Saturday, January 24, 2015
And why would they?
The Iraq War already had an official narrative in Hollywood. It was bad and wrong. Its veterans were crippled, dysfunctional and dangerous. Before American Sniper, Warner Brothers had gone with anti-war flicks like Body of Lies and In the Valley of Elah. It had lost a fortune on Body of Lies; but losing money had never stopped Hollywood from making anti-war movies that no one wanted to watch.
Even the Hurt Locker had opened with a quote from leftist terrorist supporter Chris Hedges.
An Iraq War movie was supposed to be an anti-war movie. There was no other way to tell the story. Spielberg’s own interest in American Sniper was focused on “humanizing” the other side. When he left and Clint Eastwood, coming off a series of failed films, took the helm, it was assumed that American Sniper would briefly show up in theaters and then go off to die quietly in what was left of the DVD aisle.
And then American Sniper broke box office records that had been set by blockbusters like Avatar, Passion and Hangover Part II by refusing to demonize American soldiers or to spin conspiracy tales about the war. Instead of pandering to coastal progressives, it aimed at the patriotic heartland.
In a sentence you no longer expected to hear from a Hollywood exec, the Warner Brothers distribution chief said, “This is about patriotism and all the things people say the country is lacking these days.”
The backlash to that patriotism and the things the country is lacking these days didn’t take very long to form and it goes a lot deeper than snide tweets from Michael Moore and Seth Rogen. Academy members were reportedly passing around an article from the New Republic, whose author had not actually seen the movie, but still denounced it for not showing Chris Kyle as a bigoted murderer.
Hollywood progressives are both threatened and angered by American Sniper. And with good reason.
The most basic reason is the bottom line. Between Lone Survivor, Unbroken and American Sniper, the patriotic war movie is back. Hollywood could only keep making anti-war movies no one would watch as long as that seemed to be the only way to tackle the subject. Now there’s a clear model for making successful and respectful war movies based around the biographies and accounts of actual veterans.
Hollywood studios had been pressured by left-wing stars into wasting fortunes on failed anti-war conspiracy movies. Matt Damon had managed to get $150 million sunk into his Green Zone failed anti-war movie before stomping away from Universal in a huff. Body of Lies with Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe had a real budget estimated at around $120 million, but had opened third after Beverly Hills Chihuahua whose titular tiny dog audiences preferred to either star and their political critiques.
But why spend over a hundred million on anti-war movies no one wants when American Sniper has already made over $120 million on a budget only half that much?
Hollywood progressives don’t look forward to having to write, direct and star in patriotic pictures and if they can’t destroy American Sniper at the box office, they can taint it enough that no major star or director will want to be associated with anything like it.
Adding to their undercurrent of anger is the way that American Sniper upstaged Selma at the box office and at the Academy Award nominations. Selma is a mediocre movie, but it was meant to be a platform for the usual conversation that progressives want to have about how terrible Americans are. Instead audiences chose to see a movie about how great Americans can be even in difficult times.
There’s nothing that threatens the left as much as that.
In a Best Picture lineup that includes the obligatory paeans to gay rights and the evils of racism, American Sniper distinctly stands out as something different. It displaces Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, the previous sure winner which had its obligatory drunken Iraq War veteran claiming that the war was fought for oil, with an authentic veteran instead of Hollywood’s twisted caricature of one.
American Sniper and Lone Survivor signal a shifting wind in which the focus of movies about the War on Terror moves from the organizational conspiracy theories that Hollywood liked to make to the personal narratives of the men who fought in them. Many of the smarter progressive reviews of American Sniper grapple with the fact that the time when they could even have their favorite argument is going away.
Progressives would like Dick Cheney to be the face of the war, but are forced to deal with a world in which Chris Kyle and Marcus Luttrell will be how America sees the conflict. The lens through which the left liked to view the war, its obsessions with WMD, Bush and the path to war, have been eclipsed by the rise of ISIS and the return of American veterans. Their worldview has become outdated and irrelevant.
It’s easier for the left to vent its anger on American Sniper than to deal with its own irrelevance. The most shocking thing about the movie is not any political statement, but its presumption in dealing with the Iraq War and the men in it as if it were WW2. It doesn’t confront the left; instead it acts as if the left isn’t there. It fails to acknowledge the entire worldview through which Hollywood dealt with the war.
The left spends most of its time living in its own bubble and is shocked when events remind it that the rest of the country does not really share its opinions and tastes. American Sniper’s success is one of those explosive wake-up calls and the left has responded to it with all the expected vicious pettiness.
A billboard for the movie was vandalized and attacks from lefty outlets like New Republic and Vox not only target the movie, but the dead man at the center of it. The smear campaign against Kyle has reached new lows, because in death he has become an even more powerful symbol of everything that the left hates.
Hollywood tried to “Vietnamize” Iraq in the popular imagination. American Sniper shows they failed.
Whether or not American Sniper wins the requisite number of Oscars, its impact on Hollywood and on ordinary Americans will not go away. The anti-war movie is in eclipse. The movies that tell the stories of the sacrifices that American veterans have made in the war against Islamic terrorists are rising.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
An article about Muslim anti-Semitism in France inevitably becomes an article about the National Front, which is not actually shooting Jews in supermarkets. Broader European pieces obsessively focus on the Jobbik party in Hungary which for all its vileness has not actually killed any Jews.
(The endless articles about Jobbik characterize it as a far-right European Christian party, but in fact it’s a pan-Turkic organization whose chairman had told a Turkish audience, “Islam is the last hope for humanity.” Its actual identity is based on a broad front of ethnic solidarity by identifying Hungarians as a Turkic people. Its anti-Semitism is anti-Zionist. Jobbik hates Jews because it identifies with Muslims.)
The usual treatment of Muslim anti-Semitism is cursory. History books acknowledge its existence while asserting that European anti-Semitism was worse. Modern media coverage takes the same approach by finding a useful distraction in the European far-right.
Muslim anti-Semitism needs to be addressed on its own if for no other reason than that it’s the dominant form of violence against Jews in Europe. And it has been that way for some time now.
Articles that gloss over Muslim Anti-Semitism to flit on to the National Front, which in this current crisis has shown itself to be less anti-Semitic than the BBC whose reporter Tim Wilcox accused a daughter of Holocaust survivors in France of oppressing Palestinians, are very deliberately ignoring the issue. The politics of the media led it to class together anti-immigration with violent bigotry. But the violent bigotry isn’t coming from the sort of people that the media thinks it ought to.
It’s not UKIP supporters that are hunting down and killing Jews and so the media avoids the subject until some violent atrocity forces its hand and then it blames Muslim anti-Semitism on a failure to integrate. Ahmed can’t get a job because of UKIP or Wilders and so he shoots up a synagogue. The Jews are just collateral damage in Muslim blowback to their persecution by European opponents of immigration.
Throw in a little something about Israel and Muslim anti-Semitism is transformed into a misunderstood phenomenon that really isn’t what it appears to be. Muslims don’t hate Jews. They’re just confused.
But Muslim anti-Semitism predates the difficulties of integrating Algerians and Pakistanis into Europe by over a thousand years. In Islam, Jews represent both a subject race and a primal enemy. Israel infuriates Muslims so much not because they care a great deal about the Palestinian Arabs who have been expelled in huge numbers from Muslim countries within the last generation, but because Jews no longer know their place. Islam is supremacist. Allahu Akbar asserts Islamic supremacy over all other religions. As an historical subject race, Jews are a natural target for violence by Muslim immigrants with strong supremacist leanings. The disenfranchised Muslim isn’t looking for equality. He’s seeking supremacy. That is what the Islamic State and the Koran give him. He picks the same Jewish targets as Mohammed did because the Jews are a vulnerable minority. That is as true in Europe today as it was in Arabia then.
Muslims had taken Jewish submission for granted making the existence of non-submissive Jews, whether in Jerusalem or in Paris, that much more outrageous. The Algerian Muslim can more readily accept taking a back seat to a French Christian than to an Algerian Jew, whom he knows would have been considered inferior to him if they were both back in Algeria.
The left has become so mired in a post-colonial worldview that it refuses to understand that the struggle is not between Western European colonialism and a post-colonial Third World, but between different eras of colonialism. Arab Islamic domination is not post-colonial; it’s a colonialism that predates it.
When Western leftists make common cause with Arab and Islamic nationalists, they aren’t being post-colonial, they’re advocating an earlier form of colonialism that led and is once again leading to ethnic cleansing, genocide, mass slavery and the destruction of indigenous cultures; including that of the Jews.
Middle Eastern Jews, like other non-Muslim and non-Arab minorities, welcomed European colonialism as relief from Islamic and Arab colonialism. France is filled with Jews from North Africa because they received their rights for the first time under French rule. As French citizens, they could shed their mandatory black clothes and no longer fear being killed because of Islamic law, like Batto Sfez, a Tunisian Jew who was executed for blasphemy in an atrocity that triggered French intervention.
Yoav Hattab, one of the Jews murdered in the Kosher supermarket attack in Paris, was the son of the Chief Rabbi of Tunisia. While the Chief Rabbi was, in the unfortunate Dhimmi fashion of those who live under Islamic rule, forced to praise how well Tunisia treats Jews, his son was buried in Israel. Israel was also the place where most Tunisian Jews moved to escape Arab Muslim persecution.
The Western left can’t talk about Muslim anti-Semitism because it would also have to talk about Muslim colonialism. And then the entire basis of its approach to the Arab and Muslim world would collapse. If post-colonialism in the Middle East is just the replacement of one colonialism with another, then the left would have to admit that it has once again disgraced itself by supporting a totalitarian system.
Just as it replaced the czar with the commissar, it is replacing the protectorate with the caliphate.
Modern histories of the Middle East excuse the historical Muslim persecution of Jews for the same reason the media excuses modern Muslim attacks on Jews. This historical revisionism justifies Islamic colonialism in the service of post-colonialism with the myth of a golden age of benevolent tyranny.
The post-colonial narrative obligates academics and journalists to favorably contrast the Muslim treatment of Jews, then or now, with the European treatment of Jews. This obstructionism has endangered European Jews even more than Jihadist videos advocating violence because it makes it impossible to discuss an urgent violent threat for fear of violating the left’s post-colonial narrative.
Muslim anti-Semitism must be discussed. And it must be contextualized within the history of Muslim-Jewish relations, not European ones like the National Front or Jobbik. It must not be dismissed as some transient phenomenon caused by poverty or the latest Hamas clashes, but viewed within the context of Islamic colonialism and the treatment of non-Muslims in the Muslim world. The treatment of Yazidis in Iraq and Christians in Syria must also be placed within that same context.
Historical revisionism for Muslim anti-Semitism is as unacceptable as Holocaust denial or any other attempt to stick a smiley face on the oppression of Jews. And what is at stake here is not merely history, but the root cause that drives Muslim men and women born in Europe to attack and kill Jews.
The post-colonial authorities of the left may not be interested in discussing Muslim anti-Semitism, but Muslim Supremacist anti-Semitism remains interested in persecuting and killing Jews.
Monday, January 19, 2015
Survivors described the Islamic State setting up efficient killing teams and massacring everyone
while shouting “Allahu Akbar”. "For five kilometers (three miles), I kept stepping on dead bodies until I reached Malam Karanti village, which was also deserted and burnt," one survivor said.
There’s a word for that. It’s genocide.
The Islamic State in Nigeria had reportedly managed to kill 2,000 people last year. This year they did it in one week. But we don’t pay much attention to what happens in Nigeria unless there’s a hashtag. No one has yet thought up a clever hashtag for the murder of 2,000 people. #Bringbackourdead doesn’t really work.
The Islamic State’s next target is Maiduguri, the largest city in Borno with a population of over a million. Known as the “Home of Peace”, if Maiduguri falls, the death toll will be horrific.
The Catholic Archbishop, Ignatius Kaigama, warned that the killing wouldn’t stop in Nigeria. “It's going to expand. It will get to Europe and elsewhere.”
Of course it already has, but not on the same scale.
“We will conquer Europe one day. It is not a question of (if) we will conquer Europe, just a matter of when that will happen,” an Islamic State spokesman had warned. “The Europeans need to know that when we come, it will not be in a nice way. It will be with our weapons.”
“Those who do not convert to Islam or pay the Islamic tax will be killed.”
Imagine that the burning towns and villages aren’t in Nigeria or Syria. Imagine them in France or Sweden. It’s not that great of a leap from armed cells carrying out attacks to a militia capturing entire towns and villages. They’re different phases in the same conflict.
Al Qaeda in Iraq went from a terror group carrying out suicide bombings to running a state in a decade. So did Hamas in Israel. There are already zones in Europe under the control of unofficial Sharia police. France has fewer Muslims than Nigeria and a more stable government with professional police and military forces. These two factors are the only ones keeping Islamic genocide at bay.
The massacres in France were carried out by the same types of men and movements responsible for the killings in Nigeria and Iraq. They just aren’t organized enough and still lack the numbers to conduct the same large scale genocide that they are already carrying out in Nigeria, Syria and Iraq.
Two Islamic States, one in Nigeria and another in Iraq/Syria, are engaged in genocide. Obama delayed responding to ISIS until it was already engaged in genocide and was moving on Baghdad. His people have done everything possible to avoid responding to the Boko Haram genocide in Nigeria.
The usual excuses are there. The central governments are compromised, incompetent and corrupt. The only possible solution is political. The real issue is poverty. Meanwhile the killing and the denial go on.
The European intellectuals of the last century were too fixated on their vision of a better world to understand what was happening in Germany and Japan. And what had to be done about it. While they dreamed of a world government that would do away with war, the killing had already begun.
The intellectuals of this century are equally unwilling to take their attention away from microfinance, climate change and world government to see the beginnings of a worldwide Holocaust underway.
Genocide isn’t new to Africa or the Middle East so they put it down to local tribal conflicts. Terrorism isn’t new to America or Europe, so they blame political extremism. Like the elephant and the blind men who touched its trunk and thought it was a snake, they respond to the local manifestation of Islamic genocide by seeing a familiar local phenomenon; tribal war, political extremism or minority problems.
And anyone who sees the big picture is instantly denounced as an Islamophobe. But what if the Muslim genocide of Hindus and Buddhists in Asia and the Muslim genocide of Christians and Jews in the Middle East are part of the same phenomenon?
What if the Islamic State killers in Nigeria who shout “Allahu Akbar” during their massacres share a motive with the 9/11 hijackers who were told to “shout 'Allahu Akbar,' because this strikes fear in the hearts of the non-believers”?
What if a common bloody thread of Koran verses runs through the massacres of non-Muslims in the Philippines and Kenya, in Israel and Australia, in France and China, in Thailand and Syria?
What if the acts of terror on the evening news are not random events, workplace violence, mental illness and political extremism, but the beginning of another global Islamic genocide?
The rise of Islam was not based on faith, but on mass murder.
Within a few centuries of the time that Mohammed had ordered the ethnic cleansing of Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula, the massacre of millions of Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists was underway across the Middle East through India and as far as Afghanistan.
The Islamic Holocaust was the greatest act of mass murder in human history. And it is still taking place today over a thousand years later.
The decay of the Roman Empire created an opening for the Islamic conquests. As Western civilization, which plays much the same role as the Roman Empire did in tying parts of the world together, falls, a new wave of Islamic conquest and genocide is underway.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," George Santayana wrote.
It would be a terrible thing indeed if we were condemned to repeat the mass murder of hundreds of millions and the eradication of entire civilizations under the black flag of the Jihad because we refused to remember the past or acknowledge the present. Because we were too afraid of being called Islamophobic to speak out for the dead around the world.
It would be a terrible thing if the Nigerian village of today were to become a Swedish village tomorrow. It would be an even worse thing if the Muslim conquests of India were to be repeated in Europe.
Genocide is an ugly word.
It’s a word that we have come to associate with villages in Africa or with old concentration camps in Europe. We don’t think of it as something that can happen to us or to our children.
But we should.
The Islamic wars from Nigeria to Israel, from Iraq to Kashmir, are genocidal. Israel may become the first Western country to suffer Islamic genocide, but it will not be the last. 9/11 was the first Islamic mass murder of thousands of Americans, but it will not be the last.
In the face of genocide, our first duty is to warn the world.
The Counterjihad is a war for our survival. It is our resistance to global Islamic genocide.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
As a deeply religious person, I have no fondness for blasphemy. My religion and its holy books are sacred to me. And I understand perfectly well why a Muslim would not relish a cartoon of a naked Mohammed.
But the debates over freedom of speech and the sensitivity of religious feelings also miss the point.
Blasphemy is the price we pay for not having a theocracy. Muslims are not only outraged but baffled by the Mohammed cartoons because they come from a world in which Islamic law dominates their countries and through its special place proclaims the superiority of Islam to all other religions.
Almost all Muslim countries are theocracies of one sort or another as a legacy of the Islamic conquests which Islamized them.
Egyptian President Sisi’s gesture of attending a Coptic mass was so revolutionary because it challenged the idea that Egyptian identity must be exclusively Islamic.
And Egypt is far from the most hard line of Islamic countries in the Middle East, despite a brief takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood in the aftermath of Obama’s Arab Spring.
In a theocracy, not only is government Islamic from the top down, but society is also Islamic from the bottom up.
Citizenship is linked to religion and even in countries such as Egypt, where non-Muslims may be citizens, there are fundamental restrictions in place that link Islamic identity to Egyptian citizenship. For example, Egyptian Muslims who attempt to convert to Christianity have found extremely difficult to have the government recognize their change of religion by issuing them new identification cards.
While we may think of blasphemy in terms of the Charlie Hebdocartoons, each religion is mutually blasphemous.
Muslims argue that the West should “respect prophets” by outlawing insults to Mohammed and a panoply of prophets gathered from Judaism and Christianity. But the Islamic view of Jesus is equally blasphemous to Christianity. And Islam considers Christianity’s view of Jesus to be blasphemous.
If we were to truly prosecute blasphemy, the legal system would have to pick a side between the two religions and eitherprosecute Christians for blaspheming against Islam or Muslims for blaspheming against Christianity. And indeed in Muslim countries, Christians are frequently accused of blasphemy.
Malaysia’s blasphemy laws were used to ban Christians fromemploying the word “Allah” for god and to seize children’s books depicting Noah and Moses. The reason for seizing the children’s books was the same as the reason for the attack on Charlie Hebdo; both were featuring cartoons of prophets.
While Charlie Hebdo pushed the outer limits of blasphemy, every religion that is not Islam, and even various alternative flavors of Islam, are also blasphemous.
It isn’t only secularist cartoonists who blaspheme against Islam.
“Mohammed seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasure,” St. Thomas Aquinas wrote. Maimonides called him a madman.
To Bill Donohue, there may be a world of difference between Charlie Hebdo and Aquinas, but not to a Muslim.
In a multi-religious society, in which every religion has its own variant theological streams, the right to blaspheme is also the right to believe. Liberal theology can contrive interchangeable beliefs which do not contradict or claim special knowledge over any other religion. But traditionalist faiths are exclusive.
Everyone’s religion is someone else’s blasphemy. If we forget that, we need only look to Saudi Arabia, where no other religion is allowed, as a reminder.
Muslims who question freedom of speech are not calling for a special status for all religions, but only for their religion. They don’t intend to censor their own Hadiths which claim that Jesus will return and break the cross or that the apocalypse will climax with Muslims exterminating the Jews. Their objections aren’t liberal, but exclusively theocratic. They want a blasphemy law that exclusively revolves around them.
Islam relates to other religions on its terms. It grants special treatment to Christianity and Judaism, despite nevertheless persecuting them, because of their relationship to Islam. It persecutes other religions even more severely because of their greater distance from Islam. Islamic theocracies are not respectful of religion, but respectful of Islam and disrespectful of all other religions.
Religious people need not embrace the extremes of French secularism or the anti-religious positions of the ACLU to see that some distance between religion and state is a good thing for both. A separation between religion and state should not mean compulsory secularism, but at the same time it avoids the religious tests for office which existed in colonial times in stateswith established churches that banned Catholics, Quakers and Jews, among others, from holding political office.
A neutral state allows us to believe what we please. Islamic efforts on blasphemy however warp us all around the theology of Islam.
When governments prosecute tearing the Koran or drawing offensive cartoons under hate crime laws, they are eroding the separation between state and mosque. Their efforts, even if well intention, lead inevitably to a theocracy which not only hurts critics of Islam, but destroys the religious freedom of all religions.
The legal distinction between secular blasphemy and interreligious disdain disappears in a theocracy. Each religion has beliefs that offend the other, actively or passively. When one belief becomes supreme, then religious freedom vanishes, as it has throughout the Muslim world where the practice of Christianity and Judaism are governed by how closely Muslims choose to be offended at other religions.
While some religious people may take issue with the celebration of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, equating them with such things as the infamous “Piss Christ”, there’s a fundamental difference between blasphemy against the innocent and the guilty.
Piss Christ or a museum which exhibited photos of naked women dressed in Jewish ritual garments are committed against the unresisting making them the theological equivalent of spiteful vandalism. There are no Jews or Christians murdering artists or bombing museums. By attempting to enforce the theocracy of blasphemy laws, Muslims made the Mohammed cartoons into a symbol of free speech.
It was not the
Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, who specialized in offending all religions, who made their Mohammed cartoons into a symbol. It was their Muslim enemies who did it by killing them. It is intellectually dishonest for Muslims to create martyrs and then complain about their martyrdom.
Blasphemy against Christianity and Judaism fizzles because the lack of a violent response makes those responsible seem like bullies. Instead of revealing flaws in those religions, works like Piss Christ or Monster Mohel reveal the flaws in their makers.Their attempts at blasphemy prove self-destructive.
Muslim violence against the Mohammed cartoons however turns them into the bullies. The Hebdo cartoons did no damage to Christianity or Judaism. They did a great deal of damage to Islam, not because they were well done, but because Islam is shot through with violent anger and insecurity.
The spiritual power of religion balances between violence and non-violence. Most religions believe that there is a time to fight, but only Islam believes in violence as the first and final religious solution.
Mohammed cartoons exist because of the Islamic inability to cope with a non-theocratic society. Islamic
Cartoonophobia is not only a danger to cartoonists. It’s a threat to all of our religious freedoms.
Friday, January 09, 2015
Anyone who seriously believed after 9/11 that victory against the ongoing Islamic conquest would be accomplished by military force has by now been steadily disabused of that illusion after over a decade of political correctness, passivity and misguided campaigns to bring democracy to the Muslim world.
The war against Islam is not going to be won with guns or bombs. Force is merely the final solution to settling conflicts but Islam's violence is for now only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger campaign to make the world into an Islamic domain.
While we fight with police actions and holding elections, Islamists are seizing control of governments by force or by democratic elections. They are conquering African nations and staging civil wars in pacific ones. They are importing millions of Muslims to Europe and America as Europe's 'Palestinians' for a coming European Intifada. They are rewriting history to claim that Arab explorers originally discovered America and Australia giving them claim to the land. They are aggressively evangelizing hundreds of thousands a year to convert to Islam through misleading claims and marriages of Western women to Muslim men.
What we believe is a war, is merely a minor skirmish in a global conquest. While we spend billions of dollars and thousands of lives to stabilize a single Muslim country, dozens of non-Muslim countries including our own are being destabilized day by day.
The true war against Islam is not a military war, it is a cultural war. For Islam it is a religious conflict by an empire intent on transforming every aspect of life into one defined by Islam. For us it is about preserving our way of life. The cartoon controversy woke many Europeans to the fact that free speech and many of the other attributes of democracy that they take for granted are incompatible with Islam. Under the relentless pressure of multi-culturalism, they and we are increasingly deciding that our way of life has to bow to theirs.
This is the ultimate victory of Islam. Not the fall of the Twin Towers or any single act of terrorism is as great a victory for Islam as when our own government and press repeat their propaganda and muzzle their critics. This represents the submission of the West to their rule. It turns Islam into the only legally sanctioned religion in Western nations that have long since instituted separations of Church and State.
Islam cannot be criticized by any public figure without violence quickly following. Islam cannot be criticized by the press without violence quickly following. No disrespect, real or perceived, towards Islam can be tolerated either. This is the lesson Muslim violence is teaching in Europe and much of the European and American media, politicians and clergy are becoming quick students. Criticism of Islam by individuals will get you condemned as a bigot by those very same people who are for all intents and purposes collaborating with our new tyrants.
While the entertainers, academics and pundits of a liberalized West are free to criticize and impugn Christianity and Judaism, Islam is a No-Go Zone. While Judaism and Christianity cannot be taught in the schools of a liberalized West, Islam can and is. Muslim religious artifacts can be displayed, Muslim religion taught and its holy books present, where those of other religions cannot. This elevates Islam to a special status. It gives Muslims power over other religions and they use that power. In a society where traditional religion is mocked, theirs is held sacred. Is it any wonder that sheltered from any criticism or negative appraisal by the same comedians and academics who tear apart Judaism and Christianity; that the view of many will be that Islam is a better religion. And this is exactly what Muslims want.
Our culture is being invaded. Our nations are being overrun. In England some government offices banned mugs featuring Piglet on them. In Israel a woman was sentenced to jail for drawing a cartoon of Mohammed as a pig. In America defaced Korans are being investigated as hate crimes. This is the power of the law backing up the power of the cultural consensus of our politicians and press which prevents any criticism or mockery of Islam as if this were Saudi Arabia.
We can defeat Islam. We can stop this. If we fight back.
When Mark Twain said that, "Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand", he was speaking as part of a long tradition of American humorists who satirized the great and powerful, who knew that nothing so much cuts a puffed up ego to size and the insecure man hiding behind it, as a well told joke. Islam in our time is the biggest puffed up ego there is. A fraudulent religion based on the plagiarism of a vicious desert warlord turned into a global empire. There is not one thing new in Islam. Its only claim to power is that it is wielded by men more ruthless and murderous than any other today.
Muslim rage is not a strength. When Muslims riot screaming in the streets every time they're offended in some way, this is not the mark of a strong faith but a weak insecure one. So weak and insecure that it cannot turn the cheek or look down from a superior position of belief in the true God. Instead like all pagan savages it goes into a murderous rage because inside its worshipers know they are not the servants of a living God who can avenge all insults, but of a faith cribbed from Jews and Christians by an illiterate bandit who proceeded to win convert by terrorizing everyone who didn't join his gang of bandits.
Muslim rage does not emerge from a deep respect for Allah but from the knowledge that their entire system of belief is a fraud that could never stand up to any scrutiny. If the world's religions were paintings in a museum, Islam would be a child's dirty smeared finger painting all in one color.
Islam's drive for world conquest is a sign of weakness. It is a sign of a deeply insecure faith. But then most killers are driven by their own insecurities too. The man who opens fire on a crowded cafeteria is weak inside but that only makes his explosive violence more dangerous and it makes coddling him more dangerous because sooner or later he will kill.
The way to defeat Islam is never to coddle it, to enable its rages or its conquest of our lands. It is to stand up to it over and over again. It's to laugh at it. Yes laugh it and ridicule it. America is a collection of immigrants with the humorous traditions of dozens of cultures, Irish, Jews, Italians, Scots, Russians, Asians. We're not just the reservoir of the world's talent but its humor too and humor is the ultimate weapon against the balloon that is Islam. Islam can only expand by force. It can't leverage any real military force against us. Instead it expands by intimidation, by conformity, by deception, by political correctness. It has no defense against laughter. Men who are so insecure they would kill over a stray word here or there, can't stand up to being laughed at, to being ridiculed, to have their cherished values transformed into a laughingstock.
We're fighting a cultural war and humor is our best weapon. We've spent the last 50 years laughing and mocking every aspect of our societies. Let's turn that laughter on Islam full bore. And Islam's defenders will find it difficult to censor and silence humor, the way they can silence and discredit political commentary. To try and silence humor is to look like a prig and if there's anything our politically correct cultural overlords hate, it's to come out looking like the stuffy humorless totalitarian-minded fascists that they really are.
So go on telling those jokes. When the arguments run out and the rhetoric is exhausted, humor can always be fresh and a weapon no one can argue against. There's one thing Muslims can't stand above all else and that's mockery. It drives them mad and when that happens they show their true face beneath the false polite masks they so often wear, in a way that not even liberals can long ignore.
Battling Islam with humor quickly clarifies the stakes for the west in an undeniable way showing that our choice is between maintaining our freedoms or losing them forever. Islam's apologists, our press, our politicians, our academics have been cooking us like lobsters in a pot, slowly raising the temperature until we're broiling and barely notice it. Muslim rage raises the temperature a lot. It wakes up some of those in the lobster pot as the murders of Theo VanGogh and the Cartoon controversy did.
A billion plus Muslims around the world are shouting angrily demanding that we take their perverted homicidal mania of a religion seriously. Let's laugh at them instead.
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
On one side of the moral equation in Alice’s Restaurant you had Officer Obie and the nameless army officers who were rulebound fascists and on the other side you had the easygoing hippies who believed in community, hanging out and letting things slide. Culture would drag you into court for littering with twenty seven eight-by-ten color glossy photographs as evidence while counterculture would shrug and invite you to dinner.
Culture was bureaucratically and violently absurd. Counterculture was humanely lovingly absurd.
That's still the image that the left likes to wear like an old pair of jeans. It's still just a bunch of easygoing fellows out to build community and take on Officer Obie’s senseless repressive rules. But then the counterculture became the culture and the left became Officer Obie.
Or President Obie.
If there's anyone who's going to drag you into court with twenty seven eight-by-ten color glossy photographs as proof; it's going to be the Officer Obies of the EPA. Except that a straightforward thing like littering would be much too sensible for environmental enforcement groups to bother with. They're more likely to arrest you for collecting rainwater on your own property, making a guitar out of unfinished wood or cleaning up trash from your own property.
EPA Administrator Al Armendariaz, whose fiefdom included five states, told staffers that his philosophy of enforcement was borrowed from the Romans."They’d go in to a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they’d crucify them."
Compared to the Officer Obies of the ruling counterculture, the original model seems like a humanitarian and the soul of reason. If you ran afoul of Officer Armendariz, or Caesar Armendariz as he liked to be called, you would be very lucky to come away with nothing more than a twenty-five dollar fine and a few hours in jail.
A mere two decades after Arlo Guthrie began singing about being arrested on Thanksgiving for littering by Officer Obie, John Pozsgai was sentenced to three years in jail for “discharging pollutants into waters of the United States" for the crime of adding topsoil to his land.
And you can be sure that the evidence for the legal case which went on in varying forms for twenty years consisted of a lot more than a mere twenty seven eight-by-ten color glossy photographs with a paragraph of text on the back.
There's a folk song in there alright, but it's not one that a liberal would listen to because every progressive who grins when hearing Arlo joke about a federal case being made out of throwing some garbage off a cliff would want to hang him in real life.
Bill Ellen, a Vietnam veteran and conservationist who ran a shelter for injured wildlife, spent six months in jail for making duck ponds based on a 1989 reinterpretation of environmental law which stated that land which had water on it for seven days was considered Federally protected wetlands.
"That's as close as you can come to restitution for them, the ducks," the judge in the case declared. The judge has since retired to a more fitting post as a member of the Governor's Advisory Panel on License Plate Reader technology. There's probably a folk song in that, but no one would ever air it.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane F. Barrett called it "a premeditated environmental crime" and declared victory even though Ellen was only sentenced to six months in jail instead of three years.
"It might be true that five years ago Ellen wouldn't have to go to jail. But we're living in a different world now," she admitted.
And that different world is the world that progressives have made. They have made America into a nightmarish place that would horrify even Officer Obie. A place where you don't just go to jail for trashing public property, but for cleaning up your own.
Ellen's own Officer Obie has moved on to be the Director of the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Maryland. Despite donating a few thousand dollars to Obama, she has yet to get the US Attorney gig that she had her eye on.
Doubtlessly though President Obie is sure to find a place for any legal eagle who can try to send a Marine Corps vet with two young children to jail for three years over a duck pond.
But the final Officer Obie touch was yet to come.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reviewed the case and declared; "That Ellen believes that an offense of this magnitude is trivial or unimportant ironically exemplifies the need not to foreclose punishment by imprisonment."
The need to sentence a man to prison for a trivial offense because he believes rightly that it is a trivial offense is the definition of irony only behind the Iron Curtain. But in a more fitting definition of irony, the judge responsible for writing that decision lost his shot at a Supreme Court spot because he couldn't stop talking to the New York Times about being considered for the Supreme Court.
The justice of the Officer Obies, Judge Obies and President Obies may be blind, deaf and dumb; but sometimes a higher court than the Supreme Court intervenes with its own judgement.
The different world that U.S. Attorney Jane F. Barrett gleefully inhabits where a man may be sent to jail for a duck pond wasn't made by Officer Obie and the culture, but by the counterculture. If the laws of the culture made sense but were guilty of overreach, the laws of the counterculture are all overreach with no sense. The laws of the counterculture are every bit as addled as its art and its literature.
Seven years after Gibson Guitars worked with Arlo Guthrie to reconstruct Woody Guthrie's guitar and sell reproductions of it, a gang of Officer Obies burst into its Nashville factory with guns drawn looking for wood. And they did it again two years later accusing Gibson of making guitars out of wood that was not finished by Indian workers.
Both times the raids happened under the regime of President Obie who is the living culmination of everything that the counterculture hoped for. And what they hoped for was Officer Obie writ large with a teleprompter in one hand and an infinite rule book in the other.
The laws of the culture were rational. The laws of the counterculture are emotional. They exist because someone demanded them vehemently enough.
The pursuit of that humane and caring system instead gave us a system that sends men to jail for the unrepentant manufacture of duck ponds. It turned every Federal employee into Officer Obie and made Officer Obie in his various guises as environmental crusader, financial regulator and political activist with revolving door roles in government agencies into a progressive superhero.
The counterculture heroes aren't rebels anymore. They are the protectors of the values of the counterculture who suppress opposition by dissenters who don't want to buy health insurance, uppity photographers who don't want to take pictures at gay weddings and free spirits who build duck ponds without the proper permits.
In the culture, laws were made by men and carried out by professionals who understood the laws they were executing. In the counterculture, laws were made by activists and then modified by regulators and bureaucrats so many times that both the aforementioned trials involved extensive debates over what law was broken, whether it was broken and whether the law that may have been broken even existed.
In the counterculture the sheer morass of laws, regulations and interpretations of both means that there really is no law, only whim. No one ever knows what the law is. They only know whom they want punished and why.
Ridicule a law enough and it stops applying. Demonize a defendant enough and he is guilty. Truth is nothing. Emotion is everything. The humanitarian creativity of the counterculture was egotism dressed up in philosophy. It wanted what it wanted. And what it wanted, it got.
ObamaCare or ObieCare is based on a million regulations that no one understands holding up an oppressive system based on wishful thinking that can't work. President Obie is the perfect leader for an ideology that wants its fascist overreaches and abuses of power cloaked in cheerful grins and empty talk about sharing and community whose practical implications are defined in implementable legalese on Page 2809, subparagraph 81b, footnote 311 which no one has read.
Under the liberal Officer Obies, you can't get what you want at Alice's Restaurant. Not unless it meets State and Federal regulations, has listed calorie counts and doesn't contain any transfats. You can't get the health plan you want under ObieCare and you can't get much of anything else either except a lecture, a reeducation program or a prison term.
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
The next year sweeps around the earth like the hand of a clock, from Australia to Europe and across the great stretch of the Atlantic it rides the darkness to America. And then around and around again, each passing day marking another sweep of the hours.
While the year makes its first pass around the world, let us leave it behind, open a door in time and step back to another year, a century past.
December 31, 1912.
The crowds are just as large, though the men wear hats. The word gay is employed with no touch of irony. Liquor is harder to come by because the end of the year, one hundred and two years ago, has fallen on a Sunday.
There are more dances and fewer corporate brands. Horns are blown, and the occasional revolver fired into the air, a sight unimaginable in the controlled celebrations of today's urban metropolis.
The Hotel Workers Union strike fizzled out on Broadway though a volley of bricks was hurled at the Hotel Astor during the celebrations. New York's finest spent the evening outside the Rockefeller mansion waiting to subpoena the tycoon in the money trust investigation. And the Postmaster General inaugurated the new parcel service by shipping a silver loving cup from Washington to New York.
On Ellis Island, Castro, a bitter enemy of the United States, and the former president of Venezuela, had been arrested for trying to sneak into the country while the customs officers had their guard down. Gazing at the Statue of Liberty, Castro denied that he was a revolutionary and bitterly urged the American masses to rise up and tear down the statue in the name of freedom.
Times Square has far fewer billboards and no videos, but it does have the giant Horn and Hardart Automat which opened just that year, where food comes from banks of vending machines giving celebrating crowds a view of the amazing world of tomorrow for the world of 1912 is after all like our own. We can open a door into the past, but we cannot escape the present.
The Presidential election of 1912, like that of 2012, ended in disaster. Both Taft and Roosevelt lost and Woodrow Wilson won. In the White House, President Taft met with cabinet members and diplomats for a final reception.
Woodrow Wilson, who would lead America into a bloody and senseless war, subvert its Constitution, and begin the process of making global government and statism into the national religion of his party, was optimistic about the new year. "Thirteen is my lucky number," he said. "It is curious how the number 13 has figured in my life and never with bad fortune."
Americans today face the lightbulb ban. Americans then were confronted with the matchstick ban as the Esch bill in Congress outlawed phosphorus "strike 'em on your pants" matches by imposing a $1,000 tax on them. This was deemed to be Constitutional. In Indianapolis, the train carrying union leaders guilty of the dynamite plot was making its secret way to Federal prison even while the lawyers of the dynamiters vowed to appeal.
The passing year, a century past, had its distinct echoes in our own time. There had been, what the men of the time, thought of as wars, yet they could not even conceive of the wars shortly to come. There were the usual dry news items about the collapse of the government in Spain, a war and an economic crisis in distant parts of the world that did not concern them.
A recession was here, after several panics, and though there was plenty of cheer, there was also plenty of worry. The Federal Reserve Act would be signed at the end of 1913, partly in response to the economic crisis.
"Unless Socialism is checked," Professor Albert Bushnell Hart warned, "within sixteen years there will be a Socialist President of the United States." Hart was off by four years. Hoover won in 1928. FDR won in 1932.
At New York City's May Day rally, the American flag was torn down and replaced with the red flag, to cries of, "Take down that dirty rag" and "We don't recognize that flag." The site of the rally was Union Square, one of the locations where the rag ends of Occupy Wall Street now hangs out.
There was tension on the Mexican border and alarm over Socialist successes in German elections. An obscure fellow with the silly name of Lenin had carved out a group with the even sillier name of the Bolsheviks. China became a Republic. New Mexico became a state, the African National Congress was founded and the Titanic sank. In our time it was merely the Costa Concordia.
There was bloody fighting in Benghazi where 20,000 Italian troops faced off against 20,000 Arabs and 8,000 Turks. The Italians had modern warships and armored vehicles, while the Muslim forces were supplied by voluntary donations and fighters crossing from Egypt and across North Africa to join in attacking the infidels.
The Italian-Turkish war has since been forgotten, except by the Italians, the Libyans and the Turks, but it featured the first strategic use of airships, ushering in a century of European aerial warfare.
There was a good deal going on while the horns were blown and men in heavy coats and wet hats made their way through the festivities.
World War I was two years away, but the Balkan War had already fired the first shots. The rest was just a matter of bringing the non-phosphorus matches closer to the kindling. The Anti-Saloon League was gathering strength for a nationwide effort that would hijack the political system and divide it into dry and wet, and, among other things, ram through the personal income tax.
Change was coming, and as in 1912, the country was no longer hopeful, it was wary.
The century, for all its expected glamor, had been a difficult one. The future, political and economic, was unknown. Few knew exactly what was to come, but equally few were especially optimistic even when the champagne was flowing.
If we were to stop a reveler staggering out of a hotel, stand in his path and tell him that war was five years away and a great depression would come in on its tail, that liquor would be banned, crime would proliferate and a Socialist president would rule the United States for three terms, while wielding near absolute power, he might have decided to make his way to the recently constructed Manhattan Bridge for a swan dive into the river.
December 31, 1912 was a door that opened onto many things.
Our December 31 is likewise a door, and if a man in shiny clothes from the year 2115 were to stop us on the street and spill out everything he knew about the next century, it is likely that there would be as much greatness as tragedy in that tale.
As the year sweeps across the earth, let us remember that history is more than the worst of its events, that all times bear the burden of their uncertainties, but also carry within them the seeds of greatness. Looking back on this time, it may be that it is not the defeats that we will recall, but how they readied us for the fight ahead. 2012 may be as forgotten as 1912, but 2018 and 2022 may endure in history.
America has not fallen, no more than it did when the clock struck midnight on December 31, 1912. Though it may not seem likely now, there are many great things ahead, and though the challenges at times seem insurmountable and the defeats many, another year and another century await us.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
The left blames imperialism for our conflict with terrorists. And it's right. Just not in the way that it thinks.
Empires may be expansionist, but they're also tolerant and multicultural. They have to be, since out of their initial phase they have to enlist the cooperation and services of subjects from a variety of cultures and religions. An empire may initially be fueled by the talents and skills of a core nation, but as it reaches its next phase, it begins sacrificing their interests to the larger structure of empire.
The argument between the establishments of the right and the left is over two different kinds of empires. The Republican establishment in America and its various center-right counterparts abroad have attached themselves to the liberal vision of a transnational empire of international law so much that they have forgotten that this vision came from the left, rather than from the right.
This Empire of International Law proved to have some uses for global trade and security, particularly during the Cold War. These practical arrangements however are overshadowed by the fact that it, like every empire, sacrifices the interests of its peoples to its own structure. This is true of the structure at every level, from the EU to the Federal structure of the United States. The system has displaced the people. And the system runs on principles that require cheap labor leading to policies like amnesty.
The Empire of International Law needs Muslim immigrants even if its people don't, because it envisions integrating them and their countries into this arrangement and rejects national interests as narrow-minded and nativist.
This formerly liberal vision now embraced largely by centrists is the left's vision, which includes today's liberals, is of a completely transnational ideological empire in which there are no borders, but there are countless activists, in which everything and everyone are controlled by the state.
Like the more conventional imperial vision, the left's red Empire of Ideology depends on enlisting Muslims and Muslim countries into its ranks. This is the basis of the Red-Green alliance.
These two types of imperialists are incapable of representing native workers or communities because they are transnationalists. Their vision is cosmopolitan, rather than representative. They are entranced with a byzantine international arrangement and uninterested in the lives of the people they are ruining.
This Imperial blindness is why the West is falling so swiftly to Islam. It's why the pockets of resistance are coming from nations outside the imperial sphere.
Countries like Israel, India or Burma are dependent on specific groups and are not truly part of either empire. They are not transnational. They are national. And it's why they are still holding out.
The empires have made their inroads into them. Israel has its tycoon class that would love nothing more than to join the transnational empire. It has its radical left that would destroy Israel for the world revolution. But it also has millions of people that understand that their lives are on the line.
These countries have minority groups, including sizable Muslim minorities, but they also have a national interest that is tethered to its majority.
The United States used to be that way, until not long ago. And then it lost touch with itself. It became diseased with empire and the disease of empire has nothing to do with pith helmets or planting flags. It's what happens when the structure of the system becomes more important than the people. When that happens the old principles that are based on the people are set aside and replaced with principles that are based on the system.
That is how globalism came to trump American workers. It's how accommodating Islam came to matter more than anything else.
An empire may begin by conquering other countries, but it invariably ends by conquering and consuming its own. The empire we are part of isn't, despite the left's rhetoric, a conquering empire. American territorial expansionism ended long before we became part of an empire. Instead we are part of an empire of systems, an empire of principles, an empire of internationalism, of trade and of pieces of papers, legal and financial, being moved through the bowels of our endless systems.
This is the thing that we call international law. And it has to die for us to live.
This is the empire that feeds armies of foreign immigrants through our countries. It's also the empire that pays allegiance to Islam because empires have to diversify to expand. Diversity isn't the source of our strength. It is the source of imperial expansionism which has to absorb many more peoples.
To empires, people are interchangeable. If the natives have a low birth rate and a long lifespan, then workers with high birth rates and lower lifespans are brought in to replace them. If the natives are reluctant to pay higher taxes, immigrants from countries that are fine with voting for high taxation are imported. That is how empires, not nations, do business.
This is what the political establishment in most countries believes. This is what tearing them apart.
The only way for the nations to survive is for the empire, in all its forms, the ideological revolutionary empire of the left and the centrist empire of international law, to to be cast off.
Every political revolution that fails to take into account the power of these two empires on our national politics is doomed to fail. To win a conflict, you have to understand what you are fighting.
We are fighting against two variations on the same set of ideas about the importance of transnational institutions over national ones. We are fighting against the entrenched loyalty to systems and ideology over people. We are fighting empires that have displaced people for ideas.
The only possible revolution that can succeed against these two empires is populist. It must emerge from the needs of the people of a country to be free, to be prosperous and to manage its own affairs. It must proceed by showing the people how they have been victimized and how they are being victimized. And it must show them that they reclaim what their grandparents had if they take back controls over their own countries and destinies.
The rhetoric of empire is seductive. Our educational systems implant it at an early age. It is not the empire of explorers and conquerors, but of lawyers and social justice activists. Against it we must raise the flag of national interests.
The left and the right establishments pretend that they have two very different sets of ideas about the world. They have the same set of ideas, one is a more extreme version of the other. The left fights its own heresies much more fiercely than it does the right. Its rhetoric about imperialism is a rejection of its former ideas about empire for its more radical empire. And we do not want either empire.
What we must have is an end to empires and the rise of nations. Only nations that answer to the national interests of their people can stand against the savage barbarian migrating tide.
Thursday, December 25, 2014
A Somali Muslim attempted to bring terrorism into the United States by bombing a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland in 2010. Mohamed Osman Mohamud (twice the Mohammed for twice the mayhem) had a simple goal, "I want whoever is attending that event to leave, to leave dead or injured."
Mohamed Mohamud was just following up on the work of Christmas Day flight bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab over from Nigeria who stuffed his underwear full of plastic explosives and tried to detonate it on Flight 253.
Meanwhile this year we've been tried to race riots in which Muslim organizers have played a leading role and two attacks on New York police officers carried out by Black Muslims. The last attack by Ismayil Abdullah Brinsley robbed two families of a Christmas holiday together.
Over in France, a Muslim rammed his car into a Christmas market while shouting Allahu Akbar, which translates roughly to my Allah is greater than your god. His attack was one of two Car Jihads in France, which has one of the largest Muslim populations in Europe, in a matter of days. And one of three Muslim terror attacks overall.
Meanwhile in Australia, the flag of Jihad was held up by hostages over a window engraving reading "Merry Christmas" in a terror attack that ended up costing two lives.
If gift wrapping and church going are Christmas traditions, carrying out massacres during other people's holiday celebrations is a Muslim tradition.
In Israel, holidays are a time for extra special caution. The Passover massacre in which dozens of senior citizens attending a holiday meal were murdered, the Yom Kippur War in which Muslim armies invaded Israel on the holiest day of its year or the Purim bombing outside a Tel Aviv mall using a nail bomb, are just some examples of Muslim religious tolerance at work.
In 2008, a number of bombs went off in Delhi just before Diwali. And back in 1991, Muslims planned to massacre thousands of Hindus during Diwali.
Had they succeeded, the death toll might have been bigger than 9/11.
For Muslims this has always been religious war. And what better target for terror, than an infidel's religious event?
The clergy at interfaith conferences may yammer on about how we're all the children of god, but Muslims know better. They are the slaves of Allah and we are heretics and idol worshipers. It's their duty to fight us, until we submit and accept Muslim rule.
The more we resist, the more they're obligated to kill us until we give in and there's a mosque on every corner and the Koran replaces the Constitution. It's a religious duty for a Muslim to make the Way of Allah triumphant all across the globe.
To Muslims, this is a sacred duty and a way of life, that is not a detail, but the heart of the Koran.
The Islamic holy texts are dominated by a single categorical imperative, to expand, dominate and rule. For the Muslim, life is complicated, but Islam is simple. And even the most secular and westernized Muslim will sooner or later feel an imperative to escape from the complications of modern life, into the pure simplicity of Islam at a cafe or an airline flight. The media charges that such escapees misunderstand Islam, but in actuality they understand it quite well.
Islam is a state of permanent religious war. It has no room in it for dissent or religious differences. That is why the Christian population in the Muslim world is vanishing. As the West becomes more Muslim, its Christian population will begin to decline and vanish.
Multiculturalism is one thing. But that's not what we have here. It's not living side by side with chicken noodle soup and tandoori restaurants. Or stacking churches, synagogues, ashrams and Shinto shrines on every block. Because while the political and cultural elite of the West may subscribe to multiculturalism, its Muslim imports subscribe to only one law. The law of Islam.
They may lapse at times. They may get through a university education, attend nightclubs, listen to the same music all the other kids their age do-- but there's still a ticking time bomb inside their heads. And that bomb is the same one that appears as the lit fuse on the turban of the cartoon Mohammad.
The bomb is Islam. And when it's lit, the result is mass murder.
It is an uncomfortable thing to think about. We who pride ourselves on our tolerance and slap ourselves on the back for our open-mindedness do not like to think that our civilization is an illusion, a parquet floor built over the roaring fire of barbarism underneath.
But it was not so long ago, in the space of years, that our ancestors would have thought no more of killing people because they were different, than we would think of swatting a fly. The difference between us and the Muslim world is that we have changed. They have not.
And much as we may befriend them, the thought of killing us can never be entirely wrong to them. After enough time spent together, we might rank above flies to them, but well below full-fledged and fellow humans. And when they need answers, they turn to a book whose verses promise salvation to anyone who kills us.
It is important to think of these things, because our lives and the survival of our civilization are at stake. We have begun to learn what it is like to live with terror. But we have not learned all of it by far.
Terror haunted Christmas tree lighting celebrations are the beginning, but not the end of it. This is not a bridge we can cross with some multicultural cuisine and a PBS special.
It requires that we understand what we have done. We have imported people from a culture and religion that has never accepted the most basic premise of our way of life. Coexistence. And so we cannot coexist with them. And they cannot coexist with us. After a few years or decades of baffled attempts to adjust to a foreign way of life, they will either wall themselves off or make war on us. Or both at the same time. They cannot be our neighbors, only our enemies.
The sooner we realize that, the less we'll have to read about terror attacks at Christmas.
Monday, December 22, 2014
Jerusalem's wealthy elites threw in their lot with the empire and its ways. But out in the rural heartland where the old ways where still kept, a spark flared to life. Modi'in. Maccabee.
And so war came between the handfuls of Jewish Maccabee partisans and the armies of Antiochus IV’s Selecuid empire. A war that had its echoes in the past and would have it again in the future as lightly armed and untrained armies of Jewish soldiers would go on to fight in those same hills and valleys against the Romans and eventually the armies of six Arab nations.
The Syrian Greek armies were among the best of their day. The Maccabees were living in the backwaters of Israel, a nation that had not been independently ruled since the armies of Babylon had flooded across the land, destroying everything in their path.
In the wilderness of Judea a band of brothers vowed that they would bow to no man and let no foreigners rule over their land. Apollonius brought his Samaritan forces against the brothers, and Judah, first among the Macabees, killed him, took his sword and wore it for his own.
Seron, General of the army of Coele-Syria, brought together his soldiers, along with renegade Jewish mercenaries, and was broken at Beit Haran. The Governor of Syria who dispatched two generals, Nicanor, and Gorgias, with forty thousand soldiers and seven thousand horsemen to conquer Judea, destroy Jerusalem and abolish the whole Jewish nation forever. So certain were they of victory that they brought with them merchant caravans to fill with the Hebrew slaves of a destroyed nation.
Judah walked among his brothers and fellow rebels and spoke to them of the thing for which they fought; “O my fellow soldiers, no other time remains more opportune than the present for courage and contempt of dangers; for if you now fight manfully, you may recover your liberty, which, as it is a thing of itself agreeable to all men, so it proves to be to us much more desirable, by its affording us the liberty of worshiping God.
"Since therefore you are in such circumstances at present, you must either recover that liberty, and so regain a happy and blessed way of living, which is that according to our laws, and the customs of our country, or to submit to the most opprobrious sufferings; nor will any seed of your nation remain if you be beat in this battle. Fight therefore manfully; and suppose that you must die, though you do not fight; but believe, that besides such glorious rewards as those of the liberty of your country, of your laws, of your religion, you shall then obtain everlasting glory.
"Prepare yourselves, therefore, and put yourselves into such an agreeable posture, that you may be ready to fight with the enemy as soon as it is day tomorrow morning."
Though the Macabees were but three thousand, starving and dressed in bare rags, the God for whom they fought and their native wits and courage, gave them victory over thousands and tens of thousands. Worn from battle, the Macabees did not flee back into their Judean wilderness, instead they went on to Jerusalem and its Temple, to reclaim their land and their God, only to find the Temple and the capital in ruins.
If they had won by the strength of their hands alone, then the lamps would burn for a day and then flicker out. But if it had been more than mere force of arms that had brought them here, if it had been more than mere happenstance that a small band of ragged and starving rebels had shattered the armies of an empire, then the flames of the Menorah would burn on.
The sun rose and set again. The day came to its end and the men watched the lights of the Menorah to see if they would burn or die out. And if the flame in their hearts could have kindled the lamps, they would have burst into bright flame then and there. Darkness fell that night and still the lamps burned on. For eight days and nights the Menorah burned on that single lonely pure flask of oil, until more could be found, and the men who for a time had been soldiers and had once again become priests, saw that while it may be men who kindle lamps and hearts, it is the Almighty who provides them with the fuel of the spirit through which they burn.
120 years after the Maccabees drove out the foreign invaders and their collaborators, another foreign invader, Herod, the son of a Roman Idumean governor, was placed on the throne by the Roman Empire, disposing of the last of the Maccabean kings and ending the brief revival of the Jewish kingdom.
The revived kingdom had been a plaything in the game of empires. Exiled by Babylon, restored by Persia, conquered by the Greeks, ground under the heel of the remnants of Alexander's empire, briefly liberated by the Parthians, tricked into servitude and destroyed by Rome. The victory of the Maccabean brothers in reclaiming Jerusalem was a brief flare of light in the dark centuries and even that light was shadowed by the growing darkness.
The fall of the Roman Republic and the civil wars of the new empire, its uncontrollable spending and greed made it hopelessly corrupt. Caesar repaid Jewish loyalty by rewarding the Idumean murderers of Jewish kings, and his successors saw the Jewish state as a way to bring in some quick money. Out went the Jewish kings, in came the son of Rome's tax collector, Herod.
The promises made by Senate to the Maccabees ceased to matter. Imperial greed collided with Jewish nationalism in a war that for a brief shining moment seemed as if it might end in another Chanukah, but ended instead in massacre and atrocity. The exiles went forth once again, some on foot and some in slave ships. Jerusalem was renamed and resettled. The long night had begun.
But no darkness lasts forever.
Two thousand years after the Jews had come to believe that wars were for other people and miracles meant escaping alive, Jewish armies stood and held the line against an empire and the would be empires of the region.
But that old light is still the light of possibilities. It burns to remind us of the extraordinary things that our ancestors did and of the extraordinary assistance that they received. We cannot always expect oil to burn for eight days, just as we cannot always expect the bullet to miss or the rocket to fall short. And yet even in those moments of darkness the reminder of the flame is with us for no darkness lasts forever and no exile, whether of the body of the spirit, endures. Sooner or later the spark flares to life again and the oil burns again. Sooner or later the light returns.
It is the miracle that we commemorate because it is a reminder of possibilities. Each time we light a candle or dip a wick in oil, we release a flare of light from the darkness comes to remind us of what was, is and can still be.