Monday, April 21, 2008

Just chill

A Tale of Two Cities. Or maybe a tale of two universes. At around the same time Lawrence Lessig presented his Gay Singing Jesus video to Google, a number of distinguished academics were debating the issue of whether "Islam is dominated by radicals". Lessig is a self-described Obama tech advisor.

Unsurprisingly the audience thought Lessig's video was funny. Fair enough. But over at the debate Reza Aslan, a Harvard educated Muslim was arguing, in response to a question by Daveed Garstein Ross that it was understandable and moderate behavior for a people to resort to violence to avenge an insult to their religion. (Page 55 of the PDF)

Actually what you said was 15 percent of Indonesians would resort to violence in defense of their religion, I can’t believe it’s as little as 15 percent. I would be shocked if it were less than 50 percent. Religion in every culture including ours, is not just beliefs and practices, it’s identity. And if someone were coming to my country to attack me, attack my identity, you’re damn right, I would resort to violence to deflect that attack. ... Should I act violently in defense of my religion, absolutely. If the—if what that means is, that it’s my identity, that people are on the ground attacking me ...

If the litmus test of radicalism is whether or not you are willing to behead someone who 'insults' your religious identity, then maybe the People We've Been Waiting For can all claim to be moderates. But maybe that's because they don't care about their religion, if it happens to be something boring, like Christianity. But if we phrase the question as how willing would a person be to ignore a slur on his race, culture or country we might get a different answer. We know what Jeremiah Wright would say. "No. No. No. Goddamn. Goddaman America". He probably wouldn't countenance a slight at all. Does that make him a "radical"? Aslan would say no, so we must search further afield for bigots.

Maybe the people who "cling" to their religion and guns might be expected to react with violence to such slights. But in fact they don't. Lessig is unlikely to get any death threats Pennsylvania. In fact, the people who "cling" to their Bibles aren't expected to react at all. So in one sense it is Red State America that is classically moderate despite their "bitterness". They aren't even willing to go as far as Aslan suggests.

But since we're already in a topsy-turvey world, let's ask what would be true if Reza Aslan were right in saying that it is "moderate" behavior to resort to violence to defend one's identity or religion. Nah.

BTW, from an audience poll, the the proponents of the proposition that "Islam is dominated by radicals" won the debate.

 

RESULTS

Before the debate:

For the motion: 46%

Against the motion: 32%

Undecided: 22%

After the debate:

For the motion: 73%

Against the motion: 23%

Undecided: 4%








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68 Comments:

Blogger Habu said...

It matters little if Islam is dominated by "radicals". The ineluctable fact is that of their worldwide demographic explosion during a time when an implosion is occurring in the enlightened western world.
Gallup's recently concluded polling of Islam, their largest polling ever undertaken showed that a full 7% of Islams were "just fine and dandy" with the results of 9-11.

That figure works out to 420,000 million Islams who would easily war on the west. You don't need a firebrand leadership when that many are already prone to violent attacks

That is why I advocate:
•Having Congress redefine within the US Islam as a philosophy thus voiding it’s religious shield.

•Deporting all non US citizen Islams immediately.

•Bombing Syria and Iran into rubble and killing numbers of Muslims in the hundreds of millions

These things would be a start. If they are not done then Islam will out produce the world in population and carry their sword to every corner of the globe. Hell they already do. We must manage their population explosion because it is a young population while the West’s is old. Failing to use whatever means possible to reduce their numbers NOW by hundreds of millions will result in the death of the west as so many writers have already noted.

We will NEVER reach a lasting accommodation with Islam. Christianity and Islam are totally immiscible and can NEVER be reconciled other than by dominant force of arms. If we continue to wait it will be too late for they ,unlike any of our other enemies in history are willing to go down the road to Armageddon

4/21/2008 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

BTW..

I do not see any of what I advocate ever reaching fruition with the exception of a limited bombing of Iran and Syria. Why

We have a population absolutely sold on the anthem of multiculturalism. As a consequence of that enough factions already exists within the political structure to stifle any effort to curb a great Muslim presents in the US.
They will trod the same path the civil rights movement did and stare decisis will be on their side.

So how do we confront a growing and philosophically hostile population within our borders?

4/21/2008 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

I don't think the West will ever 'stand' against Islam, or anything, if it is unable to hold anything sacrosanct. That's not to say that fanaticism is the order of the day. All that we really need to do is not to hate ourselves.

One really wonders why, of all the subject matter available to fiction, Lessig had to resort to such a hackneyed, unoriginal and pointless parody. Who was he sending up?

It is the gratuitousness with which we make fun of everything that is the most telling fact of the present problem. Even the critics of the Nazis attempted to understand them in a serious way. But now our passions are bleached out; replaced by a uniform cynicism.

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw ...
Shape without form, shade without color,
Paralyzed force, gesture without motion

It's pretty much useless to expect a 'stand' against a threat from those for whom such words have no meaning. Maybe the perfect candidate for the times is a completely empty man. Someone to watch on television, about as real as Max Headroom.

4/21/2008 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

W,

You may indeed be correct in that the west will never stand against Islam except for the fact that it is already in it's nascent stages in Holland, France, and a few isolated pockets outside of Londonstan.

Additionally the USA is already making a statement in the ME the denouement of which we will not know for some time unless a Democratically controlled US government pulls another Vietnam bug out, including barring contractors from providing support.

That still leaves the question of demographics, the immiscible nature of Islam with any other religion/philosophy, and what to do when their numbers can vote in great enough numbers to effectively control this country.

As Gallop pointed out 420,000,000 Muslims are already primed to take us down in a fight. We must fight for there is no place to run.

This is all going to occur within a generation, not a hundred years from now. The challenge is real and it is upon us now. As Patrick Henry said, Peace, there is no peace.....

4/21/2008 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

Wretchard,

Not to pull the scab from an old wound but what I saw this weekend as I played the devils advocate was not cynicism but normally reasonable people turned fascist at the mere colloquy with a "Muslim". A Muslim who would make exactly the same points I was making about the taking of the USA.
For many it was not their finest hour in defending the rule of law.

Having said that I am much more Lincolnesque in temporarily "modifying" the rule of law to deal with an imminent threat and indeed sided with the sentiments of contributors, however it was very instructive and did not leave me with a feeling that cynicism rules but rather the American spirit of freedom and what is necessary to be done to keep it.

Rome was made over many times in it's 500 years, through debate and battles, riots and revolutions and we may endure the same way.

4/21/2008 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

I didn't say it would never stand. Only that it wouldn't stand if held nothing sacrosanct. And while each may burn a different flame in the fortress of his heart, we all alike need something to love if we are to make the effort to survive.

Resistance begins with love. It starts with the need to protect. If the embers of resistance are stirring in Europe it is only because after a long time, they have rediscovered fire.

We can begin from a suspicion of outsiders or a love of neighbors. And though the circle closes; while either way it amounts to resistance, the place where we start makes a difference.

4/21/2008 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger mark said...

Wretchard said:

"I don't think the West will ever 'stand' against Islam, or anything, if it is unable to hold anything sacrosanct. That's not to say that fanaticism is the order of the day. All that we really need to do is not to hate ourselves."

Killer bees and fire ants invaded our country some years ago. Entomologists devised mitigation strategies. I'm not sure whether these are working or not.

Feminists Hirsan Ali, a secularist, and Irshad Manji, a liberal, are a kind of mitigation of radical, patriarchal, studpid Islamism. Smart women. The fire ant Islamists, of course, want to kill them.

Christianity is growing explosively in sub-Saharan Africa. The spirit is moving in powerful ways.

I listened to two missionaries yesterday in church forum. They work at a Masai girls school. Masai traditionally don't educate girls because educated girls fetch a smaller bride price. Usually girls get married off to a polytgamist unit. But the educated girls are being welcomed back into their villages and pastoral units. They bring changes of expectation with them. Other graduates are going off to college and careers. Change is coming.

Islam says "Submit." Radical Islam says "Right away, or I'll humiliate and kill you." Christianity says, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

If there is time enough, I would prefer to see freedom work its mitigations rather than use bombs. If there be time enough.

About Lettig. I remember e.e. cummings' Olaf saying "there is some s. I will not eat." For Lettig and his ilk, there is no s. they will not eat, preferring it to anthing else.

America is a Christian country. I don't think we need to ban Islam. But neither can we privilege it for gentle treatment. Let's engage in the struggle of ideas. I don't have any doubt who will win.

4/21/2008 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger grrr said...

It would be interesting to see the reaction of audience as well as the author of the clip if the word "jesus" was replaced by "mohammed".

4/21/2008 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

W: I don't think the West will ever 'stand' against Islam, or anything, if it is unable to hold anything sacrosanct. That's not to say that fanaticism is the order of the day. All that we really need to do is not to hate ourselves.

We are told by some that if we do not hate the "other" we are expressing hatred of "ourselves". Hate doesn't need to come into this at all. Emotions get in the way of intelligence, when great intelligence is needed to protect us from threats and find the perpetrators of attacks when they get through our defenses. And it's not just hate. Fear, too, is a disabling emotion. We need to calmly evaluate the real threat and prepare accordingly. You don't preemptively attack a whole country because your fear has caused you to mistranslate Ahmedinejad's stated desire, in Farsi, for the end of the Zionist regime as a threat to destroy the people of Israel physically.

4/21/2008 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

Be it love the motivator or hate the operator the struggle has now been marked for centuries, the starting point today simply a moment in time more than a millennium past.

The commitment to Judeo Christian beliefs in this country is marked by church attendance in the low 40%. To engage over the next generation in an struggle over ideas is analogous to hitting the replay button on the DVD.

We KNOW with absolute certitude where Islam and Christianity stand and I repeat once again they are immiscible.

I also repeat that absent a Malthusian intervention the simple demographics of Islams growth can not be ignored or wished away. And once the threshold has been crossed whereby Islam becomes a political force within our government then the game is over. I believe that Islam will prevail if we allow it to develop in this country.

How much Christian vs.Islam history does one need to read to understand that they are not going to stop forcing the issue of an Islamic world?

March 31 2007...headline

VATICAN CITY — Islam has surpassed Roman Catholicism as the world's largest religion, the Vatican newspaper said Sunday.

"For the first time in history, we are no longer at the top: Muslims have overtaken us," Monsignor Vittorio Formenti said in an interview with the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano. Formenti compiles the Vatican's yearbook.
He said that Catholics accounted for 17.4 percent of the world population—a stable percentage—while Muslims were at 19.2 percent.

We know that not all Christians are Roman Catholic ,however the RATE at which the Islams are reproducing within a generation they will outnumber all of Christianity.

If we tarry we will be lost. The time for action is now, not tomorrow or next week, or after a "government study"

We know the challenge. Islams love of the sword to force submission.

Continued half measures will get you killed in this struggle. We cannot afford a Wilsonian academic exersize in vasillation.

4/21/2008 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

It would be quite a headline to read if one day mankind suddenly lost hate and fear and other emotions that might get in the way of a purely analytical evaluation of a conflict.

And make no mistake, Islam has been in full attack mode for over thirty years this last go around.

You can not factor out human emotions simply because theoretically they might bind the perfect answer. It will never happen. You might subdue them for a period necessary to evaluate a situation but they are primal, and you do not erase primal.

(Primal workout time...later)

4/21/2008 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Elijah said...

We are told by some that if we do not hate the "other" we are expressing hatred of "ourselves". Hate doesn't need to come into this at all. Emotions get in the way of intelligence, when great intelligence is needed to protect us from threats and find the perpetrators of attacks when they get through our defenses. And it's not just hate. Fear, too, is a disabling emotion. We need to calmly evaluate the real threat and prepare accordingly. You don't preemptively attack a whole country because your fear has caused you to mistranslate Ahmedinejad's stated desire, in Farsi, for the end of the Zionist regime as a threat to destroy the people of Israel physically.
////////////////////

you can kill your own way
if its done just how we say

and yet some have no problem preemptively terminating life of "the other" under the mantra of pro-choice; "evaluate the real threat" - is the threat fear or hate or convenience?

perhaps some reader can provide a translation
an...interpretation...of the true meaning such that the original words have no meaning at all

“The message of the (Islamic) Revolution is global, and is not restricted to a specific place or time. It is a human message, and it will move forward. Have no doubt ... Allah willing, Islam will conquer what? It will conquer all the mountain tops of the world.”
- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, July 25, 2005.

“The world of Islam has been mobilized against America for the past 25 years. The peoples call, "death to America." Who used to say "death to America?" Who, besides the Islamic Republic and the Iranian people, used to say this? Today, everyone says this.”
- Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, June 24, 2004

“If one day, the world of Islam comes to possess the weapons currently in Israel's possession -on that day this method of global arrogance would come to an end. This is because the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam.”
- Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Former Iranian President, December 14, 2001

“Some 10,000 people have registered their names to carry out martyrdom operations on our defined targets… Our targets are mainly the occupying American and British forces in the holy Iraqi cities, all the Zionists in Palestine, and Salman Rushdie.”
- Mohammad Ali Samadi, Spokesperson, Committee for the Commemoration of Martyrs of the Global Islamic Campaign, June 5, 2004

“Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled or incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world... those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world.”
- Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

4/21/2008 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Habu: We know that not all Christians are Roman Catholic ,however the RATE at which the Islams are reproducing within a generation they will outnumber all of Christianity.

And what, in turn, would that mean? Nothing. Arabs outnumber Jews vastly in the Middle East, but Israel continues to abide. Numbers mean nothing in the plan of salvation. "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

4/21/2008 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

A truly devout man takes his religion seriously. He does not hide behind his robes. Although it is often considered that the West is increasingly ruled by a class that holds nothing sacred, the same could be said for the world of Islam. Men who hide behind their robes to tyrannize others are no less blasphemers than those who make overtly snide comments toward a religion. He who takes religion seriously will seek to protect it, whereas the tyrant will hide behind it.

Just as a man with counterfeit religiosity will hide behind the prestige of his religion, a man with counterfeit patriotism will hide behind the prestige of his political office. He will cheerfully aid and comfort America’s enemies while claiming his actions are patriotic. Yes, true patriots can and do disagree over the best course of action, often necessarily so. Still, I would argue that an unwillingness to hold anything sacrosanct and a counterfeit religiosity that abuses the beliefs of others are two sides of the same coin.

It is a mark of true patriotism to be loath to accuse any other person of either treason or counterfeit patriotism. It is from the works of a man one knows him, not from his inner thoughts. Indeed, it is the work of counterfeit religiosity that led Jezebel to counterfeit the royal seal to arrange a counterfeit accusation of blasphemy against Naboth. Yet, while one must be on guard against the power of false accusation, one must also be on guard against those whose counterfeit devotion abuses the trust others give to them.

4/21/2008 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Elijah: “If one day, the world of Islam comes to possess the weapons currently in Israel's possession -on that day this method of global arrogance would come to an end. This is because the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam.”

Newsflash: The World of Islam has had the Bomb since 1998 when Pakistan tested five of the suckers. The World of Islam did not proceed to destroy Israel, because of the principle of MAD. I grew up in the Cold War. It works.

4/21/2008 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Teresita is wrong and ignores the lessons of history. Hate, fear, and so on are as a matter of historical record are essential to fashioning a resistance to being conquered: Russia June 1941-45 being the most prominent example. It was not intelligence that won the day (it hardly ever does) but rather raw, primitive emotion.

Teresita as a woman (this is not personal btw, but illustrative) has likely never been in a fight, certainly not many. She doesn't understand (and can't) that the pure will to win can often determine the outcome because in all likelihood she has neither prevailed or lost against odds based on will and primal emotions, in a series of fights. Intelligence helps, but sometimes the opponent will be smarter, or luckier. Determination (Taffy 3 and the Tin Can Navy) can lead to a few destroyer escorts and light carriers taking on the mighty Yamamoto and other Japanese battleships and winning. At great cost. This truth is something only men (who have been in fights, repeatedly) can understand at the emotional level. Which is the truth. [The 'dogma' that Teresita recites out of Star Wars is part of the problem.]

And here is my point Wretchard. We live in a "Science Fiction World." Two enormously influential pieces of technology that became cheap, effective, reliable, and acceptable, the condom and the pill, changed the way our (and to be fair, some Islamic societies as well) societies relate at the most fundamental level: the family. When women have control over their own fertility, and decent resources, they prefer single families, and pursuit of the Alpha Man (socially and physically dominant). The female dominated societies in the West of course value conflict avoidance at all costs, and more conciliatory notions. Along with ridiculing the past. Particularly Christianity which had controls/limits on female sexuality (along with male of course).

[Much of our tension with Islam can be related to this point: Muslims know that the West's export of the Pill and the Condom changes their societies as well, and that the only way to preserve their tribal, male-dominated structure is to kill the West. Otherwise the Pill and the Condom will continue to pour in over the borders.]

Faludi argues that it would be better to be conquered in the end by Muslims than to fight and sideline feminists. Teresita argues that it's better for Israel to be destroyed than sideline feminists (and their male allies). The worst thing about War for feminists and elitists is that ordinary men become important -- witness the considerable time Faludi spends on disparaging the Firefighters on 9/11, the Passengers on Flight 93, and the construction workers who rushed to the rubble to try and pull people out by hand.

But we are in a fight. Teresita might argue that Ahmadinejad is a love-struck puppy (because to see him as he is would require a fight that marginalizes feminists). But no matter. The raw will that both sides have will determine the outcome. Those who have not been heard are the average people who have lives, property, family at risk from Muslim nukes, and will do anything to survive. Already they see Muslims as monsters, alien in nature, who they would like to go away. Bring the fight to them and it's likely the "brakes" will be off and survival mode ala 1941-45 will kick in.

4/21/2008 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

the words/quote are those of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, former Iranian president

"The World of Islam has had the Bomb since 1998 when Pakistan tested five of the suckers. The World of Islam did not proceed to destroy Israel, because of the principle of MAD. I grew up in the Cold War. It works."

it seems others do not share the perspective of the "world of islam" as a single entity
........................

One wonders about the discussion during Musharraf's journey to the Egyptian beach resort of Sharm al-Sheikh for talks with President Hosni Mubarak. In a previous stop in Riyadh, Musharraf vowed to deepen defense and strategic ties with the Wahhabi kingdom. His trip, according to the Saudi-owned, Arabic-language news-site Elaph, was intended to

"expand the ...Sunni alliance... which includes Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey to include Pakistan as well, in order to face the growing ...Iranian influence...in the region."
///////

always a pleasure to engage

4/21/2008 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

I agree with Habu, though I take the Ben Franklin approach to it, and would be a little more polite in my approach.

4/21/2008 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger wildmteacher said...

The question seems to be, "How do we diminish the imperial ambitions of militant Islam
without resorting to massive ethnic deportations or slaughter?"

One way would be to sterilize large segments of Islamic populations that pose the
greatest threat to our survival. If this were done surreptitiously, e.g., via the food and
water supplies, the consequences would not be immediate enough to arouse suspicion or
accusation. Within one generation, the demographics would almost certainly look more
favorable from a western point of view.

The only problem I have with this is I don't know how to do it.

4/21/2008 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

This idea of giving islam a hold in our society is nonsense.

It is suicide.

4/21/2008 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

This is all a bunch of crap--the way to do it is just kick them out---

One way would be to sterilize large segments of Islamic populations that pose the
greatest threat to our survival. If this were done surreptitiously, e.g., via the food and
water supplies, the consequences would not be immediate enough to arouse suspicion or
accusation. Within one generation, the demographics would almost certainly look more
favorable from a western point of view.

4/21/2008 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

without resorting to massive ethnic deportations or slaughter?

Resort to the massive ethnic deportations, and try to void the slaughter.

In other words, kick them out politely.

4/21/2008 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger wildmteacher said...

bobal thinks that a directed program of sterilization is a bunch of crap. He then suggests that we "kick them out politely."

Good luck with that. The U.N. would force debate on an unending round of resolutions stretching into years. Meanwhile, the central problem (procreation rates) will only worsen until solving the problem is out of reach.

Habu said it very well at the start of the comments: ". . then Islam will outproduce the world and cary their sword to every corner of the globe."

4/21/2008 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

The U.N. would force debate on an unending round of resolutions stretching into years.

To hell with the U.N.

When we get angry enough, we won't care.

4/21/2008 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Salt Lick said...

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it a fact that it's illegal to hang a crucifix in a US government building, but legal to hang a copy of Mapplethorpe's "Piss Christ" (as a work of art)?

Interesting values we have.

4/21/2008 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

No matter how many words we use or how high we pile them there is one absolutely irrefutable point.

Since it's inception Islam has attempted to subdue every other people or country it can. There have been periods of withdrawal, but done only to consolidate forces for the next attempt.

This has been going on for over a thousand years. Now they are ever closer to NBC weapons and it's a fools bet they will not use them.

That Islam has the bomb right now is irrelevant to this discussion because it is being controlled by semi rational leaders (at the moment) and the US managed to have Pakistan separate vital components necessary to launch in an immediate fashion. The US has some of the most vital components under our actual control.

But who here believes that Iran with the bomb would not alter the entire ME situation in a way totally inimical to US interest. And if they fulfilled their rhetoric of nuking Israel then we have a nuclear war in the ME, plain and simple.

Once that begins the Islamic countries will circle the wagons and if there is anything left of Israel they will finish her off, as well as any credibility we may still have in the world as an ally.

Like it or not this is just about as black and white a problem as there could ever be...it is Christianity and every country that desires to be free against Islam. And it's because they keep pushing.

4/21/2008 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

Right.

4/21/2008 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Salt Lick: Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it a fact that it's illegal to hang a crucifix in a US government building, but legal to hang a copy of Mapplethorpe's "Piss Christ" (as a work of art)?

Hanging crucifixes is the number one issue. The next most important one is people who burn US flags on every street corner in America. Distant runners up? People trying to kill Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, $117 per barrel oil, rice shortages, inflation, a credit crisis, a recession, collapsing infrastructure, and skyrocketing debt.

4/21/2008 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

Going really out on a limb, maybe the number one issue is, who is going to protect Tes from having a burka slapped on her face, like it or not.

4/21/2008 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

W,
A wee bit late on this response however here it is. Your statement that;

"I didn't say it would never stand. Only that it wouldn't stand if held nothing sacrosanct." kept sloshing around in my brain during my workout.

And then I thought of Adam Smith and his invisible hand. Each of us pursue an end we may not realize but through our own interest promote.

There is an overarching interest common and known by almost every American. And it is indeed sacrosanct. Freedom.

And it is that state we hold sacrosanct and animates us to fight until the last breath those who would attempt to deprive us of it. Freedom.

4/21/2008 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

Salt lick,

The entire separation of church and state in this country has been entirely misinterpreted from the beginning and stem not from the Constitution but from a Thomas Jefferson letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802.
Church and State

There are many more good things to say about Jefferson but he did more than a few things sub rosa. This was not one of them but the letter not the Constitution did the "establishing of the Wall"

Tear down the wall, but do not allow the government to establish a religion......the government not establishing a religion is a whole lot different from the current interpretation of church and state.

4/21/2008 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

POPE:
Some today argue that respect for freedom of the individual makes it wrong to seek truth, including the truth about what is good.

In some circles to speak of truth is seen as controversial or divisive, and consequently best kept in the private sphere.

And in truth's place -- or better said its absence -- an idea has spread which, in giving value to everything indiscriminately, claims to assure freedom and to liberate conscience.

This we call relativism.

But what purpose has a "freedom" which, in disregarding truth, pursues what is false or wrong?

How many young people have been offered a hand which in the name of freedom or experience has led them to addiction, to moral or intellectual confusion, to hurt, to a loss of self-respect, even to despair and so tragically and sadly to the taking of their own life?

POPE: Dear friends, truth is not an imposition.

Nor is it simply a set of rules.

It is a discovery of the One who never fails us; the One whom we can always trust. In seeking truth we come to live by belief because ultimately truth is a person: Jesus Christ. (applause) That is why authentic freedom is not an opting out.

It is an opting in; nothing less than letting go of self and allowing oneself to be drawn into Christ's very being for others.

4/21/2008 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Numbers mean nothing in the plan of salvation. "
---
But they mean everything to sell-out politicians:

See New Gingrinch joins Pelosi to fight global warming.

(poll shows 70% of people think govts should "do something")

4/21/2008 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Newt"

4/21/2008 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Buckets said...

Habu,

You are a complete douche.

Don't be offended, it's not a personal attack - the truth is never an ad hom attack.

But I'll post under my own handle because I'm not a coward.

4/21/2008 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Habu said "Islam has surpassed Roman Catholicism as the world's largest religion, the Vatican newspaper said Sunday."

To come up with this eye-grabbing headline, they combine all the different sects of Islam into one monolithic block, then compare it to just one branch of Christianity.

One option we have in The Long War is to pit Sunni against Shiite, Arab against Persian, etc. We haven't done this... yet.

Muslims kill more muslims every year then they do jews or christians. We just don't read about it in the New York Times.

4/21/2008 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

I would like to ask, why would any country, such as ours, that has a really marvelous history of creating a wonderful document, put it to any risk, and betray our fathers, by letting in a bunch of outsiders, who have an absolute duty, in their mind, to tear it down? Only fools would do so.

Why would any woman argue for such a proposition?

4/21/2008 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger Salt Lick said...

Sorry for being so obtuse folks, but I was attempting to echo wretchard's point, ergo,

I don't think the West will ever 'stand' against Islam, or anything, if it is unable to hold anything sacrosanct.

Our laws allow religion in public places only if religion is denigrated. Think about it.

4/21/2008 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

Well fuck it then, we might as well tear this site down.

4/21/2008 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

Peter Grynch

Ok I give ..who said what?

"Habu said "Islam has surpassed Roman Catholicism as the world's largest religion, the Vatican newspaper said Sunday."

I didn't say, I pointed out a Vatican announcement.

4/21/2008 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

Buckets

I think your logic and erudition speak for themselves.

4/21/2008 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

Peter Grynch

"One option we have in The Long War is to pit Sunni against Shiite, Arab against Persian, etc. We haven't done this... yet."

Once either sect secure NBC weapons, which they are pursuing with as much vigor as they can, and the delivery system to present them, the term Long War will be an instant anachronism.

4/21/2008 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"I don't think the West will ever 'stand' against Islam, or anything, if it is unable to hold anything sacrosanct."

West does hold something sacrosanct. That something is economic prosperity. As things are set up right now, economic prosperity is dependent on Jihadi controlled oil. Break the shackles of Jihadi controlled oil on our economy and you will find a wholly different political attitude towards Islamers and Islam.

4/21/2008 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

The West..

4/21/2008 05:29:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

Buckets,

I know you're an upright guy , so why no bio?


And, are there any benefits for being a complete douche? I hope so. Half douches are so yesterday.

4/21/2008 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Whiskey_199: Teresita is wrong and ignores the lessons of history. Hate, fear, and so on are as a matter of historical record are essential to fashioning a resistance to being conquered: Russia June 1941-45 being the most prominent example. It was not intelligence that won the day (it hardly ever does) but rather raw, primitive emotion.

The Islamoids hate us, this is not disputed. But if we meet them with a mirror image of hatred instead of with wisdom (and I don't mean technological knowledge, I mean true wisdom) then the whole conflict becomes as amoral as a football game between two rival cities. Which side does God pick in the Superbowl? It's all "boo for your side, hooray for our side" and nothing more noble than that.

4/21/2008 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Methuselah: West does hold something sacrosanct. That something is economic prosperity.

Correct. You know where the dollar bill says, "In God We Trust" ? What they don't tell you is that you are really holding your trustworthy God in your hands when you read it.

But citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven have their 401-K on high.

4/21/2008 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Tes, here's a little chinese wisdom for you:

If your strength is small, don't carry heavy burdens. If your words are worthless, don't give advice.

4/21/2008 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Bobal: I would like to ask, why would any country, such as ours, that has a really marvelous history of creating a wonderful document, put it to any risk, and betray our fathers, by letting in a bunch of outsiders, who have an absolute duty, in their mind, to tear it down? Only fools would do so.

Why would any woman argue for such a proposition?


Perhaps because she dreads the judgment of Christ who might say on the last day, "I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not."

4/21/2008 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

Exactly whose wisdom are we following this week, just so I can keep up.

4/21/2008 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

I nominate The Upanishads for the "Wisdom of the Month" beginning in May.wefdwe

4/21/2008 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Metuselah: If your strength is small, don't carry heavy burdens. If your words are worthless, don't give advice.

Here's more:

What does it gain a man if he preserves his life but loses his very soul? What has it profited you to prevail against animals by sacrificing your essential humanity and meet them on their level? Reptile brain against reptile brain and nowhere a frontal lobe to be found.

4/21/2008 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Tes,

Heaven does not fear evil man, and neither does my reptilian soul.

4/21/2008 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger vivictius said...

Habu, you might want to check your numbers. Depending on which of your posts one uses, you seem to be saying there are between 6 billion to 6 trillion muslems. Even if that is the numbers from Gallup, that doesnt quite work.

4/21/2008 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

Perhaps because she dreads the judgment of Christ who might say on the last day, "I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not."


Well that is really nonsense T, in the context. And you know better. This stranger in looking to take over the home, kill the owner, enslave the wife, tear up the Constitution, for goodness sake. You know better than this. Such a reply is below you.

4/21/2008 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

I might as well fear 'the Judgement of Christ' if I did not defend the home, protect the wife, defend the Constitution, which gives women the rights, you know better than this my friend, it is below you.

4/21/2008 09:08:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

Actually, when you think about it, the 'Judgement of Christ' might come down damed hard on the muzzies, killers of children, exploiters of women, as they are.

What say ye to this, O Miss T? O thoughtless one?

4/21/2008 10:23:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

Let us remember, O Thoughtless Miss T, that the Christ of the Gospels, got along well with the ladies.

4/21/2008 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Bobal:What say ye to this, O Miss T? O thoughtless one?

Et tu?

4/22/2008 04:29:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

Wretchard,

What is happening to your site? I thought I was at LGF after scanning the comments above. Pretty damn sad!

4/22/2008 06:24:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/22/2008 06:41:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/22/2008 06:44:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

No Doug,

It has to do with the general acceptance of courses of actions such as:

" wildmteacher said...

The question seems to be, "How do we diminish the imperial ambitions of militant Islam
without resorting to massive ethnic deportations or slaughter?"

One way would be to sterilize large segments of Islamic populations that pose the
greatest threat to our survival."

4/22/2008 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

You have your perspective, I have mine, Ash.

4/22/2008 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

We are the Whirlled, We are the Children.

McKeesport, Pennsylvania — Photographers take thousands of photos of Barack Obama every time he appears in public. But on this night, in the Wunderley Gymnasium on the campus of Penn State Greater Allegheny University, the photographers’ attention seems to have been stolen, at least for a while, by a little girl. Beth Shelly, age 6, apparently under the diligent coaching of her parents, is sitting cross-legged on the gym floor clutching two dolls, one black and one white, both sporting Obama stickers. The image is too much for the press to resist — could there be anything that says “aspirational candidate” better than this? — and little Beth sits virtually motionless for a long time so everyone can get a shot.

- Byron York

4/22/2008 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

ash:

You're not alone. Wildmteacher's comments do resemble par for the course at LGF. I quietly roll my eyes when I read such comments.

I would not recommend LGF as a place to learn wisdom about the ways of the world, but LGF is an excellent place for anthropologists and sociologists to study the phenomenon of political paranoia in an online setting.

Although LGF is an example of the paranoid style of American politics, it is also a product of the cultural polarization endemic to the culture of San Francisco (and Berkeley). Ever since its founding, San Francisco has been a capital of weirdness and nonconformity, giving America Emperor Norton, Americanized Tantra, and the hippy subculture. San Francisco has also given America the Committee of Vigilance (a very popular and highly organized lynch mob) and the hoodlum. The same land that gave birth to Silicon Valley also gave birth to the Hell’s Angels.

So, it should not be any surprise that the Daily Kos and LGF should be the dueling blogs of San Francisco, with each side presuming a certain fanaticism from its detractors. After all, Markos Moulitsas-Zuniga and Charles Johnson are neighbors with far more in common with each other than either one would care to admit.

4/22/2008 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Teresita, if I understand her argument, says we must meet men like Ahamdinejad or Osama/Zawahari with "love" or somesuch nonsense. That's likely to get US cities nuked. Just today the new Pakistani Govt. released more Taliban.

Out here in the real world, instead of intellectual abstractions, people don't want their cities (and themselves and everyone they know) to die. Once a few do die, from Muslim nuclear car bombs, it is not intellectual exercises in love your enemy that will predominate.

It is rage, fear, anger. The stuff that won WWII in other words.

Guys like Lessing are yearning for a lost world. Where the enemy was the USSR and the competition was for whoever could be "cooler" and more materialist. Osama/Zawahari and Ahmadinejad each offer competing spiritual responses to materialism in the West and see things like Lessing and believe the corruption and weakness of the West will collapse if only given "one big push."

Like a Greek tragedy the destination is defined. AFTER US cities die, there will be no more room for Lessing and his folk. This is just reality.

Nor is Alexis fair or accurate to San Francisco. Which has been wildly different in it's eras.

It was originally a sleepy commercial capital for the Californios, serving as the main shipping port for ranchos in Central California.

Then a Gold Rush commercial center inhabited by hard-bitten Mexican-American War vets, who would not submit to the Irish Gangs that killed a bunch of them. That is why you had the Committee of Vigilance, which was remarkable only for the scope of the players: Irish Gangs vs. American Vet Vigilantes. Sparked by a murder of a newspaper publisher.

San Francisco after the Gold Rush was a working man's town. You can see that Bogart movie where he changes his face or read Dashiell Hammett's stories to see how working man it was. Longshoreman, factory workers, etc. predominated. This was true after the quake, up through the 1940's and even 1950's.

Up to that point, San Francisco might have been a bit exotic to Easterners, but was no more weird than Boise, or Billings, or Portland.

It was only during the 1960's, as high crime and Liberal attitudes pushed white working class people out of the city, and pulled in minorities and gays, that it changed. You can easily check this, by looking at old SF-set movies.

LGF is the logical outcome of decades of demonization and hatred (see Nora Ephron) of average Americans, particularly "white men" who Ephron hates.

4/22/2008 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Whiskey:

You are correct that San Francisco was once a working class town. However, it has had more than its share of goofy snob wannabes long before the hippy invasion. From Emperor Norton to Pierre Bernard to the hippies themselves, San Francisco strain of self-indulgent snobbery goes back a long way. Haight-Ashbury may have a reputation for hippy self-indulgence, yet that is a mere echo of the Barbary Coast’s reputation as a pleasure palace for men with money.

I stand by my statement that San Francisco culture epitomizes the paranoid style of American politics, on both the Left and the Right. Just as one should not forget that the Jonestown massacre was essentially a San Francisco phenomenon, so were the murders of George Moscone and Harvey Milk (whose murders have obscured the links between People’s Temple and the San Francisco political establishment).

Here’s a quote from Joel Garreau’s The Nine Nations of North America. (pp. 274-275.)

In 1979, Dan White, a San Francisco supervisor elected from the outnumbered white “hard-hat” constituency of the city, shot and killed George Moscone, the mayor of San Francisco, and Harvey Milk, the councilman who was the de facto representative of the large homosexual population. When White came to trial, his defense, essentially, was temporary insanity brought on by an overdose of junk food (!). And he was let off with a wrist-slap sentence (!!). The result was a large gay riot, in which police cars were overturned and set on fire. The point of this recitation is that in San Francisco , at that time, White’s actions were often interpreted as being provoked by frustration at how little power and sway working-class “straights” had in the city. They were, in effect, an oppressed minority, in a land in which it is possible to hear otherwise intelligent, educated people seriously discuss “astrological birth control” and think nothing of it.

You say the following:

LGF is the logical outcome of decades of demonization and hatred … of average Americans

This particular statement is very correct. The same could be said of the California Workingman’s Party of Dennis Kearney.

The one aspect of San Francisco society that is most noteworthy is the sheer polarization between weirdness and normalcy. In most of America, weirdness and normalcy interweave into each other, creating a strong social fabric. Elsewhere, while homosexuals live in the closet and are quietly known to do what they do, homosexuals don’t make a big fuss about it and they are left alone. Yet, the unspoken compromises that keep people in harmony are strangely missing from the Bay Area and to a lesser extent some other college towns. San Francisco exports militant loopiness, in the guise of both an overt loopiness and a “militant normalcy” which also comes across as loopy.

Most Americans want to live in peace with their neighbors and reject the culture jihad of both the Left and the Right of San Francisco’s fractured political scene. While the dueling blogs of San Francisco may seek to inject Bay Area’s cultural polarization into America’s political bloodstream, Americans have the liberty to reject their brand of politics.

4/22/2008 10:06:00 PM  

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