Monday, August 29, 2005

True Believers

Reader DL sends an excerpt from Paul Berman's recent Terror and Liberalism who "puts his liberal credentials on the line ... by critiquing the left while presenting a liberal rationale for the war on terror". Berman believes the Left should have arrived at a logical opposition to radical Islamism independently because:

... Islamism (is) a totalitarian reaction against Western liberalism in a class with Nazism and communism ... Berman delineates how all three movements descended from utopian visions (in the case of Islamism, the restoration of a pure seventh-century Islam) into irrational cults of death.

In a word the Left would logically be expected to oppose Osama Bin Laden because it represents everything Berman thinks the Left has fought against since it's inception. The question Berman tries to answer is why the precise opposite has happened. To get a handle on the problem he dissects the failure of the 1930s French Left to resolutely oppose Hitler. On pages 124-128 Berman says:

Blum and his supporters regarded Hitler and the Nazis with horror ... But mostly they remembered the First World War ... They grew thoughtful, therefore. They did not wish to reduce Germany in all its Teutonic complexity to black-and-white terms of good and evil. ... And, having analyzed the German scene in that manner, the anti-war Socialists concluded that Hitler and the Nazis, in railing against the great powers and the Treaty of Versailles, did make some legitimate arguments ... Why not look for ways to conciliate the outraged German people and, in that way, to conciliate the Nazis? ...

The anti-war Socialists of France did not think they were being cowardly or unprincipled in making those arguments. On the contrary, they ... regarded themselves as exceptionally brave and honest. They felt that courage and radicalism allowed them to peer beneath the surface of events and identify the deeper factors at work in international relations-the truest danger facing France. This danger, in their judgment, did not come from Hitler and the Nazis, not principally. The truest danger came from the warmongers and arms manufacturers of France itself ... who stood to benefit in material ways from a new war. ... But the political arguments rested on something deeper, too -- a philosophical belief; profound, large, and attractive ... that, in the modern world, even the enemies of reason cannot be the enemies of reason. Even the unreasonable must be, in some fashion, reasonable.

The belief underlying those anti-war arguments was, in short, an unyielding faith in universal rationality. ... And, stirred by that antique idea, the anti-war Socialists gazed across the Rhine and simply refused to believe ... in a political movement whose animating principles were paranoid conspiracy theories, blood-curdling hatreds, medieval superstitions, and the lure of murder. At Auschwitz the SS said, "Here there is no why."

That grimly hilarious punchline was not exclusive to Auschwitz. Piers Brendon recalls in Dark Valley, his history of the 1930s, that the most common scrawl left by doomed Old Bolsheviks at Lubyanka prison were the words "What For?" But more poignant yet was the refusal of some Party members, exiled to Magadan, the worst camp of the Gulag, to smuggle news to their comrades of their fate. One said,  'at least now they still have hope in Communism. If I let them know the truth then they will have nothing'. Even in Magadan the Left's deepest need was to believe. Having abolished the God of their forefathers and finding themselves prostrate before the false god they fashioned for themselves, as between extinction and despair they chose extinction. But back to Berman.

... among the anti-war Socialists, a number of people, having voted with Petain, took the logical next step and, on patriotic an idealistic grounds, accepted positions in his new government, at Vichy. Some of those Socialists went a little further, too, and began to see a virtue in Petain's program for a new France and a new Europe-a program for strength and virility, a Europe ruled by a single-party state instead of by the corrupt cliques of bourgeois democracy, a Europe cleansed of the impurities of Judaism and of the Jews themselves, a Europe of the anti-liberal imagination. And, in that very remarkable fashion, a number of the anti-war Socialists of France came full circle. They had begun as defenders of liberal values and human rights, and they evolved into defenders of bigotry, tyranny, superstition, and mass murder. They were democratic leftists who, through the miraculous workings of the slippery slope and a naïve faith in the rationalism of all things, ended as fascists. Long ago, you say? Not so long ago.


Blogger epops said...

There is also the issue of the Hitler-Stalin Pact, in effect at the time of Hitler's attack on France, which effectively disarmed the European Left, especially those who followed the Stalinist party line.

8/29/2005 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

…and when Berman realizes that his epiphany with regard to that sphere “(socialists) ... regarded themselves as exceptionally brave and honest. They felt that courage and radicalism allowed them to peer beneath the surface of events and identify the deeper factors at work.. .,” also applies on the domestic front, he’ll break free completely from his remaining intellectual shackles.

8/29/2005 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

This is hardly new. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" is often attributed to Samuel Johnson (1775), but was apparently already a proverbial observation by the 1650's.

It hasn't been hard to notice, over the recent decades, that “(socialists) ... regarded themselves as exceptionally brave and honest" at every turn, no matter which way things turn out or how much egg they have on their faces. It's a vanity-based faith.

8/29/2005 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

The period of the Great Purges holds enduring interest for me because it is consequent to Communism's great decision to replace God, who they believed did not exist, with man in whom they had endless faith. But what if it turned out that Man, at least political Man, actually resembled Joseph Stalin? That was the epiphany of Dachau and Magadan. If Man were truly fallen then where could one turn?

The answer of course, was to turn inward; to keep the epiphany a secret. Even though the Left has consigned the story of the Great Purges, Mao's Great Leap Forward and the Year Zero to the skeleton closet, subconsciously they've lost faith in Man yet are unwilling to make their way back to God. What's Left is a life in which no worldly pleasures are prohibited, in which 'security' is guaranteed from cradle to the yawning grave. And into this paradise of despair God comes again, this time in the shape of Allah, to make a mockery of everything the Left has on offer. When Nietzsche proclaimed the Death of God he did not say it only had to happen once.

8/29/2005 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...

Interesting how in their determination to place their faith in Man (men), it became necessary to murder so d@mn many of them.

8/29/2005 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger The Sanity Inspector said...

meme chose:

Further back than Johnson was the French aphorist la Rochefoucauld: "Philosophy triumphs over past and future evils, but present evils triumph over it."

With Wretchard's permission, here are a couple more quotes from Berman:

The year 1989 as an end point of the twentieth century? If only it had been! The revolt against liberalism that got underway after 1914 has never run out of energy, and the impulse for murder and suicide continues to rocket around the globe, and nothing from the twentieth century has come to an end, nothing at all, except the numerals at the top of the calendar and the script in which the revolutionary manifestos are published--this script, which used to be the Gothic lettering of German, and later was Cyrillic, and lately has been Farsi and Arabic, and which, in any alphabet, spells out the same
apocalyptic explanation for why, in this hour of Armageddon, masses of people should be killed.

And those events in the spring of 2002--the chanting marchers, the applauding intellectuals--typified a hundred other events all over the United States and even more in Europe, not to mention Latin America and other places. A cold cloud seemed to have gathered, and the plunge in temperature was obvious, and out of the cloud dribbled sinister droplets of appreciation for suicide murders--a perverse appreciation expressed by civilized people who, not two or three months earlier, would never have imagined themselves expressing any such opinion.

Those several European movements announced many highly imaginative programs for human betterment, and those imaginative programs were always, in their full-scale versions, impractical--programs for the whole of society that could never be put into effect. But death was practical. Death was the only revolutionary achievement that could actually be delivered. The unity of mankind, the reign of purity and the eternal--those goals were out of reach, in any conventional or
real-world respect. But unity, purity, and eternity were readily at hand, in the form of mass death. So the Leader issued his orders. "And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse..."

8/29/2005 08:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

A War to Be Proud Of.
Limbaugh on Hitchen's Weekly Standard post:
I get frustrated when our leaders are placed on defensive, when they're winning elections, when they're running Washington, when they're running the institutions that elections empower:
House, Senate, White House.
There's no reason for these people to be on defensive. There's no reason for it whatsoever. It would have been very easy during the Senate hearings in Abu Ghraib for somebody to stand up and say exactly what Christopher Hitchens just said:
That place is 300% better than it was because we the United States of America are there. Do you know what was there before we got there? Do you know what it was used for? It was a torture palace. It was a series of rape rooms. It was a murder prison. Horrible things happened there.
By a factor of ten, it's an improvement, but, oh, no! We got defensive.
"Well, we're dealing with this, yes. We did some things that are horrible. We made some mistakes." Liberals want you to admit mistakes, not to give you credit but rather for you to admit them, because it confirms the idea that you are a mistake by virtue of your existence as a conservative. Well, Screw that!
It goes back to what I was talking about last week: this air of supremacy, this arrogant supremacy and superiority these people have. They are not supreme. They are not majority, and they are not dominant throughout this country. They think they are, because they were for such a long period of time, they haven't come to grips with the fact that they're losing and sinking in quicksand.

Why is it that the good guys are on defensive here?
and I'll tell you exactly why it is. It's because the good guys happen to feel the compunction and the need to defend everything they do because they live and breathe the Washington, DC culture -- and the Washington, DC culture is dominant lib and it is constantly making everybody defend everything they do.
Look, it boils down to this. Conservatives have to defend themselves for being conservatives. Republicans have to defend themselves for being Republicans.
Before you get to policy, before you get to anything anybody does or anything anybody says, you're guilty if you're a conservative, you're guilty if you're a Republican. What are you guilty of? You're guilty of racism, sexism, bigotry, homophobia, and all these other things.

Now, I want to read some other things here from the Christopher Hitchens piece because he basically says, he has ten things here that he says positively account for our accomplishments in the war on terrorism and in Iraq in general. Here is number one.
"(1) The overthrow of Talibanism and Baathism, and the exposure of many highly suggestive links between the two elements of this Hitler-Stalin pact. Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who moved from Afghanistan to Iraq before the coalition intervention, has even gone to the trouble of naming his organization al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.
- The entire Hitchen's piece is great.

8/29/2005 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

That's a MORBID interest you have there Triton:
What happened happened:
Just let it go,

8/29/2005 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

The 2s and 30s were also tough times and when we look back on those times it was not as if others had the luxury of fixating only on Hitler as a threat. Century-old colonial empires were under threat. The old regime had been throw out in country after country. Europe was convulsed with social instability, and economic chaos that threatened capitalism itself. The threat of Communism was well known, and it was not just the conservative elements that were in fear of it by the time of the Spanish Civil War and the Great Terror.

Franco, Mussolini, and Hitler were seen - even by many Leftists who reviled their systems, as stabilizing influences in a Europe that was changing too far, and too fast. The stability and prosperity that fascism brought to the Italian and German states seemed to the people in those countrys and many outside as infinitely preferable to losing their savings to hyper-inflation, years of record unemployment, and winters with only half rotten potatos and turnips to eat.

It is a mistake I think though to throw the "lessons of Munich" at the Left. The progressives and Leftists did not consider themselves appeasers then and do not consider themselves appeasers now. The present day Churchillians and friends of Israel will get nowhere throwing that "Appeasement" charge in the face of the Left. Because they think of Churchill as the last great imperialist of the UK, with his opposition to Hitler only a side effect of his positions to preserve and grow Empire.

If there are any Germans or Frenchmen that deeply regret joining in on the neocon's Iraqi cakewalk two years ago, they are awfully quiet. Most Europeans think France and Germany got that one right. And France has been one of our strongest allies in Afghanistan and in counterterrorism efforts globally.

We have the Left in many ways forced to the Islamic side, as self-defeating and crazy as it seems, because they were pushed there, by antiwar beliefs, to join against war with the very medieval, evil folks the war targeted. Belief over logic. No difference really between them and the Democrats obsessed with pro-choice mania, the tax cut Republicans, the unreformed Labourites of the UK, and the liberals of Canada who are slitting Canada's throat by encouraging mass immigration of unassimilatable West-haters.

It might be different if Bush and allies had engaged in strategic communications starting 4 years ago with not only Muslim nations but with the Left...but we were so overjoyed with the military triumph in Afghanistan that we abandoned dialogue with the Muslims and the Left - substituting far easier to do (so we thought) military triumphalism and trite sloganeering instead. And refusing to ID the enemy or ask the general population to sacrifice a thing.

It is also worth bringing up that while Europe was racked with ideological conflict and focused on distant clashes, Germany quietly rose from the ashes until the late 1930's...when they became increasingly irredentionist, nationalistic, belligerant, and more fascist than socialist. Before then, they had achieved dominance in industry after industry over the French and British.

Somthing to remember as China Rises while we focus on "evildoers" of limited capacity win.

Something to remember as America has become the greatest debtor nation, throwing our technology and industries away to the lowest cost labor bidder that the illegals pouring across our Open Borders only begin to whet the desire of owners and executives for further enrichment...

8/29/2005 09:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hitchens answers C4:
"(5) The craven admission by President Chirac and Chancellor Schröder, when confronted with irrefutable evidence of cheating and concealment, respecting solemn treaties, on the part of Iran, that not even this will alter their commitment to neutralism. (One had already suspected as much in the Iraqi case.) "

8/29/2005 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...


I'm not sure your premise follows. Orwell saw the Left (at least the Communist Left) as clearly as anyone has and remained a 'man of the Left' until death. Hitchens is in roughly the same place today.

Hegelian historicism and its dialectic provide an ample church for the worship of the "rational". Many libertarians are simply libertines, as are many neocons. Self worship is a very hard habit to discard. We are constantly reminded of that fact.


Hitch did a very nice job on that piece. It won't dent the deatists but neither would an anvil dropped on their concrete heads.

8/29/2005 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yes by Gum, Chirac and Schroeder were acting strictly on the Highest Ideals, usual.

8/29/2005 09:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

C4 is a type of rebar for the concrete skull?

8/29/2005 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Here's how Rush put it:
"We're going to stop trying to explain it to you.
We'll just let you caterwaul like Bart Simpson in the corner and continue to make your mischief as you will. "

8/29/2005 09:21:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...


Your point about leftists not knowing the fallen man is well taken.

The left places inordinate faith in the creations of man. From the way they push embryonic stem cell research, to their faith in the manmade causes of global warming. Man is all powerful and all capable. If someone is doing bad things it must be someones fault.

Therefore the bad amongst us are not bad but society let them down somehow someway. In a way this is admirable since it pushes us to make sure we earnestly try to make sure everyone gets a good shake. The left just doesn't know when to give up on such a lost cause.

However, some are just–bad. A buddy talks of a family he knew; they had multiple children (I can not recall the number) and all except one turned out just fine. The one who did not was killed by a brother defending the rest of the family from that one. Why he went bad and the others fine? God only knows.

I can not understand why the left defends the like of the Taliban. Why they scream so loud when a person like General Mattis says he likes to war against them. Of course sooner or later when they realize they will not be able to see The Vagina Monologues in Haditha or Kandahar anytime soon then scream how things are a total and complete failure.

8/29/2005 09:27:00 PM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

"To get a handle on the problem he dissects the failure of the 1930s French Left to resolutely oppose Hitler. On pages 124-128 Berman says: Blum and his supporters regarded Hitler and the Nazis with horror ... But mostly they remembered the First World War ... They grew thoughtful, therefore."

No, they did not 'grow thoughtful'. They marched voluntarily up the intellectual cul-de-sac created by their demonization of everybody who disagreed with them, and ended up marching in place when they arrived at the dead end.

To claim otherwise is just another exercise in recasting the socialists as "exceptionally brave and honest", which requires flying in the face of the facts.

8/29/2005 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Kind of along the same lines. Hiadeh Moghissi wrote a book in '99 entitled 'Feminism and Islamic Fundamentalism: The Limits of Postmodern Analysis'.

Moghissi is an Iranian ex-pat dismayed by what she sees as Western academic apologism for the misogynist aspects of the wave of Islamization that swept Muslim countries generally in the 80s and 90s. She is also Professor in the Department of Sociology, York University, Canada.

An excerpt:

Oriental Sexuality

I consider problematic the argument which tries to justify the resistance of Islamic societies to changing women's familial status as a cultural reaction to colonialism. The relative variance in a religious and political tradition, stretching from Indonesia and Malaysia to Morocco, suggests that Islamic traditions and values could be accommodating and mouldable in proportion to the strength of local customs and cultural practices and to the processes of social and economic development.

The patterns of colonization by European powers were different in different parts of the Islamic world. The point is that colonial or home-grown, externally imposed or locally generated, compelled by Qur'anic injunctions and Shari'a rulings or the erratic interpretations of local ulama, 'Muslim woman', her sexuality and her moral conduct, has remained a central preoccupation of Muslim men over many centuries.

8/29/2005 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...


That those who appeased Hitler before WWII didn't "see themselves" as appeasers is immaterial.

There are those today who believe we should perpetually seek to understand "why they hate us" because if only we perfectly understand their reasons, we'll be able to talk to them reasonably and get them to understand why they shouldn't hate us. A friend of mine is in that camp; I told her I knew enough of "why they hate us": that "they" hate "us" because of what we are, what makes "us" us, our fundamentals.

For me, I told her, that was enough: I am not going to change what I am, and the United States must not change what it is, to appease those who hate it, and their rhetoric and, more importantly, their actions make it clear that any lesser action than our changing our fundamental national soul will not deter them.

She was horrified at my illiberal views. She doesn't see herself as an "appeaser"; she sees herself as a thoughtful, reasonable person and (to her credit) projects that view on our sworn enemies - not enemies we've sworn against, but enemies who've sworn against us. Unfortunately her perception of herself is less important than the results, in action, of her self-identification: she, an American Jewish socialist university professor, has thrown in her lot with people who want her dead.

8/29/2005 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

The New Islamo-Marxism, Where Trotsky meets bin Laden via ^ | August 29, 2005 | Bill King

Posted on 08/29/2005 1:15:08 PM PDT by Tolik

Karl Marx once infamously referred to religion as "the opium of the people", and argued that it served to dampen the revolutionary fervor of the masses. Yet if Marx were alive to witness the acts of ferocity being committed by zealots in the name of Islam, one suspects that even he would readily admit he got that one wrong.

Just such a reconsideration of religion is taking place today among the remnants of the Marxist left in Europe and North America -- only their reassessment is taking them in an even more dangerous direction. Since the morning of September 11th, 2001, Western Marxists have been steadily discarding Marx's old materialist dictum in favor of a new found admiration for one religion in particular: radical Islam.

This is not to say, of course, that we will soon see those on the far left swapping their belief in History and Progress for a belief in Allah and the Koran as interpreted by radical Wahhabi or Shia clerics. But given their all-consuming hatred of America and the West, Marxists are increasingly throwing their political lot in with those they feel are leading the struggle against "imperialism" -- namely, the forces of world wide jihad.

So far, this new phenomenon has been taken up in a comprehensive manner only by David Horowitz in his new book, Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left, which as the title indicates focuses on the American far left. Yet the reality of a new "Islamo-Marxism" is immediately apparent to any objective observer of the Marxist left in Europe and Canada as well. And while the idea that secular Western Marxists would seek to ally with militant Islamists may seem incongruous at first, if one looks at the history of organized Marxism in the industrialized West, it is not really so surprising.

In the decades after the Second World War, the far left in Europe and North America turned to a whole series of forces -- from "student vanguards" to "national liberation movements" -- to find a substitute for a working class that refused to play the revolutionary role assigned to it by radical intellectuals. Throughout the 1970's and 80's, as Marxism became progressively more ensconced in the world of university seminars and academic journals, and as once radical social movements joined the mainstream, the left found itself increasingly bereft of a social force that could serve as the "subject" of its revolution.

Towards the end of the last century, with the collapse of the Communist project around the world and the rise of the United States to the status of sole superpower, the long held goal of a socialist revolution in the West finally gave way in practice to the far more realizable, and hence all the more furious, end goal of anti-Americanism. The stage was now set for an embrace of those not afraid to strike at what Che Guevara once called the "belly of the beast". In the rubble of the World Trade Centre and the death of 3000 innocents on 9/11, political convergence between the radical left and radical Islam was born.

There were, of course, precursors to the new post-9/11 Islamo-Marxism, the most notable being the tacit approval that was given by the far left after 1967 to Palestinian terrorists whose specialty was targeting the most defenseless: children in Israel, elderly Americans on cruise ships, tourists in airports in Europe. Today, however, the face of the new Islamo-Marxism is seen most clearly not in its stance on the Israeli-Palestinian question, but in its cheerleading (PDF format) for the murderous "resistance" in Iraq -- a "resistance" whose tactics, such as the summary execution of cooks and cleaners from Nepal (a country that had not even sent troops to Iraq!) with a shot to the back of the head as they lay with their hands bound behind them, are reminiscent of those used by the right-wing death squads of El Salvador in the 1980's.

As Joshua Kurlantzick points out in the December 2004 issue of Commentary, in his review of Horowitz's Unholy Alliance, it is in Europe that the political convergence between Marxists and Islamists is most advanced. But even Kurlantizick's article has been outpaced by the speed at which the alliance is growing. In England, for example, left wing Labourites, Trotskyists, and the Islamists in the Muslim Association of Britain have now formed an actual political party called "Respect" that has run in British and European elections. Its leader is none other than George Galloway, the former Labour MP with reported ties to Saddam Hussein's former regime and other Middle Eastern dictatorships.

Here in Canada, the tiny and splintered -- but often surprisingly influential -- Marxist movement has come down firmly on the side of radical Islam and jihad. One of the most sycophantic in its praise of all things Islamist is the Trotskyist Socialist Voice. This group of far leftists is so ingratiating towards those who would just as soon behead them, that they actually made a point of celebrating on their web site the fact that the Imam Ali Shrine was not damaged during last fall's fighting in the Iraqi city of Najaf. According to them, the fact that the mosque was spared was something that, "…working people around the world should join our Islamic brothers and sisters in greeting".

The largest Marxist group in Canada, the quasi-Trotskyist International Socialists (IS), has also chosen to cast its lot with the Islamists against the West. In fact, as far back as 1994, the IS's parent group in Britain, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), published a pamphlet entitled "The Prophet and the Proletariat", in which they called for "defending Islamists against the state", and for "occasionally" siding with radical Islamists while maintaining an ideological distance. Today, in the pages of the IS publication Socialist Worker, in which the Islamist torturers in Fallujah, serial murderers of women in Mosul, and holders of sharia courts in Najaf and Sadr City, are all labeled "heroic", that "distance" has all but disappeared.

As would be expected, there are more than a few ironies in Western Marxism's current suicidal death-clinch with militant Islam. By far the most glaring is that a political movement so profoundly Western (one that, despite its protestations, is itself a historical product of capitalism and liberal democracy, and even more, has its roots in the West's supposedly most enlightened, rational, and progressive thinking) would choose, because of its obsessive anti-Americanism, to side with the most retrograde, nihilistic, indeed fascistic, politico-religious movement of our era, one which abhors every "progressive" value the left claims to uphold.
Leon Trotsky's ice-picked body must be rolling over in its grave

Yet another irony is that, within Marxism, it is the Trotskyists that are spearheading the turn to radical Islam. While in recent years Trotskyism has been most infamously (and most mistakenly) linked to neoconservatism, the actual Trotskyites are in fact the most zealous among the Marxists in seeking to unite with the jihadists. It is a massive and ignoble irony -- one that points to the complete moral-ideological collapse of international Trotskyism, even by its own standards -- that a movement founded by the scientific-minded atheist and arch secularist Leon Trotsky, who in the words of Norman Geras, "embodied in his person at once the traces of his Jewish origin and a powerful attachment to the universalist dream of the radical", would today be knowingly aiding and supporting those who murder, torture, and behead to the cry of "Allahu Akbar!"

But if those are some of the most immediately apparent ironies, they are not the cruelest. The cruelest is that in championing the Islamist insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan, today's Western Islamo-Marxists are supporting the very forces that are terrorizing and murdering politically active women, trade unionists, foreign aid workers, and left-wing activists in those countries -- and yet they continue to support those forces in the name of defending… the oppressed! Such "anti-imperialism" by comfortable Western Marxists in Europe and North America would almost be laughable were its consequences not so grisly and nefarious for those in far less safe places.

In another of his famous phrases, Marx once wrote that history repeats itself "the first time as tragedy, the second as farce". But it would seem that Marx got that one wrong too. For if the murder of millions by Stalinist Communism in the 20th century was tragedy, Islamo-Marxism's collusion with radical Islam in the first years of the 21st is more than just farce. It is farce, betrayal, and tragedy all at once -- and the collusion is just beginning. There can be little doubt that winning the global war against radical Islam will entail winning the ideological battle against its Islamo-Marxist allies right here at home in the West.

Bill King is a Vancouver based writer focusing on international politics, terrorism, and the radical left.

8/29/2005 10:08:00 PM  
Blogger Edwin said...

I don't have the reference handy at the moment, but I recall that during the occupation French collaborationists were calling Nazism "the new Islam."

8/29/2005 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Not to compare the two, although Berman is accomplished in his own right, but I think he will have as much chance converting the Left as Camus did with The Rebel, which Sartre loathed. Sartre, to the end, refused to believe the Stalinist Show Trials were faked; refused to accept that the cause he chose with his existentialist freedom was as phoney as a three dollar bill. Camus was right. But it made no difference. Sartre and the Left, as one author put it, "knew everything; and everything they knew was wrong".

8/29/2005 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

Appeasement of Saudi wahhabism by the USA (in particular under the Presidencies of Bush and Clinton and Bush) has yet to win the peace dividend in the current conflict.

8/29/2005 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


Marxism-and-Islam is my favorite subject; and I have posted on it ad nauseam. From the beginning of Belmont I wrote that Islam would cannibalize Marxism and take over its militant wing. The old Bolshevik core is dead. If Marxism still had its Lenins, Stalins, Ho Chi Minhs or Maos, radical Islam wouldn't last five minutes with it. They'd spend four minutes laughing at their Islamic headgear and one minute gassing them. But they are no more. All they have left are the Kyoto-International Solidarity-Gay and Lesbian Pride crowd; and no offense meant but Islam is going to eat them up. All these "exceptionally brave and honest" leftists will go to where their final words will be "what for?".

8/29/2005 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Except in Post Southpark times, Mad magazine motto will reappear above What For?
As in:

What Me Worry?
What For?

8/29/2005 10:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mostly OT:
Rick linked to this short Jack Kelly piece in the previous thread. Interesting stuff.
. Jack Wheeler and Ralph Peters on Iraq. .
Iraq has the world's second largest oil reserves at 115 billions barrels (next to Saudi at 267). This was determined under Saddam with obsolete 2D seismic technology. Most oil geologists think that 3D seismic scans will reveal much larger reserves, particularly out in the little-explored western deserts. Iraq may turn out to have more oil than Saudi Arabia.

8/29/2005 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

That would be "Sunni" Oil!

8/29/2005 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Jamie, 10:05 PM
As Prager would say:
"Only someone with a College Education could see it that way."
...without laughing or crying, at least.
"The Rebel" the movie was in some ways as good as the book.

8/29/2005 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...


I'm curious as to how wide a net you cast with the term "Marxist". Are you subsuming the socialists under that rubric? If so are you including all the subsets of the French Jacobinists?

As a second point and assuming the subsumation to be correct, aren't the Islamists in one sense already tied to the Marxist/Jacobinists through rather recent history? Nearly every Arab state was within the Soviet sphere from the beginning of the post war period. Every Arab constitution that I've read simply grafts sharia on top of an intrinsically Jacobinist formulation that reads about the same as the Soviet constitution.

I agree that the Wahabist/Salafist headchoppers would make short work of the Marxists but they don't represent the majority of Arabs.

8/29/2005 11:07:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

The Sahel is Osama’s New Playground:

According to recent media and intelligence reports, terrorists are on the march in the Sahel region.

Ideal terrorist hiding place

Following the attack on the Mauritania army, the July 6 issue of Morocco’s leading tabloid, The Liberation, reported that the al Qaeda had a grand objective to establish terrorist bases in the Sahel similar to those existing in Afghanistan before the Taliban regime was dismantled two years ago.

Uganda not sleeping on the job

Nor is Uganda sleeping on the job. Recently the country made a major score in fighting terrorists when it installed a sophisticated border security control system. The high-tech equipment is meant to detect, track down and apprehend potential terrorist attackers.

8/29/2005 11:08:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

rick - perhaps "if" in place of 'when" ?

8/29/2005 11:48:00 PM  
Blogger neuroconservative said...

Rick -- In a sense, the French Revolution is the original political sin. Edmund Burke saw it before it even happened -- how quickly the sweet song of universal reason gives way to the passionate march of justice, driven by the percussive rhythm of the guillotine, until the only force that can contain, direct, and redeem this Dionysian ecstacy is the strongman, whom the combined armies of Europe can barely stop. For 216 years, this cycle has repeated, with the intellectuals almost always on the wrong side, until we reach the point that a drug-addled French homosexual is making common cause with the Ayatollah Khomeini, and a female Jewish socialist is writing an apologia for Sayyid Qutb.

8/29/2005 11:53:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Rick Ballard,

I guess I use the term very loosely, the more so as time progresses. What does it mean to be a Marxist today, for example? It would be a miracle to find someone who could talk about dialectical materialism or attempt to compute the surplus value of labor. Even some hoary leftovers from the 60s, moderately well-schooled in Mao Tse Tung thought would have a hard time telling me what the Last Stage of Capitalism is: monopoly capitalism, fascism or imperialism?

The only definition, I think, which makes operational sense, is those who think of themselves as "progressive" though they may not have a clue what that means in definite terms.

But then, consider Islam itself. It is frankly acknowledges itself to incorporate Abrahamic and Christian traditions. I saw a poster up in my local library: "The Life of Maryam" -- Mary's life according to Islam. You would expect the ideas, especially after long Soviet influence in the Arab states, to be all mixed up.

The student who wants to wear a Che Guevarra T-shirt provides an interesting case study. A few decades back the Marxist saints were living figures, or at least very recently dead. Today they are increasingly figures from an ever more distant past. You can tell the vigor of a movement by the age of its hagiography. Marxism is a dead religion compared to Islam.

8/29/2005 11:54:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Ballard - I agree that the Wahabist/Salafist headchoppers would make short work of the Marxists but they don't represent the majority of Arabs.

Alas, you misread Wretchard. He said the real butchers of Marxism would make short work today of rag covered Salafis and Whabis if they considered such Muslims were a menace to the proletariat.

Doug - You stay quite busy with your cut and pastes. Perhaps too much, because you ignore France is perhaps our best partner in getting counterterrorism intelligence and both France and Germany are quite active in helping us in Afghanistan. You are upset that France and Germany are not interested in joining us in a series of major wars the neocons wanted? Fine. Just don't single them out as the only nations that don't want it. Add other major nations, all of the ones in Latin America, Canada, NZ, all the muslim nations inc Turkey, plus Africa, Russia, and China.

Who would be with us if we decided to invade Iran tomorrow? Nobody. Except perhaps our "dear friend" Israel - which of course cannot ever be used as an ally while it is in global pariah status.

Nobody. Not just France and Germany, but also the UK and Poland don't support the next phase of neocon Empire. Heck, do you know of a poll that asks Americans if they support invading Iran and fighting a 3rd war if Bush thinks it is necessary?? If one exists, I'm sure you know what the answer is.

Sometimes Doug, you sound like a saber rattler from 2002 talking about easily accomplishing 4-5 "cakewalk" regime changes and that nothing in the last 2 years has altered your jingoism. Speaking of concrete heads.

8/30/2005 12:01:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

My only point, C4, is that it does a disservice to the truth to impute noble motivations as the reason for Chirac and Schroeder's opposition and obstructionism.

8/30/2005 01:19:00 AM  
Blogger Tom Paine said...

Fascists (all varieties) quickly reach a stage where they are no longer rational and are incapable of returning to it.

They have become like dogs with late-stage hydrophobia: Insane, incurable, and too dangerous to be allowed to live.

"Rationality" demands that this fact be recognized.

8/30/2005 03:37:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

What the 9/11 Commission narrative left out: Iraqis.
by Stephen F. Hayes
. See No Evil, Hear No Evil

8/30/2005 03:49:00 AM  
Blogger sam said...

Zarqawi replaces Osama as terror world Numero Uno:

Quoting a Time magazine report, the paper said that European intelligence sources believe that for several months al-Zarqawi had been overseeing preparations for a massive terror attack on Europe .

The New York-based daily quoted French terror expert Roland Jacquard as telling the magazine that the fear is we ll see those disparate, relatively inexperienced groups around Europe hook up with Afghan-trained terror cells, all under the influence of Zarqawi. That could reverse the atomization of cells and networks that occurred after the invasion of Afghanistan.

8/30/2005 03:59:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Dan thinks Derb Weird Dept.
SWAZI KAMIKAZE [John Derbyshire]Kathryn:
Given the HIV-positive rate in Swaziland -- 29 percent among 15-19 year olds
-- and the general standard of Swazi pulchritude as revealed in this BBC picture (no offense, I'm sure they are all very, very nice girls), these stories bring to mind what the coal miner told George Orwell in reference to a different king, His Britannic Majesty George V:
"I'd rather tup my missus than his'n." [George V was married to Mary of Teck, image here To Wodehouse fans, the adjective "scaly" will come to mind.]
[And, no, "tup" is not a rude word. It's in Shakespeare, so it can't be.]

8/30/2005 04:01:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

As Bubba would say,
What is the meaning of "Nobody's Perfect."
Just two months after imposing the ban, the king fined himself a cow for breaking the ban by taking a 17-year-old girl as his ninth wife, sparking unprecedented protests by Swazi women outside the royal palace.

8/30/2005 04:05:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Perhaps King Mswati should head the UN Commission on
The War on AIDS.

8/30/2005 04:09:00 AM  
Blogger Huan said...

The reason the left failed to oppose OBL and Hitler is that the core tenets of the left is not liberalism but relativism.

8/30/2005 04:12:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

AS THE TWO SIDES in the current flap over Able Danger, a Pentagon intelligence unit tracking al Qaeda before 9/11, exchange claims and counterclaims in the news media, the work of the 9/11 Commission is receiving long overdue scrutiny.
It may be the case, as three individuals associated with the Pentagon unit claim, that Able Danger had identified Mohammed Atta in January or February 2000 and that the 9/11 Commission simply ignored this information because it clashed with the commission's predetermined storyline.
We should soon know more. Whatever the outcome of that debate, the 9/11 Commission's deliberate exclusion of the Iraqis from its analysis is indefensible.

8/30/2005 04:21:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...


8/30/2005 04:30:00 AM  
Blogger Birkel said...

"The Vision of the Annointed", as coined by Thomas Sowell, is all about belief. It's a sick, self-centered view of the world that deprives many of the Left from critically thinking about the fact that there are people who would (but for lack of opportunity, to date) kill them. And it is the reality that there are many who would see all of us dead that assured the re-election of Bush, Blair and Howard.

8/30/2005 04:38:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Excellent post, Wretchard.

Two things come to mind concerning Leftist belief in universal rationalism.

Firstly, you cannot extricate yourself from the feedback loop. The only question is who is going to school on who. As Ayn Rand said, "You can try to avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

Second: rationalism is willful amnesia.

8/30/2005 05:48:00 AM  
Blogger Chester said...

No way. You've got to be kidding me. I checked out Terror and Liberalism from the library last year and it was amazing. Wanting to read it again, I just purchased it last week, and I started last night. What are the odds?

Berman's book is genius. If you like the subjects of Belmont Club, it'll be like mind-candy for you.

8/30/2005 05:55:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

"They had begun as defenders of liberal values and human rights..."
But in fact, that is not true, even though they may have believed it was.
Inherent in modern liberalism is restriction of individual rights, whether due to outright bans, such as the ownership of firearms, to forced heavy taxation in order protect certain lifestyles.
It is. in fact, an easy trip for them to take, from limited restrictions to "all that is not mandatory is forbidden."
And they always say they are doing this to protect "freedom."

8/30/2005 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

And while US is tied up with Iraqi internal politics the next Phase line is fast approaching, from WaPo

"... That leaves one major area of the Muslim world where political violence and terrorism is growing, groups linked to al Qaeda are taking root, and no prospect for political accord exists: the north Caucasus, where Chechnya and six other republics chafe under corrupt and increasingly brutal Russian rule. Though mostly unnoticed by the outside world, violence in the region has been escalating in recent weeks. Last week the prime minister of one republic, Ingushetia, was wounded in an assassination attempt, and a bombing derailed a train in Dagestan. In Chechnya near-daily clashes continue between Russian troops and insurgents; one ambush and bombing of a police vehicle several weeks ago killed 15.

Russian and independent experts across the Caucasus are warning of the eruption of a major new war that, unlike the two fought in Chechnya during the past 11 years, would spread across the region and be waged more explicitly in the name of Islam. Aslan Maskhadov, the secular Chechen leader who sought only his republic's independence and won a democratic election for president, was killed by Russian forces in March; his successor, Abdul Khalim Sadulayev, a Muslim cleric, has announced a strategy of expanding the war throughout the Caucasus. Last week he named as his deputy Shamil Basayev, the terrorist who has led a number of murderous attacks on Russian civilians, including the siege of a school a year ago this week in Beslan, North Ossetia, that killed 331 people, including 186 children.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had the temerity to call for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq this month, has responded to the violence by pouring more troops into the Caucasus republics. Gross abuses by Russian forces, including indiscriminate killings and abductions, have spread from Chechnya to other republics. As he has for the past six years, Mr. Putin rejects all suggestions of negotiations or mediation ..."

where will US stand as WoT expands

Will future Generations look back on our actions and see a "Phoney War", attempts at appeasement of the Mohammedans and wonder,
How we were so blind?

8/30/2005 06:19:00 AM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

several European movements announced many highly imaginative programs for human betterment, and those imaginative programs were always, in their full-scale versions, impractical--

Even now, there are Chinese imports -- specifically long johns and woolen knickers -- sitting on the docks of the EU and held up at the borders because everything has to be fair..

The Chinese Cheat on Quota Agreements

Europe: the only big things they've ever had were Ideas. Most of their bright ideas ended up, as Wretchard says, on the slippery slope..

8/30/2005 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...


If you are so inclined, you might find it worthwhile to read Claire Sterling's The Terror Network (1981). Here is an excerpt from the prologue:

Many young people in this story set out with blazing revolutionary faith, only to reach the arid conviction that somehow, tragically, they had gone wrong. They wanted to make things better, and made them worse. In the end, they found a grotesque identity of interest with the Black terrorists, their hideous mirror image. Both were joined in a single-minded effort to disarticulate and eventually destroy the democratic order wherever they found it.

8/30/2005 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Here are some gems from Sterling:

Terrorism...became a continuation of war by other means...

Not only is it easier and safer to be a terrorist in a free country than it is in a police state, it is ideologically more satisfying...

Methodically trained, massively armed, immensely rich, and assured of powerful patronage, they move with remarkable confidence across national frontiers from floodlit stage to stage, able at a word to command the planet's riveted attention...employing the power of impotence to expose the impotence of power, as a Western diplomat described the Iranian seizure of American hostages in Teheran.

8/30/2005 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

If you dig down, there was not a whole lot of difference between Stalinist Communism and the National Socialist German Workers Party (abbreviated as the Nazis), except for their conceptions of who was to be in charge. Hitler and Stalin both realized that the existing liberal order (liberal in the original sense of "free") needed to be swept away before getting to the final contest to determine who would inherit the world.

If you look at the Fascists, the Communists, the Islamists, the Environmentalists, etc, etc, you notice that they all have a common idea, the idea of the Planned Society, a society free of the chaos and uncertainty of the free market, a society free of competition.

There are two factors that enter into it here.

For the leadership, there's the conceit of being the planner, the idea that one person, or a small council, has the wisdom and ability to plan other peoples' lives. They've lived their lives annoyed at the stupidity of all those who did not see their intellectual brilliance, and strongly desire to bypass having to convince people through argumentation, and simply make them do what the leadership wants (much like a rapist loses patience with the idea of convincing a woman to sleep with him willingly, and decides to just bypass the whole consent-acquiring process)

The attraction to the followers of a planned society is the elimination of any value-judgement relating to their positions. If they have not achieved wealth and happiness, it's not an issue of their not being smart enough or energetic enough to succeed. It's "the will of Allah", "the needs of the Party required...", etc, etc. In a planned society, a person does not need to confront personal failure.

There's also a strong attachment of some cultures to the notion of planned societies. For example, the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam (Repairing/Perfecting the World) leads to an attraction to the concept of planning and the idea that Man is perfectable, which can lead to an attraction for the Left. The planned nature of Islam can also lead to an attraction to the concept of Socialism

As counterpoint to the idea of planning, we have the philosophy that served as the foundation for the US Constitution. Fundamental to this philosophy is the imperfect nature of Man, both morally and intellectually. With all men being morally imperfect (in varying degrees), one should not allow men unlimited power, as they will be tempted to use that power for purposes other than the planning of the betterment of their fellows. With all men being intellectually imperfect, a planner cannot know all the side effects and future consequences of his plans, and so making grand plans for society stretching out years into the future is an insane conceit.

The success of the market economy over the various attempts at planned economy is a result of harnessing the common desire of people to advance their own goals, and channeling that desire and energy through a matrix of laws so that the way to achieve your own goals is by providing goods and services desired by others, who will then pay you with the means of achieving your own goals

8/30/2005 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


Albert Camus argued in the Rebel, if I remember it correctly, that the key to resisting the lure of power was to remain uncertain of righteousness. But that would be asking too much of those whose goal is power itself. I think Camus may have gotten things reversed. Once you have decided upon power, certitude follows automatically. And those who set out to change the world, according to their lights, must first of all have power. The more sweeping their vision, the greater the need for power. For how should we build Paradise unless we were divinities ourselves?

The Founding Fathers through genius, or by luck, refused the grail of power and assigned its wellsprings to the Creator. And even though no one could agree on who the Creator was, His introduction into the system had the effect of removing the source of ultimate legitimacy from the hands of men. "In God We Trust", because we cannot trust ourselves. The Creator holds in escrow the powers we ourselves would not dare to hold. Camus was anticipated by nearly 200 years.

8/30/2005 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/30/2005 07:08:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

On September 14th, just days after the anniversary of 9/11, one of the Iranian terrorists who took US citizens hostage in Iran in 1979 is coming to New York to address the 2005 World Summit at the UN. That Iranian terrorist is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the new president of Iran. An ad hoc committee is organizing a rally in protest of this terrorist visiting New York. The rally is to be held on September 14th at 11am in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza (1st & 47th) near the UN. More information on the committee and rally can be found at

8/30/2005 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger Ray said...

As many have said here, and as Wretchard's initial post makes clear, the link between the Left and its evil Islamic twin comes out of the need to believe, and the belief being that capitalism and christianity should and will collapse. This is the creed of the rationalist run amok, a Westerner who has been seduced by the dark side of rationalism, failing to see that christianity and rationalism are the two great underpinnings of liberal society. Now that the myth of socialism as a revolutionary opposition to capitalism/christianity has been exploded, the Left must find somewhere else to believe, another other into which to invest their hopes for an overturning of the established order. The concrete expression of that investment is the desire of the US to be defeated in Iraq.

All of the various 'isms that somehow see themselves as opposed to capitalism/christianity has thus drifted into tacit or open alliance with the Islamists, likes moths to a consuming flame. That some of the moths are gay and the flame is homophobic is an irony of epic proportions. Václav Klaus has recently explored this topic in a speech in Reykjavik. It is worth the read, and, though Islam is not mentioned, it hits the nail on the head leaving only one or two dots to connect.

8/30/2005 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

"Doug - You stay quite busy with your cut and pastes. Perhaps too much, because you ignore France is perhaps our best partner in getting counterterrorism intelligence and both France and Germany are quite active in helping us in Afghanistan. You are upset that France and Germany are not interested in joining us in a series of major wars the neocons wanted? Fine. Just don't single them out as the only nations that don't want it. Add other major nations, all of the ones in Latin America, Canada, NZ, all the muslim nations inc Turkey, plus Africa, Russia, and China."

That is mroe reflective of the rest of the world than it is of France. A country 1/5th the size of the United States, and with less commitments, contributes 1,000 troops. This is "active"? Please, the fact that it stands out is more indicative of the state and mentalities of our pathetic allies than it is of the reliability of France.

As an added bonus we got De Gaulle Jr. doing everything he could to unite Europe against us. France is not an 'ally' except when it needs us or would pay too high a political price in acting otherwise. Those 1,000 troops are merely an example of the latter, to prove France's commitment to the US when all other evidence proves otherwise.

8/30/2005 07:15:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

And those who set out to change the world, according to their lights, must first of all have power. The more sweeping their vision, the greater the need for power.

And yet we argue daily for a vision that is sweeping indeed. I wonder if, in the end, we will be able to deny the ring.

"In God We Trust", because we cannot trust ourselves. The Creator holds in escrow the powers we ourselves would not dare to hold.

A necessary meme? A true fact? Both? Neither?

I do not claim to know. But whatever it is, it seems to be working.

8/30/2005 07:18:00 AM  
Blogger cathyf said...

This danger, in their judgment, did not come from Hitler and the Nazis, not principally. The truest danger came from the warmongers and arms manufacturers of France itself ... who stood to benefit in material ways from a new war

Like, say, for example... Halliburton?

Plus ça change, plus
c’est la même chose...

cathy :-)

8/30/2005 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Excellent essay, wretchard, and correlates with what you were getting at in some of your earlier writing, of which I now have a better grasp.

And I am particularly struck by the concluding words: that very remarkable fashion, a number of the anti-war Socialists of France came full circle. They had begun as defenders of liberal values and human rights, and they evolved into defenders of bigotry, tyranny, superstition, and mass murder.

A good lesson for all, then. We should be careful what we try too hard to understand, lest we find, like Pogo, that we have met the enemy and he is us.

8/30/2005 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

More from Sterling that is apropos this topic:

The Tupamaros, who invented the original model for what has become the planetary fashion in urban guerrilla warfare, make a wonderfully instructive case...

Their ranks consisted of teachers, lawyers, doctors, dentists, accountants, bankers, architects, engineers, a model, a radio announcer, and an actress. They were radical Marxists, committed to profound revolutionary change, who unmistakably started out with fine intentions. They lived in a politically worldly society open to the winds of change and given to voting social-democratically left. Like middle-class revolutionaries everywhere, they were plainly moved by a strong sense of social guilt and an uplifting political vision. Even later, when they started to kill, they wept.

Signposts flashing through the night in vain, indeed.

8/30/2005 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger kstagger said...

Excellent Post.

The Left is willing to make a Faustian deal with Islamists, even if it means the end of themselves. Perhaps they consider Osama and his followers as useful idiots - a movement that can be pushed aside with concessions after the battle is done.

8/30/2005 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

The left lies down in bed with the jihad primarily out of anti-Americanism. Nothing more. Paul Johnson has an excerpted piece on National Review Online in which he argues, among other things:

Indeed, many of the most violently anti-American intellectuals benefit directly and personally from America's existence, since their books, plays, music, and other creations enjoy favor on the huge American market, and dollar royalties form a large part of their income. But it is a fact that intellectuals are fundamentally and incorrigibly antinomian. To them, authority, especially if legitimate and benign, is the enemy-in-chief, to be resisted instinctively as a threat to their "freedom," even if such authority ultimately makes it possible.

The most vivid evidence of this is the public outcasting of Christopher Hitchens. He is as left as ever on most things, but has the rare clarity of mind to see Islamism for what it is. That requires that he leave the squalid, philosophically and morally impoverished reservation of instinctive, unthinking anti-Americanism. And to the left that is unforgivable.

8/30/2005 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Casablanca (1942)
"As Time Goes By"
music and words by Herman Hupfeld
Hear Dooley Wilson sing "As Time Goes By" (a .WAV file).

[This day and age we're living in
Gives cause for apprehension
With speed and new invention
And things like fourth dimension.

Yet we get a trifle weary
With Mr. Einstein's theory.
So we must get down to earth at times
Relax relieve the tension

And no matter what the progress
Or what may yet be proved
The simple facts of life are such
They cannot be removed.]

You must remember this
A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh.
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by.

And when two lovers woo
They still say, "I love you."
On that you can rely
No matter what the future brings
As time goes by.

Moonlight and love songs
Never out of date.
Hearts full of passion
Jealousy and hate.
Woman needs man
And man must have his mate
That no one can deny.

It's still the same old story
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die.
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by.

Oh yes, the world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by.

© 1931 Warner Bros. Music Corporation, ASCAP

8/30/2005 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger Das said...

It is happening now. In Seattle I spoke to a reporter who wrote an article about Muslim women reserving public facilities so they can bathe fully clothed - as per Koranic dictates. All over the country Christian and Jewish contact with civic life are being questioned. I asked the reporter why she didn't bring up the possible legal clash between religious congregation and non-religious nature of tax-funded property.

"It's their culture!" the reporter said.

The left has pretty much decided that resistance to Jihad terror creates more Jihad terror. As per Wretchard's analogy - I can see the left easily falling into the arms of Jihad Islam.

8/30/2005 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Captain Ed -
Why would the Commission want to do that?
Could it be that the collection of bureaucrats that comprised the panel wanted to believe that the bureacracy could save America, and that the intelligence communities needed more constraints, post-9/11?
Or could they have wanted to underscore the meme, during a presidential election, that our "unilateral" approach to policy regarding the two potential state actors had no basis in national-security requirements?

We can speculate as to the why, but we cannot speculate as to the what any longer. My column in tomorrow's Daily Standard will provide a list of data and events that the Commission failed to include in its review, and the pattern becomes even more clear when shown in this format.
(I wanted to comment last night on Hayes' article, as AJ Strata did, but I needed to meet the deadline.)
I wish I could claim it to be comprehensive, but the last two weeks have shown that any such list will likely need updates within a few hours of its composition.

8/30/2005 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

Not too difficult...Leftists, by and large, are totalitarians. Hence, their affinity for the Islamofascists, the Nazi-fascists and the Bolshi-fascists.

8/30/2005 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Time Do go By.
If I was a Joo, I could write a song about it.

8/30/2005 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Einstein Chimes in:
"It's their culture!"
...the reporter said.

8/30/2005 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Even later, when they started to kill, they wept."
At least they were SENSITIVE.
Bill is vacationing on Kauai, thank you.
Along w/Bikinni Babe Sen Hillary and Daughter Chastity,
...I mean Chelsea.

8/30/2005 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger harry truman said...

Beerman gives the left too much credit. The left does not recognize the danger of utopian Islam because the left is itself utpoian.

8/30/2005 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

...Orwell needed.
or 72 Whores.

8/30/2005 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"To them, authority, especially if legitimate and benign, is the enemy-in-chief, to be resisted instinctively as a threat to their "freedom," even if such authority ultimately makes it possible."
The Anti American Left defined, an ill-adjusted adolescent acting out.
In Perpetuity.
Dr Sanity Needed!

8/30/2005 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Red River said...

Beaten wife syndrome. She always goes back.

Leftists who love too much.

At its root, all these things have a psychological componenent where the person cannot properly process and use information to effect their and others' survival.

There is a real advantage to accepting something and believing it rather than going through the process of verifying it. But at what point do you cut off belief and save yourself?

Its like an addiction - Mental Meth. There is something about people's minds that go around on this and never get out.

8/30/2005 09:34:00 AM  
Blogger Abakan said...

I think this might ring true for modern European liberals and completely miss the mark as a possible explanation for their American counterparts.

I think the roots of a progressive American liberal are firmly rooted in 60's counterculture. Frankly, I think most of what I read here amounts to reading too deeply, and a desire to make sense of behaviors that may not have rational cause and reason.

Michael Moore managed screenings of Fahrenheit 9/11 at institutions of higher learning. His sucess may point to just how little importance history plays in a modern liberal American mind.

NPR was 24/7 with the meme "Islam means Peace" during the run up to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Social anachronisms
The term is also often used (more metaphorically) to describe the experience of encountering things in general life which appear to be out of place in time, though on a literal level they are not. Monarchies and other overly lavish political traditions from past centuries are considered by many to be quite anachronistic, as are some old-fashioned languages and certain religious traditions.

Moral values which were prevalent in another time period, which have now fallen out of favor, may also be referred to as anachronistic. One of the most striking examples would be moral absolutism, or "black and white thinking", which while having been a common and even admirable way of seeing the world by a majority of the world's cultures until now, in a modern western culture that embraces moral relativism and prides itself in having no clear distinction between right and wrong, black and white thinking is considered primitive or even childish, in some cases even being considered a symptom of a personality disorder. (See the psychology section, below)

Kerry was celebrated for his ability to see "Gray" where others saw "Black and White."

It's the simple 7 second soundbites, and bumpersticker cliches that define political movements today.

Incidently, "True Believers" was a great book. I wish I could remember who wrote it. The concepts explored within it applied as well to Christians, as it applies to Muslims.

8/30/2005 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

There's another part of this bizarre confusion of isms that should be pointed out.

During the McCarthy era Joe Stalin was gearing up to do a pogrom in Russia on the same scale as Hitler's shoah. As Wretchard mentioned in an earlier essay Stalin already had the concentration camps set up. And some of the preliminary accusations had gone out for what came to be known as the doctor's plot.

At the same time the Rosenburgs were tried and executed for treason in the USA--and this less than a decade after the Holocaust. This naturally caused fear and suspicion in the US Jewish community. This fear and suspicion was played upon by knowledgeable communists and leftists. These folk not only knew about what Stalin had done in the 1930's and was about to do with the doctor's plot but also saw the Rosenburg trials as show trials american style ... that is, a prelude to an american pogrom. What Stalin had planned to do in a brilliant piece of jujitsu leftists imputed to Americans on the right. But it was done soto voce. Basically a blood libel was perpetrated on Americans without their knowing it.

While the American public outside NY/LA were generally given the view that the McCarthy era was an age when innocent men were unjustly tried by suspicious anti semites like McCarthy & Nixon--the NY/LA Jewish establishment was given a different story. They were given to understand that the democrats/liberals had prevented the US from visiting a holocaust on them. And that therefor they owed their loyalty to the liberal democrats because the liberal democrats were the protectors of the Jews.

And this went on for decades after McCarthy.

This dual track story line didn't crack until the early 1990's when the kgb/nkvd/gru opened up their files on the WWII-McCarthy Period. In 1995 the US's NSA agency opened up their Venona files. Both Russian and American spy agency files showed that McCarthy was right. The US government --as well as the Manhattan Project--had been at one time soaked with Russian Spies. The Rosenburgs were guilty.

Needless to say, an American style shoah was never in the cards.

The reason that hollywood hated Ronald Reagan so much was that he was an anti communist in hollywood during the McCarthy period.(He was among the first wave of FDR democrats to switch parties.) Reagan was blacklisted from Hollywood. He couldn't get work there after McCarthy. However, his experiences in Hollywood served him well when he went into public service. He always understood the jujitsu of media talk of the age. Something that cannot be said of Nixon.

Actor George Clooney's is directing a McCarthy topic film set to open at next month's New York Film Festival. The film called "Good Night and Good Luck", in which Clooney also stars, is a look at the impact of McCarthyism on 1950s America.

That Clooney should step up and take on this topic shows that he's either really bright or really stooopid.

I suspect the latter. But I'll never know for sure. Since I won't go see his movie. I went to "A Beautiful Mind" and came out of that movie spitting mad.

When I hear American based Moslems talking about McCarthyism being visited on them. I have to laugh. They don't know that they have pronounced themselves guilty in the eyes of many Americans.

8/30/2005 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Abakan said...

The True Believer : Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (Perennial Classics) (Paperback)
by Eric Hoffer

It's a great read.

8/30/2005 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Basically a blood libel was perpetrated on Americans without their knowing it.

Charles, this is one of the most brilliant pieces of historical insight I have ever seen.

8/30/2005 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

How long will the inhumane, imperialist, Bushitler OCCUPATION of Biloxi go on?
If this is a Just and Moral Cause, why are Chirac and Schroeder absent?
The Japs are offering their STRATEGERIC RESERVES!!
HALLIBURTON will profit from Oil Platform Worker's Suffering!!!
And WHY don't these sons and daughters of the rich join the
REGULAR ARMY, instead of the Playboy's Club National Guard?
Where are Jenna and her Party Girl Twin?
"Marxist" Stream Media, Inc.

8/30/2005 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Tulip Mania.

8/30/2005 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Frankly, I think most of what I read here amounts to reading too deeply, and a desire to make sense of behaviors that may not have rational cause and reason.

Michael Moore managed screenings of Fahrenheit 9/11 at institutions of higher learning. His sucess may point to just how little importance history plays in a modern liberal American mind
EVERYTHING to do with Adolescent Psychopathology.

8/30/2005 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

To cut C4 off at the pass, he is referring to intelligence, which is manifest in both France and Germany.
No mystery there:
The plotters reside there in droves, and both sides speak the language(s).

8/30/2005 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger david bennett said...

For the record Chamberlain was a member of the conservative party, Edouard Daladier was a member of the "Radical" party which was in fact centrist. When Blum organized leftists into a "popular front" to fight fascism, the center and right were instrumental in forcing neutrality.

As a general rle much of the far left argued for a radical stance against fascism until the Hitler/Stalin pact when the left split.

It is true that there was a strong pacifist streak after WWI and much was on the left, but the forces involved were complex. For example in the United States isolationism and to some extent sympathy with fascism were heavy on the right. It was liberal Roosevelt who half secretly launched support for England to oposition from the Republicans.

Nice simple ideological models of history may be fun, but they provide no basis for analysis of actual history or actually navigating tricky and often contradictory political currents.

8/30/2005 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

9:10 AM "too."

8/30/2005 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Everything is TOO COMPLEX to derive ANY conclusions.

Luckily, we have great minds,
such as yours,
to remind us.

Thanks again.

8/30/2005 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/30/2005 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

The Daily Standard reports that Michael Yon seems to be making inroads on parts of the MSM...

Daily Standard

Scroll to the end of the second page.

8/30/2005 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger krishna_kirti said...

Quoted in the post: "Berman delineates how all three movements descended from utopian visions (in the case of Islamism, the restoration of a pure seventh-century Islam) into irrational cults of death."

I have an article titled "An Ontological Explanation for Jihad" up at Indus Valley Rising that attempts to explain the "irrational" aspect of such death cults.

8/30/2005 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger T said...

A couple of things.

First, if you want to include me in the contemporary left, which most people here have, I can say there's certainly no support for Bin Ladden. Such a claim is just plain silly and without any kind of evidence or reasoning. Bin Laden is viewed by people like me, who are the contemporary left, as an excess of US power. Bin Laden believes in all the idiotic mythologies of American Empire. He wants power for himself. The "left" critiques and debunks these mythologies and wishes to undermine and destroy the power of Empire, not simply control it.

The "left" is opposed to people like Bin Laden on principle, whereas the US government is opposed to people like him simply because they're opposed to them. When people like Bin Laden side with the US, there's all of a sudden no problem with their totalitarian tendancies. Even if they're Islamic, cough cough Mubarak cough Abdullah cough cough. I know that it's much easier to view everything as black and white, you're either with us or against us, but it doesn't work like that, my false dichotomization friends.

Second, the "left" of the Second World War really has no character similarity with the "left" that I'm apparently apart of. If the left/right dichotomy is extended to two axes, the dinosaur left of the 1930's are economically about half as far to the left as today's left, and socially at opposite ends. In fact socially, the dinosaur left is authoritarian, like today's religious theocrats of the US. There's no respect for anyone like Stalin, Lenin, Trotsky, Mao, etc. in the contemporary left. The contemporary left has a strong critique of power, the dinosaur left had authoritarian tendancies.

Using examples from the past with the dinosaur left to explain the contemporary left shows a lack of understanding with today's political climate. Furthermore liberalism has never been considered "left" by anyone. Neoliberal economics are extreme right, and modern liberal economics are moderate right to centrist at best.

If you really want to compare the dinosaur left to anyone, it would be to the US government who are increasingly irritated with dissent from within and are willing to remove the basic rights of people to maintain their power. Remember it's the US who's running a "gulag" in Guantanamo Bay, not me or anyone of my "leftist" ilk.

8/30/2005 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger T said...

PS wretchard, I challenge you to a debate on God's existence. Do a post on why you think such a thing exists, and I'll reply in kind on my blog. I gaurantee that I can take down any possible argument you can give, and as well provide a thorough proof that human belief in god is illogical.

8/30/2005 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

MOTI throws down the gauntlet.
Stay Tuned.
Throwing up is so very hard to do.

8/30/2005 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

Berman and Brendon both miss the point, and because they miss it, they're Shocked, SHOCKED, that Leftists are supporting Islamofascists!

The point they're missing is simple. The political spectrum is not a Left-Right line, but instead it is a Circle.

The extreme Leftists are indistinguishable to outsiders from the extreme Right. The farther extreme they get, the closer they are to each other. This is why the French Revolution produced extreme dictatorial terrorism out of the Leftist Jacobins. Stalin is Left, Hitler is Right, but in Quack-Like-A-Duck terms, throwing away the political labels and looking at the behaviors and adjectives, they are identical. -- And so are the Leftists and Islamofascists.

Taking away the labels and looking at their rhetoric:

Michael Moore is Saddam Hussein

Barbara Streisand is Mullah Omar

and George Soros is Osama-Bin-Laden

8/30/2005 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The modern left is a Circular affair.
To delve into the Jerkular.
And the MSM is more than happy to ride astride the
Circle Jerk.

8/30/2005 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

Then you're not a Leftist IOTM, you're an Anarchist.


Mortimer Adler, the phylosopher and founder of the Humanist Society, has a proof that God exists. It's been around for at least 20 years, and NO ONE has broken his proof. So go ahead and be the fool. My five year old son could whip your ass merely by beating you to death with Adler's proof.


8/30/2005 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

If you really want to compare the dinosaur left to anyone, it would be to the US government who are increasingly irritated with dissent from within and are willing to remove the basic rights of people to maintain their power. Remember it's the US who's running a "gulag" in Guantanamo Bay...

If you had any inclination towards verification, you would realize the stupidity of your argument. Or are you writing from a cell in Guantanamo?

The contemporary left has a strong critique of power...

I think you meant to write jealousy. And the power you are so contemptuous of is particular, not general, in nature. You hate and fear organic power, which is why you hate and fear markets, and of course, liberty.

It is the power of destruction that makes you swoon. Bring down the Empire, if you dare. We'll be waiting.

8/30/2005 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

I was going to mention to Abakan that I suspected iotm's moral ambiguities to stem primarily from his focus on denying God- perhaps moral authority in general?- rather than attempting to understand human morality without preestablished guidelines, which I had held to be the nobler cause of atheists. Is truth not the ultimate authority towards which every moral individual strives? Theists hold that pure and whole truth can be found with God; moral atheists must believe it can be found elsewhere. But are we not all then authoritarians? Yet iotm fashions himself anti-authoritarian, anti-imperialist; one opposed to any moral authority, human or otherwise; one opposed to empires including those of the mind. Anarchist is, I think, a fitting description. Moral anarchist seems even better.

8/30/2005 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

I wonder if iotm has a problem with organized religion, e.g. the Abrahamic religions, or with theistic belief in general. I'll assume the latter on the basis of his challenge unless he indicates otherwise.

8/30/2005 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

None of the great 19th-20th century atheistic philosophers like Shopenhauer, Marx or Nietzche actually PROVED that God does not exist. Rather, they took as their premise that God does not exist and went from there.

8/30/2005 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger jim said...

iotm: would be to the US government who are increasingly irritated with dissent from within and are willing to remove the basic rights of people to maintain their power.

Aristides, it's true. One day after I traded in my beret for a keffiyeh, a crossing guard looked kinda funny at me and made me halt as some cars went by.

8/30/2005 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger T said...

Sorry Fernand...

Adler says that "negative existential propositions cannot be proven". Thus the claim god does not exist cannot be proven to be true.

What I said wasn't a negative existential proposition to begin with.

Furthermore "negative existential propositions cannot be proven" is itself a negative existential proposition, which kind of invalidates his whole argument.

Wretchard you can either go ahead and come up with a post, or email me about it if you want. Challenge is full on though, I don't suspect a "True Believer" like yourself would back down though.

8/30/2005 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

Geez, FB, it's waddadoofus not whatadoofus. Where were you edicated?

Besides, a doofus is 1 SD below mean, he doesn't make the cut.

8/30/2005 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

I for one, hope that Wretchard meets with Cindy Sheehan before he wastes his time and the time of thousands who come here to read W’s insightful essays and not the nescient rambling from idiot of the month. ‘Ignant’ is a contraction of ignorant and indignant. May he climb the highest mountain and shake his fist at the creator demanding that God account for himself. Lighting need only strike once.

8/30/2005 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

IOTM advocates destruction of that which he doesn't understand, for an alternative that he cannot name.

No, he ardently believes in a God, whatever he chooses to call it. Only a true believer well-steeped in the rites of his religion could have such boundless faith in blind demolition.

8/30/2005 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

One is put in mind of the ant climbing the elephants leg with amorous intent.

8/30/2005 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

I for one, hope that Wretchard meets with Cindy Sheehan before he wastes his time and the time of thousands who come here to read W’s insightful essays and not the nescient rambling from idiot of the month.

I don't know about you, but I come here for the Fat Black Chicks and Penile Enlargement ads.

8/30/2005 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger anybudee said...


I was just going to remark how quaint and unenlightened Wretchard was by calling the Faith of Rationalism (praise to its glory)naive.

And then say that the Left/Right continuum is actually circular. Who cares whether your thought police are Gestapo or Cheka?

And then possibly say how no cosmological modality other than Supreme Being even attempts to look at first cause. And for good reason.

And then I read the comments... Maybe I'll work on my short game.

8/30/2005 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

In fact, neither the proposition that "God exists" or "God does not exist" can be proved scientifically, by definition--because both propositions rest outside the scope of science.

Both propositions are are articles of faith. Its just a matter of which one chooses to believe.

8/30/2005 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Oh, he's not set on proving or disproving the existence of God, he says. Instead, he intends to "take down any possible argument you can give, and as well provide a thorough proof that human belief in god is illogical."

In other words, he only intends to prove that belief in God is illogical. But we already know that illogical things exist. As for proof? Res ipsa loquitur. But the contention of the illogic of something does not accomplish anything existentially.

8/30/2005 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

But we already know that illogical things exist.

I believe we have a couple of them commenting here.

8/30/2005 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

To the question of whether all "Jacobinists" and their progeny ought properly be included under the Marxist rubric, the answer is: Yes. There is nothing there but an impulse, and it is the same among them, however much they may be distracted by details in their word-pictures.

8/30/2005 02:19:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The fact that massive aid is not pouring into the American South from France and Germany is proof enough for me that NO-ONE should be giving aid and comfort to those gun totin' war supporting morons living where they shouldn't be anyhow,
JMEIO (enlightened and informed)

8/30/2005 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Aristedes 1:27 PM,
As the French say, there's no accounting for taste, but it seems in the case of your choice, metrics alone would at least be an indicator.

8/30/2005 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

As usual IOTM, you don't listen to what other people say, merely to the voices in your head.

Mortimer Adler proved that God DOES exist! Nothing negative there.

You are about to be BLOCKADED as you are bringing the average IQ of this blog down into the low single digits.

8/30/2005 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Patience please:
He's trying to get his mind around that tree falling in the forest puzzle, don't confuse him now with the idea that if the entire human race embraced an atheist's dream, God would not cease to exist.

8/30/2005 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

Correctamundo Aristides,

IOTM's God is Kaos.

8/30/2005 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...


Mortimer Adler - phylosopher - not scientist. His proof is logical - (like mathematics) - not scientific - (like lab tests).

8/30/2005 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Hugo Chavez reportedly offers CHEAP heating oil to US.
Offer is transmitted through the right homorable Rev. Jesse Jackson, whom, it seems, is on a Goodwill Tour of Venezuala.

The offer of aid, or even delivery of it does not change a leopards spots to a zebra's stripes.

8/30/2005 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Rick, 1:25 PM
In your nearest out of the Box Office:

IOTM Stars in
"Amoral Intent"

8/30/2005 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

But it STILL puts him ahead of Chirac and Co.!

8/30/2005 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/30/2005 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

What is the MOTIvation behind
Blind Demolition?

8/30/2005 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

there is some truth to that, not much, but some.

8/30/2005 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

Correct Nathan,

He is trying to prove that belief in God is illogical.

But since Mortimer Adler's logical proof that God exists still holds today, IOTM is pissing in the wind to hold that "belief in something that logically exists, is itself illogical".

It is like Magellan sailing around the world, and asserting that the world is flat anyway!

2:48 PM

8/30/2005 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger Hepzi said...

Sort of on topic:

Is anyone else annoyed with the current trend to mourn via adoption of a "cause"?

As I watch Sheehan, I find myself admiring the ability of prior generations to mourn with dignity in the context of their religion, without COMPELLING the rest of the world to participate in their self chosen obsession....

8/30/2005 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

Cindy Sheehan NEEDS to hate someone right now.

8/30/2005 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Wretchard you can either go ahead and come up with a post, or email me about it if you want. Challenge is full on though, I don't suspect a "True Believer" like yourself would back down though."
I really think we should all give thanks to MOTI for that one.
Who can put a price on a good long laugh?

8/30/2005 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

On the off chance that Wretchard may still be reading the comments: Ann Althouse's site is built on Blogger, but her comments section (which otherwise looks just like this one) has an authentication feature to prevent spambots from infiltrating the comments. Perhaps Belmont could incorporate this feature as well?

8/30/2005 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

...but if she doesn't get some therapy, she'll eventually do some things that in the future will be so humiliating, that she'll commit suicide out of self-hate.

8/30/2005 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


Let's debate on whether you exist. I claim that iotm exists because I observe a stream of information that isn't pure white noise which I call "Iotm". In a very weak sense, you exist because you are intelligible. Otherwise I'd observe nothing but a stream of random digits. But it would be difficult to assign any further attributes to iotm; whether you are "loving", whether you want to "save" me. You might be all of these things, but I couldn't prove it.

But let's take the other side of the argument and assert that you don't exist. Assert this for a fact, such that we can build a whole logical system based on the non-existence of iotm. It might work out, but only by chance; nothing necessarily follows. Nor is it necessarily superior to asserting your existence, on the basis of the stream of information observed, without assuming any further attributes.

The Founding Fathers were content to sketch out the Creator. He is a minimalist concept, neither Christian, nor Jew, nor Muslim. Could such a minimalist object have any utility? The political argument for God has always been an argument from Man. What kept the Founding Fathers from establishing a religion, a la Europe, was the knowledge they knew very little about the Creator and the memory of sectarian persecution, which was always based on some specific attribute the Creator. What kept them from asserting the Creator's definite non-existence was a pre-sentiment of where that would lead; and in fact went in the French Terror. But come, Iotm, without your possible existence, Sydney Carton could not have said, "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done."

8/30/2005 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

Yes, Doug, it was a good one.

IOTM is l'enfant-terrible

8/30/2005 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

re: mourning-by-cause

Sheehan is either a pathetic figure or a contemptible opportunist. I do not have enough data to claim one or the other.

But those who use her I do understand. They are the dangerous ones. They are the Destructors.

8/30/2005 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

Wretchard, I'll assert a third possibility.

(1) That IOTM is actually an infinite number of monkeys with webbrowsers.


(2) The rest of us are very lucky. :))))

8/30/2005 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger kstagger said...

IOTM beleives that he is own God - since he can create his own 'reality'.

It remains to be seen how much this 'reality' has to do with the real world.

"The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry."

8/30/2005 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

"(1) That IOTM is actually an infinite number of monkeys with webbrowsers."

Sorry, but I don't buy it. The implication is that at least one sensible post has resulted.

8/30/2005 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...



Moral relativism - means I am right and you are wrong. If I do not admit that I am wrong, then it cannot be suicide.

For example: the killing of mentally retarded criminals is wrong, the killing of mentally retarded foetuses is right.

Or: Allah as conversant with Abraham on the Mount is not God.

Or the Islamo-facist regime that executes homosexuals, denigrates women and preaches extremism is part of the Axis of Evil/our friend & ally.

I see these as moral relativism in other people, but to some people these are consistantly strong moral arguements.

8/30/2005 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...


I concur with your observation. In Wretchard's reply he identified that undefinable muddle called progressivism as the current encapsulating term and I'm cheerful about accepting that general definition.


I believe that your post is on target. Dr. Sanity and Shrink Wrapped give complementary diagnoses of narcissism as being the underlying pathology that defines the modern progressive. The "mourning-by-cause" is just one more symptom of the "look at how much I care" ruse that progressive narcissists use to attempt to elevate their "image". It's all image, all the time and it's all self referential.

8/30/2005 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

I'm rather curious as to how iotm goes about explaining the illogic of believing in God. This goes back into whether he has a particular problem with Abrahamic theism or theistic belief in general. Can he explain the illogic of believing in any kind of God, or can he only explain the illogic of believing in an Abrahamic God because he is forced to make assumptions about what he wants to refute?

8/30/2005 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

Ex Chopper Man,

I'm asserting that an readable post occured, not that it was sensible.

8/30/2005 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Actually, can he only explain the illogic of some believers' tenets about an Abrahamic God because he is forced to make assumptions about what he wants to refute?

8/30/2005 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

I think there is some confusion about what "relativism" means. Maybe this will help:

Moral Relativism

In particular, I believe that the distinction between moral relativism and moral pluralism, as each are defined by Wikipedia, is the primary source of confusion here.

8/30/2005 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger red-state-peltast said...

Quoth Aristides:
"And yet we argue daily for a vision that is sweeping indeed. I wonder if, in the end, we will be able to deny the ring."

If this refrence to "the ring" is Tolkein's One Ring, then it should be remembered that in the end Frodo had not the capacity to resist it.

Even so, because of other circumstances, that flaw in all beings did not, in the end, deliver middle-earth to the enemy.

8/30/2005 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

Paul Johnson may be asserting a
fourth possiblity:

Maybe IOTM is a parrot...

"Anti-Americanism is a phenomenon which, though common and ubiquitous, is difficult to explain because it is illogical, irrational, contradictory, and mysteriously primitive. A good deal of it is parroting. And, oddly enough, a parrot has recently emerged in England which may cast light on the subject. This bird had been owned by a long-distance truck driver who emigrated, bequeathing it to a bird sanctuary. There it behaved well; but there were exceptions. In succession, a local mayor, wearing his chain of office, a police inspector, and a female vicar — all visitors to the sanctuary — were subjected to four-letter verbal abuse. The manager of the place eventually concluded that the parrot had been trained by its owner to abuse authority figures, and recognized them by something distinctive in their dress."...

8/30/2005 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

There is a difference between a calculated belief and a leap of faith.

"America is a force for Good" is a calculated belief--hypothetical, falsifiable; Abrahamic God is a leap of faith. I am capable of the former, but my constitution disallows the latter.

IOTM, and the Islamists we fight, are all faith, and no theory.

As Swift once said, "You cannot argue somebody out of a position he was never argued into." And so it goes with Marxists, Anarchists, and Jihadists. It is an emotivist club; there, argument is for show.

8/30/2005 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

Another possible definition of IOTM's antics:


8/30/2005 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

If this massive tragedy doesn't prove Bushitler should be impeached for not signing Kyoto, what will?

8/30/2005 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


8/30/2005 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

The irony, or at least the question, lies in the seeming correlation between my calculated belief--"America is a force for Good"--and the fact that so many Americans have made the leap of faith that I cannot; our goodness seems to flow from our propensity to believe in the God of Abraham.

I simply can't explain that: Beneficent lie, or revelatory Truth? All I can claim is Anthropic Principle and pour another glass of wine.

8/30/2005 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


8/30/2005 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger Fernand_Braudel said...

Now Doug really IS an infinite number of monkeys...

...and we are not as lucky as before.

8/30/2005 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

Wikipedia suggests Moral Relativism makes moral pluralism acceptable, cool.

8/30/2005 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Always WAS, but then you knew that too, I bet.

8/30/2005 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

Or that morals are irrelevant.

Either way.

8/30/2005 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Moral relativism makes a lot of things "acceptable".

8/30/2005 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger metatron118 said...

in the spanish civil war the american radical left was correct and the right wrong. i think they got dubbed premature anti-fascists. not sure why it's the opposite today.

8/30/2005 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

How would a metatron know?

8/30/2005 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Bush: U.S. Must Protect Iraq From Terror:

President Bush on Tuesday answered growing anti-war protests with a fresh reason for American troops to continue fighting in Iraq: protection of the country's vast oil fields that he said would otherwise fall under the control of terrorist extremists.

Bush, standing against a backdrop of the imposing USS Ronald Reagan, the newest aircraft carrier in the Navy's fleet, said terrorists will be denied their goal.,1282,-5244182,00.html

8/30/2005 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


in the spanish civil war the american radical left was correct and the right wrong.

An interesting story that. Stalin decided to take control of the International Brigades and sent in his commissars to control them. One commissar, whose name escapes me now, killed 5% of the International Brigade all by himself. Orwell describes how Stalin ran his purgemeisters through Catalonia, killing the Spanish anarchists.

But by 1937 the Civil War was lost, largely because of Republican and Soviet incompetence or incapacity, and the ruthless efficiency of the Nazi-assisted Nationalists. Stalin cut loose an already sinking ship.

Not all the International Brigade men returned as per order. Many remained. Many of those who returned to Soviet Russia were subsequently sent to the Gulag, the better to quell any word of Uncle Joe's fiasco. But then that was par for the course. If you add up all the Communists who have ever been killed by US armed forces in Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War, it would be a small fraction of the number killed by the Bolshevik secret police themselves or through starvation, collectivization or a return to the Year Zero. The most dangerous thing to be is a loyal Leftist in the bosom of the Party.

8/30/2005 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

The left and,what a quandary.Like Wretchard I have thought long and hard on these alliances.I guess I'm in the David Horowitz school of disillusioned former radicals.After my war I was a hard left radical.I know the Black Panther myths because I read their newspaper in 1970 and 1971 and was ready to enlist in the American Jihad.I was as addled as the saintly Mrs.Sheehan.Wars do that to you if you're not careful.
I came to my senses eventually before doing damage to anyone,but myself.One of my healing self revelations was the root of much of my loathing for my homeland was envy at the success of others at living healthy successful lives while I languished in failure.I think this is a unifying characteristic between many on the left and the jihadis.
Whether its a cynical fat turd like Mike Moore getting kicked around in high school or a hopeless loser in the slums of Gaza City or Karachi,its breeding ground for those who despise America.
Another unifying point is that lefties and Islamists are guided by irrational emotion.In the Muslim world its blind wrath looking for targets,for the left its Sentiment.
Its what blinds them to the reality of the jihad,as it has other tyrannies.If we're just nice to them,they won't hurt us.
Shaheen and IOTM share one characteristic of the left,overweening narcissism.She obviously speaks for every parent of any fallen soldier ever.This is why she has been "chosen" for this mission.
IOTM's arrogance is laughable.What a sorry little piece of work.

8/30/2005 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hewitt's thinking it's time to bring in Army and Navy:
Wonder if they'll consider a carrier as in Tsunami relief?
...would be nice if they had a way to run in an electric line, but no such invention yet, I guess.
Hugh had Austin Bay on, who has had some unique experience in the field w/the Army.

8/30/2005 05:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

So it WAS a war for oil!
MOTI was right AGAIN!

8/30/2005 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

God obviously exists as a fact of human consciousness. I imagine even our young friend has had his moments when he has instinctively shouted out 'oh my god' or "g.d d..n" (On a recent visit to a liberal friend's house I was distressed to learn that his young daughter has been taught that it is no longer pc to say "oh my god" because, as she put it, "some people actually believe in god". She was too young to grasp what I meant when I asked, well if you don't believe in god, why do you have to suppress the instinct to shout out "oh my god" in the first place?)

Anyway, I am reasonably sure that our young friend cannot provide us any convincing explanation of why he says, from time to time, "oh my god", etc., or how it is possible that he is a self-conscious being for whom the concept of existence is something meaningful in the first place. How does he explain his consciousness of human existence, which, it should be clear (though unfortunately it is not clear to many) is a form of self-consciousness quite unlike anything in the rest of the animal world.

And I am sure our funny friend cannot tell us because I am sure it is impossible to explain these things unless you approach with some humility the fact that human consciousness is not separable from the idea of god. No idea of god, no human beings. I know this to be true; I don't fully know (nowhere near fully know) however what God is.

8/30/2005 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Trangbang, that's one heck of a post.
I'll be reading it more than once.
NeoNeocon was struck by the amount of unhappiness in Dave's life when she read Radical Son.
They were dangerous times even for those of us fortunate enough to have not been chosen to go to 'Nam.
...Psychologically Speaking.

8/30/2005 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger metatron118 said...

The Spanish Civil War is very interesting. I was careful to just mention the american left. Soviet action in Spain should have served as a guide for others at Yalta.

My point was that the left used to want to fight the good fight. Too many comments were on French leftist Vichy sellouts.

8/30/2005 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

As Dave Horowitz' book makes clear, in his father's time, the left was also educated.
Can't say that for most of them now.

8/30/2005 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...


Was Hewitt talking about bringing the Army and Navy for Katrina?

Did Moti say that about the oil? Must have missed that. Wonder what he thinks would happen if we put the terrorists in charge of it? He'd probably say something like, 'Well, they're not just going to sit on it and refuse to sell/export!'

8/30/2005 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


Right you are. The Left knew how to fight. I knew a few who fought against Marcos and so far as personal bravery goes, I would not be worthy to undo their shoelaces. Then there were those who sat back and told others to take the risks. A process of reverse Darwinism happened, a kind of 'survival of the unfittest'. By the tenth year only the creeps had survived to reach high positions.

If you want to remember the Marxists in the Spanish Civil War at their best, think of John Cornford the poet, falling in action for the Republic. Try not to think of what became of them later, slowly dying of starvation in Stalin's freezing mines.

8/30/2005 06:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sam, don't blame poor MOTI for that one:
I was refering to your post's
"fresh reason for American troops to continue fighting in Iraq: protection of the country's vast oil fields "
...although come to think of it, MOTI has not had a chance to respond to that yet.
Yeah, Hewitt thinks Katrina is beyond local/state govts ability to respond effectively/quickly enough.

8/30/2005 06:37:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I think he has held that position in the past, as if it was worthy of criminal indictment to protect the Iraqi Oil Supply from non Iraqi control.

8/30/2005 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

When the Glory of God calls humanity to the remembrance of God, He does so for humankind's sake, for God has no NEED of humanity.

"Be not of those who forget God, and whom God hath caused to forget their own selves."

But how'd we get here?

"Veiled in the immemorial essence of My Being, I knew my love for thee, hence I created thee."

Humans are created in the image and likeness of God aren't we? Then that means WE, too, have the ability to KNOW and to LOVE.

"I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me TO KNOW Thee and TO WORSHIP Thee."

Without a rational belief in God, we are forced to turn toward the idols of our own creation, Stalin, Saddam, Hitler, Mao, Chompski, Moore.

When we're out of touch with our human purpose in having been created (to know Thee and to worship [love] Thee) we are out of touch with function!

And we 'miss the mark' when we choose acts which obstruct, inhibit, or eliminate our/another's ability to know or to love , and God calls that 'sin'. Unknowing, unloving, ignorant, hateful actions of a base-selfish nature.

This is why Jesus promised that '...He, the Spirit of Truth, will lead you into all truth...' I'm glad He does.

8/30/2005 06:50:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

FLASH: New Orleans mayor says attempt to plug breach has failed and rising water about to overwhelm pumps; water will rise rapidly again, as high as 15ft in next few hours...

8/30/2005 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...


Sixty years after V-J Day, our military veterans can take heart from the example they see right here in San Diego. Those of you who wear the nation's uniform today are every bit as selfless and dedicated to liberty as the generations that came before. And when we will look at you we know our freedom is in good hands. (Applause.)

It is men and women like you who keep us free. It is the spirit of liberty that keeps you strong, and it is the history that gives us confidence to know that in the vital work of spreading liberty, America, and those of us who love freedom will prevail.

8/30/2005 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/30/2005 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

Does god exist? I don't care. If he does, whoop-de-doo. If he doesn't, no biggie either.

Your beliefs in God and religion? Your choice, not mine. I respect your decision, as long as it does not in any way hinder my own progress through life, nor that of others.

For a great many of the human race, they cannot, or are unable to, reason through the premises and values that underlie what we judge as 'moral', and so we resort to the easier method of religion to impose morality instead of spending months and years describing the tenets of utilitarianism, classic liberalism, extropy, and economics. It took me six years to get through all that.

This is what Kohlberg(IIRC) described as pre-conventional, conventional, and post conventional morality. Few ever reach post conventional morality, where it's not enough to follow the laws, but also to know why those laws exist in the first place: to sustain the expansion of modern man's chosen values of life and knowledge.

See, I'm an atheist, but you won't find me lying with the anarchists or the leftoids either. Neither does Hitchens. It's those atheists who have not managed to attain post-conventional morality, fallen into socialism and all the other ill -isms by failure to comprehend the tenets of society giving us a bad name. For these people, they're better off sticking to religion if they can't comprehend the basis for morality.

Moral relativism is not the absence of god, but rather the inability to select certain values and identifying the means executed to attain those values. Socialists and Liberals are very good at this, seemingly espousing certain values, and then taking actions that decrease these values. No wonder they look like relativists! They were incompetent!

What we term as 'moral' today is a reflection of the values we have chosen and the optimal means we have of achieving them. Immoral would be whichever values are not acceptable(eg. death, destruction), and the means, however inadvertantly, taken to achieve them. Two things to keep in mind: roads to hell are paved with good intentions, and lesser evils(immorality) must often be suffered to avoid greater evils.

And God, if he exists, has played the ultimate joke on me, because I'm teaching at a mission school(A levels), studiously nodding and agreeing and convincing students of the merits of Christianity, even though I have no use for it personally!

8/30/2005 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Fernand_Braudel said...


Mortimer Adler, the phylosopher and founder of the Humanist Society, has a proof that God exists. It's been around for at least 20 years, and NO ONE has broken his proof. "


People said about the same thing about rational numbers until they found the irrational numbers and then the transcedental numbers.

And then Godel wrote his little thesis.

Like the professor says, I'll see your Adler and raise it by a Godel.

8/30/2005 08:17:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Godel's thesis said that in any rules based system, someone can always come up with something to say that cannot be proven or disproven.

Any example is "This sentence is false."

Perhaps the clearest indicator of Leftist ( or any other irrational thinking ) are the thinkers who cling to Godelian statements. And then use them to form the basis of a body of thought.

The base ideas are patently absurd, but they are logically well connected to form the appearance of truth.

After all, two plus two is four and you are damned if you invent vectors.

8/30/2005 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Bush to San Diego Audience: 'We will prevail!'

In his speech, Bush commended "the power of freedom to transform the bitterest of enemies into the closest of friends."

He didn't say whether that applied to San Diego.

8/30/2005 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"We can't afford tax cuts."

8/30/2005 09:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

(that was supposed to be an example for rr's post)
A "logical" statement of the left.

8/30/2005 09:25:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Bush down 2 points from a month ago, near as I can tell.

8/30/2005 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"The NEW YORK TIMES plans to report later tonight: One Navy amphibious assault ship, the Bataan, with six Sea Stallion and Sea Hawk helicopters that could be used for search and rescue missions."
Would there be any problem flying the Big Lifters on and off a Navy Ship?

8/30/2005 09:32:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

The draft, a 'peace movement':

The chord being touched by Mrs. Sheehan is that the president has decided to fight a crusade for democracy in an undemocratic way. If this struggle is worth the cost, if this ends truly justify the means, all Americans, and not merely the Sheehans and the Pruetts, must be reminded that, if necessary, they, too, will be called upon to become "Gold Star" families. Only through that lens — a lens both Mrs. Sheehan and Mrs. Pruett have gazed through — will their judgment on support for this war be legitimate.

This, Mr. President, is the great power of the American way of war, and a tradition that truly has secured the blessings of liberty for the American people. But it is also a tradition that has ensured that the causes we fight and die for are indeed just, and the benefits indeed worth the costs. Perhaps, in this context, the president is talking to the wrong mothers.

8/30/2005 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

To think that ignorance and stupidity has also become a global phenomenon!
To be a True Believer in this stuff you have to be...
"The American president is closing his eyes to the economic and human costs his land and the world economy are suffering under natural catastrophes like Katrina and because of neglected environmental policies." As such, Trittin also calls for a reworking of the Kyoto Protocol -- dubbing it the uncreative title of "Kyoto 2" -- and insisting that the US be included.

The left-leaning Die Tageszeitung also delivers a punchy plea for more attention to global warming, saying politicians should pay more attention to Katrina's alarming images than to election polls and economic forecasts. "Hurricane Katrina has delivered terrible photos. Experts are already calling it the worst hurricane of all time. But this year's hurricane season has only just begun. Flooded villages, mud slides, sandbags....Scientists are quite calmly saying that we will see this kind of thing more often. After all, this is what they have been forecasting for years -- climate change, human-caused and irreversible."
Perhaps the Global Level of Ignorance and Madness is irreversible.
And Fatal.

8/30/2005 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

"...Views on what to do now in Iraq are in some ways conflicted. On one hand, the number of Americans who say U.S. forces should remain until civil order is restored, even if that means sustaining continued casualties, has slipped slightly to 54 percent, compared with 57 to 58 percent the past year. That likely reflects the obvious difficulties that restoring civil order there entails.

At the same time, the public continues to divide about evenly on whether the United States is or is not making significant progress restoring order in Iraq — no change there. And support for increasing the number of U.S. forces actually has increased slightly, albeit just to 21 percent, up from 15 or 16 percent in March and June polls.

About twice as many, 41 percent, say U.S. troop levels should be decreased. But that remains under a majority, and many fewer — 13 percent — call for an immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces in Iraq. That's been steady since spring. And even among people who strongly oppose the war, fewer than three in 10 want a complete, immediate withdrawal. ..."

ABC Poll pg3&4

"... The possible parallel there is with Lyndon B. Johnson, who spent most of 1968 in the low 40s, bottoming out at 35 percent approval that August. (In Gallup polling in the summer of '68, 53 percent called the Vietnam War a mistake, as many as now view the Iraq war critically.)..."
"...Even though Bush's ratings on Iraq haven't worsened, the war has gained some ground on the public's agenda: Twenty-nine percent call it the highest priority for Bush and Congress, compared with 26 percent who cite the economy. That puts Iraq numerically (albeit not significantly) ahead of the economy for the first time this year; mentions of Iraq have gained seven points since spring, while the economy's lost six. Seventeen percent mention terrorism as the top priority, up from 12 percent in April. ..."

Bush holds on at low end of adequate approval @ around 45%.
54% want US troop reductions in Iraq (41%+13%).

8/30/2005 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

if it is irreversable,
"...climate change, human-caused and irreversible." ..."
well what the heck, we may as well stay the course

8/30/2005 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...


It's a win/win. We can stay the course if it's reversable also. Reverse it later.

8/30/2005 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Campos: 4 years later, still no terror:

Whatever the truth may be, we should not lose sight of the fact that a nation that is home to approximately 3 million Arab-Americans and 2 million Muslims has failed to produce any sign of the sort of indigenous Islamic terrorist groups that were behind the Bali, Madrid and London bombings.

That a nation of 300 million extraordinarily diverse people, featuring thousands of miles of largely unguarded borders, has managed to stay terrorism-free over the course of the last four years can be interpreted several ways. But it's certainly possible to draw the conclusion that, when it comes to terrorism, we have nothing to fear so much as fear itself.,1299,DRMN_86_4040502,00.html

8/30/2005 10:52:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sunni Tribe Battles Zarqawi's Group on Ground.
BAGHDAD, Aug. 30 -- U.S. warplanes bombed alleged safe houses being used by Abu Musab Zarqawi's insurgent group near the Syrian border Tuesday during what one local leader called an unprecedented push by a Sunni Arab tribe to drive out Zarqawi's foreign-led forces.

8/30/2005 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Rat, 10:40 PM Exactly!
Man's hubris knows no bounds:
100 Manhatten Projects could not reduce atmospheric CO2 levels.

8/30/2005 11:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

...and man cannot control the Sun's activity.

8/30/2005 11:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

'Course it's not only hubris or even perhaps mostly hubris:
It's a stick with which to beat the USA.

8/30/2005 11:22:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

...Odd no mention of the Chicoms:
Their dust and flatulence alone must exceed our industrial output.

8/30/2005 11:23:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...


Are the Chicoms a signatory to Kyoto? Maybe the reason of no mention.

8/30/2005 11:27:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

5 dead, 36 hurt in attacks on Iraq mosque: police:

Television pictures showed thousands of pilgrims marching to the Kadhimiya mosque in an old district of Baghdad to celebrate the martyrdom of Musa Al-Kadhim, a revered religious figure among Shi’ites.

The police source said there were three separate mortar attacks on the crowds moving towards the mosque. They had no more immediate details.§ion=focusoniraq

8/30/2005 11:29:00 PM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Nathan said...
"I was going to mention to Abakan that I suspected iotm's moral ambiguities to stem primarily from his focus on denying God- perhaps moral authority in general?- rather than attempting to understand human morality without preestablished guidelines, which I had held to be the nobler cause of atheists."

I could probably agree with you if I had more background on IOTM. I read a few of his posts early on and labeled him according to my experience as a person who embraces moral or ethical equivalence. He/she represents what might be at this particular moment in time be a mainstream view of atheism. I consider that tragic. He/she doesn't represent my views as an atheist, and it might surprise you to find out that not all atheists are moral relativists.

I ask that you set all of that aside for a moment. I didn't know IOTM was an atheist. What I did know was that he/she is what I call a "parrot" for oversimplified themes.

In keeping with my previous posts I would describe him/her as someone who reduces every aspect of his/her life to bumpersticker sized "wisdoms" which he/she mistakenly assumes has some relationship to intellect.

If you agree with him you are both smart and wise. If you disagree you are both stupid and foolish. It just shows how simple he/she is, and I would guess his/her view on atheism and theism will follow this simple pattern.

He/she does not represent my views, and I would ask that you do not associate me with him/her because we might both declare ourselves atheists.

8/30/2005 11:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

MOTI does have a certain charm common to Simpletons.

8/30/2005 11:43:00 PM  
Blogger Abakan said...

Also to Nathan,
I believe that those who communicate as a theme moral, ethical, and situational equivalence aren't actually 'thinking.' I 'think' it is a lazy substitute for actual 'thought.'

8/30/2005 11:46:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Conservatism: A House Divided:
by Pat Buchanan

Where do conservatives stand? Almost all are demanding that Bush do more to stop the Mexican invasion.

Thus on free trade, immigration and the war, all major issues, conservatism is a house divided. John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, the leading candidates to succeed Bush, stand with him on all three, but the country stands against all three, on all three issues. The last best hope of the GOP in 2008 is -- as always -- the Democrats.

8/30/2005 11:58:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Might as well chuck in my two cents.

IMHO, the common thread of the ISMs is arrogance, the wild belief that you know what's better for everybody else.

The reason the American constitution works so well is because it is based on humility, we'll ask the people what they want and then make sure nobody has too much power to give it to them.

In the sense above, 'In God we Trust' is just a short hand way of saying 'Pull your heads in guys, you don't know everything', or as Shakespeare put it, 'There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosphy'.

So let's just bumble along - I know I do.


8/31/2005 12:43:00 AM  
Blogger sam said...

Osama not wounded, say US and NATO:

"When we looked into that report - you know any allegation such as this, we take it very seriously - we found no proof," US spokesman Colonel James Yonts told reporters in Kabul. The claim first surfaced on August 24 in a story on Italian news website Adnkronos International.

"We want nothing more than to bring that man to justice, there is no doubt about that, and we're doing everything inside Afghanistan, and through the help of the border central Asian states as well, looking for that individual," Yonts said.

8/31/2005 12:55:00 AM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

How can any two different situations be equivalent? There's often one situation that offers an optimal or a least worst end result.

I think I read it somewhere that moral equivalence didn't start off as part of the socialist creed. It was rather an outgrowth of the counterculture of the 60s that gradually subsumed into leftist thought when it proved compatible with their ideology.

Plus the simple fact that their systems didn't seem to be working too well, thus necessitating a fallback position when their house of cards collapsed. And look at moral relativism/equivalence now. It has permeated into modern society in the form of PC speak and other 'correct' thought, providing a very tough bastion from which they can continue to launch attacks on true classical liberal values and economic thought.

8/31/2005 01:40:00 AM  

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