Robert Spencer has some excellent commentary over at Jihad Watch
In my article at Front Page today I wrote this: “The worst aspect of this firebombing is that there are certain to be voices in the West over the next few days – some of them no doubt quite prominent and respected – who will call on Westerners to be more ‘sensitive’ toward Muslims, and to end this unacceptable hurting of Muslim feelings by drawing cartoons of him and making him the honorary editor-in-chief of a comedy magazine.”
And here we are. The reason why this is the worst aspect of the firebombing is that these pleas to be more “sensitive” to Muslims amount essentially to calls for restrictions on the freedom of speech and the creation of a special, privileged class that is beyond criticism. That is the death of free society and the road to tyranny, for the class that is beyond criticism will have a free hand to do whatever it wants, and what will anyone be able to say?
But Bruce Crumley of Time Magazine, like so many other enlightened liberals, camouflages his slouch toward totalitarianism in the guise of “sensitivity” and resistance to “Islamophobia.” The huge, gaping hole in his argument, however, is that he is making it after Muslims reacted violently to satire. Judaism and Christianity are lampooned on a regular basis, but Bruce Crumley never lifted a finger to call for “sensitivity” toward the religious feelings of others when Piss Christ was being displayed as a serious work of art. So Crumley’s argument boils down to saying that we should capitulate in the face of violent intimidation. This is not really about being sensitive. It is about doing what the thugs want so they won’t hurt us again.I’d rather die first.
“Firebombed French Paper Is No Free Speech Martyr,” by Bruce Crumley for Time Magazine, November 2 (thanks to Anne Crockett):
Okay, so can we finally stop with the idiotic, divisive, and
destructive efforts by “majority sections” of Western nations to bait
Muslim members with petulant, futile demonstrations that “they” aren’t
going to tell “us” what can and can’t be done in free societies? Because
not only are such Islamophobic antics futile and childish, but they
also openly beg for the very violent responses from extremists their
authors claim to proudly defy in the name of common good. What common
good is served by creating more division and anger, and by tempting
The difficulty in answering that question is also what’s making it
hard to have much sympathy for the French satirical newspaper firebombed
this morning, after it published another stupid and totally unnecessary
edition mocking Islam. The Wednesday morning arson attack destroyed the
Paris editorial offices of Charlie Hebdo after the paper published an
issue certain to enrage hard-core Islamists (and offend average Muslims)
with articles and “funny” cartoons featuring the Prophet
Mohammed—depictions forbidden in Islam to boot. Predictably, the strike
unleashed a torrent of unqualified condemnation from French politicians,
many of whom called the burning of the notoriously impertinent paper as
“an attack on democracy by its enemies.”
We, by contrast, have another reaction to the firebombing: Sorry for
your loss, Charlie, and there’s no justification of such an illegitimate
response to your current edition. But do you still think the price you
paid for printing an offensive, shameful, and singularly humor-deficient
parody on the logic of “because we can” was so worthwhile? If so, good
luck with those charcoal drawings your pages will now be featuring….
The French satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo, whose office was fire bombed after it printed a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad has reproduced the image defending “the freedom to poke fun” in the four-page supplement, which was wrapped around copies of the left-wing daily Liberation.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place hours before an edition of Charlie Hebdo hit news stands featuring a cover-page cartoon of Mohammad and a speech bubble with the words: “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter.”
The weekly, known for its irreverent treatment of the political establishment and religious figures, bore the headline “Charia Hebdo,” in a reference to Muslim sharia law, and said that week’s issue had been guest-edited by Mohammad.
The incident pits Europe’s tradition of free speech and secularism against Islam’s injunction barring any depictions seen as mocking the prophet. The publication of cartoons of Mohammad in a Danish newspaper in 2005 sparked unrest in the Muslim world in which at least 50 people were killed.
By Islamists defending the Orwellian “religion of peace” i suppose, or perhaps “a few drunks”?
[…] FP: Why is the West, aside from some few and brave thinkers, so blind in confronting the Islamist crisis?Reilly: Self-delusion is one problem and ignorance is another. Many in the secular West find it hard to believe that anyone takes religion seriously anymore. Since they have lost their faith, they don’t have the ability to comprehend the terms of faith in anyone else’s life. In fact, their incomprehension, their obliviousness to the sacred, is one of the things that inflames Islam against the West. We are essentially facing a theological problem and a profound spiritual disorder. People ignorant of theology are unable to recognize the nature of the problem. They want to create another economic development program in the Middle East, as if that will solve it. This is delusional and a total waste. The problem needs to be addressed at the level at which it exists, not by sociologists or psychiatrists.
FP: What hope is there that some kind of “moderate” Islam can ever emerge?
Reilly: […] At the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century there was far more intellectual ferment for reconciling Islam and modern science, for finding ways to adopt the best of the West to the Muslim world. These efforts largely failed. Things are now likely to get worse, not better.
The intellectual impetus in the Muslim world is not with those who see the need to reopen the foreclosed questions from the ninth century as to who God is and what his relationship to reason is. (There are such Muslim thinkers but they get no support from us.) It is with those who wish to return to the seventh century and replicate the feats of the Companions of the Prophet in creating the greatest empire the world had seen up to that point. The worse things get in the Muslim world, the more support these jihadists receive because they provide an explanation and a program that can be easily understood by those who deeply feel the grievances and humiliation of their situation.
It is not inevitable that the Islamists should succeed, except in the absence of any strategy to counter them. Muslim leaders like the former president of Indonesia, the late Abdurrahman Wahid, the spiritual head of the largest Muslim organization in the world, Nahdlatul Ulama, have called for a counter-strategy that would include offering “a compelling alternative vision of Islam, one that banishes the fanatical ideology of hatred to the darkness from which it emerged.” Wahid advocated a partnership with the non-Muslim world in a massively resourced effort to uphold human dignity, freedom of conscience, religious freedom, and the benefits of modernity before the juggernaut of Islamist ideology swamps the Muslim world. It was a compelling summons. It has yet to be answered.
There is another way to state this at its heart. The Arab Muslim world reached its apogee when it was at its most Hellenized, i.e. under the influence of Greek philosophy. It then underwent a process of dehellenization, a divorce from reason and the extirpation of philosophy. Its path to recovery must be in these same terms – a rehellenization, a restoration of the status or reason and a return to philosophy. Is that possible? As a twentieth century Moroccan Muslim thinker put it, either the future of Islam will be Aristotelian, or it will not be.
This week marks 25 years of America’s appeasement toward Iran, which began in earnest on November 4, 1979, the day Iran declared war on America. Ayatollah Khomeini’s thugs stormed the U.S. embassy in Teheran, Iran, and held 52 Americans as prisoners for 444 days. Despite a previous attack, the embassy’s U.S. Marines had orders not to shoot.
Americans were blindfolded, beaten and held in dank prison cells, according to the Washington Post. During one interrogation, an Air Force officer had several teeth knocked out. Jihadists told another prisoner, who lived in Virginia, the number of his child’s school bus. It was the beginning of Iran’s systematic military siege against the West. Describing his reaction to the September 11, 2001, attack, one former prisoner, Bill Daughtery, asked: “What took them so long?”
The terms of appeasement were set in 1979, when the war was first declared and America refused to respond with military action.
The so-called tax deal between President Barack Obama and the GOP has opponents who claim it’s immoral because it “favors” rich Americans and defenders who insist it’ll boost growth, create jobs and narrow the budget deficit. Yet the deeper moral point, absent from both sides, is this one: The rich deserve their wealth as much as anyone, the relatively-higher tax rates they face are obscenely unjust, and if anything, the rich today should be paying radically lower tax rates.
Let’s start with basic tax facts. The IRS says that the top 1% of America’s income-earners ($380,354+) now generate 20% of all personal income, yet pay 38% of all federal income taxes, while the top 10% ($113,799+) earn 46% of the total personal income while paying 70% of all such taxes. The other 90% of tax filers, making 54% of personal income, pay just 30% of federal income taxes.
The disproportion is even worse when you consider that the bottom 50% of all federal tax filers (making $33,048 or less) earn only 13% of taxable income, yet pay a mere 3% of federal income taxes. The Tax Foundation calculates that the portion of U.S. federal tax returns with a zero tax liability is now more than 35% and climbing–nearly double the share in 1984.
The $700 billion “Troubled Asset Relief Program” (TARP) was enacted in Washington three years ago this week, and while most economists, policymakers and journalists still believe it made things better (“helping us avoid a second Great Depression,” they like to say), in fact it made things much worse – and today we’re still suffering from its bearish effects. As just one example, a similar scheme, modeled on TARP – the “European Financial Stability Facility” (EFSF) – is being adopted abroad, further undermining bank stocks.
Those who fail to grasp TARP’s true impact will find it difficult to comprehend the currently-bearish impact of the EFSF. The problem with most U.S. banks in 2008 was not that they were “under-capitalized” but that they held so many shaky (sub-prime) residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS), assets which bank regulators insisted were some of the safest assets they could own, because they were “backed” by the taxpayer-backed mortgage GSEs (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) and thus required virtually no capital.
Instead of U.S. banks shedding bad assets, merging and raising private capital, TARP compelled them to take unwanted, high-cost capital injections with “strings attached” that became a noose around their necks.
The critics of bank bailouts are right to oppose bailouts per se,
but most of them ignore the irrefutable fact that in 2008-2009 most
U.S. banks were forced to take TARP funds, coerced into paying
above-market rates on preferred dividends, and compelled to run their
operations as Washington prefers (the source of the financial crisis in
the first place). Yes, most banks by now have repaid TARP funds, but the
Dodd-Frank “reform” bill (enacted July 2010) continues or intensifies
its evils while further institutionalizing government interference in
banking. Even though U.S. bank profits have rebounded in recent years,
bank stocks today remain 47% below where they traded when TARP was
enacted in October 2008, and 23% below where they traded when the
Dodd-Frank bill was enacted in July 2010. It is politically unsafe to
invest in the banks.
The majority of U.S. banks were perfectly healthy in 2008-2009 and
should have been left free of TARP. Instead they were exploited by
Washington – and unwittingly by U.S. taxpayers – not the other way
Are you a money-making personality? Apple co-founder Steve Jobs (1955-2011) certainly was, but so also are the lesser-known creators of abundant value in the business sector who sustain the world economy like the Atlas who holds up the globe.
These are the 1% of us, the rare giants of industry, commerce and finance who occupy Wall Street suites, Silicon Valley campuses, and all great cities in between. These are the best and the brightest, not the worst and the dimmest, those who don’t whine that others owe them jobs or handouts but practice the virtues of rationality, honesty, integrity, independence, productiveness, and pride.
Jobs’ recent death elicited the requisite commendations and eulogies,
the most worthy of which came from those who knew best his character,
life, work, and achievements. Interviewed
last August, Apple co-founder (in 1976) Steve Wozniak said “He’s always
going to be remembered, maybe for the next hundred years, as probably
the greatest business leader – or at least technology business leader –
of our time, or ever.” Like Bill Gates,
Jobs and Wozniak were college drop-outs (from Harvard, Reed College,
and U.C. Berkeley, respectively) – proof to young aspirants that great
success can come without over-priced college degrees.
Wikipedia defines Uncle Tom as “a derogatory term for a person who perceives themselves to be of low status, and is excessively subservient to perceived authority figures; particularly a black person who behaves in a subservient manner to white people.” The term “Uncle Tom” comes from the title character of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Whether this appraisal of the character is accurate or not is a matter of debate as Frederick Douglass praised the novel as “a flash to light a million camp fires in front of the embattled hosts of slavery.”
Today “Uncle Tom” is used as a pejorative to describe Blacks, such as Justice Thomas or Presidential candidate Herbert Cain, who do not support Left-wing political causes. Writes Ali Akbar in A Tea Party Invitation to Morgan Freeman over at Tea Party Brew about this kind of mentality amongst his fellow Blacks:
There’s already plenty of groupthink among American blacks. Over 90% of us vote Democrat with religious regularity, and we have been doing so for over fifty years. For a short time, I was one of them. I realized a few years ago that the Democrats’ promises of equality bestowed by government wasn’t working and will never work. I came to believe that redistributionist policies with the goal of social justice was essentially creating a new plantation within the federal government. Scraps might be thrown our way, but dependence on the plantation would be the inevitable result.
Over half a century since we started voting for Democrat policies, blacks in America are worse off than before. Black Americans are more likely to get involved with drugs, go to prison, and die younger than our white counterparts. Over 70% of our children are born out of wedlock. Our abortion rate has never been higher. There are two explanations for these results. 1) Blacks are an inferior race and can’t take care of themselves. 2) Despite the best of intentions, the government has created and implemented “social justice” policies that promote perpetual dependence. I choose to believe the latter.
Dr. John David Lewis talks about his book Nothing Less Than Victory.
Dr. Lewis is a visiting associate professor in the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program at Duke University. He holds a PhD in classics from the University of Cambridge, has taught at the University of London. He has been a senior research scholar in history and classics at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center, Bowling Green State University, and a fellow of the Foundation for Objectivist Scholarship. He has published in journals such as Journal of Business Ethics, Social Philosophy and Policy, Polis, Dike, and Bryn Mawr Classical Review, and has lectured on classics, military history, and contemporary political issues at numerous universities and for private groups. His research interests are in ancient Greek and Roman thought, military history, and their connections to the modern day. His books are Solon the Thinker: Political Thought in Archaic Athens (Duckworth, 2006), Early Greek Lawgivers (Bristol Classical Press, August, 2007), and Nothing Less than Victory: Decisive Wars and the Lessons of History (Princeton, 2010). His website is www.JohnDavidLewis.com.