PC toilets coming your way soon

Several years ago, my family and I visited Pompeii, which is one of the most wondrous tourist destinations in the world.  To maximize our experience, we hired a highly recommended guide who walked us over the grounds, explaining everything before us.  This guide’s particular passion was plumbing.  He had no words for the wonders of Roman plumbing, many of which are still visible in Pompeii, and the European tragedy that saw this sophisticated plumbing disappear for around 1800 years.  This was also a British tragedy, since England had once enjoyed the benefits of Roman plumbing, only to forget that benefit for centuries, along with the rest of the European world.

I am certainly a fan of modern plumbing.  Indeed, when I lived in England thirty years ago, one of the things that stamped it as a civilized country in my mind was the fact that, no matter where one went, one could find clean, functioning public toilets.  (We will ignore, for purposes of this post, the execrable toilet paper that accompanied that lovely plumbing.)  For a tourist with a small bladder, this was a very big deal.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so surprised by England’s heightened appreciation for clean toilets.  After all, Thomas Crapper, the father of the modern toilet, was a British subject.  Although he may not have invented the modern flush toilet, it was he who brought it to the masses, allowing people to break free from chamber pots that needed to be emptied by hand (usually into the street) or squalid pit toilets in smelly back yards.

Sadly, however, England seems to be retreating to a pre-modern era when it comes to plumbing.  In order to accommodate the overwhelmingly delicate sensibilities of new immigrants who have not, in their home countries, enjoyed the blessings of modern plumbing, at least one major commercial outlet in Britain has installed pit toilets, over which one squats, rather than our nice, Western-style thrones:

For centuries, the great British loo has been a matter of envy to the rest of the world.

Thanks to the efforts of pioneers like the legendary Thomas Crapper, we have long since led the world in comfort and hygiene.

Now, however, that could be about to change.

For most of us, the squat toilet is nothing more than a staple of horror stories about old-fashioned French service stations or the exploits of adventurous backpackers in far-flung parts of India.

But this basic form of plumbing, also known as a Turkish toilet or Nile pan, could be coming to a shopping centre near you – and all in the name of cultural sensitivity.

From next week, shoppers in Rochdale who push open the cubicle door expecting the reassuring sight of a modern, clean lavatory could instead be faced with little more than a hole in the ground.

Bosses of the Greater Manchester town’s Exchange mall have installed two as part of an upgrade costing several thousand pounds after attending a cultural awareness course run by a local Muslim community activist.

A familiar sight in parts of the Middle East, and still sometimes seen in France and Italy, the toilets require users to squat above them, rather than sitting.

With one in ten of Rochdale’s population of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin, centre managers say they have been told some members of the local Asian community prefer them for cultural reasons.

You can read more on this cultural regression here.

I continue to believe that, when immigrants arrive legally in a new country, they should have made available to them all the opportunities that country affords, that they should not be subject to discrimination because of their immigrant status and that, in the privacy of their own homes and the comforts of their own communities, they should be allowed to surround themselves with the trappings of their home culture, if they so desire.

I have never believed, however, that the destination country should be forced by political correctness to re-make itself into a reasonable simulacrum of the country left behind.  After all, I have to assume immigrants move for a reason, which reason, presumably, is that the destination country offers opportunities denied them in their homeland.  To turn England into a primitive Pakistani village is ludicrous, and offensive both to the British themselves and to those immigrants who genuinely sought a new life in a new culture.

Did PC arise to fill the missing manners gap?

With the publication of Jonathan Alter’s new book on the first year of the Obama administration, a lot of unsavory details are leaking out about No Drama Obama (Mr. Calm and Collected) and his crew.  We already know now that Obama refers to those Americans who oppose him as Tea Baggers, a sexually unsavory term.

Tough guy Rahmbo also has some bizarre sexual obsessions he regularly lets loose at the workplace:

Earlier leaks of the book have included some embarrassing portrayals of White House adviser Rahm Emanuel. New York magazine had some choice bits about Rahm’s anger at Bo, the Obama’s family dog (“I’m going to kill that fucking dog,” and his yelling to a male staffer: “Take your fucking tampon out and tell me what you have to say.”

Many of us should be asking ourselves about the wisdom of vesting such extraordinary power in a man with so much anger and so little self-control.  After all, he has first access to the president’s ear, yet he’s often little more than an Id waiting to explode.  Of course, since the whole Democratic party seems to be operating on the anger principle, perhaps he’s the perfect First Officer for a ship determined to ram (or, should I say, Rahm) itself, and the nation, onto the rocks.

Rahm’s workplace outbursts also raise an interesting question about the level and type of civility necessary for a society to function.  In times past, someone on the receiving end of  Rahm’s execrable behavior might have responded by saying “You, sir, are no gentleman” — and, a long time ago, even someone like Rahm might have been abashed.

If you doubt me, keep in mind that, in Jane Austen’s perennially popular Pride and Prejudice, when Mr. Darcy proposed to Elizabeth Bennett, he was self-righteously angered by the erroneous factual accusations she threw at him, and was more than ready to defend himself.  What stopped him in his tracks, and brought him to his knees, was this statement (emphasis mine):

You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared me the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentleman-like manner.’

In a vanished time and place, Elizabeth made Mr. Darcy see, not that he had offended her, but that he had demeaned himself.

The notion of gentleman and ladies is an antiquated one, but I suspect that it’s much more culturally important than people realize.  I’ve long thought that it’s no coincidence that the whole PC insanity arose at the same time traditional manners declined.  Without agreed-upon manners, the average person lost a behavioral template.

In the old days, certain things just weren’t said in mixed company, or in the workplace, or in public.  With those rules lost, people grasped at anything that would smooth over the anger, roughness and chaos that arose in the vacuum crated when old-fashioned dignity and manners departed the stage.  PC was there to fill the gap.  While the Left created the PC rubric because it required carefully defined victim classes that could eventually override the existing American social and economic structure, most Americans were seeking new rules of civility just so they could get through the day.

Sadly, as Rahm’s lizard brain outbursts perfectly demonstrate, the new rules of civility do not focus on the individual who is speaking or acting.  This is an important nuance.  In the old days, a gentleman or a lady simply didn’t do certain things.  You were defined by your own conduct, conduct that you were expected to observe in every situation. That’s why Mr. Darcy could be so shattered by Elizabeth’s charge against him.  He had thought himself a gentlemen, bound by a code of conduct, and he had let his own pride and prejudices blind him to his own failings.

In our Brave New World, however, every rule is carefully calibrated to respond to the audience or recipient’s sensibilities.  We are defined, not be who we are, but by the person at the receiving end of our conversation.  What this means is that, if the person at the other end isn’t a specially protected class, anything goes.  Good-bye Mr. Darcy, who held high expectations for himself, and hello Rahmbo, who sees himself constrained only by the relative power and victim status of the person to him he speaks.

And we, the American public, end up with a gentlemen-free White House, a place in which both dogs and non-PC subordinates are fair game for a lizard brain executive who has the ear of the man whose hand hovers over myriad nuclear buttons, both real and metaphoric.

(h/t The New Editor and Ed Driscoll)

When no one is an enemy, everyone is an enemy

Michael Yon, Joan Rivers and a little boy clutching the Play-Doh his grandparents gave him.  That looks like a peculiarly disparate list of people but, in fact, all three people are bound together by one thing:  the TSA Department of Homeland Security.

As you already know, on Monday, the TSA Customs detained and handcuffed Michael Yon because he refused to tell them his income.  (You can hear a detailed interview here.)  On Sunday, the TSA an airline booted Joan Rivers, famed comedienne and 76 year old grandmother, from a flight to Costa Rica.  And right before Christmas, the TSA, in full Grinch mode, confiscated a little boy’s Play-Doh, even though Play-Doh is not on the ever-lengthening list of forbidden items for flying.

The TSA Homeland Security, in its defense, would say that Yon’s passport, which shows him traveling to the world’s hot spots is suspicious; that Joan Rivers’ has too many names (Joan Rivers and her married name, Joan Rosenberg); and that Play-Doh is virtually indistinguishable from some types of plastic explosives.  (What the TSA no one will ever concede, of course, is that the attack on Yon may well have been a vendetta, triggered by an article Yon wrote describing the way in which Homeland Security forced a friend of his to reveal her email password so that they could read her emails with him.)

There is a peculiar kind of logic to this reasoning:  after all, everything has the potential to be a weapon. That thing over there, on the other side of the room, may look like a chair, but it can also be used to bash people over the head.  The pepper container on the table can, if thrown in someone’s eyes, easily disable them.  Indeed, we already know, from past experience with terrorists, that baby formula can actually be an explosive, underwear can blow up, shoes can detonate planes, and box cutters can cut throats, not just boxes.

The problem then, isn’t to identify the potential weapons, but to identify the potential weapon bearers.  Again, looks can be deceiving.  Everybody has the potential be dangerous.  I may be a 5 ft tall, middle-aged Mom, but I also know some nasty self-defense techniques, and am surprisingly strong.  That pretty blond woman in line at the airport could be a radical intent on destroying anything in her path — and wearing the explosive underwear to prove it.

The fact, though, is that suburban Jewish moms, pretty blonds, aged Jewish comediennes, famed war correspondents, and other people haven’t been wearing exploding shoes and underwear, using their babies as weapons of mass destruction, or cutting people’s throats with box cutters.  Only one demographic has been doing that:  Muslims.

Logic, then, would dictate that Homeland Security would expend its energies most efficiently if it would primarily target Muslims.  It shouldn’t solely target Muslims, of course.  It is always possible that the pretty blond, the suburban homemaker or the Jewish comedienne is a convert to Islam (otherwise, why would she commit mass murder?), and that she and her cohorts are relying on her apparent separation from Islam to make her a one woman weapon of mass destruction.  An efficient anti-terrorist enterprise would therefore profile Muslims on a regular basis , while keeping a weather eye on everyone else.

But as we all know, and have known since George Bush called Islam a religion of peace (or maybe he meant a religion of pieces, usually body parts) we’re not allowed to profile Muslims.  This is an enemy whose name we dare not speak.  Doing so, after all, might hurt someone’s feelings.  What’s so bizarre about all this is that, in the past, when cultures targeted a class within them, they did so based on propaganda and innuendo, not actual fact.  For example, the Nazi war against the Jews was based on a claim that Jews were (a) seeking world domination; (b) raping blond women and (c) eating Christian babies.  The problem for the Nazis, however, was that the only actual evidence of this was . . . non-existent.  Jews were good citizens wherever they lived and many places were miserably poor and completely isolated from the surrounding blond, Christian population.  To sustain their attack against the Jews, the Nazis had to invent facts and evidence like crazy.

The Muslims, however, unlike the Jews (or, indeed, the American blacks so often falsely accused of raping or even looking at white women) are doing something.  They are blowing things up; they are hijacking planes; they are beheading people; they are writing and preaching mass murder.  They are shining huge neon lights on themselves, loudly announcing their intention to destroy, in the most painful way possible, every mother’s son and daughter of us.  And we, in the name of political correctness, aggressively ignore them.  Has there ever before been a society that ignored the clarion call of its enemy the way we do ours?

Obama finally admitted that there was a “screw up” (and isn’t the great orator crude in his speech?), because we didn’t “connect the dots.”  What he implies is that we, as a society, want to connect the dots.  We don’t.  We dare not.  We’re more afraid of offending political sensibilities than we are of planes and buildings being immolated, with hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands, dead.

What happened to Michael Yon, Joan Rivers and one little boy is the inevitable result of our insane policy:  if we concede that there is some type of war going on, but we resolutely refuse to name the enemy, than everyone becomes the enemy.  Every chair and toy is a weapon, and every grandmother an aggressor.  In order to fight a war, you have to have an enemy.  During the Bush years, our enemy was a tactic (terrorism).  That was bad enough, but now things have degraded so much that our enemy is just a result (“violence”).  A culture cannot fight chimeras.  It cannot take a resolute stand against . . . nothing whatsoever but weasel words.

The one thing I can say with absolute certainly is that, if we go on at this rate, we are doomed, for we will implode without our enemy ever having to touch us again.

In England, it’s not how well you educate, it’s how politically correct you are

When parents think about what a school should do for their children, they think in terms of the three “Rs,” plus a lovely layering of science, history, and other subjects that maketh a full (and employable) man.  The politically correct Nanny State, however, cares little for education and a great deal for ideology.  It should therefore come as no surprise to you that the British government, rather than ranking schools based upon how well they educate children is ranking them, instead, on how well they indoctrinate children in politically correct shibboleths, and whether their student composition matches race and color grids that the government promulgates:

Top schools risk being branded inadequate by Government inspectors for failing to promote race relations, gender equality and human rights, it has been disclosed.

They could be plunged into “special measures” by Ofsted under new rules that place equality on a par with exam results and child safety for the first time.

In official guidance, inspectors are told to be aware of “gender imbalances” in upper-ability sets and ensure after-school sport is not dominated by pupils belonging to one ethnic group.

Some local councils are also warning schools to make sure staff and volunteers reflect the ethnic make-up of local communities and feature people with disabilities to provide good role models for pupils.

Look at England closely, my friends. The country that led the way, that provided the seeds for the American genius, is dying before our eyes.  Even worse, our politically correct, liberal, Progressive masters are hastening to drag us down that same path.

Let me say again what you’ll hear me say in post after post after post in 2010:  The November 2010 elections are pretty much our last chance to stop the PC car before it drags the whole nation over the edge of the cliff.  We must start supporting candidates with money now, rather than waiting until the last minute; we must go to rallies and make our presence know; and we have to vote with vigor in the 2010 elections.  Otherwise, no slamming on the brakes is going to help.  We’ll already be airborne and ready to fall.

Are Muslims still testing our air security?

Pierre LeGrand’s Pink Flamingo Bar has a disturbing post.  In it, he reprints part of a message from someone who claims to have been on a recent flight that was disrupted by a large group of obviously Muslim men aggressively flouting airplane safety rules.  As you may recall, in the wake of 9/11, Anne Jacobson wrote repeatedly about incidents such as this, with special emphasis on the airlines’ fear of becoming embroiled in politically correct disputes if they engaged with these men.  One has to wonder whether the Islamists are still trying to figure out whether Americans generally and airlines specifically are willing to have political correctness march them into the grave.

Gay Hillary supporters realize that Bush had his virtues

I’ve now received five emails bringing to my attention a post at Hillbuzz, a blog that (as best as I can tell) is written by two gay Hillary supporters.  (And thanks to all of you who did bring it to my attention.)  What makes the post at Hillbuzz so unusual is that it’s a frank appreciation for . . . George Bush:

We know absolutely no one in Bush family circles and have never met former President George W. Bush or his wife Laura.

If you have been reading us for any length of time, you know that we used to make fun of “Dubya” nearly every day…parroting the same comedic bits we heard in our Democrat circles, where Bush is still, to this day, lampooned as a chimp, a bumbling idiot, and a poor, clumsy public speaker.

Oh, how we RAILED against Bush in 2000…and how we RAILED against the surge in support Bush received post-9/11 when he went to Ground Zero and stood there with his bullhorn in the ruins on that hideous day.

We were convinced that ANYONE who was president would have done what Bush did, and would have set that right tone of leadership in the wake of that disaster.  President Gore, President Perot, President Nader, you name it.  ANYONE, we assumed, would have filled that role perfectly.

Well, we told you before how much the current president, Dr. Utopia, made us realize just how wrong we were about Bush.  We shudder to think what Dr. Utopia would have done post-9/11.  He would have not gone there with a bullhorn and struck that right tone.  More likely than not, he would have been his usual fey, apologetic self and waxed professorially about how evil America is and how justified Muslims are for attacking us, with a sidebar on how good the attacks were because they would humble us.

Honestly, we don’t think President Gore would have been much better that day.  The world needed George W. Bush, his bullhorn, and his indominable spirit that day…and we will forever be grateful to this man for that.

As we will always be grateful for what George and Laura Bush did this week, with no media attention, when they very quietly went to Ft. Hood and met personally with the families of the victims of this terrorist attack.

FOR HOURS.

Please read the rest here.  It’s an excellent post and deserves the attention it’s getting for the honest take it has on George Bush’s solid decency — and the contrast between his low-key, virtuous behavior and that exhibited by the Obami.

Hillbuzz’s post is a reminder that the very loud, politicized gay class tends to make us forget that most gays are just Americans who happen to like people of the same sex.  When things are rosy, they’re happy to trail behind the political guys, since there might be some benefits dropping off that bandwagon.  However, when push comes to shove, and when agitating but scarcely life threatening issues go by the wayside, America’s gays are Americans first — or, at least, most of them are.  That’s very heartening.

I look forward to the day when America’s Muslims figure out that, at some point they have to make a public stand between America’s deep investment in liberty and Islam’s demand that all citizens in all nations should be subjugated to Sharia’s draconian requirements.  Right now, thanks to the politically correct ideology that permeates the media, the government, educational establishes, and the top echelons of the military, American Muslims are getting a pass on having to come to terms with their own patriotism.  If they want to hew to their religion — well, that’s the moral choice they have to make, but we Americans should know, so that we can do what is necessary to protect our Constitutional rights for the vast majority of Americans (gay and straight, Catholic and Jewish, atheist and, yes, Muslim) who believe in those rights.

Two must reads *UPDATED*

American Thinker is a site I check regularly, at least twice a day.  It’s not just that the editors are kind enough to publish my work occasionally.  It’s because the articles that appear there routinely range from really good to out-of-the-park stupendous.

Today, there are two that fall in the latter category.  These are the kinds of articles that shouldn’t just be read, but that should be emailed to everyone you know.  Indeed, the one regarding socialism should be required reading in every American classroom.  So, without further ado, please, please, please read and discuss and forward:

What’s Wrong with Socialism, by Joe Herring

and

It Isn’t Political Correctness, It’s Shariah, by Pamela Geller

UPDATE:  Add military analyst Steve Schippert’s All the King’s Horses (about Afghanistan) to the list of things that will widen your horizons today.

Affirmative action and PC ideology smite the military

I remain absolutely convinced that Obama, the boy genius of the left, is a product of affirmative action who is hiding his academic record because it is dismal.  If it weren’t dismal, he’d be showing it off.  Frankly, though, after thirty years of affirmative action, we expected nothing more from our academic institutions.  That’s a shame, too, because it means that, for most Americans, a Harvard degree in the hands of a black or hispanic person is written off as a gift from a beneficent liberal bureaucracy, while a Harvard degree in the hands of a white or asian person means that person is damn smart.   The presumption is that a minority couldn’t have made it on his (or her) own.  Affirmative action, rather than removing hurdles, created an insuperable one, which is the virtually immovable assumption that all minorities are below average, and obtained their degrees with help.

For a long time, it seemed as if the military was the last bastion of quality in America:  a place in which race, color, creed, religion or place of origin were irrelevant.  What mattered in the military, we were told, was ability and commitment.  It was the most successfully integrated institution in America because it was color blind.  Turns out that is a lie.

The whole Hasan debacle revealed the PC horror of the military to a shocked America.  Here was a ticking jihadist time bomb within the heart of our military, and no one did anything for fear of offending PC sensibilities.  Then, in the wake of his massacre, the powers that be in the Obama administration and the military itself rushed out speeches, not to assure Americans that they were keeping us safe from jihadists, but to ensure jihadists that they were going to be kept safe from us.

That is a big, bloody story, but the PC corruption of a formerly egalitarian institution turns out to exist at all levels in the military.  CDR Salamander let the cat out of the bag when he blogged about the way in which the Navy Color Guard put together for the World Series was jiggered and rejiggered so that it would look “good” (read, victim identity appropriate) for television.  I was under the impression that Color Guard status was an assigned position based upon skills.  It turns out, however, that what matters is that the Guard’s appearance appeals to identity politic sensibilities.  I urge you to read Phibian’s original post (linked above), as well as his follow-up to that post.

Academic corruption is bad.  It means that, in the marketplace, I’m going to place substantially less value on a black or hispanic person, than I will on a white person.  If I were lawyer shopping, I’d pick the white Baylor grad over the black Harvard grad.  At least with the former, I actually know what product I’m buying.  With the military, though, because this is all about chain of command without any market freedom, the consequences are much worse than the devaluation of any specific diploma.  Instead, troops in the military stand to die (as they did in Fort Hood), and we Americans stand to lose our freedoms as our military becomes ever less efficient and increasingly in thrall to the destructive forces of Political Correctness.

I’d like to add here that I am not racist, in that I do not believe that any specific race is inherently better or worse than any other race.  Instead, I’m a smart shopper.  If I know that a factory is cheating to turn out a product, I won’t buy from that factor.  And it’s a damn shame that it’s minorities in America who are the ones being cheated.

Islam had everything to do with Fort Hood

Insane people reflect the obsessions of their times.  In the old days, insane people heard messages from the Devil.  In the post-nuclear age, they were in contact with Martians.  And nowadays, if their Muslim, Islam gives the impetus to their urges.  Indeed, Islam is an all-purpose blank check for bad behavior.  As my cousin, the prison chaplain, says:

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 similarly 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.

Math was never my strong point at school, but I managed to grasp the concept of a Venn Diagram.   The beauty of a Venn Diagram is that it’s a nice visual for the common denominators that may bind together otherwise disparate facts or events.  On the Venn Diagram of massacres on American soil, one of the largest areas of overlap is Islam.  The fact that these attacks aren’t necessarily generated at Al Qaeda headquarters is irrelevant.  Indeed, the absence of Al Qaeda involvement is helpful, because police work probably finds it easier to catch groups than lone individuals.

Nevertheless, the President and the media are very busy assuring ordinary Americans that Islam had absolutely nothing to do with Hasan’s murderous rampage at Fort Hood.  Some examples:

  • President Obama says “don’t jump to conclusions.”  On the one hand, he’s correct.  On the other hand, (a) he didn’t take his own advice when it came to Henry Louis Gates and “stupid cops” (although maybe he learned his lesson then); and (b) it’s very clear that he wants to steer Americans away permanently from even thinking that Islam is connected to death.
  • The BBC says “Shooting Raises Fears For Muslims In US Army.”  Mark Steyn has the perfect riposte to this headline:  it is “the grossest bad taste to default every single time within minutes to the position that what’s of most interest about an actual atrocity with real victims is that it may provoke an entirely hypothetical atrocity with entirely hypothetical victims.”
  • Chris Matthews expresses confusion at the way religion is even mentioned in connection with Hasan’s rampage (and the hell with him invoking Allah’s name at the height of his killing spree).
  • NPR says “the motive behind the shootings was not immediately clear.”
  • The New York Times suggests that this arm chair jockey, who just sat back and listened, snapped from the stress of war.  Yeah.  Right.

Just to offset this type of quisling behavior, let me offer to you a long list of articles that call murder in the name of Allah — whether the killer is alone or in a group, rational or irrational, American or non-American — by its true name:  Jihad.

Mark Steyn:   “What happened to those men and women at Fort Hood had a horrible symbolism: Members of the best trained, best equipped fighting force on the planet gunned down by a guy who said a few goofy things no one took seriously. And that’s the problem: America has the best troops and fiercest firepower, but no strategy for throttling the ideology that drives the enemy — in Afghanistan and in Texas.”

Rusty Shackleford:  “Hasan was a devout Muslim who, prior to his transfer to the Texas base, attended a conservative mosque on a daily basis and was known by associates to occasionally rant about U.S. involvement in the War on Terror. Press accounts also claim that Hasan had at one time been the subject of an FBI investigation because of an internet posting bearing his name which justified suicide bombings.  [Para.] No one should be shocked that Hasan would turn to murder and terror. The only thing shocking about Hasan’s actions is the amount of carnage.”

Jennifer Rubin:  “Listen, ignoring reality and feigning indifference to the views and behavior of Major Hasan is how we wound up with 13 dead and 30 wounded, right? Perhaps we should be candid for once. The American people can figure this one out — and those who continue to play dumb will earn only their contempt.”

Roger Simon:  “The immediate reaction of the mainstream media on learning of the activities of Nidal Malik Hasan was to say that he was crazy. And no doubt that was true. Anyone with a passing knowledge of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM IV), could probably place Major Hasan comfortably in several categories.  [para.] Of course, the same could be said of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Usama bin Laden and various other mass murderers of recent history. Nevertheless, the attempt was to explain away Hasan’s actions as pathological and thus avoid dealing with, or even – to the degree possible – mentioning the ideology to which his neuroses adhere (hint: it begins with an “I”).  [para.] This strategy is a form of what is popularly known as political correctness, which I submit is also a pathology and a quite virulent one – in this case, arguably the cause of death of the thirteen men and women murdered at Fort Hood.”

J.R. Salzman:  “[Y]ou don’t get PTSD from sitting on your ass around Walter Reed. Not only is it not possible to “catch” secondhand PTSD, but it is not that kind of a place. I would know, I was a patient there for nine months. The place is simply not that stressful or chaotic. When I was there my PTSD got better, not worse.”

Leon de Winter:  “There is only one term that adequately describes the massacre at Fort Hood: a terrorist attack. The media tries to avoid this term, but the more that is known about the killer, the more it becomes clear that this premeditated and deadly attack on unarmed soldiers and civilians was driven by his belief that Islam should rule the world.”

Robert Spencer:  “Major Hasan’s motive was perfectly clear — but it was one that the forces of political correctness and the Islamic advocacy groups in the United States have been working for years to obscure. So it is that now that another major jihad terror attack has taken place on American soil, authorities and the mainstream media are at a loss to explain why it happened – and the abundant evidence that it was a jihad attack is ignored.”

Michael Ledeen:   “I’m all for waiting until all the evidence is in from Texas before reaching any conclusions, but that should apply to everyone.  Notably to the FBI, which seems to have developed a conditioned reflex that requires the Bureau to announce, within seconds of any act of murder, ‘there is no evidence of terrorism.’  Which, in this case, is ridiculous, since it was precisely that.  [para] All of which brings us back to one of the nastiest problems we face:  the indoctrination of Americans in this country.  If you look beneath the surface of these plots and murders, you will often find that the actual or would-be killers have attended radical mosques.  They don’t come to jihad by sitting quietly at home and reading the Koran.  They hear sermons, they are guided in the paths of terror, and they choose to become terrorists.  And in this country, those radical sermons and that incitement is traditionally treated as ‘protected speech.’  It’s protected by the First Amendment, and its guarantee of freedom of religion.”

Jamie Glazov:  “The murders by Malik Nadal Hasan at Ft. Hood, TX are not a ‘lone wolf incident’ as being described by most media organizations. Hasan had been taught the ideology that is being advocated by hundreds of Islamic scholars and Imams in the U.S. We as a country can continue to deny there are numerous Islamic leaders and their supporting organizations such as CAIR, ISNA, MSA, and MANA, to name a few, who advocate killing innocent men, women, and children whom they allege ‘oppress Islam.’”

Victor Davis Hanson carefully looks at the number of Islamists who have plotted or carried out attacks against civilians (and Ft. Hood’s soldiers were, within their home base, tantamount to civilians), and politely destroys the argument that it’s just coincidence that so many mass murderers, and attempted mass murderers, in the past decade have been Muslim.

David Horowitz:   “The Ft. Hood killings are the chickens of the left coming home to roost. Already the chief political correspondent of The Nation has decried even mention of the fact that the jihadist killer Hasan is a Palestinian Muslim. According to The Nation this  is ‘Islamophobia.’ This fatuous attempt to protect America’s enemies carries on The Nation’s 60-year tradition as the leading fifth column collaborator with America’s enemies — defender of the Rosenbergs, defender of Hiss, defender of their boss Stalin, defender of Mao, defender of Castro and now defender of Islamic terrorists. But The Nation is only the tip of an iceberg. The fifth column formed out of the unholy alliance between radical Islam and the American left is now entrenched in the White House and throughout our government. And in matters like the Muslim jihadist Major Hasan our military is its captive.”

Phyllis Chesler:  “Sudden Jihad Syndrome, (it’s not all that “sudden” by the way), Personal Jihad Syndrome, call it what you will—these terrible acts should not be psychiatrically diagnosed and excused. In Islamist culture what Major Hasan did is a glorious act, a desired act; it is not the act of someone who is considered psychiatrically deranged. At the risk of being called a racist, allow me to suggest that we must connect the dots before it is too late. Islam now=jihad=hate propaganda=9/11=the tragedy at Ft. Hood.  [Para.]  That means Islam now, and its followers of all colors and ethnicities, is at war with the entire world, is dreaming of a Caliphate to be achieved through violent jihad. I doubt that Major Hasan is a Sufi Muslim.”

Bruce Bawer:  “Could there be a more bitter contrast? At Fort Hood, so many courageous GIs, all of them prepared to risk their lives fighting the Islamic jihadist enemy in defense of our freedom, several of them now dead. And, on our TV screens, so many apparently craven journalists, public officials, psychiatrists, and (alas) even military brass — all but a few of whom seemed unwilling to do anything more than hint obliquely at the truth that obviously lies at the root of this monstrous act.”

John Weidner (who is kind enough to link to me):  “Pacifism, or rather nihilism disguised as fake-pacifism, is one of the sicknesses of our time. No matter how many times it’s proved wrong, a large portion of the populace will continue to believe that looking and being weak will make them safer and will prevent violence and war. But pacifism causes war.  [Para.] Whoever gave the orders that American soldiers should not carry their sidearms or other weapons on our military bases murdered those soldiers who died at Ft Hood. Charlene was an Army brat, and she says that personnel carried their weapons on the base when she was young. Somebody (the phrase “death panel” springs to mind) disarmed the very men and women who are sworn to protect us using violent force when necessary. INSANE! SICK!”

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

Army invites Fifth Column into its midst

Do I think all American Muslims are terrorists?  No.  Do I think the American military should bar Muslims?  No.  Do I think the American military should stop actively recruiting them and providing them with radical Imams?  Oh, yes (emphasis mine).

The Fort Hood terrorist is being portrayed as an “anomaly,” an “aberration,” a “lone wolf.” Sadly, he’s just one of many examples of jihadist traitors in the ranks of the military.

Together they form a dangerous Fifth Column, and the Pentagon — thanks to institutionalized political correctness — is doing next to nothing to root them out .

Instead, brass are actively recruiting Muslim soldiers — whose ranks have swelled to more than 15,000 — and catering to their faith by erecting mosques even at Marine headquarters in Quantico, Va.  More, they’re hiring Muslim chaplains endorsed by radical Islamic front groups, who convert and radicalize soldiers.

In the wake of the worst domestic military-base massacre in U.S. history, this is an outrage to say the least. And the PC blinders explain how Fort Hood commanders could have failed so horrifically in protecting their force from the internal threat there.

I’ll add to this IBD editorial the fact that the military and FBI knew that, as a direct result of his faith, Hasan was incredibly hostile to the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, and that he believed in suicide bombing. And yet they did nothing. It was a matter of balancing the odds. The odds were 100% that whoever acted upon this information about Hasan would find his career destroyed. The odds were something less than 100% that Hasan would actually kill fellow Americans.  If you’re gambling in a climate in which our own president backs an Attorney General who targets those in American law enforcement who went after Islamists, being passive is the better bet.

Political correctness (and the fear that underlies it) run amok

Horrible story of what happens when political correctness and fear of a violent minority group culminate in a school that saw the administration look the other way for fear of offending those violent minority sensibilities.

This, by the way, is how that paralyzing political correctness, a sensiblity that saps courage and morality, begins.

Even the Muslims are mad at Britain’s most recent attack of dhimmitude

We’re getting near the tail-end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month that requires dawn to dusk fasting.  Now, I’m a gal who enjoys noshing during the day, so I’m not thrilled about abstaining from food and drink for 10 hours.  I’d be especially unhappy if it was a hot day, ’cause any type of drink would look awfully enticing.  Nevertheless, it is not the end of the world to hold off on eating for a few hours, especially with the promise of a nice meal to come at the end of the day.  Also, assuming I’m a devout Muslim, I’m not fasting as a punishment, but as as a religious obligation.  It is my gift to God and my faith.

The British Home Office, however, was terribly, terribly worried about those Muslims amongst it who might have rumbly tummies and dry mouths.  It therefore sent around a 5 page document informing all the bone-headed ordinary Brits in its employ about all the sensitivity steps they’d need to talk to make their hungry colleagues happy until night fell:

Home Office staff were officially warned not to eat in front of their fasting Muslim colleagues during Ramadan – in case it made them feel hungry.

The advice came in a taxpayer-funded internal document listing do’s and don’ts during the Muslim holy month, which ends this weekend.

[snip]

The Home Office Islamic Network produced the five-page information sheet which says: ‘In practical terms, please be sensitive when eating lunch near a Muslim colleague who is fasting.

This can make an individual feel hungrier and make it more challenging to observe the fast.’

[snip]

It says: ‘The most likely need Muslim staff may present to managers during this period is for flexibility around working hours and break times as those fasting will have a slightly different routine from usual. Managers and Muslim staff should discuss what their needs are and be responsive and sensitive.’

Managers were also told: ‘Muslim staff who are fasting and whose environment allows it may wish to set out for work earlier than usual and finish their working day correspondingly early…in line with flexi-time arrangements.’

[snip]

The spokeswoman added that the Islamic Network was one of a number of staff faith and equality groups within the Home Office and was paid for by the taxpayer.

What’s so incredibly funny about all this is that the British, who have completely accepted that there home culture must always be subordinate to another culture, have not protested.  Instead, the protests came from Muslim groups, who felt as if they’d had a big target painted on them:

The Muslim Public Affairs Committee, which claims to be fighting a ‘political jihad against Islamophobia’, attacked the document.

It said: ‘It is designed to create more hatred in the hearts of non-Muslims.

‘We don’t care how much non-Muslims eat in front of us.

‘It’s never been an issue and never will be and we have never asked for any special treatment or sensitivity from non-Muslims whilst fasting.’

What’s sad is that we no longer live in a society where the bottom line is simply a party of human decency:  If possible, as a good human being and a member of a pluralist society, be nice to people and make reasonable accommodations to their needs — something that should be true irrespective of your or their race, religion, creed, national origin, sex, sexual preferences, etc.

Is this what the cross is reduced to in St. George’s kingdom?

There’s a row in England over the fact that a kids’ cartoon magazine, published by the Who Cares? Trust, which receives a great deal of public funding, shows a boy wearing a large cross being an Islamophobe, while a hijab clad girl is an articulate, brave defender of human rights.  What struck me about this story, which is becoming more and more common (in one form or another) in the UK, is this bit (emphasis mine):

But Who Cares? Trust chief executive Natasha Finlayson said she had no intention of withdrawing it, describing the cross as ‘bling’ rather than a religious symbol.

She said the charity had received a complaint but did not agree the cartoon was derogatory towards Christians.

‘I am a Christian myself, so when a woman called us, I went back and looked at the comic strip from her point of view,’ Ms Finlayson said.

‘I am sorry that she is upset but I don’t share her view. When I saw the cartoon, I didn’t think of that character being a Christian because I saw the cross as ‘bling’, as jewellery.

Can it happen here? *UPDATED*

In an earlier post, I directed your attention to the incredibly disturbing footage of Pakistani village authorities brutally whipping a teenage girl before a throng of men, because she violated Sharia norms by being seen in public with her father in law.  The footage is disturbing on many levels, not the least of which is the fact that the whole spectacle has a pornographic smell to it, one that makes clear how much of Sharia law is driven by Muslims’ deep fear of female sexuality — but that’s a rumination for another day.

What I want to talk about is whether this could ever happen here.  Certainly Muslims want it to happen here.  Their oft stated goal is a Sharia-compliant world, with every nation having as its one and only law Sharia law.  Given this goal, and given the Islamists’ willingness to steal planes and acquire bombs and lust after anthrax, it’s more than just a hypothetical possibility.

But I don’t think we need to worry right now about Sharia appearing in the West courtesy of a mushroom shaped cloud or virulent bacteria.  The more immediate concern is the fact that, through political correctness, the Western world is already reading itself to deal with creeping sharia law.

Leading the way, as always, is England, which is allowing sharia courts, even though there is every indication that this will trap Muslim women in a British sharia hell; routinely banning pigs from public discourse (Oh Piglet, Piglet, wherefore art though Piglet?); slavishly redesigning innocuous packaging to avoid ruffling Muslim sensibilities (ice cream, anybody?); protecting men from being charged with dangerous traffic violations so they can speed from one wife to another; etc.  The list is endless.

In America, we periodically hear stories about accommodations for Muslims who don’t want to drive people carrying alcohol (as if it could leap out of the bottle spontaneously and attack the driver); about Muslims refusing to share public university prayer spaces; about Muslims demanding special foot baths at public universities (and weren’t those high tech “required” foot baths a popular item in the vast Saudi Arabian desert in the 7th Century); or about Muslim women insisting that their driver’s license show nothing more than their eyes, rather than conceding that, if they want to practice the extreme Islamic tradition of a hijab, maybe driving is not an option.

On the whole, we in America are a solicitous people and, with our pluralist religious history, we’re willing to make reasonable accommodations.  Generally, we like it that people are able to live religious lives — as long as they don’t impinge on our own lives.  What’s different about the Muslim demands is the impingement that goes with them — you may not drive in our publicly licensed taxis unless you change your behavior; you may not worship in this public space unless you worship our way; you must abandon the commonly accepted public safety feature of a photo ID card so our women can be anonymous; and so on and so forth.

Each of these Islamic incursions on the public space has resulted in a hoo-ha (otherwise we wouldn’t know about them), and most, when they become known, have been reversed.  The fact remains, however, that there cumulative effect from these sharia attacks on our culture that is akin to water dripping on rock.  One drop has no effect.  Two drops, no effect.  A thousand drops, no effect.  But you get enough drops and the shape of the rock — in this case, the shape of the American body social and politic — begins to change and to conform to the water’s ceaseless demands.

I have an Irish friend who firmly believes that America’s deep rooted sense of liberty cannot be so easily drip-dropped away, whether the drops fall from the Sharia cadre or from the statists in the Obama administration.  He believes that a deep, long-lived history focused on individualism and independence will rebel.  I wonder.

I’d like to think that, if I were that teenage girl about to get flogged, I’d fight and fight and fight.  I’d be hurt anyway, but at least I wouldn’t just yield to barbarity.  But even if I fought, even if I waved the flag of independence, and humanism, and freedom, would it matter if everyone stood around me and stared, as those men in the crowd watching the beating stand and stare.  I’d be willing to bet that, in that crowd, many were true believers, and many were men whose stomachs churned at the horror, but who said nothing, because they were trained to accept. Whatever their reason, they stood and they stared.

In this regard, it’s worth noting that, when Hitler came to power in 1933, he did so with just barely more than 50% of the popular vote.  There was never a time when the majority of Germans were members of the Nazi party.  For most Germans, right through the end of the War, their crime wasn’t active complicity with Nazi atrocities, it was passive complicity.  From a mixture of fear and brain washing, they just went along.

As I said, my Irish friend thinks Americans won’t just go along.  But when I look at what passes for education in our public schools, I’m very worried that we’re raising a generation that will be so compliant and so lacking in a non-relativistic sense of right and wrong that, first, they’ll allow creeping sharia to become dominant sharia (so un-PC to object) and, second, once it’s dominant they, through a mixture of fear and braining washing, will just go along.  And they too will stand their silently and watch when one of their school mates is flogged bloody or hanged or decapitated for having violated sharia norms.

The 2010 election matters.  It matters not just because I don’t like Obama’s economic and social policies.  It also matters because it is the last election in which Americans will have a chance to renew their sense of individualism and liberalism.  You see, while Obama thinks he’s paving the way for a wonderful socialist state, I think he’s unwittingly grooming the population to be the passive recipients of law laid down by true believers who make Obama and his progressives look like impotent little children.

UPDATE:  I was spurred to write the above post because of the video I watched showing the girl getting beaten.  Turns out, though, that creeping sharia is on other people’s minds — not how we might respond to the more extreme demands, but how we are responding to the “reasonable” demands.

How political correctness is complicit in enslaving women

A young British woman, raised in the North of England, escaped her abusive Muslim father and converted to Christianity, a fact that saw her father lead an axe wielding mob clamoring for her death.  She wrote a book about her experience.  When the Times interviewer asked why she didn’t seek help from the authorities, the woman explains how political correctness creates a straight jacket as tight as fundamentalist Islam itself:

When, at school, she had finally summoned the courage to tell a teacher that her father had been beating her (she couldn’t bring herself to reveal the sexual abuse), the social services sent out a social worker from her own community. He chose not to believe Hannah and, in effect, shopped her to her father, who gave her the most brutal beating of her life. When she later confronted the social worker, he said: “It’s not right to betray your community.”

Hannah blames what is sometimes called political correctness for this debacle: “My teachers had thought they were doing the right thing, they thought it showed ‘cultural sensitivity’ by bringing in someone from my own community to ‘help’, but it was the worst thing they could have done to me. This happens a lot.

“When I’ve been working with girls who were trying to get out of an arranged marriage, or want to convert to Christianity, and they have contacted social services as they need to get out of their homes, the reaction has been ‘we’ll send someone from your community to talk to your parents’. I know why they are doing this, they are trying to be understanding, but it’s the last thing that the authorities should do in such situations.”

This is the sort of cultural sensitivity displayed by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, last year when he suggested that problems within the British Muslim community such as financial or marital disputes could be dealt with under sharia, Islamic law, rather than British civil law. What did Hannah, now an Anglican, think on hearing these remarks?

“I was horrified.” If you could speak to him now, what would you say to the archbishop? “I would say: have you actually spoken to any ordinary Muslim women about the situation that they live in, in their communities? By putting in place these Muslim arbitration tribunals, where a woman’s witness is half that of a man, you are silencing women even more.”

She believes the British government is making exactly the same mistake as Rowan Williams: “It says it talks to the Muslim community, but it’s not speaking to the women. I mean, you are always hearing Muslim men speaking out, the representatives of the big federations, but the government is not listening to Muslim women. With the sharia law situation and the Muslim arbitration tribunals, have they thought about what effect these tribunals have on Muslim women? I don’t think so.”

Hat tip: Hot Air

Fine thoughts from other people

I had a lovely time last night at a reception on the Bonhomme Richard, and plan on writing about it later today.  However, other work calls, so I thought I’d fill this space with recommendations for interesting stuff you may want to read.  In no particular order:

William Katz, a witty, erudite man who has absorbed much from traveling through the past few decades, deconstructs the way the Left is using the concept of “guilt by association” to insulate Obama from much-deserved criticism.

On the opposite end of the spectrum from Mr. Katz, spend some time with Jesse Jackson.  We’ve always known he’s an antisemite, but with the prospect of a similar thinking White House administration, he’s oozing out of the closet. As you read the article, keep in mind that Jackson is promising that an Obama administration will turn its back on the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, and will ally itself with some of the worst theocratic totalitarian dictatorships, not just in the region, not just in the world, but in the history of the world.

Jonah Goldberg points out the obvious (but does it does charmingly):  Republicans are so frightened by Obama’s skin-color, and the risk of appearing non-PC, that they are allowing him to get away with political murder.  We all know that, when it comes to Obama, there’s only one color that matters, and that is Red.

Thomas Sowell nails the liberal horror of the long-standing American tradition of “going negative” in political elections: “Why then is ‘negative advertising’ such a big deal these days? The dirty little secret is this: Liberal candidates have needed to escape their past and pretend that they are not liberals, because so many voters have had it with liberals.”

Michael Reagan provides a good run-down of Ayers’ relevance to this election, and it has nothing to do with his having bombed buildings when Barack was 8.

IBD neatly summarizes why ACORN matters so much.  And if that analysis doesn’t sway you, check out the Wall Street Journal on precisely the same point.

One more for the road

First, thanks to all of you who have posted such interesting, informative and intelligent comments the past two weeks.  You always make my time here enjoyable and educational.  Still, I’m glad Bookworm is back and ready to bring you her wide diversity of posts, and her thoughtfullness and intelligence that make the Bookwormroom such a great place to hang out.

Still, I’d like to talk about one more topic.  Last year about this time, the Supreme Court, in Morse v. Frederick, 127 S.Ct. 2618 (2007), held that a student could be disciplined for unfurling a banner saying “BONG HiTS 4 JESUS” at a school event (specifically, while standing at the side of a street waiting for the Olympic torch to go by).  As a libertarian/conservative, I’m distressed that the conservative members of the Court were so willing to restrict speech. 

The Court used to apply a “substantial disruption” test, but this Court rejected that test.  I suppose it had to, because the most disruption this banner could have caused was that some students might have been distracted and missed seeing the torch go by — hardly a great loss to their education. 

The Court correctly notes that students do no have the same rights as other citizens, because of the ”special characteristics of the environment,” whatever that means.  Though it could have been clearer on the point, the Court appeared to make a distinction between advocating illegal drug use (which it viewed this banner as doing) and advocating changes to legalize drug use.  This strikes me as an unworkable test that breaks down completely when considering advocacy of civil disobedience.  Obviously, in this case, advocacy of drug use at least implicitly advocates making drug use legal. 

In any case, the notion that a school should be permitted to suppress advocacy of drug use on campus is most unfortunate.  Are teachers to become hall monitors, listening in on student conversations, suspending anyone they hear suggesting drug use is a good thing?  I would go back to the substantial disruption test.  Unless the student’s speech threatens to disrupt the educational process, it must be permitted.  Granted, drug use is a bad thing.  Granted, as the Court goes on at length about, we’ve decided it is a part of the schools’ mission to discourage drug use (Lord knows why this is a part of the schools’ mission, but that’s another subject).  That just turns this rather silly banner into dissenting political speech, in that it dissents from the message the school is tasked with preaching to the students.

The First Amendment matters.  Speech must be protected, even in our schools.  Dissenting speech must be especially protected.  Where, as here, that speech clearly does not threaten to disrupt the education of the listeners, and is not lewd or offensive, it must be protected absolutely.

We conservatives should keep in mind that the vast majority of the schools in this country are controlled and run by liberals.  Do we really want to give them authority to suppress dissenting speech, and to teach our children that suppressing speech (in the name of political correctness, for example) is okay?  Yet, it’s the conservative members of the Court, led by Justice Roberts, the author of the the opinion, who have struck this blow against free speech in the school setting.  I think that’s unfortunate.  What do you think?    

When PCs clash

In the world of presidential elections, we’re watching the fascinating spectacle of clashing identity politics.  Neither Hillary nor Obama has a strong resume (or even a medium resume).  Each is distinguished from the other, and from others in the field (remember Silky Pony?) solely because of gender or race.  He’s black (sort of); she’s female (sort of).  It’s hardly been an edifying show, although anyone familiar with the demands of identity politics could have predicted the way in which this particular race would shape up.

Since liberals live for labels and hierarchies  of victimhood, I’d like to direct your attention to another clash, this time in Britain, and this time involving differing groups that have been deemed worthy of homage from the PC crowd:  gays and Muslims.  It turns out that, some time ago, Britain passed a gay rights law mandating school curricula aimed at preventing gay bullying.  Now, I am entirely in favor of preventing gay bullying.  Indeed, I’m strongly in favor of preventing any type of bullying.  If it were up to me, I’d have a strictly enforced, broad-reaching, no-bullying rule in all schools.

The problem in this case arose because the schools at issue felt compelled (either because the law requires it or because that’s how they interpret the law — I’m not sure) to teach 5 year old kids about homosexuality.  Thus, the schools included in their kindergarten curriculum books touting homosexual and lesbian relationships, something that seems a bit premature for the 5 year old set, most of whom are dealing with such intricacies as shoe laces, the alphabet song, and counting to three digit numbers.  Throwing in non-traditional relationships seems a bit much.

As it is, the school picked some rather cute sounding, appropriately make-believe-ish books to make the legally mandated points:

One story, titled King & King, is a fairytale about a prince who turns down three princesses before marrying one of their brothers.

Another named And Tango Makes Three features two male penguins who fall in love at a New York zoo.

I’m that all would have been well if a conservative Christian group stepped forward to object to this curriculum.  We know, after all, that conservative Christians (a) hate gays and (b) don’t have to be listened to because, in the PC hierarchy, they’re victimizers, not victims, thereby invalidating their concerns.  The problem is that it wasn’t conservative Christians who were upset by the indoctrina . . . er . . . education their kids were getting.  Instead, it was Muslim parents:

Two primary schools have withdrawn storybooks about samesex relationships after objections from Muslim parents.

Up to 90 gathered at the schools to complain about the books which are aimed at pupils as young as five.

***

They were intended to help prevent homophobic bullying, it said.

But the council has since removed the books from Easton Primary School and Bannerman Road Community School, both in Bristol.

A book and DVD titled That’s a Family!, which teaches children about different family set-ups including gay or lesbian parents, has also been withdrawn.

The decision was made to enable the schools to “operate safely” after parents voiced their concerns at meetings.

Now, as it happens, I am sympathetic to both sides in this argument, although more so to the parents.  With regard to the schools, they had a legal mandate they had to follow and, as I said, I’m extremely opposed to bullying.  (And to clarify for new readers, I don’t have a problem with adults engaging in homosexual relationships although I’m resistant to suddenly jettisoning 30,000 plus years of human history by suddenly legalizing gay marriage — I may ultimately agree to doing so, but I’d prefer to stop and consider the societal ramifications first, rather than rush of with the trendy idea of the year.)

Having expressed these sympathies, though, I am still troubled by introducing the whole concept of adult sexuality to the 5 year old set, even if that sexuality is cutely dressed up in penguin or prince clothes.  I just think it’s a topic that these little people are neither emotionally nor intellectually ready to deal with, and they don’t need it on their plates as they struggle with the practicalities of learning basic life skills.  For this reason, I hew to the view of the parents, who present themselves in the article as very reasonable people indeed:

Farooq Siddique, community development officer for the society and a governor at Bannerman Road, said there were also concerns about whether the stories were appropriate for young children.

“The main issue was there was a total lack of consultation with parents,” he said.

“The schools refused to deal with the parents, and were completely authoritarian.

“The agenda was to reduce homophobic bullying and all the parents said they were not against that side of it, but families were saying to us ‘our child is coming home and talking about same-sex relationships, when we haven’t even talked about heterosexual relationships with them yet’.

“They don’t do sex education until Year Six and at least there you have got the option of withdrawing the children.

“But here you don’t have that option apparently. You can’t withdraw because it is no particular lesson they are used in.”

He added: “In Islam homosexual relationships are not acceptable, as they are not in Christianity and many other religions but the main issue is that they didn’t bother to consult with parents.

“The issue should have been, how do we stop bullying in general, and teaching about homosexuality can be a part of that.

“This was completely one-sided.

“Homosexuality is not a priority to parents but academic achievement is. This just makes parents think ‘What the heck is my child being taught at school?’.”

I agree with everything Siddique said.  Schools shouldn’t be high-handed with regard to these sensitive matters, parents weren’t given a say, it’s not (in my opinion) age appropriate material, and the school’s decision may well extend beyond the legal mandate.  (I do wonder, though, whether the bulk of the parents were as reasonable as Mr. Siddique.  I’m sure you caught the factthat the school backed down from its position because the school needed to “operate safely.”  That sounds, of course, as if the schools were receiving threats.  The article provides no further information about this cryptic phrase.)

The one thing I can assure you is that this will be an interesting battle, and it won’t revolve around the actual merits at issue:  preventing bullying, respecting the complete sexual innocence of 5 year olds, acknowledging parents’ right/need for input regarding sensitive issues, etc.  Instead, it’s going to boil down to a battle of specially protected classes:  gays vs. Muslims.  One of them will win quickly or the whole thing will get very loud and very ugly.  The only thing you can be sure of is that the children’s age-appropriate educational needs will not be taken into consideration.

When identity politics attack *UPDATED*

Noemie Emery perfectly summarizes the nightmare the Dems have created for themselves:

Sometime back in the 1990s, when the culture wars were the only ones we thought we had going, a cartoon showed three coworkers viewing each other with narrowed and questioning eyes. “Those whites don’t know how to deal with a competent black man,” the black man is thinking. “Those guys don’t know how to deal with a powerful woman,” the woman is thinking. And what could the only white male have been thinking? “They don’t like me. They know that I’m gay.”

So far as we know, there are no gays in the mixture today, but the cartoon nicely captures what the Democrats face as they try to wage a political war in the age of correctness, which is, they are finding, an impossibility. The Democrats are the party of self-conscious inclusion, of identity politics, of sensitivity training, of hate crimes, hate speech, and of rules to control them. A presidential campaign, on the other hand, is nothing but “hate speech,” as opponents dive deep into opposition research, fling charges true, half-true, and simply made up against one another in an attempt to present their rivals as slimy, dishonest, disreputable, dangerous, and possibly the worst human beings who ever drew breath.

This has been true of this country’s politics since at least 1800, when John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were vilified roundly, and has gone on ever since–an accepted and even a much-loved tradition. Until recently, it went on without murmur, as all the main contestants for president were white Anglo-Saxon Protestant males, with the exception of Michael Dukakis and three Roman Catholics, two of whom looked like WASPs. Now, however, in its campaign season from hell, the party of sensitivity has found itself in a head-banging brawl between a black man and white woman, each of them visibly loathing the other, in a situation in which anything said in opposing one of the candidates can be defined as hateful, insensitive, hurtful, demeaning, not to say bigoted, and, worst of all, mean. Looking ahead to the general election, Democrats were prepared to describe any critique made of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton as an example of the racism and sexism that they like to believe permeates the Republican universe. But this was before their own race became quite so close, and so spirited. They never seem to have stopped to think what might occur if they turned their sensitivity bludgeons against one another. They are now finding out.

You’ll want to read the whole thing, which you can find here.

UPDATE: And here is precisely what Emery and I predicted, which is that the give and take of politics is dead, because you’re not allowed to attack Obama (just as you weren’t allowed to attack Hillary and make her cry):

The bitter back-and-forth between former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama has led a prominent black lawmaker to tell the former president Monday to “chill a little bit.”

The two Democratic front-runners, Illinois Sen. Obama and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, are locked in a battle for the key South Carolina primary this Saturday.

As their campaign sparring continues, the Illinois senator seems to be spending almost as much time responding to Hillary Clinton’s husband as he does to the candidate herself.

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, one of the most powerful African-Americans in Congress, weighed in on the feud Monday, saying it was time for Bill Clinton to watch his words.

Hillary will be a better opponent for the Republican candidate because she is so strident and disliked, it will be okay to attack her in the ordinary rough and tumble of an election. Obama will be a disaster for the Republican candidate, because he’ll be untouchable.

Taking turning the other cheek too far

I won’t go into the genesis of the teddy bear kerfuffle, because I assume you know all about it, including the fact that a Sudanese court imprisoned a British woman for 15 days for naming a teddy bear Muhammad, an insult that apparently has the prophet rolling in his grave.

The teacher claims, with corroboration, that she named the bear after a student of the same name. It’s not surprising that she had a student of the same name, since it is the most popular boys’ name in the Muslim world. It kind of leaves you wondering whether it’s an insult to the Prophet if boys sharing his name go off and do bad things, really bad Muslim things like drinking alcohol.  Should they be killed for demeaning the Prophet’s name? This whole event is a reminder, if any is needed, that Islam is a weak and paranoid religion that cannot sustain itself through the strength of its ideas, but only through fear and intimidation (or, at least, that’s the way it perceives itself as seen through its own doctrine and conduct).

Anyway, all of the above is a digression.  What I really wanted to comment on is what the teacher’s son said in the wake of her 15 day sentence in a Sudanese prison for mis-naming a toy:

Her son, John, from Liverpool, has not yet been allowed to telephone her but was hoping to fly out to Sudan to visit her as soon as a visa could be arranged.

He stress that British people angered by his mother’s jail sentence should not turn against Muslims.

“I don’t not want this to lead to any anti-Muslims feeling in this country.

“Everyone has been very nice, we have had a lot of support from Muslims in Britain, in Sudan and across the world.

My fear, and one of my mother’s fears, is that this will result in resentment towards Muslim people. That is something I really hope does not happen and I am sure my mum feels the same way.” (Emphasis mine.)

Does John really believe that pandering statement or is he just saying it because his mother is being held hostage? I have to believe he means it, because he could just as easily have said nothing at all. Instead, when confronted with a religion that doctrinally requires his mother’s death, either directly or through flogging, he’s decided to say that nobody should think twice about the connection between his mother’s ordeal and Islam.

While I think John is right to point to those Muslims who have been supportive, the highlighted language in his little press statement is an invitation to ignore a serious problem in the world today — namely, that Muslim doctrine and practices are about 1,000 years out of step with the rest of the world. (And if you need any more evidence of that, just check out the obligatory Muslim mob.)

The disconnect between non-Muslims in Britain, as exemplified by John’s fatuous statement, and Muslims in Britain cannot be overemphasized:

Poll shows Muslims in Britain are the most anti-western in Europe

Public opinion in Britain is mostly favourable towards Muslims, but the feeling is not requited by British Muslims, who are among the most embittered in the western world, according to a global poll published yesterday.

The poll, by the Washington-based Pew Global Attitudes Project, asked Muslims and non-Muslims about each other in 13 countries. In most, it found suspicion and contempt to be mostly mutual, but uncovered a significant mismatch in Britain.

The poll found that 63% of all Britons had a favourable opinion of Muslims, down slightly from 67% in 2004, suggesting last year’s London bombings did not trigger a significant rise in prejudice. Attitudes in Britain were more positive than in the US, Germany and Spain (where the popularity of Muslims has plummeted to 29%), and about the same as in France.

Less than a third of British non-Muslims said they viewed Muslims as violent, significantly fewer than non-Muslims in Spain (60%), Germany (52%), the US (45%) and France (41%).

By contrast, the poll found that British Muslims represented a “notable exception” in Europe, with far more negative views of westerners than Islamic minorities elsewhere on the continent. A significant majority viewed western populations as selfish, arrogant, greedy and immoral. Just over half said westerners were violent. While the overwhelming majority of European Muslims said westerners were respectful of women, fewer than half British Muslims agreed. Another startling result found that only 32% of Muslims in Britain had a favourable opinion of Jews, compared with 71% of French Muslims.

Across the board, Muslim attitudes in Britain more resembled public opinion in Islamic countries in the Middle East and Asia than elsewhere in Europe. And on the whole, British Muslims were more pessimistic than those in Germany, France and Spain about the feasibility of living in a modern society while remaining devout.

I understand the above to mean that, while John is joining with your average Briton in saying that Islam had nothing to do with what is happening with his mother, it’s almost certain that your average Muslim in Britain, rather than agreeing with him, would be happy to join the Sudanese mob baying for her blood.

As long as a country seems to be constitutionally incapable of recognizing a problem, it cannot deal with that problem, and it will die.  In other words, denial isn’t just a Muslim controlled river in Egypt.

What I hope is that when Gibbons is safely released, she denounces what happened in the strongest terms.  What I suspect is that, either because she is given over to PC indoctrination or because she is afraid of future assassination, she will say only nice things about a religion that wants only the worst for the West.

Showing you can fight like a normal person

One of the things candidates cannot afford to be seen as is vicious. Nevertheless, especially in unstable, dangerous times, we want our candidates to be strong. Writing at Red State, Erick believes that the Republican candidates would do well to show a little strength in dealing with Chris Matthews, who is currently slated to “host” the upcoming Republican debate. Here’s Erick’s take on the matter:

The Democrats will not participate in a debate with Fox News hosts, lest they be asked difficult questions. Nonetheless, the GOP will have yet another MSNBC debate on Tuesday with Chris Matthews, who offered these choice words last night:

“[The Bush Administration has] finally been caught in their criminality,” Matthews continued, although he did not specify the exact criminal behavior to which he referred. He then drew an obvious Bush-Nixon parallel by saying, “Spiro Agnew was not an American hero.”

Matthews left the throng of Washington A-listers with a parting shot at Cheney: “God help us if we had Cheney during the Cuban missile crisis. We’d all be under a parking lot.”

You know, I will be gravely disappointed if the GOP candidates do not make an issue of this at the debate.

If the GOP candidates are too chicken to take on Chris Matthews before a live television audience on Matthew’s gross bias, they will have disgraced us all.

Read the rest here.

Note that Erick is not suggesting that they stage a walkout, a la the ever so passive aggressive Democrats, who can’t bear to face people who hurt their feelings. Nor is he saying that they should engage in some vicious, squealing, unfair attack against Matthews. Instead, as I read it, he’s simply saying that they should call Matthews to account for his words and his attitude.

I would love to see that. I think I’ve commented before on the fact that candidates are so tightly packaged by their handlers that there’s very little sense of any person at all lurking underneath those wrappings. I’ve come to some rather reluctant admiration for John McCain simply because he actually seems to have an independent mind. (That, and the fact that he’s a true and honorable hawk about the War, of course.) For real human beings, if someone is absolutely awful, you call them on it, although you can and should do it politely and with dignity (assuming that’s possible). And if you’re too scared to call a newscaster on his heinous remarks, how in the Hell are you going to deal with Ahmadinejad or whatever madman of the moment pops up on the horizon?

The thing is, I think average Americans would also like to see their candidates behave like real human beings, with real emotions, and real dignity and normal reactions, rather than these rigid automatons. In that vein, it seems to me that the candidates are playing to the media, which works if you’re a Democrat, but will never work if you’re a Republican. And since you’re never going to please those PC gatekeepers, just storm the gates and talk to the people, not in tones of demagoguery (that’s not what I’m asking for), but in real terms, like a real person.

They should have arrested them

As George Michael knows, it is illegal in England to have sex in public places. So, when four fireman discovered four men have sex in the bushes in a park, they could have caused a citizens arrest (if they do that in England), or called the cops on them. Instead, they just shined a flashlight on the frolicsome foursome (and it’s unclear whether their motive was to ensure that no one was being hurt, to figure out what was going on, or just to watch), and then returned to the fire station. Rather than breathing a sigh of relief that they weren’t carted off to prison, the four law breakers got belligerent — and this is where it gets farcical, in a very pathetic way:

Firemen who shone their torches at four men they found having sex in bushes have been disciplined by their bosses.

The crew spotted the men engaged in illegal ‘dogging’ – outdoor sexual activity with strangers – on parkland known as the Downs in Bristol late one night.

After embarrassing the men by pointing their torches at them, the crew continued on their way to their fire station.

But one of the ‘doggers’ complained to Avon Fire and Rescue, ultimately accusing the four-man crew of being homophobic.

The firemen, who have 26 years of service between them, were then suspended on full pay for three months during an internal investigation.

Yesterday it emerged that two have been fined £1,000 each, another demoted to a rank which will see him forfeit a similar amount of money, while a fourth has received a stern written warning.

It is believed Avon Fire and Rescue plans to give the money raised from the fines to a gay rights charity.

Among those being considered is the Jamaican Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays.

The crew have been transferred to other stations and ordered to attend an equality course.

But no action has been taken against any of the men believed to have been involved in the dogging.

Is it only me or is there something incredibly humorous about the phrase “embarrassing the men by pointing their torches at them….?” It seems to me that four men who elect to have an orgy in a public park are pretty much beyond embarrassment.

Unsurprisingly, the firemen’s colleagues, who haven’t had a gag order placed on them, are unhappy:

But one of their colleagues said yesterday: ‘This is a complete farce. All four officers have been let down by their senior officers when they needed their support the most.

‘They have been treated as the criminals and it has been forgotten that they witnessed criminal activity occurring in a public place.’

Another fireman said: ‘There are a lot of firefighters in Avon who feel the four involved have been treated very unfairly so the service can be seen as being politically correct.’

A society has completely lost its moorings when criminals get to complain that, instead of being arrested, they were stared at while committing their crime.

Just as a thought experiment, I’d like you to imagine that it wasn’t four firefighters in the park, it was a family of four going out for a postprandial stroll, and it was their 11 year old who was first attracted to the shaking shrub. “Hey, Mum, I think there are some dogs in there,” he cries out. The family cautiously moves forward to investigate, only to find a gay orgy taking place. Try a rational explanation of the birds and the bees for your kids after that one.

England has become a very sick, sick society, and I’m not being homophobic here. I’m talking about the complete breakdown of law and order, where the distinction between wrong and right has been turned on its head (and it is wrong, very, very, very wrong, for people of any sexual stripe to be engaging in orgies in public parks).

Hat tip: RD

UPDATEZombie has filed a report from the Folsom Street Fair, which I last observed about 20 years ago.  I went then to see it purely as a curious spectator, and left quickly, disgusted by the casual perversion of it all.  It’s gotten lots, lots, lots, lots worse in 20 years.  Zombie’s report is hedged with warnings, and you really should take them seriously before reading the descriptions and checking the photographs.  That children were there is shocking.   Those kids are going to grow up craving pure celibacy.

In any event, I mention it here, because it ties in perfectly with this story from Britain about the vanishing line between public and private, especially when it comes to sex in public places.

PC abuse

Political correctness is deeply invested in affirming all possible positive stereotypes about whatever group happens to be classified as the victim of straight white male culture (and that would be usually Jewish or Christian straight white male culture). To that end, it shies away from any unpleasant realities that might interfere with these positive stereotypes. This way, its practitioners avoid the risk of victimizing any group that has in same way (or so the PC practitioners think), real or symbolic, now or in the past, suffered because of its victim status.

Sadly, it looks today as if PC sensibilities aimed at protecting British gays left open to injury the most vulnerable members of any population: children. This isn’t my conclusion, incidentally. It’s the conclusion of a formal government report about a child welfare services council in the North of England:

A council’s political correctness allowed a pair of homosexual foster parents to sexually abuse children in their care, a report has concluded.

Managers and social workers were reluctant to investigate Craig Faunch and Ian Wathey for fear of being accused of prejudice.

Instead, they were viewed as “trophy carers” who, by virtue of their sexuality, had a “badge” which made their actions less questionable.

A mother of eight-year-old twins raised concerns about them with social services after finding a photograph of one of the boys using the lavatory.

But the authorities took no action, accepting that the two men had been “naive and silly”.

In reality, they had been using the boys for sexual gratification within months of being approved as carers by the Labour-run Wakefield Metropolitan District Council.

Faunch, 42, and Wathey, 33, were jailed last year for a string of offences against four boys, aged between eight and 14, at their home in Pontefract, West Yorks.

The victims were among 18 children placed with the pair, Yorkshire’s first homosexual foster parents, between August 2003 and January 2005.

An independent inquiry concluded that the children were let down by “failures in performance” of individuals and the systems operated by the council. However, it did not name the staff involved.

The panel, led by Brian Parrott, the former head of Surrey social services, found: “The fear of being discriminatory led them to fail to discriminate between the appropriate and the abusive.

“These anxieties about discrimination have deep roots, we argue – in social work training, professional identity and organisational cultures, and the remedies for these go beyond the remit of any single council or inquiry report.”

(Read the rest of the story here.)

Importantly, the British report is not about whether or not gay care givers are more or less likely to molest children under their care. Instead, it focuses, laser-like, on the fact that a government organization was so frightened of investigating the reality behind a specific PC stereotype that it rendered itself incapable of carrying out its mandate (which, in this case, was to protect children).

Stereotypes can be a useful means of understanding the world around us. Some are flattering (Asians and Jews are studious), some neutral (fair skinned people always sunburn), and some are mean and vicious (you can fill in your own blank here). And without exception, every single stereotype is wrong in some cases; many stereotypes are wrong in most cases; and a few stereotypes are wrong in every case. In other words, any stereotype is functional only when it serves as the beginning of thought, not the end of rational thought. To accept a stereotype without analysis is the equivalent of no thought at all. And when a government agency takes a stereotype and elevates it to the highest principle in its operating arsenal, leaving employees incapable of using observation and analysis, you can only end with disaster.

UPDATEMichelle Malkin has reported this story as well.  Incidentally, she has little to say, believing the story speaks for itself, as it does.  Her readers are more vocal, with 96 comments and counting.

It hurts that she apologized

FIRE has targeted the University of Maryland at College Park as one of the most repressive colleges in America. It’s created an environment governed entirely by giving all self-styled victims the right to take offense, with no vestige of the traditional Western university model of the free exchange of ideas. Given this narrow, emotion-laden, victim-rich atmosphere, it’s scarcely surprising to read about this horrifying interchange at a Co-op operating on school premises:

A recent incident at the Maryland Food Collective, a shop in the College Park student union, is a disturbing case in point. A student seeking to pay for groceries was stopped by the clerk. “Your shirt offends me, I won’t ring you up,” the clerk said of the message stamped on the student’s T-shirt, “I Stand for Israel.” After much hand-wringing and political posturing by co-op and school officials, the student got her food after being checked out by a different clerk. Then she apologized to the offended clerk and offered a chocolate cake as proof of the sincerity of her apology for being “offensive.”

That article describes a series of horrors. A store clerk who refuses service to a customer, with all its nice reminders of the Jim Crow South. The anti-Semitism inherent in the refusal to provide service to someone Jewish or associated with the Jews, with all its reminders of Nazi Germany. And the customer’s ultimate groveling apology, which makes me think of the horrifying end of 1984, when Winston Smith is tortured into a complete abasement that sees him thanking his torturer for having been reeducated. (Heck, who needs fiction. Just think of the Chinese, Cambodian or Vietnamese reeducation camps, or the Gulag in the Soviet Union.)

I’m just sick reading this type of stuff. It’s especially bad to read it while at the same time reading Bruce Bawer’s While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within.

Contrary to what many believe, Bawer’s book is not really an indictment of the Islamists, although he makes clear that he is completely opposed to the Caliphate they wish to create, complete with its indulgence in all the most vile acts and imaginings men can come up with to oppress and destroy those they hate and fear (women, gays, Christians, Jews, etc.). Instead, he reserves his scorn for the Europeans themselves, who have created a poisonous soup of arrogance, condescension and self-loathing, all of which has opened the door for people who have ideologies antithetical to pluralism, free speech, intellectual inquiry and tolerance. The University of Maryland at College Park is truly a European style institution and that, believe me, is no compliment.