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To defeat Islamism we need more freedom not less

I wrote this in the aftermath of the last Islamic outrage and it applies just as well to this outrage as that one. The only difference is that in the interim I have become rather disillusioned about immigration and have stripped out a rather idealistic paragraph on the subject; mainly because I don’t want it to dominate the comments.

I am posting this anonymously because, well, you just never know who might be reading and how they might react.

  1. It seems obvious but there seems to be so much denial going around that it has to be said: there is a war. Islamists are seeking to impose their will upon us – libertarians, Westerners, call us what you may – by violent means.

  2. There is much to fear from an Islamist victory. You only have to look at what Islamic rule means. It is bad news for anyone who likes alcohol, opposes animal cruelty, is gay, is a woman or thinks there’s no god, or there is a god but that his name is not Allah and that he didn’t write the Koran. Perhaps most important would be the loss of freedom of thought. Islam doesn’t do freedom of thought. It is also likely that as the Islamists tear down free-ish markets, mass starvation would ensue.

  3. They are winning. People are becoming less and less willing to criticise Islam. This is particularly true in universities. More and more women are covering up in public. At the last UK general election, the leader of the opposition was calling for the introduction of blasphemy laws. Recently Douglas Murray, the anti-Islamist writer, has had to stop advertising his public appearances in advance.

  4. The key front is not in the Middle East – I regard Western adventures in that part of the world as little more than displacement activity – but here, at home, in the West. Islamo-loons in the Middle East just can’t do that much harm. In the West they can and do. To that extent maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the Islamic State became established. Let it rip. Give them all the rope they need to hang themselves. Let the world see that a state run on Islamic lines can’t work. A pity for the inhabitants but much the same was true for the Soviet Union.

  5. There is a widespread belief that there is a trade-off between freedom and security. This may sometimes be true – wartime censorship comes to mind as a possible example – but not in this case. What we need is more freedom, not less.

    Some examples:

  6. The right to keep and bear arms. Owning a gun and knowing how to use it would make it much harder – although by no means impossible – for the Jihadi. It is worth bearing in mind that during the Troubles, off-duty security-force personnel were allowed to carry Personal Protection Weapons (PPWs). No, it didn’t defeat the IRA but (one assumes) it made them rather more cautious. This was at a time when gun laws on the mainland were becoming ever more restrictive. I find it amusing that in the British Bill of Rights there is a right for “His Majesty’s protestant subjects” – or some such – to possess firearms. Why? Because at the time they were involved in a religious war with Catholics being the enemy. It is worth reminding ourselves who won that one. It is also worth reminding ourselves that by the time of the Napoleonic wars Catholicism had become more or less innocuous.

  7. Welfare State. We need much less of it. We need to make jihadism more of a part-time activity and less of a full-time one. So, less unemployment benefit, less housing benefit. It would do wonders for the deficit. As Paul Marks has pointed out from time to time, the corollary to this is that we need far fewer restrictions on employing people. So, an end to employment laws and fewer planning restrictions. Employers need to be able to build the workplaces of the future and people need to be able to live near them.

  8. Religious Discrimination. It should be legal to discriminate on grounds of religion. At very least it might make it harder for the Jihadis to get jobs and with fewer jobs they’ll have less money for arms. It might also encourage the non-Jihadi Muslims to differentiate themselves from the lunatics. Might.

  9. End Government air security. Privately-owned airports and airlines will make a much better job of security than the government. My guess is, that equipped with the right to discriminate many airlines will refuse to accept Muslims at all. Or maybe, only after they have gone through onerous security checks. Perhaps we will see the creation of Muslim Air – an airline that only takes muslims. It will, at least, be interesting to see what the jihadis’ attitude to bombing that will be.

  10. An end to government involvement in universities. Although I am far from sure of the mechanism by which state involvement translates itself into the closing down of free speech on the campus – somehow the state manages the trick. Sever the link, allow universities to become diversities and watch as free speech reigns and Islamism withers.

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126 comments to To defeat Islamism we need more freedom not less

  • Cal

    “An end to government involvement in universities. Although I am far from sure of the mechanism by which state involvement translates itself into the closing down of free speech on the campus – somehow the state manages the trick. Sever the link, allow universities to become diversities and watch as free speech reigns and Islamism withers.”

    This seems rather naive. Have you met many modern academics? It isn’t the state that is causing the withering of free speech on campus, it’s the left-wing students, the left-wing academics, and the gutless higher-ups.

    But you’re right that governments make things worse. Anti-discrimination laws, for instance, have made things easier for the left. And governments have their fingers entwined into the higher levels of Universities in many ways, for example, through funding. Any University that tries to show some independence will soon realize the folly of its ways.

  • Nicholas (Excentrality!) Gray

    ‘Mohamedism’ should replace the term ‘Islam’. Mohamed came up with the Koran, and he should get all the blame.
    Then we should point out the contradictions. That book both says that Allah cannot be chained (meaning that all-powerful Allah can change his mind at any time regardless of what he said earlier) AND that the book is true and unchangeable forever (AND that He cannot split himself into three).

  • R. Dawes

    The root problem is not Islam.

    The root problem is intellectuals in the West. They are the ones shielding Islam from the power of Western values through preventing them from being passed on to the young and from being brought to bear on the immediate problem, because these intellectuals (sectarian and secular both) are opposed to them for essentially the same reason that the Islamic intellectuals are: they have Grand Plans.

    The intellectuals are not wilfully blind. They are not in cognitive dissonance. They are not delicate special snowflakes, any more than Inquisitors were. At the end of the day they know what’s what.

    This is the root problem: “God/society fobid that ordinary inidividuals reason for themselves and judge independently accordingly. Let us have our particular sectarian or secular versions of Plato’s Republic or let the whole world BURN!”

    What happens when the flames finally subside is another story.

  • Mr Ed

    Followong on from R. Dawes, I read somewhere that Enoch Powell once said something about immigration being the ‘fulcrum’ used to lever the destruction of freedom in Britain, i.e. he was suggesting that the Left would use immigration and the consequences of it, as the pretext for the destruction of freedom.

    Perhaps this is what he had in mind, a long Leftist power grab on the back of chaos or the perception of the need to ‘prevent’ it.

    Let’s face it, if 100,000 people were killed here in repeated mass attacks like Brussels, Paris, 7/7 and so on, none of that would make the likes of Mr Cameron (or almost any other politician of the mainstream) change his mind about any need to implement a single of the 10 points in the OP. He’d rather you were dead than he accept any of the points.

  • Thailover

    A. First off, the “left” need to wake up and join the rest of us in reality land. “Radical” islam is aptly named, but realize that “radical” means to the root, not on the fringe, or an outlier position. The eschatology of Islam is world domination via complete and utter violent tyranny; the spreading of Islam via the tip of the sword. This is not a secret, though one might easily get that impression.
    Anyone who respects the rights of women (and basic decency) CANNOT “respect” modern day Islam….period.

    B. It should also be recognized that Islam is not a mere religion, it’s a theocratic tyranny ran by a priest caste, and they’re barbaric, backward and largely, unbelievably, ignorant.

    C. ANYONE who thinks morality is an external imposition of behavioral dictates rather than an innate drive towards compassion for others….is dangerous. This is true of both Islam and anyone who considers the Ten Commandments the seat of civilization. (the penalty for breaking at least half the TC was public stoning, where one’s family were forced to join in or be subject to being stoned themselves). The first commandment is to worship YHWH or be stoned to death…sounds kinda familiar. That’s not morality, that’s tyranny.

    D. It chaps my ass whenever a “progressive” asks the unwashed masses, “what freedoms are you willing to give up in order to be safer?” As if me exercising my “negative” rights to any maximum extent innately makes me less safe. It doesn’t. And surrendering our freedoms to the government does not make anyone safer. It just makes you less free and, lets face it…pets of the state.

    E. The left wing often react with mocking smiles when one frames our current conflicts in terms of defending freedoms, as if this is a naive perspective. Well, it’s not, because it’s our freedoms that the enemy hates us for. They hate us for our free speech, including the right to blaspheme. They hate us for our freedom of expression and freedom rights of mind, to NOT pander to the idea of desert gods if that’s what we choose to do or not do. They hate us BECAUSE we are not Muslim. They hate us because we treat females with respect and as equals, not as the possessions of men. We’re expected to automatically give Islam tolerance and respect, when Islam tolerates and respects nothing. They’ve done nothing but earn our derision and that’s what we should give them…what they’ve rightfully earned. One of the things Bin Ladin listed as reasons for 911 was “the internet”. Statists want to police the internet, to eliminate freedom rights. Among these statists are the “radical” Islamists and the Obama administration. The western right wing get in on the action too when they pretend that unpoliced forums are “dangerous” because someone might infect your child with an unvetted idea, use a ‘dirty word’, or victimize someone via cyber-bullying. Of course the truth is more mundane, one can choose to ignore the squiggles on the screen and chalk them up to being the product of asshats with keyboards, and avoid being “triggered” and having an emotional breakdown. Anyone who commits suicide because somone talked mean to them on the internet, has more problems than the internet not being a police state. And those problems would still be there even if the internet were a “safe space” for all the emotional snowflakes out there.

    F. The author wrote, “It should be legal to discriminate on grounds of religion.”
    It should be legal for private citizens and all private organizations and private enterprise to discriminate based on ANYTHING. This is what freedom of mind, action and speech means. Anti-discrimination laws infringes on our freedoms. Just as free speech laws allow someone to discriminate based on race, sex, etc, though I would personally revile them, I would defend their right to an unpopular opinion, likewise, individuals and private enterprise should be equally free to discriminate and and to face their retribution. Though I would greatly dislike their discrimination, I would defend their right to be free individuals and refuse to engage in trade if they so desired, just as I would defend free speech rights, even when it involved views I found disgusting.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Well, I must say I agree with everything said so far, including SI’s posting, with two exceptions — relatively minor but, I think, important enough to note.

    The first is SI’s Point 8. It’s not that “it should be legal to discriminate on grounds of religion”; it’s that it should not be ILlegal. Cal is right that there shouldn’t be any anti-discrimination laws [with the exception of governmental agents or agencies in the pursuit of (proper) governmental business].

    But it’s also important to remember, and to remember loudly, in public, that Mohammedanism is a totalitarian political system in religious garb, though no doubt there are Mohammedans who do hold religious belief in Allah as God and Mohammed as his prophet. But the political side is first and foremost in the minds of such jihadis as are actually “devout,” and excuse me if I suggest that among the jihadis there are a fair number of psychopaths, sadists, and just plain nihilists.

    In the U.S., it wasn’t illegal to be a Communist; it was only illegal to work toward overthrowing the government, and in particular to conspire to do that.

    Of course many people and groups did discriminate against Communists; but however harmless a given Commie might have been in reality, private parties have the same right to discriminate for or against people of a given political belief as they do to discriminate for or against homosexuals, or those who are not full-blooded Caucasians or Mongoloids.

    The other niggle is that a good many of “the intellectuals” are indeed willfully blind, being unwilling to give up The Impossible Dream for various reasons, and some aren’t yet at the point of being able to recognize that they are ignorant.

    But the Dreamers — the intellectuals — are certainly determined to bring about the Impossible Dream, which involves remaking the West (but not the Communist dictatorships for some reason, which ought to puzzle Joe Six-pack far more than apparently it does); since the Mohammedans appear bent on the same project, they are protected by the bleatings and the thunderings of the Dreamers. As well as by those of good conscience who are not particularly interested in the Dream, but are ignorant of the danger.

    But I certainly believe that what the West lacks in general is moral self-confidence, and the intellectuals past and present are certainly the ones who, along with Mrs. (and often enough Mr.) Busybody DoGooder, have undermined people’s moral self-confidence to the point that our societies express it by a refusal to fight.

    Remember the vitriol and hatred rained down on Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer over the “Draw Mohammed” business. You’d think that they, and not the jihadis, were going in for blood sports and mass murder.

  • It seems obvious but there seems to be so much denial going around that it has to be said: there is a war. Islamists are seeking to impose their will upon us – libertarians, Westerners, call us what you may – by violent means.

    Unfortunately there are those who will gladly assist the Jihad simply to feel good about themselves.

    The obvious question is how can someone be tricked into betraying any moral value when they absolutely lack one?

    The false prophet Mohammed commanded his followers to commit the acts of rape, robbery, and murder. The doctrine of Islam commands enslavement and the systematic violation of the rights of man and to act as predatory animals. Without question the doctrine and practice of Islam is absolutely depraved.

    Given that Human Life is the foundation of all valid moral values then Islam must be absolutely condemned. But the signatories of this document condemn as immoral those who hold an actual moral standard.

    I am hard pressed to respond to this utterly depraved document without the use of barracks language. But I will say this, Vidkun Quisling was shot for his betrayal of the Norwegian people and we’re going to need an all night firing squad to deal with this bunch.

  • K

    I stopped being a strict libertarian when “open borders” became a supported policy. The dogmatic stupidity and fallacy of such a policy, particularly in the face of multiculturalism and the universal welfare state is more apparent on a daily basis.

  • James Strong

    What K said about ‘open borders’.

    That notion is suicidal lunacy and , in my opinion, is little more than virtue-signalling by libertarians who want to wave their flag of ideological purity.

    And it’s also time to proclaim loudly that inflicting massive violence on Islam does not contravene the non-aggression principle.

  • Paul Marks

    To defeat Islam (I suppose we have to hide behind the “ism” so O.K. – “to defeat Islamism”) we have to have faith (belief) in an alternative belief system and convert Islamic (or Islamist) immigrants (and their children) to this belief system.

    This belief system need not be religious – for example Randian Objectivism is not theistic. However, there must be a belief system – just promising people booze and pornography (and so on) as the modern West does, is not enough. Young men like this for a time – but then they need something more, they need actual beliefs.

    The West has lost faith in its traditional belief systems (essentially the Roman Catholic and Protestant forms of Christianity) the idea of converting Islamic immigrants or their children to these belief systems seems unlikely – as most Westerners have no real faith themselves.

    “But America Paul”.

    Actually the Roman Catholic Church is just as worm eaten by “Vatican II” in the United States as it is in most of Europe and Latin America.

    As for Protestantism – look how so called “evangelicals” have flocked to vote for DONALD TRUMP. Mr Trump is the corruption and decadence of the modern West made flesh – the “Christians” who support him show they are not Christians at all. Yes some Christians proved to be real (in Kansas for example) but in most of the South the “evangelical Christians” proved to be phonies – flocking to a man who they knew to be faithless (to be utterly corrupt in every way). As false as when they claimed to be Christians on Sunday morning – and then (that very night) went to burn crosses and dress up in the white robes of an organisation (the KKK) whose doctrines were-and-are a direct attack upon Christianity at every point. To call such people “white trash” is actually much too kind. They are not defined by their skin colour or their poverty (I am white and I am poor) – they are defined by their faithlessness, indeed their wickedness. They made a moral choice – and they knew exactly what they were doing, they CHOOSE wickedness being fully free not to do so.

    Turning back to Islam….

    It must be remembered that the coming of Islam is NOT like the historical matter that some Jews lived in the West (including people in my own “blood line”).

    Islam does not come as a tiny minority in a Christian sea. Although often a “Christian” sea that betrayed Christian principles.

    Islam comes to claim new lands -and the children and grandchildren of the Islamic immigrants are actually more hostile to the West than the original immigrants were. They may wear Association Football shirts and drink lots of booze – but when it comes to serious beliefs….. and every man (I do not claim to know about women) needs real beliefs sooner or later.

    Islam also comes to CONVERT – after all being Muslim has nothing to do with “race”.

    Someone in (say) Utah (where most people really do have faith in their traditional belief system – in their case Mormanism) there will be few takers.

    But what about New Hampshire – yes “White Christmas” and “Our Town” New Hampshire, it has changed.

    Today the State votes for people such as “Bernie” Sanders and Donald Trump – and large numbers of young people die of heroin. Yes the drug that was confined to the big cities has moved to places such as New Hampshire.

    The people have lost their traditional beliefs – if I was a Muslim I would be offering them a new belief system.

    Ditto in Europe – indeed even more so.

    “You do not have to be unemployed and have no purpose in life – I offer you power and purpose in this life, and eternal glory in the next life”.

    Modern Westerners have few children (apart from in a few places – such as Utah and so on) – but such children that Westerners do have (young men – and young women also, hard though the latter may be to believe some women are attracted to the Islamic message) may well be attracted to the message of Islam.

    After all what is the alternative offered to the young?

    Association football, booze, and vomiting in the street?

    “Sounds good Paul”.

    For awhile – but most people (no matter how decadent) eventually look for (need) a real belief system.

    And, false though it may be, that is what Islam offers.

    Those people who are firm in their beliefs (their principles) will resist this call.

    But how many such people are there in the modern West?

  • Excellent posts!

    Just a quick point in reference to airport security. This was posted on a forum in Cyprus yesterday. I obviously can’t say if it is true or not but…

    “We were at Gatwick today and the sniffer dog went round with a policewoman handler, airport security and another policeman. In the check-in queue were two women wearing Islamic, black all-over cover, but without face veils. They had a couple of kids between them and masses of luggage. The sniffer dog sniffed the Islamic-attired women’s luggage and then did a double turn back to re-sniff whereupon one of the Islamic ladies started screaming for the dog to be taken away from near her as if she was frightened (or maybe thought it dirty). She was very politely reassured the dog was very friendly and to diffuse the ‘culturally sensitive’ situation, the policewoman quickly led the dog away leaving me quite shocked and alarmed that had there been something concealed in the luggage, screaming ‘take away your dirty dog’ would allow a safe passage through with explosives!”

  • Mr Ed

    Barman,

    It sounds a bit Ben Trovato, but…would it have helped if the dog were replaced by a porcine sniffer?

    Oh, wait…

  • Mr Ecks

    Jihadism is a sideshow.

    Demographic takeover is how they can win.

    SO:
    1-No more Islamic migration ever. No more family reunions.
    2-They lose the vote. No more growing power block (and as an extra bonus no more Jack Straws)
    3-Only one wife allowed to Islamic males–no 4 wives/women etc.
    4-Two kids only per male. Any more then not only is there no more cash they lose the money for the first two as well. All benefits paid to that standard eg housing benefit enough to house only one woman and two kids not an unlimited clan.
    5- No more Mosques built ever and no more prayer rooms. Public prayer made a public order offence.
    6-Halal banned
    7-Heavy action against Tower Hamlets type Islamic patrols. Make ordering women to cover up and demanding to know if you have booze in your shopping bag etc criminal offences.
    8-A bounty of £? for any Islamic household that pack up and leave the UK permanently. Likely to be expensive but still cheaper than civil war.
    9–The return of gun rights for native Britons.
    10-Islamic numbers in jail must be cut by deportation. Of those left the violent to be put in special jails. Only non-violent Islamic crims to be in general population( and for fairness sake only among non-violent British criminals).

    Such measure mean that islamics can quietly live here, work and raise modest families. But it ends the subsidised breeding program they are now on and makes very clear that there will be no takeover of the UK and that this is not a good country for islamists to come to and think to throw their weight about.

  • Thailover writes, March 23, 2016 at 4:02 am:

    It should be legal for private citizens and all private organizations and private enterprise to discriminate based on ANYTHING.

    This policy seems to also allow discrimination on the grounds of sex – as variously practised by Muslims and others – which is objected to earlier in his/her comment.

    Is it not the case that we actually need to allow ‘moderate’ discrimination but not ‘immoderate’ discrimination. Or to make illegal, discrimination affecting (as well as, obviously, violence against the person and property) say public services and any paid employment, but not other discrimination. But how does that affect/protect women from discrimination within the family

    It is clear to me that these differences are very clearly difficult ones on which to decide.

    [And please be kind enough to notice that I am not promulgating a view on Islam or on sexual discrimination or on any other form of discrimination. Also, Thailover’s “private enterprise” etc leaves things indeterminate over private enterprise providing public services – and even whether retail outlets etc are (or should be viewed as) public. I am just pointing out that Thailover’s statement of policy is grossly inadequate.]

    Best regards

  • Julie near Chicago

    Um, Paul’s remarks remind me that what the Israelites took to be the proper punishments for disobeying the Mosaic Code some 3600 years or so ago and what the Jews and Christians of recent times believe the Ten Commandments require, are vastly different. All that stuff about stoning, for instance, is just Out. (Except maybe with some of the “Manosphere” types, but then it’s not obvious to me that they are truly Christian, or Jewish either.) The attempt to make the modern general view of the Ten Commandments morally equivalent to the Israelites’ ideas as expressed in the far, far ancient Mosaic Code is to grossly misunderstand the meaning of the Ten Commandments as people today take them.

    Even atheists like me are happy with the second half, and are also happy not to badger others about their wish to go along with the first five Commandments, all without coercion of course.

    Also:

    People keep bringing up the current behavior of the Mohammedans and saying “well after all, the Bible has horrible parts in it too, and Christians have done horrible things.”

    That may be, but as many (such as our Mr. Marks) keep pointing out, the Christian role model is Jesus, whereas the Muslims’ role model, Mohammed, is a very different type indeed.

  • Mr Ed

    It should be borne in mind that the principe of ‘non-discrimination’ is a fundamental principle of European Union law. Quite why this is necessary to enable trade between countries is not clear, or even why it is needed for people to move to other countries and be employed in them should they find a person willing to employ them, a principle of no State interference in contracts would achieve that, but given what the EU regards as a fundamental principle, there is no prospect whatsoever of the EU permitting any form of exception to non-discrimination law other than points negotiated as part of the establishment of EU Treaties e.g. the Danes keeping er, Germans (and anyone not Danish) from buying second homes in their nice coastal resorts.

    From this, one can see why any form of permitted (direct) discrimination would be wholly anathema to the European political classes and every political party that believes in EU membership, albeit in some parts of the east of Europe, some noise is made to the contrary, although actions belie the words.

  • Bob

    Islam can be conquered fairly easily using simple biotech. All you need to do is sort out a simple way by which the gender or apparent gender of a child may be predetermined (and since the Islamic lot value males over females, a method of putting the few Y-chromosome genes needed to force an embryo down the male route would be all that was needed). As long as this biotech is dirt cheap, it could be sold at subsidised rates to the Arab world in huge amounts.

    I would expect that most of the Islamic world would leap at the chance to produce only male children; virtually all of one generation would be born male. There wouldn’t be another generation after that.

  • Ultimately, Muslims need to get their own house in order – it can’t be imposed from outsiders – and that will probably mean the whole lot of them need to feel some pain to get them to do it. At the moment they have no incentive, as they appear to be making giant strides in the West thanks to feeble politicians and the idiots who keep voting for them. I don’t know who the influential people in Islam are – whether they are money-men, strongmen, scholars, sheikhs, or what – but they need to feel enough pain for them to get their own house in order (at least insofar as the Muslims in the West are concerned). Something like a travel ban on Muslims might do the trick. Most are easily identifiable by name or nationality, each could be made to sign a declaration of being non-Muslim in order to enter a country: most Muslims would be seriously uncomfortable doing this. And it needn’t be foolproof, it would not be to stop terrorists, merely to cause enough inconvenience to those with influence to get their own house in order. I wonder how tolerant “moderate” Muslims would be of the jihad-preaching mosque down the road and the anti-Israel protests if they were banned from travelling abroad indefinitely. I reckon within 6 months you’d see a sea-change.

  • The blogpost lists a programme that, whatever critique one makes of details, would improve things. Alas, that we are still so far from any point in it becoming any major party’s policy. When I saw the point about religious discrimination, one part of me thought the same as other commenters: other kinds should be allowed too, both for freedom and because religion and ethnicity overlap enough that a right to one will be swiftly negated in practice if ‘disparate impact’ on the other is left a crime. The other part of me remembered an advert for a librarian post that I saw decades ago; the long list of things which the post’s advertisers promised not to discriminate on included “intelligence”. I’ve not yet seen such a list that also promises there will be no discrimination related to the candidate’s having or lacking common sense – but perhaps that is implicit in every such list. 🙂 Talking about such things amongst ourselves has value, but meanwhile, how do we get to where we could do more than that?

    I see leaving the EU as a step in the right direction – pity so many more will still be needed. But the longest journey begins with a single step.

  • lucklucky

    We need to increase the cost of terrorist acts for Islamic world to pay.

    One way could be to start claiming that churches, budhist temples(important because they are not the people of the book and are even more despised), sinaguoges be build in Saudi Arabia.

    Take the war to the core of Islamic world.

    That should be up front as a cost for Terrorist acts.

  • Tedd

    ANYONE who thinks morality is an external imposition of behavioral dictates rather than an innate drive towards compassion for others….is dangerous.

    From the point of view of the left, though, that’s a false choice. They believe in Rawlsian social justice, which makes both compassion and external imposition of morals unnecessary. (And which, conveniently, justifies their policy preferences). All other moral judgements are purely relative. And they’ve spent the last two centuries straw-manning and demonizing Adam Smith for the logical conclusions that came from his compassion-based moral theory. Having well and truly closed that box (in their minds) they’re not about to re-open it.

  • Laird

    It will be interesting to see what effect the Brussels massacre has on the Brexit debate (and, for that matter, on the US presidential campaign). Reuters is reporting a poll showing Brexit leading by 2%, and that survey was taken before Brussels. At a minimum I would think it is threatening the whole Schengen scheme, and I expect that should a Republican become president next year the whole program of visa-less entry to the US from Europe will revisited.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Brendan O’Neill in Spiked. Money quote:

    All of these apologetics, all these attempts to project neat narratives on to modern Islamist violence, are driven by a reluctance to face up to the true nature of the problem we face today. Which is that some people who live in our societies, many of whom were born here, have come to loathe those societies so much that they think nothing of obliterating their citizens. Rock fans, football fans, metro users — any citizen will do. It’s not political, it’s not protest; it’s nihilism. And they justify their nihilism with appeals to an Islamist ideology. What we have are groups of people so estranged, or self-estranged, from society and its networks, so consumed by the self-pity and fury that often attend extreme manifestations of the politics of identity, so shot through with a narcissism that makes them imagine they are absolutely right and everyone who disagrees with them is dispensable trash, that they come to view the people around them as aliens, and society itself as contemptible.

  • Mr Ed

    What are the odds that should support for Brexit be rising post-yet-another-bout-of-hand-wringing-over-a-massacre, some Euroloon will be equating Eurosceptics like UKIP with Jihadis, on the basis that both are trying to destroy the EU and the free movement of peoples?

    And the Left parroting such a line without question and calling UKIP etc. would-be killers.

    I apologise for not noticing if this has already happened.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    “Muslim Air”.

    I am trying to think up some snarky comments about it. Give me time and some more coffee.

  • Ellen

    “Muslim Air” indeed. Being Christian around a jihadist is dangerous. Being the wrong flavor of Muslim is even more dangerous. Bombs go off in Brussels and Paris. Bombings are even more common in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and very nearly every Islamic region of the Middle East. Being Muslim is no protection.

    If Mohammed Himself returned to life, he’d be foolish to fly on Muslim Air. There are many kinds of Islam, and a Jihadist would consider it pure profit to bring down an airplane full of Muslims. Most of them would be one kind of heretic or another, and would go to Hell. And some of them, being the Correct kind of Muslim, would be martyrs and immediately brought to Heaven. Win-win all around.

  • CaptDMO

    “Muslim Air”?
    Magic Dirt?

  • fcal

    PIA – Pakistan International Airlines – Great People To Fly With – Also known as “Please Inform Allah”.

  • Johnnydub

    I watched this video recently – Germany Crosses the Demographic RUBICON: 20-35’s a MINORITY by 2020:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dF9V8POmuxg

    If the West and especially in the EU doesn’t get its shit together on limiting Muslim immigration, then the game is going to be over inside ten years.

  • Nicholas (Excentrality!) Gray

    Strangely enough, we have some Good News on our side. Some of the Syrians are coming to the West, and converting to Christianity, because they have dreams where Yehoshua (the original name of Jesus) tells them to become Christians! They don’t convert in their own countries because it is a capital crime. You aren’t hearing much about this because the clerics don’t want to alert the fanatics in the Middle East as to why some of their neighbours are relocating, but quite a few churches in Germany, and elsewhere, are benefitting from new members. I read about this in a recent issue of Quadrant, a right-wing magazine here in Australia. The article was called ‘Where Muslim dreams may lead’. If God is helping us, we might just have a chance, after all.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    A democracy that accepts feminism into its mainstream will have below replacement level birth rates.
    A democracy that accept multiculturalism into its mainstream will have open borders.

    A democratic society that accepts BOTH feminism and multiculturalism is quite literally committing DEMOGRAPHIC SUICIDE.

    Whites have ruled Europe for a long time. That time is coming to an end.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Islamist terror is NOT intended as a reprisal for Western nations bombing Islamic State even when Islamic State, Belgium’s government, and the establishment media all say it is.

    Islamist terror is intended to cause non-Muslim Europeans to discriminate against Muslims. Such discrimination leads to alienation and alienation leads to radicalization.

    Moderate Muslims are being radicalized by Islamic terror.

    The plan: enough Islamist terror to keep Muslims from integrating into their host communities, but not enough Islamist terror to cause the host communities to close their borders.

    This is particularly interesting given the birth rate of non-Muslim Europeans vis-a-vis that of Muslim Europeans.

    Terrorism doesn’t conquer, but demography is destiny.

  • Vinegar Joe

    “To defeat Islamism we need more napalm not less.”

    Fixed that for you.

  • Alisa

    Nick, is this it?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    A democracy that accepts feminism into its mainstream will have below replacement level birth rates.

    Waaaay too simplistic. It is more about rising living standards, declining infant mortality, and the Welfare State and pensions systems. There may also be cultural issues as well. I have zero problem with women having careers and being treated equally before the law (most crucially, over the control over property rights, etc) which is what feminism, at its best, should be about. For what it is worth, birthrates are also declining among Muslim populations when countries get more prosperous and people build up retirement portfolios. In deeply traditional societies such as Japan (with tight restrictions on immigration and a male-centric culture), population growth has come to a halt and the workforce is ageing rapidly.

    If you want to argue that the West would remain great by having women bang out vast hordes of kids and spending all day in the kitchen, then that is not any kind of society I want, as a man, to live in. But then that is just me.

    (Rant over.)

  • Alisa

    Jonathan:

    I have zero problem with women having careers and being treated equally before the law (most crucially, over the control over property rights, etc) which is what feminism, at its best, should be about.

    Nope. That is not feminism, but that very equality before the law that you mention just in passing – no more, and no less.

    If you want to argue that the West would remain great by having women bang out vast hordes of kids and spending all day in the kitchen, then that is not any kind of society I want, as a man, to live in. But then that is just me.

    Not just you by any stretch, but what of it? If that is what most women prefer (‘if’ being the operative word), why would you have a problem living in such a society?

    Waaaay too simplistic. It is more about rising living standards, declining infant mortality, and the Welfare State and pensions systems.

    That too, but culture is what is being discussed, and for once the Shlomo person makes a very good point. Cases in point: Israel and still-significant parts of the US. Although those too seem to be going the same way.

    Just $0.02 from an anti-feminist.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Alisa: “Not just you by any stretch, but what of it? If that is what most women prefer (‘if’ being the operative word), why would you have a problem living in such a society?”

    No.

    The key (my being one of those crazy classical liberals) is that women should have a choice. In the past, they didn’t, not just because of brute economic forces (no pensions, grinding manual labour, crap medical care and horrendous infant death rates) but because of legal limits on things such as the ability to inherit and transmit property.

    It is, after all, rather ironic to read of people bemoaning the repressiveness of Islam regarding women and then to read about the dangers of women getting all obsessed about careers and not wanting to have lots of kids. There is a lot of cognitive dissonance among those “conservatives” who are down on Islam but in fact they seem quite to admire the male-dominated aspects of it. In fact, I distinctly recall in the 80s reading conserative writers such as Roger Scruton praising the family values of Muslims, in contrast to us decadent secular liberals. Let’s make up our minds, folks.

  • Deep Lurker

    “There is a widespread belief that there is a trade-off between freedom and security.”

    But what’s being imposed is not a trade-off between freedom and security, even if it’s being sold as that. Most if not all of the “security” policies are actually insecurity policies, measures intended (at least nominally) to make Islamic terrorists less secure by making everyone less secure.

  • lucklucky

    “There is a widespread belief that there is a trade-off between freedom and security.”

    And it is true in some situations, occurrences. Also the corruption of power increases with time making more costly for freedom.

    But like the link i posted above i don’t understand what is like Bizantine post when there is Thought Police in England today. Is England the most tyrannical country in Western Europe?

    If not it sure looks like it.

  • Alisa

    The key (my being one of those crazy classical liberals) is that women should have a choice. In the past, they didn’t, not just because of brute economic forces (no pensions, grinding manual labour, crap medical care and horrendous infant death rates) but because of legal limits on things such as the ability to inherit and transmit property.

    Indeed – choice was exactly what was missing from your previous comment, I am glad to see you amending that. I do stand by my original point though, which was that there was never a need for feminism to put women on the same food as men with regard to property ownership, just as there was no need for Blackism to put blacks in the US on the same foot with regard to basic laws as the rest of the population. All that was needed is the recognition of the simple fact that women, and blacks (and recently gays) are as human as the rest of us, and the repeal of a few laws that limited their rights compared to everyone else. Instead we got the suffragettes, who sacrificed basic human equality before the law on the altar of Democracy. But I do rest assured that they meant well.

  • Alisa

    There is a widespread belief that there is a trade-off between freedom and security.

    There is no such thing, freedom being a prerequisite to security, to the extent that security is possible in any given situation.

  • Alisa

    to put women on the same food

    Yeah, that too… :-O

  • Johnnydub

    I think one of the biggest sins of modern feminism is the description of women who make the choice to be stay at home mums as “letting down the sisterhood”

    Yeah being a cubicle warrior is so much more fulfilling and so much more valuable to society than raising children.

    Feminists just want other women to be as sad and bitter as they are – why is it that feminists are all fat and ugly with clown coloured hair…

  • Thailover

    Paul Marks said,

    “As for Protestantism – look how so called “evangelicals” have flocked to vote for DONALD TRUMP. Mr Trump is the corruption and decadence of the modern West made flesh – the “Christians” who support him show they are not Christians at all.”

    Yes, thank Lucifer, (bearer or bringer of light/enlightenment).

    Christianity touts that one cannot serve both god and mammon (mammon being the creation of wealth). A rich man cannot enter heaven much as a camel cannot go through the eye of a needle without the help of a super-massive black hole (…but I digress, lol).

    You should make yourself poor and indigent by selling all that you have and giving the proceeds to the poor. (Luke 12:33; Mark 10:21)
    Message…being rich is to “increase inequality”, to take more than your “fair share” and thus cause others to suffer via poverty and is thus immoral. This narrative is false today and it was false 2000yrs ago.

    Yes, America IS the “great Satan” in the sense that we concern ourselves with pride and self esteem rather than valuing the anti-values of “humility” and groveling and obsequious kowtowing.

    When Hitler declared war with America on Dec 11, 1941, we sought to defeat that evil. We entirely dismissed the “commandment” to “resist not evil, and if someone beats you on one side of your face, offer him the other cheek also”. (Mat 5).

    We also ignore the ‘commandment’ to love those out to destroy us, (Mat 5) while also “hating” our parents, siblings, spouses, children and our own lives also (Luke 14:26). (And yes, the Greek word miseo does indeed meant to hate, to despise, to pursue with hatred, detest).

    We rightfully ignore the ‘commandments’ to be like the birds and lilies who neither toil (don’t work) and don’t spin (wool into cloth) but instead rely on heavenly welfare (divine providence). (Mat 6)
    We instead admire being productive, useful, and prideful. Pride is the proper response to living a virtuous life. Humility is self-humiliation and comes from the Latin root humilitatem meaning lowliness, insignificance, submissiveness. It’s the opposite of having self esteem. It’s antonym is pride.

    Trump is indeed the opposite of a “good christian”, thank Lucifer. Lucifer being pretty much the equivalent of Prometheus.

  • Thailover

    Johnnydub wrote,
    “I think one of the biggest sins of modern feminism is the description of women who make the choice to be stay at home mums as ‘letting down the sisterhood'”

    Feminist jargon (I wont call them arguments) and indeed SJW rants are a constant barrage of contradictions and hypocricies. Women should be allowed to choose what to do with their own bodies, but if that choice includes staying home and raising her own children while a man works damned hard to financially and emotionally support her preferance, then she’s a victim of patriarchal brainwashing.

    EVERY feminist “solution” is political force, which is why SJW’s insist that the only racism is institutionalized racism by people (I’m sorry, ‘groups’, not people. There are no people in collectivist-think) in position to disenfranchise other ‘groups’. When asked if a Korean who says he hates ni*&%$s isn’t racist, they balk and cough and sputter.

    And to the SJW’s, especially the feminists, every “disenfranchised” group is a “minority”. Even though, segregated by race and sex, white women are the LARGEST group in “developed nations”. In their lingo, this majority minority privileged group thus becomes a victim of the smaller group, indeed the tiny group of white male capitalists.

    Only the “working class” count, since only poor people work, right? And of course poor = not white. Just ask Bernie Sanders.

  • Thailover

    PS, Bernie Sanders isn’t white. If just follows, since according to Bernie, white people aren’t poor and don’t live in ghettos, and Bernie grew up in a poor Jewish ghetto. So this begs the question, what color are New York “Jooz”?

  • Thailover

    K. Indeed. I’ve never understood the support of open national boarders, but not open front doors on one’s home. If Steve worked hard all day only to come home to find an “undocumented” intruder sitting on his couch with his feet on his coffee table, eating his food, drinking his beer, eyeing his young daughter and complaining about the cable TV, I wonder how many people would call Steve a racist for booting this asshole out of his home and locking the door? The cry that there is “inequality” because Steve as stuff and the nomadic loafer doesn’t doesn’t inspire me to open either borders or front doors.

  • John Galt III

    The Democrats in the United States created its own terrorist force; The Ku Klux Klan. That group at least in the South was supported by all law enforcement agencies and in many cases those hooded folks were the county sheriffs and police or if not they looked the other way 100% of the time.

    Today, the left has a new terrorist force: Islam and the Muslims. You can’t say jackshit about them in Europe without getting arrested. Here in the US you can tell the truth so long as you are not on school/college grounds.

    You will notice that that Islamic State just had a poll as to which country to attack next. Except for Russia they are all Western countries. You don’t see Communist China or Japan on the list for the simple reason that those two countries don’t care for Muslims much. They also don’t have self destructive immigration policies and welfare polices that attract Muslims. Learn from them.

    We are in a war. Fight or be a slave. Screw your governments as they want you dead.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/britain-after-brussels-isis-supporters-7619055

  • Thailover

    Nigel, you misunderstand me. I’m not proposing making Islam illegal. What I am suggesting is that detestable positions be detested and that we freely vote with our wallets. In my opinion, Islam is not worthy of respect nor tolerance; reasons include that they tolerate and respect no one non-islamic by their own understanding. Islam treats women like chattel for men…because it’s literally scripture (koran 4:34) and should be reviled for it. Likewise, a resturant that bans blacks or Jews, etc, is just as detestable and I for one would boycott said eatery…but the existence of neither should be banned by law IMO. To me, there’s no real difference in free speech rights and free trade rights.

  • Thailover writes that “When Hitler declared war with America on Dec 11, 1941, we … entirely dismissed the “commandment” to “resist not evil, “. A great many Christians – Sir Winston Churchill among them – had made that decision rather earlier. Consult e.g. C.S.Lewis’ essay “Why I am not a Pacifist” for their reasons. In history and today, Christians are very largely not pacifists, and pacifists are very largely not Christians. I recall that after 9/11, there was some discussion in the blogosphere of whether it would be right to bury islamic terrorists in pigskin, the idea being that it would prevent their going to heaven in their view while doing little actual harm to them in ours. Eventually, someone pointed out that it was an urban myth – no islamic scholar took the idea seriously. I think some of the discussion above is in danger of getting down to that level.

    The U.S., with its constitution, was one result of the culture of the christian west. The ottoman empire was one result of the islamic near east. Some may see the different religions as largely coincidental in explaining the different outcomes. I see them as highly correlated. But we need not debate that in this thread. What I think worth noting is that 9/11 was used by the usual suspects to claim that ‘religion’ was the problem and so bring in many restraints on such dangerous things as nativity displays while ignoring the particular religion that was currently the particular problem. IIUC, the original post was saying we should be free openly to ignore such PC orders to discriminate against a peaceful (though not pacifist) religion, as well as openly to discriminate against a less peaceful one. While we can, let’s ignore PC fashions as well as PC orders. The west’s feebleness in the face of threat has little to do with out-of-PC-fashion christians – perhaps it has more to do with that very fashion. Perhaps Paul Mark’s meaning (that Thailover argues against) is that some who vote for Trump have become shallow in their nominal beliefs – and therefore weaker, not stronger.

    Today’s arrest of someone for accusing a member of the less peaceful religion of being mealy-mouthed shows how far we are in the UK from any such freedom – which takes me sadly back to my earlier comment in this thread. At least the arrest on such grounds was reported in mainstream news – that’s progress.

  • Thailover

    Niall Kilmartin wrote,
    “The U.S., with its constitution, was one result of the culture of the christian west.”

    Passing the US Constitution was a masterful work of politics, especially the Bill of Rights. What Jefferson explained to the Dansbury Baptists as a wall of separation between church and state was “sold” to the christians as a means of self preservation. (The Dansbury Baptists were indeed worried about the Congregationalists running them out of town). What it effectively did though was the same as what Jefferson’s Statute of Religious Freedom did for Virginians…it removed the bully power of gov from religious factions. It, in essence, removed the teeth from religion. No longer were Virginians jailed, put in stockades, or otherwise terrorized for missing church on Sunday.

    And now christians can all pontificate about their own ideas of what god is or isn’t, with impunity. The first amendment disempowered the church and it’s enforcement of dogmas.
    Now christians are free to ignore or dismiss blatant and clear bible verses, even the “gospel truth”. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that some if not most christians do indeed rationalize their preferred beliefs. But the gospels are quite clear it seems to me. Wealth creation was SOOOO reviled that not only was Mamon metaphorically personified as a special form of evil, it was even mistaken as a name for an actual demon in the medieval times. Getting rich was acceptable only by means of pandering to god (like Job in chapter 42). Gaining wealth by any other means was viewed as vile and exploitative as the charging of interest.

    BTW, protesting nativity scenes on public grounds, funded with tax dollars, has nothing to do with Islamic troubles. We atheists merely take the constitutional laws seriously.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Alisa, March 24, 2016 at 1:36 pm, has the straight of it. Well said indeed. :>)

    Johnnydub, March 24, 2016 at 2:09 pm: I like the way you put it. :>)

    . . .

    Thailover, in order for a belief system to qualify as a philosophy (or a serious attempt to find or fashion one) instead of being a mere ideology, it is necessary to read sources with blinders off, using one’s actual experience and observation of the real world and also of one’s imagination informed thereby, so as to be able to entertain the possibility that one’s interpretation of the material might be improved by further information and examination.

    This is a matter of not dropping context, which I’m sure that you as a self-described Objectivist understand is a cardinal principle of the exercise of reason.

    I will give you an example from your own comments above (and as it happens, I agree with that entire comment; I am only making a point about ease of misinterpretation and the willingness to examine one’s conclusions with that in mind):

    Thailover
    March 24, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Johnnydub wrote,
    “I think one of the biggest sins of modern feminism is the description of women who make the choice to be stay at home mums as ‘letting down the sisterhood’”

    Feminist jargon (I wont call them arguments) and indeed SJW rants are a constant barrage of contradictions and hypocricies. Women should be allowed to choose what to do with their own bodies, but if that choice includes staying home and raising her own children while a man works damned hard to financially and emotionally support her preferance, then she’s a victim of patriarchal brainwashing.

    For instance, it is easy to take the second sentence, “Women should be allowed to choose … but…” as a statement of your own position.

    Upon re-reading, having giving the statement and the paragraph, indeed the context of the whole comment, a minute or two to “settle in,” one sees that so far from expressing your own belief, you were stating one of the tenets of “feminist jargon” or “arguments.”

    When we read the Bible, we are in a position as atheists to bring historical knowledge of the times and circumstances, reason, and and our own real-world experience to our interpretation of it, unhampered by what we’ve been led to believe is mere Christian and Jewish irrationalism (=”evil” in ObjectivistSpeak). As atheists, we should find it easier to see Jesus (for instance) as a real person, a regular human being, who is trying to help people to survive in the real world of the time as well as to provide or reinforce a set of ethical guidelines. The fact that he did this in the name of God doesn’t alter the truth or validity, or the untruth or invalidity for that matter, of what he had to say about ethics and practical living, and what he illustrated through his own actions.

    It is also important to remember that the Apostles were mortal men who wrote their histories or biographies out of their own interpretations of what Jesus actually said, or of what they believed he actually said.

    It really doesn’t do to dismiss “religion” because it rests on “faith.” What it rests on is assumptions, just like every set of beliefs, which within the discipline of logic are called postulates: propositions that are assumed without proof. In “practical reason,” that is in one’s day-to-day life in the real world, these are principles for which the individual person feels there is some sort of evidence, despite that others may disagree.

    Unfortunately, this is one place where Miss Rand failed to identify correctly the nature of so-called “religious” “faith” — although there is testimony from those who knew her personally that she was not nearly so rejecting of Christian persons as some of her acquaintances (and some of her own writings) made her out to be. (In fact, I’ve seen at least one interview where she says she’s really not concerned with whether a person is a Christian, but rather with his moral philosophy or principles and his conduct.) And in her earlier letters and journals there is evidence that she did not let the fact that a person was Christian get in the way of her willingness to discuss matters of philosophy or political philosophy. What mattered to her was her judgment as to whether the person was intelligent, intellectually honest, and genuinely interested in her ideas and in liberty.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    A democracy that accepts feminism into its mainstream will have below replacement level birth rates.

    It is more about rising living standards, declining infant mortality, and the Welfare State and pensions systems. There may also be cultural issues as well.

    You are conflating things.

    I am not saying that feminism is the ONLY thing that causes below replacement level birth rates.

    I am also not saying that even when feminism does cause below replacement level birth rates that there are not also other factors that help lower birth rates as well.

    I am saying that feminism causes below replacement level birth rates. So, in order to prove me wrong you would need to cite numerous examples of cultures that have accepted feminism into their mainstream AND have above replacement level birth rates.

    For what it is worth, birthrates are also declining among Muslim populations when countries get more prosperous and people build up retirement portfolios.

    Well, there are are both economic and cultural factors, but this observation you make does not in any way prove wrong my assertion that feminism leads to below replacement level birth rates incorrect.

    In deeply traditional societies such as Japan (with tight restrictions on immigration and a male-centric culture), population growth has come to a halt and the workforce is ageing rapidly.

    Japan has a quite feminist culture. But in any case, this is not an example of a country that has accepted feminism and has above replacement level birth rates, so again you have not proven my assertion to be wrong in any sense at all.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    It is, after all, rather ironic to read of people bemoaning the repressiveness of Islam regarding women and then to read about the dangers of women getting all obsessed about careers and not wanting to have lots of kids. There is a lot of cognitive dissonance among those “conservatives” who are down on Islam but in fact they seem quite to admire the male-dominated aspects of it. In fact, I distinctly recall in the 80s reading conserative writers such as Roger Scruton praising the family values of Muslims, in contrast to us decadent secular liberals. Let’s make up our minds, folks.

    How is it ironic to bemoan the repression of Islam while also wanting to have a Western culture that has above replacement-level birth rates?

    Libertarian-types are often all-or-nothing. Either repression is a good thing or a bad thing. Either feminism is a good thing or a bad thing.

    But the world’s truths are often subtle. Too much feminism and the population will fade away.

  • You are conflating things.

    Actually it is you who seem to be conflating things if I understand you (which is not a given). I find it strange you think feminism in any western sense of the word is a major cultural feature in Japan. It seems pretty clear that higher standards of living = less children. I wonder if by ‘feminism’ what you really mean is the contra-traditionalist notions (for what of a better term) that was enabled technologically by the pill?

    Libertarian-types are often all-or-nothing. Either repression is a good thing or a bad thing.

    Well yeah, guilty as charged, guv. Damn those pesky notions about the objective nature of reality and our wild attempts to come up with moral theories by applying reason, rather than getting such notions from people who hear voices when experiencing hypoxia in an incense filled room or after a head injury.

    Either feminism is a good thing or a bad thing.

    Define feminism. It is a bit like defining libertarianism. Not easy because it means very different things to different people and any definition can only make sense within a given historical context. Feminism circa 1914 or 1960 or 2016 are pretty different creatures. I suspect Emily Pankhurst would not have found much to admire about Anita Sarkesian.

  • Thailover

    Julie near Chicago,
    I’m not sure exactly what you’re getting at. I don’t despise Christians as I don’t despise well-meaning socialists, Marxists or communists. Rand really should be given credit for not going on a rant about the obvious…that being that Christianity is the PERFECT example of how altruism and sacrifice = destruction of one’s highest values (the ‘human’ sacrifice of the perfect human being for the sake of the “unworthy” so they can evade the “justice” they really deserve i.e. hell), collectivism, the perils of ‘duty’ over reason, self immolation and the vilification of pride, the false dichotomy of (bad) “carnal” body vs (good) spirit, and so on and on and on.

    She simply didn’t go there, probably because it was too obvious for her to harp on and quite honestly, too easy a target. IMO, Rand was probably too brilliant in many ways, and assumed that Objectivism’s points are easy for anyone of even average intelligence to grasp. She actually said this on occasion. I think she was way wrong on that point. Even the simple point that wealth is largely created, ergo it’s not zero sum so we can’t assume that Bob got rich by cheating people, robbing them of their “fair share”. This is something that escapes, I would guess, 90% of the general population, and what’s worse, it continues to escape most people even after it’s explained in detail with clear examples.

    (A great example is J.K. Rowling. People voted with their wallets to make her a billionaire out of their own selfish self-interest, that is, they wanted the stories more than the asking price of the books. Her customers buying her stories is a win-win for both parties with no victims.)

    This is not a difficult concept, yet most people default to the ‘flat-earther’ tribalist ‘hunter-gatherer’ perspective of limited static resources and zero sum transactions. ‘A world where winners cause losers and rich people cause poverty. It has to do with concrete-mindedness of much of the population I suspect.

    No, my simple point isn’t to blame Jesus (if he even existed) or blame anyone else. My point is that the christian new testament, especially the gospels, are rife with horrible ‘values’. One could even call them anti-values. My point is also that America was founded on principles that are completely incompatible with Christianity. I could list them here, but I’ll spare you, as we’re kinda going off on a tangent anyway. But if you or anyone else is curious, just let me know an I’ll type something up.

    L8r.

  • Julie near Chicago

    And my point is that it’s always worthwhile for people to re-examine their own beliefs and conclusions from time to time, such as whether a set of statements is “rife with horrible ‘values.”

    By the way, don’t kid yourself — I’m just as tired of defending Miss Rand against the smears of her ignorant (at best) detractors as I am of defending Christianity and Judaism against the probable misunderstandings of their detractors. But in this case Miss R.’s thought and writings do not need defense, although it never hurts to revisit one’s understanding of them.

    So. I could point out for instance that when Jesus (if he existed) said “turn the other cheek,” he could well have been giving simple advice that is still of the essence: take the first perceived insult with going nuclear, lest it escalate into unnecessary war. Or, in another interpretation and bearing in mind the political circumstances, namely that the Romans were in charge and some were quick to anger (and the same could be said of some factions of the Jews): If a Roman soldier or official gives you a hard time verbally or even physically, you might be very well-advised not to hit back except in extremis, if you value your neck.

    In the “rendering unto Cæsar what it’s Cæsar’s and unto God what is God’s” line, we might wonder whether he didn’t mean that it’s unwise to fuss too much about taxes or other expropriations; but to stick to your principles all the same, which in his case would have been the beliefs of the Jewish religion as he understood them at that time. (And you can stick to your principles quietly, so as not to set off any land mines, if you are not the naturally-combative type and you can avoid commencing or being goaded into combat.)

    It would also be wise to remember that a good deal of the Bible, and in particular the New Testament, is written in an idiom that is epigrammatic and metaphoric.

    Jesus (if he existed, or the people of whom he is some sort of composite, if he didn’t) could easily have been, and in my view probably was, a rather practical sort in some respects, even if was “an itinerant preacher.” Personally I think he was right a good deal of the time.

    The ancient Greeks and Romans, the Jews, and the Christians whose thought combined and merged to create the idea of the Founding: that a man has a right to live for himself, and that no one has the right to usurp his right of self-determination (many ways of stating this, of course).

  • Julie near Chicago

    Ahem. Mulligan:

    “The thought of the ancient Greeks and Romans, the Jews, and the Christians combined an merged to create the idea of the Founding: ….”

  • Shlomo Maistre

    You are conflating things.

    Actually it is you who seem to be conflating things if I understand you (which is not a given). I find it strange you think feminism in any western sense of the word is a major cultural feature in Japan. It seems pretty clear that higher standards of living = less children. I wonder if by ‘feminism’ what you really mean is the contra-traditionalist notions (for what of a better term) that was enabled technologically by the pill?

    Did you bother reading my explanation of how Johnathan Pearce conflated things?

    It’s quite simple. Feminism causes below replacement-level birth rates. That does not mean that all cultures with below replacement-level birth rates have accepted feminism. It also does not mean that feminism is the only thing that causes below replacement-level birth rates. Whether feminism is a major cultural feature in Japan is obviously irrelevant because Japan has very low, below replacement-level birth rate so it does not contradict the assertion I made which is that feminism leads to low birth rates.

    Higher living standards does not always mean fewer children. For example sub-cultures within rich Western nations that do not subscribe to feminism have high birth rates, such as Traditionalist Catholics, Orthodox Jews, and Mormons. But don’t let reality get in the way of your biases.

    Libertarian-types are often all-or-nothing. Either repression is a good thing or a bad thing.

    Well yeah, guilty as charged, guv. Damn those pesky notions about the objective nature of reality and our wild attempts to come up with moral theories by applying reason, rather than getting such notions from people who hear voices when experiencing hypoxia in an incense filled room or after a head injury.

    Excellent argument.

  • Julie near Chicago

    By the way, from the 1933 edition of the OED — the present online version of the OED is a bad joke — here is the operative definition of “sacrifice”:

    The destruction or surrender of something valued or desired, for the sake of something as having, or regarded as having, a higher or more pressing claim; the loss entailed by devotion to some other interest; also, the thing so surrendered.

    Miss R. is regularly criticized for allegedly using words idiosyncratically. In the case of “altruism,” she may have insisted on using the word in the meaning of its coiner, but there’s nothing wrong with that as long as she made it clear that she was so using it, and that “altruism”≠ benevolence, generosity, charity, or an honest desire to help; and that, she certainly did. Over and over, loudly and often.

    According to her statement, she used the word “selfish” in its dictionary sense. Nothing wrong with that either, and she did not only use it that way in order to get people to pay attention to what she felt was the legitimate core meaning of the word. The problem is that “‘selfish’ in the wrong sense” is so thoroughly entrenched in people’s minds that it may have been a tactical mistake.

    With all that said, it should be noticed that in the definition of the most authoritative dictionary of the last century, which was published just 24 years before Atlas Shrugged, there is nothing about “sacrifice means giving up a higher value for a lesser”; but rather, just the reverse.

    If God is not God, neither is Ayn Rand — although she’s certainly on the side of the angels, mortal though she be.

  • Mr Ed

    Regarding christianity, Ludwig von Mises had a lot to say about the gospels, on a quick search I found this, which conveys the gist of it.

    What von Mises Really Thought of Jesus

    Mises says that the gospel of Jesus was ‘utterly negative.’ “He [Jesus] rejects everything that exists without offering anything to replace it. He arrives at dissolving all existing social ties. The disciple shall not merely be indifferent to supporting himself, shall not merely refrain from work and dispossess himself of all goods, but he shall hate ‘father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life’ . . . His zeal in destroying social ties knows no limits. The motive force behind the purity and power of this complete negation is ecstatic inspiration, enthusiastic hope of a new world. Hence his passionate attack upon everything that exists. Everything must be destroyed because God in His omnipotence will rebuild the future order . . . The clearest modern parallel to the attitude of complete negation of primitive Christianity is Bolshevism. The Bolshevists, too, wish to destroy everything that exists because they regard it as hopelessly bad. But they have in mind ideas, indefinite and contradictory though they may be, of the future social order. They demand not only that their followers shall destroy all that is, but also that they pursue a definite line of conduct leading towards the future Kingdom of which they have dreamt. Jesus’ teaching in this respect, on the other hand, is mere negation.”

    As Mises saw it, since Jesus simply repudiated all values of this life “His teachings had no moral applications to life on earth.” In another place he said: “Jesus offers no rules for earthly action and struggle; his Kingdom is not of this world. Such rules of conduct as he gives his followers are valid only for the short interval of time which has still to be lived while waiting for the great things to come.”

    The Rich Suck

    While Jesus, according to Mises, gave no thought to an ethics for living on earth he did express his negative values quite strongly. “One thing of course is clear,” said Mises, “and no skillful interpretation can obscure it. Jesus’ words are full of resentment against the rich . . . The only reason why Jesus does not declare war against the rich and preach revenge on them is that God has said: ‘Revenge is mine.’ In God’s Kingdom the poor shall be rich, but the rich shall be made to suffer. Later revisers have tried to soften the words of Christ against the rich, of which the most complete and powerful version is found in the Gospel of Luke, but there is quite enough left to support those who incite the world to hatred of the rich, revenge, murder and arson.”

    As Mises saw it, this negation of values and hatred of wealth permeated the church so much so that “no movement against private property which has arisen in the Christian world has failed to seek authority in Jesus, the Apostles and the Christian fathers.” In fact this man that Hendrickson wants to claim for the Christian tradition actually said that the words of Christ “bore evil seed. More harm has been done, and more blood shed, on account of them than by the persecution of heretics and the burning of witches. They [the words of Christ] have always rendered the Church defenseless against all movements which aim at destroying human society.” The Gospels, he said, “can be extremely destructive”.

  • Alisa

    Define feminism. It is a bit like defining libertarianism. Not easy because it means very different things to different people and any definition can only make sense within a given historical context. Feminism circa 1914 or 1960 or 2016 are pretty different creatures. I suspect Emily Pankhurst would not have found much to admire about Anita Sarkesian.

    Not quite, Perry – in fact, it is more like defining socialism, which is easy. Sure, there are and were different types of socialists – Bernie is not quite the same type as Hollande, and neither are quite like Marx or Hitler – but socialism is socialism, just as feminism is feminism, in that (unlike libertarianism) these ideologies are all about groups of people with certain characteristics. Feminism is really just another form of collectivism, nothing less or more.

  • Feminism is really just another form of collectivism, nothing less or more.

    The strains of feminism that opposed legally mandated discrimination against women (lack of property rights for example) was hardly collectivism. It really isn’t that simple.

  • Alisa

    Examples of specific characters who did that, without demanding the “right” to vote? And did they refer to themselves as feminists?

  • Thoughts on two of the topics of this long-running thread.

    1) In the gospels, there is far more justification for regarding “Thou shalt not steal” as applying strongly to tax collectors (presented throughout the gospels as depraved people needing to repent) than regarding “Thou shalt commit no murder” (the form in which Jesus is always quoted as saying that commandment) as actually meaning “Thou shalt not kill”. We treat with contempt those PC types who claim that “real” socialism is not like Stalin’s Russia or Mao’s China or even Chavez Venezuela. As a historian put it about a dissident Nazi, Hitler’s acts were “not a case of the degeneration of earlier ideal programmes but of their systematic implementation in practice”. In the same way, the history of Christianity makes it bizarre to present it as a pacifist religion. And if Christianity so hates riches, how did capitalism arise in the Christian west, not the Islamic east?

    I admire Ayn Rand. I admire how, in “The Fountainhead”, she slowly incarnates her vision, so counter to the fashionable view of her day and ours. But I agree with Julie’s critique of her analyses on this point. (In the same way, she and her disciples got hung up on Hannah Arendt’s use of the word ‘logicality’ in relation to totalitarianism. In the last chapter of “The Origins of Totalitarianism”, Hannah also uses the word “argumentation”, clearly meaning almost the same thing as “logicality” in her text. One must consider context.) I have also found some writings of Ludwig von Mises useful, but still think he is lost in space in Mr Ed’s quote above. His description is a travesty of real Christian thought and history, just as the pretty picture of a happy sharing equal society is a travesty both of socialist thought, whose essential is asserting the power to reorder society, and of socialist history.

    As regards the parallel thread on feminism, the whole is summed up by Mark Steyn’s lapidary quote: “The future belongs to those who show up for it”. I want to go on living in a world where women have the freedoms I grew up witnessing: not having to cover themselves all over, not needing male escort to go places, able to have or not have jobs and careers (which I’d rather they progressed by ability, not quotas). I therefore want them to have children to show up for that future. You can call a culture that sustains this feminist, chivalrous or western-patriarchal as far as I’m concerned. I’m more concerned whether it can be called sustainable. Arguing whether feminism or the pill is key is a bit like arguing whether capitalism was always more likely to arise in the Christian west or whether it was pure chance another of the world’s many cultures did not give birth to it. Points can be made on either side. Some forms of modern feminism are very unhelpful in ensuring that any form of feminism/chivalry/western-patriarchy survive. No-one is going to un-invent the pill short of a civilisational collapse. If we had free speech, we could at least talk about the kind of feminism that helps kill feminism (or chivalry or western patriarchy).

  • I forgot to put (2) before “As regards the parallel thread on feminism” above.. 🙂

  • Alisa

    Niall, FWIW, the original Hebrew has it as ‘though shalt not murder’.

    Arguing whether feminism or the pill is key is a bit like arguing whether capitalism was always more likely to arise in the Christian west or whether it was pure chance another of the world’s many cultures did not give birth to it.

    Indeed, and I at least see these arguments as worth having – if for nothing else, then just for having our facts straight. BTW, The Pill is great, but I think it would have materialized without the help of feminism, if any.

  • Laird

    Thailover, not for nothing did Nietzsche describe Christianity as embracing a “slave morality.” It might have been appropriate for a people who were utterly oppressed and essentially powerless to do anything about it, but it is not a fit morality (or religion) for free people.

    Julie, that OED definition of “sacrifice” is risible. To exchange something of lesser (perceived) value for something of greater value is not sacrifice; it is merely trade. They have “defined” all of the meaning out of the word.

  • Alisa, thanks for the precise Hebrew quote. “Thou shalt commit no murder” is the standard old English rendition. (BTW I see that you, like me, sometimes write ‘though’ for ‘thou’. I have more than once made that typo. It’s one of those cases where finger-memory seems to make the error easy.) I very much agree the discussions are worth having – there’s no point trying to pull a lever that has no effect. If discussion gives reasonable grounds for thinking that two levers both have some effect then the one you can pull may start getting greater focus than the one you can’t. (From memory) you are absolutely right that the pill was invented in the early 60s, well before the date of that event (1969 in New York IIRC, and yes some bras were incinerated 🙂 ) that may be called the launch of the modern feminism I was critiquing.

    Laird, Julie is spot on with her definition of sacrifice. Trade is what happens if I say to you, “Pay my dependents a million pounds and I will die in your place”. Sacrifice is Peeta asking to Katnis to kill him at the end of the Hunger Games because “one of us should go home”, i.e. with no request for payment to him or his. Sacrifice is gift, not trade. You could say, if you wish, that Peeta loves Katnis so regards her life as more worth preserving than his own, and so ‘trades’ his life for the greater value of saving hers, but then I think it is you who have ‘defined all meaning out of the word’.

  • Laird, may I ask how, if Christianity is a “slave morality”, the abolition of slavery was born in the west, led by evangelicals, and imposed on the rest of a mostly unwilling world?

    (See for example, http://biasedbbc.org/blog/2007/03/18/biting-hand-at-one-time-desire-to/.)

    We criticise the left for preferring their theoretical analyses to any consideration of how things worked out in practice. Let’s not imitate them. Nietzsche may not have understood how Christian cultures developed into free societies better than others, any more than a social justice warrior can understand how a minimum wage law hurts the poor instead of helping them, but that’s Nietzsche’s problem.

  • Thailover

    Julie Near Chicago,

    Like I said, IMO one of the faults I would place on Rand is her assumption that people were smarter than they are and that people in general only need to be told something once and it never need be revisited. In the introduction of The Virtue of Selfishness, she explained her more sound, rational interpretation of Selfish, as the general popular understanding is self contradictory. (i.e. socially self destructive behavior like robbing, stealing, rape & murder, cannot be called selfish, as self destruction of the opposite of selfish.) A more sound interpretation of Selfish being that I look out for my interests in such a way that harms no one else, or even better, where everyone gains. A prime example of this is the aforementioned Ms. J.K. Rowling writing her Harry Potter books. She acquired “selfish” gain, but did so by enriching the lives of her readers, who all “selfishly” wanted her books more than they valued the asking price. so everyone gained, win-win, because everyone was self-serving. And everyone’s life is richer for it, especially the billionaire’s. 🙂

    She also explained that she used socialist philosopher’s Auguste Comte’s definition of altruism, (as he created and defined the word), far-far-far too seldomly. Yes, she would explain that altruism does not mean benevolence, but she would seldom bother to explain how she knew this. Many of her detractors still think that she made up some self-serving definition, rather than it being the other way around, that altruism’s apologists made up a more self-serving, user friendly version over time, usually mindlessly, innocently and heuristically.

    That she meant capitalism as a social system rather than merely an economic system is something not explained enough in her writings as well IMO. The reason she understood capitalism as a social system is because for it to exist, it requires not only economic freedom, but political freedom as well, and it requires a government (in her opinion) that is dedicated to securing our individual rights, including property rights.

    Also, she failed to explain what often seemed obvious to her. Consider the following statement (that is mine, as an example, not hers mind you).

    “Giving money to poor crippled children via charity is something they don’t deserve.”

    Now, one would expect the unwashed masses to react with revulsion, as this is saying that crippled kids are undeserving of help. But it all hinges on what we mean by “deserve”. Realize that one deserves what one has earned. One deserves what one is due. The statement could simply mean that charity is not OWED, not a “duty” and not a first mortgage on our lives. Although it can be given compassionately in an honest attempt to help others. If charity were owed de facto, then giving it wouldn’t be noble, it would simply be an installment payment.

    We can see her use the proper meaning of “deserve” in her (now youtube) interview with Mike Wallace, saying that most people don’t deserve love. She simply meant (it seems to me) that the vast majority of people hasn’t earned it by displaying the correct virtues, and don’t have it automatically due to us. ‘That love is something we must each strive to be worthy of, as it’s not some cosmically distributed favor and that some has missed their allotment. (Eliot Roger comes to mind, as he thought that he was cheated of his cosmic allotment of hot blondes).

    Oh, and yeah, the OED definition for altruism you began with is pretty silly, as it could describe me surrendering 80 cents for a vending machine cola. The reason being, I want the cola more than the 80 cents. Altruism is not a purchase, lol.

    Cheers.

  • Thailover

    Niall, realize that much of America’s slavery of blacks was DEFENDED with the use of the bible, and not just the old testament. Consider…

    Eph 6:5 KJV
    “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;”

    Col 3:22 NLT
    “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord.”

    1 Ti 6:1 NLT
    “All slaves should show full respect for their masters so they will not bring shame on the name of God and his teaching.”

    Tit 2:9 NLT
    “Slaves must always obey their masters and do their best to please them. They must not talk back”

    1 Peter 2:18 NLT
    “You who are slaves must accept the authority of your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel.”

    As to your message, I think is best answered by Harriet Beecher Stowe in her novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. In it, there were plenty of benevolent christians helping the slaves escape, to “resist evil” as Matthew 5:39 says NOT to do. All the benevolent people were doing what they interpreted as the christian thing to do, but the one person who ACTUALLY followed the example of christ was Uncle Tom himself, who put up NO resistance and accepted whatever fate delt out to him as Jesus promoted in Matthew 6. Even giving no thought for the morrow. (Mat 6:34).

    It’s the irony of ironies that today’s black christians often call other black “uncle tom” when they’re viewed as surrender puppets, not realizing that the book character was simply following the teachings of Jesus faithfully and not tempting (testing) the lord.

  • Mr Ed

    In a Suffolk church today, the commandments were all listed on the wall, and referred to ‘murder’, rather than ‘kill’.

  • Thailover

    Niall,

    “the abolition of slavery was born in the west, led by evangelicals,”

    You spelled ‘Republicans’ wrong. 😉

  • Alisa

    ‘Finger memory’ – thanks for giving it a name, and thanks for the correction 🙂 And while I’m at it, I better offer a plain-modern-English translation: ‘You will not murder’.

  • Thailover

    Mr. Ed,
    In both the Exodus and the Deuteronomy versions of the ten commandments, “thou shalt not kill” is represented by a single hebrew word, ‘ratsach’, Strong’s H7523, meaning to kill, murder, slay.

    Both Mat 5:21 and Romans 13:9 has the Greek word ‘phoneuo’ Strong’s number G5407, meaning to kill, slay, murder.

    It would seem that the rule to not kill people was then as it is today; that is, conditional and taken as read, don’t kill people unless your god (the voice in your head, lol), or your tribe goes to war or unless you’re defending yourself.

  • Thailover

    Niall said,

    “Thoughts on two of the topics of this long-running thread.”

    Three. 😉

    “And if Christianity so hates riches, how did capitalism arise in the Christian west, not the Islamic east?”

    Because christians have, sometimes, had the opportunity to twist christianity into what they want it to be, and islam has simply become more and more totalitarian over the centuries. The World Christian Encyclopedia says that there are over 33,000 christian denominations and sects of christianity world wide today, each with their own interpretations of a very limited collection of texts, though that collection is not always identical, it’s roughly the same.
    The acceptance of being rich by christians happened the same way usury went from collecting ANY interst to meaning collecting some draconian percentage of interest. There’s no justification of this other than popular zeigeist, and, if you’ll excuse the use of the word, hypocricy.

    “I admire Ayn Rand.”

    Me too, but unlike most of her detractors, I distinguish between the person and the philosophy. I suspect Rand would hate The Talking Heads. There’s no accounting for taste. 🙂

    Feminism. I too want a world where everyone can legally do whatever they want short of infringing on the rights of others, and where every individual has equal rights, regardless of genitalia and especially in regard to the transgendered. BUT this is not feminism, regardless of their windowdressing. Every feminist solution is political force, which is of course the opposite of the first sentence of this paragraph.

  • Thailover

    Laird said,

    “Thailover, not for nothing did Nietzsche describe Christianity as embracing a “slave morality.” It might have been appropriate for a people who were utterly oppressed and essentially powerless to do anything about it, but it is not a fit morality (or religion) for free people.”

    Agreed.

  • Thailover

    Mr. Ed said,

    “Regarding Christianity, Ludwig von Mises had a lot to say about the gospels, on a quick search I found this, which conveys the gist of it.”

    I agree with Mises on the quotes you offered. And, even though it didn’t involve Jesus, the latter half of Acts 4 and the beginning half of Acts 5 (one bible page in total, I recommend everyone take a perusal) is murderous totalitarianism worthy of Stalin himself. Here’s a short ‘reader’s digest’ version.

    Everyone needs to sell ALL their private property and give the proceeds to the disciples to “redistribute” as they see fit.
    And old man and his wife sold their home, but kept part of the proceeds for themselves. The disciples tell the wife to go take a hike as they got man business to discuss.
    The old man was told, god needs your money, so you robbed god by not forking over everything you own. He then mysteriously drops dead. (Obviously someone murdered him, either disciples or “god”).
    They had him buried before he was even cold. When his wife returned from her walk-about, she was told her husband is (a) dead and (b) buried…(tough shit).
    Then she suddenly dropped dead (yeah, murdered by disciple or god).

    Let that learn ya, ya Bolshevik slimes. Lesson, don’t piss off the godfather or his thugs.

  • “…. ‘led by evangelicals’ …. You spelled ‘Republicans’ wrong. 😉

    Thailover, Wilberforce and friends were evangelicals, not republicans (in fact they were royalists 🙂 ). In the US, slavery was indeed abolished by the newly-formed Republican party. Outside the US, slavery’s change from being commonplace to being rare in the world was largely a British empire activity: direct naval and military action, the prestige of the capitalist west’s power (and, in Siam’s case, the danger of being colonised if you didn’t), etc. Wilberforce and co. were the ones who got that started.

    “… christians have, sometimes, had the opportunity to twist christianity … ”

    It is a commonplace of socialists since Trotsky to claim that Stalin, Mao et al ‘twisted’ socialism – the real thing would be wonderful if only these twisters didn’t somehow tend to get hold of it. You can believe, if you wish to, that such evangelicals as Wilberforce twisted Christianity, or wildly misunderstood it, despite reading their bibles attentively and thinking long and hard about it, whereas you can see what it ‘really’ is, after – I venture to guess – less study. The Ananias story you refer to is a case in point. ‘Ananias’ became a synonym for ‘liar’ – not for ‘insufficiently-charitable’. The tale is about hypocrites who claim status for deeds they have not in fact done – Ananias and his wife claimed they gave all to the poor but hadn’t. It’s modern target is celebrities who boast of their charities – e.g. the Clintons with their self-serving foundation – not a Carnegie or Gates who gave much away while openly retaining a very healthy nest egg for the kids.

    Like Ayn Rand, a bible text needs to be read with some attention to words, connotations, customs of the time, etc. – this is Julie’s point, which I second. I do not in the least blame Ayn Rand for using words like ‘selfish’ in challenging ways. Arguably, she did this to make her readers think. She praised selfishness, perhaps knowing some would say, “Selfish bitch – ignore her”, but others would think, “It’s absurd for me to think she means what this, at first glance, seems to mean, therefore I will grapple with what she really means.” In the same way, there is absurdity in thinking Christianity means what Ludwig von Mises and Nietzsche claim it means. To think that puts it on a par with Islam, a religion whose relationship to slavery would be much better described by those quotes. Like the OP, I want to discriminate between religions, not confound them.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Laird, today at 1:43 above: No, the OED gives the actual meaning of the word*. The folks of your opinion have taken their own misunderstanding of what the word means as controlling.

    *Actual meaning of the word in its various usages at the time, and usually a brief tracing of the history of the word.

    Even today, most people who talk about “sacrifice” mean specifically giving up something important for something that they see as even more important, which giving up is generally against

  • Julie near Chicago

    Oops, wrong button. Comes of trying to Comment before coffee has been ingested.

    Anyhow, in modern parlance as well as that of 80 years ago, people say things like this: “He sacrificed his freedom when he refused to pay his income tax.”

    He gave up his freedom (spending 2 years ??? in jail) for his principle (roughly, I guess, “tax is theft” and I won’t pay it). And Irwin Schiff sacrificed more than a mere two years of his life.

    Parents make sacrifices (give up this or that that many people, often including themselves, consider “major” or important or generally desired or desirable)– Parents make sacrifices for their children all the time.

    But the parents think saving for the kids’ college, or even just sending them to summer camp for two weeks, is worth it even if it does mean they have to give up lattes at Starbucks, or even have to eat hamburger instead of prime rib. Etc. etc., lots and lots of examples. Perhaps you sacrificed a promising career in curling in order to study music, and then sacrificed your career as the next Horowitz in order to go to law school.

    The OED simply reports on the way this word is generally used. You can use it to mean “little green apples” if you want, but if you insist that yours is “the” meaning, you’re in the wrong orchard.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Thailover, calm down. I didn’t give a definition of “altruism,” but rather the standard definition of the word “sacrifice.”

    What you say about Miss R.’s use of the word “altruism” puzzles me. She made it perfectly clear over and over — as I said — that she used the word in its original meaning, which was that given it by its coiner (yes indeed, M. Comte). Ayn Rand has been smeared by lots of people with reading-comprehension problems, and a good deal of the time I imagine they have these because they jump at the words, that is, the words trigger an emotional reaction and then these people base their revilements on the initial reaction of either contrariness or disgust rather than on clear-minded perusal of the material and the context. A common human failing to which we are all prone, of course, but we really ought to try to be more careful when reading.

    *Whisper* Likewise, you might want to read what I wrote a little more carefully….

    . . .

    Now take your arguments explaining how Miss R’s words have been misunderstood, and consider what you think you know about the intended meaning of the words and principles you ascribe to the teachings of Jesus. To add to the confusion is the fact that what we have is translations, and translations of translations, which makes matters worse.

    The sort of accusations that you and Ludwig and many Objectivists (especially Randroids, the sycophants of the Priesthood) level against what you think are Jewish and Christian teachings, and especially those in the New Testament, are very much of a piece with many of the anti-Rand and anti-Objectivist screeds.

    I only ask the (anti-Christian, this time) screed-writers to consider the admittedly preposterous possibility that they are, largely, wrong.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Niall: Well said indeed. 🙂

  • Thailover

    Niall said,
    “You can believe, if you wish to, that such evangelicals as Wilberforce twisted Christianity, or wildly misunderstood it, despite reading their bibles attentively and thinking long and hard about it…”

    Now-now…the question was in the general and was answered in the general. As I said in the very same post you quote from, the World Christian Encyclopedia says that there are over 33,000 DIFFERENT christian denominations and sects worldwide regarding what is essentially the same limited text. Obviously their are some, let’s say, “creative” interpretation going on. You know right well they call can’t be right. The “god wants me to be rich” christians are obviously cherry picking the gospels and willfully ignoring the admonishions about being rich and expecting to go to heaven at the same time. You asked, I answered, now you don’t like me answering it seems. Curious.

  • Thailover

    Julie, I think it’s you who needs to calm down. First, I didn’t attempt to correct you on anything. I gave my own ideas about Rand’s key concepts, which are selfishness v. altruism and capitalism and how free trade is not only victimless, but (in the same vein) positive sum.

    I even included an explanation involving Ms Rowling and Harry Potter books as an example of positive sum wealth creation. Why this would illicit a “calm down” is, quite frankly, totally beyond me.

    I suspect it’s YOU who needs to read a little more carefully. It’s been my experience that Rand did in fact cite comte, but as I stated, she did so very seldomly, to the extent that many are under the impression that she merely made up a self-serving definition. She said very, very often what altruism is and isn’t, but cited Comte as a source once in a blue moon. I haven’t read all “ayn rand books”, but I do have the virtue of selfishness, the fountainhead, anthem, atlas shrugged, Capitalism the unknown ideal, philosophy who needs it, introduction to objectivist epistemology, the ayn rand lexicon, for the new intellectual, ayn rand answers-the best of her q and a, why businessmen need philosophy, the voice of reason, return of the primitive, and we the living. If I missed something published in book form that pertains to this particular point, please feel free to point it out.

    “Now take your arguments explaining how Miss R’s words have been misunderstood, and consider what you think you know about the intended meaning of the words and principles you ascribe to the teachings of Jesus. To add to the confusion is the fact that what we have is translations, and translations of translations, which makes matters worse.”

    The idea that simple text is undecipherable is ill-founded. If you would like to see the Hebrew and Greek/Aramaic, etc, there are some great online tools, like in the blueletterbible site. One can even explore different sources of modern text, like the Greek Alexandrian LXX v the masoretic texts of the middle ages. Changes introduced by Jerome in the Latin Vulgate from text taken from the Greek Alexandrian source is particularly interesting IMO. That is in fact where “Lucifer” came to be associated with “the devil”.

    Mises and I having the same view is hardly random chance, nor the result of an uneducated perusal.

    And I, no offense, don’t give a rat’s ass what “randoids” do or think. I don’t belong to any objectivist ‘collectives’, lol. My views of Christianity are derived from actually reading the material and exploring source documents. ‘Even studying the production of various versions of the bible and why they came about. I’ve been an atheist a lot longer than I’ve been an objectivist, and my interest in religions dates nearly half a century as of date and I’ve been an Objectivist only about a quarter century.

    Cheers.

  • Thailover

    Julie near Chicago wrote,

    “The sort of accusations that you and Ludwig and many Objectivists (especially Randroids, the sycophants of the Priesthood) level against what you think are Jewish and Christian teachings, and especially those in the New Testament, are very much of a piece with many of the anti-Rand and anti-Objectivist screeds.

    I only ask the (anti-Christian, this time) screed-writers to consider the admittedly preposterous possibility that they are, largely, wrong.”

    Well obviously, even if we critics of christianity all, strangely enough, agree with one another, even if we’re completely unaware of the other critic’s opinions or interpretations, we should all “calm down” and just listen to you, as your views are apparently annointed with oil.

  • Thailover

    Julie near Chicago said,

    “Jesus (if he existed, or the people of whom he is some sort of composite, if he didn’t) could easily have been, and in my view probably was, a rather practical sort in some respects, even if was “an itinerant preacher.” Personally I think he was right a good deal of the time.”

    Yes, of course you do, as you apparently have a dog in this race, which is why you’re telling perfectly calm people writing lol’s to calm down. Personally, I would PREFER that all the abrahamic religions (namely christianity and islam) were simply nothing more than baseless, rather than being purveyors of atrocious value systems. I would much prefer the bible being merely vacuous and ridiculous. That it touts bad values is something I DON’T want rather than something I do want and relish attacking. For example, I would much prefer people not think humility is a virtue than me having the opportunity of attacking the concept of humility taken as a virtue and value, etc. So, what you insist in my errant view of biblical text isn’t self serving at all, it’s quite the opposite.

  • Thailover

    Julie wrote,

    “Now take your arguments explaining how Miss R’s words have been misunderstood, and consider what you think you know about the intended meaning of the words and principles you ascribe to the teachings of Jesus. To add to the confusion is the fact that what we have is translations, and translations of translations, which makes matters worse.”

    Ah yes, horribly horribly confusing. I mean, under such circumstances, how can YOU possibly expect to be right about biblical text?

    😉

  • Mr Ed

    3 Suffolk churches visited this weekend, and all 3 with the Commandments on display, the sixth is put as ‘Thou shalt do no murder’ , yet to my mind in England the usage of the term ‘kill’ prevails over ‘murder’ in the sixth, despite the latter making more sense.

    And then I saw a mediaeval painting of Moses with horns, claimed by some to be a mistranslation of ‘Keren’ by Saint Jerome.

  • “there are over 33,000 DIFFERENT christian denominations and sects worldwide”

    More for your amusement than to prolong this thread (I think we’ve all now made our points; readers can decide for themselves), I thought you might enjoy the following text which appeared in a British newspaper in the 1970s:

    ‘Last week, we described the new convenor of the teacher education sector of the London Student’s Organisation, Val Furness, as “a Communist Party Candidate.” She feels this diescription is ambiguous and needs to be clarified. She is a member of the Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist). She is not a member of the Communist Party of England (Marxist-Leninist), or the Communist Party of Great Britain, or the Communist League, or the Communist Federation of Britain. She would like to say she is not in the Broad Left either.’

    There are a great many varieties of almost everything politicial or social, though communism, having been around (under that name, at least) only for centuries rather than millenia, probably does not rival the 33,000 that your source suggests for Christianity. (I always find myself wondering: “Did anyone actually sit down and count them or is that a vague guess?”) I tend to see communism as practiced by hundreds of millions under Stalin and Mao, as more significant of what communism is than communism as preached by the ‘you, me and Val, and Harry in Sheffield” splinter groups. Similarly, Christianity as practised in Christendom, where slavery vanished and capitalism appeared, weighs more with me than Christianity as practised in the isolated kingdom of Ethiopia (the fabled land of Prester John in the middle ages), where slavery was never wholly abolished till after the British army freed it from Mussolini. (It might have been abolished earlier if the crown prince had lived. After the 1867 invasion by the army of the Raj, General Napier sent the 11-year-old boy to England and he was educated at Rugby, with some idea of his going back and reclaiming his throne later, but he died aged 19, the Italians tried to annexe the area but lost the battle of Adowa, and a politcal stalemate ensued till Mussolini and WWII.)

  • Thailover

    Niall, not to belabor a point, but capitalism and abolition/freedom developed in the west despite the contents of the bible, not because of it. These things developed exactly to the extent that people ignored the contents of the bible. Take a big drink of wine if you have a problem with that going down. And as to the ten commandments, as Hitchens so aptly pointed out, no one really requires bronze age middle eastern desert dwelling nomadic tribal warriors and herdsmen to tell us to not murder each other and to treat our parents well. Treat your parents well or we and the rest of the village will beat you to death with rocks…well, I’ll leave you to explain how that’s the very seat of civility and individual rights.

  • Mr Ed

    no one really requires bronze age middle eastern desert dwelling nomadic tribal warriors and herdsmen to tell us to not murder each other and to treat our parents well.

    Every Communist, every Nazi and every Jihadi rejects the injunction against murder, Felix Dzerzhinsky, that socialist role model, murdered his mother. Sadly, commanding people not to murder was never more relevant than in the 20th Century.

  • Thailover

    Mr. Ed said,

    “Every Communist, every Nazi and every Jihadi rejects the injunction against murder, Felix Dzerzhinsky, that socialist role model, murdered his mother. Sadly, commanding people not to murder was never more relevant than in the 20th Century.”

    And of course commanding people to not murder is so effective, right? And how’s that working out for ya, Ed? Hell, forget legally banning guns, let’s just ban murder, right? That’s the ticket, make it against the law, that’ll solve all our problems. Doesn’t the ten commandments command every Jew and Christian to not commit murder, not to steal, not to cheat, not to dishonor their parents? Then why are american prisons brimming with Judeo-christians?

  • Thailover

    Niall said,

    “In the same way, there is absurdity in thinking Christianity means what Ludwig von Mises and Nietzsche claim it means. To think that puts it on a par with Islam, a religion whose relationship to slavery would be much better described by those quotes.”

    First off, I was never aware that Mises said ANYTHING about christianty until Mr. Ed posted his post with a link. And Nietzsche was two steps away from madness the last five years of his life and had an inconsistent philosophy devoid of morality before that.

    You’ve not challenged the Mises quotes at all. Can you find verses that say or suggest something different? Oh, I’m sure you can, because the bible is brimming with contradictions. But what Mises said is supported by scripture and the message of “Jesus” was pretty straight forward too, which, in a nutshell is this.

    “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” ~ John 12:25

  • Mr Ed

    Thailover,

    If you are trying to troll me, you’ve failed. If you aren’t trying to troll me, you appear to have misconstrued my point.

    Why are you asking questions that don’t arise from my point?

  • Thailover

    Sorry Ed but you’re the one using an anecdotal account of someone murdering his mother as evidence of how a “commandment” is, uh, “relevant” today? No one needs to troll bad reasoning my friend.

  • bloke in spain

    The only one of the items in the post I would disagree with is the last. I would advocate the reverse. End university involvement in governmentThe vast majority of politiciians are university graduates. I look at what they have wrought….

    I rest my case

  • Nicholas (Excentrality!) Gray

    Hutchins? Is that the same man who visited Mother Teresa in India, couldn’t discredit the miracle of the daily food supply, and didn’t change his mind despite the evidence? Why are you using him at all?
    There are various messages in the Bible, but the rabbies knew that some had precedence over others. When Jesus is asked which is the most important commandment, the very question shows that it was permitted to grade them, or it couldn’t have been asked. So his choice, ‘Love God, and love thy neighbour as thyself.’, is the final version, for Christians.
    Muslims don’t have one, single command similar to it, which is why Christianity will win out over Islam, eventually.

  • Rich Rostrom

    1-It seems obvious but there seems to be so much denial going around that it has to be said: there is a war. Islamists are seeking to impose their will upon us – libertarians, Westerners, call us what you may – by violent means.

    Not yet. What’s going on is a civil war in Moslem countries between militant literalist Moslems and everyone else. Attacks on the West have been (so far) reactions to Western interventions against the literalists and Western support of Israel. Moslems in the West are engaged in a long-term campaign to win special status and ultimately to “establish” Islam (in the old sense of “established churches”, but they are not now trying to control the West through violence.

    2-It is also likely that as the Islamists tear down free-ish markets, mass starvation would ensue.

    Islamists are remarkably foolish in many directions, but they don’t embrace the deranged economic practices of full-on socialism. Indeed they don’t really seem to care about economic practices, other than a pro forma objection to interest.

    3-They are winning. People are becoming less and less willing to criticise Islam. This is particularly true in universities.

    It’s more a feature of peak PC than grovelling to Islam.

    4-The key front is not in the Middle East – I regard Western adventures in that part of the world as little more than displacement activity – but here, at home, in the West. Islamo-loons in the Middle East just can’t do that much harm. In the West they can and do. To that extent maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the Islamic State became established.

    They can do immense damage to people in the Middle East, including non-jihadist Moslems, millions of non-Moslems, women, children, and other powerless targets. Also, the oil of the Middle East is an essential resource for the world, and will continue generate enormous cash flows for the foreseeable future. The world would be a damn sight less safe with all that money in jihadist state control, and with jihadists having secure territorial bases to develop or acquire weapons, recruit and train operatives, and emit propaganda. We have enough trouble with jihadis basing in “outlaw country” and funded by private actors. We’ll have a lot more with Iran becoming unfettered.

    5-There is a widespread belief that there is a trade-off between freedom and security. This may sometimes be true – wartime censorship comes to mind as a possible example – but not in this case. What we need is more freedom, not less.

    A generalization of limited significance.

    6-The right to keep and bear arms. Owning a gun and knowing how to use it would make it much harder – although by no means impossible – for the Jihadi.

    Yes and no. It would deter and often stop “active shooter” terrorist attacks. It would do nothing to deter or stop attacks with suicide bombs, car bombs, or time bombs. There is a lot of jihadi terrorism in the Moslem Middle East, but not many active-shooter attacks. in part because gun ownership is so widespread. Instead there are suicide bombings and car bombings. Such attacks will be fewer in number but individually far worse.

    7-Welfare State. We need much less of it. We need to make jihadism more of a part-time activity and less of a full-time one.

    This is reaching very far. It would of course be a Good Thing to eliminate what the Aussies call “dole bludgers” generally, but I doubt that more than a fraction of active jihadis are living off the state. Some are scions of prosperous families, some are subsidized from the Middle East.

    8-Religious Discrimination. It should be legal to discriminate on grounds of religion. At very least it might make it harder for the Jihadis to get jobs and with fewer jobs they’ll have less money for arms. It might also encourage the non-Jihadi Muslims to differentiate themselves from the lunatics. Might.

    Not merely useless, but actively bad. Moslems would use their immense economic clout to exclude Jews and “apostates”. If recent history is any guide, they wouldn’t even have to do most of it themselves – sympathetic leftists and sycophantic businesses would do it for them. On the other side, few if any jihadis would be affected, as they are either subsidized from the Middle East or work for other Moslems. And there is a rather obvious point: how would anyone identify a Moslem who doesn’t talk about it? The doctrine of taqqiya authorizes lying in the service of jihad.

    9-End Government air security. Privately-owned airports and airlines will make a much better job of security than the government.

    Some might, some won’t. There is plenty of historical evidence that some private enterprises will skimp on non-revenue-producing activities such as security until after something bad happens. In any case, this is hardly a critical issue, as there hasn’t been a successful air hijacking since 9/11. (I don’t count the Germanwings flight which was deliberately crashed by a deranged co-pilot.)

    10-An end to government involvement in universities. Although I am far from sure of the mechanism by which state involvement translates itself into the closing down of free speech on the campus – somehow the state manages the trick.

    Completely irrelevant. In the U.S., speech restriction is especially rampant at elite private universities: the Ivy League, Stanford, Oberlin. At state-funded schools, pressure for speech restriction emanates from leftist faculty, not the government bodies that oversee the schools.

  • Alisa

    It would do nothing to deter or stop attacks with suicide bombs

    Experience in Israel has shown this not to be true, but of course there is a limit to the effectiveness of any measure.

  • I agree with Alisa’s comment above, both as regarding the fact she reports and in the wisdom of relying on experience. Sitting in a chair, thinking, one my not instantly _see_ how people being able to defend themselves in general will help in the specific case of a suicide bomber, but that means little; experience means much.

    Rich says: “I doubt that more than a fraction of active jihadis are living off the state. ” It is reported that a great many in Moelenbeek live off the state, the more violent often supplementing this in various criminal ways. The same is true in the “at least 100 areas as bad as Moelenbeek” that a French minister spoke of recently, and huge numbers who have recently arrived in Germany live off the state. For many, the route to becoming a fully-fledged jihadist starts in these areas living off the state, may progress by supplementing that income in the usual ways, and may eventually require relying on the supplement entirely and/or money gained from the state by others or in others’ names. In short, I think Rich’s comment is not statistically correct and is even less relevant.

  • Alisa

    Niall (and Rich): while there is no measure that is perfectly effective against any threat, actually handguns carried by ordinary people are some of the more effective measures against suicide bombers, if not the only measure of last resort. The thing is, it only works (to the limited extent that it does) when suicide attacks become common enough for the populace to spot the potential attacker. You may not be surprised that “racial profiling” plays an important part in this, but there are also other markers that one looks for in a suspect – the most common being the latter wearing heavy clothing, such as a coat, on a rather warm day. Add to those a certain kind of demeanor and body language, and you find yourself in a situation where you are forced to make a quick decision. I am yet to hear of a false positive among several such cases here, while unfortunately there has been no shortage of false negatives. All that said, I am certainly far from being blind from the moral risks inherent to this.

    With regard to welfare, I doubt that it can be blamed for directly producing jihadis and terrorists. I think what it did do is produce at least one generation of young Muslims who feel betrayed and disappointed by western society into which they were born or accepted when relatively young. Granted, welfare negatively affects everyone in a given society, not just Muslims. But the latter are different from everyone else in that they are more susceptible, through the incident of birth, to the teachings of Islam with all which that philosophically and morally implies. Note also that a person does not have to be personally dependent on welfare, or to even be poor, to be negatively affected by it, especially if that person is a Muslim, seeing himself as part of an Ummah, etc.

  • Alisa

    being blind from to

  • Nicholas (Excentrality!) Gray

    Sorry, Alisa, my computer doesn’t accept your link. But you are probably right. And if it is a different article, all the better!

  • Laird

    I disagree with just about everything in Rich Rostrom’s last post, but it’s late and I’m tired so I’ll just leave it at that.

  • Laird

    In just the last 30 days, worldwide there have been 136 attacks in 25 different countries perpetrated by Muslims, resulting in 1,009 killed and other 2,996 injured. To say that there is not a war of Islam against the rest of the world is beyond risible; it rises to the level of willful blindness. This is an existential struggle which has been going on, with varying degrees of vigor, for more than a thousand years. It will not stop any time soon. This pseudo-religion (actually a complete socio-political system containing religious elements) is deeply flawed and completely antithetical to western liberal values. If permitted to grow in the west it will ultimately destroy our societies.

    The problem isn’t Muslim extremists, it is Islam, period. The so-called “moderates” don’t get a pass, because they, every one of them, are the enablers of their more violent bretheren. Even those who aren’t overtly providing support (financial or otherwise) help provide the infrastructure and support base for the extremists. They form the core membership of the mosques which harbor jihadis; without large numbers of such “moderates” those mosques could not survive. In Muslim-dominated countries, surveys repeatedly and consistently show that large majorities of even the “moderates” support jihadist activities. And that is also true in Muslim communities throughout the west, although the percentages are (allegedly) lower. (Those percentages certainly aren’t lower in the “no-go zones” springing up throughout France, Belgium, and even England.)

    Islam is a cancer. To permit its spread in liberal western democracies is suicidal.

  • Thailover

    Nicholas,
    I’m reluctant to go on, considering this topic, to some degree, threatens to hijack the root thread topic and that’s not fair to the other participants.

    That being said, I’ll briefly mention that it’s “Hitchens”, not Hutchins, and that no one is behooved to disprove alleged Catholic miracles. This is a point in basic logic, epistomology and so on. Though he did have the fun role of devil’s advocate.

    And indeed, Mr. Hitchens (the interesting one of the two brothers) did indeed prove what he set out to prove, that the alleged “saint” Teresa was no saint at all. She was in fact a monster wearing a tea-towel on her head.

    Well, OK, the last comment was a bit unnecessary, but I enjoyed it anyway. LOL.

    And yes, I would guess that Christianity will outlive Islam, if for no other reason, because anyone can say anything and twist it into a form of christianity, (as forementioned, there are over 33,000 different sects and denominations in the world today, with just as many interpretations of what is roughly the same limited texts), whereas Muslims, in the whole, are not allowed to do that and can face death….or worse, if they try.

    Extreme political force (which every government force is, even the theocratic type) requires an army of supporters and sanctioners (is sanctioners even a word?) and that’s more taxing than the also-religious alternative, which simply requires someone willing to fool themselves about whether spiritual meddling invisible sky people exist…and care one way or the other about our sexual positons, etc.

    Cheers.

  • Thailover

    Alisa wrote,
    “…produce at least one generation of young Muslims who feel betrayed and disappointed by western society into which they were born…”

    One effect of Islamic terrorism is that it causes us ‘westerners’ to shy away from muslims as a whole, and this disenfranchises muslim youth even more, so it’s self-purpetuating to some degree.

    Gangs of muslim youth gang-raping Swedish girls tends to have a chilling effect on society too. Whoops…I forgot that ‘white people’ aren’t supposed to talk about that. (As if Islam is a race, lol).

  • Mr Ed

    If the number of posts, P, on a thread exceeds 35 but not 100, the probability p that a particular post will lead to, or relate to, an off-topic debate or an obscure, private discussion unintelligible to the casual reader ≈ 0.2.

    If the number of posts P on a thread exceeds 100, it is almost certainly, p>95%, a thread dealing with race, religion, ethnicity, immigration or something techy/space travel.

  • Thailover

    Alisa wrote,

    “Examples of specific characters who did that, without demanding the “right” to vote? And did they refer to themselves as feminists?”

    As an asside, I get a bit tired of everything ‘strong womanish’ being attributed to feminism, and sometimes even things not ‘strong womanish’.

    Yesterday, I listened (podcast) to a ghost story (The Shell of Sense) written by a 19th century writer, Olivia Howard Dunbar. Her ghost stories are known for two things. 1. Her extraordinary prose, which is anything but prosaic, (her writing is quite beautiful) and 2. they’re “feminist” writings. Well, 1 is true and 2 is resoundingly false. There’s nothing “feminist” in her writings in the slightest other than females as protagonists (and sometimes antagonists). In fact, The Shell of Sense has a few heavily sexist comments in it that wouldn’t be considered controversial in the 19th century. (Women are weak and prone to imagining the supernatural, men are sound minded and emotionally strong, that sort of thing).

    And an additional comment, since I’m on a ‘tangent’ role today, lol. Let’s talk about our strong and fearless Ms. Michell Fields.

    I have always liked Michel Fields. She’s smart, beautiful, libertarian, beautiful and worked for Reason magazine. Did I mention that’s she’s freakin beautiful?

    But now this “independent stong woman” is playing the “how could you, I’m just a GIRL” card. As I understand it, the secret service told her TWICE that she can interview Trump at arm’s length, but don’t get close enough to shove a plastic shiv in his belly, (I’m paraphrasing, lol).

    And she smooshed in close to him anyway. (I just invented smoosh). And was yanked out of the way like a petulant toddler who insists on walking into oncoming traffic no matter what the adults say.

    If this was done to a typical man, we would hear nothing about this….at all.
    “Look, look…a bruise”. Oh please. (rolls eyes).

    Now, to put the hypocritical icing on the cake. “Strong Indepedent” women are lining up to sign a letter insisting that Trump fire a man merely accused but not proved to have grabbed an arm too tightly and too agressively. (Apparently agressive is ok, but too agressive is punishable by ending a career, merely by accusation).

    Yeah, never mind that these “strong independent” women (shhhhh feminists) are playing the “but she’s just a GIRL” card.

    Catwoman: “How could you (punch me), I’m a woman”
    Batman:, “I’m sorry, I…”
    Catwoman: kicks batman in the nuts.

    LOL

  • Thailover

    I wrote,

    “…if for no other reason, because anyone can say anything and twist it into a form of christianity, (as forementioned, there are over 33,000 different sects and denominations in the world today, with just as many interpretations of what is roughly the same limited texts)…”

    To clarify this point with a few extreme examples…

    The KKK is a christian organization.

    The Aryan Nation is a christian organization.

    The Heaven’s Gate cult, with it’s suicidal, sweat-pants and nike shoe wearing members, is a still existing christian organization. Certain members killed themselves so they can join Jesus who is in the mother ship on the far side of the Hale-Bopp comet. Their website (that I have no idea if it still exists) talked about Jesus, the virgin mary, the bible and the whole nine yards.

    Members were to kill themselves in order to shed their ‘mortal coil’ bodies (that they called their “vehicle”) and in order to go to the next level, they had to eschew if not outright reject their “family, friends, sexuality, individuality, jobs, money, and possessions”, (quote from wiki). This is A LOT closer to what is written in the gospels than anything that spews forth from the lips of Joel Osteen.

    Now, to call these groups “christian” is not politically correct. Just as it’s understood in Middle Tennesse (aka Jesus land) that there are christians and then there are catholics, and catholics are not christians, lol. And don’t get the typical Tennesseean started on how mormons aren’t “real” christians either. When talking to christians individually, then THEY are christians and much if not all of the other 33,000 are mistaken, if not outright fake christians. But when it comes time to do a headcount then they include everyone including the holy water filled sink.

  • Thailover

    Laird, his March 30th 6:12 post;

    Correct as usual. Well said. And I might add that I don’t think that Obama is merely a willing tool of the progressive left, I think he’s genuinely delusional, not merely willfully mind-blind, but just mind-blind.

  • Laird

    Thailover, “asside” may have been (probably was) merely a typo, but I liked it!

    The Heaven’s Gate website is still open, although I don’t know how recently it has been updated (probably not since 1997, when the “Away Team” ascended to the “Level Above”. I rather like their description of Jesus’ “divinity”:

    Two thousand years ago, a crew of members of the Kingdom of Heaven who are responsible for nurturing “gardens,” determined that a percentage of the human “plants” of the present civilization of this Garden (Earth) had developed enough that some of those bodies might be ready to be used as “containers” for soul deposits. Upon instruction, a member of the Kingdom of Heaven then left behind His body in that Next Level (similar to putting it in a closet, like a suit of clothes that doesn’t need to be worn for awhile), came to Earth, and moved into (or incarnated into), an adult human body (or “vehicle”) that had been “prepped” for this particular task. The body that was chosen was called Jesus. The member of the Kingdom of Heaven who was instructed to incarnate into that body did so at His “Father’s” (or Older Member’s) instruction. He “moved into” (or took over) that body when it was 29 or 30 years old, at the time referred to as its baptism by John the Baptist (the incarnating event was depicted as “…the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove” – Luke 3:22). [That body (named Jesus) was tagged in its formative period to be the receptacle of a Next Level Representative, and even just that “tagging” gave that “vehicle” some unique awareness of its coming purpose.]

    That makes a lot more sense than “immaculate conception”!

  • Thailover

    Laird said,

    “In just the last 30 days, worldwide there have been 136 attacks in 25 different countries perpetrated by Muslims, resulting in 1,009 killed and other 2,996 injured. To say that there is not a war of Islam against the rest of the world is beyond risible; it rises to the level of willful blindness. This is an existential struggle which has been going on, with varying degrees of vigor, for more than a thousand years. It will not stop any time soon. This pseudo-religion (actually a complete socio-political system containing religious elements) is deeply flawed and completely antithetical to western liberal values. If permitted to grow in the west it will ultimately destroy our societies.”

    The Krikketers in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy are described as humanoid aliens who are charming and polite, despite their cosmocidal tendencies. They are capable of composing incredibly moving and poetic music, but when they discovered that there was an entire universe out there, they decided that it just needed to go, and set out to destroy it.

  • Nicholas (Excentrality!) Gray

    So I was Right! Hitchens went there with an agenda! He did not go with an open mind! Thanks for confirming that. Which means we can ignore the book, since it will be full of confirmation bias.

  • Thailover

    Nicholas, first off, Hitch wrote the book Missionary Position before he was asked by the Vatican to serve as Devil’s Advocate. Secondly…what part of devil’s advocate are you not understanding? Thirdly, the arguments over sainthood is a farce to begin with, as Teresa’s fast track to sainthood displays.

  • Nicholas (Excentrality!) Gray

    But if he went there with an atheistic agenda, then how reliable would his findings be? I always thought that Devil’s advocate was another priest, not an outsider. Perhaps his ‘findings’ were ignored for that very reason, of bias?
    As for sainthood, I’ll leave that to the Catholics.

  • Thailover

    Laird said,
    That makes a lot more sense than “immaculate conception”!

    Indeed it does. The irony is that the origional view of sin was that it came though the paternal liniage, (the curse of adam), hence the need for god to impregnate a virgin to give birth to a sinless man. BUT, the views on sin changed, and then there was a perceived need by the catholics for Mary to be sinnless as well, hence the immaculate conception, which pertains to mary’s conception, not Jesus’.

    And it gets worse, lol…

    In Matthew chapter 1, Joseph had a ‘dream-angel’ tell him that mary is pregnant, she’ll give birth to a boy and his name will be Jesus, (which means Jehova is salvation) and then it goes on to virtually quote Isa 7:14.

    HOWEVER:
    Isa 7:14 is about a boy named Immanuel (which means with us is god), to be born “in the days of (King) Ahaz”, (Isa 7:1) as a sign to Ahaz that when his kingdom is attacked, it won’t fall. That it won’t fall is the prophesy Isa 7:7.

    Well, it DID fall, and excuses (and blame) is given in 2 Chron 28.

    What this adds up to is that THERE IS NO VIRGIN BIRTH PROPHESY ABOUT JESUS IN THE ENTIRE BIBLE.

    Isa 7:14 cannot be about Jesus born more than 700yrs after King Ahaz’s death.

    This is yet one more thing the gospel writers didn’t seem to understand about their own religious tomes. There are others, of course.

  • Thailover

    Nicholas, apparently there are a lot of things you don’t understand about Devil’s Advocate. Hitch, in all his glory, was asked by the church to serve as devil’s advocate. The whole point is to serve as a sort of prosecuting attorney. (Arguably the original position of “ha-satan” BTW as adversary/accuser). It doesn’t matter if the attorney thinks you’re guilty or innocent. What matters is the case you put forth.

  • Nicholas (Excentrality!) Gray

    There is more than one way to be a Virgin. The Catholic Church claims Mary was born on September 8th. Can you guess which Astrological sign this happens to be? (Five letters, starts with V, ends with O).

  • One of those 33,000 churches, sects, etc. of Christianity in whose existence Thailover so passionately believes probably has as its 13th commandment: “Thou shalt not, through a vain desire to have the last word, prolong comment threads to infinite length in off-topic discussions.”

    This is a hint – backing up Mr Ed’s mathematically-phrased hint above. When the conclusions of ancient belief and modern science coincide …. 🙂

  • Nicholas (Excentrality!) Gray

    To sum up, we can start by calling it Mohamedism, and the believers are Mohamedists. And when anyone claims that islam means ‘peace’, correct them- it means ‘submission’.