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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

But surely Spain is safe now following its capitulation…

I just do not understand it. When Spain capitulated to attacks from Islamic fascists and elected a socialist government who promptly pulled its troops out of coalition operations… a policy we have been told by many that the USA and UK should follow in order to stop provoking the Islamists… that should have been the end of Spain’s non-Basque terrorist problems. Presumably the nice people from the Al Qaeda Global Franchise were utterly delighted by the developments in Spain and were certain to fulsomely reward this behaviour. After all, we are often assured by writers in both the mainstream media and paleo-conservative/paleo-libertarian circles that this is what governments in the West must do if we are ever to sooth Islamic sensibilities: we leave them alone and they will leave us alone, right?

Yet strangely, far from redirecting their efforts and assets to ply their ‘trade’ against the more active members of the coalition, Islamic militants continue to get arrested in ever so repentant Spain.

Gosh, one might almost think that leaving them alone is not enough! Surely some misunderstanding?

175 comments to But surely Spain is safe now following its capitulation…

  • That’s the idea: you stop wasting your time putting band-aids on the boo-boos of foreigners, and you use your resources, in your own country, to arrest those people who are actually close enough to do you some harm.

    Now if you think Iraq or Iran or Saudi Arabia or Israel or South Korea or North Korea or some other country is more important that the United States, then I can see how you’d want us to keep wasting our money, leading with our chins, and tempting economic collapse. I can even see why the Brits might want to see us taken down a notch after the ‘late unpleasantness’. But I cannot imagine why an American would think that keeping Sunnis from killing Shiites, or visa versa, is worth a single American life.

  • I am sure that all seemed coherent to you when you pressed the publish button but I have only the vaguest idea what the hell you are talking about.

    If I understand you (a big if), you think I am objecting to Spain arresting Islamists in Spain? And maybe you think the already formidable Spanish anti-terrorist capability (ever heard of ETA?) had previously been deployed to Iraq? And the UK wants to ‘take the USA down a notch?’ Why exactly is unclear to me.

  • Evan

    From what I glean, he thinks we should focus on arresting terror suspects domestically, rather than pursuing them abroad.

    As for Britain still holding a grudge about the American Revolution, that is just silly.

  • veryretired

    I have made this argument in an expanded form in other posts, so I will not elaborate the entire position again here.

    The only people, culture, and religion seriously in danger of extinction in the current confrontation is Islam.

    Until they come to their senses and realize that they are taunting a civilization, a cultural entity, which colonized most of the known world, and enthusiastically slaughtered both their internal and external enemies by the dozens of millions over the last few centuries, they will dance ever closer to the abyss.

    Western culture, in myriad variations and permutations around the globe, is now the de facto world culture.

    If they go far enough to actually generate a fear of societal danger, such as the use of nuclear or other catastrophic weapons, the last follower of islam will die desperately claiming he never was, but no one will care any more.

    Those protesting and defending him will already be dead, as will be anyone attempting to regenerate his faith.

    This grim future can only be avoided if those capable of reinterpreting islam away from its current lunacy gain preeminence in their world. How this might happen I do not know.

    What I do know is that nothing less can save them, and us, from a nightmare that will last for a long, long time.

  • Evan – that may be so, but the (rather obvious) point has still gone over Rich Paul’s head. I take this post to be a rebuttal of all those insisting we withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan because “if we leave them alone, they’ll leave us alone – problem solved.”

  • I take this post to be a rebuttal of all those insisting we withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan because “if we leave them alone, they’ll leave us alone – problem solved.”

    Indeed. If only it was that simple.

  • renminbi

    Why does any country issue visas to Pakistanis? Have our rulers no sense? Well, we know the answer to that ,don’t we?

  • Raskolnikov

    Withdrawal from the Middle East is only half the equation in preventing Islamic terrorist acts. The other half would be exclusion of all Moslems from the West.

    While Western military intervention on Arab land is the primary motivation for al-Qaeda and other extremist groups, extremely lax immigration laws provide Islamic terrorists with the perfect opportunity to commit violent acts.

    Until the West completely disengages itself from the Arab world – (militarily, financially, and otherwise) – we will continue to be threatened by Islam.

  • Dishman

    Danegeld.

  • It’s not so much that withdrawing from the middle east will make them stop wanting to attack us, it’s that it will reduce their ability to act on those wants.

  • Nick M

    They attacked Spain not just because Aznar was an enthusiastic buddy of W on the great crusade but because they want Al Andalus back. Yes they do. Oh, I know, long time ago and lots of water under the bridge and all that but these people have long memories. Shia v Sunni violence is rife and that goes back to some geezer called Ali getting offed 1300 years ago.

  • Jacob

    very,

    they are taunting a civilization, a cultural entity, which colonized most of the known world, and enthusiastically slaughtered both their internal and external enemies

    The civilization you speak about changed. What you say was true a century ago. The Islamists now think the West is a paper tiger. I’m not sure they are wrong.

  • Jacob

    Danegeld.

    Correct.
    A dhimi must pay tribute to the Islamist Masters. Then, maybe, if they so please, they will leave him alone.

  • CountingCats

    Then, maybe, if they so please, they will leave him alone.

    No,

    By their own laws, they must then protect him from harm.

    Whether they then obey their own laws is a different issue, given that a non muslim may not testify against a muslim, and a muslim may not testify, against a muslim, in favour of a kafir. Under those circumstances enforcement of this much admired sharia is moot.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Jacob,

    I’m sure you already know this, but of course the tribute can constitute not being left alone in itself. The taxes were designed to be crippling, and if that wasn’t enough there was always that ultimate form of taxation, the devshirme. (Which is not in that extreme a requirement of Islamic law, but not forbidden either.)

    The culture of the West still has the potential to roll right over Islam, but we have to actually use it, not just talk about how we’re capable of doing it.

  • James

    The Spanish socialists (and many others) forget to factor in that western countries are damned if they do and damned if they don’t regarding Islamic terrorism: stand aside and pursue non-interventionist policies – as in the first phase of the Yugoslav war – and bin Laden and his ilk will accuse you of condoning the slaughter of Muslims; intervene – as in Somalia and East Timor – and your nation will be accused of “Christian land grab” and “imperialism” by the fruitier elements of the Islamic world. Ron Paul, Rich Paul, and the paleocons need to realise we’re not dealing with people susceptible to logic.

  • WalterBoswell

    So it’s a 100% agreed upon that Jose got the boot purely because the Spanish are yellow? If this is so then sorry but I don’t agree. The Spanish had several reasons for disliking the wee man. His handling of the train bombings was the last straw.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Good post, Perry; this activity undermines Ron Paul’s idiotic idea that 9/11 etc was created out of a “blowback” for the real or perceived activities of the USA. It wasn’t.

    Maybe al-Q is still cheesed off about the suppression of Barbary piracy, the explulsion of the Moors from Spain and various other slights. The trouble is, is that even if the USA/others were to remove much of their military presences from the supposed pristine soil of the Islamic world, we still live in a global trading world, where the West will continue to come into contact with the Muslim world, and this will piss some of the latter off. We cannot build a massive wall around the Middle East and continue in our merry way. (If only).

    That is not to say, of course, that states, such as Spain should not try to avoid unecessarily annoying Islamic nations or groups; to coin a phrase by the libertarian blogger – who made a bit of an ass of himself recently, admittedly – the first intelligent step by any government is “to stop borrowing trouble”. Pre-emptive wars to overthrow tyrants may be admirable, but classical liberals/conservatives, of all people, should never forget the old rule of unintended consequences, particularly when the reasons given for such wars, such as WMD, turn out to be less than rock-solid. And while I don’t buy the rigid notion that war is always the health of the state – there are exceptions – one needs to retain a healthy skepticism about the wisdom of intervention in the affairs of other nations when intervention in one’s own national affairs often proves to be a mistake. The insights of Hayek or Milton Friedman don’t just apply to domestic policy, after all.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Ooops, the blogger I referred to in the above post was Jim Henley.

  • Nick M

    Absolutely James!

    The big beef ObL had with the USA was infidel boots (some of them on female feet. The horror!) in the holy land. Yet what were they doing there? Oh yes, defending the land of the two holy mosques from a secular dictator. And for that the USA got 9/11.

    If you talk to Muslims in Europe they will tell you our politics and media is biased towards “The Zionists”. Clearly they don’t read the Independent. Does anybody? This despite the fact we bankroll the Palis with mucho moolah. I assume, if there is a reason for this willfully poor judgement from the muslims it’s that mainstream European politics and media doesn’t continually witter on about “wiping Israel from the page of time”.

    As an aside yet a serious question. The above quote from Mahmoud Asmadasahatta is generally trotted out to deny he said anything about wiping Israel off the map. I can’t help but feel this “page of time” stuff is even nastier. Am I alone in thinking this?

    Short version is that they hate us and that they will use any pretext however flimsy (indeed sometimes imaginary) to attack us. It is frequently forgotten that the video “will” of Mohammed Siddique Khan (leader of the 7/7 bombers) isn’t just the five minute version they show on the telly where he’s on about Iraq and stuff, most of his comments are rambling on about how imams in the UK have lost touch with “real Islam” and care more about having a detached house with a Merc in the drive… etc.

    Quite how that is a beef with London commuters is beyond me. My only explanation is that he felt inchoate rage against the West and everything it stood for (including the “corruption of imams”) although quite how aspiring to own a nice house and car is betraying anything is, I must admit, beyond me.

    It is rage, pure and simple. It is the hatred of being a true-believer and seeing your utopia go down the tubes while the despised unbelievers progress.

    Pa,
    So how exactly do you plan to use the steam-roller of Western Culture against Islam? I have previously outlined my ideas on Samizdata but basically I just think we need to hit ‘em with both barrels, with the full glory of it*, and if that means the murky world of black propaganda and flooding Iran and Saudi with Big Jugs Monthly and Victory Gin then so be it. I’d much rather phwoar, phwoar than war, war.

    Of course, we have to get rid of idiotarians like Jacqui Smith who’s recent redefinition of Islamic Terrorism as “Anti-Islamic Acts” must be giving Abu Hamster et al great amusement. Google it. It appeared in the Mail and the Telegraph.

    Apologies to Mr Churchill.

    *In the Humpty Dumpty sense of the word.

  • permanentexpat

    Pa annoyed says:

    The culture of the West still has the potential to roll right over Islam, but we have to actually use it, not just talk about how we’re capable of doing it.

    ………How true.
    Regrettably, our democratic system ensures that the testicularly deprived have equal but much shriller voices.
    In The Septic Isle, a long-standing policy of promoting unrestricted immigration of cultural & religious primitives who have absolutely nothing in common with the indigenes means that if draconian repatriation measures are not taken, ‘rolling right over’ would mean civil war. The outcome of such a tragedy is not in doubt.
    Islam may well be a problem in the hands of radicals but there is a far greater problem, in my opinion. The real problem is “us” and the sooner we decide whether we wish to survive or not the better. Time is short. “Res non verba”

  • Andrew Roocroft

    The success of police operations in Spain, of which this is an example, in arresting the progress of militant Islam is a vindication of the paleocon approach to dealing with terrorism. True, there exists irrational violent radicals willing to committ suicide in the furtherance of their ideology. Since the attacks in 2004, 300 such extremists have been arrested by the Spanish police in raids such as this one, and there has since been no further loss of life, so far as I am aware, as a result of Islamist activity in Spain. But 300 extremists (I’m sure there are more, yet undiscovered) pales into comparison with the size of Spain’s Islamic population: 1.3 million. The successful arrest and detention of the criminals has not required military action and proves that a proportionate response to this threat is the use of targeted resources to tackle specific individuals, rather than the indiscriminate conquest and occupation of foreign nations.

    It seems to me, however, to be deliberately myopic to insist that the effects of Western intervention in Iraq are negligible as a source of terrorism, particularly that terrorism which takes place in Iraq. The paleoconservative contention is that the appeal of radical Islamic groups to the victims of Western foreign policy is exacerbated when that policy has substantial ‘collateral damage,’ or when it is employed to the defence of favoured reprssive governments, like those of the Shah of Iran, the Saud family and Pervez Musharraf. The result of this action is to affiliate hitherto disparate groups along a common anti-Western thread.

    The best approach to minimising the number of radicals targeted against the West is to cease our affiliation with provocative governments, like Israel and Saudi Arabia; their continued existence ought to be their own concern. It is not from cowardice that we should pursue this, but from self-interest – we mustn’t, as in Iraq, become stubborn defenders of ‘honour,’ suffering massive casualties merely to save face. Embroiling ourselves in middle-Eastern border disputes and the maintenance of military regimes is not sensible if we act out of a desire to be left alone – that is, left in peace; if, to the contrary, we desire either some beneficient role as international stewards or a financially rewarding empire, we must accept that we will sacrifice the freedom to be left in peace.

    This, to me, is the ultimate end of libertarianism, to allow individuals to live their lives without compulsion from forces inside or outside of the state: the present policy merely exacerbates the external threat by creating more enemies of the West ripe for indoctrination – the sons and widows of the civilian dead – which justifies ever greater internal intrusion into our lives, and hence increases the growth of state power.

  • So it’s a 100% agreed upon that Jose got the boot purely because the Spanish are yellow?

    No, but that was a major plank on which the socialists ran.

    The success of police operations in Spain, of which this is an example, in arresting the progress of militant Islam is a vindication of the paleocon approach to dealing with terrorism.

    Except it is nothing of the sort. Are you suggesting a more interventionist approach predicates less effort at internal security? There have been similar arrests in the UK, USA and Australia. Hell, there have been arrests of Islamists in Switzerland and Kenya and there are insurgencies in the Philippines and Thailand, not places known for their extravagant foreign policies.

    This, to me, is the ultimate end of libertarianism, to allow individuals to live their lives without compulsion from forces inside or outside of the state

    For sure. I doubt Osama bin Laden agrees however.

    the present policy merely exacerbates the external threat by creating more enemies of the West ripe for indoctrination – the sons and widows of the civilian dead

    And that is why the ongoing events in Spain go a long way to falsifying the whole paleo conservative/paleo-libertarian theory of foreign affairs. Spain withdrew from the fight but the fight did not withdraw from Spain.

  • Andrew Roocroft

    permanentexpat:

    Islam may well be a problem in the hands of radicals but there is a far greater problem, in my opinion. The real problem is “us” and the sooner we decide whether we wish to survive or not the better.

    There is no such thing as “us” – or, as Ayn Rand might have put it, “we.” Collectivism of all shades, including that that you propound, which seems to be one of outright racism (‘indigenes’, ‘repatriation’ &c), is flawed because it blames an individual for actions that he didn’t choose to perform, for vague cultural, racial or religious reasons.

    Nick M:

    The big beef ObL had with the USA was infidel boots (some of them on female feet. The horror!) in the holy land. Yet what were they doing there? Oh yes, defending the land of the two holy mosques from a secular dictator. And for that the USA got 9/11.

    Do you think the US should have defended Saudi Arabia, then? It seems to me that there was no reason whatsoever to justify supporting a tyrannical theocracy over a tyrannical secular dictatorship, and that, even if there were such a justification (eg defending democratic Israel from say, Egypt, for democratic solidarity) to follow it would not be in the interest of America or Britain, assuming, as Barry Goldwater said, that “if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ “interests,” I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty.”

  • Jacob – the fact is that the uniquely Western combination of inquisitive free thought and the free market is incredibly productive – intellectually and economically – and this has allowed us to outwit and outproduce our more numerous opponents on the battlefield and in the market. Certainly, a lot of people in the West are living in an ignorance afforded by the prosperity that comes as a result of our cultural model. I think these folk lack historical perspective, but I am not surprised by their (often apparently wilful) insouciance to clear and present danger because we are living in a golden age and they are the fortunate, blinkered children of that age. I think (and hope) that a proper existential shock to these peoples’ systems would snap them out of their blissful ignorance.

    Veryretired is right. The West in total war mode is the most terrifying force ever known to humankind. And let’s not lose sight of the fact that part of the reason why the Western model is so great is because we don’t shift into total war mode very often.

  • Andrew Roocroft

    Are you suggesting a more interventionist approach predicates less effort at internal security?

    Of course not; as I said at the end of the paragraph, this is an indication that “the successful arrest and detention of the criminals has not required military action and proves that a proportionate response to this threat is the use of targeted resources to tackle specific individuals,” in contrast to an indiscriminately interventionist foreign policy, which creates more enemies than it defeats.

    Spain withdrew from the fight but the fight did not withdraw from Spain.

    But the probability of success of Spain winning “the fight” has been much increased by the fact that it now has to face fewer people radicalised by seeing their co-religionists and family killed by the actions of Spanish troops. Suppose Russia or China were to invade the Vatican; Catholics internationally would not be irrational in their rush to the defence of their co-religionists. Similarly, rational Muslims – the vast majority, as the figures I pointed out proved (300 extremists so far arrested out of 1.3 million Spanish Muslim population) – are unlikely to sympathise with a fringe religious interpretation unless they feel that that sect is a vanguard in a wider confrontation between Islam and the West, to which it seems some comments here are belligerently looking forward. The ideological overthrow of the government of Iraq is an irrelevancy in radicalising Iraqi Muslims – it is the cost of doing so in Iraqi lives that causes formerly mainstream Muslims to sympathise with Jihadist elements.

  • renminbi

    And how have the police known who to arrest except by wiretaps and “coercive ” interrogation ? War and coercion are not good but sometimes they are necessary,but some of our libertarian brothers mean to be pure as the driven snow.

  • Pa Annoyed

    NickM,

    “So how exactly do you plan to use the steam-roller of Western Culture against Islam?”

    Refuse in absolute terms to compromise our own values on liberty and free speech, expose the orthodox roots of Jihad, Shariah, and the truth of Islamic history to the daylight of critical scrutiny, systematically challenge apologists and propagandists in public debate, root them out of our prison system, apply the full weight of international law and human rights enforcement to the Palestinians and other Muslim grievance theatres, publicise the treatment of minorities and women in Islamic countries much more, and apply significant pressure on Muslims to seriously and unambiguously acknowledge and then reform the intolerant parts of Islam rather than just ignoring or hiding them.

    And yes, ensure that Muslims get access to all the fun things a Western lifestyle can bring, and provide the technological tools by which they can bypass and hide what they’re doing from the censors and theocrats and muttaween. (Speaking of which, did you ever read the Religious Policeman’s blog? That’s just one example of the sort of thing I’d be thinking about.)

    Permanentexpat,
    When I said to use the culture of the West, I meant it. The aim is not to keep them out, but to convert them to our way of thinking. The carrot and stick in this case are freedom and prosperity versus embarrassment and social exposure. (They can of course keep their ritual and belief in Allah and the five pillars and such. We can incorporate that stuff easily along with everything else we do.) But we can carry out this conversion process far more easily over here, where we control the rules and are in a majority. Then, when we have a few million adherents to a reformed and pacified Islam, we can export it back.

    It was, I think, the original intention behind multiculturalism, but rather than accept the OK superficialities that add life and colour to culture and apply pressure to drop only the parts that conflicted with our core values, we ended up accepting everything and corrupting our core values. Rather than converting, we wound up being converted. That has to stop, but that doesn’t mean that the only alternative is ethnic isolationism or a hot war. We can do it, and given how much better our way of life is than theirs, rather easily I would think, but we have to recognise the need (and the right) to make the effort.

    And at the same time, we have to stop knocking our own culture and technological way of life so much, when we have got so much to be grateful for. Not blind patriotism, or complacency, but a respectful acknowledgement of just how much we do have and how far we have come. A little bit of Western pride is in order.

  • Jacob

    it is the cost of doing so in Iraqi lives that causes formerly mainstream Muslims to sympathise with Jihadist elements.

    Where did you get that info ? In the MSM ?

    I think that a very great majority of Iraqis are very grateful toward the US that it has deposed the murderous tyrant, and feel deep friendship toward it, as contrasted to deep animosity engendered by the relentless anti US propaganda of Saddam and the Islamist – before 2003.
    Sure, a good number of Iraqi Islamo-nuts still fight agains the US, but the number is decreasing. It is the terrorists that kill most of the Iraqi victims, and Iraqis know this, and their response is – more oposition to the Islamo-nuts.

    So, your whole mantra “the more we fight them the more they hate us and more terrorists are born” is totally false. You just parrot the leftie MSM out of ignorance, becuase it fits your ideology, which, in this case, you share with the MSM.

    The war in Iraq does cost the US money and blood, and it’s final results are unknown, but the claim that it creates more terror is absolute nonsense.

  • Eric

    There are many people (Pournelle comes to mind) who think the whole dust-up is ultimately a reaction to the cultural influences of the West. That our “cultural weapons of mass destruction” have forced the adherents of the 7th century version of Islam to attack us or risk seeing their children listening to Britney Spears and questioning the power structure.

  • it is the cost of doing so in Iraqi lives that causes formerly mainstream Muslims to sympathise with Jihadist elements.

    Sorry, no sale. This started well before Iraq and it will continue long after Iraq is a footnote in history. I am probably not going to convince you or visa versa. I regard pretty much your entire thesis as based on fairly profound misreadings of history but I see little point in arguing it as the disagreement is as complete as that of believers in God and non-believers.

    An argument can be made that Iraq was not a good place to get into a war (I disagree but the argument to the contrary does have merit), however even if I did agree that does not lead to the conclusion that interventionist wars are therefore a bad idea in principle purely because they are not defensive at one causal step. It does not take two people to start a fight, just one. And also this is an ideologically based war, not a police matter, and wars are rarely won simply by defending yourself on your own turf.

    The only argument I buy to the (sort of) contrary is that as our cultural and military superiority is so overwhelming, all we have to do is contain them (a la Cold War) and attack them culturally until they become us. That said I am still not sure that negates well chosen interventions and it begs the question of our own suicidal multicultural ‘fifth column’.

    But the disagreement is possibly at the axiomatic level so it might be a pointless discussion.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Andrew Roocroft,

    Regarding that “vast majority”…

    It is a little publicised fact that under Sharia, the aggressive form of Jihad is fard al kifaya, a communal obligation. This means that so long as a sufficient number of the community carry it out, the rest are absolved of the responsibility, but if nobody carries it out, the sin lays on every individual. The defensive form of Jihad is on the other hand is fard al :ayn, an individual obligation, and something every Muslim is obliged to do.

    Thus, you cannot deduce from the fact that only a small number engage in aggressive Jihad, that therefore only a small number support it. And of course there are other means of supporting Jihad that are allowed for in Sharia; in particular, the zakat or charity every Muslim is obliged to offer may be to raise weapons or resources for Jihad. Many of the Islamic charities set up for zakat funnel money through to the terrorists, and many of the givers know it.

    We don’t really know how many really support what you might call the “extremist” positions, although technically they’re actually the traditional orthodox ones. But surveys indicate that in the UK about 5% support violent Jihad in at least some circumstances, 15% directly support the Islamist cause (as in the Taliban and Osama), and around 40% support the implementation of Sharia in Western countries. I think under-reporting of such opinions to be more likely than over-reporting, but if we take those figures as the best estimate we’ve got, that means that while it is true that it is only a minority posing a problem, it is by no means a tiny minority. What’s more, the situation seems to be getting worse, with more and more mosques being taken over by the haters.

    Foreign policy does not make them like us, and it does act as a focus for the resentment, but it does have significant tactical advantages too. We don’t like their foreign policy, but for some reason this argument is only ever applied one way. We should not let them get away with the idea that if they don’t like a policy they can legitimately use violence to try to make us change it. What if we all did that? About policies like multiculturalism, for example? It’s a convenient excuse – as is shown in the current post, they can always find some reason.

    But in general we gain far more from the disruption of their activities than we lose from the publicity. And there is nothing that helps their recruitment more than letting them think they’re winning, or that puts a crimp in it like seeing us comprehensively smash their organisation somewhere like Iraq without them gaining a thing. Everybody always wants to be on the winning side.

  • Jacob

    Pa,
    You are behind the times.

    And at the same time, we have to stop knocking our own culture and technological way of life so much, when we have got so much to be grateful for.

    Don’t you know we are greedily overconsuming resources and destroying our planet and it’s species, and therefore “our own culture and technological way of life” are a plague wich has to be stopped lest the earth turns burns?

    This is now our new “own” culture – luddism and worship of the “noble” savage. As I said to “very” – Western culture and values have changed over the last century.

  • permanentexpat

    Pa Annoyed says, along with a raft of good argument:

    Permanentexpat,
    When I said to use the culture of the West, I meant it. The aim is not to keep them out, but to convert them to our way of thinking.

    It is our culture which they find so abhorrent (I confess to some sympathy there) and about which there’s so much seething…and they are much more single-minded than we are in imposing their culture on us…by any means.

    Whingeing Poms are very quickly made aware of the antipathy they cause & are cordially invited to take the next cattle-plane back to The Septic Isle; yet we welcome analphabetic throwbacks and bend over in all directions to accomodate their primitive prejudices. I repeat, it’s not their fault, it’s ours. Britain has been, over the years & much like the U.S., a melting pot. Those whom we took in wanted to integrate with the indigenes and, while keeping their various religions & customs within their personal spheres, achieved their aims & became an integral part of a great nation. That is not the present situation.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Yes, the traditionalists find our culture abhorrent, but they aren’t the only sort of Muslim. (And indeed, those sort are less likely to have emigrated here.) And we have a good shot at their children, too. Kids get a lot of their views from their peers at school, rather more than their parents. Unfortunately, the nutballs got to the kids first, and are running a deliberate campaign to radicalise them. We need to do the same.

    There are some we’ll never get. But most Muslims, like most Christians, are profoundly ignorant of the rules and details of their own religion. And many are happy to ignore large chunks of it if it proves convenient. (For example, it’s forbidden under Sharia to live permanently among the kuffar and follow their ways, so they’re pretty much all in violation, anyway.) It’s a start we need to build on.

  • Don’t you know we are greedily overconsuming resources and destroying our planet and it’s species, and therefore “our own culture and technological way of life” are a plague wich has to be stopped lest the earth turns burns?

    Of course we can find many espousing this point of view, however it’s an incredibly indulgent one. Only the most privileged of humanity – surrounded and succoured by the largesse of what they claim to despise – are able to concern themselves over such things. Also, the propagation of such views are subject to a willing popular market, which would be rather less so if there was a legitimate, visceral threat to their wellbeing (such as a WMD going off in a major Western city).

    The a large number of the Western people have become rather complacent and even deeply confused; on that point I agree with you. However, I don’t think the underlying strength of the Western model has dissipated. Perhaps we are in appeasement mode now. We’ve been there before, but Chamberlain’s reign didn’t last forever. At that time, it took a nasty and painful shock to remind us of our core values. Unfortunately, it may be necessary to go through that again.

  • The belief that keeping to oneself,minding ones own business,avoiding eye contact or giving affront to others will keep one out of trouble is very touching but does not resemble any reality either now or historically.
    The appeasers and multiculties have given the impression the West is up for grabs. The application of violence,noisy outrage and political pressure seems to be guaranteeing submission.What better goal for those from poor dysfunctional countries than to take over lands where the work has been done? Worked on the entire Middle East.

  • permanentexpat

    Pa………right again!

    Kids get a lot of their views from their peers at school, rather more than their parents.

    Ah yes, our very own Anglo-Saxon feral yoof. Congratulations to all you blinkered baby-boomers for your outstanding parenting skills…and gleeful acceptance of hundreds of thousands of mediaeval aliens to complement your arrogant stupidity. Your parents should have made more use of condoms.

  • Gabriel

    That’s the idea: you stop wasting your time putting band-aids on the boo-boos of foreigners, and you use your resources, in your own country, to arrest those people who are actually close enough to do you some harm.

    This is all, of course, hypocritical bullshit because the second you do anything of the sort Rich Paul and his mates will throw a thousand fits about the civil liberties of the terrorist in question whilst hysterically screaming about fascism to anyone foolish enough to listen.
    Such disinegenousness is despicable, but ubiquitous among the “tough” anti-war crowd.

  • Andrew Roocroft

    Jacob:

    I think that a very great majority of Iraqis are very grateful toward the US that it has deposed the murderous tyrant, and feel deep friendship toward it, as contrasted to deep animosity engendered by the relentless anti US propaganda of Saddam and the Islamist – before 2003.

    Why the United States should especially be concerned with the opinions of Iraqis towards it prior to 2003 is beyond my understanding, though I would venture that those 500,000 children that died between 1991 and 1996 because of US embargoes on medicine to Iraq felt something other than gratitude. Nonetheless, I think that you’re missing the point when you talk about tyranny. My contention is that there is two forms of anti-Americanism, one of which is justified, the other unjustified. I would agree with you that the unjustified, irrational Islamist ideology is largely irreconcilable, and that police action should be taken to capture or, if resisting capture, to kill terrorists who plan or engage in attacks against the United States.

    The justified anti-Americanism is, however, the more important. Let me give you two examples, taken from the last week at the Iraq Body Count:

    Jalawla: US and Iraqi forces kill 7 during overnight raid -5 of them a family of Kurds living in Shaykh Bawa village. When the family did not open their door out of fear, the forces broke down the door and opened fire.

    Kut: US forces open fire at intersection killing 4 (a bus driver and 3 construction workers).

    If either of these things were to occur in Britain, there would be national fury and understandable rage by the family and friends of the dead. Why are we so surprised, then, when the family and friends of Iraqi victims choose to retaliate against the United States with violence? The cavalier attitude that is taken by the United States towards civilian casualties – and here, for instance, by the description of the Iraq War as a mere “footnote in history” – would never be tolerated at home, and yet it is asserted that Iraqi civilians console themselves with the fact that Saddam Hussein is no longer in power. I just can’t buy that many people care enough about the form of government under which they live to be willing, on balance, to lose a member of their family for it.

    Perry:

    This is an ideologically based war, not a police matter, and wars are rarely won simply by defending yourself on your own turf.

    You hit on the problem: they don’t have any turf on which to attack them. It doesn’t therefore follow that it is justified to aggress against a third party’s property – namely, the property owned by Iraqis unconnected to terrorism – which is precisely the instrument employed by the US government in its waging of war and occupation. If ultimately private property and self-ownership are the libertarian axioms, then the problem of Islamist ideology, much as with all other attacks on freedom, are ultimately a product of a lack of respect for property rights. Frankly, I think statements like these – “our suicidal multicultural ‘fifth column’,” “ideologically based war,” “the steam-roller of Western Culture,” “the West is up for grabs” – are depressing precisely because of their collectivist implications, their ‘for us, or for the Islamists’ mentality, and their obsession with ‘the West’ or ‘the free world’.

    Defending the cause of individualism by compelling all individuals to participate in its defence is inconsistent, and making no distinction between an enemy and a neutral, disinterested party shows a blatant disregard for property. If this is the culture you wish to preserve, feel free to do so – on, and funded by, your own property.

  • “I would venture that those 500,000 children that died between 1991 and 1996 because of US embargoes on medicine to Iraq felt something other than gratitude.”

    UN embargo and the beginning of the Oil For Food scam

    Individualism has no meaning in Islam.

  • Defending the cause of individualism by compelling all individuals to participate in its defence is inconsistent

    This is where the wheels come off the whole Rothbardian world view in a spectacular and ultimately fatal manner.

    War is a collective threat, much like bubonic plague and city/forest fires. It does not respect individuals or property lines. The world just ain’t that nice and clear cut, not because of flawed epistemology or incorrect metaphysics, but the very nature of reality itself.

    If an enemy fires a mortar at you from within a crowd of non- combatant, neutrals if you will in your terminology, the ONLY response conducive to survival and simple common sense is to return fire regardless. The results will not be pretty or something any sane person would want as an optimal outcome, but that really is the way anyone who wishes to prevail in a war must act because you can be damn sure the other side will not be so squeamish.

    Yes, of course the decent thing to do is to minimise non-combatant causalities, but only to the extent it does not materially undermine one’s ability to win a conflict and that logics needs to apply from the tactical all the way up to the strategic when conflict becomes a reality.

  • permanentexpat

    Pretty sure that Mr. Roocroft’s half a million childrens’ parents had no association with the Baath party….Sanctions?….with Baathist Syria next door?…and other non-friends of the US happy to fill the gap.
    As for the Jalawla & Kut examples of American barbarity it is not just a question of ‘stuff happens’. It’s easy to quote the incident and leave out the cause thereof. I don’t give a damn who he might be but if a man with a gun tells me to stop, that’s what I do. Callow maybe but good common sense.
    As for what Iraq was, I attach the following for Mr. Roocroft’s benefit:
    http://mondediplo.com/1998/03/04iraqkn

  • Paul Marks

    Rich Paul and Andrew Roocroft.

    Ron Paul (or rather Lew Rockwell and the other Rothbardians who put the words into his mouth) has said REPEATEDLY that the cause of attacks on the United States (including 9/11) was American forces being in the Middle East and that pulling out would end attacks.

    Spain pulled out of the Middle East – and yet the Islamic extremists continue to operate against Spain.

    You can twist and turn as much as you like – but your thesis is refuted.

    As for your talk of the deaths of Muslim civilians.

    The vast majority of civilians killed in Iraq and in Afghanistan were killed by the enemy – not by American forces. Accepting the al-Quada position that Americans are the ones killing the women and children shows a very odd state of mind indeed – have you considered getting a job with the New York Times?

    I would remind you that while death-to-America may be the founding principle of Rothbardianism it is not the founding principle of libertariansism.

  • Paul Marks

    Saddam had plenty of oil money for food and medical supplies and there was no bar on people in the world selling these things to Iraq.

    We have been here before.

    The “left and right join hands” movement pushed by Murry Rothbard and Karl Hess back in the 1960’s.

    This amounted to some “libertarians” accepting every bit of anti American propaganda going – so they could seem “hip” and “with it”, just like the S.D.S. and the Weathermen.

    “Far out” Andrew Roocroft. But I think you will find that al-Qaeda is not very “groovy”.

    At least Karl Hess had an excuse.

    When questioned about his writings in the 1960s his reply was as follows:

    “You should take account of the fact that I was on drugs at the time”.

  • veryretired

    Those who are so eager to pronounce the culture of the west exhausted and without the will to act are making a serious error. I spent my adult life with men and women who are never quoted in the media, never invited to give lectures on the “multi-cultural paradigm” at prestigious universities, whose views were often self-censored at the inevitable “sensitivity” or “diversity” seminars because it was too much trouble to argue with the idiot running the thing.

    The phrase “more rubble, less trouble” pretty much sums up their general view of any threat to the US and their families, and those are the milder ones.

    When you speak of the views of the west changing somehow over the last century, are you remembering that the worst excesses of political and cultural repression and mass murder are every bit as much a part of “the west” as all the nice things we like to think about, perhaps even more so?

    Perhaps the “talking heads” and intellectual/cultural elites you hear dominating this subject in the media and academia have convinced you that those are the true representatives of our culture, and that the rough, nasty types that do things like burn Tokyo or Dresden, or invade Iwo Jima, are gone with the wind.

    You need to get out more.

    Believe me when I say, if you spent some time in a bar with some construction workers, military people, cops and fire fighters, or any number of other blue collar, no bullshit, we don’t have to censor ourselves here types, you would be under no such illusion.

    I do not welcome this tragic course of events. If there was one thing I could somehow do, even if it meant my life to do it, it would be to awaken the deluded followers of radical, violent islam to the terrible danger they are in, and the precipice they approach with every violent fantasy they attempt to carry out, or do perform.

    Visit Auschwitz, speak to the survivors of the famine in Ukraine, speak to some of the old men who went from island to island in the Pacific, and were expecting to die invading China and the Japanese home islands, until a mysterious force saved them, and ended the war. Ask the Vietnamese what it was like to face the full array of our military power on the field, and get the numbers it cost them to do it.

    You have been gulled. What you mistake as acquiesence and a lack of resolve is the quiet mutter of those who know it’s all crap, but can’t argue with the articulate elites, as Shannon Love has so piercingly described them, and get arrested if they punch their lights out, as they would seriously love to do.

    Right now, we seem like the tiger in the zoo compound, caged and unable to act like a tiger anymore. But taunt the sleeping cat enough, as some recent fools did, and he will awaken, climb the “insurmountable” barriers, tear you apart, and eat a few bites just to see what you taste like.

    If you have never seen the look of the predatory cat in another humans’ eyes, you cannot understand the kind of danger I am talking about. I have. Islam lives until it awakens, and then all there will be is blood and death, and regrets to last a hundred years.

    But by then it will be much too late.

  • Andrew Roocroft

    Defending the cause of individualism by compelling all individuals to participate in its defence is inconsistent

    This is where the wheels come off the whole Rothbardian world view in a spectacular and ultimately fatal manner.

    What is the purpose of waging the war on terrorism? You have described it, thus far, as “ideologically based war,” without defining for what ideology you think the West should be fighting. Is it, as President Bush says, “to defend the homeland… [because] our government’s greatest responsibility is to protect the American people”? Or is it to defend an ideology, that men are self-owners and cannot be justly compelled to follow the commands of others without their consent?

    The reason I enquire in this regard is because you earlier noted,

    But the disagreement is possibly at the axiomatic level so it might be a pointless discussion.

    So I spelled out the axioms upon which my argument was based – self-ownership and private property. With which of these is there a “disagreement… at the axiomatic level”?

    War is a collective threat, much like bubonic plague and city/forest fires. It does not respect individuals or property lines.

    As to the second point, it’s moot – nor does criminal activity or environmental conditions, but they don’t cause us to abandon private property.

    Dealing with the first is more tricky, because of the assumed premise of your argument. The idea that ‘war’ is something other than aggression against property is, I think, the cause of our disagreement. In its essential components, it consists solely of the use of violence against person and property in order to coerce an individual, or several individuals, to obey the commands of the aggressor. In this respect, it may be considered a ‘collective’ threat only insofar as it the aggression of one party against several separate individuals who choose to identify themselves as a voluntary collective. I see no substantial difference, for instance, between a government extorting ‘its own’ citizens and a foreign government doing precisely the same thing, just because you call one ‘war’ and the other ‘taxation.’ The act is precisely the same; the actor is the only difference.

    So the legitimate basis for responding ‘in war’ is the same as the legitimate basis for responding to crime – self defence. However, this is universal, and in the defence of one’s property, if one knowingly aggresses against a neutral party’s property, then you are liable for the consequences – that is, they are legitimately entitled to defend their own property against your aggression, regardless of the justification for your aggression. For this reason, people whose husbands and wives are killed in the ‘collateral damage’ of war are not ‘terrorists’ for seeking retribution from the killer. They are, in fact, the terrorised. When the culpable party is a soldier representing the United States (which is perceived, albeit inaccurately, as a voluntary collective of the type I mentioned above), then his action against an innocent makes the citizens of the United States less safe. If a government is to have any end at all, then it must be the prosecution of those who attack the property of its citizens, and no further. Helping to protect other people’s property from attack – which is, essentially, what it has done since 2003 (since, after all, Saddam wasn’t incriminated in 9/11) – entangles the citizens of the US in further disputes with the casualties of this military action, and makes them more susceptible to being attacked.

    permanentexpat:

    I don’t give a damn who he might be but if a man with a gun tells me to stop, that’s what I do. Callow maybe but good common sense.

    I see. What about the right to self defence?

    Paul Marks:

    You can twist and turn as much as you like – but your thesis is refuted.

    As I have endeavoured to explain, my ‘thesis,’ as it were, is that some people have legitimate grievances with America – namely those who are the innocent victims of American military action. Now, being on ‘holy soil,’ as it were, is a matter for the owner of the soil and his possible guest only. So, were it the case that the US were a voluntary collective and its militia invited by the just owner of a mosque to station troops there, then there would be no rational basis for attacking American citizens. I’ve repeatedly dissassociated myself with this view, that all attacks on America are legitimate:-

    I would agree with you that the unjustified, irrational Islamist ideology is largely irreconcilable, and that police action should be taken to capture or, if resisting capture, to kill terrorists who plan or engage in attacks against the United States.

    And, as for your assertion that “death-to-America may be the founding principle of Rothbardianism,” I would strongly dissent. The founding principle of anarcho-capitalism is self-ownership and property. If ‘America’ violates these principles, in dealing with ‘its own’ citizens or with those outside of its claimed jurisdiction, then there is a legitimate right of self defence against America, which can be exercised by the dispossessed. This isn’t “death to America” – it’s death to statism, collectivism and democracy, of which America is merely one prominent example.

    Oh, and though I didn’t intend it to be central to my point (it was included parenthetically, after all), this issue of sanctions on Iraq being neglible, as suggested by Paul Marks, permanentexpat and Ron Brick, I would refer you to Madeleine Albright’s answer, when questioned on this figure (from a UN report, incidentally, on the effect of sanctions):

    Interviewer:- “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?”

    Albright:- “I think that is a very hard choice, but the price, we think, the price is worth it.”

    Far from being false, it was openly endorsed as the direct effect of US policy by none other than the Secretary of State.

    (Apologies for length, but I’m surprised – given that samizdata proclaims itself to be made up of “recovering neo-conservatives” that withdrawal symptoms are so prominent.)

  • Nick M

    Andrew,
    The issue of the purpose of the WoT is a non-entity. It wasn’t a choice that Dubya or Blair entered into. We were attacked. We defended ourselves. End of. I would have thought that you would understand that principle of self-defence.

    Your reply to permanentexpat is odd to say the least. I don’t think pe was waiving his right to self-defense merely pointing out that against overwhelming odds discretion is sometimes the better part of valour. Sheesh.

    I don’t really understand your point about the US not being a voluntary collective. I really don’t know where you are going with that but the folk at the sharp-end (the military) volunteered for the job.

    Finally, what would you have done about Saddam. Sanctions to keep him in his cage? It would appear not. An invasion to remove him? Or what’s the alternative? Leaving him to his own devices – with his track record? There was no good alternative but presumably one of them was least worst…

  • What you mistake as acquiesence and a lack of resolve is the quiet mutter of those who know it’s all crap, but can’t argue with the articulate elites,

    very, I’d like to agree with you, but I cannot. You are describing, very eloquently, the older generation. Even Vietnam ended 35 years ago, and that’s a generation ago. I’m afraid the younger generation isn’t the way you describe the older one. As I said, times changed.

    There is a test case before us. All Western leaders have said in very explicit and bold words that Iran cannot be allowed to acquire the Bomb. All have spoken: Bush, Brown, Sarkozy, Merkel. They could issue an ultimatum and act in conjunction, inviting China, Japan, India and Russia to join (fat chance).
    They could do something. They are THE WEST.
    Well, empty words. They’ll do nothing, Iran will get the Bomb. Israel too has no leadership, and will not do anything. Not to mention the next US president, a subject that already depresses me quite some.

    Iran isn’t afraid of the Western leaders’ rhetoric. They are right, you are wrong. The belligerent words you hear from old timers in bars aren’t relevant any more…
    The West is, maybe, still capable, theoretically, of doing something, but the will just isn’t there. Not that Europe, the cradle of the West, has any military capability at all…

  • P.S.

    Even Vietnam ended 35 years ago

    Not that Vietnam was something to be proud of… some real victory, something to reminiscence about in bars and tell your children about…
    (The irony isn’t addressed against the soldiers, who, mostly fought well, but were in no position to change the outcome; it’s against the leaders, what is in effect THE WEST).

  • Nick M

    Jacob,
    Who exactly do you think mans our military? They’re folks in their 20s and 30s not old timers swapping tales of Na Drang and the Pusan perimeter. I’m 34 years old and I’m no pacifist. And please don’t call me a chickenhawk either. My eyesight wasn’t up to the RAF standards otherwise I’d perhaps be bombing the fuckers right now. Perhaps I should’ve joined the Army or something but… Hell, when I left school there didn’t seem to be a significant external threat and I went with Plan B – Physics.

    Our leadership might be pussified but for every daft sod like Jacqui Smith we’ve got a Johnson Beharry VC. And ultimately that’s what matters.

  • Ivan

    Nick M:

    The issue of the purpose of the WoT is a non-entity. It wasn’t a choice that Dubya or Blair entered into. We were attacked. We defended ourselves. End of. I would have thought that you would understand that principle of self-defence.

    I wouldn’t say that the issue is a non-entity, even if we view it from a purely technical perspective. The “War on Terror” is not a classic war like WW1 or WW2, in which the objective is to defeat the military forces commanded by some foreign government, so that this government could be violently deposed or forced into negotiations or surrender. In a classic war, there is at least a clear definition of what would constitute “victory”. For example, in WW2, the victory objective was clear — the Allied troops marching into Berlin and Tokyo; in this war, nothing like that exists. There is no clear definition of the enemy either, in the sense that in WW2 one could point at concrete Nazi and Japanese soldiers in the field as people who need to be attacked and defeated, and at the government leaderships in Berlin and Tokyo that need to be forced to surrender. And last but not least, there was a clear distinction between allies and enemies, whereas now there exists a complete confusion on this issue (need I say more than that the regimes in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are supposed to count as “allies” right now?).

    Of course, some objectives pursued as a part of the “War on Terror” had the classic, well-defined form, namely the overthrow of the Taliban and Saddam’s regime, and these operations were indeed executed as brilliantly as things can ever be from a military point of view. However, these were only tactical objectives that were supposed to be a part of some larger strategic plan — but this plan seems to be completely vague and undefined.

    To put it differently, imagine if you had a magic ability to dictate the policy of the U.S. and other Western countries, and not just that, but also the ability to magically bring instant defeat to any enemies they encounter on the way. What concrete course of events would you use your magic powers to bring? Looking at the present situation, I can’t think of a single logically possible course of events that would lead to anything that could be reasonably called a “victory”. Therefore, I would say that the purpose of “WoT” is a “non-entity” only in the sense that its strategic vision is so confused that its purpose seems to be nonexistent if we demand anything more concrete than the most vague proclamations.

  • Nick M

    Ivan,
    I agree. It’s a total mess but I think we had to fight after 9/11. Sorry Andy Roocroft but 9/11 just meant we had to kill practioners of the religion of peace. No. Fucking. Choice. There was no alternative.

    What’s my magic solution? I think Islam is evil.

    It’s that simple.

  • veryretired

    Jacob—what you are ignoring is that I am not talking about “old timers” reminiscing about the past, but mature citizens of many ages talking about the present and the future.

    One of my old friends came to visit me while I was ill. His grandson had just returned from two tours in Iraq as a Ranger. One of his sons is there as a combat officer, and other of his children have served in various capacities, two having attended military academies.

    He was a lifer in the Army and Reserves, retiring as a colonel.

    Three generations, down to a 25 year grandson. If anyone threatens this country, they will kill and keep killing until the threat is gone.

    All in all I find them to be highly admirable men and women of absolute integrity and devotion to their duty.

    The term honor was devised to describe this very person, no matter how much it has been perverted or devalued in the popular culture.

    If, as ancient as well as modern history demonstrates, the elites get too far removed from the realities of what the common people believe and desire, it is the elites that are replaced, not the beliefs of the people.

    I relentlessly drone on about individual rights and a restricted state because I fear the evils of men much more than the vissitudes of an independent life.

    You are apparently committed to the belief that the west is finished, sapped of its vitality and energy, much less the ferocity I have been talking about in this thread, by the ravages of modern PC, multi-culti culture.

    All I can say to that is, for well or ill, you, and the islamists who share this delusion, are very, very wrong.

  • permanentexpat

    Yes, as has been pointed out, we are engaged in something entirely different from the wars to which we have been accustomed and we have to go through a painful learning period to arrive at the correct strategy.

    The nearest similarity is, in my opinion, the ‘Cold War’ when, despite unbelievable destructive power (still extant) on both sides, the West was able to win…because it was about neither territory, nor spoils. It was about (I have always considered Communism a perverted religion) an ideology, a way of life. A bankrupt ideology cannot, in the long term, survive…and ‘fellow-travellers’ reading this would do well to bear that in mind. The suave dialectic of those who are unable to put Mao, Stalin & Hitler in the correct order in the ‘horror stakes’ fools nobody but its progenitors.

  • Alice


    You are apparently committed to the belief that the west is finished, sapped of its vitality and energy, much less the ferocity I have been talking about in this thread, by the ravages of modern PC, multi-culti culture.

    veryretired — you make some very good points.

    What is the true face of old perfidious Albion today? Is it the Home Secretary who is afraid to walk around London after dark? Or is it the England football supporter in some foreign city, tanked up and strutting down a darkened street looking for trouble with the first Johnnie Foreigner who eyeballs him the wrong way?

    Both faces are there. No question about which one rules in Britain today. But will it always be thus?

    A reasonable guess at the future course of history is — an external force (Islamism? Russia?) will push down the rotted tower of the multi-culti west; there will be violent internal confrontations between the ruling establishment of old guard 60s liberals and the more muscular elements of society, resulting in the death or expulsion of most of the liberals; followed by the reckoning with the external force whose action started the civil conflict.

    Blood in the gutters. On one level, it is terribly unnecessary, but there really is no other way.

  • Midwesterner

    Jacob, et al. There is a darker side to what VR is talking about. There is no violence like that of a jilted pacifist. A nuke in any city in NA or Europe and it will be us alleged hawks trying to restrain the leftists from turning the middle east to glass. The greatest violence of the 20th century was committed by collectivists.

    Environmentalism will be forgotten. Greenism is a religion, not a product of reason. Like all religions, it’s followers can have epiphanies also. The most bigoted people I know are on the left, the most vengeful people I know are on the left, the most overreactive people I know are on the left, the most prone to mob reactions are on the left.

    And most importantly, the least likely to stand strong on their principles are on the left. They live in a relativist world and their response if something major, like nuclear, happens will not bear any resemblance to the ‘principles’ they are espousing today.

    In an attack on America, there will be a synergy between greatly disparate factions that will result in the response that VR describes. I imagine something similar will happen if the same thing happened in Europe. ‘Measured response’ has never been the European way. More like nothing or unlimited.

  • brendan

    Well, pulling out of Iraq was a good start, but they won’t stop upsetting the Islamists until they pull out of Al-Andalus.

  • ATM

    Why the United States should especially be concerned with the opinions of Iraqis towards it prior to 2003 is beyond my understanding, though I would venture that those 500,000 children that died between 1991 and 1996 because of US embargoes on medicine to Iraq felt something other than gratitude.

    It’s very likely these numbers were purely propaganda with no basis in reality. Apparently the same Iraqi responsible for data collection for the discredited Lancet study on war casualties is responsible for the estimates that the Iraqi government promoted on deaths from sanctions.

    Regardless, the notion that if we leave them alone they will leave us alone is fantasy. Did Islam leave Europe alone, or did it start invading Christian lands from the very beginning? Islam and Arabs are expansionist, and if we leave its adherents alone and unhindered, they will eventually acquire enough military power to think they have a chance at succeeding, which will bring a war orders of magnitude more deadly than the current ones waged in Iraq and Afghanistan and the terror attacks directed towards us on our soil.

    I point to Nazi Germany and Hitler. Isolationists think that if the US did not provide aid to the UK and stayed out of European and Asian affairs, we would not be attacked by either Japan or Germany. But looking at Hitler’s writings, particularly his second book, it is apparent that the US would have been attacked after the conquest of Europe even if it hadn’t come to the aid of the UK, partly for resources and partly because of fear that the US would eventually become a threat. Islamists and Arabists undoubtedly will come to the same conclusions in the future. For now they are weak, but if allowed to become powerful, we should be prepared for them to follow the path of the totalitarian Axis powers.

    In my view we have to rid the world of these totalitarian governments first. Only then is the world safe for US isolationism.

  • People need to understand that when the war is over, it won’t be over. I am talking about Iraq and the Terror War. The current conflict is just a sideline in Islam’s global war on infidels.

    They fight us because we exist. Period. Be aware that there is no such thing as ‘moderate’ Muslims, only Muslims that are ignorant or in denial. Sadly, you cannot count on any Muslim to stand up for our freedoms. I say this from experience. I have sought out the so-called good Muslims and they, too, love a respect a man that killed, tortured, raided, plundered, enslaved and raped. When you point out the hate and violence in the Quran and ahadith they make excuses and pretend that these things have nothing to do with their Islam. They are not honest. Figure out, if you can, what that means.

    Of course the attacks will continue. As long as we give in they will only grow bolder. We need leaders that will stand up and tell Muslims the things they don’t want to hear. Where is our Churchill?

    For over three years I have tried to find honest, sincere Muslims that will honestly debate the issues. No luck. All I found in Islamdom was hate, censorship, excuses and lies.

    The future will not be nice.

    Kactuz

    http://www.kactuzkid.com(Link)

    PS: Muslims don’t know or understand their own writings. They don’t even understand simple words. Basic principles and standards (which they demand of others) of human decency do not apply to them or their dear prophet.

    I am doing my part to fight this evil. I have probably the best studies on the Internet for Asma bint Marwan (murdered by Mohammad) and the events at Banu Al-Mustaliq (a village raided by you know who, with enslavement , plunder and rape). …And there are the never ending shameless lies that Muslims tell….
    (Link)

  • Ivan

    ATM:

    I point to Nazi Germany and Hitler. Isolationists think that if the US did not provide aid to the UK and stayed out of European and Asian affairs, we would not be attacked by either Japan or Germany. But looking at Hitler’s writings, particularly his second book, it is apparent that the US would have been attacked after the conquest of Europe even if it hadn’t come to the aid of the UK, partly for resources and partly because of fear that the US would eventually become a threat.

    Yes, but as I wrote above, in the case of the Nazis one could point at a concrete Nazi army that needed to be attacked and defeated and a concrete group of people constituting the Nazi German government that needed to be overthrown. This required a lot of effort, as well as an alliance with a totalitarian power little (if at all) better than Hitler’s, but at least the concrete and unambiguous objectives were there. But what are the strategic objectives in the present war? One gets nothing but silence or, at best, some entirely vague and evasive answers when this fundamental question is asked.

  • Ivan:

    But what are the strategic objectives in the present war? One gets nothing but silence or, at best, some entirely vague and evasive answers when this fundamental question is asked.

    Why, it’s bringing democracy to the ME! Really! It is already working in Gaza, BTW.

  • CountingCats

    Paul, you miss the point.

    Spain pulled out of the Middle East – and yet the Islamic extremists continue to operate against Spain.

    You can twist and turn as much as you like – but your thesis is refuted.

    Most of the Iberian Peninsula has been Islamic, therefore, for the islamists to stop attacking, Spain must withdraw from most of Spain. Only then is there a chance that they might be granted dhimmi status.

  • Ivan

    Alisa:

    Why, it’s bringing democracy to the ME! Really! It is already working in Gaza, BTW.

    Heh… if only more people were so irreverent as to be able to display an occasional sarcastic attitude like this! Across the modern political spectrum, from the nuttiest leftists to the most hawkish neocons, “bringing democracy” is the phrase whose mention is supposed to raise an aura of pious reverence, and the only line along which one is allowed to continue the discussion is what policy will be effective in bringing democracy to the ME, or whichever other part of the world is under discussion. Nuttier leftists will argue that the evil Western imperialism is the only thing preventing the oppressed peoples from developing a wonderful flourishing democracy, and the hawkish neocons will argue that the wonderful democracy will inevitably flourish once the way for it is cleared by the American guns, thus providing a pathetic excuse for a coherent strategy in the “War on Terror”. The rest will be somewhere inbetween, but still uttering the d-word only with the most pious reverence.

    Arguing that democracy is a very bad idea in certain times and places is a sure way to make oneself ostracized in polite company nowadays. This holds even for those who, like me, hail from places where 100% free democratic elections were followed by rivers of blood in very recent history — and to avoid any confusion, those rivers were foreseeable from the agenda of the winners advertised loudly and clearly before the elections (oh, and the same people were also repeatedly reelected afterwards). It’s really comforting to know that any and all strategic plans produced by the U.S. and other Western powers nowadays include implementing democracy as the ultimate endpoint, after which only the best course of events may be assumed.

  • Josie

    permanentexpat:

    How true.
    Regrettably, our democratic system ensures that the testicularly deprived have equal but much shriller voices.

    Can anyone explain why, as a woman, I should not be offended by this statement?

  • VR and Mid, my gut feeling is that you are right. (Not that it makes me any happier, as that dark side Mid mentioned is very dark indeed). But here is one thing that does not add up for me: was 9/11 not enough? Obviously in hindsight it was not, but it is not hindsight we are discussing here, but rather foresight. Let me ask both of you: if prior to 9/11 you were described an imaginary scenario similar to what happened on that day*, would you have predicted the same response by the West you are predicting now to a nuclear attack, and if not, why? Just because nuclear is so much worse?

    *I heard that Tom Clancy has actually done that – I wonder if anyone here who read that book found it helpful on this matter.

  • Josie: do you consider yourself deprived just because you don’t have them? You don’t have a tail, yet this does not make you feel deprived, I hope?

    Ivan: I am still debating whether D for ME thing was a real reason or an excuse. I think that in some circles it was a real reason, but ultimately when it came to making the decision, it was more of an excuse, or seen as a possible side benefit.

    Arguing that democracy is a very bad idea in certain times and places is a sure way to make oneself ostracized in polite company nowadays.

    In Israel it doesn’t, but you could guess that, I am sure:-)

  • Jacob

    Mid, very, Alice,

    there will be violent internal confrontations between the ruling establishment of old guard 60s liberals and the more muscular elements of society,

    The old guard 60ties hippies and peaceniks are now, as you say, the establishment, in politics, in the media, in the universities, in government.
    They are the educators and inspiration of the new generation. Where are the “more muscular elements of society” ? Sure, Nick M, some young people are willing and capable of fighting, but many more are pacifist tree huggers or Lew-Rockwell-Ron-Paul-ANSWER-MoveOn.org, nuts.
    And even much more so in Europe.
    Mid,
    Relying on reformed lefties to save us from debacle – what colosal wishful thinking, what delusion! Don’t you sense the irony ? It’s like relying on “reformed” criminals to clean up our cities of crime…

    The most bigoted people I know are on the left, the most vengeful people I know are on the left

    Correct… but – depending on them for our salvation … what a desperate scheme!

    As Alisa said… was 9/11 not enough of a wake-up call ?
    If some city is blown up (god forbid) – won’t the same suspects chant: “America had it comming, because she invaded Iraq – let’s all hold hands and pray for peace!”.
    The muscular, determined, fight-ready elements are declining in numbers, they are an endangered species.

  • lucklucky

    “The success of police operations in Spain, of which this is an example, in arresting the progress of militant Islam is a vindication of the paleocon approach to dealing with terrorism.”

    Haha! so March 11 didnt happened? The hundreds to thousand of bombs by ETA also didnt happened, i guess. The luck is that ETA doesnt have a bent to raze quarters and kill dozens everytime. Things would change fast with that…

    Maybe you also check how that information arrived.Maybe you also should check Spanish privacy laws…

    And finally you should answer how many more attacks would have been made if Al-Qaeda & friends werent being killed in Afghanistan and Iraq wasting their resources.
    What information plus we get by engaging them in combat.
    What was the perception for the Muslim world if Bin Laden would appear as victorious and its consequences In Muslim World and Western World.

  • Josie

    Alisa:

    Josie: do you consider yourself deprived just because you don’t have them? You don’t have a tail, yet this does not make you feel deprived, I hope?

    Of course not. Actually, having a tail would be cool (re: Venus on the Half Shell), but I have no desire for the body parts referred to in the original post I quoted. Penis envy is a crock made up by sex-obsessed men.

    I don’t, however, think that exactly defends the comment (which implies the lack somehow makes someone deficient). I doubt the original commenter felt it necessary that the objects of his scorn actually feel deprived.

  • davod

    1. Western Culture – What is that?

    Many countries in the “The West” have so bastardized the meaning of morals and standards that they are being gutted from within by their own rules.

    2. As stated in some earlier comments, strict (notice I do not say radical) Islamists believe the Koran gives them the right, no obligation, to take back any land where the mulsims have ever been.

  • That’s the idea: you stop wasting your time putting band-aids on the boo-boos of foreigners, and you use your resources, in your own country, to arrest those people who are actually close enough to do you some harm.

    This is all, of course, hypocritical bullshit because the second you do anything of the sort Rich Paul and his mates will throw a thousand fits about the civil liberties of the terrorist in question whilst hysterically screaming about fascism to anyone foolish enough to listen.
    Such disinegenousness is despicable, but ubiquitous among the “tough” anti-war crowd.

    How about you tell met what you think, and I’ll tell you what I think. That might be better than you telling me what I think, because what I think is that I know what I think.

    As for civil liberties, there is no natural right to immigrate to, or even visit, the United States. That is one of the reasons that Ron Paul talks about immigration so much … because since invasion of the United States is impossible for pathetic little third world countries, the next best thing to do is terrorism. But you have to get close to U.S. assets to attack them that way.

    So the terrorists can hope that we will be so stupid as to put our assets (in the form of soldiers) close enough to them to be killed, but it is easy to avoid that … don’t station U.S. troops outside the U.S.. If we must go to war, go in quickly, with OVERWHELMING force, and leave just as quickly once the government is destroyed. They can clean up the mess themselves. If they establish another government which again acts in this way, repeat the process. Occupation is a fool’s tactic, it never works. The only reason the Roman Empire got so big through conquest is that they made their former enemies into citizens. I have no interest in Iraq as a state, nor in Iraqis as citizens, so to hell with them.

    Their other option is to send people here to attack us. But we don’t particularly need more immigration here. The solution there is, as somebody pointed out above, to accept no immigrants from the middle east. This mostly solves that problem. You are left with a (presumably tiny) number of radicals who are already here. That number should suffer attrition pretty quickly, since our resources are not being wasted fighting foreign wars, and we can devote them to old fashioned police work in order to track down such people.

    Are you suggesting a more interventionist approach predicates less effort at internal security?

    Of course not; as I said at the end of the paragraph, this is an indication that “the successful arrest and detention of the criminals has not required military action and proves that a proportionate response to this threat is the use of targeted resources to tackle specific individuals,” in contrast to an indiscriminately interventionist foreign policy, which creates more enemies than it defeats.

    I am. A dollar can only be spent once. A person who is a soldier cannot be a policeman. Any resource, once spent, is no longer in possession of the spender. That is what spending means.

    As we spend enough money to secure 20 countries like America in Iraq, we cannot do the work required to actually root out problems at home. So the powers that be decide that they can speed the process and reduce the manpower required by steamrolling our civil liberties. They want to give themselves shortcuts. But since we cannot afford to give them the shortcuts, as any power, once given to the government, becomes theirs forever, we must give them the resources instead. That means more spending on domestic protection, which is impossible if we are wasting the money trying to civilize Iraq.

  • Sorry, the paragraph above starting “Of course not” should be in a second level of blockquote. My text begins ‘I am’.

  • davod

    PS:

    In a perverse waay we should thank Al Qaeda. The Muslim Brotherhood, and its surrogates, was, and still is, doing stirling work getting “Western countries” to adapt their laws to Sharia law.

    The Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates are primarily where “Western Governments” get their advice on how to deal with Islamic Terrorism and Muslim tradditions in general.

    It is already to late for most countries. We can only hope that others wake up.

  • Nick M

    Where to start…

    Countingcats is 100% right. Short of King Juan Carlos reverting and turning Spain into the Islamic emirate of Al Andalus they will not stop attacking Spain.

    Alisa makes an excellent point and one I have pondered. If 9/11 wasn’t enough to wake the snoozing tiger then I’m a little scoobied as to what would be enough. Interestingly the only people I’ve heard in the UK say that the US “over-reacted” have never been to NYC. Well, I have and I navigated Manhatten by the fixed point of the red aircraft warning lights on top of the WTC. Yes, I was phenomenally pissed about 9/11. I wanted to go out and burn the nearest mosque to the ground. I didn’t because I’m civilized but…

    Jacob,
    We are a majority that dare not speak it’s name. Most Brits I know despise Islam reflexively. Most Brits I know don’t give a toss about the environment. Most are reflexively libertarian and patriotic and fecked off with the powers that be and what cannot be said. PC is built on very shaky ground and is paid lip-service. The edifice will crumble when enough people state that the emperor is naked. I have been on enough diversity courses to know that not only are the recipients snoozing through it but the people carrying it out think it’s best bollocks too.

    On Islam and a river in Africa:
    Well, yes, decent Muslims are frequently in denial. A decent Muslim (a decent anyone) would regard a man in his fifties screwing a nine year old an abomination. Yet they will turn intellectual contortions to get away from the fact that, according to the hadith, Muhammed did just that. That’s their scripture and they deny it. It’s weird but it’s the only way they can remain decent humans and believing Muslims. Yet, this disconnect is poisonous. In the Islamic Republic of Iran the female age of consent is nine. The male age is fifteen. I have told Muslims this (as one of the reasons for rejecting their faith) and the reaction was outrage. There was no attempt to hit fact with counter-fact but a lot of rhetoric about how nobody should ever dis the Messenger of Allah. That’s denial.

    Mid,
    A major, perhaps nuclear, attack on a European city would result in an absolute fucking slaughter. We’d tolerate Chicago or Atlanta or DC getting nuked but if they did Paris or London or Barcelona there would be hell to pay and the streets would run with blood. It is a great shame that so many Europeans don’t see America as part of the same civilization but then a surprising number of the European middle-classes have never taken that 7 hour flight for a very affordable price. And not because they just couldn’t get round to it. I’ve met people who regard the US as an evil imperialistic power (an oddly enough buttress this position by appealing to the stereotype of the ignorant, xenophobic US tourist) and when I say, so… ever been there? (I’ve spent about 4 months total in the USA) They say, “No, I’d never go somewhere so evil”. At this point I know there is no point continuing the discussion.

    Well, but if the Muslims destroy real culture in Europe (not that ersatz, Disneyfied stuff you have in the USA) then, yes, Europe will butcher it’s Muslim minorities with gay abandon and nuke Mecca.

    I am continually amused by the extent to which middle-class Euros regard America as a cultural desert. I actually think some people just didn’t believe that museums in NYC and DC have some pretty good paintings. It’s a bit like the People’s Front of Judea. What have the Americans ever done for us… Well, there’s the Simpsons, obviously…

  • permanentexpat

    permanentexpat:

    How true. Regrettably, our democratic system ensures that the testicularly deprived have equal but much shriller voices.
    Can anyone explain why, as a woman, I should not be offended by this statement?

    Posted by Josie at January 21, 2008 09:55 AM

    I’m sure that wasn’t really high dudgeon, Josie ;-))
    I am not one of those who refer to women as ‘the weaker sex’, you may be sure!

  • Josie

    permanentexpat:

    I’m sure that wasn’t really high dudgeon, Josie ;-))

    No, if I was actually offended, I wouldn’t have asked why I shouldn’t have been. I just wanted to point out the implications of the statement.

  • permanentexpat

    Just a thought:
    There is much made of ‘the Anglosphere’ as a bulwark against radical Islam…and I do believe that it should be so…but that’s only part of it. There may well be other cultures and/or religions that Islam has not attacked recently (including itself of course) but none comes immediately to mind. Christians, naturally….Hindus, Buddhists, Animists and others…so where is the combined outrage? Time to do some serious co-operation methinks.
    To my many American friends:
    Pay no heed to those here whose crass ignorance of anything outside their own blinkered worlds have to say…there was a time when we suffered the same petty envy…but I’m sure you’re used to it by now.
    Many folk hate Germans…not Nazis…Germans. Never met one & we won the war (we didn’t) anyway, so there.
    Haters are mostly the ignorant…an ‘intelligent hater’ is not only a moron but an oxymoron.

  • Andrew Roocroft

    1. Western Culture – What is that?

    Many countries in the “The West” have so bastardized the meaning of morals and standards that they are being gutted from within by their own rules.

    This was the pont I was trying to make earlier, which was brushed aside as a ‘non-entity.’ If those values are something other than individualism, personal liberty and private property, count me out.

    As stated in some earlier comments, strict (notice I do not say radical) Islamists believe the Koran gives them the right, no obligation, to take back any land where the mulsims have ever been.

    This seems extraordinarily similar to the Jewish claims on Israel – the Jews used to live there &c – and is equally as unjust. But it’s the duty of the rightful owner to defend their property from the Muslim hoardes with whatever voluntary co-operative support they can obtain from other individuals. They can’t justly compel others to defend their property, whatever ‘cultural confrontation’ is ongoing between ‘Islam’ and ‘the West.’

  • Midwesterner

    Alisa,

    was 9/11 not enough?

    I thought throughout the whole thing that our president was overreacting and miss-reacting. He threw everything into a paroxysm of fear and suspicion. I would much have preferred that he demonstrate some of our dignity and strength, and treat the whole thing in perspective. It was the equivalent of 3000 drunk drivers simultaneously killing 3000 pedestrians. In a nation of 300 million. And it was some infrastructure damage. It was a problem to be solved, it was people to be helped, families to be comforted, it was a repetition to be prevented. It was a time for focused anger. But this response was not at all what we got from our ‘leaders’. Personally I was angry, not frightened, but it sure looked to me like our president was frightened.

    I certainly saw no threats to our civilization in that attack. Merely a need for somebodies, somewhere to have an serious attitude adjustment. And the need for us to give a good rethink to our hijacker policies. Flight safety should be in the control of the airlines and ultimately the captains, not a shiny new bureaucracy in Washington contrived in a fit of panic solving nonexistent problems and interfering with the solutions to genuine ones. There should have been lawsuits and insurance mandated procedural changes domestically, and a rationally administered attitude adjustment administered somewhere else. Needless to say, our politicians disappointed me.

    Jacob,

    You didn’t pay attention to what I said. The response of the left will be a problem, not a solution. First they block every effort to do something rational and defensive. Then they throw almighty temper tantrums when their superior morality is betrayed. They are the problem at both extremes.

  • Robert the Biker

    “What have the Americans ever done for us… Well, there’s the Simpsons, obviously…”
    Harley Davidsons and Indians…..(Got)
    Levi’s…..(Got)
    Corvettes…..(Want)

  • GW Crawford

    As the first poster said, why not expend all of your effort in your own country?

    Simple

    Why wait til they have taken your country. Contrary to most military ‘experts’, your best bet is to give the other home turf advantage

  • Nick M

    Andrew,
    Well it isn’t just the three things you mention is it? It’s also art and music and science and theatre and a whole smorgesbord of things (including smorgesbords).

    An Islamic conquest would kill stone dead the arts and sciences apart from carpet weaving and calligraphy.

    If there is anything which makes me hate them it’s the idea, the vision, of them torching the contents of The Louvre, The Prado, The Rijksmuseum…

    The Jewish claim on Israel is way more complicated than that. Bear in mind that the Zionists had bought a large chunk of the place. Bear in mind that non-Jews are allowed to be citizens and that even Jews who are completely non-observant are OK. Please compare with the fate of Muslims who decide it’s all bollocks and quite going to the mosque…

    I’m not going to debate the rights and wrongs of the foundation of Israel but only the consequences. Israel is a positive oasis of civilization surrounded by theocracies, thugocracies, Ba’athists, failed states and complete mentalists. Sorry, Andrew, I’m taking a very strong Randian line on this. I will support Israel absolutely, unconditionally until it’s neighbours just grow up and stop acting like twats. Then of course, whatever issues arise can be solved in a civilized manner.

  • Nick M

    Robert,
    That’s a very short list. Clearly you’re easily pleased!

    Mid,
    W did look scared. I would have been mad as hell and… Well God knows but I would have been tempted to reach for the football. I think W’s big mistake was to straight off the bat exonerate Islam – “Religion of Peace” and all that. It was fairly clear that he knew nothing about it and thought it was just like Christianity but with more beards and no beer or bacon. At minimum the Taliban had to be toppled though I can’t say I’m 100% with the successor state – The Khasi’s* Islamic Republic – though silk purses and sows ears and all that. I would’ve put more effort into grabbing bin Laden and that fruit-loop Egyptian and had them roasted alive in hog fat in Times Square. Seriously. Cruel and unusual be fucked.

    *For non-UK readers who don’t get the joke this might help.

  • Gabriel
    It’s also art and music and science and theatre

    The main threat to 1, 2 and 4 are western cultural progressives who, as we established, include a very high proportion of Samizdata’s commentariat.

  • Mid, I am not talking about the leaders, but about regular people, those guys that VR says he knows. I know some of them two, as I am sure everyone else here does. Nick knows them in England. Question is, are they really a majority any more (silent or not)? The way you review what 9/11 was in terms of damage can just as successfully be applied to a nuked city. Where is the difference? I watched 9/11 live on CNN back in FL, and I could not believe my eyes and ears. It felt like Armageddon.

    As an aside, you might remember that it took place at the height of the last intifada in Israel, which, needless to say, our family followed very closely mostly on TV. My son was almost 7 at the time. You know what he said when he got back from school that day and heard about what had happened? “It’s getting closer”.

  • Midwesterner

    Oh Alisa. Huge difference. Hijackers, airplanes, box cutters? Mines, centrifuges, physicists, large government operated assembly factories, delivery technology? One is an oversight in our routine transportation procedures, the other is a pathologically rogue nation with the technological power and demonstrated will to put the world into the famine of a radioactive food chain.

    Needless to say, our leftist leaders will be unable to expand their brains enough to keep track of the big picture. It is the deadly flaw of relativism. They go to comedic histrionics to prevent pen knives on airplanes, but are astoundingly neglectful of nuclear and major military threats. Their threat/consequence awareness is utterly lacking.

    As for those people that we all (or at least most of us) know? They had, have, and will have the capacity. The question is what direction the nation goes. If our politicians either through neglect or belligerence start something, these guys are quite capable of finishing it. It is our ‘leader’ship and the aftermath that concerns me. A lot.

  • Query

    Johnathan,
    How did Henley make himself an ass recently?

  • Mid,
    “It was the equivalent of 3000 drunk drivers simultaneously killing 3000 pedestrians. In a nation of 300 million. And it was some infrastructure damage.”

    Stunning that you actually try to equate those two.

    Nick M,
    Thanks for the “Life of Brian” reference!

  • Nick M

    Alisa,
    My take is like this. You know those old Tom & Jerry cartoons where a devil and an angel appear on Tom’s shoulders offering different counsel…

    Well we have been bitch-slapped by PC to regard racism, or anything that even looks like racism, to such an extent that we can’t even say the words anymore but we still think it. We just don’t like Islam because it is supremacist, sexist and interferes with our favourite hobbies of fornication and boozing. Oh, and it frequently kills us.

    Of course being anti-Islamic isn’t racist and when enough people begin to realize that…

    We’ll start being able again to call it for what it is: evil. Like the commies or the Nazis or the Greens.

    I guess what I’m saying is that double-speak is endemic but double-think hasn’t really caught on. Go down the local boozer and you’ll see and hear. You’ll also note that practically nobody in the UK has a problem with our Afro-Carribean, Chinese, Hindu, Sikh or Jewish minorities. Obviously BNP nutcases are an exception but they are mercifully few, far between and raving mad.

  • Midwesterner

    Stunning that you don’t. We have two groups engaged in willful suicidal criminal behavior that uses the transportation system to kill lots of innocent people. I don’t care whether alcoholism is an ‘illness’ or Islam is a ‘religion’. They both chose to kill people. And don’t give me any bullshit that repeat drunk drivers are somehow to be pitied and the dead bodies were an accident. It is a flawed metacontext just like the religious excuse. One says ‘God told me to’, one says ‘it’s my illness made me do it’.

    And you must be one of those people who has a problem with threat/consequence awareness. 9-11 was not any serious threat to the USA or western culture. We did all of the serious damage to ourselves.

  • Nick M

    Drunk drivers kill people accidentally. The 9/11 hijackers did it deliberately. There is a difference. I suspect most drunk drivers that kill aren’t alcoholics. Maybe not, I’ve never seen the stats, but there is a huge difference nonetheless in morality and purpose.

    Someone gets loaded and drives through a bus queue and kills six people… Right. Shouldn’t have done that and they deserve the oubliette for it and all that. But that was not their intention and that matters too.

    But in a single act 19 Muslims did something completely different. They deliberately flew airliners into three buildings and a field. It’s way different because the drunken driver doesn’t want to kill but the terrorist does. It’s not just that though is it? They also meant a fundamental attack on the USA and by extension the whole of the West.

    I am not exonerating those who drive drunk (or tired come to that) but there is an epic difference in not just intent but in impression. The 9/11 attacks were an attempt to provoke the entire civilized world. Getting pissed and driving an Accord into a pedestrian is not the same thing at all. Even multiplied by 3000.

    We might as well equate 9/11 with passive smoking or asbestos.

  • veryretired

    Alisa, I can’t, and won’t, get into the never ending debate about our military responses to 9/11 other than to say the removal of 2 viscious, totalitarian regimes seems a fairly muscular response to me.

    Of course, certain elements in our society, and around the world, immediately objected to our use of military force. Some had reasoned arguments, and I respect those as sincere. Others were following an anti-US line that has emerged in every one of our modern military actions.

    It should be remembered that the hard left has never supported any military action by the US, ever, except when they were ordered to by by their masters after Germany attacked the SU, and we suddenly became “allies”.

    There are two huge errors that all our adversaries have made about the US, starting with the Confederacy in the Civil War.

    One is that an aristocratic, militaristic society, such as the south, or Germans, or Japanese, to use a few obvious examples, are inherently more powerful than a “nation of shopkeepers and farmers”. This mistake led all three to fatally underestimate the US as an adversary, with the results we all know.

    (I am often mystified by the repeated calls for Germany and Japan to rearm and become more active militarily, by the way. Cultures that had been dangerously and aggressively militaristic for centuries were transformed into near pacifists by their defeat. Why rekindle an old fire that has only burned everyone it touched for generations?)

    Secondly, the multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-everything aspect of western culture, especially our raucous politics, has made authoritarians think their single minded, collectivist societies are stronger because they are rigidly disciplined, and dissent is submerged upon pain of death.

    The Germans and Japanese certainly thought so, and many around the world wrote us off several times as we confronted the “wave of the future” in the Soviet and Maoist periods. And yet, the big waves crashed on the rocks, and the decadent, middle class shopkeepers blundered along into the 21st century.

    The latest rounds of pessimism, both our susceptibility to the power of radical islam, and the alleged takeover of the world economy by this competitor or that, stem from the same fundamental errors.

    It is the difference between a single crop agricultural system as opposed to multiple, diverse crops planted in rotation. One fungus comes along, and all the single crops rot, while the diverse farmer harvests, and lives on, the unaffected variety he has planted.

    As I have said too many times, the danger is not that the west will fold up when pushed, as if the islamists could ever push like the nazis, Japanese militarists, or marxists we have faced over the last century did, but that the leaders of radical islam will fall victim to the same delusions that led to our opponents then underestimating us again and again, until they were committing suicide in their underground bunkers, or enduring the unendurable, or watching their supposed inevitable world movement collapse into a pile of ashes.

    Is everything perfect? Have we always done just the right thing? Of course not. The west is every bit a fallible human enterprise, beset by foolishness, ignorance, and all the slings and arrows flesh is heir to.

    But we are flexible and adaptive in ways our opponents are unable to be, and our cacaphony of argument and debate is a sign of a strength so profound and fundamental that it often goes unnoticed and unrecognized, like the air we breathe each moment without even thinking about it.

    Freedoms are very much like air. We don’t notice them as a daily necessity, until they start to be cut off, or someone threatens to put a plastic bag over our head.

    We have not yet realized the totality of the threat radical islam poses. PC delicacy, and the strange alliance between the global collectivism and the radicals has served to disguise their deadly intentions.

    My concern is that the fury of the common citizen in the west will be uncontrollable if the radicals keep trying to perpetrate essentially meaningless terror attacks, whose only purpose is to randomly kill as many people as possible, without true strategic value in any long term sense.

    Then, Yamamoto’s prescient observation at the time of Pearl Harbor will again prove relevant, and another opponent will find the endurance of the unendurable
    the only course left to them, if they survive at all.

    I have no illusions about the civility and moral scruples of western culture. We are descended from the same Homo Sapiens Sapiens that entered Europe forty some thousand years ago and immediately went about exterminating another species of human that had lived their for over 200,000 years.

    Our capacities for life and death are unlimited. I can only hope and pray that, as Ten Bears and Josey Wales agreed, it shall be life.

  • Chris

    “The civilization you speak about changed. What you say was true a century ago. The Islamists now think the West is a paper tiger. I’m not sure they are wrong.”

    The civilization we speak of (espeically in Europe) has not changed as much as we would like to think. Despite everything that has happened, Western civilization still feels relatively safe, secure, and sufficiently superior that they can speak with condensending wistfullness and openmindedness about the virtues of the less affluent, less successful ‘other’ cultures. Wars at home, serious econimic hardship and threatened survival are alian feelings to most westerners.

    However, if Western civilization were to feel seriously threatened, all the old fears, prejuces, and desparate survival mentalities would resurface. This danger is especially probable in Europe where low birthrates among the natives, high birthrates from muslim immigrants, and a culture of non-integration will, I predict, sweep aside culteral open-mindedness in the coming decades. All it will take is one, serious economic downturn, 10-15 years from now, to bring it all to a head. Individual, hard-core liberal pundits will bemoan the fate of their countries as the tide of of their populations, already fed up with excessive political correctness, turn against thier immigrant, culterally alien, neighbors as resources and jobs become scarce.

    This is not a scenerio I wish for. The only thing that will, I believe, forstall it, would be interupted economic growth in Europe. I hope luck holds.

  • Midwesterner

    Nick, when somebody undertakes an action with clear and unavoidable consequences, that is not an accident.

    What you are in fact saying I suspect, is that drunken killers show remorse if they survive. And that makes it not as bad.

    I disagree. They are both self indulgent blame shifting thugs. They both took actions knowing full well that the probable outcome would be people dieing. One does what God tells them to, one does what their illness tells them to. I really think “how was I to know that after 5 drunk driving arrests and losing my license, that I would kill somebody if I kept doing it?” doesn’t cut it. That is premeditated.

    And if doing what their illness tells them is a sign of mental defect, why isn’t doing what their God tells them also a mental defect. Seems like it has to be both or neither.

    My point that is lost or being ignored is that 9-11 was a criminal element committing a crime. It had statistically substantial consequences. It was a sign of technological advance and denser populations effecting mass murderer body counts. It was not an invasion by a foreign state. And it was not evidence of the ability of a foreign state to invade us.

    How can you, of all people, take Muslim ‘soldiers’ without WMD seriously? And that is my point. 9-11 was a very serious crime. But it was a crime. They were based in a foreign state, so punishing the foreign state for their support of the suicide hijackers is appropriate. But where was the threat to our sovereignty? I’m not seeing it. And as for air travel safety, I have a lot, A LOT more confidence in market corrections than political solutions.

    When a nation demonstrates the ability and willingness to use WMD, and I mean really WMD, not an ‘assault rifle’ style labeling game, then is when you will see the response that VR and I and some others expect.

  • VR, great comment as always, but:

    My concern is that the fury of the common citizen in the west will be uncontrollable if the radicals keep trying to perpetrate essentially meaningless terror attacks, whose only purpose is to randomly kill as many people as possible, without true strategic value in any long term sense.

    In my view terror attacks are not the major threat from Islam (although a nuke would put it on a whole different level). Chris’ comment following yours addresses the West’s possible response to the real threat (at least in Europe) rather well.

  • Mid,
    ” It was the equivalent of 3000 drunk drivers simultaneously killing 3000 pedestrians. In a nation of 300 million. And it was some infrastructure damage”

    That is a ludicrous comparison.
    It is hardly limited to 3000 individuals dying. This was a serious attempt to decapitate the government of the United States and severely damage the economy. Luckily, thanks to “Let’s roll” the first wasn’t accomplished. The second certainly was.
    Some infrastructure damage? How many billions was it? What about the effect on the U.S. economy and the global economy?

    The threat to western culture? Very real, when considered as part of the overall Islamist agenda.

  • Midwesterner

    Some infrastructure damage? How many billions was it?

    Less than any of the major hurricanes or earthquakes.

    This was a serious attempt to decapitate the government of the United States

    If you seriously believe it stood even the slightest possibility of doing that, that is sad. This was a tragic crime. A very major crime. But it was no threat to our national sovereignty. Not at any time. Not even if it killed the president. That also has happened before without any collapse of our sovereignty.

  • Mid, I disagree about the drunks, but you are right, let’s not digress.

    In my view, 9/11 was an act of war, rather than a crime. The fact that it was not directly perpetrated by a state does not change that, because it was aimed at a state, not a single person or a group of persons within that state. On the other hand, and at the same time, 9/11 was a violent attack by one culture on another, just like Pearl Harbor was.

    Also, what counts is not the quantitative damage (how many billions was Pearl Harbor?), but the intentions behind the attack. In the past wars have started over much lesser provocations than either PH or 9/11.

  • lucklucky

    “But it was no threat to our national sovereignty.”

    Of course it was, one of the objectives was to change the USA diplomacy and international policy.

  • Mid,

    9-11 was a criminal element committing a crime

    That’s the line of the lefties, of John Kerry, of, maybe, the lefty RP libertarians. Issue an international arrest warrant, hope for the Interpol to catch the criminals, bring them to trial…. complain to the UN.

    No, it was an act of war, a raid, against the US, by a foreign group of islamists (pirates ?) based in a foreign land. They said so themselves… Going after the pirates in their country of origin is the standard, time honored thing to do.
    The comparison to drunk drivers is ludicrous…

  • Midwesterner

    Alisa,

    The difference between the 9-11 hijackers and the Virginia Tech shooter was one of scale. That’s all. Disaffected people who don’t like us. To see it as a militarized war of cultures is dangerous in its extension. To extend that thought would require that all ‘hate’ crimes be viewed as cultural warfare. I reject that particular leftist meme and I suspect you are not to comfortable with it either. I don’t believe in ‘hate’ crimes. All criminals hate and attack individual rights, therefor all crimes are hate crimes, and it is meaningless multiplier.

    Pearl Harbor was an attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy on the United States Navy.

    I’m running out of time for a couple of hours, but I’ll try to explain this. The motives of the perpetrators only matters in a court of law. The motives of the perpetrators does not in any way change what our appropriate response should be. A moron with a hammer may try to destroy the Hoover dam. There is no reason we should go into a lock down if one does. His intentions only matter in court when he is charged.

    What matters, and what we have lost track of in all the panic by people announcing that they intend to destroy us, is “can they?” The answer is ‘they can’t, but we can.’

    In the past wars have started over much lesser provocations than either PH or 9/11.

    Err, yeah. Exactly. And we should be baited? I sure hope not.

    We have one goal. Preserve our liberty. Islamic terrorists have no capacity to take our liberty. Only we have that. Equating terrorists armed with box cutters with theocratic states armed with WMD is just so dangerous that I don’t know how to address it. 9-11 in no way justified the measures we are enduring now. The threat of theocratic states with WMD is a threat best dealt with by our military and intelligence services. I wish I could explain this better. It is a matter of responding appropriately to the threat, not the delusional intentions of the perp. That is for courts.

  • amr

    By al Qaeda’s own words, while they complaint about western intervention in the ME and have used it as a reason to attack us, they hate our democratic ideas, treatment of women and gays, our freedom from religion as well as our religion and for other cultural reasons. This is not something new. Do not forget that over 200 years ago, America had problems with Islam too: Several muslim countries along the North African coast had established the tradition of plundering the ships of European and American merchants in the western Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic, capturing the crews and then demanding ransom from the respective governments for their release. In a joint message to their superiors in Congress, Adams and Jefferson described the audacity of these terrorist attacks, pirates leaping onto defenseless ships with daggers clenched in their teeth. They had asked the ambassador from Tripoli, Adams and Jefferson explained, on what grounds these outrageous acts of unbridled savagery could be justified: “The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the laws of the prophet, that it was written in their koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their [islams] authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners….” (From AMERICAN SPHINX The Character of Thomas Jefferson by Joseph J. Ellis. This event occurred between 1784-1789 while Jefferson was ambassador to France and Adams (2nd president) was ambassador to England.). Yep, just leave them alone and they will leave us alone. Right!

    The difference today is that the weapons they could use against us could cause anarchy in western societies. Think what would happen if there was a biological attack nationwide (read Clancy’s book Executive Orders for such a scenario). We can barely handle power outages; just think about Katrina and that was a regional disaster. But if we were attacked in such an anonymous manner, would we unite, retaliate and against who? Remember the anthrax mailings some years ago and we have never found the perpetrators; foreign or domestic. I suggest that Westerners had better wake up. These characters are not as rational as our former Soviet enemy was and those old enough should remember the public fear that we were headed for nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis. We are much less of a self-disciplined society now.

    As Churchill said:

    If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.

  • At what point do crimes get so large they become war? When the forces of law and order do not have the resources to tackle “criminals” and their protectors?
    Germany marching into the Sudetenland? Czechoslovakia? Poland?
    It could be argued that war is simply the result of gangsterism on a huge scale.

  • Nick M

    Mid,
    I have zilch sympathy for drunken drivers but that does not take away form the fundamental difference between them and terrorists. It’s just not the same thing. The average drunk driver wants to get home. They may be selfish and nasty in their mode of transport back from the pub but they are not in complete sobriety planning on causing thousands of innocent deaths. BTW I’m not giving them a bye because they’re pissed but… there is a difference between 9/11 and me plowing a car into a cab-rank whilst pissed as a lord. If you don’t accept the difference between deliberate mass-murder and knocking off a straying spouse or being a drunken twat behind the wheel then I wonder.

    I am BTW not saying if they’re not completely sober it makes a difference, morally. It doesn’t. But there’s different kinds of wrong.

  • Alice


    Equating terrorists armed with box cutters with theocratic states armed with WMD is just so dangerous that I don’t know how to address it. 9-11 in no way justified the measures we are enduring now.

    Can this be the same Midwesterner that we have all come to know & appreciate? Has something happened to change your opinons recently, Mid?

    It seems that you are harkening back to a more settled time when the Bad Guys would put on uniforms and stand behind a flag. But the world has changed.

    It is often forgotten that Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces had gone mano a mano with Iran’s fearsome army for eight long years of a dreadful war — twice as long as World War I — and they had in effect been fought to a standstill. US forces (with some gallant allies), although outnumbered something like 10:1, defeated that same Iraqi military on its home turf in 3 weeks. Even the hapless French managed to hold out against Hitler’s WWII invasion for something like 6 weeks!

    No-one in the world is going to stand up in uniform and attack the US. That would simply be stupid. So those who wish the West and the US harm have now adopted other tactics. No fingerprints, since fingerprints bring retaliation — see Afghanistan.

    Those shadowy figures who wish to do us all harm have been very effective in using the Idiot Left against its society (& ultimately against itself, although the Idiots are too idiotic to realize it). Don’t fall for their seductive nonsense.

    9/11 was an act of war — but a very different kind of war pursued by an enemy who is deliberately hard to identify. It was certainly not just a large scale Motor Vehicle Accident.

  • lucklucky

    “The difference between the 9-11 hijackers and the Virginia Tech shooter was one of scale. That’s all.”

    So scale differences has no meaning?

    But it wasnt. More diferences:

    9-11 were foreigners.
    9-11 wanted to change USA foreign policy.
    9-11 wanted to destroy various buildings representive of USA History.
    9-11 Those buildings represent the Political.Legislative and Military power of USA
    9-11 were part of ideological-religious movement that supports the destruction of USA.
    9-11 who made it had thousands of combatants and supporters.

  • Well, I have to get up in 4 hrs or so, so I’ll wrap it up for today. Mid: if you are primarily alluding to the Patriot Act and searching grannies’ shoes in airports, I am with you. There was certainly quite a bit of a hysterical about the US government reaction. Is that your major point? See you tomorrow.

  • nick g.

    I am going to shock myself, and defend George W. Bush!
    When he calls for a war on radical Islamists, that is a wiser statement than blaming Islam. If he had said that the problem is the religion of Islam, all that effort spent in integrating muslims into American culture would have been undone! The murderers who flew the planes into the Towers were imported, because radical action seems alien to the home-grown muslims in America. They feel part of America. Muslims in Britain have a much tougher time feeling British. (Could it be the fault of having an established Church?)
    I think Bush’e speechwriters got it right, for once.

  • permanentexpat

    Lots of talk…..well, that’s a good thing & I’m learning a lot, even as a wrinkly.
    But I really don’t follow many of the equations mentioned…and, more surprizingly, from folk who I never dreamed would maintain them.

    I think that there is little doubt that our adversary has been clearly identified.
    I think it is clear that our adversary hates us & has said, many times, that it wishes to destroy us or force us to its will.
    I think it’s clear that our adversary has made considerable progress, especially in Eurabia…& now in Canada …of all places! (Steyn)
    I think it is clear that we fear our enemy (anyone who denies this is from another planet).
    I think it clear that we are weak…not in material, but in resolve.
    I think it’s clear that PC, that cancerous spin-off from the laudable ‘Women’s Movement’, accounts for much of our wimpyness.

    Amr’s Churchill quote is completely apposite

    ….and I think it’s clear that we should deal with the problem very, very urgently.

  • boqueronman

    Those who perpetuate the idea that Western military presence in Iraq, or in the ME in general, “creates” jihadi militants is simply smoking, drinking, snorting or otherwise ingesting mind altering drugs. The Pew Survey report released in late July 2007 entitled “A Rising Tide Lifts Mood in the Developing World
    Sharp Decline in Support for Suicide Bombing in Muslim Countries” shows that the ME population is offering less and less support for OBL and his ilk and their tactics. Here is the url http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php?ReportID=257. Of course they want the Coalition military out of Iraq, but mostly because they are embarrassed to have to depend on the infidels to solve their internal problems.

  • Andrew Roocroft

    Ron Brick:

    At what point do crimes get so large they become war? When the forces of law and order do not have the resources to tackle “criminals” and their protectors?

    It could be argued that war is simply the result of gangsterism on a huge scale.

    An argument I took up, in a previous post at 09:02 pm (how odd that pm times are notated ‘09) yesterday:-

    “The idea that ‘war’ is something other than aggression against property is, I think, the cause of our disagreement. In its essential components, it consists solely of the use of violence against person and property in order to coerce an individual, or several individuals, to obey the commands of the aggressor.”

    Alisa:

    In my view, 9/11 was an act of war, rather than a crime. The fact that it was not directly perpetrated by a state does not change that, because it was aimed at a state, not a single person or a group of persons within that state. On the other hand, and at the same time, 9/11 was a violent attack by one culture on another, just like Pearl Harbor was. Also, what counts is not the quantitative damage (how many billions was Pearl Harbor?), but the intentions behind the attack.

    The problem with this analysis is that your description of the actors in terrorist attacks is plainly wrong: “9/11 was a violent attack by one culture on another.” It is meaningless to talk of one culture “attacking” another, just as it is meaningless to talk of one philosophy or one religion “attacking” another. Thus the extrapolation – that we must act to defend ‘our culture’, as vague and ambiguous a term as that is – is a qualitatively wrong retaliation to terrorist attacks. The correct response is, as MidWesterner has repeatedly pointed out, to retaliate to what was actually done (mass murder, destruction of property), instead of what one would like to think was done (a cultural declaration of war). This should be achieved by the capture of those who planned, executed and funded the attacks by the same means used to target criminals – ie, not armies.

    NickM:

    It’s also art and music and science and theatre and a whole smorgesbord of things (including smorgesbords).

    An Islamic conquest would kill stone dead the arts and sciences apart from carpet weaving and calligraphy.

    “An Islamic conquest“? A little proportion is necessary here.

    Perhaps you could explain to me – because I think you make the same mistake as Alisa, associating to the notion of ‘Western culture’ a sense of reverence when it is in fact an empty catch-all term – whence comes this duty to defend the arts and sciences, and how it trumps the primacy of self-ownership and private property? It is no “conquest” if people choose to practise only ‘carpet weaving’ (a clearly disappointing ignorance of the millenial strength of Islamic science starting in the dark ages), or cease to publish plays critical of Islam, no matter one’s views on the superiority of Bach or Itri, Newton or Al-Khwarizmi.

    All collectivist considerations, such as artistic wealth, must be subordinate to private property. So when I stated, “If those values [for which the war on terror is being waged] are something other than individualism, personal liberty and private property, count me out,” I am referring strictly to the political reasons for the policy – any others should be automatically discounted in favour of private property.

    permanentexpat:

    I think that there is little doubt that our adversary has been clearly identified.

    So precisely who is “our” adversary? “The terrorists who hate freedom?”

  • “In its essential components, it consists solely of the use of violence against person and property in order to coerce an individual, or several individuals, to obey the commands of the aggressor.”

    Which is exactly what 9/11 was.In your terms war.

  • Alice

    Andrew Roocroft wrote (presumably intentionally):

    The correct response is … to retaliate to what was actually done (mass murder, destruction of property), … by the capture of those who planned, executed and funded the attacks by the same means used to target criminals – ie, not armies.

    It may have escaped your notice, Mr. Roocroft, that the key perpetrators of 9/11 were killed in the act of war they initiated. So what is the Roocroft answer, now that the perpetrators are dead? Find their bones and throw stones at them? Go knock on Afghanistan’s door and ask them please to hand over any suspected collaborators — pretty, pretty please?

    And if the search for individuals did manage to catch someone, under whose laws would that alleged conspirator be tried? You know the UN and EU would be aghast at the thought of bringing an accused non-English-speaking Saudi (innocent until proven guilty, remember) arrested in Afghanistan to New York for trial under US law. What kind of justice could the poor accused expect from those evil Yanks?

    The Roocroft approach is cowardice wrapped under grandiose language proposing an approach which will clearly fail. Ah! But then we can pretend to ourselves we tried. You are fooling no-one, Mr. Roocroft.

  • Gabriel

    All collectivist considerations, such as artistic wealth

    Might it be possible that your obsessive politics have rendered you a myopic and reductionist prat?

  • Midwesterner

    My apologies to all for this heinously long comment. I’ve tried to break it up into names so people don’t have to read the whole thing to pick out a point. Again, my apologies.

    Ron Brick,

    Crimes do not scale into acts of war. Crimes are when some people within a law abiding community attack others in that community. War is when one community attacks a different non-overlapping community.

    If we define 9-11 as an act of war not crime, then it leads to a military solution. A military solution to airline safety is obviously wrong. But that is not to say we aren’t trying it. It is apparent in the very military denial of unauthorized personnel to airports – magnetic, chemical and manual searching of all passengers – confiscation of items defined as contraband – etc. etc. And I seriously doubt that this is a significant factor in our increased safety. We in the US are safer because of people like the passengers that put up a fight. And because we have a reputation for punishing countries who harbor our attackers.

    Police are not good at soldiering, soldiers are not good at policing. The fact that we have cross trained police and military to do both jobs does not make them the same job. Many others have been making that point in other threads. And fighting free ranging terrorists can never be an act of war. It is a logical impossibility and an unfortunate mistake to declare war on an activity.

    Nick,

    You are clearly still missing my point. Why they do it only matters in the court room. How we stop them has nothing to do with their rationalizations. 9-11 succeeded beyond the attackers’ wildest dreams. And yet it was an non starter as far as actually threatening the sovereignty of the US goes. Pearl Harbor was an act of war and did threaten our sovereignty by destroying the Pacific fleet. In this thread, I am speaking as somebody who has to go through ‘security’ when I get on an airplane, not as a judge deciding what the sentence should be. And frankly, when it comes to crimes committed by people who knowingly and voluntarily commit them, it does not matter why they do it when we are trying to defend against them. I refuse to place government’s idea of my motivations into the bag of reasons the government can act against me preemptively. If a drunken passenger could bring down an airplane, then it is the job of the airline and captain to prevent that without regard to whether the drunk intends to bring down the airplane on purpose or not. Again, ‘why’ belongs in a court room.

    Alice,

    You also appear to have completely missed my point. We are paralyzing air travel with absurd rules. Really, mother’s having to drink their own breast milk to show the bottle was not a bomb? Did that really happen? It is so ridiculous the I seriously think it was internet legend. But I watched my 83 year old mother in a wheel chair get a several minute physical search for weapons. And I have had screwdriver bits confiscated from me to prevent me using them as a weapon. I had 3 or 4 of those tiny little phillips bits in my pocket. But they let me keep my laser pen.

    Meanwhile, our own CIA tells us that Iran is not trying to build a bomb. Is this the same CIA that missed the boat on NKorea’s bomb? Priorities, people.

    lucklucky,

    I’ll repeat myself briefly since I’ve said this already in this comment. I don’t care why somebody is going to kill me. I don’t care. I really don’t care. If they are going to kill me, I want to stop them. And whether they hate me because I didn’t convert to Islam or didn’t invite them to a party makes no difference to me. For that matter I don’t care if they are going to kill me by driving drunk on the way home from a party. I’m going to stop them. And that is a tactical choice, not a moral judgment.

    The moralists in this thread who say ‘why’ matters are free to discuss sentencing guidelines until they are blue. ‘Why’ simply doesn’t matter outside a court except where it can be predictive. I care only about what a threatening person intends and is capable of doing.

    At that point I divide the question into two parts. How to prevent this event, which is a law enforcement and property question. And how to discourage future people from doing the same thing. And in this case and many others, if a country is known to have knowingly harbored the attackers, then a militarily applied attitude adjustment is called for.

    Alisa,

    … searching grannies’ shoes in airports,[...] Is that your major point?

    That is a big example of what I mean when I talk about militarizing a law enforcement problem.

    PermanentExpat,

    I’ll go through your points individually.

    I think that there is little doubt that our adversary has been clearly identified.

    Then please please point this out to our governments who are still fighting a “War on Terror”. If terror truly is our adversary, then let’s just recite FDRs great line “”The only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Then after we are no longer in fear, etc we can declare victory. Life goes on.

    I think it is clear that our adversary hates us & has said, many times, that it wishes to destroy us or force us to its will.

    So what? That only matters if they have the power. And box cutters ain’t cutting it (pun intended). Throughout ours and the UK’s history, nations have wanted to destroy us. It only matters if they can. I have made clear consistently in my comments for a very long time that we are over reacting domestically and under reacting to potential military threats ie WMD. What possible threat was NKorea to the US before they had the bomb? None. We took our eye off of the ball.

    I think it’s clear that our adversary has made considerable progress, especially in Eurabia…& now in Canada …of all places! (Steyn)

    But not in the US. It may be useful to look at what we do differently. For one thing, here Sharia gets hard time in prison (or capital punishment), not alternative culture status.

    I think it is clear that we fear our enemy (anyone who denies this is from another planet).

    You may be to the point of fearing Islam in Europe. I really don’t think America is anywhere even remotely there yet. I don’t think most American’s give it much thought. The threat of anything less than a container bomb just isn’t considered that threatening except when the MSM is in sweeps weeks (measuring their market share). The vast majority of Americans respond to terrorist attacks with anger on behalf of the victims, not fear their own safety. This is what VR has been saying. And if there was a nuclear container bomb, there still would not be fear. That anger would scale to a rage and, well, that’s where this subtopic started from.

    I think it clear that we are weak…not in material, but in resolve.

    And when it changes, I think it will possibly go to the opposite extreme. Especially in Europe.

    I think it’s clear that PC, that cancerous spin-off from the laudable ‘Women’s Movement’, accounts for much of our wimpyness.

    I think it is moral relativism. When you don’t believe in what you believe, it is difficult to defend it.

    BTW PermanentExpat, I’ve been meaning to say this for a while. I really enjoy your comments and am glad you are back and parrying with us. I missed you. Watch out for smoking squirrels. Ditto to you, VR. And you in particular better avoid smoking squirrels until your lungs clear out.

  • Alice

    Midwesterner wrote:


    You also appear to have completely missed my point. We are paralyzing air travel with absurd rules.

    No disagreement with you there, Mid. Rather than the great bureaucracy Congress created, it would have been preferable to respond to the possibility of future airline hijackings by making it compulsory for all passengers to carry a weapon of some kind onto the plane. Well, maybe :)

    But you are absolutely right about my missing your point. You seemed to be advocating that the appropriate response to a terrorist attack on the US should be along the lines of dialing Interpol and crying over the phone. That was what I was reacting to.

    Now, what was your point?

  • permanentexpat

    Midwesterner:
    Thank you for the kind remarks (I hope)…and it was noble of you to critic my remarks. You may well, however, not have noticed that I never make comments from an American point of view, which would indeed be more than presumptious. I live in Europe; although not, thank God, in The Septic Isle. My comments reflect my view that Europe is going to hell in a you-know-what. I am reasonably well informed & am aware that the US Muslim community has (mainly) integrated in the US…because it wants to. It is very different here and the lack of resolve here poses the question of how once great nations can deteriorate in such a short time-span. As a born & bred Engländer I often cannot believe what is happening.
    Comment on this superb blog includes, I fear, a mite of eloquent quarreling over semantics & counting angels on pinheads; without addressing the fact that here, in Europe, the enemy is already within the gates.
    On a lighter note, almost every day brings me into contact with words & phrases foreign to me. One such is ‘smoking squirrels’……..please forgive my naïveté & put me out of my misery.

  • Ivan

    Midwesterner:

    Stunning that you don’t. We have two groups engaged in willful suicidal criminal behavior that uses the transportation system to kill lots of innocent people. I don’t care whether alcoholism is an ‘illness’ or Islam is a ‘religion’. They both chose to kill people. And don’t give me any bullshit that repeat drunk drivers are somehow to be pitied and the dead bodies were an accident. It is a flawed metacontext just like the religious excuse. One says ‘God told me to’, one says ‘it’s my illness made me do it’.

    Regardless of the context of this remark, I think that the analogy is completely invalid. Drunk driving means accepting a certain increase in the probability of inflicting harm on others for the sake of your own convenience (and this probability is above zero whenever you drive in whatever condition). Thus, it’s not much different from driving while tired, sleep-deprived, stressed out, afflicted by some annoying and distracting minor illness, etc. I know from personal experience that these factors can reduce alertness and numb reflexes as much as having well over .05 BAC, even though people like to lash out at drunk drivers in particular for the sake of pure enjoyment in righteous indignation (and just so you don’t get the wrong idea, I personally never sat behind the wheel with a single drop of alcohol in my system!). So are you going to argue that whoever drives while afflicted by any of these debilitating factors is equivalent to a terrorist who chooses to act in a way specifically designed to kill people?

    When judging which actions present a threat, the intent behind an action is, in a very important sense, more important than any objective measures of its harm (potential or actual). Compare these two hypothetical cases:

    (1) A group of kids from the neighborhood choose to play baseball near your house and the ball ends up hitting your fancy artistic stained glass window, causing a few thousand dollars worth of damage.

    (2) Someone holding a grudge against you approaches your house and breaks a few of your windows with a baseball bat with the intention to provoke and intimidate you, causing perhaps $100 worth of damage.

    In both cases, the damage is caused by willful actions of people who knew their risks very well, but nevertheless chose to do them voluntarily. Yet, even though the material damage to your property is much greater in the first case, I would expect that the second one would cause you far greater emotional distress and be far more likely to provoke a dramatic reaction, and I don’t think this would be unreasonable at all. I think the analogy with terrorism is pretty obvious.

  • Mid: I get it now, and I agree (still not on the drunks, but that, as you said, belongs in court).

    Andrew: I largely agree with you on your take on the threat, but not on your preferred method of responding to it – Alice has covered that part.

  • Best damn thread ever. Thanks, folks.

  • Jacob

    Mid,

    I have made clear consistently in my comments for a very long time that we are over reacting domestically and under reacting to potential military threats ie WMD.

    It is sometimes hard to understand what you mean.
    There are two different, and only marginally related issues:

    1. How to enhance domestic security. Your critic of the current system has some merit, but there is no doubt that after 9/11 – enhanced domestic security measures (in whatever form) are needed.

    2. What to do about external threats, of which 9/11 was also a part, unlike your “criminal issue” claim. 9/11 highlighted an external threat that is clear and un-negligible, and in danger of being greatly increased by WMD. This requires a military response. Especially Iran’s WMD developement.

    When I said the West was weak and unresolved, I was referring to the external threats like Iran’s WMD.

    It is not clear to me, if, like the lefties, you claim that the military reaction of the US abroad (Iraq and Afghanistan) was exagerated, since 9/11 was only a common crime, and required no more than an international arrest warrant .

  • Nick M

    Mid,
    I do understand you. I just don’t agree. Ivan makes a point very similar to the one I was trying to do in his 7:15am comment. The fact that the 9/11 attacks didn’t directly threaten US sovereignty is irrelevant. When Hitler declared war on the US in ’41 he wasn’t exactly in a position to launch a trans-Atlantic invasion either. Doesn’t matter, these were still acts of war and if OBL had had a few nukes he would have used them. It’s a totally different thing from a drunk driver not just in motivation or basic cause but in all the practicalities. I would also dare suggest that minimizing drunk driving or terrorism require totally different strategies.

    I share your outrage at the antics of the TSA and their “anti-terrorism theatre” because I don’t think that’s the answer.

    The answer is painful to some. We just don’t tolerate Islamism. If they come here (whether it be Cheshire or Wisconsin) they play by our house-rules. Once they get the message that we won’t cave-in on anything they’ll quit and go back to scrapping in the sand-pit. And I really mean anything – no veils in banks, no halal school lunches, no state funded Islamic “faith schools”, no leaflets in Urdu or Arabic from the council about refuse collection, no prayer rooms in public buildings, no imams in prisons or free Qu’rans (did we distribute Mein Kampf to German PoWs between ’39 and ’45?) no funding of Islamic ghettoes. They move to a freer and more prosperous country so they win on that one. But if they think, in a million years, it’ll be a Muslim country then they can pisseth off in whatever Islamic fashion they desire. It’s an either/or. Aren’t people used to that? Making trade-offs?

    I can’t think of a more effective DUI policy than we currently have but I’m fairly sure it would be quite different from what I said about terrorism and wouldn’t involve banning cars or bars.

  • lucklucky

    Midwesterner:

    “I don’t care why somebody is going to kill me. I don’t care. I really don’t care. ”

    You said there wasnt any diferences except for scale, now you dont care for diferences, well that is completely diferent take.

    That also means in a conflict it seems that doesnt matter for you the information on your enemy(or criminal).
    In a whim you dont want to know what tick the enemy and refuse to know the size of the threat. What
    an amazing thing!

    That is further compounded since you take the Police path which is even more dependent on information.
    Well you let them with hands nicely tied behind their backs.

    In Spain ETA have put hundreds of bombs and made dozens of assassinations in a country well controlled and where there is no sovereignity problems. The efficiency of Police is so dismal, that in 80’s a part of police and other security forces formed an illegal organisation to take on ETA.

    The fact that you want that apllied to all World shows how far from reality you are.

  • Midwesterner
    “Crimes do not scale into acts of war. Crimes are when some people within a law abiding community attack others in that community. War is when one community attacks a different non-overlapping community.”

    International Community – International law.

  • Lucklady.
    “In Spain ETA have put hundreds of bombs and made dozens of assassinations in a country well controlled and where there is no sovereignity problems. The efficiency of Police is so dismal, that in 80’s a part of police and other security forces formed an illegal organisation to take on ETA.”

    This is an inter comunal struggle,the Basques separatists want their own country.
    ETA regards this a s war whilst the Spanish regards it as crime.This is possible only because of the asymmetrical nature of the antagonists.ETA do what they can within their military capabilities,political goals and geographic confines.
    It would seem that the “al Qaeda” threat is,for the time being,restricted only by military capability.The goals are not political but religious,the intent is there,only the means are lacking.
    Arresting religious fanatics will not produce the same results as arresting criminals.The latter regard arrest as a downside of the job,fanatics regard your criminal justice system illegitimate.Fanatics see it as their duty to corrupt and subvert the criminal justice system and are willing to die to do so.

    BTW.For the analogy with the drunk driver to work,the DD will have had to have had prior intent,to have learned how to drive a car specifically to commit the crime,to have practiced killing people whilst DD,to have decided where the victims would be,to have got intentionally drunk.9/11 was planned most DD fatallities are not.

  • Andrew Roocroft

    Alice:

    It may have escaped your notice, Mr. Roocroft, that the key perpetrators of 9/11 were killed in the act of war they initiated. So what is the Roocroft answer, now that the perpetrators are dead?

    And if the search for individuals did manage to catch someone, under whose laws would that alleged conspirator be tried?

    The Roocroft approach is cowardice wrapped under grandiose language proposing an approach which will clearly fail. Ah! But then we can pretend to ourselves we tried. You are fooling no-one, Mr. Roocroft.

    As I see it, the United States only has an issue with those who plan, fund and execute attacks upon them alone. My approach, which you describe unfairly as “cowardice,” is to instruct private contractors (or covert government forces) to capture and extradite those who planned and funded the attacks, with coercion if necessary, to be tried in US courts under US law for the crimes that the US alleges they have committed. This police action should be targeted specifically against those who were behind the attacks, and should not extend to a blanket coverage for universal jurisdiction. Since there is no coherent enemy in a common uniform, we cannot merely treat anybody captured as ‘enemy combatants’ – the point made by permanentexpat, that “our adversary has been clearly identified,” is plainly false – since we cannot assume affiliation to any specific group or action for private individuals who execute these crimes, whereas, in governmental declarations of war, there is a definite, identifiable commonality to all operatives of the enemy. The US Congress is specifically endowed with powers to execute such ‘international’ warrants, as it were, which authorise the President to instruct citizens to capture or (if resisting) to kill foreigners not affiliated to a state but who reside nevertheless outside of US sovereignty, called a Letter of Marque and Reprisal.

    This is an intermediate solution between dealing with a problem as domestic criminality and as a threat to sovereignty by another nation. It doesn’t entangle the US nor the UK in nation-building exercises in response to the actions of some individuals operating within that nation. It is, in short, proportionate, efficacious (see, for instance, Ross Perot in the Iranian Revolution), and, importantly, minimises the potential unintended consequences, such as civilian casualties, which undeniably cause, in the absence of a judicial system through which grievances can be settled, the family and friends to resort to violence against the US.

    Ron Brick:

    “In its essential components, it consists solely of the use of violence against person and property in order to coerce an individual, or several individuals, to obey the commands of the aggressor.”

    Which is exactly what 9/11 was.In your terms war.

    But, as I point out, this is not different, qualitatively, from any deliberate criminal act – fraud, say, or kidnapping. “War” is merely a label – the substantial components are precisely the same.

    Gabriel:

    Might it be possible that your obsessive politics have rendered you a myopic and reductionist prat?

    Perhaps. But even were I a “myopic and reductionist prat” (I would agree with the second adjective, but certainly not the first. Myopia is short-sightedness; an acceptance, as it were, of the assumed social premises, such as the primacy of ‘collective’ cultural achievements, instead of a clear-minded assessment of the validity of the argument based on one’s axioms, which, for me, are private property and self-ownership), it would not invalidate my contentions. This is much like the Marxist position – ‘you’re ideology is wrong because it’s bourgeois’ – rather than assessing the argument on its own merits.

    It is peripheral to the argument whether or not I personally value certain artistic expression above others, because I recognise as supreme the right of the property owner. So, if I owned a culturally significant painting, or, say, an architecturally interesting listed building, I should be entitled to do whatever I like with it. This is what I mean by “collectivist considerations such as artistic value” and cultural Westernism being secondary to individual liberty and property.

    NickM:

    And I really mean anything – no veils in banks, no halal school lunches, no state funded Islamic “faith schools”, no leaflets in Urdu or Arabic from the council about refuse collection, no prayer rooms in public buildings, no imams in prisons or free Qu’rans (did we distribute Mein Kampf to German PoWs between ’39 and ’45?) no funding of Islamic ghettoes

    I’m half with you, but for totally different reasons. This idea that you (and permanentexpat – “the enemy is already within the gates”) advocate is petty tribalism, and totally contrary to individualism. “No veils in banks” – shouldn’t the bank’s owner decide this? “No halal school lunches, no state funded Islamic ‘faith schools’ ” – agreed, because there should be no state schools in which to eat halal school lunches or preach Islam (or Judaism, or Roman Catholicism, or Anglicanism &c). “No leaflets in Urdu or Arabic from the council about refuse collection” – The council shouldn’t be collecting refuse – let the market decide. “No prayer rooms in public buildings, no imams in prisons or free Qu’rans” – Agreed, again, for every religion (no bibles, no Torahs, no priests, no rabbis &c).

    I don’t really understand this, though – “no funding of Islamic ghettoes.” I suspect you’re using ghetto in its colloquial use (eg. “Harlem is a black ghetto”), but I’m not sure I understand to what you object – the provision of public services? Hear, hear – for all neighbourhoods, not just ‘Islamic’ ones. If you think the government should provide these services, however, and tax people who pray to Mohammed for them without providing the same service to them as to other groups, then you’re essentially imposing an inverted version of Sharia – Jizya upon the believers, as opposed to the infidels – and is totally contradictory to the principle of equality before the law.

  • Gabriel

    It is peripheral to the argument whether or not I personally value certain artistic expression above others, because I recognise as supreme the right of the property owner. So, if I owned a culturally significant painting, or, say, an architecturally interesting listed building, I should be entitled to do whatever I like with it. This is what I mean by “collectivist considerations such as artistic value” and cultural Westernism being secondary to individual liberty and property.

    First, placing culture secondary to property rights is fallcious because property is an inherited cultural construct as are individual rights.
    (Usually this is followed by calling me a Communist or equivalent. Both are, of course, very good cultural constructs and should be preseved.)

  • Gabriel

    Secondly, even if it wasn’t fallacious we should still do whatever we can short of violating property rights to preserve western civilization. This would include, for example, overwhelming moral pressure of the sort that JS Mill deemed illegitimate.

  • permanentexpat

    Mr. Roocroft states of Nick M:

    This idea that you (and permanentexpat – “the enemy is already within the gates”) advocate is petty tribalism, etc

    Well then, I reckon I’m a petty tribalist….deeply concerned about an alien takeover of the land of my fathers and that we have been threatened with death or religious slavery.
    A spade is a spade…not a manually operated excavation implement.
    I do not write ‘prose’ such as this:

    Perhaps. But even were I a “myopic and reductionist prat” (I would agree with the second adjective, but certainly not the first. Myopia is short-sightedness; an acceptance, as it were, of the assumed social premises, such as the primacy of ‘collective’ cultural achievements, instead of a clear-minded assessment of the validity of the argument based on one’s axioms, which, for me, are private property and self-ownership), it would not invalidate my contentions. This is much like the Marxist position – ‘you’re ideology is wrong because it’s bourgeois’ – rather than assessing the argument on its own merits.

    ….which appears to be a fine way to spend time while Rome burns.
    Oh….and I was around when Mr. Chamberlain waved his piece of paper. Have you any idea what happened after that, Mr. Roocroft?

  • Andrew Roocroft

    First, placing culture secondary to property rights is fallcious because property is an inherited cultural construct as are individual rights. (Usually this is followed by calling me a Communist or equivalent. Both are, of course, very good cultural constructs and should be preseved.)

    Firstly, to clarify my position, however, is this exchange earlier:

    If those values are something other than individualism, personal liberty and private property, count me out.

    Well it isn’t just the three things you mention is it? It’s also art and music and science and theatre and a whole smorgesbord of things (including smorgesbords).

    It was to this that I responded when I asserted that “all collectivist considerations, such as artistic wealth, must be subordinate to private property.” I have no interest in defending Western artistic achievements in place of defending property. Indeed, I would actively repudiate some forms of ‘Western’ culture I disliked, and embrace forms of non-Western culture that I enjoy. My point is that artistic valuation is carried out by the individual, and one cannot cloak one’s own preferences in a ‘cultural’ or ‘social’ cloak to excuse one’s violation of property.

    Now, I disagree that individual rights and property are an arbitrary cultural construct – indeed, I think you tacitly disagree with this point, since you think they are “very good cultural constructs,” implying some system of objective judgement has been employed upon their goodness. Suppose I were to say, “No, they are very poor cultural constructs. They enslave the poor, cause rampant inequality, they destroy the environment, they encourage selfishness and enable man to isolate from his fellow beings” – that is, suppose I were John Edwards or Tony Benn. How can you respond, if not by appeal to some axiomatic right to your body and to the product of your labour, manifested as individual rights and private property? It is fallacious to maintain that something is “very good,” whilst denying that there is any morally absolute goodness – namely, that all moral positions are “cultural constructs.”

    we should still do whatever we can short of violating property rights to preserve western civilization. This would include, for example, overwhelming moral pressure of the sort that JS Mill deemed illegitimate.

    I have no objection to moral pressure, shunning somebody for their personal actions and encouraging others to similarly shun them – as long, as you say, it stops “short of violating property rights.” When you start violating property rights to secure “civilization,” as grandiose as a term as that is, you violate the only principles for which I think it is morally justifiable to use violence – the defence of one’s person and one’s property. As I said earlier, “defending the cause of individualism by compelling all individuals to participate in its defence is inconsistent.” You implicitly accept a collectivist premise – that is, that all people who want to live as individuals with private property must participate in the defence of the property and person of all other like-minded people – and so negate the purpose of promoting individualism.

    President Bush offers no such opt-out – “Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” I want to be with neither, but collectivist tyranny, even nominally in the defence of the liberty, is reprehensible in all forms.

  • Nick M

    Andrew,
    I am not advocating “petty tribalism”. I am advocating the idea that Western Civilization (including even France) is superior to the depraved rantings of Muhammed. This is neither “petty” nor “tribal” because I’m not saying “England is the greatest, period” because I appreciate that other Western “tribes” do things rather well too. I am a supremacist because I’m not a relativist but this has nothing to do with tribal loyalty unless, of course, you define my tribe as “laissez faire capitalist individualists”.

    You’ll find plenty of the same well outside the scope of my “tribe”.

    I do not believe that Islamism represents an existential threat to our way of life* but it is a major irritant. It will continue being that while we allow it to flourish. It is that that needs to be wiped out and the method I think is most valid is aving a zero-tolerance policy to Islamic cultural “quirks” like beating your 17 year old daughter to a pulp because she’s dating someone other than the bloke you sold her to. I think we can worry about who empties the bins after we’ve sorted that one out.

    I really mean it. There is nothing “liberating” about the hijab and there is nothing “liberating” about arranged marriages to some old git in Pakistan. We have seen our inner cities turned upside down and very large quantities of tax-payers money has been spent on this to no positive end. Our current government thinks that by appeasing “moderate” Islam we can win. It is dead wrong. Moderate Islam exists but it is incorrectly practised Islam. It is Islam moderated by regional cultural stuff. Hence I had a Malaysian Muslim friend at university who wore jeans and a T-shirt and was perfectly happy to hang with a bunch of beer-swilling reprobates. Not gonna happen in Yemen is it? Islam moderated so is fine. I have no problem with it but the Islamists do. This is as much a struggle against “the West” as it is an internal dispute within Islam and unfortunately for us all the minute they drag out the original Qu’ran and the hadiths etc the moderates are fucked. Even more unfortunately there is a lot of money behind this movement.

    That is why I think Islam is inherently evil. You go back to the original texts (an Islamic reformation if you like) and what you get is not insanity moderated by culture but the full insanity of the depraved ravings of a camel piss drinking peadophile. The Christian reformation was probably a good thing in the end. The current attempt by wahabbis and salafists to bring Islam back to it’s roots is not a good thing.

    I am not a Christian and never have been (even nominally) but if you go back to the fundamentals of Christ’s sermons then what you get is basically a good man. I don’t think you get that from the Qu’ran. I’m no expert but I suspect that Guru Nanak or Buddha were reasonable chaps too. Not Muhammed though. He was a completely unmitigated fucker.

    Nick.

    *It’s so repugnant and so alien that I can’t ever see significant conversion happening.

  • Andrew, first let me note that I agree with you. Second, allow me to ask you: are you at all able to put anything in plain English? Like asking for directions, or ordering a salad? Please don’t be offended, because I ask this out of genuine curiosity.

  • Gabriel

    Now, I disagree that individual rights and property are an arbitrary cultural construct – indeed, I think you tacitly disagree with this point, since you think they are “very good cultural constructs,” implying some system of objective judgement has been employed upon their goodness. Suppose I were to say, “No, they are very poor cultural constructs. They enslave the poor, cause rampant inequality, they destroy the environment, they encourage selfishness and enable man to isolate from his fellow beings” – that is, suppose I were John Edwards or Tony Benn. How can you respond, if not by appeal to some axiomatic right to your body and to the product of your labour, manifested as individual rights and private property?

    I would say, “what a lot of cock, Johnny boy, get back to me when you’ve laid off the crack for a bit” and then go home and have a steak.

    The reason you have a right to your property is because a critical mass of people believe that you do, most importantly those with the power to do something about it if they didn’t. At a secondary level, some may believe this because the read a tedious bit of enlightenment philosophy at some point, though I suspect few of them did.
    Do you seriously believe there was no property before the advent of rationalist philosophy?

    The subjective phenomenon of property is based, of course, on objective factors. Everyone likes having stuff, it’s obvious to all but the lamebrained that it is the most conveneient system for allocating resources etc, but it existence and the specific forms of its existence in a given historical situation are obviously social constructs.

    Now, I have a field that to gain access to I have to cross your driveway. You’re a jerk who won’t let me. Do we refer to your precious axioms for help or do we, in accordance with common law precedent, agee that I can walk over a portion of your field as long as I don’t wee all over it or something?

    Now, the pertinent point to all this is as follows. If Britain becomes majority Muslim you can bang on about individual rights to the cows come home, but the individual rights you want will simply cease to exist.

    It is fallacious to maintain that something is “very good,” whilst denying that there is any morally absolute goodness – namely, that all moral positions are “cultural constructs.”

    I think it is good, how can it be fallacious for me to say so?

    You implicitly accept a collectivist premise – that is, that all people who want to live as individuals with private property must participate in the defence of the property and person of all other like-minded people – and so negate the purpose of promoting individualism.

    It’s not a collectivist premise, it’s a fairly accurate description of the real word at a certain level of abstraction.

  • Gabriel

    It is fallacious to maintain that something is “very good,” whilst denying that there is any morally absolute goodness – namely, that all moral positions are “cultural constructs.”

    Oh and, by the way, the assertion that individual rights and property are cultural constructs does not mean that all moral values are. This is what I meant by myopic.

  • Andrew Roocroft

    Well then, I reckon I’m a petty tribalist….deeply concerned about an alien takeover of the land of my fathers and that we have been threatened with death or religious slavery.

    At least you’re honest. You are, as Popper (whose magnus opus adorns the banner of this site) would say, an enemy of the Open Society.

    Your conspiratorial beliefs about “an alien takeover” are simply too absurd to be dissected. If people born in England voluntarily sell their property to people born in Saudi Arabia with brown skin, speaking Arabic and praising Mohammed, it is no “takeover” – it is a mutually acceptable state of affairs, and any third party who wishes to intervene to defend ‘English culture’ (or any other collectivist belief) can be legitimately ignored, or, if resorting to violence, resisted and neutralised.

    I do not write ‘prose’ such as this….which appears to be a fine way to spend time while Rome burns.

    Precisely what was incorrect with what I said? I don’t accept your premise, that Rome is burning. If the product of the free market is more migration, more (private) Sharia banks and more mosques, I couldn’t care less, so long as they are separated from the state (incidentally, though I forgot to write it at the time, in that Canadian publisher video from a week or so ago, I thought his description of the “separation of mosque and state” very good in distinguishing between private religious activity on private property and the public enforcement thereof).

    Tell me; do you believe in private property – that you can do whatever you like, as long as you don’t hurt others, with the property that you acquire through your effort? If so, I don’t see how you can object to the product of private deals of this nature.

    Oh….and I was around when Mr. Chamberlain waved his piece of paper. Have you any idea what happened after that, Mr. Roocroft?

    Godwin’s law vindicated once again. Seemingly even Samizdata is not immune. It is a little hyperbolic to compare Nazism in 1938 to Islamism today, and is even less effective when one considers that Nazism was largely a product of the managerial international involvement in Germany (in particular, concerning the Young Plan and the subsequent depression) and its coercive implications, such as in the Rhine in 23. I am more than familiar with this period in history, and am inclined, for once, to agree with Lord Keynes on this one.

  • Do you seriously believe there was no property before the advent of rationalist philosophy?

    Manifestly correct.

    The subjective phenomenon of property is based, of course, on objective factors.

    I do not think it is subjective at all then as the basic notion of ‘property’ is based on the intrinsic nature of humans as a species. I strongly suspect the most primitive caveman at the very dawn of humanity understood the concept of ‘mine’ when he fashioned his first pointy stick and used it not just for hunting but to defend the other things that were ‘his’.

  • Midwesterner

    Alice,

    Here is as simple of a response as I can make. After 9-11 the appropriate response for the US government to take in regard to air travel was (are you guys ready for this) to do nothing beyond a criminal investigation. No Homeland security, no Maginot lines, no actions at all. That is the realm of the air travel industry.

    After the criminal investigation turns up a nation that harbored and supported the attackers, then it becomes a matter of state, as in turning our military on foreign places.

    permanent expat,

    Smoking squirrels.

    Ivan,

    You are moralizing. I am talking defense and public safety. I have said many times in many ways, the moralizing belongs in court.

    To equate a very small risk with a very large and knowingly embraced risk is either mistaken or dishonest. Your example is also flawed. You are talking punishment, I am talking prevention. If there is a 1/100 chance of a bad guy deliberately breaking my window, and a 1/10 chance of kids negligently breaking my window, of course I will take preventative cautions against the 1/10 risk before the 1/100 risk.

    And to all you people insisting on making this a moral debate, my understanding of the topic is how what we do or don’t do effects what happens to us in the future. Not how we should judge our attackers after the fact. I doubt (but could be wrong) that Perry would change his position if the situation was the same but the attacking culture and is motivations were different. And I just don’t care why somebody attacks me unless it is useful as a predictive device.

    You guys are seeing criminal versus war as a moral question. I am seeing it as a optimal tactical response question. I don’t want to see the ‘right’ moralists judging people. I want to see rights respected or enforced. That is a tactical question. Motives don’t come into it. When you guys insist that our reactions should vary according to the ‘why’ rather than the ‘what’ somebody does something, that is moralizing.

    Also (meta context alert) you guys are playing the multicultural game. It is the flip side of the coin, but it is the same game. I will not tolerate a culture merely because it is different, but I also will not attack one merely because it is different. Monks in pink spotted robes on Himalayan mountaintops ringing brass bells could have the same motivations and goals as the hijackers but be pursuing the downfall of the west by ringing bells on mountaintops. You guys are insisting that it is the culture that you are opposing. I am insisting that it is not. I have one goal only. To prevent people from interfering with my rights of life liberty and property. If they have the means and the intent to physically attack me, then I don’t care one whit about the ‘why’. If they do not have the means or the intent to physically attack me, then I don’t care one whit, period.

    Jacob,

    There are two big reasons why I am having trouble explaining myself. One is because I having to discover the meta context of the people I am addressing and try to make sure we are talking about the same thing. And the other is because there is in fact a different metacontext and I have made assumptions about peoples’ underlying premises that were invalid.

    Nick,

    See my comments about the flip side of multiculturalism. I don’t just reject the idea of mandatory acceptance of alien cultures, I reject the idea that we should judge cultures outside of their willingness to abide by our laws (which should be in one language, but lets not add to the topics already on deck.)

    lucklucky,

    Not at all. I said in there somewhere that if the ‘why’ has predictive value, it is useful.

    That is further compounded since you take the Police path which is even more dependent on information.

    You, at least, have caught my point. I agree with your statement I quoted. Armies conquer territory and we are treating air travel like territory to be conquered. And we apparently intend to do this for eternity. But extending this method throughout society can not work unless we are willing to live in a police state. I am not. That means we have no choice. We must let property owners (the airlines in this case) control their property and the government must pursue criminals and occasionally punish nations known to harbor them. The alternative is the very inappropriately named ‘police state’ which is in fact an occupied military territory.

    Ron Brick,

    I am one of those people that thinks international law, the very idea of international law, is a one worlder’s joke. The good guys are good, the bad guys are bad. Nobody obeys international ‘law’ without an international police force. I am totally unwilling to go that route. The international sphere is why we have treaties. But it takes either strength or trust for them to work. How far to do trust other cultures that hold different values?

    Also Ron Brick,

    In Spain, the concept of defending ones own property is, shall we say, weak? El Al is not a safe airline because of international regulations. It is certainly not safe because it doesn’t get targeted. It is a safe airline because it takes responsibility for its own safety. Passengers have a choice of whether they want to go through El Al’s safety precautions, but it is a market choice.

    *******

    When growing up in a very religious environment I would occasionally here things like “There has been a very tragic accident. God has decided to call Crazy Joe home.” And I wanted to shake them by their collars and say “If that was an act of God, then Darwin was Saint Charles.”

    In these multicultural days, we don’t say ‘act of God’ as often (all though it is still used some). We say ‘accidental’. But the meaning is the same. Something that a mere mortal could not have foreseen has happened. I reject the idea that the carnage in the wake of a repeat drunk driver is an ‘act of God’ or ‘accidental’ in any but the Darwinian sense.

    There are people here horrified by a religion, Islam, that kills people and puts in all down to ‘God’. And yet they defend the idea of a culture that can also kill people and also put it down to ‘an act of God’ or ‘accident’, as a byproduct of its own cultural norms. Repeat drunk driving has predictable consequences.

    All my life and even right now, I have relatives on the front line between Islam and the west. I have a relative right now in a place that when the MSM bothers to report at all, they give body counts for Muslim violence. If this relative of mine died at the hands of a terrorist would I actually feel any less angry than if it was at the hands of a drunk? Think about this. Which would be worse, losing a loved one to a terrorist who thinks he is serving god a trying to get to heaven? Or losing a loved one to somebody on a two hour high? Is there really a #&^@% difference?!

    There is an old saying, “Trick me once, shame on you, trick me twice, shame on me.”

    I’ll go back to reading comments where I left off and reply as time is available. This is a very interesting thread and I am not doing a very good job of conveying what is in my head. If I could do it better, maybe less people would be shocked by what I say.

  • Andrew Roocroft

    Nick:

    I am not advocating “petty tribalism”. I am advocating the idea that Western Civilization (including even France) is superior to the depraved rantings of Muhammed. This is neither “petty” nor “tribal” because I’m not saying “England is the greatest, period” because I appreciate that other Western “tribes” do things rather well too. I am a supremacist because I’m not a relativist but this has nothing to do with tribal loyalty unless, of course, you define my tribe as “laissez faire capitalist individualists”.

    Nationalism of all forms is, of course, contrary to individualism. But I am often irritated, if I may briefly extrapolate from your reference to a wider Western civilization, to those European Union fanatics who speak of “shared heritage” and “common cultural bonds” as justifying common political union. It, far from overcoming petty nationalism, is merely another form of it, since both are at root premised upon the idea that ‘our’ culture and geographical proximity somehow unite people inextricably – or, as with its closed fortress gates, impermeably. If you truly believe, as you profess, in “laissez faire capitalist individualis[m],” then you must agree that defending abstract culture from “Islamic conquest” must be always subordinate to property. So if there is demand for Sharia compliant hedge funds, banking services or halal butchers, private individuals must be free to meet that demand with their own resources – contradictory to your earlier assertion that “once they get the message that we won’t cave-in on anything they’ll quit and go back to scrapping in the sand-pit. And I really mean anything – no veils in banks…”

    As to the remainder of your post, I think you have a very fair point – though I would confess to being no expert on the theological disputes between moderates and fundamentalists in Islam – that certain Sharia practises are contrary to self-ownership, such as violence against family members. But here, again, is a dilemma: should we “tolerate” such practises outside of our borders, if we are justified in policing them internally? I’m more inclined – as I think is clear from my comments dissenting from compulsory service in the defence of indvidualism – towards a form of private law enforcement, so would perhaps disagree that there ought to be a minimal state to stop such practises, but that’s another discussion.

    Gabriel:

    The reason you have a right to your property is because a critical mass of people believe that you do, most importantly those with the power to do something about it if they didn’t

    It seems that you’re talking about what is the case, rather than what should be the case. Morally, you should be entitled to the product of your own labour. If John Edwards or Tony Benn could convince their respective “critical mass” of population to believe their anti-private property doctrines, then would the mass confiscation of property be justified?

    Do you seriously believe there was no property before the advent of rationalist philosophy?

    No; as Perry points out, property has always been justly acquired by the application of labour. It just wasn’t (and, perhaps, still hasn’t been) properly understood until Locke and the emergence of classical liberalism. Its defence, however, has been attempted since Aristotle at least: “Aristotle responded by arguing that private ownership promotes virtues like prudence and responsibility: ‘[W]hen everyone has a distinct interest, men will not complain of one another, and they will make more progress, because every one will be attending to his own business’… Aristotle also reflected on the relation between property and freedom, and the contribution that ownership makes to a person’s being a free man and thus suitable for citizenship. The Greeks took liberty to be a status defined by contrast with slavery, and for Aristotle, to be free was to belong to oneself, to be one’s own man, whereas the slave was by nature the property of another.”

    Alisa:

    Andrew, first let me note that I agree with you. Second, allow me to ask you: are you at all able to put anything in plain English? Like asking for directions, or ordering a salad? Please don’t be offended, because I ask this out of genuine curiosity.

    No. I can’t. I wish I could.

    (Seriously, though, the reason I have such horribly verbose and awkwardly phrased posts is because – as right now – I have an almost insatiable tendency to press that key between = and 0 without consideration for other people reading it. And the preview function doesn’t help – I start to see mistakes, ommissions, lack of clarity, so I end up amending ad (almost) infinitum)

  • Nick M

    Andrew,
    I don’t like the EU. That there is free(ish) trade and movement of goods, people and capital between it’s member states is fine and dandy. That any number of laws are enacted by these tossers isn’t. I am not arguing for a single European way of things (or an Anglospheric one come to that) but that all of our diverse but similar traditions are under threat by Islam.

    Untold horrors are committed against girls and women in places like Pakistan and I’m not suggested the British Army deploys there to stop it because that’s not practical but if they wanna come here and carry on as before then I would like the full wight of the law to fall upon them because if government does anything it should protect it’s citizens from having their clitorises cut out or having forced marriages.

    I’m a classical liberal (possibly a minarchist) and I believe in a strong but strictly limited state. A state which has no greater duty than to protect it’s citizens from honour killings and the like. You are free, obviously, to disagree with me but I will not change my opinion that this shit shouldn’t happen in England.

    Do it in Saudi, knock your self out amongst the barbarians but England? Oh, do behave!

  • Jacob

    Nazism was largely a product of the managerial international involvement in Germany (in particular, concerning the Young Plan and the subsequent depression) and its coercive implications, such as in the Rhine in 23.

    You see ? America is to blame, even for Nazism !

    Andrew, unlike Alisa, I think you express yourself fine. You express a well defined (in many books) set of ideas, which are, mostly, true. But the above (inter alia) is not true. You need to read some more books on it, and not all from the same book club.
    And you need to look around and examine the world by yourself. The idealized views you express need to be adjusted to our real world. For example: private armies – I don’t know if it’s a good idea, though it has been proposed in books; but it surely is wildly utopic.
    In the world of your imagination (and in some books), your reasoning applies. The real world is different. There are nations, there are religions, there are tribes, there are armies, there are terrorists, there are terrorist states. In an ideal world there wouldn’t be any, but here, there are, and we live here.

    (Apologies for my possibly patronizing tone… )

  • Andrew Roocroft

    Jacob:

    Oddly enough, I didn’t come to this conclusion by reading radical libertarian authors. More people like Niall Ferguson, whose views are a little more realist that ‘the international community is infallible.’

    Incidentally, wouldn’t you agree that it was an (obviously unintended) cause of America’s renegotiation of the terms of reparation payments in 1929 that prompted Hitler to rise in nationalist circles to leadership of the anti-Young Plan referendum effort? And that, had the Western allies not subjected Germany to a rough peace – the opinion of many, especially in England and America – then the Weimar Republic might have had a better chance of survival, being not ‘November Criminals’ but ‘November Revolutionaries,’ overthrowing a totalitarian form of Tsarism – much like Lenin?

    Just some points to think about. Of course Nazism isn’t solely a product of interventionism. But would ideas of Eastern Expansion have gained that much traction had Germany not been unceremoniously stripped of its Polish, Czech and Danish territories in the Versailles treaty?

  • Gabriel

    It seems that you’re talking about what is the case, rather than what should be the case. Morally, you should be entitled to the product of your own labour.

    Fine, but what about someone who sits on his butt lving off his daddy’s money? I don’t have to justify that, but it would seem that you do and, as yet, haven’t.

    If John Edwards or Tony Benn could convince their respective “critical mass” of population to believe their anti-private property doctrines, then would the mass confiscation of property be justified?

    It would lead to the a breakdown of civilized society and in all probability mass starvation so I’ll pick ‘no’, but not because it violates some axiom about property.

    No; as Perry points out, property has always been justly acquired by the application of labour. It just wasn’t (and, perhaps, still hasn’t been) properly understood until Locke and the emergence of classical liberalism.

    In what sense did Locke by creating a myth further our understanding of what property is? If anything Locke in the long term damaged the defense of property by grounding it on a conspicuously shoddy argument open to easy attack by socialists. Indeed he did so by popularising the notion that property needs to be justified at all.

    Its defence, however, has been attempted since Aristotle at least: “Aristotle responded by arguing that private ownership promotes virtues like prudence and responsibility: ‘[W]hen everyone has a distinct interest, men will not complain of one another, and they will make more progress, because every one will be attending to his own business’… Aristotle also reflected on the relation between property and freedom, and the contribution that ownership makes to a person’s being a free man and thus suitable for citizenship. The Greeks took liberty to be a status defined by contrast with slavery, and for Aristotle, to be free was to belong to oneself, to be one’s own man, whereas the slave was by nature the property of another.”

    Aristotle’s defence of private property in the Politics first asserts that there is only a justified right to a limited amount of property and second that it is the duty of the legislater to put private property to public use. Personally, I think his argument is craptastic and I’m even more surprised to find you using it.

  • Gabriel

    I do not think it is subjective at all then as the basic notion of ‘property’ is based on the intrinsic nature of humans as a species. I strongly suspect the most primitive caveman at the very dawn of humanity understood the concept of ‘mine’ when he fashioned his first pointy stick and used it not just for hunting but to defend the other things that were ‘his’.

    Semantics I think. Clearly the objective factors are such that if you don’t believe in property at all you’re a moron or evil, but the fact is if you’re stuck in a room with three morons and an evildoer then you have no property and no amount of bleating will change that. Likewise if there is a government that doesn’t believe in property supported by enough of the population (not necessarily a majority) you have no property or at least not in the way you would like.
    Furthermore, questions of whether property rights include the right to, say, blast music from your bedroom window, have no absolute answer demonstrable from first principles and solutions will, naturally and rightly, vary from place to place. Pretending that there is a neat philosophical solution to all the complexities of human experience doesn’t help anyone.

    Think of it like music. Biologists and mathmeticians can demonstrate that some notes work with each other and some don’t. That’s objective, but, by the same dint musical tastes vary between people and musical traditions vary between cultures. (This is not intended as detailed allegory, by the way.)

  • I think you are conflating too many things. Sure, it is a tautology that if the state (or evil doers with guns of any sort) take your property, then you have no property. No argument there. The issue in that case is how does one secure one’s rights in a social/political environment and that can then progress into a discussion on what sort laws or social practices work best or even how best to kill evil doers using laser guided 500 kg bombs or placing weed killer bombs in roadside drains or carrying sidearms.

    However that is a very different issue to exactly what is the moral right to property and where the actual concept of property is derived from.

  • And we are now spectacularly off topic, but after 145 comments, I suppose that is to be expected!

  • Midwesterner

    Nick M,

    I am not arguing for a single European way of things (or an Anglospheric one come to that) but that all of our diverse but similar traditions are under threat by Islam.

    This is because one diverse and dissimilar tradition has been abandoned. That is individual, not group accountability.

    Gabriel,

    Possessions certainly have always been in our nature as humans. I think the distinction you are making is that the concept of possessions as property is the creation of the human mind, not the human nature. Therefore the rules we attach to property rights are rational rather than natural rights. Recognizing property in this view involves being willing to give up possession to a weaker person because one recognizes rules rather than mere possession. Am I correct in that interpretation?

  • Gabriel

    However that is a very different issue to exactly what is the moral right to property and where the actual concept of property is derived from.

    Reversing the questions, property most likely is derived from an innate human desire to appropriate things. (Hence’s Lockes argument is a ‘myth’ like Hobbe’s social contract, for example, and not just total crap). Subsequently as man grows up he learns to allow to others what he wants for himself.

    As for a moral right, I don’t see why it is necessary. Instead of trying to have one or two moral axioms, I have many, including say “it is wrong to rape someone” or “it is bad when large numbers of starve to death”. Taking into account all these axioms (you can call them prejudices if you want, I won’t be offended), it’s clear that the inherited tradition of private property should be maintained. Elaborate theoretical arguments to justify property only concede to leftists that property needs a justification when really it doesn’t beyond common sense.

    However, again, the problem of how to solve problems such as odours eminating from one man’s house to another have to be solved by a long process of give and take and trial and error. Rationalist systems based upon a few axioms, such as Andrew’s, provide no help with these problems. Very often the answers provided are just absurd, even more commonly they are incapable of generating any answers whatsoever.

  • Gabriel

    And just to clarify, I was not making the argument that the state decides what is and isn’t property. It is a complicated matrix of all the human perceptions weighted against the power of the perceptors. The closest analgoy would probably be the price system: you’ll never be able to list up all the inputted information, but the results stare you in the face. In this matrix the state is in most cases the most important single actor, but it is only one actor among millions.

  • Gabriel

    Possessions certainly have always been in our nature as humans. I think the distinction you are making is that the concept of possessions as property is the creation of the human mind, not the human nature. Therefore the rules we attach to property rights are rational rather than natural rights. Recognizing property in this view involves being willing to give up possession to a weaker person because one recognizes rules rather than mere possession. Am I correct in that interpretation?

    I would only take issue with ‘rational’ part as I think property is the consequence of agglomerated individual perceptions which are often, if not predominately, completely irrational. (Rational) Laws are an attempt to formalise the unconscious social construct of property and provide extra force to back it up.
    So, we cede property to people weaker than us, partly because of the law, but in most cases because it never really occurs to us to take it.

  • Midwesterner

    I think I got that, but a follow up if I may. Do you believe that the right of property is a principled rather than a pragmatic solution? If so, do you believe that solution can be laid out clearly and then extended to discrete situations? I think if I am getting you correctly, the answer is ‘no’.

    Also, if I understand you correctly, you see laws as a formalization and augmentation to societal pressures like shunning, mutual defense, etc.

  • Gabriel

    I think I got that, but a follow up if I may. Do you believe that the right of property is a principled rather than a pragmatic solution?

    If I understand the question, I think the answer would have to be neither, but rather instinctual. That is to say at no point did any one individual who could be said to be working from either a pragmatic or principled standpoint came to solve the problem.

    If so, do you believe that solution can be laid out clearly and then extended to discrete situations? I think if I am getting you correctly, the answer is ‘no’.

    I don’t believe it is possible to create a clear and comprehensible moral code that can be applied to all property questions. I think the best way of solving these discrete problems is through a modifiable tradition, that is to say something like the Common Law.

    Also, if I understand you correctly, you see laws as a formalization and augmentation to societal pressures like shunning, mutual defense, etc.

    Sort of. Shunning and mutual defense are in themselves formalisations of more unconscious social pressures i.e. to shun someone for breaking property rights we must already have a concept of property in general and a view of the particular property in question shared by enough people to do the shunning . Laws are just the highest stage of the process of formalisation.

  • Elaborate theoretical arguments to justify property only concede to leftists that property needs a justification when really it doesn’t beyond common sense.

    My approach is hardly complex: several property is an inherent quality of humans as a species. Everything else is just elaborations on the implications of that.

    However, again, the problem of how to solve problems such as odours eminating from one man’s house to another have to be solved by a long process of give and take and trial and error. Rationalist systems based upon a few axioms, such as Andrew’s, provide no help with these problems.

    I also favour a common law/common sense approach but there is nothing wrong with examining such things philosophically. Certainly as I have sat though a great many lectures and debates with libertarians of many ilks, I have heard more than my fair share of logical but utterly deranged ideas (such as what Paul Coulam once described to me as the ‘Propertarian Absurdity’… too long to explain here but the thought experiment involves putting candy and toys in a minefield in your front garden).

    Much of the nature of reality is very counter intuitive and it helps to be able to separate the traditions which are followed because they ‘make sense’ (as Hayek was always keen to point out, society is not the product of reason) and which are obsolete bullshit followed because that’s the way it has always been.

    Sometimes it is obvious and sometimes it ain’t. Hence the philosophy.

  • Midwesterner

    Gabriel,

    Thank you. Your first paragraph leads me to a question I hadn’t thought to ask. Are you speaking as a description of the provenance of our norms (for lack of a better word) or are you speaking of an ideal system? Your second paragraph leads me to believe you are speaking of both but understanding they are separate topics.

    I disagree with you as you stated it, but I was asking for the purpose of understanding your beliefs, not challenging them. If you wanted to engage in a bit of secular pilpul on the topic, I would be interested. It would be a bit tedious, but actually quite useful.

    Perry,

    too long to explain here but the thought experiment involves putting candy and toys in a minefield in your front garden).

    Do tell. It sounds like a good post topic for a slow day. Maybe you can talk him into something?

  • permanentexpat

    No, I don’t think it’s safe in Spain.

  • lucklucky

    Ron

    I am sorry i dont see your point. Mine was that the police way in much more localised geography, easier to penetrate, was ineficient, extended combat by decades that continues to this day and even made members of police start an illegal combat force. If ETA would murder by hundreds, things would be very different because the pace of police force doesnt work for that kind of murder dimension.

    Midwesterner

    “Not at all. I said in there somewhere that if the ‘why’ has predictive value, it is useful.”

    It si not only predictive is the saize of the threat and subsequnt allocation of resources.

    “You, at least, have caught my point. I agree with your statement I quoted. Armies conquer territory and we are treating air travel like territory to be conquered. And we apparently intend to do this for eternity. But extending this method throughout society can not work unless we are willing to live in a police state. I am not. That means we have no choice. We must let property owners (the airlines in this case) control their property and the government must pursue criminals and occasionally punish nations known to harbor them. The alternative is the very inappropriately named ‘police state’ which is in fact an occupied military territory.”

    Well that is paradox. You dont want a Police State but want the most information intensive and the slowes tcombat mode possible that would extend the combat period X times?!

    If the 50000 jihadist since 2001 would havent been put out of combat how much information effort would be necessary to control them and how could that be done without increasing even more the Police State?

    What do you think the Billions that went to guns, soldiers would make in instead information ?
    That would be a giant investment in a police state.

    The slow pace of combat made by police techniques would mean the enemy would have much more time to recover, increasing the danger and giving amno to Government control much more our lives. To not talk that information security measures would be much more extended in time.

  • Gabriel

    Thank you. Your first paragraph leads me to a question I hadn’t thought to ask. Are you speaking as a description of the provenance of our norms (for lack of a better word) or are you speaking of an ideal system? Your second paragraph leads me to believe you are speaking of both but understanding they are separate topics.

    I’m not sure how you are using the word ideal, so ‘ll answer both ways.

    In the first case this is certainly an idealised version of how property is actually generated. There are complicating factors I have left out and ones I am unaware of. The level of abstraction I’ve gone for is one that is digestible without losing all is prescriptive power.

    In the second an ideal system would be one where property was generated in the manner I have described without the need for either law or lower levels of social enforcement. There isn’t, for me, an alternative ideal system whereby property rights spring from a particular philosophical system.

    I disagree with you as you stated it, but I was asking for the purpose of understanding your beliefs, not challenging them. If you wanted to engage in a bit of secular pilpul on the topic, I would be interested. It would be a bit tedious, but actually quite useful.

    Go for it, though I’m going to have to limit myself to about 2 samizdata posts a day for the next week.

  • Midwesterner

    lucklucky,

    But my point is that we cannot go ‘to combat’ with terrorists. We can’t exactly send the 1st Armored Division off to find terrorists. It’s not that we shouldn’t. It is that we can’t.

    Militaries take and hold territory and create barriers. These barriers are either total barriers, or they are semipermeable membranes that are intended to filter out combatants and contraband. So we have ‘conquered’ the territory of the airport concourse, and set up a semipermeable membrane intended to catch terrorists and contraband.

    This cannot make our nation safe. There are always areas that are outside the barriers. To make a nation even theoretically safe would require a fine grid of checkpoints nationwide. A true state of war. Complete suspension of all property rights. And of necessity, a progressive suspension of habeas corpus. Already it is possible to have contraband confiscated during travel and have no recourse to have it returned without assuming a usually substantial personal expense. Scale that method to driving to the next city. Are we going to empty our cars into rental lockers at checkpoints. Will that catch the terrorists?

    I think the reason you think it is a paradox is because you assume that the police forces must prevent terrorist acts. Police by the very concept cannot prevent anything except repetitions (by capturing a criminal). This is why we had to use military tactics to ‘secure’ air travel.

    The only solution short of a total military confinement and checkpoint system nationwide is to allow and expect property owners, and this includes businesses like airlines, to be responsible for their own preventative measures. They can then have the police (who would presumably be standing by at terminals) arrest people who violate their procedures.

    These are the only two options we have. To live in a total lockdown military state to (attempt to) prevent terrorism, or live in a state where property owners are responsible for their own liability and the police forces are there to pursue and capture terrorists. The police method is simply not capable of preventing crime. The best it can do is interrupt it. Its usefulness is in the pursuit and capture of criminals. And at this function it is far more effective and workable than the military method.

    Some definitions –

    Military method, troops taking and holding territory. Used against uniformed troops who’s loyalties are (required to be) on public display.

    Police method, investigation and pursuit. Used against civilians hiding among a non hostile population.

    Using the military method does not mean we are ‘more serious’ about something. It means we are taking and holding territory under military (martial) law.

    Using the police method does not mean we are ‘less serious’ about something. It means we are sorting out violent individuals from the surrounding peaceful population.

    There are cases where each is appropriate. But when the wrong one is used, we do nothing to advance our safety and much to harm our finances, property rights, and open society. The only role for military forces and tactics in the prevention of terrorism is to make nations more determined to police their own territory. This is a matter of choosing the right tool for the job at hand.

  • lucklucky

    “But my point is that we cannot go ‘to combat’ with terrorists. We can’t exactly send the 1st Armored Division off to find terrorists. It’s not that we shouldn’t. It is that we can’t.”

    The force of terrorism is that they can choose the time, the place and the way to attack for maximum impact.
    If the only solution is a post action you can expect to loose the war unless you resort to punitive actions or terrorist actions.

    You certainly can combat with terrorists, specially ideological terrorists. It is when we make them a ideological challenge and they have to fight.
    If we accelerate the pace of change they cant choose the time. If we move the fight to other places that they care they have to folllow and choose less “profitable” targets. If we change the type of fight they cant profit like before from their actions.

    The Iraq invasion for “Democracy” was an ideological challenge that the forces of radical islamism had to combat like they had to defend the training and rest bases in Afeghanistan.

    “And at this function it is far more effective and workable than the military method.”

    Well where you have established that?
    You didnt adressed any of my points that makes the police work unable to fight at this geographic dimension and scale of destruction. It is impossible to close the borders without a police state. If you fight in your own land you have to build a police state. If you fight abroad the police state is comparatively diminished.

  • Midwesterner

    Gabriel,

    Nuts. I just somehow erased my first comment before I previewed. I’ll try again.

    I think Perry has kinda sorta given an okay to go OT. Maybe, in a way. With his 8:14P comment. I think.

    I use rhetorical method in many of my comments but if I ask a question in this exchange, it is really to get an answer. When I find someone who is articulate and rational (in the epistemological sense), but who holds substantively different opinions, I like to pursue the matter and see where I end up. Usually it is stronger in what I thought at the beginning, but not always. It is always a pleasure to have one’s own opinions changed. At least it is for me.

    (Nested blockquotes are not working for me so I’ll use a blockquote and an italics for nested quotes.)

    I think I got that, but a follow up if I may. Do you believe that the right of property is a principled rather than a pragmatic solution?

    If I understand the question, I think the answer would have to be neither, but rather instinctual. That is to say at no point did any one individual who could be said to be working from either a pragmatic or principled standpoint came to solve the problem.

    My first question/topic is the use of ‘property’, ‘possession’, ‘instinctual’, and ‘rational’. This may be a matter of definitions, but it could be something more.

    My dogs have instincts. They have possessions. One need only watch how they interact to believe that having possessions is ‘instinctual’. But do they understand the concept of property? Or merely the act of possessing?

    This is a nuance given second rate status even in a dictionary. When I read definition 1,a I found that property is ‘Something owned; a possession.’ D’oh! In fairness, definition 2 is ‘ The right of ownership; title.’

    Back to instinct and dogs. While ‘possession’ is clearly understood by them, ‘property’ does not seem to be in their character. If Fido was given a toy, and Fido gave it to Fifi, Patches would have no concept that it was Fifi’s, and he would take it if he could. While there are no doubt dogs who would, in Fido’s place, defend Fifi’s ‘property’ without assuming a collective ownership with her, I think this is an extremely rare exception.

    So I think that possession is instinctive, but for a possession to attain the status of ‘property’ requires the concept of ownership having a provenance, a prior possessor who could cede the possession. And re dogs v humans, I have personally known many humans who just did not have the concept of property. I have also known people who lived and worked in aboriginal communities in the tropics who also described a complete absence of the concept of property, but a strong sense of possession. They described it to me as a child-like attitude towards things. But children with spears and knives.

    Based on this, I have been considering ‘possession’ to be instinctive and ‘property’ to be a product of ‘reason’.

  • Midwesterner

    lucklucky,

    If the only solution is a post action you can expect to loose the war unless you resort to punitive actions or terrorist actions.

    I do not believe or advocate that the only action is post action. I thought I was pretty clear that ‘pre’ action must be by the responsibility of the property holder. Domestic use of the military method is completely incompatible with property rights. And yes, I think punitive actions against states knowingly harboring or sponsoring terrorists is an essential part of our defense.

    Also, I think you are mistaking what their purpose is. It is their purpose to break down our civil society and destroy our rights, which they consider evil. By clamping a military siege down on ourselves, we are doing for them half of what they set out to do to us in the first place.

    If we move the fight to other places that they care they have to folllow and choose less “profitable” targets.

    If you mean take military action against states harboring terrorists, I agree and already said that.

    The Iraq invasion for “Democracy” was an ideological challenge that the forces of radical islamism had to combat like they had to defend the training and rest bases in Afeghanistan.

    I have no desire, and see no good to be had in making Iraq a democracy. We should have imposed a written constitution on them if it was our intent to create a free state. As far as distracting the terrorists, yes. That part worked.

    I think based on things you say and your past comments in other threads, that you and I are in substantial agreement.

    I’ll try again. We should have strong tight borders that let through who we choose to let through. This activity is appropriate for a military style action. It also does not at all infringe on domestic liberty. As Fred Thompson said “high fences and wide gates.”

    The military method should be used abroad, but not used within our country. Police should not be “fighting terrorism” they should be assisting civilians to defend themselves. I most definitely think that industries are much better able to understand and defend their own vulnerabilities than any police force ever can.

    Internationally we should use the military against nations/regions that harbor enemies. But not try to sort those populations into friend and foe.

    Closing the borders, a function for which the Border Patrol and the Coast Guard are at least theoretically optimized, should employ the military method.

    Domestically, we should respect property and the role of the police should be to help when asked. The idea that police can be expected to prevent crime has been rejected in the courts for the simple reason that it is impossible. The only way we will win against domestic terrorism is to permit and expect each individual and each company to be responsible for their own precautionary measures and to help them when they need and request help.

    There really is no way to have liberties in a nation that is in a state of war. Therefore we must use civilian methods if we are to defeat a threat that is by definition (terrorism) a never ending threat.

  • Gabriel

    Based on this, I have been considering ‘possession’ to be instinctive and ‘property’ to be a product of ‘reason’.

    And you’d be right, but only in the sense that property is a development of the instinct of possession that occurs in rational animals, not that they eminate from separate sources.

    By which I mean this.
    Your dogs can feel pain, but are they aware of other dogs or anyone else feeling pain? Sure they might recognise that that biting someone elicits a violent reponse, but they don’t relate the source of that response to anything that they themselves’ feel. Likewise, though they instinctively posess things, they are unable to recognise the posessions of others.

    However, humans do both. It is, in a sense, learned behaviour, but not in the way, say, calculus is. Rather, in developing into rational adults our initial instincts to possession ineluctably develop into a recognition of other’s possesions, the legitimacy of which is established in our consciousness by a transposition of our own instincts to possess. To borrow a phrase, we learn to love our neighbours as we love ourselves.

    It’s easy to set up a dichotomy between reason and instinct, but not always helpful because we are rational animals and hence our instincts are rational. So, to pre-empt a possible question, my concept of property does pre-suppose a particular idea of the human mind, which posits that consciousness is a unified whole and rejects Platonic divisions of rational and irrational souls as being false and even Aristotelian analytical ones as being misleading and useless.

    Finally, though property is a concept we share on account of being rational beings, it is not Reason per se. that esablishes it, but something better labelled as ‘Sympathy’.

  • I was rather thinking ‘Empathy’, but…

  • Paul Marks

    I wish to apologize for implying that Rich Paul and Andrew Roocroft were the same.

    Whatever differences of opinion I might have with Rich Paul he would not say that the enemy are “innocent” people who have “legitmate grievances” against the United States.

  • nick g.

    When my dog wanted to mark our family’s territory, he would urinate at the border. Any intruder was warned with growls, or barks (if a recognised friend). And when I had a wound, the dog would try to lick it better. So I think animals have some empathy, and they have a sense of property.
    If we need an explanation to give to statists, in the hope that some of them might be intelligent enough to understand our reasoning, then we might try one from evolution- In the beginning, the tribe was all, and owned all, collectively and democratically (like Aboriginal tribes still do in some parts of Australia.) Over time, a man became chief because he was smarter or stronger than others, and the rest were prepared to go along with this. Kingship became hereditary, but the king was still part of the tribe, and would speak royally when telling the community what their communal opinion was. Experimentation with property revealed that allowing people to ‘own’ land meant they could, and did, experiment with growing and trading goods. Enforcing property rights has furthered the cause of diversity and richness, making everyone better off, as the record shows. Individual initiative has been the only factor which drives progress, and lifts us all out of poverty- if it were not so, then communal societies would be taking the lead in terms of human progress, and that is not so. Extrapolation suggests that absolute property rights would create a better society all-round, so we should continue this trend towards privacy as the best way of improving individuals and the societies they live in. Q.E.D.

  • Nick:

    Individual initiative has been the only factor which drives progress, and lifts us all out of poverty- if it were not so, then communal societies would be taking the lead in terms of human progress

    Problem is, different people define ‘progress’ differently.

    Dogs don’t have a sense of property, only a sense of possession. A sense of possession is being able to think ‘this is mine/not mine’. A sense of property is being able to think beyond ‘this is mine/not mine’, and understanding the concept of ‘this is his/not his’.

  • Gabriel

    nick. g. I think you refuted yourself in your own post. Can it seriously be your contention that dogs have a concept of ownership on a level as small as the family, but primitive humans didn’t?

    You make the classic anthroplogical mistake of assuming that because X people are at a primtive stage of technological development, they must represent a stage from our own past, as if society is teleological and Aboriginals have not undergone there own process of social evolution over thousands of years. They went their way and we went ours, but where we both started from, who knows?

    My advice would be to lay off the Spencer for a while, he’s fun and all, but kind of, well, wrong.

  • Sunfish

    Alisa:

    A sense of property is being able to think beyond ‘this is mine/not mine’, and understanding the concept of ‘this is his/not his’.

    Do you let your dogs on the furniture? I do. However, there’s one particular spot on the couch and one particular spot on the bed that are mine, because that’s where I sit and where I sleep. Occasionally, the blond-haired maiden will find her way into one of those spots or another, but rarely, and she always vacates as soon as she sees me coming.

    She’ll also pick up random objects and carry them around, and flaunt the fact that she has them. She has a particular set of mannerisms that I could almost call “giggling” (walking in figure-eights, a low growl, and tail wagging furiously side-to-side when normally it wags in three dimensions) at the fact that she has something that isn’t hers and is making me chase her around to recover it. It’s as though she knows that the random object in question is mine and not hers, and that’s how she knows that she’ll be able to get a reaction from me.

  • I don’t know, Sunfish. You may be misinterpreting the reasons for these behaviors, by applying human parameters (is that the right word?) to a dogs’ behavior, which is a very common mistake. I am not saying that you are necessarily wrong in this specific case, only that you could be.

  • Sunfish

    I thought that my Grand Unified Theory of What Dogs Do made sense.

    I may be seeing something that’s not there, true. A nice, neat logical construct isn’t the same as having actual data. Even if my degree was a soft science, it was still scientific enough to realize that data is usually important.

    You have to cut me some slack, though: I’m from the half of the human race that invented “It seemed to make sense at the time” as an explanation.

  • You have to cut me some slack, though: I’m from the half of the human race that invented “It seemed to make sense at the time” as an explanation.

    LOL!

    I think the clue is the empathy/sympathy angle. Are dogs capable of it? I don’t think they are, but again, I could be wrong.

    (How on earth did we get to discussing dogs on a thread about Spain and AQ? But then maybe it was to be expected…)

  • Midwesterner

    Actually, Sunfish, I thought specifically about your blond babe when I qualified my example to allow an occasional “extremely rare exception.” Goldens are considered by many to be the very smartest breed of dog although some give that honor to certain sheep dogs.

    I have had sheepdogs and found them to be extremely aware of boundaries, often assigning themselves boundaries. One of my dogs would always position herself laying in doorways and try to keep things on the ‘correct’ side of the doorway. Very useful with livestock, not so much with humans. But retrievers are optimized for handling property. That is what they do. Go out, find property and deliver it to its owner. It would not surprise me if your dog did understand ‘his/not his’. But even among retrievers, this would still be rare. You could test this. Watch and see if you dog ever tries to take something from one person and give it to another (other than you. That could just mean knowing to give everything to you). I have seen even sheepdogs occasionally obsess about who should possess something. But I have also see sheepdogs think complex thoughts and arrive at a wrong conclusion. An Aussie shepherd dislocated his shoulder that way.

    Gabriel,

    However, humans do both. It is, in a sense, learned behaviour, but not in the way, say, calculus is.

    I think we need to examine this statement. If property is an rational overlay on the instinct of possession, combined with +/- reinforcement, doesn’t that make it as much a rational process as learning calculus which is essentially an overlay on counting stuff, possessions?

    I’m trying to restate your statements differently but with the same meaning. If I’m losing the meaning, please correct me. (I never know what my available time will be so if I disappear for a while, check back if you can.)

    I’ll try this for a definition of reason/rational. Reason is taking different inputs and reaching an answer that is not apparent without a mental process. (That’s pretty clunky, feel free to fix it up.) I do not mean for ‘testing’ ownership (ie by taking a bone and seeing if Fido growls) to be considered reason.

    I think our biggest difference lies in the area of instinctive/rational and maybe definitions would be a starting point. Instinct , impulse or aptitude? The best definition I found for how I have been using rational, actually was logical, 2.

    re sympathy, if what you mean by ‘Sympathy‘ is sharing of feelings, I have difficulty in making a connection from feelings in reference to ‘property’ as opposed to ‘possession’.

    Alisa, it seems to me that empathy requires reason because it incorporates understanding of a situation and motivations. Was that what you were meaning? Also, be glad we haven’t degenerated to the point of talking about smoking squirrels, yet. Or did I just?

  • Gabriel

    Believe it or not, I thought that was the weak link in my post.
    My inclination is to argue something like:
    The learning of calculus is not conceptually different from learning to recognise property, but there is a useful disctinction to be made. Learning to recognise property is something that happens simply by growing up in a reasonably civilized environment; we don’t need lessons. It is hence like basic addition.

    Now, the obvious objection would be that, following this argument, it would seem possible that, as with calculus, we can subsequently forumlate our understanding of property, which is initially insitinctive, into an academic discipline and hence work out out all sort of implications using rigorous logic. Hence, my original claim that rationalist arguments about property rights are of no use is disproved.

    My response would be this. There is indeed a science of property, just as there is a science of Maths, but that does not mean they follow the same methodology. (To take an analogy I know something about, it was extremely misleading and damaging to think that the science of the past must work along the same lines as Natural Science.) It would be nice if, following Plato, we could get all forms of knowledge to work the same way as mathematics, but we can’t because they don’t. The subject matter of mathematics is certain axioms (1=1, 0+1=1 etc.) and the proper method for developing mathematics is rational explication of these axioms. The subject matter of History is accidental survival from the past and the proper method for developing History is, well it’s too long to go into, but read this. The subject matter of the Science of Property (is there a name?) is agglomerated perceptions and the proper method for the development of the Science of Property is by feeling one’s way through these perceptions, that is to say the Common Law.

    Anyway that didn’t come out so well, but that’s what I think. I think.

    I’ll try this for a definition of reason/rational. Reason is taking different inputs and reaching an answer that is not apparent without a mental process. (That’s pretty clunky, feel free to fix it up.) I do not mean for ‘testing’ ownership (ie by taking a bone and seeing if Fido growls) to be considered reason.

    I’m not sure what it means that something is ‘apparent’. Is there really anything that requires no mental processes? I, at least, have found that I often think something first and then find the inputs to justify it rather than take inputs and develop them.

    I think our biggest difference lies in the area of instinctive/rational and maybe definitions would be a starting point. Instinct , impulse or aptitude?

    The first definition on the page.

    re sympathy, if what you mean by ‘Sympathy’ is sharing of feelings, I have difficulty in making a connection from feelings in reference to ‘property’ as opposed to ‘possession’.

    Alisa, it seems to me that empathy requires reason because it incorporates understanding of a situation and motivations. Was that what you were meaning? Also, be glad we haven’t degenerated to the point of talking about smoking squirrels, yet. Or did I just?

    Empathy is something only rational animals can do, but it doesn’t require reason in the sense you were talking about it. But ,then, if when you say Reason, you really mean Logic, then my objection does not stand.

    I used sympathy in a none moral sense. Empathy implies you put yourself in the position of the other. However, I cannot empathise with the man who spends £200 on Babycham, I just don’t get it. So what I have that makes me respect his property is something else. I think I got Sympathy from Adam Smith, though I’m probably misusing it.

  • Sunfish

    Midwesterner:

    Watch and see if you dog ever tries to take something from one person and give it to another (other than you. That could just mean knowing to give everything to you). I have seen even sheepdogs occasionally obsess about who should possess something.

    She does that with toys. However, I think she’s mostly thinking that person Y is more likely to throw something for her than person Z. I think dogs are smarter than we normally credit them for, but I also think we take that too far. After all, we’re talking about an animal whose highest joy is frequently rolling in stuff that they really shouldn’t, and who were specifically bred for thousands of years to be emotionally dependent on humans.

    But I have also see sheepdogs think complex thoughts and arrive at a wrong conclusion. An Aussie shepherd dislocated his shoulder that way.

    There has to be a story there.

    Alisa:

    I think the clue is the empathy/sympathy angle. Are dogs capable of it? I don’t think they are, but again, I could be wrong.

    How well do your dogs read you? Do they adjust their behavior towards you when you get home, depending on what kind of day you’ve had? Okay, that could also be simple Pavlovian conditioning rather than a higher-order process, but it’s hard to know without asking the dog. And mine is not good at specificity.

    (How on earth did we get to discussing dogs on a thread about Spain and AQ? But then maybe it was to be expected…)

    Are we discussing dogs, or are we discussing an evolutionary basis for property rights and just using dogs as subjects in a thought experiment?

    As for the original subject of the thread: Did Spanish media actually do any exit polling? Or, when we talk about the parliamentary elections being a capitulation are we building our castle on a foundation of fog?

    I really would like to know if anybody’s done a serious systematic study of what motivated the Spanish electorate to vote as they did. They could have been thinking mostly about some domestic issue that has no analogue in the US/UK/Israel and we’re all adding 2+2 and getting “green” for a result.

    When I bring up not knowing what they were thinking, I’m sure that there’s a point to be made about empathy there, but I’ve written and erased that paragraph four times now because it wasn’t coming out right, and I should probably just go to bed.

  • Midwesterner

    Sunfish,

    I’ve thought of that possibility with dogs. But the case that is in my mind was a long time ago, and I haven’t remembered the specifics yet, involved a baby and a pacifier. It seems that whenever somebody attempted to take the pacifier away from the baby, the dog got upset. I wish I had a better memory because I am recalling bits and pieces of seeing it first hand.

    As for the Aussie shepherd. Poor guy was beyond a doubt the smartest dog I have ever known. You could actually see the wheels turning as he assessed a situation prior to taking action.

    Well, my cousin (who drove a delivery truck) would occasionally stop at his parent’s during breaks or lunch. The dog had an unfortunate habit of laying out on the road where the blacktop would get warm. He would hear cars and trucks approaching, stand up and walk to the side of the road, and return to his place when the coast was clear. Well, one day he is out laying in the road, and he recognizes the approaching truck and driver. He figures out that the truck is slowing down and therefore will turn into the driveway because it is my cousin. Many vehicles slow down for the dog, but only my cousin (in the dog’s mind) would be certain to turn in the driveway. If my cousin is planning to drive on past, he doesn’t slow because the dog has always stepped out of the way. Having worked out what the truck’s future actions, he concludes that his place is safe. And it would have been except for a little bit of physics. The road was iced, when my cousin hit the brakes, the truck slid. Right over the dog. No wheels hit him, but he got tumbled by something, probably the differential and dislocated his shoulder.

    I’m not even sure my cousin intended to turn in that day, he may have just been slowing down for the ice. At any rate, the ice appears to be what messed up the dogs analysis.

    We had a dog once (honking gigantic Alaskan Malamute with a head like the deck of an aircraft carrier) who clearly demonstrated personal embarrassment. One day while chasing a rabbit, the rabbit inexplicably turned and faced the dog. The dog turned and ran all the way back to his dog house. And hid. Usually if I ever dared stick my head into his house, he rumbled a warning that I was on his turf. But on this day when I couldn’t call him back out, I braved it and stuck my head in, expecting a growl. Instead, he is in the back of the dog house with his face turned to the wall. Nothing would get him to face me and he stayed that way every time It checked until my dad got home several hours later. However, when my dad (who had not witnessed the rabbit incident) arrived the dog blithely acted as though nothing had happened and treated him normally. The dog continued to act embarrassed towards me for a little while longer. I don’t know what this says about dog thought, but the dog pretty clearly treated witnesses and nonwitnesses differently. I don’t know how complicated that thought process is.

    Regarding the thousands of years of emotionally dependency, I think it is reasonable that we have introduced human thought patterns into them as part of the domestication.
    ____

    While I personally believe that our future property decisions must be based on calculating rational analysis, I’m very interested in Gabriel’s understanding of how we arrived at the concepts of property that we have. While our future must be plotted on a rational course, the foundation of property rights is something on which I appear to differ from both Perry and Gabriel. My differences with Perry I think I understand. They come down to how we view the present and the future of humanity. I have the view that property status is bipolar. At one extreme are the collectivists who (whether by choice or instinct) have no individual recognition of property. When they appear to allow personal property, they usually qualify it with ‘the good of society’ as some underlying goal. At the other extreme are individualists. These are people who (whether by choice or instinct) have no collective recognition of property. When they appear to allow collective property, they usually qualify it as cooperative individual ownership on either divided or undivided shares.

    I personally suspect that both collectivism and individualism are innate in different people with a lot in the middle who are ‘bipolar’ :-) and will go with the flow. Perry appears to believe that collectivism is not an innate characteristic of some people, but rather a ‘rational’ predatory one. But I’m guessing about Perry’s thoughts.

    I’m still trying to figure out what Gabriel thinks and what we mean when we say things seems a good place to find our differences.