Quick links, pre-Christmas Eve edition

Victorian posy of pansiesI have a legal memo to write, so of course I had to check out all sorts of stuff on the internet first.  Here’s a quick run-down.

The Left loves to talk about McCarthyism.  The Left also loves to practice McCarthyism.  John O’Sullivan reminds us that GLAAD’s approach to the Robertson clan is a perfect example of the old-fashioned blacklist:  destroying the livelihood of those who hold that wrong belief system.  Whether you’re a baker, or a photographer, or a TV figure, if you don’t support gay marriage, plan to be driven to the poor house.  It was a bad idea in the 1950s, and it’s a bad idea now.

Not only did Glenn Reynolds write his usual great USA Today column (this one about Obama’s bad 2013 and the probability that 2014 will be worse), but he opened with a Soviet-era joke.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that most Soviet-era jokes need few or no changes to work in Obama’s America.

I’ve spoken before at this blog about the execrable Peter Singer, who holds an endowed chair at Princeton, who is the intellectual father of PETA, and who believes parents should have a 30 day window within which to euthanize handicapped newborns.  (Never mind that those handicaps may hide brilliant minds and powerful souls.)  I thought of Singer when I read Matt Walsh’s powerful post about the chasm between those who understand that we must support life and those who embrace death (the deaths of others, of course; never of themselves).

Rand Paul gets an A+++ for his wonderful embrace of Festivus.  If you haven’t read the stream of tweets he sent out, you must.  They’re clever, charming, and very on point.  As a political move, Paul couldn’t have done better.

Yes, Obamacare drives up the cost of health insurance for the middle class.  But if you’re a member of the middle class who’s upset about the costly lies Obama told you (less money! same doctors!), apparently you should quit your whining.  You are merely a sacrifice to the greater good.

Beware that, if the Muslim nations have their way, it will henceforth be illegal to mention Muslims’ propensity for violence or any of the other less savory aspects of their faith. Of course, such a law will simply put a legal gloss on what’s already happening.  After all, hasn’t the administration told us repeatedly that the Fort Hood massacre was “workplace violence,” while the Benghazi massacre was a film review run amok?  No Muslims here.  Just move along.

The headlines proclaim that Obama signed up for Obamacare.  Except that he didn’t — as with everything else about Obamacare, Obama and his team are lying to us again.

A small posy of interesting things

Victorian posy of pansiesPalestinians only destroy.  Israelis not only create, they resurrect.  It’s amazing to see sophisticated plumbing emerge from the earth after 12 centuries.

Even the New York Times is being forced to tell the truth about those new Obamacare policies — they’re really expensive.  In isolation, high deductibles might not be a problem because, absent a chronic illness, they’re not a sure thing, they’re a maybe, and people will gamble on maybes.  The problem is high deductibles paired with high premiums, all for a smaller pool of doctors and hospitals.  Of course, you do get birth control for that money, but I’m not sure that the average family, facing thousands more in premiums and deductibles is going to appreciate that, thanks to Obamacare, they’ll no longer be out a couple of hundred annually in birth control payments.

Barry Rubin, who knows as much about Islam as any man living, looks at the West’s failure to understand that Islam is made up of two houses:  one of peace (for those who have bowed down to its tyranny) and one of war (for those who have not).  This world view has no room for compromise.  Those who do not fight have already lost.

Time Online, of all publications, unearthed the fact that, back in the 1990s, ACORN sued California to be exempted from minimum wage laws.  Its reason:  “[P]aying its workers more would require the group to reduce headcount and would make its workers less sympathetic to the poor.”  Yeah, it’s funny how that works:  if you force employers to pay more, they hire fewer people, and these hard workers, surprisingly, seem to become less sympathetic to those who are sitting around, often for generations, collecting the dole.  I told one of my Little Bookworms yesterday that the laws of economics are as unfailing as the laws of physics.  When you first jump off a cliff, you may think you’re flying, but you’re really falling.  And when your government distorts the marketplace, the short team benefits invariably give way to real world wealth loss.  (Hat tip:  Tom Elia.)

In most people’s minds, Quakers and pacifism are inextricably intertwined.  That’s not the case anymore, as Quakers have become one of the staunchest supports of Palestinians.  These Palestinians:

Palestinians proudly display bloodied hands from murdering Jews

Palestinians proudly display bloodied hands from murdering Jews

A civilian bus after a Palestinian homicide attack

A civilian bus after a Palestinian homicide attack

The aftermath at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva Massacre

The aftermath at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva Massacre

I said in an earlier post, and I’ll say again here:  The Left makes inroads into institutions, while conservatives abandon them.  Theirs is the better tactic.  Or, as I’ve also said before, Leftists have horrible ideals and great tactics; conservatives have great ideals and horrible tactics.

An embarassment of riches; or links to all over

Quick Link and Open Thread image

There’s so much good stuff out there, I’m just going to spill it all here, a la Instapundit.

Jonathan Tobin doubts that Obama’s upcoming three-week long “Sham-Wow” commercial for ObamaCare will miraculously turn around the public’s perception that the program is a failure and the president a liar.

The success of the president’s snake-oil show is especially doubtful given that the narcissists in the White House are now blaming the public for the website’s manifest failings.

Oh, and Obama junket will also have dubious success because news is leaking out that the Obamacare site is a hacker’s wet dream.

Right now, it looks as if Obama has finally been unable to fool all of the people all of the time, at least when it comes to Obamacare.

After Chief Justice Roberts resuscitated Obamacare, I find it hard to imagine the courts dismantling that monstrosity.  Still, it’s possible.

For people who want to see the inevitable graveyard of Obama’s anti-capitalist, anti-freedom, redistributionist policies, they need look no further than Venezuela, where the country has gone from stable to basket-case in a decade.

If you want to renew your driver’s license in Oregon, you’d better come in prepared with every bit of proof known to man showing that you are who you say you are.  Interestingly, though, you don’t need to show any ID to vote in Oregon.  Just sayin’.

I was reading Glenn Reynold’s article explaining why we should abolish the TSA, and I was nodding so hard in agreement, I looked like one of those bobble-head dolls in someone’s car.

I could dig up the zillions of posts I’ve done about the way in which the welfare state destroyed the black community because it was rational for blacks to put forth less effort.  I won’t though.  Thomas Sowell makes the same point, only he does so brilliantly in his article about test scores.

When you’re George Bush and increase AIDS aid to Africa, you’re reviled; when you’re Hillary Clinton and you decrease AIDS aid to Africa, you get a reward from the AIDS Foundation.  It’s not what you do, it’s whether there’s an “R” or a “D” after your name.

Regarding Iran, here’s the good news:  Obama’s an idiot, but the Iranians aren’t necessarily that smart (although, so far, their madman chess is a lot more successful than Obama’s amateur basketball).

On Passover, Jews the world ask “Why is this night different from all other nights?”  When it comes to Islam, if you still find yourself “Why is this religion different from all other religions?”, you’re not asking that because you’re engaging in a timeless religious ritual.  Instead, if you still have to ask that question you, like our President, are an idiot.  Islam is indeed different from all other religions and that difference lies in the fact that it’s utterly barbaric as written and as practiced.

No, Obama is not Hitler.  (He’s more Neville Chamberlain, with a large dollop of the Hugo Chavez school of economics.)  Nevertheless, the Dems couldn’t have been more tin-eared when they came up with “White House Youth” or WHYouth (to which I either want to answer, Why not? or I want to do an endless bullet-point list explaining why you’re not getting good public policy if you look to young people as your guide).

I’m sure there’s someone in the British government who could be dragged to a microphone to say, “Hey, some of my best friends are Jews.”  Nah!  Not really.  Because there’s no one left in Britain who could say that with a straight face, why Britain was able to ban Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller from entering England in part on the ground that they were pro-Israel.

Is it the Onion or is it just an ordinary Progressive news report about businesses in America?

And finally, if you’re a veteran and you can’t get a gun, Dom Raso has some helpful practical advice.

A little of this and a little of that

I’ve been cleaning out my email box, a process that always involves my apologizing to lots of people for appearing to have ignored their emails to me.  I haven’t ignored them, which implies a deliberate effort to pretend they’re not there.  Instead, I have done what I so often do:  fallen behind.

The cool thing about going through the email box is finding all these gems.  Some of them go back in time a while, but they’re still good opinion pieces or news stories, so I offer them to you now.

Back in August, Sultan Knish imagined what Obama’s obituary would be like were he to die in the year 2038.  My only quibble is that, to the extent that Obama is exactly my age, I don’t like seeing him die at a mere 77 years.  Our generation was meant to live to be older.  Of course, what with Obamacare and all, maybe in 2038, a man of 77 will be freakishly old.

Rich people can be nice too:  Helen Rosburg, a Wrigley Heiress, paid for a Marine’s dogs to be flown across country in a private charter when a commercial airline said the dogs were too big to fly to the Marine’s new base.

Plastic comes from oil, so it makes sense that a good way to recycle is to turn it back to oil.  My only problem with this is that, because it comes from “United Nations University,” I’m assuming that it takes more electricity (i.e., coal- or oil-derived energy) to convert than each bottle actually yields.  (Yes, I am cynical.)

As Americans are being pushed onto Obamacare will-she-nil-she, Congress is busy exempting its own people from the law’s increasingly onerous burdens.  Maybe we ought to have a clean-slate election:  everybody in Congress is automatically booted all at once, and we start from scratch.

Now that there’s no recourse, the Obama cheer-leading rats are scrambling off the ship.  This time it’s David Ignatius looking at Obama’s abysmal foreign policy failures.  Of course, all these people are still rats, because they knowingly deceived us, the were complicit in massive fraud (unless they were dumb as turnips when it came to the manifest failures driving Obama’s foreign and domestic policies), and the gosh-darned ship of state is still sinking.  They’re running for high ground, while the rest of us are drowning . . . thanks to them.

Isn’t it good to know that a Homeland Security adviser thinks America is a Muslim county?  Moreover, the Constitution is “Islamically compliant.”  Well, that’s quite a trick considering that the Constitution is about small government and individual freedom, including freedom from state interference with religion, while Islam is predicated upon complete submission to the religious state.

The core issue between Islam and the West is control over women

I have written often at this blog about the wise words a friend of mine told me more than a decade ago.  I can no longer remember his precise words, but I can summarize them:  Islam’s problem with the West, he said, boils down to sex.  Muslim men are terrified that accepting Western ways means losing the stranglehold they have over women.  A religious and political leader in Iran confirms just how right my friend was:

Ahmad Khatami, a senior Iranian cleric and a member of the Assembly of Experts that chooses the next Supreme Leader has warned Iranians not to fall into the trap of negotiating resolution of the nuclear issue with the United States. “If this issue is resolved, the [US] will raise the issue of human rights,” he said, explaining, “Today their problem is the nuclear issue, and when this issue is resolved, they will raise the issue of human rights and say whatsoever rights men have, women should have them, too.”

Read more here.

It makes sense, actually. Humans have needs (food, water, shelter, etc.), and humans have drives (sex, power, etc.). Once the needs are fulfilled, sex is undoubtedly the strongest drive. Western society constrains men’s sex drive; Islamic society constrains the women in service to men’s sex drive.

The utter depravity and nihilism of modern Islamic terrorism

The Watcher’s Council submissions this week are extraordinary, but this one rises head and shoulders above them all.  I don’t want it to be buried in the long list of articles that makes up the Watcher’s Council submissions.  This deserves to be read, read again, shared, analyzed, and otherwise trumpeted far and wide, because it is phenomenally important.  It is the most direct statement I’ve yet seen, not about the nature of Islam, but about the nature — the nihilism and depravity — of the violence committed in Islam’s name.  Moreover, it refuses to let the West pretend that the violent is anomalous, rather than being an intrinsic part of modern Islam.  In the same way, it is a scathing indictment of the moral cowardice and political correctness that renders the West incapable of acknowledging that modern Islam is very, very sick.  Its stark reality must be countered or it will destroy the world much more surely that Chicken Little fears about the earth warming.

The difference between Islam and other religions

Libby, a Bookworm Room friend, came up with one of the most accurate statements I’ve ever seen distinguishing Islam from other religions.  I have to share it with you:

The difference between Islam and other religions is that while other religions inspire their followers to control themselves to avoid sin, the followers of Islam seek to control their environment to avoid sin.

Did Kenya bring religion into disrepute?

I was trolling through Facebook, where one of my friends posted this article about last weekend’s events in Kenya.  (Read only if you have a very strong stomach or, if you don’t, are willing to be sick to yours.)  One of his friends, in turn, commented that Al Shabab’s acts are the kind of things that give religion a bad reputation.  I thought that was a surprisingly ecumenical comment.* I sat for quite a while afterwards trying to think of a single religion other than Islam that has, in the last, say 300 years, done anything even remotely like that.  I came up empty.

Until people are willing to admit that the problem isn’t religion, or even some generic “extremism,” but is, in fact, Islam, I don’t see us making any progress whatsoever in pushing back the barbarian onslaught.

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*I know “ecumenical” isn’t quite the right word, since it pertains to all Christians faiths, not all faiths, but I’m tired, and it was the best I could come up with.

As a Jew, why am I not more exercised about the use of poison gas in Syria?

As you’ve gathered, I do not support President Obama’s promised “show” strike against Syria to protest the Assad regime’s alleged use of toxic nerve gas against a community that presumably supported the al Qaeda rebels. To justify my position, I’ve pointed to the fact that there is no benefit to the U.S. in getting involved in Syria.  That still leaves the question, though, of why I, a Jew, wouldn’t want to see every country of good will make its utmost efforts to protest the use of poison gas against civilians.

It’s not that I think a Syrian civilian’s life is less valuable than a Jewish civilian’s life (or an American’s life, for that matter).  Based on the available news, I assume that those who died were just ordinary people, trying to live in a nation torn apart by an internecine tribal, Muslim battle.  If that assumption is correct, those who died are innocent victims, no less than those who lost their lives in Nazi gas camps and mass graves throughout the Pale.  So why don’t I want to help?

Well, there are several reasons.  My first response relates to my family history.  What’s happening in Syria is not genocide, a la Hitler, who wanted to remove an entire race from the earth.  There was no military objective underlying Hitler’s decision to round up 6 million people and killing them. Indeed, it was militarily stupid, because it diverted resources that were desperately needed for a two-front war.

In this regard, I know my views about “ordinary war” versus genocide are informed by my Mother’s experiences.  While she’ll go to the grave hating the Japanese guards who so brutally controlled the concentration camps in Indonesia where she spent almost four years of her life, she’s never been that hostile to the Japanese people.  “They were fighting a war,” she says.  “In this, they differed from the Germans, who were destroying a people.”

What’s happening in Syria is a civil war.  In the hierarchy of wars, civil wars are always the most bloody and least humane, in much the same way that, in the area of law, the most vicious cases are divorces.  Your opponent is close enough for you to hate wholeheartedly.

In Syria, we are witnessing a fight between two closely-related, rabid dogs.  These war dogs can be put down entirely or they can be ignored.  They cannot be trifled with in an inconsequential way, or they will turn the full fury of their wrath on the trifler, even as they escalate actions against each other.  If America goes in, she must go in to destroy one side or the other.  Doing less than that is futile and tremendously dangerous, especially because these are Arabs….

And that gets me to the main reason I’m opposed to intervening despite gas attack that Assad’s troops launched.  Perhaps to your surprise, I’m not going to argue that “Let the Muslims kill each other there, because it’s good riddance to bad rubbish.”  I certainly don’t mind Syria being so busy internally that she has no time to harass Israel.  However, that pragmatic response is most definitely not the same as delighting in the destruction of her innocent civilian population.

Instead, my sense of futility in getting involved in Syria is that what we’re seeing is simply how Muslim Arabs fight.  They don’t do polite warfare, with rules.  They do balls-to-the-wall warfare, with women and children as primary targets.  Their cultural preference when fighting war is rape, mutilation, torture, mass-murder, civilian massacres, and soaking-their-hands-in-their-victims’ blood.

When we oppose gas warfare, it’s because it is so wildly outside the rules by which Western warfare has so long abided:  we fire things at the enemy, whether guns, or cannon, or missiles.  Our culture accepts projectile warfare, but has been for at least a century extremely hostile to non-projectile warfare, whether it’s gas attacks, civilian slaughters, or concentration camps.

Within the context of the Muslim world, when it comes to warfare, anything goes.  If we stop one type of atrocity, they’ll come up with another one, because they have no parameters.

Also, to the extent all Muslim/Arab wars are both tribal and religious, they have no concept of civilians.  Whether you’re a newborn infant, a teenage girl, a mentally handicapped man, or a doddering old lady, if you belong to “the other” tribe or religion (and everyone does) then you are automatically an enemy and a target.  Today’s baby becomes tomorrow’s adolescent rock throwers.  That young teenage girl might give birth to another member of that tribe.  The mentally handicapped man is proof that the other religion or tribe is corrupt.  As for the doddering old lady, she almost certainly raised someone among your enemy.

I’m not saying anything surprising, here.  It’s why the Palestinians so enthusiastically target Jewish schools.

Incidentally, it’s worth noting that we did not go to war against Germany at the end of 1941 because it was harassing and killing German Jews.  We tend to leave countries alone, even when they slaughter their own people.  We went after them because they were trying to take over Europe.  To the extent the Roosevelt administration knew about the genocide, it kept it under wraps.  There was no way Roosevelt was going to take America to war over a bunch of Jews.  It was only after the war that everyone was shocked — shocked! — to learn about the scope of Nazi atrocities.

My daughter rather inadvertently pointed out how ridiculous this “mass slaughter of civilians” yardstick is.  For one of her classes, she is required to read three newspaper stories a day.  I suggested the report about Kim Jong-un’s order that his former lover and her entire band get machine-gunned to death.  I also told her that the regime forced the family’s of those executed to watch their loved ones die, and then shipped all the families, lock, stock, and baby off to the concentration camp system.  “They’ll be lucky if they die there quickly,” I added.  “The camps are that bad.”

When she heard this, my daughter, bless her heart, came back with a question that gets to the heart of Obama’s flirtation with bombing Syria:  “Then why aren’t we planning to attack North Korea, instead of Syria?”

Excellent question, my dear, especially considering North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.  We have shown for decades our willingness to stand aside when tyrannical regimes kill their own people — provided that those murders do not implicate American interests.  Even during the Cold War, our incursions into other countries were to protect non-communists from communists.  Since we couldn’t attack the Soviet Union directly, we engaged in containment by proxy.  In other words, our national interests were at stake, because the Cold War was a direct threat to American interests.

In Syria, however, both sides embrace Islam and hate America.  There are no parties there that need to be protected to further America’s security interests.  We should certainly decry the deaths of the civilians, but the average American on the street seems to understand better than the pettish, petulant Obama that this is one where we should stand aside.  This is their culture and they will defeat it only when they want to, not because of half-hearted, ineffectual, silly efforts on our part.

Obama is sort of beginning to grasp this fact, and he’s trying to save face by approaching Congress.  He assumes that the Senate will support his war cry, because Democrats are slavishly echoing him and there are a few Hawkish Republicans (like McCain) who support him.  He fully expects, however, that the House will vote him down, thereby saying him from the consequences of his own threats and posturing.  It’s quite obvious that he also expects that there will be a pitched battle on the House floor, exposing Republican callousness to a disgusted America.

Obama’s hope that Republicans display each other to their worst advantage in their own form of internecine warfare is misplaced.  Considering that only 9% of the American people believe intervention in Syria is a good thing, if the Republicans display even minimal good sense in opposing a strike, they will get the full support of the American people.

Satire for your reading pleasure

Did you know that the military has it’s own version of the inimitable Onion?  For those unfamiliar with the Onion, it is a brilliant satire site — and frankly, in today’s world, it’s very hard to maintain satire when the reality in which we live is so ridiculous and bizarre.

Anyway, a friend of mine directed me to a site called The Duffle Blog, which is a military satire site. It’s dedicated to churning out such articles as “US Praises Massacre Of Syrian Civilians Without Use Of Chemical Weapons.”  Yes, that’s exactly what happened when, for two years, our President was content to sit by as more than 100,000 Syrians died.  We all know that this whole “let’s bomb ‘em” thing is because Obama has to make good on last year’s off the cuff about crossing a “red line.”  Another incredibly funny one is “Admin Error Sends Bradley Manning to Death Row, Nidal Hasan to Gender Reassignment Surgery.”  Even the title is funny.

I wrote a post for Mr. Conservative about Obama’s proposed intervention in Syria, and ended up distilling in the last paragraph my problem with this whole nerve gas thing.  The lead-in to this paragraph was a quotation from Obama admitting that Americans are weary of war and dubious about any benefits resulting from lending America’s might and, possibly, her blood to yet another Middle East war, especially one that involves combatants that are both enemies of America:

In a narrow way, Obama is correct: The world does hold chemical weapons in abhorrence. We also know, though, that when Muslim nations in the Middle East go to war, they have a history of resorting to the utmost barbarity. In the context of their warfare, it’s very hard to say that a gas attack is any worse than cannibalism, random beheadings, and the use of children to commit their bloody acts. In other words, in the Middle East, the people themselves are the weapons of mass destruction.

Incidentally, if you want a good analysis about just how little Syrian fighters, Syrian affairs, and Syrian outcomes matter to America, primarily because the battle is internecine Muslim warfare, you can find one on my blog . . . in the comments section, from Kevin_B, a young Belgian man.

Douglas Murray’s “Islamophilia : A Very Metropolitian Malady” — a sharp, witty look at a Western world in deep denial

For a bibliophile, one of the joys of blogging is getting to review books.  I actually don’t review a significant percentage of the books I get because I find them unreadable.  This isn’t always an indictment of the books I receive.  They may be exquisite examples of their genre, but they just don’t work for me.*  Some books, however, are wonderful, and I can’t wait to share them with you.  Douglas Murray’s Islamophilia : A Very Metropolitan Malady is one of those books.

Murray’s premise is a simple one:  Western culture is caught between the Scylla and Charybdis of thought about Islam, both as an abstract religion and as a lifestyle force that a billion people around the world practice.  Scylla is the fact that anything that doesn’t affirmatively praise Islam, its prophet, its practices, or its practitioners is designated as Islamophobia.  Islamophobia differs from other phobias in a few ways.  First, it implies an irrational fear of Islam, which is rather funny when you consider that committing acts of Islamophobia, either intentionally or unintentionally, is tantamount to signing your own death warrant — and I don’t mean that as a figure of speech.  Salman Rushdie got real death threats, not poetic ones; and Theo Van Gogh got real death, never mind the predicate threats.

The Charybdis is that many people in positions of authority, rather than just falling silent about Islam have gone the opposite way and heap it with fatuous, extreme, and often extremely ignorant praise.  Some do this because they hate Western culture (American, British, European, etc.) and will praise any doctrine, entity, person, or organization that is intent upon destroying the West; some because they are too ignorant to know better; some because they inadvertently spoke the truth about Islam and, to avoid death, must do more than just walk their statements back; some because they want to skip the death threats entirely and just get straight down to fawning over Islam; and some because they actually like a religion built around submission, misogyny, and war.

Murray offers examples of each class of Islamophile, whether in the world of politics, literature, or entertainment, all described in pithy, witty, pointed, and very accessible prose.  Politics?  Learn about former British PM Tony Blair, who converted to Catholicism, but nevertheless boasts that he reads the Koran daily “mainly just because it immensely instructive.”  You don’t have to go as far as England to find fatuous politics at work in the world of Islamophilia.  We’ve got plenty of Islamophilia in American politics, starting with George Bush’s oft repeated phrase about Islam being a “religion of peace” (and you’d better say that or we’ll kill you) and going through to CIA Director John Brennan’s manifest adoration for all things Muslim, including “Al Quds” (the place Israel and the Bible call Jerusalem).

When it comes to the world of the mind (or perhaps it’s more accurate to call it “the world of the mindless”), Murray talks about the intellectual corruption that sees the London Science Museum, the New York Hall of Science, and the California Science Center in Los Angeles all host a vast exhibit touting “1000 Islamic Inventions.”  We all know about Arabic numerals (for which we are grateful, even if they did actually originate in India),  but did you know that Muslims invented everything else?  Flight?  A Muslim invention.  Cameras?  A Muslim invention.  And if you’re silly enough to think Erno Rubik invented the cube of that name, please disabuse yourself of that silly notion.  Muslims invented that too.  It’s one thing politely to avoid pointing out the paucity of Muslim contributions to the world of the mind; it’s another thing altogether to propagate gross falsehoods — but that’s what Islamophiles do.

Do I even need to point out about Hollywood?  No.  I won’t bother.  Read the book and watch Murray slice, dice, and eviscerate the Hollywood crowd that, out of fear, keeps resurrecting Nazis or parading corporate monsters about, all the while pretending that there hasn’t been a serious existential threat to America since 1945.

Murray seems to reserve his greatest disdain for the literati, describing in quite embarrassing detail how such intellectual luminaries as Martin Amis and Sebastian Faulks backed down from criticizing (fairly mildly, one might add) Islam.  They didn’t just say “we misspoke.”  Nooo.  When the long knives (or scimitars) were turned their way, these two “men of letters” became groveling sycophants who exhausted their impressive vocabularies heaping praise upon every aspect of Islam.

All these people are fools if they believe their slobbering love affair with Islam will protect them.  Like Churchill’s famous appeasers, they’re hoping to delay the crocodile’s jaws, but they’re deluding themselves.  Even saying complimentary things about Islam can be dangerous.  In a hysterically funny, but still depressing, chapter entitled “Islamophilia is no defence,” Murray relates the history of Sherry Jones’ The Jewel of Medina, which was meant to be a nice book about Islam.  Unfortunately, it made too many people aware of some habits Mohammed had that tend to rub at least some Westerners the wrong, with a child bride topping the list.  After you’re done reading the chapter, you’ll also want to weep when you realize how little faith the West has in the values and virtues of its own culture.

Murray is a delightful writer.  His prose is clear and assured; his wit pointed, but controlled; and his fund of knowledge satisfyingly vast — although what he knows and shares is inevitably depressing.  I recommend this book wholeheartedly, all the more so because it’s a very user-friendly length.  I read it in a couple of hours, despite my family’s constant interruptions.

It might interest you to know that Islamophilia is published by EMBooks, which is Melanie Phillips’ ebook press.  Phillips writes regular about Islam and antisemitism in England.  Read her non-fiction Londonistan if you want to have nightmares about the toxic combination of Islam and British Leftism.  Although written a few years ago, the book is as applicable now as it was when originally published.

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*  An example of this — a really good book that I just couldn’t read — is Dakota Meyer’s Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War, which he wrote with Bing West.  It’s extremely well-written and very interesting.  I’ve started it three times, but every time I get to that fatal day in Ganjigal, Afghanistan, the one that earned Meyer his Medal of Honor, I just can’t bear to read it.  I seem to have exhausted my courage reading Marcus Luttrell’s Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10.  I highly recommend the book, though, because I’ve read enough of it to know that the rest will be fascinating for people more courageous than I am.