Friday, September 22, 2006

Prince Prospero's Castle 2

Readers who liked Prince Prospero's Castle should listen to the podcast at Pajamas Media featuring Mark Steyn, Glenn Reynolds and Austin Bay which covers much of the same ground. The podcast starts with an examination of what Pope Benedict's talking points really were, and how he so to speak, has put a key issue of the age where we can't ignore it. From there the discussion moves on to Mark Steyn's book America Alone which enlarges on his familiar themes but in ways that dramatically underscore the demographic and psychological weaknesses of the West. If ever you were confident that the current world crisis was "no big deal", this discussion may change your mind.

Of course, the curious thing was why Steyn, Reynolds and Bay should be talking about a subject quite similar to my post of yesterday's. And the answer I like to think is more than coincidence. The German philosophers noticed that every generation comes to a tacit consensus about the main challenges of their times. They used the term zeitgeist, which "refers to the ethos of a cohort of people, that spans one or more subsequent generations, who despite their diverse age and socio-economic background experience a certain worldview". And the reason why news stories, commentary and even Papal lectures seem to be led again and again onto similar ground is simply that: zeitgeist. One of the reasons I think the Left is doing a disservice to the West and even to itself has been its adamant denial that there is anything new we need to take cognizance of. This is expressed in the vague notion that we had already attained an "End of History" by the late 1990s from which we have perversely strayed. And the principal objective of "progressive" politics is to end our sojourn in the wilderness -- a wilderness into which we have been fecklessly led by an illiterate President -- to return to the stable, multicultural palace of the late Clinton years. In this view, there is no new spirit of the age, at least one which is not the product of a vast, right wing conspiracy. Mark Steyn observed in the podcast that the main danger the West faced was to "think of the present as a kind of a permanent state", and hastens to remind us that yes, there is a future. And a dark one unless we can nerve ourselves to look upon it.


Blogger Doug said...

" This is expressed in the vague notion that we had already attained an "End of History" by the late 1990s from which we have perversely strayed. And the principle objective of "progressive" politics is to end our sojourn in the wilderness -- a wilderness into which we have been fecklessly led by an illiterate President -- to return to the stable, multicultural palace of the late Clinton years."
Savage was talking to Col Patterson about the Children's Swingset Bin Laden Opportunity:
Savage says:

"They didn't seem too worried about Collateral Damage in Belgrade."
Good Point.
Didn't worry much about UNITED NATIONS RESOLUTIONS either.

9/22/2006 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre said...

Wretchard terrific post. I don't believe this war is actually considered a war by most people. Instead it is perceived as more of an intellectual exercise. Perhaps it is the confusing of our philsophical battle with military battles. Till then we face

Cricket, War and Rules because you know we might become like them!

9/22/2006 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

German philosophers noticed that every generation comes to a tacit consensus about the main challenges of their times –Wretchard.

I think we have come to the realization that our enemies (and some of our enemies who we assumed were "friends") deal in a type of warfare that involves fanatical proxy warriors, brute terrorism, and taqiyya to achieve victory. Hence, the West is somewhat unprepared because it has not dealt with such an enemy in modern times.

Now we have to face facts and make an unpleasant adjustment to our fighting tactics.

Let’s back-up a little and give some context to 'Prince Prospero's Castle 1'

Sure rioting is bad.

But, If the men were scapegoats for some hidden reason then I could understand the civil unrest from Christians.

And, I don’t know if I would call it a true "riot" seeing how “Friday's sectarian violence, which left at least five people injured.”

[And there is speculation of an unfair trial]

...analysts said the government would be unwilling to spark public anger by executing the Muslims first [Muslims were apparently involved in the initial riot along with Christians]... the government insists Tibo and his associates were given a fair trial... legal experts and human rights workers note that Indonesia's judiciary is corrupt... Crowds of Muslim hard-liners gathered at the court during the hearings, they noted, likely intimidating judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and witnesses.

"The men's lawyers received death threats, including a bomb planted at one lawyer's house, and demonstrators armed with stones outside the courthouse demanded that the three be sentenced to death," said Isabelle Cartron
See: for story of Christian men executed

Now we have Ahmadinejad making what is essentially a treat to the UN and the West while whipping up support for his hardline Muslim government in a classic taqiyya laced speech.

I will note that many people have seen through Ahmadinejad’s speech and decoded its message.

[Power Line]

...Reader Michael Stalker provides a gloss that seems reasonable to me and that should at least prod further reflection:

[Michael Stalker]

"In reviewing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s UN speech, it occurred to me that his true message could be divined by substituting the code words he used with their true meanings. For instance, references to wisdom, justice, ethics, spirituality, compassion, etc. are code words for Islam.

“If [strike: wisdom, ethics and justice] Islam prevail[s], then oppression and aggression will be uprooted, threats will wither away, and no reason will remain for conflict. This is a solid proposition because most global conflicts emanate from [strike: injustice] infidels and from the powerful not being contented with their own rights striving to devour the rights of others. People across the globe embrace [strike; justice] Islam and are willing to sacrifice for its sake. Would it not be easier for global powers to ensure their longevity and win hearts and minds through the championing of real promotion of [strike: justice, compassion and peace] Islam, than through continuing the proliferation of nuclear and chemical weapons and the threat of their use?”


“We can adopt firm and logical decisions, thereby improving the prospects of a better life for current and future generations. Together, we can eradicate the roots of bitter maladies and afflictions and instead, through the promotion of [strike: universal and lasting values such as ethics, spirituality and justice] Islam, allow our nations to taste the sweetness of a better future. [Strike: Peoples driven by their divine nature] Muslims intrinsically seek good, virtue, perfection and beauty. Relying on our [strike: peoples] Muslims, we can take giant steps towards reform and pave the road for human perfection. Whether we like it or not, [strike: justice, peace and virtue] Islam will sooner or later prevail in the world with the will of the Almighty God. It is imperative, and also desirable, that we, too, contribute to the promotion of [strike: justice and virtue] Islam.”

See: Decoding of Speech

This brings us full circle to the theme that we are now just recognizing the enemy through the mist.

Bush, and to some degree the Pope, see the enemy as Radical Islam. This could be quite a formidable enemy.

This is an enemy that would use sheer terror, brain washing, proxy warriors, taqiyya and the A-bomb to achieve victory. That is what's so disturbing.

I believe Bush is using the correct tactic. This is the age-old tactic of divide on conquer. Yet, the enemy seems equally adept at consolidating its forces around a unique religion (with an end game of establishing a global empire).

The stakes are very high. This is causing many people to feel the effects of zeitgeist.

What is justice? It's certianly not Islam.

9/22/2006 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

In the podcast, both Glenn Reynolds and Mark Steyn make the point that the Pope was not making some kind of coded, anti-Islamic message, but stating the proper terms for the dialogue, emphasizing that we cannot deal on the basis of intimidation. Glenn shrewedly understood that the Pope had to speak for two different internal Catholic communities: one living in the post-modern West and the other in a vibrant, growing and politically incorrect Third World. A Third World in which there were real and powerful anti-Muslim currents. (See previous discussion about militias)

One thing neither Mark nor Glenn thought to mention was that the Catholic Church's institutional memory of dealing with Islam, as inscribed in the Vatican's archives, will contain not only theological but also political elements because the Church was a state for many centuries, much of that spent dealing with Islam.

The Church understands better than anyone that identities and identity building are the key elements in any ideological or religious interaction. Simply by raising the issue of Jihad Benedict ensured that radical Islam would by its predictable overreaction construct a counter-identity and automatically manufacture an opposite point of view. Every placard calling for the burning of churches, every blood curdling threat, every bombastic statement is just so much more energy that goes into creating a counter-position. Benedict knows that. People talk about how Osama Bin Laden duped GWB into radicalizing Islam. Benedict showed how easy it was to pay them back in their own coin. Leave them to rant long enough, especially in the Third World and they will create their own nemesis. Guaranteed.

And if you think about it, that's nothing more than the militia phenomenon as applied to ideas. Every aggressive campaign to dominate the world creates the seeds of its own opposition. The liberals constantly invoke it against America, but little imagined that it would also apply to the Jihad. At some point, or so I hope, the cooler headed Muslims will understand that a militant campaign to convert the world to Islam by force will raise up tides so powerful that it might smash Islam itself. Therefore, as Pope Benedict suggests, would it not be better to respect each other and talk things out? In the Church statecraft is not wholly a lost art. That the wages of sin are death is not only a manner of speech.

Nothing could further the cause of peace and dialogue between religions more than the certain knowledge that a recourse to the sword will only lead to catastrophe. This knowledge makes reason very appealing. Nothing could further the likelihood of catastrophe more than the feckless apologetics of the politically correct West which rewards agression with ever greater quantities of abjection and abasement, which disempowers Islamic moderates and empowers its illiterate thuggery (and that means you Osama). That's not the path to dialogue. That's the path to disaster.

9/23/2006 12:36:00 AM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


The key to Benedict's speech was his insistence that God cannot be separated from reason; in contrast to the idea, held by some Muslims, that God is beyond reason. In Benedict's theology God never demands the absurd and the reprehensible; never asks us to mutilate children or sow unspeakable horror in service to Him. Therefore the suicide bomber can never be the bearer of the divine message, in contrast to a belief system where murder could be an agency of Allah, for reasons only Allah knows.

I don't think this is the place to discuss philosophy; and I know the objections of the Problem of Evil. But that at any rate was Benedict's Red Rag to the Bull. It was the subject of the debate between the vassal Emmanuel II, holding on to the vestiges of Byzantium and his Persian interlocutor, the representative of the gigantic Muslim power. The lines he quoted. The match he tossed into the pool of gasoline.

And yes, you are right. The implication is that Osama by separating reason from God and perhaps twisting the image of Allah to conform to his own ambitions is endangering Islam. The world operates on many levels. The tactical, the engineering, the economic. Imagine to my surprise that it also, to some degree, actually operates on the philosophical. How wonderfully strange.

9/23/2006 04:13:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Nothing could further the likelihood of catastrophe more than the feckless apologetics of the politically correct West which rewards aggression with ever greater quantities of abjection and abasement, which disempowers Islamic moderates and empowers its illiterate thuggery"

Lawrence Wright is concerned we have created more Jihadis via Iraq than we have destroyed.
In WWII including after Hitler's death, Nazis were "discouraged" by the extreme prejudice visited upon them. Now we try to divine why the mind of a Muslim Jihadi is not changed with the application of a velvet glove.

Bush drops military option to repair rift with Pakistan

Two days after assuring Wolfie on CNN that he would!

Wright is also concerned that there were only 8 Arabic Speakers in the FBI on 9-11.
Nothing has changed since: There was only 1 Foreign Speaker in the latest graduating class.
He says the DHS is worthless.
Wake up, the West is losing.
The American imperium, Selbourne argues, “is in a state of confusion”. Its time will pass, just as Rome, Byzantium and the British Empire fell away. The West is losing the battle against Islam for the “same reason the British lost the American colonies. They had insufficient forces, their counsels were divided, and they underestimated their opponents”.
Selbourne was negatively impressed by our allowing the the lies of the Islamic Hitler and the Brazilian thug full voice so they could be presented on an equal footing w/POTUS by the MSM.
And the Admin bows to the ROP.

9/23/2006 05:04:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

In WWII, we mocked the Nazis, now we apologize to them.

9/23/2006 05:18:00 AM  
Blogger High Power Rocketry said...

Whos what?

9/23/2006 05:24:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Pope, Faith, and ReasonIn the hands of the press, it was more like Will and Grace.=

Time for the new crop of British journalists to return to school for their graduate degrees, studying “parts of speech, syntax, spelling & basic grammar rules” in
“JOM926 Journalism Practice” — just the kind of training that will prepare them to eventually work at important daily newspapers where they may one day cover things like Pope Benedict XVI’s speech on “Faith and Reason,”
a lecture the pontiff delivered to his former colleagues at a German university.

Part of the problem journalists face when they have to report on complicated, somewhat obscure topics, such as Roman Catholic dogmatic theology, is that graduate journalism courses like JOM926 may stress spelling and grammar, but completely at the expense of “faith and reason.”
So maybe it’s not fair to blame journalists for the inanities in the week’s reporting of what was a very complex discussion by a scholarly pope concerning faith and reason in Christianity and in Islam.

9/23/2006 06:10:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

see the enemy as Radical Islam.

Why is radical Islam only defined as the enemy when it's the moderate Muslims who aid and abet by their silence, as well as contribute their money in the form of charity to terrorist groups such as Hizbollah and Hamas?

Additionally, is a Muslim who commits a personal "honor killing" or gang rape but doesn't try to blow up an embassy considered to be a "radical" or a "moderate"?

It seems to me that as long as Islam considers the Koran to be a LITERAL recipe for living then we have to deal with the concepts of "jihad", "death to the infidel" and what-ever other lunatic rulings individual imams can be persuaded to issue in the name of Islam. And *that* in and of itself is radical.

9/23/2006 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger geoffgo said...


see the enemy as Radical Islam

which spews forth from those radical imams. Target the source!

9/23/2006 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Pyrthroes said...

William Manchester addresses precisely this theme in his volume of Medieval history, "A World Lit only by Fire". Therein he mentions how the High Middle Ages, from c. AD 1100 - 1300, viewed socio-cultural evolution through a lens "in which nothing would ever change".

Like a feckless, self-aggrandizing Bill Clinton, Time's telescope easily views things from the far end. In his case, always the rear end...

9/23/2006 06:42:00 PM  

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