Saturday, February 09, 2008

Rebel without a clause

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams explains what he meant by his remarks on Sharia law at his website. In the interests of accuracy, it should be read verbatim, so that his words can speak for themselves.

His statements appear to frame his remarks on Sharia as an instance of the generic problem of accomodating religious value systems with secular society. Implicit in this approach is the assumption that Sharia is a member of a class of problems; and that by characterizing the properties of the class certain deductions can be made. In his words:

He explained that his core aim was to: "to tease out some of the broader issues around the rights of religious groups within a secular state" and was using sharia as an example. These include:

- How when the law does not take seriously religious motivation, it fails to engage with the community in question and opens up real issues of power by the majority over the minority, with potentially harmful effects for community cohesion.
- How the distinction between cultural practices and those arising from genuine religious belief might be managed.
- How to deal with the possibility that a 'supplementary jurisdiction' "could have the effect of reinforcing in minority communities some of the most repressive or retrograde elements in them, with particularly serious consequences for the role and liberties of women".

At the end of the lecture the Archbishop referred to a suggestion by a Jewish jurist that there might be room for 'overlapping jurisdictions' in which "individuals might choose in certain limited areas whether to seek justice under one system or another". This is what currently happens both within the Jewish arrangements and increasingly in current alternative dispute resolution and mediation practice.

In this respect, it may be useful to focus on his concept of 'overlapping jurisdictions'. These words appear to describe the existence of the intersection between the sets of religious mores (A) and secular legal requirements (B), that is A^B. But this would be meaningless, because by definition any element of A^B is contained in B and legal to start with. The intersection of Muslim custom and British law is entirely within British law; entirely within the class B of secular legal requirements. A statement which asserts Sharia law should be observed whenever it is identical to British law is one in which concessions to Sharia law are superfluous in every circumstance.

When Williams observes that "as a matter of fact certain provisions of sharia are already recognised in our society and under our law" he describes this overlap. In cases when there is no distinction between British law and the Muslim custom the problem vanishes by definition and he is talking about nothing. A man may eat fish on Friday whether because he is a devout Catholic or simply because he happens to like seafood. But there is no earthly point to asserting that fish-and-chips shops are proof of a concession to the Roman Church except as a distraction.

Let us turn to the question of 'supplementary jurisdictions'. It makes more sense to understand Rowan Williams' assertion of the proper relation between the legal systems to mean A-B, or "everything in A except for its overlap with B"; that is to say Sharia law might apply when not contrary to British law. This would be equivalent to saying that any Islamic customs that are not illegal can be practiced. And that reading would be consistent with William's own use of the term 'supplementary jurisdiction'. In that case the problem vanishes again because Williams is stating the obvious. Whatever is not contrary to law is permissible.

But a 'supplementary jurisdiction' (A-B) is not the same as an 'overlapping jurisdiction (A^B). Consider the example of marriage. If a woman elects to let her parents choose who she should marry that is a case of 'supplementary jurisdiction'. Nothing (to my knowledge) forbids a Muslim woman from observing this custom. And if that's how she wants to choose her husband she is entitled to. But if a man were to assert he had a choice between observing Islamic polygamy or monogamy that would be a case of an 'overlapping jurisdiction'. But clearly spaces which are in A^B and yet not in B cannot exist. Where Sharia law is contradictory to British law it is not in the intersection or 'overlap'. There is no overlap. To confuse 'supplementary' with 'overlapping' is a basic and deadly logical error and it is not clear from William's site how he can relate the two to his goal of "teasing out". His final remarks only seem to make things murkier. He says:

"if we are to think intelligently about the relations between Islam and British law, we need a fair amount of 'deconstruction' of crude oppositions and mythologies, whether of the nature of sharia or the nature of the Enlightenment"

That is a straw horse argument that is pointless moreover. It is possible for religious belief to clash with the secular law. And times when a religious person may feel compelled to reject the law of the state and face the consequences, whether by becoming a fugitive, fighting against the state or willingly suffering the penalties. But the defiance will be conscious. In contrast, Williams seems to imagine a condition where a person can be in potential defiance of British law -- 'overlapping jurisdiction' -- and yet in compliance. That would make create a peculiar class of persons: rebels, or better yet martyrs, without a cause.


Archbishop Ben Kwashi, Archbishop of Jos in Northern Nigeria, was interviewed by the BBC about the interview that the Archbishop of Canterbury gave on the unavoidability of Sharia Law.





45 Comments:

Blogger JoseyWales said...

Analysis of Williams' words boils down to splitting hairs.

The mssg. is: the West and its institutions will kowtow to a violent (for now) minority, in ways it did not for the Jews or the Sikhs or other minorities.

The more depressing and horrifying picture to people like me (and the Muslim woman from your previous post) is that idiots like the Archbishop are opening the door, ever more widely, to the importation of ideas that we thought we were safe from when we got the hell out of the third world.

Those who want Sharia can go live in places that are currently offering Sharia.

The idea implicitly held by Williams is that Sharia-people came west for prosperity and freedom, but would just like to have them alongside Sharia, so why not?.

A bit like the old: you can have socialism with prosperity, unlike these other boobs in Cuba and the Soviet Union.

Sharia works only if applied "properly" by enlightened people in the UK, not by Saudis or Afghanis.

Old liberal suicidal canard.

Williams fails to see that Sharia/prosperity/freedom may be (are) incompatible, and that the logical conclusion of his own idiocy is the very disappearance of the Church is supposedly heads.

2/09/2008 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger sammy small said...

I haven't done the research yet, but what comes to mind is the American Indian reservations where tribal laws and customs prevail and some U.S. or state law may not.

2/09/2008 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger Jimmy said...

I think it was an MP from the UK who essentially said that the good Doctor should concentrate on his core duties as head of the Anglican Church, number 1 should and must always be, get more bloody poeple into the Churches on Sunday!! He used a football analogy (don't all the British) to the effect of a team Manager need not worry himself about any other side but his own!

When did that key responsibility of the Archbishop become secondary, or tertiary to philosophising on what the future constitution of the United kingdom may look like?

2/09/2008 07:31:00 AM  
Blogger Jimmy said...

joeywales...

"...the importation of ideas that we thought we were safe from when we got the hell out of the third world".

Reminds me of an anecdote I read somewhere: a British Colonel was observing with horror the act of self-immolation of a widowed Indian women. A local saw the pained expression on his face and said "well, in our country, this is part of our culture and has been for thousands of years". The Colonel replied that in his culture, they would have stopped her and hung anyone who intervened.

2/09/2008 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger tckurd said...

Is it me or is there something to people in Britain named "Rowan" being clownish buffoons not worth even a moment of media?

2/09/2008 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger El Baboso said...

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."

General Sir Charles Napier

2/09/2008 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

WE have been told for seven years now that it is impossible to shut up or de-throne evil-talking imam's because there is no over-arching religious authority in Islam who can enforce ideas of good and evil, and their subsequent actions. Therefore, any nit-wit who's tired of herding goats can set himself up as an imam and a sheikh and start issuing fatwah's and calling for the death of Americans and Jews, and that's perfectly OK with Muslims because there is no one around who can fire such nit-wits and tell them to shut up.

Is there no one in the Church of England who can fire *its* nit-wit and tell him to shut up, either?

2/09/2008 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

NahnCee said:

"Is there no one in the Church of England who can fire *its* nit-wit and tell him to shut up, either?"

I think NahnCee's solution is correct. The good archbishop appears to be another example of a moonbat academic.

I'll have to expose my ignorance to ridicule: Does British parliament have any authority over the Archbishop of Canterbury? Maybe they can have him removed for incompetence.

2/09/2008 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger JoseyWales said...

The Archidiot may resign but then what?

The same PC-respect-the-"other"-we-are-not-worthy nitwits who picked him will pick his successor. (OK, maybe a lesson was learned here, but I am not holding my breath).

2/09/2008 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger red259 said...

Is there any reason why I've renounced my membership to the Church of England? And I can't look to the Catholics for guidance, (as much as I wish I could), the Pope is just atrocious. Where is our true spokesman for Christianity? I believe it lies, as always, in our own hearts.

2/09/2008 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

There's a word for what Dr. Rowan Williams has in mind -- Apartheid. And somehow, I had been under the impression that the intellectual underpinnings of Apartheid are heresy according to the Anglican Communion.

2/09/2008 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger pst314 said...

It is inexcusible that a Christian church should be run by people who are unwilling to defend Christianity from its deadliest enemies.

2/09/2008 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger jms said...

This is the end result of the redefinition of the word "diversity" into a catch-all for all things goodness and light.

One of the greatest achievement of the west is the abolition of the concept of a diversity of human rights. So much evil has flowed from the notion that a person's human rights depend on the color of their skin, or their ancestry, or their religion.

We have rejected that philosophy as poison, and instead claim the exact opposite -- that human rights are universal. That no person has any more rights under the law than any other due to their skin color, ancestry, or religion.

Now we face evil men and soft-thinking idiots who claim that we must accommodate this evil, to avoid conflict with the enemies of civilization.

To accommodate a "diversity" of human rights is an evil and an abomination. For a religious authority to fail to recognize this simply shows his own ignorance and moral bankruptcy and brings discredit and shame to his institution.

2/09/2008 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

red529

I think you will find Joseph Ratzenberger a first class intellectual. His Regensburg speech will prove of major historical importance.

2/09/2008 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Jimmy, the practice is called sutee (or suti) and, too often, if a grieving widow—now a burden to her in-laws—refused to voluntarily join her deceased on his funeral pyre she was forcefully thrust into the flames. El Baboso beat me to the punch with Napier's timeless quote. The General's words ring ever more true in the face of Islam's own hideous practices.

While India has cracked down on this vile practice over the last decade it is still known to happen. A woman's lot in the Third World pretty much stinks with shari'a law as a prime example. Why in Hell Europe—or anywhere else for that matter—would want shari'a law infecting their communities is a mystery to me.

NahnCee: WE have been told for seven years now that it is impossible to shut up or de-throne evil-talking imam's because there is no over-arching religious authority in Islam who can enforce ideas of good and evil, and their subsequent actions. Therefore, any nit-wit who's tired of herding goats can set himself up as an imam and a sheikh and start issuing fatwah's and calling for the death of Americans and Jews, and that's perfectly OK with Muslims because there is no one around who can fire such nit-wits and tell them to shut up.

Just because British Muslims are unwilling or unable to depose their hate-spewing imams doesn't mean that those jihadist clerics shouldn't experience some sort fatal accident. It's long past tea to begin purging Islam's ranks of its jihadi indoctinators.

Eggplant: Does British parliament have any authority over the Archbishop of Canterbury?

I seem to recall that the Archbishop is appointed by Britain's Prime Minister. Why Rowan Williams has not been ejected for treason against the state is a total mystery.

2/09/2008 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

This Rowan of Williams sounds like he's been bought and paid for by the Saudis.

2/09/2008 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

If I recall correctly, Bishops and the Archbishop are recommended by the government (in practice by the prime minister) but appointed by the monarch. However there is deliberately no mechanism for removal. The Archbishop is not there to carry out the policies of the crown but to lead the church and where the two clash he is in place to represent the church's interest.

The tradition remains even though, since Henry VIII the monarch is the titular head of the Anglican Church. There have been turbulent priests before, but usually the problem was too much enthusiasm for the church rather than this.

2/09/2008 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

The elites in the West have been longing to surrender to someone, anyone. Why not the Muslims? They want a new overlord.

Because social mobility profoundly threatens them. They want to put society in amber just like Muslims do so that no one can move up from the bottom and threaten them. So they may always be the "landless gentry."

Williams is merely the most visible member of the surrender class. But he is not alone. Gordon Brown, the Democratic Party, most of Labor and much of the Conservatives, and all of Europe's pols want to surrender.

2/09/2008 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger otherwhen789 said...

whiskey_199:

But they won’t always be a landless gentry. Once the Jihadis take over, they’ll be groveling or dead. And most of them don’t have a lot of kids, so in 100 years or so, dead.

On the surface this intra-Western conflict looks like it’s just about class privilege. But there is the deeper existential question of what to live for.

Basically, religion promises you the hope of lasting value because death is not the end. Once you reject that, all other roads lead to nihilism. No matter what you do, if there is no afterlife, then in 1000 years you will still be forgotten, and there will be no reason for anyone to care that you ever lived.

Individuals can accept this logic and still lead productive lives through habit and personal predisposition. But groups of people, communities, who come to believe that life is meaningless sink into hedonism and despair.

They long for death. And soon they receive it. God, whether He exists or not, is merciful.

2/09/2008 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Trebics said...

Oswald Spengler writes:

"...When reason have to be put forward at all in a question of life, life itself has become questionable. At that point begins prudent limitation of the number of births. The primary woman, the peasant woman, is mother. The whole vocation towards which she has yearned from childhood is included in that one word. But now emerges the Ibsen woman, the comrade, the heroine of a whole megalopolitan literature from Northern drama to Parisian novel. Instead of children, she has soul-conflicts; marriage is a craft-art for the achievement of "mutual understanding." It is all the same whether the case against children is the American lady's who would not miss a season for anything, or the Parisienne's who fears that her lover would leave her, or an Ibsen heroine's who "belongs to herself" - they all belong to themselves and they are all unfruitful...

At this level all Civilizations enter upon a stage, which last for centuries, of appalling depopulation. The whole pyramid of cultural man vanishes. It crumbles from the summit, first the world-cities, then the provincial forms and finally the land itself, whose best blood has incontinently poured into the towns, merely to bolster them up awhile. At the last, only the primitive blood remains, alive, but robbed of its strongest and most promising elements...

Consequently we find everywhere in these Civilizations that the provincial cities at an early stage, and the giant cities in turn at the end of the evolution, stand empty, harbouring in their stone masses a small population of fellaheen who shelter in them as the men of the Stone Age sheltered in caves and pile-dwellings. Samarra was abndoned by the tenth century; Pataliputra, Asoka's capital, was an immense and completely uninhabited waste of houses when the Chinese traveller Hsuan Tsang visited it about A.D. 635, and many of the great Maya cities must have been in that condition even in Cortez's time. In a long series of Classical writers from Polybius onward we read of old, renowned cities in which the streets have become lines of empty, crumbling shells, where the cattle browse in forum and gymnasium, and the amphitheatre is a sown field, dotted with emergent statues and hermae. Rome had in the fifth century of our era the population of a village, but its Imperial palaces were still habitable."

Although I have a catholic viewpoint on world-history and identify with the "fellaheen" of Spengler, his words are wise and prophetic beyond belief.

2/09/2008 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger LifeoftheMind said...

The Church of England has exactly the leadership it wants and the attitudes it has been cultivating for over 300 years. The incompetence that resulted in the depopulation of the Church of Ireland, despite the advantages of Establishment it presumably enjoyed, and its replacement by a Catholic religion of largely foreign origin, are being repeated in the abandonment of the English Church by the native population and it's steady replacement by a religion preached by imported missionaries.

Henry VIII always felt himself to be a Catholic. He probably believed that marrying his late brother’s (presumably unconsummated) widow was illegal. His title of Defender of the Faith from the Pope, that the English Throne uses to this day, was for his critique of Luther. Henry was an interesting and accomplished man.

The problem with the Church of England is that after the Civil Wars of the 17th century the teeth were drawn from the established religion. Establishment is not designed to increase the power of the Church but to defang it, house-train it and make it harmless. The tradition arose of sending the fool in the family into the Church. Tolerance became the central formal doctrine of the Church of England. The important thing was they had to be tolerant of royal whims and peculiarities and also of regional or political Protestant minority groups. The expectation was that the non-conformists of the Chapel would in return be politically loyal to the Crown. That was centuries before anyone thought about Moslem immigration. Tolerance for Jews and Catholics came more slowly. Troublesome non-conformist sects were largely exported or channeled into industrial and political movements. That is the historical basis for the Liberals and ultimately the Labor Party.

Americans sometimes have trouble understanding how the recent carnage of the 20th century, especially the First World War, created the deep strain of pacifism that Britain, and many other parts of Europe, exhibit today. It is much harder for us to understand how the horrors of the religious wars of the 17th century produced the desire for secularism and tolerance that dominates elite opinions in Europe.

2/09/2008 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger LifeoftheMind said...

Lord Napier's words should be etched in stone and placed in the Capitol Rotunda.

2/09/2008 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

In an ordinary relationship in civil society a party who is unhappy can quit. Marriages are dissolved by divorce. Contracts can be terminated with a payment of damages. Even citizenship can be renounced.

Sharia is different. Like living in the Soviet Union, there is no lawful nor easy exit. Nureyev could escape, and live to tell the tale. But, victims of sharia, often young women, seeking to leave its shackles will be tracked down and killed by members of their own family.

It happens every day now in the west, and authorities simply wring their hands.

Furthermore, Islam is a political system, not just a religion, and Sharia is the legal code of that political system. The two cannot be separated in anyway. As a political system Islam does not tolerate competition. Introducing Sharia into a country is a wedge of Islamic imperialism.

After Sharia is introduced, Muslims will want official recognition of Muslim areas. Then they will want only Muslims as police in their areas. Along the way the imams will need exempted from all non-discrimination legislation. Then they will want official recognition of Muslim criminal laws against, for example, alcohol. Then they will demand official recognition of the religious police, who will have been operating unofficially for years in these zones. After that we will be told that it is none of our business what they are doing in their enclaves.

Sharia is not only antiquated and inflexible, it is a violent attack on human freedom and dignity, and a desecration of God's holy name. It is to be dreaded like an outbreak of the smallpox. Any society that wants to retain a commitment to civilization must reject it absolutely and in all of its manifestations.

2/09/2008 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

A love for goodness and the ability to discern right from wrong and good from evil are the basic requirements for a moral leader.

A clever mind and rhetorical skills are the basic requirements for a political leader.

Mr. Williams qualifies for the latter, but not the former.

2/09/2008 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

Fellow fellaheens fear not, we are on the brink of a mighty new global civilization, which will last tens of thousands of years, leaving the hunting and gathering and the monumental stages behind, a civilization in which we will control the destinly of first the planet, then the solar system, the galaxy and beyond, as prophesied by Frobenius, if we just don't blow ourselves up first.

2/09/2008 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

OtherWhen789: No matter what you do, if there is no afterlife, then in 1000 years you will still be forgotten, and there will be no reason for anyone to care that you ever lived.

Complete and total horseradish!

Even without progeny to give some of them genetic immortality, a thousand names ring down through the centuries, many of whom never heard the name of Jesus or even the word, "God".

Alexander the Great, Kong Fu Tze, Aristotle, Caesar and hundreds of other individuals all attained immortality though their towering personal accomplishments. Plenty of us care that they ever lived and all of us stand upon the shoulders of history's giants as we gaze further into the future.

Each of us can obtain similar immortality. All we must do is apply our human spirit and intellect towards the betterment of mankind and achieve the same level of innovation, genius or inspiration that left these other famous names permanently etched into the bedrock of history.

While religion has many worthy attributes, ascribing it sole proprietership of all that makes life worth living reveals your abject spiritual bigotry and a constitutes a monumental insult to the achievements of those who went before us as they blazed a trail towards our world's civilization.

Fat Man: But, victims of sharia, often young women, seeking to leave its shackles will be tracked down and killed by members of their own family.

This one single observation conveys so much about Islam's vile nature. The grip maintained upon its hapless victims is so ironclad whereby Muslims willingly slaughter friend, foe and family alike sooner than endure any offense to their insatiably bloodthirsty deity.

After hurling your child into Islam's glowing furnace little else will pose much of a problem for whatever tattered ethics and morals you still possess.

2/09/2008 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger Starling said...

It would seem that at the Archbishop's invitation, the nose of the camel is now in the tent.

2/09/2008 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger otherwhen789 said...

Zenster:

I don’t think it’s quite fair to consider me a bigot for religion. I am a secular man, myself. And I’d like to believe in Earthly immortality.

But I am not Alexander or Aristotle or Confucius. And I don’t think my name will last as long as theirs has. And even if it does, my name is not me. Nicomachus, Aristotle’s son, could remember his father’s laugh, the sound of his voice, the way he smelled. We can only read (hopefully accurate) words on paper. It’s not the same.

And lest we forget, the only reason we remember their names at all is that they were fortunate enough to hail from literate cultures. Who knows what marvelous human beings lived and died, doing the most remarkable deeds, before the dawn of writing.

I grew up believing that the Phoenicians, who carried writing across the Mediterranean, wrote nothing of their own. It turns out they did write stories and treatises, all unfortunately lost to time, because the paper they used to write on didn’t last long enough for their tales to make it into the official histories.

Whatever great deeds we do in life, the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, proton decay, and possibly the Big Crunch will obliterate even the faintest trace of memory.

I’m not saying that YOU can’t or shouldn’t be happy in the face of doom. I’m only saying that human societies apparently cannot. Groups of people must believe in some form of hereafter, lest they sink into despondency.

The here-and-now is never going to be enough for the vast majority of people, when death is certain and oblivion virtually guaranteed.

2/09/2008 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

I'm a 16th-generation Anglican, and the man is a disgrace. Not for the 'sharia' comments alone, but for disingenuous double-dealing as the church he heads falls apart.

HM Queen Elizabeth, in her capacity of fide defendorum (defender of the faith) should sack Rowan Williams, and quickly.

2/10/2008 05:51:00 AM  
Blogger Zenster said...

OtherWhen789: I don’t think it’s quite fair to consider me a bigot for religion.

Then please do not push religion as the end-all, be-all of civilization. Again, it can bring many grand things to human existence but a full life still can be had without it.

Basically, religion promises you the hope of lasting value because death is not the end. Once you reject that, all other roads lead to nihilism. No matter what you do, if there is no afterlife, then in 1000 years you will still be forgotten, and there will be no reason for anyone to care that you ever lived.

The foregoing paragraph from your earlier comment simply reeks of spiritual materialism in the form of religious bigotry. If that was not your intention, then let's clear it up.

I am a secular man, myself. And I’d like to believe in Earthly immortality.

Due to some extremely mixed signals in your comment, I'll take this up with you later.

But I am not Alexander or Aristotle or Confucius. And I don’t think my name will last as long as theirs has. And even if it does, my name is not me.

I didn't say your name is you. I said your deeds are you and that they represent a record of your existence. Only you can judge whether your acts will resonate beyond your passing but that in no way changes the fact that they can.

And lest we forget, the only reason we remember their names at all is that they were fortunate enough to hail from literate cultures. Who knows what marvelous human beings lived and died, doing the most remarkable deeds, before the dawn of writing.

While a substantial barrier, not even the advent of writing could prevent legendary names from filtering through that dim past. King Arthur and Merlin spring to mind. Less well-known figures like the Egyptian Sum, Japanese Yamato Take, Irish Cu-Chulainn and a host of other heroes whisper to us from the dawn of civilization.

I should think that one particular pre-historic artist—nameless though he certainly must be—is nearly well known as da Vinci for his extraordinarily sensitive paintings in a French cave at Lascaux. Yet, as with how you’d “like to believe in Earthly immortality”, you then go on to say:

Whatever great deeds we do in life, the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, proton decay, and possibly the Big Crunch will obliterate even the faintest trace of memory.

So, which is it, dessert topping or floor wax? Earthly immortality or time-transcendent eternal being? Look long enough and there is sure to be some catch to earthly existence, even if it looms ominously some several dozen BILLION years hence. Struggle hard enough and you can always pry despair out from beneath some cold rock that others merely step over on their way towards happiness. Methinks you are spending a wee bit too much time snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

The here-and-now is never going to be enough for the vast majority of people, when death is certain and oblivion virtually guaranteed.

People who abandon all hope of obtaining satisfaction or happiness from their daily existence and, instead, forego it in favor of some heavenly bestowal of utopic afterlife, sin against themselves and their fellow man in a most heinous fashion. They make barren a world of indescribable beauty and strip away all nobility from man's purpose here on earth.

2/10/2008 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger PharmaGuy said...

From the Bishops presentation:

'In the West', writes Tariq Ramadan in his groundbreaking Western Muslims and the Future of Islam, 'the idea of Sharia calls up all the darkest images of Islam...It has reached the extent that many Muslim intellectuals do not dare even to refer to the concept for fear of frightening people or arousing suspicion of all their work by the mere mention of the word' (p.31).

Hmmm, these Muslim intellectuals are really saying "Let's not talk about how Sharia is actually implemented, or folks will go running to the exits..

Also, again from the Bishop's speech:

"But it is important to begin by dispelling one or two myths about sharia; so far from being a monolithic system of detailed enactments, sharia designates primarily – to quote Ramadan again – 'the expression of the universal principles of Islam [and] the framework and the thinking that makes for their actualization in human history' (32). Universal principles: as any Muslim commentator will insist, what is in view is the eternal and absolute will of God for the universe and for its human inhabitants in particular; but also something that has to be 'actualized', not a ready-made system. If shar' designates the essence of the revealed Law, sharia is the practice of actualizing and applying it; ..."


Aslo, a bit further on..

"On the one hand, sharia depends for its legitimacy not on any human decision, not on votes or preferences, but on the conviction that it represents the mind of God; on the other, it is to some extent unfinished business so far as codified and precise provisions are concerned."

Unfinished business indeed. 1400 years to work on Sharia, and this is as good as it gets?

Methinks many are happy with it just the way it is. The West is foolish to let this get any kind of a foothold in its (ever-evolving) legal system.

2/10/2008 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger Chip Ahoy said...

LOTM, brilliant tour de terrain, there.

My 2¢:

I've always thought it suited the US perfectly well for Europe to have become utterly pacifist. But now they're incapable of defending themselves.

In my circle it's common, regular actually, to hear expressions of hopelessness about the ability of the U.S. to have any affect whatever against Islamic jihad. (After all, they've been at it for 2,000 years. WRONG! At this point I usually abandon discussion, because it becomes rather like having a wee on one's own party). And this surprises me because I'm left wondering how they explain the near disappearance of the samurai class. Or agree with them, "Yes! Those SS troops of the Nazi party are such a nuisance to this day." <-- Two examples of entire civilizations completely put off the idea of militarism, hegemony for that matter, and I dare say the U.S. had much to do with it. So whence this insistence on hopelessness? I look at it this way, odd these conversations usually occur with homosexuals but that's another point, if you (my interlocutor) can lose your religion so can your enemy, your real enemy not your imagined enemy you make your compatriots out to be.

2/10/2008 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger JacksonvillePat said...

Those from the Anglican Continuing Church have a strong argument that this is what is expected from the modern Church of England, as well as the American Episcopal Church, in its continuing apostate drift.

The embracing of Sharia Law seems to be almost parallel to the new fad of "Syncretism" where:

-An Episcopal Bishop claiming to be a "Muslim-Christian" stating that “I was following Jesus and he led me into Islam,”

http://www.chalcedon.edu/articles/article.php?ArticleID=2772

- Episcopalians holding an "Indian Rite Mass" with Hindus and apologizing for past attempts to convert Hindus.

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-me-hindu20jan20,1,7144896.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california

Since the "The Affirmation of St. Louis" in 1978 Episcopalians have been abandoning the Episcopal Church.

http://www.anglicancatholic.org/affirmstlouis.html

My decision to leave was when a Minister who left his wife and family to pursue a homosexual relationship was ordained as a Bishop.

If the Episcopal church has not become strange enough yet,keep watching there will be more to come.

2/10/2008 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger LifeoftheMind said...

Chip Ahoy,

There may be something to what you are implying about why your interlocutors are lacking a sense of proportionality in their panic. Perhaps they are not used to thinking in terms of generational movements and are prone to take everything more personally? That is only speculation and as sure to raise a firestorm as Larry Summers' foray into speculating over gender effects.

My suspicion is that Islamism is a short term threat but over time will prove to be a house of cards and without the support of petrodollars the threat would largely collapse. The Mullahs are probably aware of this and for all their braggadocio are desperate to strike fast. In 50 years western technology will have reduced the demand for oil and at the same time the percentage of world energy supply available from Moslem regions will be in decline. The longer term problem will be China.

Thank you for your courteous comment.

2/10/2008 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

LoTM: My suspicion is that Islamism is a short term threat but over time will prove to be a house of cards and without the support of petrodollars the threat would largely collapse. The Mullahs are probably aware of this and for all their braggadocio are desperate to strike fast. In 50 years western technology will have reduced the demand for oil and at the same time the percentage of world energy supply available from Moslem regions will be in decline. The longer term problem will be China.

All true. Sadly, nuclear proliferation has turned that "50 years" into eons of interminable danger for the West. We have no such luxury of waiting several decades for Islam to come to its senses or wither on the vine. Long before then Muslims will have wreaked a nuclear atrocity on Western soil and at that point we will likely have to clear the benches.

While the West certainly owes energy independence to itself, existential security comes first. Either we begin the top-down extermination of Islam's jihadist echalons or await an event so horrific that a Muslim holocaust will be our only reply.

Finally, you could not be more right about China. Eventually, they will make the terrorists look like a bunch of well-behaved Boy Scouts.

2/10/2008 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Life/Mind - by any chance, are you a guest of one of our steel-barred window institutions?

2/10/2008 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger LifeoftheMind said...


nahncee said...
Life/Mind - by any chance, are you a guest of one of our steel-barred window institutions?

2/10/2008 06:18:00 PM


No, I am not. What an inexcusably rude question.

2/10/2008 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger LifeoftheMind said...

Zenster,

You are correct that the threat of WMD attack is very real. The amazing thing is how President Bush rapidly understood the existential nature of the threat so rapidly after 9-11. Equally amazing is how thoroughly the Democrats have failed to understand that threat. They never grasped how, despite the flaws in tactical intelligence, it justified the toppling of Saddam.

The Bush doctrine appears to be forcefully responding to possible WMD threats while kicking the can on the conventional threat. That explains why we haven't mobilized for a WW-II style invasion and occupation of the MIddle East. America has the capacity to do so. Despite the feverish obstruction of the Democrats we have fought this war with limited force and a small footprint. Rumsfeld clearly over constrained himself and did not get the bipartisan support he hoped he had earned.

The basic idea though of lancing the boil that was an Iraqi regime enabling widespread terror and threatening WMD attacks was the alternative to going to war with all of Islam. The only reason not to carry the war forward against Ba'athist Syria and challenge the Wahabbi regime in Riyadh is the conviction that time is on our side. The probability of the Iranians will get the bomb before we are free of dependance on oil does make this a very dangerous game indeed.

If we get the coal gasification technology up fast then the Chinese will be more dependent on foreign energy supplies than we are. Maybe we can even use the carrot of technology to wean them off their current alliances. China has abundant coal resources like America does.

2/10/2008 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

LifeoftheMind said:

"The amazing thing is how President Bush rapidly understood the existential nature of the threat so rapidly after 9-11. Equally amazing is how thoroughly the Democrats have failed to understand that threat."

I am convinced that president George W. Bush will be regarded by future historians as one of our better presidents. President Bush will be placed in the same niche with Harry S. Truman as a President who made correct strategic decisions of major importance that cost him significantly at the time due to unpopularity. Also, I'm convinced that future historians will group the moonbats with the 19th century Copperheads as fools and watered-down traitors.

LifeoftheMind also said:

"The Bush doctrine appears to be forcefully responding to possible WMD threats while kicking the can on the conventional threat."

With 20-20 hindsight we can see that mistakes were made. However Bush did the best he could given the information he had at the time the decisions were being made.

LifeoftheMind was doing fine up until this next point:

"That explains why we haven't mobilized for a WW-II style invasion and occupation of the MIddle East. America has the capacity to do so. Despite the feverish obstruction of the Democrats we have fought this war with limited force and a small footprint."

This was never a valid strategic option. Cutting off the Persian Gulf oil supply would have plunged the world into a deep economic recession. Also taking over the holy cities of Mecca and Median would have triggered an immediate viseral reaction of extreme violence from the Moslem world. Attacking Saudi Arabia was the booby trap that Osama bin Laden had set for us when he attacked the Twin Towers. That President Bush refused to take the bait says much for the President's wisdom and will serve as further basis for praise by future historians.

LifeoftheMind then said:

"The probability of the Iranians will get the bomb before we are free of dependance on oil does make this a very dangerous game indeed."

Unfortunately this is true. President Bush was probably planning on taking action against the Iranians about now. However the politically motivated NIE with the false conclusion that Iran has no WMD program torpedoed President Bush's Iranian option. The NIE was an incredible act of treachery. Future historians may compare the NIE with Neville Chamberlain proclaiming "peace in our time" as actions that set the stage for major future wars.

LifeoftheMind made the following perceptive comment:

"If we get the coal gasification technology up fast then the Chinese will be more dependent on foreign energy supplies than we are. Maybe we can even use the carrot of technology to wean them off their current alliances. China has abundant coal resources like America does."

Nuclear energy combined with sythetic petroleum from coal are our immediate practical responses to "peak oil" (the world wide depletion of cheap petroleum). All of the fine talk about photovoltaics, wind energy, green energy, global warming, etc. is just background noise that will be forgotten within a couple decades. Unfortunately there is a "spool-up time" of about 10-20 years before we can bring nuclear energy and synthetic petroleum on-line. By that time, our economy will have taken a huge hit and we'll probably either be in or on the tail-end of a major world war against the Islamic world (much will depend upon who becomes President in 2008).

We live in "interesting" times.

2/10/2008 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

No, I am not. What an inexcusably rude question.

I wonder why you would think so.

Your word choices are odd in some contexts, and your phrasing a little awkward here and there, as if you're piecing together your comments from a thesaurus.

Please note that I did *not* call you stupid, deviant, ill-informed or a kitten-torturer.

Is English a second language, mayhap?

2/10/2008 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger LifeoftheMind said...

Eggplant said
LifeoftheMind was doing fine up until this next point:

"That explains why we haven't mobilized for a WW-II style invasion and occupation of the MIddle East. America has the capacity to do so. Despite the feverish obstruction of the Democrats we have fought this war with limited force and a small footprint."

This was never a valid strategic option. Cutting off the Persian Gulf oil supply would have plunged the world into a deep economic recession. Also taking over the holy cities of Mecca and Median would have triggered an immediate viseral reaction of extreme violence from the Moslem world. Attacking Saudi Arabia was the booby trap that Osama bin Laden had set for us when he attacked the Twin Towers. That President Bush refused to take the bait says much for the President's wisdom and will serve as further basis for praise by future historians.


Please note that I agree with everything you say. My comment was that we have the human and physical resources to do a WW-II style invasion and occupation of vast territories. President Bush looked at the nature of the threat and the strategic realities we have been discussing and choose to go for the more limited approach.

There are obvious risks to both approaches. Iran may push us into a larger war. Over time we may have to engage in more aggressive operations to change the culture and combat Totalitarianism in places like Riyadh. Right now we are letting these areas fester as wealthy backwaters.

The only problem with the measured approach favored by Bush is that it is hard to sustain in a democracy. It is the domestic management of the war that is the major problem.

2/11/2008 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

bobal, I assume you're referring to Leo Viktor Frobenius, NOT Ferdinand Georg Frobenius...

Ferdie was a mathematician; Leo was the archaeologist and ethnologist who excavated a number of ancient Yoruba cities, and believed fervently in the reality of Atlantis.

Hmmmm.

Channeling Atlantians doesn't seem quite such a looney thing on one's resume, considering the professed beliefs of the current crop of candidates.

2/11/2008 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger LifeoftheMind said...

nahncee

Wretchad has created here one of the few places where people can engage in civilized discourse after leaving the University. Perhaps my pleasure in the English language is considered old fashioned. To me the Belmont Club is a virtual version of a Gentleman's Club with leather seats and a good bookshelf. Regrettably I lack the level of education that Winston Churchill had as an English major (a course he entered because he wasn't considered bright enough for for the Classics course "Greats") but I try. Certainly it is impossible to use words of more than two syllables at work. If I was able to learn another language then I would have stayed in graduate school and would now be inflicting myself on undergraduates as a Fool Profuser.

2/11/2008 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

LifeoftheMind said:

"Regrettably I lack the level of education that Winston Churchill had as an English major (a course he entered because he wasn't considered bright enough for for the Classics course "Greats") but I try."

You're doing fine.

Years ago I was wandering around the streets of Vienna as a tourist with one of my former professors. He was an emeritus professor from Stanford University's Classics Department and world famous in the subject of epigraphy. During our walk, my old teacher confided in me that he had become an academic because his parents considered him too stupid to be a physician, lawyer or a rabbi (he seemed genuinely hurt by this). He was one of Stanford's best lecturers but has since been forgoten (he died years ago from old age).

2/11/2008 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger LifeoftheMind said...

eggplant
So you went to America's only "Junior University?" A cousin did his graduate work at Taco Bell. The real problem with Stanford is that it violates the Iron Law of Academics. "All great universities shall be in a location where the weather is bad enough and the neighborhood is dangerous enough to drive the students into the library." I have been expensively educated with results that disappointed both my family and women wise enough to look elsewhere. One of my happier memories was taking Hellenic Civilization at Chicago with Jamy Redfield. Stanford, Hopkins and Chicago all arose around the same time and are variations on a model based more on the German than the English University. Their varying fortunes over time make for an interesting study.

2/11/2008 09:16:00 AM  

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