When it comes to Islam and politics, Leftist stupidity unfortunately has the bully pulpit

People taking how stupid question as a challengeOne of the things that’s frustrating for conservatives is to see that stupidity is ascendant in our culture. And by stupidity I mean something very specific, which is that Leftists routinely use incoherence, ignorance and a complete lack of logic to challenge purely factual statements (or obviously humorous ones), and then congratulate themselves endlessly on their cleverness and the fact that the successfully “pwned” a stupid conservative.

Even worse, these illogical, incorrect arguments become the dominant narrative and are celebrated as wise and worthy. It has the surreal quality of someone being lionized and feted for responding to the statement “It’s daytime because the sun’s out,” by saying “No, it’s just a bright moon because I see cows jumping in the field.” I mean, we’re talking that kind of stupid.

Not unsurprisingly, the top two examples of this kind of stupidity relate to Leftist attempts to analogize modern mainstream Christianity to radical Islam. If you’ve been on social media at all, you’ll know that J. K. Rowling, who really is a stellar children’s writer, tried her hand at religious and political commentary in the wake of a couple of Rupert Murdoch tweets.

As a matter of fact, Murdoch’s tweets makes perfect sense:

Yes, most Muslims are peaceful, although Murdoch’s “maybe most” makes sense when one considers a few facts.  Six to ten percent of Muslims worldwide are extremists who have or will engaged in terrorism.  This means that about 96,000,000 to 160,000,000 of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are extremists are actively engaged in terrorism in their home countries or abroad, or are willing to be actively engaged..  In addition, depending on the country (say, Saudi Arabia versus France versus the U.S.) another roughly 30% to 40% Muslims (that would be 480,000,000 to 640,000,000 Muslims), although not denominated as extremists think that their co-religionists’ terrorism is a good thing.

Murdoch is sensibly saying that, to the extent hundreds of millions of Muslims think a jihadist is the good guy, there’s no telling when, or in what way, they’ll switch from passive to active support.  So, “maybe most” Muslims are peaceful; and maybe not.

The bottom line, which Murdoch understands, is that that there is within Islam a fractionally small, but numerically large, violent contingent of Muslims who not only approve of terrorism in theory, but practice it in fact. And as long as their coreligionists offer them moral support, the West is going to have to engage in long, bloody (very bloody) wars to stop them.  As New Age thinkers are so fond of saying, real change has to come from within.

This is as true of religions as it is of a person’s own psyche.  After all, history has shown us that religious reforms always come from within the religion, not from outside of it.  England and Europe in the 1500s were riven by reformation and counter-reformation.  If Islam is to leave its own Middle Ages, Muslims have to make it happen — and it’s not going to be the terrorists who do it. Egyptian President Sisi is trying to start this process, and Leftists would do better to praise him than to snipe at Murdoch.

Murdoch is also factually correct when he says that jihadists are highly active from the Philippines to Africa to Europe to the US.  Every person who reads the news knows this, but the dominant PC political and social classes in the West don’t want to acknowledge this reality. Which brings us back to where I started, which is the amazingly stupid responses Rowling came up with. These are the things that Leftist idiots (yes, idiots) consider a slam dunk:

I have to ask: What in the world does Rowling mean? Has Murdoch slaughtered journalists, raped and enslaved women, crucified Christians, stoned “adulterers”, hanged homosexuals? And more than that, is Rowling saying that whatever it is that Murdoch did of which she disapproves, his acts arose directly because of his interpretation of Christian Biblical mandates?

Asking those questions reveals that Rowlings tweet is an incoherent mess that can best be interpreted as a meaningless non sequitur. Such is the stupidity of the Left, though, that Rowling was immediately hailed as a debating genius.  This only encouraged her. Rowling therefore doubled down on stupid:

Uh, pardon me, J.K. but would you remind me when the inquisition (which was a perversion of Christian doctrine) took place? [Cricket sounds.]

Never mind. I know you can’t answer that. I can, though.  The Spanish Inquisition’s heyday was in the late 15th century in Spain. Catholics, appalled by the violent perversion of Christ’s teachings, eventually abandoned the Inquisition. There is no more Spanish Inquisition.

The Muslim inquisition, on the other hand, has been ebbing and flowing relentlessly since the 7th century. We are in a period of flow, and stupid tweets such as Rowlings are of no help whatsoever to those Muslims who, like Christians of yore, would like reform.

Oh, and about Jim Bakker.  When his behavior came to light, Christians immediately did what Murdoch asks of Muslims: They didn’t deny his Christianity, thereby disassociating themselves for any responsibility for his wrongdoing; instead, they castigated him for violating core Christian precepts.

“Go away and sin no more!” Christians said to Bakker.  This differs greatly from the Leftist and Muslim response to Jihadists, which translates to “You’re embarrassing me right now, so I’m going to pretend I don’t know you, but meet me for dinner later when no one’s paying attention.”

Rowling rounded out her idiot trilogy with this racist tweet:

As I read that, Rowling is saying we shouldn’t be getting our knickers in a twist, because the important point to remember is that Muslims really get their kicks slaughtering other Muslims. That is correct. But rather than seeing this as further evidence of the problem with Islam, J.K. “The Great Debater” Rowling believes this horrible truth shuts down any critiques of Islam.  I think this last tweet establishes more clearly than anything else could ever have that Rowling’s a racist. Her bottom line is that, as long as the brown-skinned people are killing each other, we don’t need to care.

Sadly, Rowling isn’t the only brainless Leftist with a bully pulpit (and honestly, it’ll be hard ever for me really to admire the whole Harry Potter series again). My Progressive friends have been kvelling about some guy named James O’Brien who, they claim, really shut down someone who dared say Islam was somehow connected to the whole “Allahu Akbar”-“I love ISIS”-“Don’t diss Mohamed”-“Kill the Jews” attacks in Paris last week.

It began when a caller to O’Brien’s show said Muslims owe the world an apology. I’ll agree that the statement went a bit too far.  But the reality is that the opposite is true:  It’s not that Muslims need to apologize (although they should challenge and excoriate their co-religionists).  It’s that Muslims need to stop saying after every “Allahu Akbar” attack that that they, the Muslims, are the real victims (as opposed to the dead and wounded) because of potential hate crimes that never happen.

But back to that alleged O’Brien shut-out:

O’Brien then replies by asking the caller if he had apologised for the attacks, prompting the caller to reply ‘Why would I need to apologise for that’.

It’s at this point that O’Brien really begins to make the caller look a bit silly, and replies by stating that a previous Muslim caller would have no need to apologise either, as the attack occurred when he was in Berkshire and was not committed in the name of Islam.

O’Brien continues to question the man, called Richard, by saying that the failed shoe bomb attack of 2001 was committed by a man called Richard Reid, and by the caller’s logic, he should consequently apologise for atrocities committed in the name of all Richards, irrespective of being entirely different people.

Apparently O’Brien missed school on the days when the teacher instructed students about common denominators. Let me say this again, in words of few syllables: Not all Muslims are terrorists, but almost all terrorists are Muslims.

To take O’Brien’s puerile argument as a starting point in our common denominator lesson, the name Richard is not a common denominator. Being an army psychiatrist at Fort Hood is not a common denominator. Being two Chechen brothers in Boston is not a common denominator. Living in Sheffield is not a common denominator. Attending flight school is not a common denominator. Having bombs in your undies is not a common denominator.  (Yes, I can do this all day.) Looking at all the bombings, knifings, shootings, crashings, burnings, bombings, etc, over the past few years around the world, the common denominator is . . . drum roll, please . . . ISLAM!

There is a problem in Islam. There is a cancer in the Koran. People from all over the world, when they start taking the Koran too seriously, go rabid. That’s the common denominator and that’s what we need to talk about.

The Left, of course, headed by world chief Leftist Obama, can’t bear to talk about this common denominator. To the extent Obama couldn’t even make himself show up in Paris for what was, admittedly, a spectacle, not a solution, Roger Simon sums up Obama’s and the Left’s problem:

There had to have been a reason for his non-attendance and the bizarre dissing of this event by his administration. I believe it stems from this: There are two words our president seems constitutionally unable to put together — “Islamic” and “terrorism.” For Obama (and, as a sideshow, the zany Howard Dean), these terms are mutually exclusive, an oxymoron. Appearing in Paris, Obama might be put in the unusual position of having to link them, our complaisant press rarely having the nerve to ask such an impertinent question.

For my last example of Leftist stupidity, arising from denying facts and ignoring logic, let me leave the world of Muslim terrorism and head for climate change. Gizmodo, which occasionally has amusing stuff, decided to go off the rails with an attack against Ted Cruz for being “anti-Science.” This is a hot issue because, with the Senate now in Republican hands, Ted Cruz will be overseeing NASA.

During the past six years, NASA has put on the back burner stupid hard science things like space exploration.  (Hard science, you know, is sexist, whether one is talking about hula shirts or the masculinist hegemony demanding accurate answers in math.) Instead, it’s devoted itself to (a) making nice with Islam and (b) panicking about climate change.

Ted Cruz, bright guy that he is, has made it clear that he intends to rip NASA out of its feminist, Islamophilic, climate change routine and force it back into racist, sexist hard science.  The minds at Gizmodo know what this means: Cruz must be destroyed. To that end, the Gizmodo team assembled what they describe Cruz’s embarrassing, laughably dumb quotes about science.  Too bad for the Gizmodo team that everything Cruz said was accurate, rhetorical, or humorous (not that these facts stopped the article from spreading like wildfire through Leftist social media):

  • “‘Net Neutrality’ is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.” – Ted Cruz on net neutrality.  [Bookworm here:  This is a rhetorical argument that goes to Cruz’s basic political philosophy, which is limited government.  Nothing dumb about this clever rhetorical take on things.]

 

  • “The last 15 years, there has been no recorded warming. Contrary to all the theories that they are expounding, there should have been warming over the last 15 years. It hasn’t happened.”– Ted Cruz on climate change.  [Bookworm here:  This quotation is out of date because, for the past 18 years, there has been no global warming, despite all promises to the contrary.  Ted Cruz isn’t dumb.  He’s factually accurate. And a word to the dodos at the Washington Post: local weather variations and temperatures are not the same as global warming.  If that was the case, with the record-breaking winter temperatures the last couple of years, we’d be talking about global cooling.  Oh, and while I’m on the subject of global cooling….]

 

  • “You know, back in the ’70s — I remember the ’70s, we were told there was global cooling. And everyone was told global cooling was a really big problem. And then that faded.” – Ted Cruz on climate change [Bookworm here:  Absolutely correct.  Back in the 1970s, people were talking about global cooling.  Climate fanatics are now trying to downplay that, of course, but the fact remains that the heart of the infamous Time Magazine article so many cite was that the earth was indeed cooling.  Once again, nothing dumb about Cruz’s statement.  It’s factually accurate.]

 

  • “You always have to be worried about something that is considered a so-called scientific theory that fits every scenario. Climate change, as they have defined it, can never be disproved, because whether it gets hotter or whether it gets colder, whatever happens, they’ll say, well, it’s changing, so it proves our theory.” – Ted Cruz on climate change[Bookworm here:  Again, true, not dumb.  Global warming morphed into climate change because the theory had to adapt when the facts change.  Every time some prediction proves wrong (whether melting glaciers, dead polar bears, or rising waters), the theory flexes to accommodate the failed prediction.  This isn’t science, it’s faith.  Global warming has turned into a closed-system, non-falsifiable theory.  Score another point for Cruz.]

 

  • “I was disappointed that Bruce Willis was not available to be a fifth witness on the panel. There probably is no doubt that actually Hollywood has done more to focus attention on this issue than perhaps a thousand congressional hearings could do.” – Ted Cruz on space threats.  [Bookworm here:  Again, this is rhetorical.  There is no science in this statement.  It’s a joke, guys.  And let me add here that whoever said Leftists have no sense of humor was correct.]

 

  • “I wondered if at some point we were going to see a tall gentleman in a mechanical breathing apparatus come forward and say in a deep voice say, “Mike Lee, I am your father” … and just like in “Star Wars” movies the empire will strike back.” – Ted Cruz during his 21-hour Obamacare speech.  [Bookworm here:  Let me get this right:  Gizmodo is saying that making a pop culture reference to a movie is the same as making dumb scientific statements?  I think Gizmodo is grossly guilty of making stupid pop culture statements.]

 

  • “The authorizing committees are free to set their agency budgets, and that includes NASA.” – Ted Cruz when he tried to cut NASA funding in 2013 (This one is more scary than stupid, since Cruz is now in charge of agency budgets.)  [Bookworm here:  As for me, all I can say is hank God someone who actually understands the difference between fact, humor, science, non-falsifiable belief systems, and pop culture, is finally in charge of at least one facet of our government.  At long last, we can stop using taxpayer dollars so our space program can fund Muslim outreach and continue to salvage a scientific theory that has been proven wrong every stop of the way.]

 

  • “Each day I learn what a scoundrel I am.” – Ted Cruz on his attempts to defund Obamacare [Bookworm here:  Yet another cute rhetorical statement and one, moreover, that has nothing to do with science.  It is interesting, though, to see it in the context of a blog post at a major internet site that has shown itself exceptionally humorless and ignorant in its efforts to tar as a scoundrel a man who has a firm grasp on reality, facts, science, and humor.]

There you have it:  three examples of simply abject stupidity on the part of those who lean Left politically.  I get it.  There are people out there who never learned history, logic, math, humor, or basic data analysis.  What’s so irritating is that they have such enormously wide sway.  It’s as if the world’s elementary school students, complete with ignorance and snark, have managed to take over the planet.  Worse, these powerful people with infantile intelligence are preaching to to the converted.  After all, their audience went to the same schools they did, and these were (and are) schools in which facts and logic made way for propaganda, moral relativism, and political correctness.

Take up Charlie Hebdo’s fallen banner and proudly display some Mohamed in your life *UPDATED*

David Pope image he drew firstParisians apparently turned out en masse to honor the Charlie Hebdo murder victims. It’s too late to wonder whether these weeping Parisians could have prevented this massacre if, over the years, they’d shown the same courage as the Charlie Hebdo editor, cartoonists, and staff. Perhaps if they’d stood up for their culture, these Islamists wouldn’t have taken the bit in their teeth. That’s water under the bridge, though, not to mention the fact that, with a president who promises that the future doesn’t belong to the Charlie Hebdos of the world, a serious case of the pot calling the kettle black.

What I know for sure, however, is that, for all the tears and the “Je Suis Charlie” signs people are displaying and tweeting, what seems to be lacking from the gatherings is any effort to pick up where Charlie Hebdo left off. In all the pictures of the Paris crowds that I’ve examined, the only Mohamed pictures that show up are the rare sightings of those in the hands of people holding actual copies of Charlie Hebdo.  See for yourselves:

#JeSuisCharlie Trends As Social Media Users Express Solidarity In Wake Of Attack On Charlie Hebdo

The Most Powerful Pictures Following The Attack On Charlie Hebdo

‘Je Suis Charlie': Huge crowds gather across Europe after Paris attack

PICS: HUGE CROWDS FORMING IN PARIS IN A DEMONSTRATION OF SOLIDARITY FOR CHARLIE HEBDO

Je suis Charlie! The cry of defiance: Vast crowds rally across the world to condemn the gun massacre as Francoise Hollande declares tomorrow a day of mourning

[UPDATE: Apropos this last-linked article, Wolf Howling described the so-called “defian ce” on display in Europe as follows: “None of that is ‘defiance.’ It’s the herding of sheep who feel the breath of the wolf pack on their necks.”]

You can also check out the Twitter feed for #JeSuisCharlie to see pictures of the Parisian crowds — and still no Mohamed images. Mostly what people are doing is hand holding, crying , holding up candles and luminous smart phones, “Je suis Charlie” signs, and a few, very few, “liberte” signs — but no Mohamed.

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Charlie Hebdo attack: Questions for you to answer and an Open Thread (WARNING: AUTOPLAY VIDEO)

I am Charlie Hebdo

The main story today is the brutal Islamic terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo, the Parisian humor magazine that had the courage to do what few in the world are willing to do: ridicule Mohamed. Because Charlie Hebdo stood alone in the face of an ideology devoted to murderous censorship, its members got murdered. My liberal Facebook friends, who still can’t get over Todd Akins’ stupidity don’t have a word to say about what happened in Paris. I don’t blame them individually, but I do blame them en masse for their studious and continued efforts to ignore the bloody, raging, ugly elephant in the middle of the formerly-civilized world’s living room.

When you watch the videos — and I see “when” not “if” because people need to recognize Islamists’ savage nature — please do so with caution. Although the videos are not detailed enough to show gore, they’re incredibly disturbing insofar as they show a slaughterhouse murder of the type last seen when Al Shabaab attacked the shopping mall in Kenya:
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The Bookworm Beat — 9/10/14 Clearing The Spindle edition

Woman writingI started a long post a few days ago, because I thought I saw a common thread linking Ray Rice, women in combat, the Rotherham sex scandal, etc., but I just couldn’t control all that material.

The short version of my theory is that women in the West have never achieved real equality with men. From the Victorian era through the 1970s, they were denied equality under the claim that they were pure angels — men’s better halves — who couldn’t be sullied with real world considerations. (This was the theory, of course; not the reality.)

Now, they’re denied equality under the claim that they’re precisely like men, which they manifestly are not. Sure, we women finally (and appropriately) get equal pay for equal work, and have full rights under the law, but we’re also expected to take it like a man, fight like a man, and fornicate like a man, all of which deny us our biological reality.

As you can see, this theory is amorphous, hard to prove, and difficult to hold together. No wonder it bogged me down, although I do think I’m on to something.

Anyway, on to the round-up, all of which consists of interesting things backed up on my tabs for the last couple of days:

It’s irrelevant that Islam has a peaceful majority

A 2007 article by Paul Marek is making the rounds, although it’s being misattributed to a holocaust survivor. It’s gaining popularity seven years after its original appearance because, with ISIS on the rise, it’s more relevant today than it was back then. Marek argues compellingly what we at the Bookworm Room have already figured out, which is that the so-called “peaceful Muslim majority” is irrelevant:

We are told again and again by experts and talking heads that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unquantified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam.

The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars world wide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or execute honor killings. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. The hard, quantifiable fact is that the “peaceful majority” is the “silent majority,” and it is cowed and extraneous.

Moreover, as the percentage of Muslims in a population increases relative to the overall population, that “peaceful” majority starts getting less peaceful. Laurie Regan has chapter and verse.

We are right to be paranoid about Islam in our midst, not because of invisible conspiracy theories that we create in our own heads based upon the absence of evidence but, instead, because the Muslims themselves are rattling as loudly as a sack full of rattle snakes. On the fields of battle, on the sidewalks, in the courts of law, in the media, and everywhere else, they are telling us their racist, genocidal, totalitarian agenda and demanding that we fall in line.

The ISIS poster boy

Mehdi Nemmouche is the ISIS poster boy. He is alleged to have murdered four people in a Jewish museum in Brussels, and will be facing trial for that. It’s an easy charge to believe, since a journalist who was kidnapped by ISIS in Syria identifies him as a man who loved torture, and gleefully boasted about raping and murdering a young mother, and then beheading her baby. Oh, and I almost forgot: he’s also alleged to have been planning a mass terror attack in Paris on Bastille Day.

The interior minister is denying that last report, but I somehow suspect that there’s a germ of truth in it. Certainly James O’Keefe has shown for America just how easy it would be to commit mass mayhem. I’m sure it’s just as easy in France, especially with the complicit banlieus ringing Paris.

The real reason Obama is holding off on granting amnesty until after the elections

After threatening to grant amnesty to 5 – 8 million illegal aliens at summer’s end, Obama has now announced that he’ll hold off until after the elections. Most people assume he reached this decision because Democrat congressional candidates begged him not to knock them out of the running with an executive order that Americans have shown, in poll after poll, that they despise. Bryan Preston, however, sees a more Machiavellian motive than just preserving a few Democrat seats in what’s probably going to be a Republican sweep:

After the election, Congress will be in a lame-duck session. The new Republicans will not be seated yet, and will not control Congress yet. The defeated Democrats will be on their way out, and will not care.

That’s the perfect moment for Obama to strike, claim all of the credit from the far left, and set up the Republicans to open up the next Congress weighing whether to discipline Obama or not. He loves the optics of a Republican Congress going after the first black president. He also loves the optics of the Republicans electing to do nothing, to avoid those optics created by going after him. Obama is setting up a “heads I win, tails you lose” situation.

It has nothing to do with constitutional principle. It has everything to do with politics.

Sounds right to me.

Science fails again

The whole climate change shtick is predicated on scientific infallibility — so much so that even the climate changistas’ mounting pile of errors is itself proof that their theory is correct. This is how the Chicken Little crowd can make the risible claim that the almost 17 year long hiatus in global warming, rather than destroying the theory, proves it.

As best as I can tell, the new theory is that there’s some Godzilla-like monster lurking in the depths of the ocean sucking in atmospheric heat preparatory to its evil plan one day to emerge from the deep and breath fire everywhere, destroying the world’s major cities. (It is possible that I got the climate-pause excuses a bit mixed up with the latest Godzilla flick. But then again, considering just how silly climate “science” as become . . . well, maybe not.)

No wonder I’m enjoying stories of science gone wrong. The latest story is the case of the asteroid that was supposed to have missed earth, but didn’t.

Rotherham and Multiculturalism

No one is better equipped than Dennis Prager to expose the Leftist, multiculturalist rot behind the horrible story of the Rotherham rapes.

Incidentally, Ross Douthat, a conservative writing at the New York Times, tries to universalize the Rotherham story — sexual evil exists everywhere, he says, and gets a pass because of race, class, and denial. While I often find myself agreeing with Douthat, who is an excellent writer, I think he’s wrong this time. The Rotherham evil is a very specific coming together of Mohamed’s explicit statement that Islamic men can sexually use non-Islamic females, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the multiculturalist rot that saw English authorities deliberately close their eyes to crimes emanating from the Muslim community.

Israelis save Irish soldiers

The Irish, as a nation, loath Israel and have nothing but sympathy for the poor oppressed brown people in the Middle East. Last week, the brown people did not return the favor when they attacked a group of Irish “peace”-keeping soldiers in the Golan Heights. The Irish soldiers survived because the Israelis rescued them. The Irish, being Leftists, will not connect the dots and will continue to hate humanist, democratic, pluralist Israel, while worshiping at the feet of politically correct brown-colored totalitarian Islamists.

Joe Scarborough gives further proof that he’s a moron

The only real question about Joe Scarborough is whether his decision to have a show on MSNBC is prima facie proof that he’s a moron, or whether he became a moron through years of close association with MSNBC. What’s unquestionable is that Scarborough is a moron, because only a moron would say that football as a sport breeds misogyny.

I would argue a little differently: football teams collect warrior types, and cluster them together, which is going to exacerbate certain pathologies (drinking, fighting, womanizing, and sometimes, fatally, all three simultaneously). Certainly the teams that gather together these testosterone-rich young men could do a better job of imposing discipline off the field, not just on, but football is not inherently evil.

Mark Steyn tells about Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America”

My favorite composer, one of his and my favorite songs, and Mark Steyn’s inimitable magic — it all makes for something you have to read.

The video below will allow you to listen to Kate Smith’s original 1938 performance introducing the song:

Can Europe Save Itself? What I Saw in Paris

Bookworm recently asked, “is Europe trying to save itself?” To that question, I can only offer anecdotal evidence from family and business visits made to France and Belgium this summer, shortly after the Greece-precipitated financial crisis.

Europe (witness the EU) is an uber-bureacracy. For centuries, Europe’s forms of governance have devolved into top-down, centralized governments that control virtually every aspect of individual life while disenfranchising the connections between citizenry and the ruling classes.  These trends metastasized under the EU and, following adoption of the Treaty of Lisbon in May, a treaty that cemented the supra-national power of the unelected EU authority. “Europe” effectively ceased being democratic. In tandem with this trend, European citizens have been conditioned to think less as “citizens” and more as “subjects” of their governments. Today, the only real power of dissent left to them has been to riot destructively in the streets or to paralyze their countries in strikes (France maintains a separate police force 100% dedicated to dealing with social disturbances). Setting parked cars on fire (car-b-cues) is a charming French tradition of civic protest that is now spreading to other European countries.

In this Bismarkian state model, the trade-off for political disenfranchisement has been a guarantee that the social welfare state would take care of all its citizens’ needs: retirement pensions, joblessness benefits at a high fraction of one’s previous salary, “free” education, public safety and health care. In France, this compact is proudly referred to in Orwellian terminology as “Solidarity”.  The EU compact also offered an end to Europe’s perpetual war and tribalism. As one of my elderly relatives put it to me, “my grandparents lived through three wars, my parents live through two and I lived through one. With the EU, I could hope that my children would never know war”. It’s an appealing vision.

Thus, for the greater perceived good, the vaste majority of citizens in France and other EU countries passively accepted what was handed to them, be it political correctness, Islamic migration, or economic and tax policy: why waste time worrying about what one cannot change? Such issues were best left for the ruling elites to address. Unfortunately, such also generated a toxic blend of cynicism, pacifism and lassitude laced with a nihilistic hedonism. Europeans stopped caring, partied on and stopped having babies. When government strips life of meaning, what’s the point of meaningful living, right? The Euros lost pride in self and pride in their own nations and cultures. They also lost their sense of civic responsibility. Whenever disaster struck in Europe (floods, heat waves, violence), I could not help but notice how passively Europeans deferred to authorities for help, rather than helping themselves. Rampant theft and vandalism is accepted as part of normal life: car windows are routinely smashed. In the nicest neighborhoods of Paris, the bottom floor windows of homes are paned in bullet-proof glass to discourage home invasions, which are accepted as quite normal occurrences…even in daytime. The cops seldom respond. In Europe, the victim is often treated as the perp while the criminal is perceived as the victim. One seldom if ever sees ordinary citizens sandbagging during floods the way we do in the U.S., for example – everyone looks out for themselves and leaves the heavy lifting to the “authorities”. Pacifism and passivity go hand-in-hand.

When visiting my relatives in France in the past, I could be assured that most (not all) had only vague ideas about what was happening in their country, their economy and the world. Most accepted the dispositions of the (mostly government controlled) media at face value. Moreover, why worry about the present and future (e.g., why save for retirement) when the government’s “Solidarity” will take care of it for you? And, while my focus in this discourse is on France, be assured that these observations apply also to Europe in toto.

All this has changed.

The Greek crisis, which closely followed the international banking crisis, caused a severe crisis of confidence and with it, an awakening. As a Dutch business associate remarked to me, “how can it be that we must work hard to pay taxes in the North until the age of 68 so that people in Greece can work hardly at all, pay no taxes and retire at the age of 60?”. Europe, like the U.S., is broken and broke.

The Greek crisis forced average Europeans to realize that the entire economic and political structures upon which their “solidarity” depended was about to collapse as the economic and political contradictions of the EU socialist state came to a head. An elderly gentleman I know – a world renown attorney, a member of the French Resistance, a former advisor to French prime ministers as well as to a U.S. president and an ardent supporter of the EU – looked at me and said, “it’s all finished, now”. I asked him “what”, exactly, was finished. He replied, “The EU, our peace and our prosperity”. The people, for the first time, were realizing that there was no money to pay for it all. For the first time ever, I saw fear and doubt in my relatives’ eyes. For the first time, I saw graffiti (most European towns are plastered with graffiti) and posted flyers denouncing the EU along with EU policies toward immigration. For the first time, I saw a steely flintiness in peoples’ eyes (not just in France) when the subject of Islamic immigration into Europe was raised. I saw also a new appreciation by Europeans of their heritage and values. Nationalism is on the rise. I saw more pride in France and its history, especially among the young. My daughter, who had been studying in France on an exchange program, remarked that many of the college students with whom she studied were returning to the Church and expressed a new-found resolve and pride in their country and heritage.

Before one can solve a problem, one must first recognize and define the problem. Europeans are still far from ready to take charge of their destiny. I just don’t know if average EU citizens have the wherewithal to resist and upend the uber-State and its entrenched ruling classes. A Tea Party movement would be inconceivable to Europeans, for example.  However, I do believe that average Europeans are waking up to the crisis and beginning to define the problems…all problems, including the one of Islamicization. This trend will continue, especially as new economic and political crises inevitably appear. In Europe, as in the U.S., the entire “solidarity” compact between State and Subject is about to go humpty-dumpty as reality sunders its foundations.  I suspect that the consequences will be very, very ugly. I saw evidence of this on my visit to Flanders, but that will have to await another post.

I do know that what eventually happens in Europe will have profound consequences for our country as well. This is not a crisis of European civilization but of Western civilization. We all face the same abyss.

AP writer seeks inspiration in trashy romances

This is supposed to be a “news” story about the Obama family trip to Paris.  It strikes me as coming much closer to a bad bodice ripper, with scary Messianic overtones:

People gawked and cameras clicked as the Obamas cut a wide figure through the French capital even while confined to a presidential motorcade. It was more personal for the few kept not so distant — the restaurant owner who “saw God,” the chauffeur reveling in a “magnificent mission.”

President Barack Obama, wife Michelle and their two daughters touched lives in simple ways during a private stay in the French capital that closed out a six-day presidential tour rich in history, symbolism and giant messages to the world.

[snip]

Michelle Obama, whose wardrobe choices are analyzed, gets an A-plus [from the French] for sartorial glamor, natural poise and sheer intelligence.

But the common touch the first American couple represents, so antithetical to the traditional pomp and circumstance of French heads of state, sets them apart.

[snip]

Boudon [a restaurant owner] was over the moon.

[snip]

“I saw God before me,” he said, “because I saw this smile that a million people have seen around the world. I saw her (Michelle) radiant. … It’s idiotic, but it’s like that.”

[snip]

Even the conservative Sarkozy appreciates Obama’s personal style and, multiplying direct contact with citizens, is desanctifying the office.

Barf.

By the way, have any of you noticed that while George Bush was lambasted for the fact that he’d never seen the world, Obama gets a free pass for the fact that (as far as I know) his international travels consisted for two years in an Indonesian madrassa when he was a kid, plus short visit to an obscure African village?  Apparently that’s enough to make him a sophisticate, and have people drooling over his big-boned woman.

Jerusalem — and Paris

The French Foreign Ministry has taken umbrage at the notion that Israel claims sole proprietorship over its capital city, Jerusalem.  Never mind that those who wish to share Jerusalem with the Israelis (a) deny that Israel even exists and (b) would like to see all of Israel’s Jewish citizens dead.

You know, if we’re going to go around sharing capitals, I think Paris is far too insular, insofar as it considers itself merely the capital of France.  As someone who, despite Sarkozy, has trouble warming up to France, I think I’m fairly similarly situated to the Muslims who have, shall we say, trouble warming up to Israel.  I think, therefore, that Paris should be my capital too.  And since it will be my capital, I should have all of the rights of the French citizens who currently lay claim to that City.

I can see it now.  Because there are more of us Americans who dislike France, than there are Frenchmen in total, when elections come around regarding Paris, we win.  I can just see Paris in a few years under this regime:  Those rude, condescending, supercilious French people, and those hostile, antisemitic, misogynistic North African Muslims will have been cordoned off in a small French section (possibly one of the infamous banlieus).  The rest of Paris will be ours.  We’ll have a McDonald’s on every level of the Eiffel Tower; Hillary’s hippie museum can take up a wing (or maybe two) in the Louvre; there’ll be power boat races on the Seine; the dollar will be the accepted currency; and police officers will be helpful and polite.

Oh, and if the French are right about Jerusalem, I can see that too:  Lots of filth and dead Jews.  End of story.

It is already happening there

The other day, I asked “can it happen here?”  The Radio Patriot reminded me that it is already happening there, in France.  Mark Steyn talked about the demographic destruction of Europe in his book America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It.  But he didn’t include maps.  The most striking thing in the link to the post about the radical changes in France is the growth in the number of mosques.

In our children’s lifetime, the Catholic nation of France, the nation that was at the center of unimaginable bloodshed to maintain its Catholic identity (think of the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, for example), will become a Muslim nation through a fairly bloodless, demographic coup.  So fall great nations.  I’ve never been a huge francophile, but I find this sad in a way I did not find the fall of the Soviet Union, an empire collapse I thought was (to borrow from Martha Stewart) a “good thing.”

What happens when the state is transcendent

People have always recognized Napoleon’s over-weening ego.  Heck, we have a whole phrase for it, especially when applied to men of shorter stature:  “Napoleon complex.”  Still, Napoleon is generally admired for breaking down the last medieval walls on the European continent, both figuratively and literally.  Also, people with a bone to pick against British Imperialism like the way in which he kept the British on their toes for decades.  And considering that he lost to the imperialist power, he has the lovely smell about him of a victim of, yes, imperialism.  In France, he’s lauded for breaking down social barriers and bringing about universal education.  All of which leads to the “but….” sentence, explaining why we shouldn’t admire him too much.

It turns out that there is quite a big “but” to append to Napoleon’s accomplishments — and it may explain, beyond the shared idea of world domination, just why Hitler admired Napoleon so much.  More than 120 years before Hitler, Napoleon was big on mass torture and genocide, including gassing 100,000 people to death using sulfur smoke in ship holds.  As with the Nazis, Napoleon believed in collective punishment, public torture and execution, and the destruction of those races he deemed inferior (Caribbean blacks, and Turks).

It all makes for harrowing reading, and it reminds us, yet again, that a State has no conscience so that, once its leaders set a goal, there is nothing to stop their most extreme efforts to carry it out.  Conscience resides in individuals, and when they are subordinated to the state, anything goes, no matter how foul.

Hat tip:  Danny Lemieux

American voters have their eyes wide shut *UPDATED*

Terry Sater writes about the fact that, coddled by loving euphemisms, Americans are marching headlong into the same dreadful socialist experiment that failed all over Europe — a failure that took place within the lifetime of every single American voter.  This is not a case of a few centuries or even decades having dimmed the lessons.  We saw socialism die, and we’ve seen the havoc it still creates in Europe.  Nevertheless, lulled by PR-approved phrases such as “Fairness Doctrine” and “Universal Healthcare,” we’re on the verge of voting in a completely Leftist government, beginning with the White House and ending with Congress.  I urge you to read his editorial and to email it to your friends.

UPDATE:  In the above post, I included a throwaway line about the havoc of Europe.  DQ appropriately challenged that conclusory statement, pointing out that many Americans think that Europe runs perfectly.  I happen to believe the contrary is true, based on reading European newspapers, having been to Europe myself recently, and speaking to Europeans here in America.  However, a combination of laziness and business meant I never took DQ up on his request that I enlarge on that conclusion.  Fortunately, Danny Lemieux did a lot of that work for me in a comment to this post, which I’m reprinting here:

Don, Americans go to Europe as tourists. They enjoy the tourist areas where people, on a day to day basis, look happy and prosperous. You can see happy people just about anywhere in the world. Americans eat great food (because it is different) that many ordinary Europeans will never enjoy, use efficient rail systems that drain public finances, and never have to worry about negotiating their ways through the regulatory mazes that define day-to-day life in those societies.

I happen to think Paris is one of the most beautiful and happy places in the world. I love visiting there.

What American tourists will never see is that I have solid upper-middle-class relatives in Paris, living in affluent neighborhoods, who must park their cars on their tiny lawns in locked compounds for fear of getting their cars torched or stolen, have bullet proof glass on their first-floor windows to prevent (prevalent) home invasion, whose daughters are terrified of being gang raped by Muslims “youths” (“un tournant”) and who, either foolishly or because their tax system leaves them relatively little disposable income, have failed to save for their retirement because their government promised to take care of them in their old age…when it is becoming quite apparent that their government can’t… and won’t. One of the reasons (foolish as it may be) that European governments are frantically allowing swarms of Muslim immigrants to invade their countries is because they need laborers to keep the economy going as European baby boomers retire, having left behind far-to-few children to take their place.

For the most part, Europe is no longer democratic. Ordinary people long ago lost their ability to make themselves heard, other than by rioting. Their governments are ruled by distant, unelected aristocratic elites, most of whom reside in Brussels. Freedom of speech? Forget it. Right to self-defense? Forget it. The right to own property? For far too many Europeans, forget it? As my astute daughter observed, they are simply regressing to their historical comfort zone, one defined by landlord and serf relationships.

Europe is a cesspool of age-old mistakes that get repeated over and over and over again. Americans just don’t know how good we have it here because we so-called “sophisticated” Americans have never had a proper frame of reference.

So, I will always love to go to Europe as an American visitor, but I go with no illusions about what it is and where it is going.

Some quick hits from the Brits *UPDATED*

Britain’s Telegraph has three interesting articles, and the London Times one:

Read about the vast difference between Britain’s and France’s socialized medicine. I’d certainly like to know what accounts for the difference before I start making changes to the American system. Color me skeptical, but I bet Obama, who shows himself to be remarkably ignorant about so many things, doesn’t know.

Speaking of the NSH, here’s one man’s story of what happened to him when he tried to improve his treatment for cancer. It’s a reminder that a whole bunch of socialism is less concerned with getting a good deal for all and much more concerned with making sure that some guy over there doesn’t get a better deal.

One British columnist offers a good analysis pointing to a McCain victory in November.

And some good news: Although it’s for the wrong reason (shock collateral damage in the form of Muslim deaths), some of the most outspoken clerics in the Islamic world are starting to turn on Al Qaeda. (H/t Danny Lemieux, who read it at Flopping Aces.)

UPDATE: You have to read this one too: Melanie Phillips’ marvelous op-ed about the way in which the British body politic is trying to bamboozle Brits into ceding all national power to the European Union (and the way in which plucky little Ireland is the one thing that stands in the way).  Phillips also disclosed the really dirty little secret, which is that the horses have already left the barn:  the EU controls most of British day-to-day life already.