Condemning us to repeat the past

The liberal press and “economists” such as Paul Krugman are so excited:  Obama is looking to FDR for guidance.  Before Obama gets too carried away with that notion, conservatives should send him copies of Amity Shlaes’ The Forgotten Man : a New History of the Great Depression, in which she compellingly explains how FDR’s endless messing with the market and expansion of the government prolonged and worsened the Depression.  For a quick summary of the principles underlying Shlaes’ thesis, you can read this WSJ article she just wrote.

Stopping to smell the roses

The very first time I met Sol Shankman, at my wedding, many years ago, he told me that he’d walked the length of the California coast.  I didn’t realize that this wasn’t the only walking he’d done.  Nor did I know, when I saw him a few years ago for his 90th birthday, that he’s still walking.  As you can see from the article, he’s quite a lovely man.

Endless war *UPDATED*

(It will give you a sense of just how busy my weekend was that it took me two days to do this one post!)

A very popular bumper sticker in Marin since 2003 is one that has the phrase “Endless War” in blue type, with the “less” then crossed out with a red line, and the word “this” interlineated above it.  To anti-war liberals, it is both a descriptive and an imperative, in one neat little bumpersticker.  How clever.  (Although I do wonder if they these same liberals are going to scrape these tidy little messages off their bumpers now that Obama has inherited Afghanistan and Iraq and begins to figure out that disengagement isn’t that easy — but that’s a thought for another post.)

What I want to blow about here is the true endless war in which we’re engaged.  That war is the defensive war against Islam.  I should probably define “we” before I begin.  “We” is not America or, as we were reminded in India, the “West.”  “We” is anyone and any thing and any place that is not Islamic.

We need to remember that, although we keep laying down our arms, Islam never does.  From the moment of its inception, it’s been in a state of perpetual warfare against the “other” — and that’s because its founder, Mohammad, mandated that same perpetual warfare as an intrinsic part of each Muslim’s obligation.  It’s not a byproduct of the religion; it is the religion.

This religious imperative means that Islam did not spread rapidly at the time of its inception because it carried such a wonderful doctrinal message that everyone in surrounding territories instantly jumped on the Muslim bandwagon.  Instead, it spread rapidly because the Islamists, fired by fervor and greed (since it’s not theft to take and rape from non-Muslims), put North Africa and today’s Middle East to the sword.

“Convert or die” may not be a phrase rich with religious conviction, but it’s going to carry a lot of weight with a lot of people.  When you then back-up that forced conversion with a promise that any lapse will also be punishable by death — well, I can guarantee you that, in a single generation, you’re going to see a lot of new Muslims.

History shows us that, whenever Islam obtains critical mass, it goes on the offensive.  Although PC-ers love to point to the Crusades as an early example of evil Western imperialism, their historic ignorance allows them to forget that, in fact, it was a defensive war aimed at recovering formerly Christian territories from Muslim encroachment.

Likewise, although I am loath to celebrate Ferdinand and Isabella, given both that they fought with exceptional cruelty and that they swept the Jews up into their net (a bad Crusader habit too), the fact is that their internal Crusades were also aimed at recovering land that the North African Muslims had earlier conquered.  We can romanticize those Muslims as much as we like — they did indeed have a rich, beautiful, intellectual culture — but the historic reality remains that they were still part of a continuum of conquest that originated with Mohammad.

The same century that saw Spain recover formerly Christian territories from Muslim invaders also saw the savage Ottoman attack against the ancient Byzantine kingdom in Constantinople.  When that kingdom city fell, so fell the last true outpost of the Christian Roman Empire.

In 1453, Constantinople became Istanbul, beginning the long and powerful reign of the Ottoman Turks — a reign that only began to weaken more than 300 years later at the Gates of Vienna at the end of 1683.  That date’s not a typo, by the way.  Few people remember, if they ever knew (and that includes Europeans too) that Islam was relentlessly pressing on Europe as little as 400 years ago.  That’s a length of time that, although far away in terms of years, is relatively close in terms of the modern European culture we enjoy.  The world then was trembling on the brink of the Englightenment that still underpins our perception of man’s relationship to man, God and government.

The defeat of the Ottoman Empire marked the beginning of a dormant period in Muslim expansionism.  I use the word dormant deliberately because of it’s connotation with volcanoes.  Before the modern scientific era, people were unable to distinguish a dormant volcano, one merely resting but with the potential to blow, from an extinct one that has truly ended its functional life.

In the same way, many in the West assumed that, after 1683, Islam was a regional religion, with little potential impact on the West.  If not extinct, it was as near as made no difference.  History, however, should have warned us that Islam does not go extinct; it goes dormant, awaiting the critical mass of human lava, which is a sufficiently numerical and powerful jihadist element.  And then, as does the dormant volcano, Islam explodes, pressing violently against anything in its path.

What’s different this time in the endless Islamic war against the “other” is that the flat earth such liberals as Thomas Friedman love to tout means that geographic proximity is no longer a limiting factor in Muslim conquest.  From the Muslim point of view, the entire world is pressing against its borders and, with Iran’s potential nuclear weapons, and its own human bombs in search of virginized martyrdom, that world is ready to blow.

In other words, the endless war isn’t in Iraq.  It’s in each of our backyards.  We’re all living on the volcano’s edge.

UPDATEHere is scholarly back-up supporting my unscholarly contention that a core element of Islam is to wage perpetual war against unbelievers.

The magic touch

I was reading Powerline the other day and discovered that I’m not the only one to have noticed that when Obama signals that he’s following precisely in Bush’s footsteps, whether making policy or appointing people, the same decisions that were derided as evil or stupid under Bush’s aegis are hailed as wise, temperate and even brilliant when Obama makes them. Apparently the Emperor makes all his clothes look better.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m tempted to blog about the horrors in Mumbai, but I think, other than sending my heartfelt prayers to the victims and their families, I’ll concentrate on what this day means in America:

We live in a land of unprecedented wealth and freedom, and I am blessed to share in it.  I am deeply thankly for all that comes my way, even when my candidate doesn’t win the Presidential election.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

Thanksgiving reading

If I get a few free minutes today, I know what I’ll be reading, from the Watcher’s Council:

Council Submissions

Non-Council Submissions

I am thankful….

Tomorrow, I’ll be spending most of the day in transit, and it’s unclear to me at this point how much blogging I’ll be able to sneak in once I arrive at my ultimate destination.  So, before I lose access to my computer, I wanted to put together a list of things that make me thankful.

I’m thankful that I have a loving family, even if we don’t always see eye to eye on all things.  In an unstable world, a stable nuclear family is one of life’s great blessings.

I’m thankful that this same loving family, from youngest to oldest, enjoys good health.  As to the oldest in my family (and we’re talking octogenarians), I am reasonably certain that I will be able to enjoy their presence in my life for some time to come.

I’m thankful for the endless bounty that America offers:  food, shelter, reasonable safety from the extreme threats of the world, economic opportunity (even in down times), and unparalleled freedom.  I never take for granted the sheer dumb luck that saw me being born in late 20th century America, and not in some other place, at some other time.

I’m thankful for this blog, which provides an endless outlet for my verbal and political energy.

I’m thankful for my blog readers, who have become a very important community to me, and whose friendship I cherish more than any one of them can imagine.

I’m thankful that I really like my in-laws, since I’ll be spending several days in their company.  The fact that they’re well-informed and, as I am, neocons, means that I’ll have a lot of mental stimulation that should be reflected in my blog upon my return.

I’m thankful for Don Quixote’s friendship.  His entry into my life, and the fact that we ended up being friends, was something I never anticipated, and I am perpetually grateful.  I’m also grateful that his wife is a generous and wonderful soul who recognizes that ours is a true platonic friendship, and makes the friendship even stronger by being a cheerful, intelligent and interesting participant in our lunches whenever she is available.

I’m thankful for martial arts, which makes me feel strong and gives me a learning curve when so much else in my life has flat-lined.  (I’ll never really figure out how to be “the perfect” mother, I know how to be a lawyer, and there’s only so good you can get at folding laundry.)  Who knew I’d love tackling people and taking them down?

I’m thankful that, no matter how bitter this last election was (and it was very bitter), we are still looking forward to a peaceful handover of power in January 2009.  Look back on world history and you will appreciate what an extraordinary accomplishment that his.  I wish President Obama a safe and short presidency, that sees him forced to govern to the center, to the great disappointment of his more fervent admirers.

So, if you don’t hear from me again before Thursday — Happy Thanksgiving!

How to avoid the stigma of being called an apartheid state

The head of the UN General Assembly just called Israel an “apartheid” state.  In other words, Israel is emblematic of evil in the world.  I’ve finally realized what the problem is:  Israel has a mixed population.

Think about it:  Iraq expelled her Jews and hounded her Christians into obscurity.  Saudi Arabia makes it illegal to be Jewish or Christian — so there are no Jews or Christians, making it a nice, homogenous population.  Iran also simply expelled or murdered different people.  The same holds true for Arab/Muslim state after Arab/Muslim state, all of whom are in good odor at the UN.

The secret, therefore, to avoid this insulting epithet isn’t to try to accommodate your hostile minority populations.  Instead, the secret is to destroy them entirely.  Once they’re good and gone, and once you’ve become a completely homogeneous racial or religious state by virtue of their (enforced) absence, nobody can tar you with the crime of being an “apartheid state.”

Orwell would be proud.

Britain — a nation of broken windows

Over at FrontPage Magazine, you can read an interview with Martin Durkin, describing Britain’s staggering social decline during its long years as a welfare state.  It was a slow decline at first.  When I lived there in the early 1980s, it still wasn’t clear that it was hovering on the verge of breaking entirely with a grand historic past that saw a plucky, independent, self-sufficient people who once (for better or worse) ruled the world.  In the past 20 years, though, Britain has been in free fall.  If you read the British press regularly, as I do, you’ll have no problem recognizing Durkin’s description of modern Britain:

Overall, I think in general the bigger evil effects of welfare have been enormously underestimated, even by commentators who regard themselves as more pro-capitalist in their sympathies. Welfare is the basic cause of the deleterious cultural changes we have witnessed in the West over the past 60 years.

The Welfare State, pioneered in Britain of course, has corrupted this country to its core. It has transformed the country caricatured by Noel Coward and others – essentially pretty decent, self-reliant, and plucky – into a country which is thuggish, selfish, mindless, dispirited and lost. Gone is the British stiff upper lip. Modern Britons are moaning, self-pitying inadequates. The welfare state has bred a generation of obnoxious, drug-addled criminals and ne’er-do-wells. It has also, incidentally, burdened what was once the world’s biggest, most dynamic economy with the dead weight of an obstructive and vastly expensive state machine.

I’m sorry to sound cross about this, but I don’t think people fully realise what’s happened. Britain has, I think, the highest crime rate of any industrialised country in the world. It is twice as high as the US. The violent crime rate is higher in London than New York. Britain has the highest rate of drug abuse, the highest teenage pregnancy rate and the highest rate of sexually transmitted disease in the modern industrial world.

The shrinking minority of Brits that hasn’t given up on maintaining some basic standards is increasingly finding itself beleaguered, not by fellow citizens, but by its own officials.  On the one hand, British officials are occupying themselves with every picayune rule conceivable, on such earthshaking subjects as paint, bicycles, food wrapping, or whatever other silly, bureaucratic pettifogging you (or, rather, they) can think of, and approach that seems them harassing and bankrupting the shrinking law-abiding, income-generating middle class.

On the other hand, those same officials have given up on the infinitely harder work of maintaining social order.  They’re doing the equivalent of allowing windows to remain broken and graffiti to scar the walls.  Here is just the latest story of British officialdom’s willingness to let the country slide in an amoral, unlivable morass:

A mother shocked by seeing two half-naked men having sex while out walking the dogs with her daughter was told by police to take a different route in future.

Marie Cragg, 44, spoke of her disgust at the officers’ reaction and said she feared the woodland beauty spot would be turned into a no-go area for ordinary members of the public.

The men seen by Miss Cragg and her 18-year-old daughter Jessica were stripped from the waist down and carried on with their activities even after they knew they had been spotted.

‘I called the police and never heard anything back,’ Miss Cragg said.

‘Then later I was talking to the community officers, and they said they knew what goes on and I should change our walk.

‘You should not have to see that, should you? They can go into the woods and go wherever they want  –  it’s sick.

‘They saw me and didn’t care and just carried on. I could have been a childminder with kids. I would rather go past a gang of hoodies  –  they are making the place seedy.’

The encounter happened on a public footpath where Miss Cragg was walking the family dogs, Molly and Ruby, near their home in Penwortham, near Preston, last week.

It follows a briefing last month by the deputy chief constable of Lancashire, Mike Cunningham, in which he called for police to turn a blind eye to outdoor sexual activity.

Under the Sexual Offences Act anyone who takes part in ‘dogging’, where couples meet for sex in car parks, and cottaging, where men meet for sex in public lavatories, face arrest for outraging public decency, voyeurism and exposure.

But Mr Cunningham, who is also a spokesman on homosexual issues for the Association of Chief Police Officers, argues that offenders should only be prosecuted as a last resort because of the potential impact on their lives of making their activities public.

Read the rest here.

I hesitate to weigh down the above-quoted Deputy Chief Constable Cunningham with some simple common sense, but I just have to say this:  Perhaps, just perhaps, if people knew public sexual activities would actually expose them to consequences (as opposed to just an audience), they might refrain.

Britain, while always far from perfect, was nevertheless something of a light among nations during its heyday.  It was the first amongst modern nations to give up some of the worst national vices, such as slavery, the political subjugation of women, child labor, and imperialism.  That is, it was not free of sin, but it stood out from other nations by recognizing and abandoning its wrongful conduct.  Now . . . well, now it’s a pathetic slum country, not even proud of, but instead embarrassed by, its rich and often honorable past.  It’s so sad.

Moral depravity

What’s amazing is that the Progressives, those who tout themselves as the most humanitarianly sensitive people in the history of the world, urge Israel and America to shuck off their Zionist imposed binders and get friendly with these people.

Halting the schism

Conservatives have two stark choices right now:  they can self-destruct or they can create a workable paradigm for moving forward. The self-destruction possibility is playing out before our eyes.  Kathleen Parker fired the opening salvo with her screed about the evil oogedy-boogedy Christians that are tainting conservatism.  Charles Johnson is also taking potshots at Bobby Jindal’s fascination with creationism and exorcism.

I’d like to remind everyone once again that the President, thank goodness, is not God’s agent in the White House, at least so far as the Constitution is concerned.  Bobby Jindal, if he became President, could not mandate that creationism be taught in schools, and nobody is going to be conducting exorcisms on the White House lawn (although it would certainly be fascinating, wouldn’t it?).

Once again, people are forgetting that there is a difference between using political office to impose a state religion on Americans (barred by the Constitution) and being a religious person whose religion informs his ultimate values (typical of the Founders and completely acceptable under the Constitution).  As long as Jindal., or any other conservative Christian (or Orthodox Jew or whatever) in high public office keeps those lines straight in his head, and isn’t demanding that we all worship at the alters of creationism and exorcism, or whatever other doctrine characterizes his religion, I don’t care that he holds those views — just as more than half of Americans didn’t care that Obama, through his associations, made it plain that he believes that Communism is not really a bad thing.

Indeed, considering that I can easily prove that Communism killed more than 100 million people in the 20th Century alone, it strikes me that Obama’s belief system is a whole lot more suspect than Jindal’s, which is laboriously proved by theory and inference, not by objective fact.  And the real fact is that, whether one believes in Darwinism (as I do) or creationism (as others do), those conflicting beliefs haven’t been in the business of killing people lately.

All of which gets me back to my current fixation with true (that is, not Ron Paulian) libertarianism.  If we recognize the appropriate limits for government (strong national security, decent home security, a solid transportation and energy infrastructure, lots of local control, a free market in both the economy and education, etc.), we really don’t need to touch upon a candidate’s religious beliefs.  If the President truly believes in local control over schools and in vouchers (which give parents a great choice in choosing educational systems that will most benefit the kids), the President’s views on creationism become fairly irrelevant.  They’re a curiosity, just as Obama’s trust in Communists and terrorists is a curiosity.  They may be off-putting, but they shouldn’t disqualify someone who is otherwise perfectly capable of handling the reins of power.

By the way, I strongly recommend that, if you haven’t already done so, you read Randall Hoven’s argument that true libertarianism can coexist with, and even function extremely well in, a socially conservative world.  He is not arguing for a New Testament Theocracy.  Instead, he notes that, if the federal government would let go of things such as drug laws, abortion, gun control, etc., we’d find social conservatism anyway, without any Biblical foundation.

This social conservatism would arise because local people would control these issues and they would tend to hew conservative.  Indeed, even in my ultra liberal community, I’d be willing to bet that a whole bunch of the parents who would willingly approve of federal laws allowing unlimited abortion would then make an entirely different call if their own daughter’s health and life were at stake.  It’s easy to be liberal if you deal with remote abstracts; less so if all the issues strike closer to home.