A couple of nights ago I went along to a local election hustings. This was a mistake.
The candidates from the mainstream parties seemed to be straight out of tranzi central casting – one of them, Vince Cable, is even a Cabinet Minister. To a man, woman, being of indeterminate sex they thought the EU and the UN were a good thing, that climate change was real and that Israel was to blame for the conflict in the Middle East. That last one brought the loudest cheer of the evening. One even claimed that Israel wasn’t a democracy. Two of them still managed to find merit in the Greenham Common protests.
I had been hoping for better from the UKIP guy. But no. Other than getting the UK out of the EU he was just the same even accepting climate change which he thought was due to overpopulation. This was especially disappointing given that his predecessor once stood on a manifesto calling for Britain to leave the EU and UN, and abolish the NHS and state education.
Just in case you were wondering, this nonsensical consensus (Mark Steyn uses the wonderful term “lunatic mainstream”) was not on display in a down-trodden, poverty-stricken part of the world where you might expect idiotic ideas to reign. It was in a prosperous, peaceful London suburb with a highly-educated population. Hey, it even has a phantom framer.
The economic collapse that at some point will engulf us all scares the living daylights out of me. But at the same time it seems to be the only way these delusional ideas are ever going to get swept away.
Stop calling what happened in Kenya a ‘tragedy‘. A bridge collapsing is a tragedy. A house burning down is a tragedy. Dying from Ebola is a tragedy. What happened at Garissa University in north-eastern Kenya was an atrocity. People did this on purpose.
The horror in Kenya is almost beyond belief. Almost. One hundred and forty seven dead, mostly Kenyan university students. I wonder how ‘the west’ will get blamed for this one?
The fundamental problem is that the majority of otherwise peaceful and law-abiding Muslims are unwilling to acknowledge, much less to repudiate, the theological warrant for intolerance and violence embedded in their own religious texts.
– An excerpt from Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s latest book, quoted here.
Thank you Mick Hartley.
Tim Stanley has excellent comments to make on the ire that Israel generates and asks why this small country, bordered by far larger ones, attracts such ire. He is writing about a conference at a UK university that seems to raise the question as to whether Israel should exist at all:
It is true that Israel was a state created where no such state had existed before. But so was Iraq, Syria, Uganda and Togo. They were all products of decolonisation, all lines drawn on a map by a bureaucrat with a pencil and ruler. Why, pray, does no one debate the legal foundations of the existence of Nigeria? It is controversial enough. It comprises various tribes and religions with terrible unease, so much so that a near genocidal war was conducted to subjugate its southeastern portion. Yet no one questions its legality.
Why, looking beyond this conference, is Israel the one country in the world whose critics so often conflate its government and its people – even seeking to punish the former by boycotting the latter? It is perfectly possible to dislike Benjamin Netanyahu and criticise the Israeli state’s actions in Gaza without assuming that Netanyahu speaks for all Israelis or that all Israelis approve of what happened in Gaza (indeed, it looks like he’s about to lose an election). No one would suggest that David Cameron’s austerity programme reflects the views of every Briton or that the British are constitutionally mean because the bedroom tax happened. And yet such obvious distinctions are often forgotten when talking about Israel. People chant that “Israel Must Be Stopped”, that “Israel Has Gone Too Far” and that “Israel is an Apartheid State” – as though its entire people had blood on their hands. When it comes to Israel, there is a unique enthusiasm to call into question its very right to exist. Strange, isn’t it?
To challenge the right of Israel to exist is, therefore, morally obtuse. It is to forget the flames from which this Phoenix arose.
Damn right. By the way, one book that I regard as absolutely essential reading for anyone on this subject is The Case For Israel, by Alan Dershowitz. It is over a decade old, but still very good. Another is the Israel Test, by George Gilder.
Gilder’s book is particularly good for noting that Israel, and for that matter Jews more generally, are targeted as much for their virtues – productiveness, educational excellence and so on – by rivals in the Middle East, as for any alleged shortcomings in foreign policy. Recent history suggest that any land-for-peace deals have been met with just more violence from the anti-Israel side, and most citizens of that country have grown weary of it.
Like Gilder, I take the view that broadly pro-liberty (with caveats, obviously), pro-modernity countries that are wealthy and non-crap such as this country deserve the support of anyone who takes liberty seriously, notwithstanding any specific disagreements on its policies. I have long gone past the point where I think that critics of Israel are in the main motivated by good thoughts. While some of them might be, most appear to be fools at best, and anti-semites at worst.
Iraq is over, done, finished. The literally insane paranoiac Nouri al-Maliki guaranteed Iraq was toast and only a wilfully blind fool can pretend it can be put back together, or that doing so would even be desirable at this stage. There is only one tortuous bloody route to regional stability and that needs to be centred on an independent Kurdistan.
And I am delighted to see that both Ted Cruz and now Rand Paul seem to understand this. There are already willing and able ‘boots on the ground': Kurdish ones. There is totally no need for US boots or anyone else’s boots to be there in any substantive way, beyond training missions and perhaps some SAR capabilities. Enough with the whole White Man’s Burden shtick already! Even a great many locals are embarrassed about how often they need to get bailed out by the US, arguing they really need to do this themselves!
Yes yes, I know an independent Kurdistan will horrify theocratic Iran, the Iranian dominated rump of Iraq, the Ba’athist Socialist rump of Syria and Islamist dominated Turkey. And whilst that is really just awesomely wonderful, it is just gravy on the many benefits that will eventually come from an independent Kurdistan.
Biji Kurdistan azad.
… but then they discover that the UK has made it illegal to fly there! Rats foiled again! Yeah that should work, hahaha
And on a related note, the three formerly British girls who ran off to Syria to become ‘Jihadi Brides’ have been located at a specific address in Raqqa. My only question was, does the RAF know?
Sweden’s Multicultural Centre Expert on Islamophobia Joins the Daesh Islamic State. And I love the remark at the end:
And if the whole ISIS thing doesn’t work out, he can always go back to Sweden and lecture the natives on how they’re Islamophobes for associating Islam with terrorism.
So argues Mary Dejevsky in the Guardian. Her piece could have done with a clearer separation of the several different issues involved; freedom of speech, freedom of movement, state surveillance of all travellers, targeted spying on individuals, and above all the question of what difference it makes when the potential recruits to ISIS are minors. Nonetheless I broadly agree – the British state should not seek to prevent adult citizens leaving the UK merely because it suspects they wish to become members of ISIS – or to kill members of ISIS. Whether state assistance in the form of weapons or subsidy should be available to the latter admirable group, or whether any of the former group seeking to return should be allowed to do so in exchange for cooperation with MI6, are questions that even the purest of libertarians might find worthy of debate.
The crimes of ISIS have been so flagrant and atrocious that the world is entitled to see any adult, male or female, volunteering to live under its standard (let alone bearing arms) as hostis humani generis and to exterminate them without any fuss about human rights – but wait till they get there. It is the burnings, beheadings and rapes that are the crimes, not getting on a plane to Turkey.
I haven’t time for a lot of commentary on this but thought I should at the least put up a link to this long, very important Atlantic Monthly essay about ISIS, or whatever else the would-be creators of a global Islamic empire, aka Caliphate, want to call it. The article makes it clear that the people involved most definitely DO regard themselves as serious scholars of Islam. While it might be comforting to dismiss them as hoodlums or chasers after the glamour of violence (not that these are not true), the people involved are much more. They are deadly serious and don’t regard themselves as aberrant or innovators in their faith.
Whatever other issues get mentioned here (AGW, tax, Ukraine, etc) this – the need to utterly defeat such people, and crush and humiliate them in the eyes of any would-be admirers, is the dominant issue of the age.
“Hello. Is that the Ministry of Tourism? I’ve just been captured by ISIS, and I’d like to make a complaint. A very strong complaint”.
I’d like to reassure my mother that I was not actually in Syria, but in Lebanon just across the border when my phone picked up a Syrian network. Also, the guys from Hezbollah who asked me questions about why I was taking photos were really quite friendly.