This illustrated edition is overflowing with the best takes on Trump’s triumphs at the G-7 and in Singapore. I am so loving the Trump presidency!
Hurricanes are normal, but Trump Derangement Syndrome obscures that fact. Of course, those subject to TDS are deranged in other ways as well. Just look….
Before I get to the meat of this post — or, because it’s a round-up, the various meats of this post — I want to remind everyone that America has always been subject to ferocious hurricanes. They just seem worse today because we have more population in a hurricane’s path, especially when it’s an Irma-like hurricane, and because we have a 24 hour media that makes everything seem local.
In other ways, though, we’re better off when faced with hurricanes because we can prepare. In 1900, Galveston, Texas, residents did not see their Cat 4 hurricane coming. It killed 6,000 – 12,000 people, making it the deadliest natural disaster in American history. For a list of other major hurricanes in the last 400 years, the bulk of which predate “climate change” and struck out-of-the-blue, go here. You’ll see that America was especially hard hit in the 1700s, long before CO2 was an issue.
Obviously, I don’t mean to downplay our two latest hurricanes, Harvey and Irma, both of which are or will be responsible for staggering property damage and, always, the loss of too many lives. I just want to amp down the usual climate change hysteria that’s accompanying this latest display of Nature’s normal.
And with that, let me turn my attention to all the other interesting things I’ve gathered, many of which reflect poorly on those most deeply lost to TDS.
Hillary admits her incompetence. Hillary has been on the warpath with her new book, blaming everything and everybody for her loss. She’s also admitted that she was incapable of speech on election eve because she was so devastated and that it was male advisers who caused her to react less strongly to both Trump and Bernie than she thinks in retrospect that she ought to have done. (Oh, and Trump “creeped” her out.)
So Hillary has just admitted that she’s incompetent in a crisis and incapable of standing up to men. Most of Hillary’s opponents at home and abroad would have been men, men like Putin, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong-un, or Bashir al-Assad. Her latest book is just another reminder that we dodged a serious bullet when Trump won.
Europe’s Muslim future. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, sees which way the wind is blowing and he understands that, not only is Eurabia fast approaching, but that Western Europe leaders are hastening its inevitability:
Europe’s leaders seem to have neither the will nor the means to oppose the incoming waves of millions of Muslim migrants from Africa and the Middle East. They know that terrorists are hiding among the migrants, but still do not vet them. Instead, they resort to subterfuges and lies. They create “deradicalization” programs that do not work: the “radicals,” it seems, do not want to be “deradicalized.”
Europe’s leaders try to define “radicalization” as a symptom of “mental illness”; they consider asking psychiatrists to solve the mess. Then, they talk about creating a “European Islam“, totally different from the Islam elsewhere on Earth. They take on haughty postures to create the illusion of moral superiority, as Ada Colau and Carles Puigdemont did in Barcelona: they say they have high principles; that Barcelona will remain “open” to immigrants. Angela Merkel refuses to face the consequences of her policy to import countless migrants. She chastises countries in Central Europe that refuse to adopt her policies.
European leaders can see that a demographic disaster is taking place. They know that in two or three decades, Europe will be ruled by Islam. They try to anesthetize non-Muslim populations with dreams about an idyllic future that will never exist. They say that Europe will have to learn to live with terrorism, that there is nothing anyone can do about it.
Pat Condell is another prophet who is being ignored:
Meanwhile, Britain prepares its citizens for dhimmitude. Several of my gay Leftist Facebook friends proudly posted a WaPo op-ed announcing that all the grim prophecies preceding legalizing gay marriage failed to come true. It is true that heterosexual marriage is cratering at pretty much the same rate as before, so one can’t say that same-sex marriage killed it. The article also essentially claims that America is better than ever because Christian bakers are being put out of business.
It’s that last point, of course, that’s the giveaway about the real target of gay marriage. Gay marriage, as I’ve said over and over, was never about competing with straight marriage and it was unlikely to affect straight marriage. What it was about was undercutting traditional values, especially if those values came from the church. Kill the traditional church (and the synagogue) and you kill the West. It’s heart goes out of it.
(Before I go further, let me say again, that I have no trouble whatsoever with same-sex civil unions. If states want to legalize same sex partnerships, that’s fine with me. I support people who enter into stable relationships. It’s the way the whole issue was framed as gay “marriage” that disturbs me deeply. Doing that made these unions the basis for a concerted attack against traditional Western values as a whole.)
If you really want to see where gay marriage leads, check out this Australian Spectator article detailing the way in which gay marriage has been used to attack core Western values, not to mention to destroy the integrity of our biological selves. I’ll focus on the gender and children sections, but you should read the whole thing: [Read more…]
Cognitive dissonance is the struggle to hold simultaneously entirely conflicting thoughts. This is what Leftists must do when they contemplate Trump.
I spoke this morning with a friend who lives in Germany. Unsolicited, the friend (who assumed, as Leftists always do, given my socio-economic status, that I am a Leftist too) began to trash Trump. I got the usual litany: Trump will kill Americans because he refuses to save Obamacare; Trump will kill Americans and Koreans because he’s threatening repercussions if Kim Jong-Un engages in an overtly aggressive act against the US or its territories; and Trump will kill the entire world because he withdrew from the (meaningless, but expensive) Paris Accords. How in the world could Americans elect the racist, bigoted, dangerous Trump?
Because the friend is older and there was no benefit to be had in offending him, I let the tirade wash over me. At the end, I offered the anodyne statement that we live in strange times. Then it was my turn. I politely asked only one question: How were things in his German town since the refugees came in?
Well, said the friend, they’re not so good. They are very expensive because they don’t work. And they bring in all their family. And they can’t be trained to work because they don’t speak German and they’re illiterate in their own language. It’s a real financial burden having them.
Also, his city really isn’t safe anymore. His apartment building has been broken into seven times already in the last year and a half. It’s also not safe to go out on the streets anymore. Frau Merkel really made a big mistake when she let in the refugees.
Again, because the friend is older and there was no benefit to be had in offending him, I held my tongue. Had I spoken, though, I would have said, “That’s why the American people elected Trump. They looked at Europe’s descent into suicidal madness and said NO.”
What struck me is the German friend’s inability to make the connection between the disastrous condition of Europe, which possesses an economically staggering welfare state overrun by immigrants who drain the system and decrease internal security, and the American decision to elect a president who explicitly said, “I will protect you from the perils of unlimited immigration, legal or illegal, by people who don’t share your values, contribute little to nothing to your country, take in more in welfare than they contribute in skill or labor, and who are a threat to your physical well-being and overall safety.”
Europe, especially Germany, seeks to expunge its existential guilt over WWII — and almost all of the European countries need to hide their heads in shame for the fact that, even if they stood against the Germans, they were complicit in ridding themselves of Jews — by inviting in refugees who not only intend to destroy Europe and Europeans, but who have a vitriolic hatred for the Jews that meets and even exceeds that which led Europe over the precipice into genocidal madness 75 years ago.
What’s happening in Europe is a defective mental state, something consistent with the whole notion of cognitive dissonance. After all, holding simultaneously two conflicting thoughts and proclaiming both to be true — the very essence of cognitive dissonance — is enough to drive anyone, and any nation, stark, raving mad.
One thing that you can say about Leftists is that they have an abnormally high tolerance for cognitive dissonance. After all, they can say with a straight face that sexual orientation is fixed; gender identity is fluid; and men and women are identical, except for when they’re different, something that happens only when women can be deemed superior to men. Holding those thoughts in my mind and actually believing them would rot my brain.
Photo credit: Refugees Welcome, by Paul Van Der Werf (taken in Berlin in 2010). Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.
If you’re the world’s strongest country, and you have a moral compass, it’s your duty to lead — although those who benefit should help pay.
Obama refused to lead, boasting instead that he “led from behind.” His passivity let the dogs out — and then he piled on by feeding the Iranian dogs some nice bloody steak. During his campaign, Trump made isolationist noises, along the lines of “America won’t step in unless it’s to her direct benefit.”
Since Trump took office, though, in part because of what he and Pence have said, in part because of the quality of his cabinet appointments, and in part because of his personality, I’ve had the sense, or maybe just the hope, that Trump’s campaign position was just the opening salvo in a negotiation. His real goal, which he’s acting upon now, is to get NATO member nations to step up and honor their obligations under the NATO agreement.
Even if NATO’s members are not fielding troops, they should be sending they agreed to pay as part of their NATO membership. And these same nations definitely should not be like Germany, whose Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, announced that the fight against climate change is more important than military security and that Germany should get NATO points for introducing more nascent terrorists onto European soil:
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Germany remained committed to reaching the NATO target, but that it would be hard to boost its defence budget quickly by the 25 billion euros ($26.5 billion) that would be required. Germany now spends about 1.2 percent of gross domestic product on the military.
He called for a broader approach that also addressed security risks such as climate change, and said Germany should get credit for the 30 to 40 billion euros it is spending to integrate over a million refugees, many of whom were displaced as a result of failed military interventions of the past.
“We are taking these people in and integrating them and preventing them going to other parts of the world as ‘freedom fighters’,” Gabriel said.
I’m sure you caught that little game Gabriel played there. Ja, sure we brought in those millions of potential terrorists, but that’s because we’re so good. And now you have to help us keep them from committing acts of terrorism — plus we are still super good because we’re willing to clean up the mess we made, even if you have to pay the actual monetary costs.
In an excellent Prager U video, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who was both Denmark’s former Prime Minister and NATO’s former Secretary General, specifically enunciates what I hope is Trump’s view: It’s in America’s interests to keep the world stable, but free riders are neither welcome nor appreciated. The unspoken point is that, if you won’t pay, you don’t get a say. In other words, America, like it or not, has a duty to lead:
I am very interested in your perspectives on this issue. Do you also think that America has a duty to lead in order to prevent the first half of the 21st century from looking like the first half of the 20th?
UPDATE: This, from the Wall Street Journal, seems apropos — and accurate:
On foreign issues that directly affect domestic concerns, Mr. Trump pursues radical change. But on matters that are truly foreign, he is willing to adopt a traditional stance. What looks like inconsistency is actually an instinct deeply grounded in his worldview.
This explains the president’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and his desire to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. Some charge that this is a betrayal of America’s decades-long commitment to a liberal global economic system. But Mr. Trump sees it as a domestic priority, a necessary shielding of American workers. Instead of sweeping, multicountry agreements, he has proposed bilateral trade pacts, beginning with Britain and possibly Japan.
On pure foreign policy, Mr. Trump has stayed the course for now. After initially questioning the relevance and utility of America’s main postwar alliances, he now seems committed to them. The president and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis have affirmed the mutual-defense agreements with Japan and South Korea. Mr. Mattis had tough words for NATO allies last week when urging increased military spending, but walking away seems a remote possibility.
The miserable sexism of Hillary’s supporters. I’ve agreed with myself to disagree with Jonah Goldberg about Donald Trump, while still greatly respecting and deeply appreciating Goldberg’s take on just about everything else. In the wake of Hillary’s 9/11 collapse, followed by her dehydration, followed by the media castigating as sexist anyone who dared suggest the woman is ill, followed by her “oh, it’s just pneumonia,” followed by the entire media admiring Hillary for the strong female way in which she “powered through” things, Goldberg had this to say:
But here’s the thing. After weeks of bleating that it was sexist to raise questions about Hillary’s health, the immediate response from the very same people was an irrefutably sexist argument. Men are just a bunch of Jeb Bushes, low-energy shlubs laid low by a hangnail. But women are the Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Bangas of the species. (For non-longtime readers, this translates from the original Ngbandi, “The warrior who knows no defeat because of his endurance and inflexible will and is all powerful, leaving fire in his wake as he goes from conquest to conquest.”)
This raises a subject of much fascination to “news”letter writers who are fascinated by it. I don’t want to go too far out on a limb, because you never know if you’ll fall into raging torrent of angry weasels, but I gather that the word “sexist” is supposed to have a bad connotation. That was the sense I got taking women’s studies courses at a formerly all-women’s college. I’ve also drawn this conclusion from a fairly close study of routine political argle-bargle.
The problem is we don’t really have a word for observations and statements that simply acknowledge that men and women are . . . different. Not better or worse. Just different. If I said that dogs aren’t the same as cats, no one would shout, “Dogist!” Everyone would simply say, “Duh.” In fact, if I said to about 90 percent of normal people, of either sex, that men and women are different, the response would be “duh” as well.
The frustrating thing is that feminist liberals like to have it both ways (and not in the way that Bill pays extra for). Women are “different” when they think it means women are “better,” but when you say women are different in ways that annoy feminists — for whatever reason — they shout, “Sexist!” Lena Dunham rejects the idea that women should be seen as things of beauty, and then gets mad when she’s not seen as a thing of beauty. Women should be in combat because they can do anything men can do, but when reality proves them wrong, they say the “sexist” standards need to change. And so on.
Hillary Clinton is like a broken Zoltar the Fortune Teller machine shouting all sorts of platitudes about being the first female president, cracking glass ceilings, yada yada yada. She openly says that we need a first female president because a first female president would be so awesome. But she also wants to say criticisms that would be perfectly legitimate if aimed at a man are in fact sexist when directed at a woman. That is a sexist argument.
No campus safe spaces for Jews. “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson. I’m happy to report that when it comes to the aggressive special snowflakes on America’s college campuses, consistency is never a problem. You see, it turns out that the whole thing about safe spaces and microaggressions and triggers and political correctness doesn’t apply to Jews:
But little has been said about how the idea of “intersectionality” — the idea that all struggles are connected and must be combated by allies — has created a dubious bond between the progressive movement and pro-Palestinian activists who often engage in the same racist and discriminatory discourse they claim to fight. As a result of this alliance, progressive Jewish students are often subjected to a double standard not applied to their peers — an Israel litmus test to prove their loyalties to social justice.
You and I have been tracking this problem for years, but I’m hoping that Jewish parents will start realizing that there’s a problem on American campuses. As it is, in today’s world, I would have to say that the single biggest reason that American Jews are so hard left is that they are so likely to go to college, which they get exposed to the pernicious disease that is Leftism. This has been going on for at least 40 years — I was exposed in Cal, although I was eventually able to build an immunity — but it’s gotten worse of late.
Probably others have already noticed this, but it suddenly flashed on me that the transnational elites’ response to the successful “Leave” vote for Brexit is precisely the same as the #NeverTrumps’ endless temper tantrums about the fact that the wrong man won. When push comes to shove, the sophisticates, whether in the EU, the Progressive Left, or the GOP, believe in democracy only when they win. Otherwise, it’s “You’re stupid and I’m not going to play with you and I’m taking my marbles and I hope you die or that the bully beats you up because you’re stupid!” Or, as The Razor says,
Some things are too important to put to a vote when that some thing is your pet project. Democracy doesn’t work when votes are cast and you lose. The meltdown of the progressive transnational elite isn’t surprising to those of us who have raised kids. It’s nothing more than a toddler laying down in the aisle of the grocery store to have a fit when you refuse to buy him a breakfast cereal sugar-bomb, just those freaking out are much older, better dressed and speak with pleasant accents. Many of these people truly believe that they know better than others, and they cannot believe that the ignorant masses ignored them to do the opposite.
The Razor is referring to the post-Brexit meltdown amongst the “Remain” supporters, but what he says applies as well to those who insist that they will not vote for Trump because their principles are so important that they’d rather see Hillary turn the Supreme Court into a Progressive playground; seize Americans’ guns; continue Obama’s refusal to acknowledge that there’s a cancer in Islam that needs to be excised before it kills us; leave us with an open, unsecured southern border; accelerate amnesty to create a permanent Progressive voting base; turn the White House into a pay-for-play scheme the likes of which no one — not even her husband — contemplated; and at all times be vulnerable to blackmail by multifarious actors such as Russian, China, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and anyone else who wants to have a behind-the-scenes role in American politics.
When Hillary’s had her day in America, the same principles that allowed sore losers to take a stand against Trump are going to be cold comfort to them and to the rest of us.
The backdrop to my latest insane conversation with a Leftist is Brexit: The Movie. If you haven’t yet seen it, you should, because it explains how utterly unaccountable the EU’s decision-makers are to the people whose lives they control. It explains why the British wanted to leave this profoundly undemocratic entity.
In one small section of the movie, as a way to illustrate the overwhelming number of regulations governing every aspect of life in the EU, the film purported to follow someone from the time he woke up and looked at the number of regulations affecting him. This includes an allusion to a number of regulations governing pillows. You can see that bit starting at 32 minutes into the video:
Being a fast reader, I find it hard to watch longer videos, which unfold at the video’s speed, rather than mine. Occasionally, though, there’s a long video that’s so compelling I can’t take my eyes off of it. Yesterday, I watched one of those videos: Brexit: The Movie.
Clocking in at a little more than an hour and detailing every single reason the British should vote to leave the European Union, Brexit: The Movie should be the kind of video that makes your eyes glaze after five or ten minutes. This compelling video, though, is never dull or confusing. Instead, clearly and often amusingly, it walks the viewer through the EU’s labyrinthine bureaucracy, the fundamentally anti-Democratic nature of the EU, the damage the EU has done to the British economy, and the way economies can roar if freed from the EU’s bureaucratic rot.
An especially compelling segment graphically counts some of the seemingly innumerable regulations that govern every aspect of life in the European Union. Oh, and the video does all this with a lot of people strutting fantastic English accents from all regions and classes.
Regarding the economic points, the video is also an accessible primer about free trade versus government-controlled trade and damaging trade barriers. If a country’s people are freed to build lots of better mousetraps — whether we’re talking computers, toasters, steel, solar panels, cheese, or anything else — the world will beat a path to its door. Moreover, consumers at home and around the world will get the best quality everything for the lowest cost.
I urge you to carve out some time and then, armed with popcorn and a drink that makes you feel happy, settle down to enjoy Brexit: The Movie:
My take on the decision to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 in place of Andrew Jackson? I find all this change and revisionism both silly and expensive but, having said that, here’s my position: They’re replacing the racist, slave-supporting, Indian-killing founder of the Democrat party with a gun-toting, Republican black woman — what’s to dislike? I think it’s great. And now on to the collected news of the day.
Blame Democrats for today’s nasty politics. Politics has always been a rough-and-tumble business. After all, the people playing aren’t just winning cupcakes; they’re winning power. Nevertheless, for most of America’s history, there’s been a tacit agreement to conduct politics in a civil manner — fight hard, but attack your opponent’s politics, not his person. This year, that unwritten rule has vanished. One can point fingers at specifically nasty politicians, but the real story isn’t that nasty people do nasty things; instead, it’s that the American public is willing to accept that behavior. Andrew Klavan blames the Left for this cultural degradation:
As a proud right-winger, I’m appalled and disgusted by Donald Trump. Nonetheless, I feel a certain schadenfreudean glee at watching leftists reel in horror at his unbridled incivility. They truly don’t seem to realize: he is only the loud and manifest avatar of their own silent and invisible nastiness. In a veiled reference to Trump at a recent lunch on Capitol Hill, President Obama declared he was “dismayed” at the “vulgar and divisive rhetoric” being heard on the campaign trail. “In America, there is no law that says we have to be nice to each other, or courteous, or treat each other with respect,” the president said. “But there are norms. There are customs.”
Are there? When I hear this sort of thing from Obama and his fellow leftists, what I wonder is: Have they not listened to themselves for the past 50 years? Do they really have no idea how vicious, how low, how cruel, and how dishonest their attacks on the Right have been?
No, they haven’t; and, no, they don’t. The Democrat-monopolized media, which explodes with rage at any minor unmannerliness on the right, falls so silent at the Left’s almost ceaseless acrimony that leftists are never forced to confront what despicable little Trumps they often are.
American immobility. I’ve commented multiple times about the fact that Americans are less willing to relocate than they once were. The entire essence of America for several hundred years was people’s willingness to leave their homes, whether in the old country or the new, and to head south, east, north, or west in search of better opportunities.
Today, though, the combination of being weighted down by possessions (even the poor today own more than all but the rich owned in the past) and having welfare to turn to (no matter how minimal that welfare is) means that people in economically dead areas can stick around. It’s not a nice life, but it’s the life they know, and they can always make themselves feel better about things with a bit of meth or heroin.
Kevin Williamson got a lot of flak for saying that we as a nation need to stop expending energy and money on dying communities and should, instead, focus on the vital communities. Obviously, I agree. Now, Williamson, in the face of that flak, has doubled down and I still agree:
My answer is that if there’s nothing for you in Garbutt but penury, dysfunction, and addiction, then get the hell out. If that means that communities in upstate New York or eastern Kentucky or west Texas die, so what? If that’s all they have to offer, then they have it coming.
Mixed in with that common sense you’ll find some hard-hitting attacks on those who challenged Williamson. And I still agree with him.
The bottom line is that,while dying towns are sad and forcing people to leave their roots is sad too, at a societal level, that’s not a reason to keep functionally dead towns on taxpayer-funded life support.
(Incidentally, the same goes for Europe, which in its effort to preserve its past has calcified, making it less of a charming place, and more of a bizarre and frequently unpleasant place. I totally understood what Robert Avrech’s friend was talking about when he said that Eastern Europe, even without the Soviets, is “oppressive.”)
Am I the only one who finds this sentence incredibly disturbing? The sentence comes from an article about Gloria Vanderbilt’s life and, more specifically, her sex life, which is the subject of a new documentary. The person behind the documentary is Anderson Cooper, Vanderbilt’s son, and noted gay TV personality who used the grotesque phrase “tea baggers,” which refers to a gay oral sex practice, to describe those Americans who came together against big government in the Tea Party.
Oh! You want to know what the sentence is, don’t you? This is the sentence: “Anderson loved hearing about his mother’s sex life but felt embarrassed that it was more interesting than his own.” We live in a deeply sick society.
As Trump’s momentum slows, Cruz’s organization starts to pay off. It’s instructive to look at Trump’s fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants campaign, versus Cruz’s, which is simultaneously methodical and agile. When it comes to White House management, I prefer the latter to the former.
The real Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders sat down with The New York Daily News and was utterly appalling. Whether he was out-Hamasing Hamas when it came to slandering Israel, or revealing that he had idea how to effectuate his campaign promises (free everything; destroy banks!), Bernie was an idiot, and a mean one at that. The interview was especially illuminating, because it revealed who Bernie really is: Your horrible stoner college roommate.
Politicized AGs try to stifle dissent. Both David French and the Independent Sentinel look at the Left’s latest, and very dangerous, constitutional assault: persecuting speech through the medium of defending “climate change.”
If there were a speed-blogging competition, my goal would be to win it with this round-up post. I’d meant to blog at length and at leisure today, but life caught up, including a glitch with the bank, which lost the signatures that would enable me to liquidate my mother’s trust. Aaargh! Now I have to go through probate. Aaargh! Aaargh!
Thomas Sowell agrees with me that Obama is a classic fascist. “What President Obama has been pushing for, and moving toward, is more insidious: government control of the economy, while leaving ownership in private hands.”
Obama lied about every aspect of Obamacare. No, really, he did. Every one of the promises he made to public has proven false.
“How hard is it to understand that radical Islamist jihadis have declared war on the West? In simple English this means: they will find you and kill you wherever and whenever they can.”
Da Nile isn’t just a river in Egypt. It’s also a state of mind in Europe, which refuses to acknowledge, despite the Islamists’ best efforts, that there’s a war going on.
England is a dhimmi nation that sold out its youth. In Peter McLoughlin’s Easy Meat: Inside Britain’s Grooming Gang Scandal, he tells precisely how Britain’s dhimmi-fied laws, which were directly intended to silence any criticism of Islam or Muslims, resulted in England officially turning her children over to Muslim pedophiles. Janet Levy reviews the book and it’s a horrifying tale of Britain’s attacks on girls and their families for attempting to get protection and redress.
Obama’s administration isn’t in denial; it just lies. If you didn’t already read or hear about it, when the French President acknowledged the Islamic aspect of the terrorism ripping apart bits and pieces of Europe, the White House, in true Stalin fashion, erased those words from Hollande’s speech.
Islam and crime. You’re not imagining that prisons are incubators for Islamism. An expert says that violent prisoners are ripe for any type of extremist ideology. My cousin, the former prisoner minister, understands that Islam is a particularly attractive belief system:
It is not a contradiction to be a Muslim and a murderer, even a mass murderer. That is one reason why criminals “convert” to Islam in prison. They don’t convert at all; they remain the angry judgmental vicious beings they always have been. They simply add “religious” diatribes to their personal invective. Islam does not inspire a crisis of conscience, just inspirations to outrage.
Andrew Klavan likes Ted Cruz. Klavan lists Cruz’s objective accomplishments and abilities, likes what he sees, and struggles to understand how people can say Cruz — a lifelong constitutional conservative — is no different from Trump — a sort-of conservative as of last July. I agree with Klavan, of course.
I have a really stupid question, but I hope you all will take it seriously because I’m genuinely confused about the answer.
We all know that in Europe, ISIS is using both newly arrived refugee operatives and long-residing fifth-column residents to embark on a bloody terrorist campaign in Europe. My stupid question is this: What is ISIS’s end goal?
The reason I ask is because it’s reasonably clear to me what ISIS cannot achieve, but unclear to me what it wants to accomplish:
ISIS cannot accomplish the imminent conquest of Europe in the traditional sense of a victorious country taking over the entire government infrastructure. In other words, we’re not looking at a repeat of Germany’s blitzkrieg European takeover in the earliest days of WWII. ISIS doesn’t have enough bodies on the ground to make that happen and the reality is that Europe possesses the weapons, whether because of its militarized police or its little armies.
Beginning on September 11, 2001, and with increasing speed since January 2009, I’ve had a very strong sense that the world — not just America, but the whole world — is unraveling. At home, venerable and often cherished institutions and ideas are falling into disrepair or being perverted beyond all recognition. Abroad, the Pax America that stabilized the world for so many years, with America acting not as a conqueror but as ballast, has broken down. I’m afraid of the world into which I’m launching my children. The dystopian future that become a stable of countless young adult novels seems to have become the dystopian present.
In many ways, the worst thing about watching the passing spectacle is that I’m helpless to do anything. Sure, I blog, but I recognize (and I don’t mean this with any disrespect, dear readers) that I’m mostly preaching to the choir. I’d be delighted if my words changed one mind, swaying one person from unthinking Progressivism to thoughtful conservatism, but I’m pretty sure that the best I can do is offer comfort and comradeship to people who share my values and my concerns. There’s nothing wrong with binding people together, but I don’t see what I’m doing as effecting any real change.
I’ve also tried to help my children understand that the Leftist political pieties forced upon them in their schools and through their media are false. Mostly, I’ve been successful — my children, when they’re willing to think at all about politics, seem to have absorbed my conservative world view, one that fears big government, believes in strong borders and self-defense, and is fanatic about a free market and the virtue for able-bodied people of self-reliance. I don’t know, though, if I’ve done them any favors. Their values clash with the world they’re entering and put them at odds with their generation. Maybe they could face their socialized, possibly Islamic, future with some equanimity if they didn’t believe in the alternative.
On my Facebook page, I politely tweak my Leftist friends by subtly inserting conservative ideas into their Feeds, but I’m not kidding myself. Even the most open-minded of them are open-minded only to the extent that they don’t “un-friend” me or get nasty. I can practically feel the pity radiating across the feed as they think “She was smart once. What the heck happened? Early dementia perhaps?” None think, “She has always been a really smart, well-informed person. Maybe she’s on to something.” Sigh.
Faced with a domestic scene that saddens me and an international scene that frightens me, I’ve come to a necessary conclusion if I’m to continue functioning — and I must continue functioning. After all, even as things come down around my ears, I still have meals to prepare, laundry to wash, bills to pay, and people (and dogs) dependent upon me for their care. I can’t allow existential anxiety to make me useless.
So here’s my philosophy: To the extent I can bring about change, I’ll fuss and try to come up with solutions that make a difference. However, when there’s nothing I do or say to make a damn bit of difference, I’m going to sit back and get whatever pleasure I can out of the show. I’ll only make myself crazy if I continuously bang my head against walls to no effect.
My lemonade-out-of-lemons philosophy applies strongly to Europe. If there were any way I could save it from its present existential collapse, I actually believe I would. However, because there is absolutely nothing I can do, I’m opting for the pleasures of Schadenfreude as I watch Europe’s passing parade.
Commentary Magazine ran a post asking “Can American Save Europe Again?” It seems to me that the better question is should America save Europe again? Europe is certainly a repository of some of the world’s greatest art and architecture, not to mention some damn fine food, but I am not feeling the love for Europeans, who always seem to learn the wrong lessons from history.
The problem, as I see it, with continental Europe is that it has absolutely no tradition of individual liberty. It is statist to the bone. Whether Europeans are indulging in garden-variety-dictatorships, medieval/Renaissance theocracies, monarchies, aristocracies, oligarchies, socialist parties (communist or otherwise), or rule by bureaucrat (i.e., the EU), the European model is always directed at total state control. That’s why there is no conservative movement in Europe, as we in America understand conservatism.
To Americans, conservativism means small government, free markets, and maximum individual liberty, a belief in the common man’s energy, imagination, and initiative that paved the way for America’s dynamic emergence on the world stage in the 20th century. To Europeans, being “right wing” or “conservative” still means total government control — it just means total government control with varying degrees of nationalism, as opposed to all those other -isms, thrown in. The European “right-winger” still wants his government checks and government regulations. It’s just that he just doesn’t want the “other,” whomever that other happens to be (sometimes Muslims, sometimes Roma, sometimes Italians or Greeks, and always Jews) to live with him under that tight government control.
Europe’s obsession with citizen control, whether it comes through the socialist party, the communist party, the church, the bureaucracy, the aristocracy, or the monarchy, may go some way to explaining Europe’s endless hostility to the Jews — the Jews have never and will never yielded to state control. They can be confined to ghettos or forced into a narrow range of professions or even routinely slaughtered, but they still insist on being Jews. They refuse to bow down to anyone but their God.
How frustrating for control freak nations to have these stubborn people living among them. If they are that stubborn, they must be dangerous. And in a total control society, when something appears dangerous, you must destroy it.
Open any website dealing with the Muslim refugees in Europe, and you’re sure to find two different kinds of stories. The first kind of story tells about Muslims engaged in all sorts of inappropriate behavior, such as assaulting women, urinating or defecating in swimming pools, raping little boys, or just plain old killing people. The second kind of story tells about the ways in which Europe intends to address these decidedly anti-social behaviors: They’re educating the refugees. The sophisticated Europeans have concluded that the refugees are so stupid and simplistic that they need to be taught good manners. Otherwise, how will they know not to rape, poop, or kill?