just go up and give him three in the belly and fade into the crowd.' So that's a job and he's a professional, he does it. But one of our boys goes up, the guy turns to face him and it's a friend, right away he knows that when he pulls that trigger there's gonna be a widow, kids without a father, funerals, weeping -- Christ, it'd be murder."

Such was the wisdom imbibed by Saul Alinsky, amoral and pragmatist tactician and organizer of other criminal mobs, otherwise known as the Left. For what is the Left but a loose alliance of ideological gangsters who rationalize and sanction force, but who pose as "humanitarians" sensitive to the feelings of others? Gangster government, indeed.

But, in this column we will not be "going there." I don’t think it's necessary to compare Alinsky's foul character with that of James Madison. That would be an insult to Madison. This column will dwell on a species of wisdom not possible to Alinsky, Frank Nitti, or even to any contemporary politician. Here, in speeches, separate correspondence and in his Federalist Papers, are some excerpted thoughts and cogitations of Madison, one of our Founders, defending and explaining the workings of the federal Constitution after it had been framed in 1787 Philadelphia. The document had been sent out to all the states for debate and ratification. A multitude of objections to it, some valid, some specious, were cropping up and distracting everyone's attention. Madison felt obliged to defend the document and to refute all the criticisms of it that came his way. Originally, he questioned the wisdom of including a "bill of rights" that would specifically obstruct federal incursions on specific realms of individual liberty.
But in June of 1789, he submitted a bill of rights to a Congress embroiled in other issues. He became known as the "father" of the Bill of Rights – rights which Congress today is contemplating their suspension or nullification.

All quotations are from James Madison: Writings 1, and are followed by the referenced page numbers. Quotations have been edited for archaic spelling, punctuation and formatting. Notes in square brackets are my own interjections on meaning and context for clarity's sake.

In a letter to William Bradford in January 1774, before the Revolution began, Madison remarked:

…Political contests are necessary sometimes as well as military to afford exercise and practice and to instruct in the Art of defending Liberty and property….If the Church of England had been established and general Religion in all the Northern Colonies as it has been among us here and uninterrupted tranquility had prevailed throughout the Continent, it is clear to me that slavery and subjection [subjugation or submission] might and would have been gradually insinuated among us. (p. 5)

Here Madison was exhibiting prescience, not only about his later task of construing the Constitution for his readers, but was commenting on how a state religion can suppress liberty. He would later call for the separation of church and state. We now have two state "religions" that perform that role: environmentalism, and "gay marriage," and the state has been empowered to enforce obeisance to both.

In a speech before the Convention in June, 1787, Madison inveighed against "pure" democracy, and warned how religion and combative blocs in a population would lead to anarchy and tyranny.

In all cases where a majority are united by a common interest or passion, the rights of the minority are in danger.…Religion itself may become a motive to persecution and oppression. These observations are verified by the Histories of every Country ancient and modern. In Greece and Rome, the rich and poor, the creditors and debtors, as well as the patricians and plebians alternately oppressed each other with equal unmercifulness.  (pp. 92-93)

In this same speech, Madison endorsed the idea of dividing the federal government into three branches – the executive, the legislative, and a senate – and prohibiting the branches from developing overlapping authorities. We don’t see much of that separation today. The only branch that has retained some independence from the other branches is the Supreme Court, but that separation can be nullified by an executive or president who seeks to pack the Court with justices friendly to his agenda. Senate confirmation hearings on Court nominees are supposed to weed out those who are hostile or ambivalent to a strict reading of the Constitution. That has not happened.

On the role of the Senate, Madison had this to say at the Convention, in answer to another delegate's proposal to make the Senate as large as the House of Representatives:

The use of the Senate is to consist in its proceeding with more coolness, with more system, and with more wisdom, than the popular branch. Enlarge their number and you communicate to them the vices which they are meant to correct. (p. 98)

The function of the Senate, to act as a check on populist legislation and causes with its "coolness and wisdom," was annulled by the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913 which allowed the direct or popular election of U.S. senators, instead of by state legislatures. Nineteen-thirteen was a banner year for Progressive statism. The Sixteenth Amendment or the Income Tax Amendment was ratified in February, and the Federal Reserve Act was enacted in December.

On July 20th, 1787, Madison addressed the Convention on the subject of executive powers and the impeachment of the president.

Mr. Madison thought it indispensable that some provision should be made for defending the Community against the incapacity, negligence or perfidy of the chief Magistrate. The limitation of the period of his service was not sufficient security….He might pervert his administration into a scheme of peculation or oppression. He might betray his trust to foreign powers. (p. 128)

This projection of the executive branch's potential depredations can be applied to any number of administrations since, say, President Grant's term, but it certainly describes that of Barack Obama. Anyone remember Solyndra, or Obama's assurances to dictator Vladimir Putin that, once he was reelected, he would have "more flexibility" in compromising this country's ability to defend itself?

But Madison could not imagine that the whole of Congress could become so corrupted as to pose just as perilous a danger to the country as would a president wielding dictatorial powers.

The case of the Executive Magistracy was very distinguishable from that of the Legislature.…It could not be presumed that all or even a majority of the members of an Assembly would either lose their capacity for discharging, or be bribed to betray their trust. Besides the restraints of their personal integrity and honor, the difficulty of acting in concert for purposes of corruption was a security to the public. And if one or a few members only should be seduced, the soundness of the remaining members would maintain the integrity and fidelity of the body….(p. 128)

Do we laugh now, or later? There are only a handful of Senators and Representatives who are "restrained" by their personal integrity and honor from feeding with the rest of Congress at the spend-and-tax-and-regulate trough. Madison can be forgiven for his naïveté. He lived in an era of intellectual giants, and presumed the swine of his time would be kept in their pigpens.

Madison forecast the problems with universal suffrage and recommended that the power to vote for any candidates in national and state elections be limited to property owners. In a speech to the Convention August 1787, he explained why:

The right of suffrage is certainly one of the fundamental articles of republican Government. A gradual abridgment of this right has been the mode in which Aristocracies have been built on the ruins of popular forms….In several of the States a freehold was now the qualification. Viewing the subject in its merits alone, the freeholders of the Country would be the safest depositories of Republican liberty. In future times a great majority of the people will not only be without landed but without any other sort of property. These will either combine under the influence of their common situation, in which case the rights and public liberty will not be secure in their hands; or which is more probable, they will become the tools of opulence and ambition, in which case there will be equal danger on another side. (pp. 132-133)

In short, Madison was saying that those who owned land would be more likely to defend its sanctity and their individual rights than would a "democratic" mob that wished to expropriate it, and vote for individuals who were pledged to protect it against populist measures and clamors to "narrow the gap" between the rich and the poor. Madison could not have imagined a federal government that had the power to "narrow the gap" with powers not enumerated in the Constitution. Neither he nor even the most ardent Federalist, such as Alexander Hamilton (who also contributed to the Federalist), could have predicted the mammoth, wealth-consuming welfare state that cripples the economy and redirects (or "redistributes") the productive energies of the country to the omnivorous, bottomless pit of the unproductive and anti-productive.

Of course, today, if suffrage was to be based on property ownership, the definition of property would need to be expanded to include other kinds of property as well as land, such as private home ownership and one's estimated worth in the way of stock holdings and derived income. But, this is a technical issue beyond the ken of contemporary theorists and politicians.

In a long letter to Thomas Jefferson in October 1787, Madison remarked on the foolhardiness of democracy and the dangers it posed to an individual rights-protecting republic. Jefferson was in France during the Convention. It would be intriguing to speculate on the character of the Constitution had he attended the Convention.

Those who contend for a simple Democracy, or a pure republic, actuated by the sense of the majority, and operating within narrow limits, assume or suppose a case which is altogether fictitious….A distinction of property results from that very protection which a free Government gives to unequal faculties of acquiring it. There will be rich and poor, creditors and debtors, a landed interest, a monied interest, a mercantile [commercial or business] interest, a manufacturing interest….(p. 150)

But, Madison wrote, these different classes needn't be hostile to each other nor be in political conflict with each other as long as the government did not favor one over the other with special legislation, that is, for example, if neither Congress nor the executive branch were open to subornation by lobbyists and other special interests.

In the same letter to Jefferson, Madison listed three motives which he thought would not protect individuals or a minority against the actions of a democratic mob or act as guarantors of individual rights: "A prudent regard to private or partial good…Respect for character….Religion." Of religion, he said:

When indeed Religion is kindled into enthusiasm, its force like that of other passions is increased by the sympathy of a multitude. But enthusiasm is only a temporary state of Religion, and while it lasts will hardly been seen with pleasure at the helm. Even in its coolest state it has been much oftener a motive to oppression than a restraint from it….(p. 151)

In his Federalist No. 10, Madison noted the dangers and impracticality of democracies, big and small. In a "pure" democracy

A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert results from the form of government itself, and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party, or the obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention, have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property, and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths….

Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may intrigue by corruption or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests of the people…. (pp. 164-165)

What a fitting description of how Barack Obama has won two presidential elections. He is, after all, a man of "factious temper" with an agenda of "sinister designs."

Finally, Madison had something to say about the differences between a democracy and a constitutional republic, and in Federalist No. 14 wrote in answer to critics of the Constitution who alleged that a constitutional republic was as dangerous as a pure democracy:

….A republic may be extended over a large region [i.e., continental North America]. To this accidental source of the error may be added the artifice of some celebrated authors whose writings have had a great share in forming the modern standard of political opinions. Being subjects either of an absolute or limited monarchy, they have endeavored to heighten the advantages or palliate the evils of those forms by placing in comparison with them the vices and defects of the republican, and by citing as specimens of the latter, the turbulent democracies of ancient Greece and modern Italy. Under the confusion of names, it has been an easy task to transfer to a republic observations applicable to a democracy only….(pp. 168-169)

It is a confusion which persists to this day, when even advocates of limited government, such as the Tea Party, persistently refer to our republic as a "democracy," unable or unwilling to distinguish between the two systems, thinking that no distinction exists or is necessary.

Madison penned twenty-six more Federalist numbers, the last in March 1788. But you cannot help but scream to the ceiling when comparing his grasp of political principles and folly with the unadulterated folly, ignorance, and indifference paraded by contemporary politicians and even theorists. Today's politicians are not Madison's intellectual heirs; they are Alinsky's, and Frank Nitti's, with numerous political go-betweens on the descent to legislative thuggery and imbecility:  the prim and proper Progressive Woodrow Wilson; the disgraceful Warren G. Harding; the socialist opportunist Franklin D. Roosevelt; the pouting thug Harry S. Truman (the model for Ayn Rand's "chief of state" villain, Mr. Thompson, in Atlas Shrugged); the bland nonentity Dwight D. Eisenhower; the fascist John F. Kennedy. And all of those who followed, including Ronald Reagan.

The collectivist pot has boiled away, and what is left in it is the heir and essence of collectivism: Barack Hussein Obama, the mean, small, malevolent, arrogant graduate of the Alinsky-Nitti School of Practical Statism, who has succeeded in "Chicagoizing" the American Republic.

1.  James Madison: Writings. New York: The Library of America, 1999. Ed. Jack N. Rakove. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Margaret Thatcher: A Singular Ambition Revisited

I thought it appropriate to re-publish this encomium of John Blundell's book on Margaret Thatcher, who died of a stroke on April 8th. It originally ran on Rule of Reason on January 7th, 2009. It is slightly revised to correct some errors.

A refreshing antidote to Our Enemy, the State is John Blundell‘s Margaret Thatcher: A Portrait of the Iron Lady (New York: Algora Publishing, 2008). For a time, as Prime Minister of Great Britain, Thatcher not only retarded the progress of statism but reversed its course. There certainly was nothing fatalistic in her or in her political career, and everything inspiring and encouraging. Blundell, retired director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, has known Thatcher since 1970 and has written a personal portrait of her (“a very personal interpretation of a very special life”), as opposed to an exhaustive biography and scholarly analysis of her life and politics. (He provides two pages of “further reading” on Thatcher at the end of his biography, listing books, essays, and articles. He is also the author of Ladies for Liberty: Woman Who Made a Difference in American History.)

Britain, by the time Thatcher became Prime Minister, had reached exactly the kind of political and economic nadir forecast by Nock when the State assumed coercive and near total sovereignty over the lives and fortunes of its citizens, otherwise known as “society.”  Presumably, by Nock’s formula, the country should have descended into total bankruptcy, anarchy, and extinction. “There is no such thing as Society,” she once remarked. “There are only individual men and women and there are families.” Nock would have agreed with her, but while he condemned most individuals for harboring what he called an “invincible ignorance,” Thatcher was certain that most people would listen to clear reason when their liberty was at stake, and that those who harbored a willful ignorance were in the minority and beyond reclamation (such as Arthur Scargill of the National Union of Mineworkers).

When she took office in 1979, the willfully ignorant in and out of office had brought the country to the brink of collapse. Mineworkers were running amok with strikes, government-fueled inflation was soaring, industrial production was plummeting, and nationalized industries such as steel, aerospace, and telecommunications were deficit ridden, congenital beggars for more government subsidies.

“From being a dominant trading nation Britain’s presence on world markets had shriveled. The U.K. accounted for 20 per cent of world trade in manufactures in 1955 but only 10 percent by 1979. It had exported 33 percent of the world’s cars in 1955. That was down to 3 per cent by 1979. Under the socialism of both parties the British economy was atrophying.”

The “lame duck” Labourite Prime Minister James Callaghan was reluctant to take a principled stand on any of the issues. Without going into the complexities of the British election process and British party machinations, Thatcher won the General Election, beating party rival (and consummate compromiser) Ted Heath and replacing Callaghan at 10 Downing Street. She won because she appealed to the self-interest of the electorate in terms of freedom and the idea that hard work deserved rewards that were not siphoned off by “society“ or other parasites, whether they were welfare mothers living in council flats (government housing) or Rolls Royce or British Petroleum. She promised to free people from the inherently inefficient, wealth-consuming socialist controls that were reducing the standard of living and inculcating a fatal miasma of hopelessness, as well as a militant sanctimoniousness in those dependent on State patronization.

In short, although she (and Mr. Blundell) might not put it this way, she won because she appealed to the desperate yearning of productive men to be left alone to live their lives without having to become slaves to society or to the State. I believe she won more for psychological rather than economic or ideological reasons. That portion of the British electorate which sent her to 10 Downing Street confounded Nock’s determinism, because it did not want to be “taken care of” and because it saw through the sham of government coercion in the name of “democracy” and “popular sovereignty.”

As far back as 1975, when she was a leader of the Conservative opposition party, she was not interested in offering the electorate or her party a paltry soupçon of freedom. Her enemy was the State, and her singular ambition was to dismantle as much of it as possible. Blundell relates that her speech to a party conference:

“…was a foot-stomping success as she attacked socialism as the arch enemy of freedom and presented a principled conservatism rooted in private property, markets, liberty, smaller governments, choice, and the rule of law.” The 3,000 or so constituency loved it -- what a change after decades of lukewarm government paternalism, easily labeled socialism, dressed up as middle-of-the-road conservatism.”

Blundell continues, ironically describing the political scenario that has come to pass in 2009 America:

“Margaret Thatcher had three problems with the middle of the road. First, you get run over by traffic from both sides. Second, as the Labour Party moved to the left, so the middle moved with it. Third, Labour tended to introduce new entitlements which were hard to unpick, so there was a ratchet moving the political scenery ever closer to the left ever closer to her much hated Moscow and even further from her much loved USA.”

Substitute the Democratic Party and Barack Obama for Labour, and the compromising, middle of the road Republican Party for the pre-Thatcher British Conservatives, and one has a fairly accurate American political parallel. Unfortunately, America has had no articulate political leader the stature of Thatcher since Barry Goldwater. (I do not include Ronald Reagan here; while his defense policies may have precipitated the collapse of the Soviet Union, he was the first major president to inject religion into politics.) To most politicians, the State is not your enemy, but your friend and savior. Republican candidate John McCain was simply a shot of the mulled wine of demi-fascism, as opposed to Obama’s whiskey neat of a command, socialist economy.

During her tenure as Prime Minister, Thatcher embarked on a bold and successful program of denationalizing industries, privatizing many “social services” presumed to be the natural venue of government (such as garbage collection), and reducing the scale of government-built and subsidized housing by offering tenants the chance to buy homes and apartments.

Blundell features a chart which shows that in 1914, 90% of Britons lived in private homes or flats and only 1% in “public” housing. By 1979, thanks to successive governments “socializing” the housing stock, only 10% lived in private rentals, 53% in private homes, and 37% in “council” housing. By 1997, 12% lived in private rental units, 71% in private homes, and only 17% in council housing. Thatcher apparently failed to make any progress in dismantling Britain’s socialist National Health Service and the Royal Mail. But, she was successful in reducing Britain’s notoriously confiscatory income tax rates. She also suspended currency exchange controls, allowing Britons to travel overseas with more than $50 in their pockets. By setting a political and ideological precedent, Thatcher’s 1981 budget became a norm which even socialists applauded:

“The top tax rates had been brought down from 83% on earned income and 98% on so-called ‘unearned’ to 60%, and then 40%, still high, but a huge drop. Even leftists today acknowledge the need for a vibrant private sector and low taxes to encourage it.”

(“The better to eat you,” said the collectivist wolf to privatized Little Red Riding Hood, which is a subject Mr. Blundell might have pursued, but it can wait until another day.)

“The U.K. abandoned all price controls. Dividend controls were scrapped. Limits on hire purchase were abandoned. Office Development Permits ceased. So did Industrial Development Certificates. Centralized pay controls ended.”

Blundell narrates this whole astonishing episode of the recovery of liberty through consistent privatization in the economy, demonstrating what can be accomplished through an unswerving dedication to liberty and what cannot be accomplished by middle-of-the-roaders and compromisers.

Given the sobriquet of “The Iron Lady” by Captain Yuri Gavrilov in 1976 in the Soviet newspaper Red Star for her staunch opposition to the Soviet Union and socialism, Thatcher took pride in the name and lived up to it when Argentina invaded the British owned Falkland Islands in April 1982. While the world looked on in unbelieving horror, Britain sent a fleet to the South Atlantic and reclaimed the Falklands after a brief war.

The conflict was waged because the Islands’ residents wished to remain British and under British law, and not come under the thumb of Argentine law or the military junta that ruled the country then. Instead of agonizing over possible world disapproval of a unilateral military response to the aggression, she immediately sent her high command into action. Compare that policy with President George Bush’s interminable and disgraceful quest for world approval to respond to the attacks on America on 9/11.

Many of Thatcher’s accomplishments in Britain have been undone by her successors, but especially by the European Union. Initially, earlier in her career, she was warm to the idea of a Europe united by control- and tariff-free borders. But that enthusiasm soured when the EU began to assume the character of an arrogant, ungainly bureaucratic monster. She did not think Britons’ pockets should be picked or their actions proscribed by unelected placeholders in Brussels, nor did she think that Britain’s sovereignty should be eroded by EU laws and regulations, which more or less are reducing Britain (as well as other EU members) to the status of a client state beholden to a patron state.

Now out of office, and free to speak her mind as never before on the subject, Thatcher, writes Blundell, “was openly asking the applicant countries [to EU membership] not to join and declared that the U.K. needed either to renegotiate its terms of membership or simply withdraw.”

In 2006 she said in a speech in Washington, D.C.:

“We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels.”

In chapter 20, “Dealing with Brussels,” Blundell paints a grim picture of the prospect of total EU dominance over Britain. “But as the EU went from a loose trading model toward federalism she [Thatcher] became increasingly uneasy,” he writes. He probably did not wish to sound chauvinistic, so I am free to say here that, going by the EU’s unceasing campaign over the decades to persuade Britain to submit to Brussels, the advocates of the EU have always envied and hated Britain, and have always wished to knock it down to manageable size, to humble it, and to eat it alive, simply because it was freer and “fatter” than any other European nation.

I include in those movers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, past and present Prime Ministers, who are on record of having conspired to bypass the “popular sovereignty” of Britons by making concessions to the EU on their own advice. (The EU’s partner in the campaign to compel Britain and the West to submit is Islam, but that is another drooling, omnivorous beast altogether.)

Blundell and Margaret Thatcher may not dare call it treason; I do. After all, the same envy and hatred exists in many American multiculturalists and American politicians, who wish to see the U.S. submit to U.N. and European law. They, too, hanker to see it eaten alive in the name of global amity.

I have two bones to pick with Blundell, one of them minor, the other major. The first concerns usage of the term democracy throughout his book to describe or refer to countries whose governments respect individual rights, private property, freedom of the press, the rule of law, and so on. The term is not synonymous with republic. Democracy means literally mob rule, in which rights may be granted or abolished at the whim of a majority. Republic, as it has been used in the past, implies a nation that meets some or all of the criteria of freedom. A sedulous commitment to the meanings of these definitions is needed if an advocate of freedom does not wish to confuse his auditors or the reading public. But the thoughtless employment of democracy is evidence of a pandemic disease in semantics. Exactitude matters; it is the antidote to lumpy thinking.

The second bone is that Blundell does not discuss the “handover” of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China in July 1997. One cannot account for Thatcher’s lapse in this regard. It was the predecessor government that initiated talks with Red China about the future of Hong Kong in 1979, two months before she won the premiership in May (she resigned in November 1990). Hong Kong was happily a Crown colony, and its dazzling prosperity a reproach to impoverished Mainland China and its communist dictatorship. Thatcher even flew to Peking in September 1983 to discuss the future of the colony. She hated the communist dictatorship of the Soviet Union, but apparently was not so discriminating about the one that ruled China.

The original issue was the status of the New Territories on the mainland per se, for which Britain had signed a 99-year lease with the Qing Dynasty. The leaders in Red China, however, insisted that any “handover” must include Hong Kong island and Kowloon, for which Britain had signed treaties of perpetuity with the Chinese monarchy. In any event, Britain, and presumably Thatcher, caved and endorsed the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984-1985 ceding all of Hong Kong to Red China, to go into effect in 1997.

I noted in a suspense novel long ago (Whisper the Guns, completed 1977, published by the Atlantean Press 1992) that “Peking would destroy Hong Kong….Or Hong Kong would destroy Peking.” An IEA editorial director predicted in 1980 that “China will go capitalist. Soviet Russia will not survive the century. Labour as we know it will never rule again.” He was right about Soviet Russia, but Labour is in power again, and Russia is governed by the dictatorship of Vladimir Putin instead of the “proletariat.” China never went “capitalist,” but fascist, since much of the nominally communist party leadership has invested stakes in enterprises that are “private” in name only. (We see the same phenomenon happening in the U.S., with the federal government’s “bailout” program, through which it has bought controlling stakes in key companies.)

Hong Kong now exists in a political purgatory. I am reminded by this whole sorry episode of two of Ayn Rand’s rules on compromise:

1) In any conflict between two men (or two groups) who hold the same basic principles, it is the more consistent one who wins;

2) In any collaboration between two men (or two groups) who hold different basic principles, it is the more evil or irrational one who wins.

Red China won. Britain was under no moral obligation to deal with a liberty-hating dictatorship responsible for the murder of millions, not to mention its regular brutal suppressions symbolized by Tiananmen Square in 1989, religious persecutions, and its policing of the Internet today. Further, the current regime was not a signatory to the treaties of the 19th century, and this should have been stated from the very beginning. It remains a dictatorship today, an outlaw government as evil as Iran’s theocracy and Saudi Arabia’s medieval monarchy, propped up by Western pragmatism.

But, as a refutation of Albert Jay Nock’s fatalism, not to mention of the doctrinaire collectivism of various schools, John Blundell’s compact biography of Margaret Thatcher demonstrates how a nation can, for a time at least, reclaim itself from its past follies, and give those in it who champion a moral basis of capitalism time to marshal their courage, arguments and numbers.

After all, freedom isn’t just a matter of privatization. It is a state of mind.

Monday, April 08, 2013

The Associated Press's Blanking Out

In Eleanor H. Porter's 1913 novel, Pollyanna, the title character, a child, adopts an unreserved, delusional perspective of optimism. When given a pair of crutches instead of a doll for Christmas, she proclaims she is happy because she didn't need them. From that point forward, she turns all bad things into good things.

The Associated Press (AP) this year is one hundred and sixty-seven years old. As a news gathering and distributing organization it is not a child and presumably is not staffed by children. Yet, it has adopted an even worse delusional perspective than Pollyanna's on how to encounter bad things, such as Islamic jihad and illegal immigration. It has excised the terms Islamist and illegal immigrant from its style book. It will no longer accept copy containing those terms. In effect, the policy isn't merely one of turning bad things into good things. It simply eliminates knowledge of bad things from one's consciousness in an attempt to remake reality. No good things replace the bad things.

It is an exercise in what novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand called "blanking out." Discussing the source and power of evil, John Galt, the scientist/philosopher of Atlas Shrugged, said:

Thinking is man’s only basic virtue, from which all the others proceed. And his basic vice, the source of all his evils, is that nameless act which all of you practice, but struggle never to admit: the act of blanking out, the willful suspension of one’s consciousness, the refusal to think—not blindness, but the refusal to see; not ignorance, but the refusal to know. It is the act of unfocusing your mind and inducing an inner fog to escape the responsibility of judgment—on the unstated premise that a thing will not exist if only you refuse to identify it, that A will not be A so long as you do not pronounce the verdict “It is.”

Non-thinking is an act of annihilation, a wish to negate existence, an attempt to wipe out reality. But existence exists; reality is not to be wiped out, it will merely wipe out the wiper.1.

The AP's action invites ribald mockery and loads of satirical comments. Jay Leno scoffed that from now on he will use the term "undocumented Democrats," referring to the Democrats' support of illegal immigrant amnesty as a means of recruiting millions more voters in future elections. Another organization said it will employ the term "illegal invader."

However, the AP's action is symptomatic of a seriously flawed mental condition. Both instances are examples of an evasive psycho-epistemology, or voluntary blind-sidedness. Or, again, of blanking out. Islam, Islamism, and Islamists, as Daniel Greenfield explains in his column, "Talking About Terrorism," will no more conform to a name change than the tides obeyed King Canute and ceased to come in.

The first rule of the Jihad Club is that there's no talking about it. For the second rule, see the first rule. The culture of silence and terrorism denial is sometimes well meaning. Since the Bush days, experts on Islam have warned that the best way to defeat Islamic terrorists is to undermine their claim to fighting on behalf of Islam by refusing to call them Islamic.

The average Al Qaeda recruit is utterly unaffected by whether the White House press secretary calls the group Islamic, Islamist or terrorist or militant. He similarly does not care whether Nidal Hasan's shooting rampage at Fort Hood is called an act of terror or workplace violence. Such concerns exist only in the bubble of experts who offer shortcuts to fighting terrorism that don't actually involve killing terrorists.

If the AP or CNN truly wanted to push back against Islamist violence, instead of censoring the Islamic part in the vain hope that their followers might not then identify the Muslim Brotherhood or the Islamic Jihad with Islam, they would challenge their premises by telling the truth about Islamism and Islam.

 And if President Obama truly wanted to fight Islamic terrorism and defeat Islam, would he have ordered the redaction and discarding of all training materials for intelligence and law enforcement agencies that identified Islam as the prime mover of Islamic terrorism? Quoting from The Daily Caller, Raymond Ibrahim of The Middle East Forum, in his November 2011 article, "Obama Administration Bans Knowledge of Islam," wrote:

The move comes after complaints from advocacy organizations including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and others identified as Muslim Brotherhood front groups in the 2004 Holy Land Foundation terror fundraising trial. In a Wednesday Los Angeles Times op-ed, Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) president Salam al-Marayati threatened the FBI with a total cutoff of cooperation between American Muslims and law enforcement if the agency failed to revise its law enforcement training materials. Maintaining the training materials in their current state "will undermine the relationship between law enforcement and the Muslim American community," al-Marayati wrote. Multiple online sources detail MPAC's close alignment with CAIR. In his op-ed, Al-Marayati demanded that the Justice Department and the FBI "issue a clear and unequivocal apology to the Muslim American community" and "establish a thorough and transparent vetting process in selecting its trainers and materials."

What explanation does the AP offer for blanking out the term Islamist? In 2012 it defined an Islamist as precisely what it is now denying one is.  

Supporter of government in accord with the laws of Islam. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi.

Which is a very good and precise definition, indeed. Islam is a political/theological ideology whose end is world domination and global submission to Islamic Sharia law. However, now the AP has atomized the concept Islamist and made numerous unnecessary exceptions to the definition, and advises its writers that an Islamist is:

An advocate or supporter of a political movement that favors reordering government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam. Do not use as a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, who may or may not be Islamists.

Where possible, be specific and use the name of militant affiliations: al-Qaida-linked, Hezbollah, Taliban, etc. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi. [Italics mine.]

So, a writer must suborn his mind and go through mental gymnastics to distinguish between Islamic fighters who are and are not Islamic fighters, or Islamists. The implication is that not all Islamic fighters fight in the name of Allah; some might be fighting in the name of the Elks or Rotary Club or the Egyptian Copts and just happen to fancy the appellation Islamist. You never know, you never can be sure. Suicide bomber A can be A and non-A at the same time. You see, the world is littered with the bodies of Baptist and Atheist jihadis who blew themselves up in the Mall of America and Afghanistan, the AP has run dozens of stories about those terrorists, haven't you read them? Who knows? The 9/11 hijackers killed 3,000 people and themselves because they may have been having a bad hair day.

What prompted the AP to change its mind, and not so much back-pedal on the definition, as dismount from the bike? Political pressure and political correctness in the form of the communications director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Ibrahim Hooper. CAIR, an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation money-laundering case with strong links to Hamas (the terrorist organization which President Barack Obama is seeking to legitimize, just as he has legitimatized The Muslim Brotherhood), has acted as the point man in the conversion of the U.S. into a Sharia-compliant nation. Its brothers in this country are the Islamic Circle of North America, the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and the Muslim Students Association, all of which have chapters strewn across the country, in addition to a passel of lesser Muslim organizations.

U.S. News & World Report, in reporting the pressure Hooper applied on the AP, has taken no chances and refers to CAIR in deceptively benign terms.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, an American advocacy group sometimes labeled "Islamist" by critics, previously lobbied for the AP to drop the term. In a January op-ed CAIR's communications director, Ibrahim Hooper, wrote the term "has become shorthand for 'Muslims we don't like'" and "is currently used in an almost exclusively pejorative context."

True, CAIR is just an "advocacy group." But, what does it advocate? Compliance with and deference to Sharia law and Muslim religious customs. In short, submission to Islam. And CAIR is not "sometimes" labeled Islamist; it is often labeled Islamist.

Islam is a bad thing. Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, are all Islamists, and all bad things, whether or not they are al-Qaida-linked, Hezbollah-linked, Taliban-linked, Hamas-linked, and etc. Lone wolf jihadi, such as the French Muslim Mohammed Merah, all acting in the name of Islam, are bad things. Ibrahim Hooper of CAIR is a stealth jihadist, working to subvert the U.S. from within per the Muslim Brotherhood manifesto. He and the Manifesto are bad things. Hooper is definitely an Ikhwani, or Muslim Brother.

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.2.   

Hooper and his cohorts across the American Islamic spectrum all pose as "moderate" Muslims, when they are essentially Islamist. Which means "radical." Which means committed to the fundamental tenets of Islam. A very and incontrovertibly a bad thing.  

But, what is a "moderate" Islamist? What is a "moderate" Nazi, or a "moderate" Communist, for that matter? The contradictions engendered by the term "moderate" boggle the mind, as they are intended to, and disarm anyone attempting to grasp the nature of the evil to which the country is submitting, whether that evil is Islam or socialism or the rudderless, destructive statism of Obama's basketball prowess. Further, anyone charging Hooper and his cohorts with waging stealth or "civilization jihad" is without fail branded as an "extremist" or an "Islamophobe."

All "moderates" of any ideology must ultimately devolve and default to one of two states: "extremists" or nothing. They must commit themselves to the entirety of their chosen ideology, or repudiate it altogether, and become "extremists" (as the neo-conservatives are) – or become manqués with nothing to say. This is no less true for those who are "moderates" for freedom, for capitalism, or for the Bill of Rights. There is no honorable middle ground, compromise, equivocation, or shilly-shallying between "extremes."

And it is no less true for an ideology. By their definitions, "moderate" socialism must end up as full-scale, omnivorous socialism, "moderate" communism must end up with the universal expropriation of private wealth and gulags, and "moderate" Nazism must end up with death camps and war. "Moderate" Islam must achieve universal conquest and the imposition of Sharia law. Else it is not Islam, but instead just another California cult that worships moons and magical pyramids, and bows five times a day to totem poles dedicated to halal organic food.

Teri Blumenfeld, writing for The Middle East Quarterly, discusses how the excision of politically incorrect terms connected with Islam from the political lexicon, and the desiccated minds which political correctness produces, made possible the evil of Nidal Hasan and the Fort Hood jihadist massacre in 2009. She ended her article with:

Islamists often raise the specter of "Islamophobia" whenever any legitimate question about or criticism of Islam is broached. But real Islamophobia stalks the corridors of Washington and other Western capitols [sic]: The fear of upsetting Muslims of any stripe is so rampant that the security of the American citizenry has been compromised.

Incidentally, it is only government force that can fuel and sustain political correctness in speech. See my “Speechless Speech” and other essays on political correctness and incorrect speech on Rule of Reason. "Stealth" censorship can accomplish this if it has a head-lock on a nation’s educational institutions, as the government now has.

Syme, a character in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four who works on the ever-shrinking Newspeak Dictionary, remarks to Winston Smith,

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?...Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller….Orthodoxy means not thinking, not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness…Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller…It's merely a question of self-discipline, reality-control...."3.   

Except that in the AP's case, words and concepts are not banished, but smashed into their countless referents and sub-concepts, with the rule being that they may not be re-integrated again, neither in print nor in one's mind, under pain of the politically correct punishment of being silenced. Reality, however, will not be controlled. It will not conform to the whims, wishes, or fears of those who blank it out.

When it comes to combating Islam and Islamists, what you refuse to know will hurt you, later, if not sooner.

1.  Galt's speech. Atlas Shrugged. 1957 (New York: Dutton 35th Anniversary Edition., 1992), pp. 1017-1018.

2.  The Muslim Brotherhood Manifesto, p. 21 of 32 of pdf file. Investigative Project on Terrorism.

3.  Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell. 1949. Ed. Irving Howe. (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982), p. 36.