Saturday, October 29, 2005
For those who hate the cold isolation of money, machines, modern science, and logical rationality, what could be better than complete submission to ritual and Irrationalist fascism, the giving up entirely of ones mind to the perfection of prescribed behaviours to be repeated five times daily for life, accompanied by fetishistic personal rituals descending into psychopathy, to the prescribed rules and manners for cutting ones finger nails and shaving around ones anus? Ah, Islam: the perfect religion for the perfect people. And now for the true atheist, the one who believes in nothing, the ultimate truth: everything all at once in dhimmi idiocy. No more thinking--ever again. And no one to bother you about it. The complete end of history in a state of Nature, at one with all, a brick of mud in a wall of ignorance impenetrable. Nap time at the kindergaarten of the post-modern world.
And when we awaken to the playground world of Islam we can find something to do to relieve the boredom of our perfect world: we can find fault with each other, with the way in which we are Muslim. We can feign offense, beat, rob, enslave, even kill those we can; and if it all gets to be too boring and worthless to live any longer, we can blow ourselves up in a grand spectacle of teen-age suicide. "We could be heroes, if just for one day."
Ah, Islam: the endless bad (pubic) hair day. We could spend our entire lives fussing over our presentation to the public and Allah. ("Do I really look OK? Are you sure I haven't missed anything? Did I forget to, well, anything?") We could pose. We could look for reasons to take offense and pick fights and amuse ourselves and obsess over the girls we fear. (Did you see her ankle? What a slut.) Best of all, we could pretend that we are the world's finest people. We could strut! (Unless we got nervous that someone's seen us as we really are.) Finally, so long as we never actually do anything no one will ever realize just how poorly we'd be if we did. And why should we, being perfect in the first place?
Agriculture? That's for boring people, those who aren't heroes, who don't have a martial spirit. It's for those who have a soul, though, that is pure and simple, authentic, uncorrupted by city ways and decadence. Agriculture, simple, basic, primitive, in touch with the soil, that is real life for the peasant, pure and simple as he is. The peasant, he who knows his place, is the ground in which grows the national soul. But, should they grow restless or annoying, should they become demanding or rebellious-- corrupt-- one simple gets rid of them and finds a new herd to raise the food and be pure in the land.
Complete conformity. Uniformity. Total obedience. Total control, even over how one shaves around ones anus before prayer time. And this forever without change. This Islamic perfection. This endless endlessness. Submission.
Plato was no great farmer, but he did understand perfection, and therefore he understood how the farmer should be in the world. The farmer should tend the fields that are imitations of the real farm in the realm of the Ideal. This farm, this world, this vile imitation, this is not the real world. To concern oneself with it is to take away ones mind from the important things of the mind contemplating the perfect world of the Ideal. But of course, peasants are mere iron people, not golden ones like philosopher kings who know the truth, hard as it is to bear, and bearable only to the noble.
Enter our Left dhimmi fascists.
There is no right and wrong, that being the idea of an unsophisticated peasant trapped in a false consciousness of capitalism, a person who really doesn't get it, that the real world is unknowable to him, knowable only to the golden ones who've studied sociology and anthropology, and who see the ideal realm of pure idea. There's no right or wrong, but there is some hope of making people behave themselves if only one can put them in the right environment, back to Nature where people rightly belong, where they can be tended and managed and guarded by the golden thinkers.
For those who know the Truth, the real Truth rather than the false opinion held by the peasants and us, there is only control of the stupid, a sleight hope of guiding them to some kind of right behaviour, of orthopraxy, of ritual repeated endlessly. And the Truth, not being possible in this corrupt version of reality, is only grasped by the smartest of the smart. The rest should be left on the land to graze and act out proper rituals at one with nature.
It is the crisis of our times, for the Left dhimmi fascist, that the material world works, and that it works well enough under capitalist economies, under rational agriculture motivated by profit for individuals. That is a crisis because the people are separated from their natural environment -- in a state of nature. The triumphant capitalists, boring and unheroic men and women, live and count money for profit, make machines that are even less real than the natural implements of primitive peasants, those who are already not living in the perfect Ideal realm, live in cities made by man, corrupt and impure, filled with rootless people and Jews. All that should be perfect in the Ideal realm is now made worse by the industries of capitalism and materialism.
And it's at its worst in modern agriculture, the industrialisation of Mother Nature Herself. We must, if we are to please the Left dhimmi fascists, return to the pristine times of pre-industry, and we must let them rule for our own good.
When there was a clear choice between industry and modern agriculture or primitive fascism, as there was in the Balkans from 1500 to the present, what happened when Modernity died and the primitives conquered and ruled?
Ottoman Turks overran the Balkans and imposed dhimmitude on those they didn't slaughter. In the world, Columbus sailed off to find a sea route to India, and the Ottomans conquered the Balkans. Western Europe rose as an economic powerhouse and the Ottoman Empire didn't. Neither did the Balkans.
Berend quotes: "The Ottoman system...in the long run... proved to be an obstacle to substantial increases in agricultural productivity and rendered more difficult the transition to the capitalistic mode of production." (Adnair 1989, 142-56.)
The Ottoman empire was thus not just another type of economic regime, and it was definitely not a successful agricultural empire in terms of modern agricultural and capitalistic transformation in the early modern centuries. In fact, it was a serious burden and and obstacle to the kind of modernization that Ataturk's revolution aimed to achieve after World War I.
The worst long-term consequence of being incorporated into the Ottoman empire was virtual exclusion from the emerging world system, isolated in a rigid Ottoman bureaucratic-military regime that eschewed private ownership.
Balkan societies were mutilated during the half-millennium of Ottoman rule. The elite became a bureaucratic-military Ottoman class. They were joined by a group of partly Islamized Balkan mediators who served as spokesmen for the local peasantry and assisted the Ottoman elite with tax collection.... "Balkan Christian locals," Maria Todorova observes, "were integrated into the bureaucracy only at the lowest level, if at all," so that there was a "lack of political elites in the Balkans" (Todorova 1997. 171.) Balkan societies thus became "incomplete societies," scarcely more than huge peasant communities. blood relations remained the main organizational principle, and the peasants live in extended families or communal units, working together and dividing the fruits of their labour equally. Since their surplus products were in effect confiscated, the peasant communities relied on a subsistence economy with practically no market connections. Neither the peasants nor the spahis who were responsible for tax collection engaged in improving agricultural methods or increasing output.
The Balkans remained almost entirely rural, but small towns with limited merchant-artisan populations emerged. In the centralized Ottoman empire, the esnafi system, a strict guild-type organization, controlled what was produced and in what quantity, blocking any kind of unauthorized change. Prices were fixed, and profit was limited to then per cent....
The Balkans, dominated by a subsistence-communal economy, could not join the world system. (Berend: pp. 25-26.)
In the cloud-cuckoo-land of the Romantic Left dhimmi fascist, all of the above Islamic wrecking of the Human programme is a good thing. And this parody of Humanity is not going to stop so long as our Left dhimmi fascists and their naive allies continue to pander to the worst in people: the privileging of idiocies over reason, the liking of horoscopes over astronomy; the love of tarot cards over genetics; the worship of Mother Nature over physics, biology, and chemistry; the favoring of intuition over logic; feeling over reason; submission to Allah over Human freedom. And the worst of it all, the love of the phantasy of the mediocrities among us for some utopian nightmare world in which all people are toys for them to arrange in rows and play with as they wish. When the intelligentsia turns to phantasy, when they turn to people into figurines in a sandbox, then it is time for the people to rise up and put the mediocrities in their place. there is nothing nice about Nature. It is an objective reality, and nothing more, not a spirit, not a mother, not a good thing. Nature is force, and it kills what comes of it objectively. Nature has no mind, no soul, no love of anything at all. It is brute force. It is up to the intelligence and creativity and energy of Man to make nature do as he will.
The Balkans, caught between East and West, was captured by and subjected to Islam, to primitivism. It is that primitivism that our Left dhimmi fascists so deeply admire and wish to turn the entire world back to, against our revolutions of modern progress. Modernity is not natural, and that is to the good. But our Left dhimmi fascists disagree, and they work hand in glove with other fascists to return our people to the fold of the primitive herd.
From the nineteenth century on, national historiography has traditionally blamed the Ottoman conquest for Balkan backwardness. The conquerors destroyed grain growing villages in the lowlands and decimated the population, the argument goes; the survivors supported themselves by raising animals. The consequence of Ottoman occupation was thus the depopulation of the Balkans and a reversion to seminomadic pastoral life (Lampe and Jackson 1982)
The arrival of the Ottomans was a calamity of unparalleled consequences because it disrupted the natural development... isolated the peninsula from European development and left it untouched by the great ideas and transformations... [bringing] a deep cultural regression and even barbarization. (Todorova 1997, 182.)
The Ottomans destroyed the development of the Hungarian state and nation by their three hundred years of wars.... The Ottoman rule is the most severe, moreover, probably the only major catastrophe of Hungarian history.... (Szekfu 1935, 498-99, 584) (Berend: p. 22.)
Ottoman Islam reduced the Balkan people to the state of animals, and to this day they have not recovered; and more, the Muslim threat continues to swarm over the land again. For the Left dhimmi fascist in his utopian daydreams of the perfect world in touch with Mother Nature and all people living in harmony with the cosmos, anti-capitalist, anti-Modernist, this is what the dhimmi desires and fights for: the utter ruin of our world as we have made it from the state of nature.
These past seven essays on modern agriculture are in preparation for our coming posts on ecology and environmentalism. It is our hope that we have brought enough light to the subject so far that the reader will see clearly in the coming posts that Modernity is unnatural and determined by the actions of man against nature; and that in opposition to man against nature is the Left dhimmi fascist and the barbarian Islamic umma bent on suicidal charges against our revolutions of progress for all Mankind.
Muslims murder men, women, and children at random. They are savages who kill people any time, it seems, they feel they've got sufficient cause to feel they can make a "grand gesture" of blood, suffering, and death. Muslims kill their children. They murder them. They kill girls, shoot them, stab them, burn them with acid, sexually mutilate them, rape them, what have you, if they feel they can make this "grand gesture" publicly enough to assure themselves renown in their own sick little worlds. These over-the-top death-obsessed drama queens make a whole life of acting out their public displays of the theatre of the Islamic Absurd. There's nothing real in the life of a Muslim, his life pinched into daily ritual behaviours and tribal coded actions and thoughts, so he's forced to act out some personal phantasy in public to make himself momentarily real; and what more real in the life of a phantasist than to die in a blaze of glory? A heroic grand gesture. These low rent cafe actors of The Religion of Endless Whining produce masters daily of the pose of indignation and false pride.
The Western man, most with some personal accomplishment to claim, doesn't even try to compete. Why should we? How could he? Islam is perfect. So we take in stride the criticisms of ourselves, and some of us try to do better next time rather than kill some innocent bystanders for a moment of public recognition, our picture pasted on a stone wall in a fly-blown village for a week. We can bear criticism, and we criticise ourselves; and below is an interesting take on that criticism we do that is both funny and awesome, especially compared to the result of Islam's views of personal "honor," slights against the child-molester prophet, and their pig god. For the modernist a grand gesture is a benefit to another; but fot the fascist, modern or primitive, it is a spectacle of blood and death. Welcome to the modern world.
The University of California at Berkley has recently announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. This new element has been tentatively named "Administratium". Administratium has 1 neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 111 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by a force called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.
Since Administratium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Administratium causes one reaction to take over 4 days to complete when it would normally take less than a second. Administratium has a normal half-life of 3 years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons and assistant deputy neutrons exchange places.
In fact, Administratium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization causes some morons to become neutrons forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to speculate that Administratium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as "Critical Morass." You'll know it when you see it.
by William DeBuvitz
April 1988, appeared in the January 1989 issue of The Physics Teacher. William DeBuvitz is a physics professor at Middlesex County College in Edison, New Jersey (USA). He retired in June of 2000.***
In 1993, I read a dim photocopy of a typescript of Administratium taped to Northeastern Illinois University physics professor, Dr. R. Puri's door. I copied the piece by hand and, frustrated with University redtape and bureaucracy, proceeded to add to it until I came up with Administrontium. I changed the name because I didn't have the original citation and because I could make more jokes with the new name. I also invented Bureaucratritium and its behavior. My satire was written in AP style and originally published in the June 21, 1993 NEIU Independent. Several months later, The Journal of Irreproducible Results published it in their Volume 39, Number 5, September-October 1994 issue. The editor of JIR cleared the publication with his editorial board, none of whom knew who had written the original piece.
Ten years later, I received an email containing a weird hybrid of both pieces. It used the name Administratium but with many of my jokes and - even more curiously - additions by unknown emailers which occur in neither original. My favorite addition is "memos" to the list of bonding particles.
I did an Internet search on the topic and found on Donald Simanek's page "http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek
My rather belated thanks to Dr. DuBuvitz for his inspiration. Here are the full texts of both pieces as published.
Ellin Beltz firstname.lastname@example.org
June 21, 1993 NEIU Independent
The Journal of Irreproducible Results, Volume 39, Number 5, September-October 1994 issue.
Above we posted a graphic of Franz Kafka in "The Castle."
Yes, we can take some criticism, but don't think you can get away with that crap at this site! I'll explode myself on you!
Friday, October 28, 2005
The following comes from http://jihadwatch.org.
Harper [Ill., USA] pulls photo exhibit upon Muslim protest
By Michael Puente
Daily Herald Staff Writer
Posted Friday, October 28, 2005
An art exhibit that included photographs of nude Muslim women wearing only a head covering was taken down Thursday afternoon just hours after opening for public viewing at Harper College in Palatine.
Muslim students at the college protested to officials about the pieces on display in Building C.
Several students say the pieces — some showing young Muslim men with machine guns — were downright offensive.
“I think they should rip this down,” student Matt George said.
Another student, Hussein Ali, says a number of Muslim students at Harper now are thinking about leaving.
“The Muslim students are thinking about boycotting Harper because of this,” said Ali, 23, of Schaumburg.
Ahmad Basalat, 21, of Bartlett said the exhibit expressed hatred toward Muslims.
Rich Johnson, co-coordinator of international students at Harper, said the exhibit was an event put on in conjunction with the college’s art department.
The school invited Chicago photographer Amir Normandi to exhibit his works depicting Muslim women in Iran defying the wearing of the jilbab.
Johnson said he thought the exhibit would be an interesting topic because it deals with human rights.
Salma Habed, 20, of Hoffman Estates said some of the pieces continued with the stereotype that Muslim women are oppressed.
“We go to school. We have careers. It’s not like we’re oppressed like some people feel for some reason,” Habed said.
Before the opening of the exhibit, neither Johnson nor other Harper officials had an opportunity to view the images.
Johnson and school officials ordered the removal or covering of the images until further notice because of the uproar.
“It was not the show that we thought we were going to get,” Johnson said, adding that he stands by Normandi’s artistic freedom.
Johnson said the exhibit was to have been included as a part of other events dealing with human rights issues in Iran.
“We struck a reasonable compromise that we will temporarily cover the images,” Johnson said.
College spokesman Phil Burdick said he understands why the students are offended, but freedom of expression comes into play.
“This exhibit is not the type of artwork that the college endorses or advocates,” Burdick said. “If this exhibit offends the sensibilities of any person or ethnic group, we deeply apologize.”
Burdick said the school will convene a meeting with students, the two faculty members involved — including Johnson — the artist and the college staff.
Harper Community College is a tax payer supported community college. I know it is tax payer supported because I'm one of the tax payers. It offers two year associate degrees as well as doing adult education programs at night. I took a Chinese cooking class there once.
Posted by: Malta_1565 at October 28, 2005 04:17 PM
Now the Muslims have had their tantrum will the beheadings and bombings be far behind?
The discovery of the New World and the shipping of gold, silver and goods from there to Spain and Portugal didn't in the long run enrich those nations. The real riches went to the nations of the northwest, to the Netherlands, to France, to England. Because it wasn't just the money, the gold and silver, that made nations great and wealthy. Spain had lots of gold, but it didn't have the social relations and the concept of privacy that arose in the northwest. The nations that became impoverished in spite of the vast incomes they got from the New World were those that would not progress socially and economically, and that looked backward for their validation as socio-political entities. All the gold in the New World couldn't buy a better attitude, and with a better attitude the Northwesterners managed to take the pot and keep it.
In this sixth look at the origins of Modernity and the bifurcation of Humanity we'll return to Ivan T. Berend, History Derailed to find the roots of the failure of Central and Eastern Europe to become modern democracies; and in so doing we'll perhaps see the roots of Islamic failure in modern times. But more than anything else, our purpose is to explore here the reasons why our own Western intelligentsia is opposed to Modernity, why our own are Left dhimmi fascists in the world of affluence and individual liberty, of personal freedom and privacy of the mind. Why do we hate us?
For most of Human history, men have found themselves in the position of being someone else's animal. It's been the common condition of Man to find his own life is someone else's property. Modernity changed that relationship to one of personal freedom. And that is one thing many people cannot tolerate, not for themselves and not for others. Without a structure of rigid hierarchies and order based on authority there are those who live in terror of a life lived alone, without rules, without security and total assurance that they are protected even in death from forces they fear, the forces of chaos and the unknowable.
Modernity is the end of security for the herd-man, and the rise of privacy is the exile of belonger. There are those who just don't feel right unless they're huddled together, covered in filth, and moving along in a group under some wise guidance to nowhere but the grave. Modernity's atomization of Humanity, its tearing of man from the soil, its relentless energy and change of all that was same and sedentary and secure, its disruption of the continuity of herd-man and the cyclical life of the weather and crops is a maddening assault upon the mind and spirit that drives him to suicidal frenzies. Often, television doesn't soothe the soul of the alienated man. He needs something more. He rebels against the sterility of Modernity and reaches back for the authenticity of the land, for the strength of the irrational, for the mysteries of the universe ruled by the passions of the gods whom he must placate as mysteriously as they rule. Modernity has too many explanations, and they don't explain anything at all. They only speak to the mind, one man's words to another. There is no authenticity, no authority, no certainty. Man stands alone in the face of the unknowable without protection. He crowds around other exiles. Together they long for the return of the gods and to the old home, to the natural way of passive and tended herd animals.
With the rise of capitalism there was a choice to make: to accept it or to fight it. The rich as well as the poor resisted the encroachments of Modernity, and in the Northwest of Europe they lost the struggle, though they haven't ceased to fight to this day. But most people did resist successfully the age of Modernity.
The rich, with their entitlements and privileges and set-view of reality as deeply entrenched as in the minds of the most ignorant peasants, fought Modernity. In the face of growing economies the Southerners resisted capitalism while taking its fruits.
Berend writes: The rigid medieval social-institutional system and the associated noble-hidalgo attitude led to conspicuous consumption and a parasitic life-style. Spain did not attempt to increase productivity and output.... (p. 16.)
To this day we witness the same failings in numerous stagnant and dysfunctional states around the globe, states mired in tradition, custom, and cultural fetishes, immobilized by reactionary ideologies, propped up by jizyah and corrupt business practices of all sorts while the native populations starve and are massacred by paramilitary forces within. We see parasitic states survive on rent and foreign aid, on narcotics trading and slavery. And we see the systems of reaction held together by religious fanaticism, tribal hatreds, and utopian triumphalism. Rather than collapse from within, the West allows such states to continue their criminal existences because we pay to feed them rather than let a billion people starve to death within a matter of weeks. And that is to the good, for how would we ever bury the bodies before they burst forth a plague we could not contain? And so it goes on, and will go on, till the end comes and we are faced with quarantine regardless. Then, perhaps, the survivors of the implosion of primitivism will join the Modern world, or else they will shuffle around aimlessly in a sand diorama, curiosities in a world that has left them to die out for good. And good riddance. The world's population bifurcates no matter our Human good will toward all.
The Western world split between the progressive northwest and the reactionary south and central Europe, the south squandering their promise and talents, the center not even trying to join the modern world, caught as they were in the grip of Islam and entrenched feudalism, a slavery of the mind they could not escape from.
"With its rigid social structure, dominant guilds, and outdated institutions, Italy could not compete with the emerging Northwestern countries." (p. 16)
And it was worse for the area of Central and Eastern Europe: "it lost its previous role in the so-called Levantine trade of the medieval period, whose main routes crossed the area. Mostly landlocked, these countries were excluded from the advantages of the emerging modern age." (p. 17.)
The advantages of the emerging modern age aren't always seen as advantages. In fact, the enemies of progress, legal and social equality, and individual freedom, specifically the Left dhimmi fascists of our time, see the advantages of Modernity as disadvantages to the entire spirit of the entire Human race, and particularly to the spirit of Earth itself. Some resisted progress successfully, particularly in the East.
[B]etween the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, the Continent became divided into two halves.... The split between Greek Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism strengthened that divergence... the eastern zone, Russian and the Balkans, remained isolated from the West, lacked private property, and preserved the communal system until early modern times or even longer.
The history of Central and Eastern Europe from the sixteenth century to the eighteenth consequently followed an opposite trend from that of Western Europe. Instead of eliminating feudal institutions and adopting a market system and merchant capitalism, The Baltic, Polish, Bohemian, Hungarian, and Croatian area regressed to an earlier stage of feudalism, a manorial-serf economy-- a "second serfdom." Self-managing latifundia based on socage reappeared. Serfs were again bound to the land, and feudal dues were paid then in labour.
While the West experienced an emerging modern capitalism, the East thus reinstated earlier feudal structures.... Historical catastrophes and national tragedies followed one after the other, and independent statehood collapsed. (pp.18-19.)
The reactionary social agenda weakened the Central and Eastern parts of Europe and contributed to the Turkish devastation and enslavement of the Balkan people into the Ottoman empire.
I think I have the quotation right here: "No one can be free who loves the memory of his chains." Mark Pedelty, War Stories: the Culture of Foreign Correspondents. New York: Routledge. 1995.
There is in slavery something to love.
One attribute of the fascist is his hatred of mediocrity, the pettiness of business, of cash counting and profit making. The fascist, the Walter Mitty nobody in his own right, longs to feel the greatness of his spirit, especially if it's reflected in something more tangible like the state or the race or the gods and history and the combination of all in a state of war. Better still if he can wear a uniform and chant with the crowd. The people united. The volk. The state, The party. The leader. All in touch with the glorious past when the nation was strong, when they were heroes, bloody and triumphant, and they moved as one across the land. The machines of Modernity, the cash, the orders given by a mere man who merely makes money without authority from the gods, that is an affront to the natural order of the hero he would be in his own ideal world, the world that should re-arise. No more talk about logic and cold reason. They fight for the warmth of the imagined past, these petty little fascists, awed and disgraced by machines, longing for the protection and punishment of power from beyond.
On [t]he antibusiness mentality of the Hungarian nobility: "A type of 'absentee' landlord came into being, living far from his domain, spending money excessively, keeping up a luxurious residence in Vienna. The Hungarian country gentleman who lived mainly on the serf's services...." (Berend: p. 20.)
We see it in the rentier oil monarchies of Islam: there is not a place still that is an exporter of commercial food crops. Only Israel, in the Middle East, exports what it produces by its labour. And then there is Afghanistan.
The hidalgo attitude in Spain and the "anti-capitalist national character" in Hungary and in other "noble societies" of Central and Eastern Europe, consequences of a special class and property structure in these areas, became strong and eventually insuperable obstacles on the road to modern transformation.
[....] The area east of the Elbe River was distinguished by the preservation of its agrarian character and retarded urban development. Urban centres of a Western type did not emerge in Central and Eastern Europe in the early modern period.... The Balkan capital cities remained dusty, sleepy little settlements.... Central and Eastern European urbanization was one-tenth of that of the West around the beginning of the nineteenth century. (pp. 21-22.)
There are different kinds of cities, and there are two reasons neither arose in Central and Eastern Europe in this time: One, that the land wasn't made into a business for profit-seekers who rid it of excess labourers, thereby pushing them into the waiting arms of manufactures in factories, the land-owners feeling quite content to receive rent rather than profit from their holdings; and two, that the idiocy of rural living, as Marx calls it, deems city life unnatural, corrupt, and Satanic. Of cities, one grows organically as the land is rid of its excess animals to make way for sheep, men who are driven into the slaughterhouses of the city's industries; the other grows when men leave the land for the greener pastures of pavement and tenements in the hope of forage, cities that vary between gaping wounds on the national bodies to outright Third World shit-holes.
The Balkan subregion's deviation from the West was even more dramatic. From the nineteenth century on, national historiography has traditionally blamed the Ottoman conquest for Balkan backwardness. The conquerors destroyed grain-growing villages in the lowlands and decimated the population, the argument goes; the survivors escaped to wooded, mountainous areas, where they supported themselves by raising animals. The consequence of Ottoman occupation was thus the depopulation of the Balkans and a reversion to semi-nomadic pastoral life....
The arrival of the Ottomans was a calamity of unparalleled consequences because it disrupted the natural development... isolated the peninsula from European development and left it untouched by the great ideas and transformations... [bringing] a deep cultural regression and even barbarization. (Todorova 1997, 182; Berend, p. 22.)
For the Left dhimmi fascist, now lap-dog to the Islamic fascist, the destruction of the progress of capitalism is not a calamity at all but a cause of celebration. It is the return to the land, to a state of Nature and primitivism that appeals to the Romantic Left dhimmi fascist of today's Modernity. It's endless Robin Hood and dress-up phantasy. No synthetic material, no preservatives. All natural, all "authentic."
In our next look at the contrast between Central and Eastern Europe and the modern world today we'll look at Berend's comments on the Ottoman causes of Balkan backwardness, and by extrapolation at the conditions of the Islamic world today. We'll see the world as our enemies see the world, as our Left dhimmi fascist brothers and sisters see it. As bitter exiles from the Garden.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Is knowledge the fruit of all minds, all minds and all knowledge being equally valid and totally cool if you can dig it? Is my "mistake" somehow wrong if I really believe it's true for me? And who decides what the Truth is, anyway? Is the truth the private possession of some expert who "knows" more than I do, or who "knows" more than those who have a different vision of reality, like the so-called scientist who knows more about biology than the Amazonian healer who combines herbal medicines with the healing powers of the Spirits of the Ancestors? What makes the Western "expert's" knowledge more valid than the native who is at one with Mother Nature, who knows of and from his own rootedness in the spirit of his people and the Land?
Really, what makes Western ideologically-based science any more valid than the traditional beliefs of the peoples of the pre-capitalist world? What gives the White Man the preserve of Truth over the Native? The ideologies of capitalism raise the Rationalist ideology to the fore only because of the power of the White Man's guns and his racist inclination to dominate the peoples of the world. Just look at what the White Man's science has done to the world: people die of cancers caused by modern chemistry and industrial waste and the poisoned food we have to eat. Cities sprawl across the face of the once natural Earth, and everywhere, the White man is waging wars of genocide against the peaceful agrarian and nomadic peoples in his search for oil. And for what? Only to give yet more money to the capitalists, the multi-national corporations, and Bush's friends. Before capitalism arose and destroyed the peaceful existence of the world's peoples they were at one with Nature, living in harmony with the Earth, and there was much recycling. Life was sustainable. Ideas were local and valid for those who held them in common. There was no "Truth" forced on all peoples regardless of their sensitivities and customs. There was diversity. Now, thanks to the cultural imperialism of capitalism and the hegemonic drives to globalization of thought in conformity with the Western capitalist need for compliant workers, the "Truth" is pre-packaged by so-called experts, and local wisdom is dismissed as nonsense. The Grand Narrative of capitalism destroys all local wisdom and tradition and custom in favor of uniformity of thought.
There is no Truth for the universal Man if there is Truth for cultures and peoples. If there are peoples and cultures, then there is no Universal Man, and the French Revolution was a large mistake. If there is only peoples, all equally valid in their own communities, separate but equal, then the capitalist cultural imperialism is an evil in itself that must, if we are moral agents, be stopped, and reversed, and the world must return to a happier and more natural time, say, before the French Revolution.
And what part of any of that strikes anyone as Leftist?
Friend, do not be deceived. Friend, do not believe that what we take as a Left agenda is anything other than verifiable fascism. That which is not universal is particular and exceptional. Law that isn't universal, for example, is exceptional: there is a law for Muslims in the West that means they are expected from the laws of others, allowed to mutilate females for religious and cultural reasons. There are other laws for other groups according to their particular traditions, customs, and beliefs. If truth is simply a grand narrative concocted by capitalists to justify their rape of Mother Nature and their genocidal campaigns to rid the world of peoples for the sake of gaining access to oil, then Truth is a bad thing. Others, knowing better themselves what's right for their communities, have as much legitimacy as any others, and the capitalist version of truth shouldn't be imposed on them from outside. But this is not a Left agenda: this is a Left dhimmi fascist agenda. This is reaction. This is Counter-Enlightenment fascism. This is counter-revolution and anti-Modernist fascism. This is a return to the Middle Ages and its feudalist social relations. It's a bad thing, if you can dig that. Very uncool.
Below we have excerpted a piece from techcentral.com. on the state of knowledge in our time. There is today a raging struggle for the future of wikipedia, whose founder is dumped because he's seen as an elitist. The struggle is wider and deeper, of course, and we leave it to you, dear reader to make of it what you will.
If you don't like the way of the world on its present course, you might wish to protest. If your version of the truth is too rational and capitalistic and universal you might find yourself better received if instead of a logical discourse you make a grand gesture, like taking off your clothes in public. That's a real Natural statement. Besides, that thinking stuff is not only vastly over-rated, it's makes your head hurt.
1. A student at the University of Iowa published an opinion piece in the campus newspaper titled "On schooling's useless lessons." The upshot was that she is in college to qualify for her chosen profession and cannot understand why she is required to take courses in subjects she deems irrelevant to her goals. Listen:
"[M]ost students aren't going to be mathematicians, historians, or chemists. So why do we have to take these classes?...
"Not only did the gen-ed classes waste my time and money, but they also hurt my GPA….Statistics and astronomy bored me, so I opted not to attend class and neglected to study for them….As it turned out, my GPA was below3.0 after my first year. I had to take summer classes to raise it….I cannot imagine what I would have done if I were not admitted [to my chosen professional course]. I would have had to change my major.
"How is this fair?"
If that doesn't break your heart, you're made of sterner stuff than I.
2. A week later an AP wire story appeared in my local newspaper, informing me that an heiress to the Wal-Mart fortune has surrendered her 2004 degree from the University of Southern California after a classmate revealed that she had done the Walton scion's homework for over three years, netting about $20,000 for her efforts.
3. Same day. New York magazine published an article that opens thus:
"This story begins, as it inevitably must, in the Old Country.
"At some point during the tenth century, a group of Jews abandoned the lush hills of Lucca, Italy, and -- at the invitation of Charlemagne -- headed for the severer climes of the Rhineland and Northern France."
The author is a frequent and, presumably, trusted contributor, and New York magazine is, so far as I know, a respectable publication. So who was responsible for fact-checking? If you haven't caught it yet, here's the problem: Charlemagne died in 814 CE. No one is expected to know that particular fact, but many generally educated persons might recall that he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor at Christmas in 800. This would make his survival into the tenth century highly unlikely on the face of it.
Two points define a line; are three sufficient to establish a trend? Let me just note that the student's intended major was journalism; that the heiress's degree was from the Annenberg School for Communication at USC; and that, obviously, the New York author is a working journalist. One, already in the business, evidently doesn't know a simple fact of history (and didn't check it out). The other two have made quite manifest, in their distinctive ways, their disdain for knowledge.
But my aim is not to disrespect journalists or the schools in which they train. The problem I am suggesting is far wider. Thus my last piece of evidence:
4. Same day. The Wikipedia, an online project to create an encyclopedia by means of contributions and editing by volunteers, irrespective of their knowledge of their subjects or ability to write coherently, has just lately begun to come to grips with the fact that some substantial proportion of the articles thus generated are substandard. They have therefore launched "Project Galatea," whose aim is to have still more self-selected volunteers impose "large-scale, sweeping stylistic improvements." Note that the improvements hoped for are stylistic, not a matter of accuracy or adequacy. In the "Philosophy" of the project, prospective stylists are told this:
"While there is no need to be an expert on the article you're working on (in fact, there are some advantages to being completely ignorant of the subject to start with), by the time you're done, you will have at least a working knowledge of the topic."
Another point, spang on my line. How worried ought I to be? How worried are you?
Here is what I wonder: Whence this notion that citizens, especially those who aspire to careers of informing the rest of us, need not bother with what once would have been considered the common body of knowledge? And where on earth did the idea arise that knowledge might actually be a hindrance?
I do not blame computers or the Internet. Well…except for one thought that gives me pause. How is it that these tools that were to make achieving our lofty goals easier have instead been commandeered to move the goal posts?
What or whom then to blame, if any? Nicholas Carr has written lately in his blog "Rough Type" about the other-worldliness of much of the literature of the World Wide Web and the simple, communal, yet transcendent virtues it is imagined to foster. He notes, too, the strong preference for the amateur over the professional. I'm inclined to see this as a particular instance of a more general phenomenon, the replacement of the adult by the adolescent as the paradigm citizen.
Adolescents already know all they need to know. They are uninterested in what may have come before them and confident that it did so for naught. They see instantly into the heart of the world's problems and believe them to be simple of solution. They value sincerity, authenticity, getting real, over experience or effort. Approved attitude trumps informed opinion with them, and does so by means of social pressure rather than by, say, demonstrated efficacy. And their sense of entitlement can sometimes border on solipsism.
For some time now, and increasingly, our schooling, our politics, and our cultural life have played to the adolescent in us. Young students are encouraged to focus on their feelings and to express them in any way they find comfortable, while teachers are discouraged from correcting them. Officeholders and seekers rely on the sound bite and the scandal, not to mention their allies in the braying media, to steer or frustrate public policy. Jejune amusements are labeled "Adult." And the marketers who control our media and what passes for our national dialogue are only too happy to pander to the free-spending of any age or persuasion. It's a no-sweat world, and welcome to it.
The adolescentization of politics, begun in the 1960s, has given us the politics of gesture. A couple of years ago some 60-ish women of my acquaintance, as a protest of the Iraq war, went down to the beach and took their clothes off. This seemed to satisfy them, though as I watched the newspapers closely for days afterward I could detect no effect. We are increasingly countenancing an education of gesture, in which self-expression does not merely take precedence over but displaces that which is worth expressing; in which the tokens of achievement are wholly disconnected from achievement itself; in which teachers-in-training are being turned out of their chosen career, not on account of a subpar GPA, but because they fail to display the approved attitude toward certain issues of "social justice'; in which, to put it in plain and concrete terms, a majority of our high school graduates cannot read with comprehension the sixth-grade McGuffey Reader of yore. And do they care? lol
Robert McHenry is Former Editor in Chief, the Encyclopædia Britannica, and author of How to Know ( Booklocker.com, 2004).
Genuinely well-meaning and decent people have accepted uncritically a full ideological programme not of their own making by the efforts of thought. that programme, if they would look at the rooots of it, is fascism, not the pejorative fascism of "I don't agree with you, you fascist," but of classical fascism.
If we don't reclaim our Modernist Revolutionary agenda from the neo-feudalist fascists of the post-modernist Left dhimmis we are doomed. If we continue to praise the fascist agenda of particularism and exceptionalism, of nativism and privilege over Rationality and Universality, we are finished as Modernists. And that, gentle reader is the truth, dig it or not.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Below, without our comments cluttering the text, we present a part of an essay from New Criterion. Thinkers such as Benda are our source of hope and example that a new Modernist philosophy of today can rise from the muck and mire of post-modern nihilism and Left dhimmi fascism. The eternal struggle between the Socratic and the Platonic philosophers continues, and we must struggle with all of our talents and energies to combat the fascism that is such a major part of the general Human personality. We might learn from Benda how to do so. If we can recognize the evils of our time we can begin to fight effectively against it. Benda helps.
The Treason of the Intellectuals
and The Undoing of Thought
by Roger Kimbal
When hatred of culture becomes itself a part of culture, the life of the mind loses all meaning.
—Alain Finkielkraut, The Undoing of Thought
Today we are trying to spread knowledge everywhere. Who knows if in centuries to come there will not be universities for re-establishing our former ignorance? —Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799)
In 1927, the French essayist Julien Benda published his famous attack on the intellectual corruption of the age, La Trahison des clercs. I said "famous," but perhaps "once famous" would have been more accurate. Today, only the title of the book, not its argument, enjoys currency. "La trahison des clercs": it is one of those phrases that bristles with hints and associations without stating anything definite. Benda tells us that he uses the term "clerc" in "the medieval sense" to mean "scribe"—someone we would now call a member of the intelligentsia. Academics and journalists, pundits, moralists, and pontificators of all varieties are in this sense clercs. The English translation, The Treason of the Intellectuals,  sums it up neatly.
The "treason" in question was the betrayal by the "clerks" of their vocation as intellectuals. From the time of the pre-Socratics, intellectuals, considered in their role as intellectuals, had been a breed apart. In Benda's terms, they were understood to be "all those whose activity essentially is not the pursuit of practical aims, all those who seek their joy in the practice of an art or a science or a metaphysical speculation, in short in the possession of non-material advantages." Thanks to such men, Benda wrote, "humanity did evil for two thousand years, but honored good. This contradiction was an honor to the human species, and formed the rift whereby civilization slipped into the world."
According to Benda, however, this situation was changing. More and more, intellectuals were abandoning their attachment to the traditional panoply of philosophical and scholarly ideals. One clear sign of the change was the attack on the Enlightenment ideal of universal humanity and the concomitant glorification of various particularisms. The attack on the universal went forward in social and political life as well as in the refined precincts of epistemology and metaphysics: "Those who for centuries had exhorted men, at least theoretically, to deaden the feeling of their differences … have now come to praise them, according to where the sermon is given, for their 'fidelity to the French soul,' 'the immutability of their German consciousness,' for the 'fervor of their Italian hearts.'" In short, intellectuals began to immerse themselves in the unsettlingly practical and material world of political passions: precisely those passions, Benda observed, "owing to which men rise up against other men, the chief of which are racial passions, class passions and national passions." The "rift" into which civilization had been wont to slip narrowed and threatened to close altogether.
Writing at a moment when ethnic and nationalistic hatreds were again threatening to tear Europe asunder, Benda's diagnosis assumed the lineaments of a prophecy—one that continues to have deep resonance today. "Our age is indeed the age of the intellectual organization of political hatreds," he wrote. "It will be one of its chief claims to notice in the moral history of humanity." There was no need to add that its place in moral history would be as a cautionary tale. In little more than a decade, Benda's prediction that, because of the "great betrayal" of the intellectuals, humanity was "heading for the greatest and most perfect war ever seen in the world," would achieve a terrifying corroboration.
Julien Benda was not so naïve as to believe that intellectuals as a class had ever entirely abstained from political involvement, or, indeed, from involvement in the realm of practical affairs. Nor did he believe that intellectuals, as citizens, necessarily should abstain from political commitment or practical affairs. The "treason" or betrayal he sought to publish concerned the way that intellectuals had lately allowed political commitment to insinuate itself into their understanding of the intellectual vocation as such. Increasingly, Benda claimed, politics was "mingled with their work as artists, as men of learning, as philosophers." The ideal of disinterested judgment and faith in the universality of truth: such traditional guiding principles of intellectual life were more and more contemptuously deployed as masks when they were not jettisoned altogether. Benda castigated this development as the "desire to abase the values of knowledge before the values of action."
In its crassest but perhaps also most powerful form, this desire led to that familiar phenomenon Benda dubbed "the cult of success." It is summed up, he writes, in "the teaching that says that when a will is successful that fact alone gives it a moral value, whereas the will which fails is for that reason alone deserving of contempt." In itself, this idea is hardly novel, as history from the Greek sophists on down reminds us. In Plato's Gorgias, for instance, the sophist Callicles expresses his contempt for Socrates' devotion to philosophy: "I feel toward philosophers very much as I do toward those who lisp and play the child." Callicles taunts Socrates with the idea that "the more powerful, the better, and the stronger" are simply different words for the same thing. Successfully pursued, he insists, "luxury and intemperance … are virtue and happiness, and all the rest is tinsel." How contemporary Callicles sounds!
In Benda's formula, this boils down to the conviction that "politics decides morality." To be sure, the cynicism that Callicles espoused is perennial: like the poor, it will be always with us. What Benda found novel was the accreditation of such cynicism by intellectuals. "It is true indeed that these new 'clerks' declare that they do not know what is meant by justice, truth, and other 'metaphysical fogs,' that for them the true is determined by the useful, the just by circumstances," he noted. "All these things were taught by Callicles, but with this difference; he revolted all the important thinkers of his time."
In other words, the real treason of the intellectuals was not that they countenanced Callicles but that they championed him. To appreciate the force of Benda's thesis one need only think of that most influential modern Callicles, Friedrich Nietzsche. His doctrine of "the will to power," his contempt for the "slave morality" of Christianity, his plea for an ethic "beyond good and evil," his infatuation with violence—all epitomize the disastrous "pragmatism" that marks the intellectual's "treason." The real problem was not the unattainability but the disintegration of ideals: an event that Nietzsche hailed as the "transvaluation of all values." "Formerly," Benda observed, "leaders of States practiced realism, but did not honor it; … With them morality was violated but moral notions remained intact; and that is why, in spite of all their violence, they did not disturb civilization."
Benda understood that the stakes were high: the treason of the intellectuals signaled not simply the corruption of a bunch of scribblers but a fundamental betrayal of culture. By embracing the ethic of Callicles, intellectuals had, Benda reckoned, precipitated "one of the most remarkable turning points in the moral history of the human species. It is impossible," he continued,
to exaggerate the importance of a movement whereby those who for twenty centuries taught Man that the criterion of the morality of an act is its disinterestedness, that good is a decree of his reason insofar as it is universal, that his will is only moral if it seeks its law outside its objects, should begin to teach him that the moral act is the act whereby he secures his existence against an environment which disputes it, that his will is moral insofar as it is a will "to power," that the part of his soul which determines what is good is its "will to live" wherein it is most "hostile to all reason," that the morality of an act is measured by its adaptation to its end, and that the only morality is the morality of circumstances. The educators of the human mind now take sides with Callicles against Socrates, a revolution which I dare to say seems to me more important than all political upheavals.
The Treason of the Intellectuals is an energetic hodgepodge of a book. The philosopher Jean-François Revel recently described it as "one of the fussiest pleas on behalf of the necessary independence of intellectuals." Certainly it is rich, quirky, erudite, digressive, and polemical: more an exclamation than an analysis. Partisan in its claims for disinterestedness, it is ruthless in its defense of intellectual high-mindedness. Yet given the horrific events that unfolded in the decades following its publication, Benda's unremitting attack on the politicization of the intellect and ethnic separatism cannot but strike us as prescient. And given the continuing echo in our own time of the problems he anatomized, the relevance of his observations to our situation can hardly be doubted. From the savage flowering of ethnic hatreds in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union to the mendacious demands for political correctness and multiculturalism on college campuses across America and Europe, the treason of the intellectuals continues to play out its unedifying drama. Benda spoke of "a cataclysm in the moral notions of those who educate the world." That cataclysm is erupting in every corner of cultural life today.
The following two thirds of this essay is available at the link. Not being familiar with that work we reserve our judgements till such time that we have read and distilled whatever we may. Benda's work is timeless, unfortunately, and highly recommended, little or nothing having changed for the better in our time.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Almost daily, and on average seven a week, there is a death for reasons of violence or drug use. This is a low end of town. People here are insane and violent, and yet there's no great danger in walking here to there on a daily basis--because as crazy as they are, as violent as they are, the people here are only overtly violent on occasion. And of the violent and mad, not all are always so even if the midst of violence, some preferring to watch while others go at each other or another with machetes or hand guns of what have you. And among those thousands of residents and visitors to this area daily, not all are violent. And not all the violent are insane. But consider this: Those who are not overtly violent, and yet who work in violent trades such as drug dealing and prostitution, deal with those who are violent, and they live by knowing how to cope with their clientele. the average drug- dealing pimp/ businessman doesn't carry a gun and shoot his customers at random. Instead he keeps a couple of pit bull dogs. Why that? Because he knows that if he were facing a man with a weapon he'd feel the need to discuss and negociate a compromise even if there's no hope for it. Thus, a couple of man-eating dogs stand at the ready, the client knowing there will be no futile attempts at sweet reason and clever logic if the deal sours. One simply cannot talk a mad dog out of anything. Reason prevails even in the savage world of man eats man when there's a man eating dog at the ready. Even then we see a body a day.
There are seemingly no disadvantages to having earned a doctorate in a competive university of good standing. But, having written that, we cannot say those who rely on their formal intellectual training to help them make sense of the world and the course one should navigate are actually anywhere near as intelligent in the crunch when faced with a lunatic. In the alternate world of violent madmen a doctorate is of little help, whereas any guy with sense keeps a vicious dog to do his talking for him.
As the wonderful line in the movie goes: "The first rule in a gun-fight is to bring a gun."
Below we have some dhimmi idiocy from an air-head princess, and hers is not significantly different from what we read of Karen Hughes, Condi Rice, and Geo W. Bush and co. We must wonder just what, if anything, these people know about the world they live in. And since they are our leaders, ushering our states and communities and our persons through the world's troubles on the grand scale, what hope do we have of returning home in the evening in one piece?
FROM WORLD DEFENSE REVIEW
Published 14 October 05
By Abigail R. Esman
World Defense Review columnist
Understanding the threatFinally, we have a solution to the threat of Islamic Jihad.
Just shy of a year after the Jihadist murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh and only weeks past the four-year anniversary of 9/11, that fateful day when the world discovered such a war even existed, Holland's Princess Irene, sister to Queen Beatrix, offers up a strategy for world peace: "Let's talk."
In a full-page interview in the weekend edition of the national daily, de Volkskrant, the princess voiced support for the idea of a peace talk between Western and Al Qaeda leaders, to be mediated by an impartial party (is there anyone who qualifies as an "impartial party" in this debate?). Western leaders, she said, should take the initiative: "Talk to Al Qaeda and show that you can break through the 'enemy' paradigm with real, open discussion."
Ironically, the last words Theo van Gogh was known to speak, he imparted to his killer, Mohammed Bouyeri. "Don't do it," he said. "We can still talk." But Bouyeri only looked at him and silently drove a Kukri knife across van Gogh's throat.
It is not because she is sister to the Queen that I find the princess's pronouncement so distressing: as the 'black sheep' of the family, she forfeited her right to the crown years ago. Besides, few Dutch take her seriously, citing amusedly a book she authored about communing with the trees. What troubles me more is this notion "that we can talk our way through this" seems to be circulating with greater frequency within certain ideological circles. Troublesome, too, is the basis for the idea itself: that somehow Islamic jihad is rooted in economic divides or, as the princess described it, "imbalances and trade barriers."
It is time, I think, to put these misconceptions to rest.
In researching this column, I re-read an article, "THE REVOLT OF ISLAM: When did the conflict with the West begin, and how could it end?" (November 19, 2001, The New Yorker), by Bernard Lewis that should, to my mind, be required reading for anyone 'citizen or statesman' espousing an opinion on the events of 9/11 and the future we are shaping in their aftermath. Two key points immediately stood out.
"[Until] the modern period, when European concepts and categories became dominant, Islamic commentators almost always referred to their opponents not in territorial or ethnic terms, but simply as infidels (kafir)," writes Lewis. "They never referred to their own side as Arab or Turkish; they identified themselves as Muslims."
The concept of jihad, Lewis continues, was "one of the basic tasks bequeathed to Muslims by the Prophet. This word, which literally means 'striving,' was usually cited in the Koranic phrase 'striving in the path of God' and was interpreted to mean armed struggle for the defense or advancement of Muslim power. In principle, the world was divided into two houses: The House of Islam, in which a Muslim government ruled and Muslim law prevailed; and the House of War, the rest of the world, still inhabited and, more important, ruled by infidels. Between the two, there was to be a perpetual state of war until the entire world either embraced Islam or submitted to the rule of the Muslim state."
Assuming these things to be true, and Lewis (referred to by Slate.com as the "Islam scholar U.S. politicians listen to") is as much an expert on the subject as anyone, what could possibly be accomplished by the kinds of talks Princess Irene suggests? It is a matter of religious mandate to defeat the infidel, according to Lewis (and others); hence electing to do otherwise is heresy. What passionately religious man would choose this?
An "infidel," of course, is quite simply anyone who is not Muslim.
National law, national identity, geographic boundaries, these are subservient, in Islam, to faith: an attack on an Afghan is, to a Muslim radical from Palestine, no different than an attack on a Palestinian; they are "brothers," united by the family cloak of their Muslimhood. So, too, is an attack on an American the same as one on a Dutchman or a Frenchman or a Swiss (it was, after all, the World Trade Center Al Qaeda targeted). In a world of "us" and "them," one in which any tolerance of "them" is a forsaking of what it means to be one of "us," what dialogue, what negotiations, are possible?
There are also practical considerations, not the least of which is the bounty on most Al Qaeda leaders' heads. Al Qaeda is not a country. It is not even an army or an organization with an address and 501(c) status. While Al Qaeda leaders are sitting at a roundtable in, say, Geneva, will their followers practice any kind of ceasefire? I doubt it.
In Princess Irene's own country, the Algemene Inlichtingen en Veiligheidsdienst (AIVD), the Intelligence and Security Service, has noted an alarming increase in the number of young men -- and women -- joining radical Islamic groups. In the months since van Gogh's murder, in fact, they have found that the number of such groups itself, is rising in The Netherlands, as many as 10 or 20, according to a July 2005 report. Many of these organizations, like the Hofstad group of which Bouyeri was a member, are comprised of well-educated, middle-class, second and third-generation Dutch Muslims, the emphasis, in their case, as Lewis notes, on "Muslim."
A summit among leaders is unlikely to make them change their minds. Moreover, as Lewis reminds us, during the 1979 American hostage crisis in Teheran, hostages were held far longer than planned, simply because "statements from Washington made it clear [to the hostage-takers] that there was no danger of serious action against them."
All of this is not to say that I support any and all military action, or defend violent retribution as a rule. I don't. But it is to explain that ascribing the roots of jihad to economic "imbalances" is fundamentally naive, and that seeking a solution to the conflict in conversation, while a picturesque ideal, is in fact and in no small way, dangerous.
"Goatf____rs," Theo van Gogh called Muslim extremists in his columns and interviews in newspapers and on TV. It was an ugly word, a hideous word, a hate-filled word: but it was a word. He talked.
His killer didn't.
And there we have the crux of the matter: intellectuals, some, don't have the sense to realize that one cannot talk to a pit bull. The solution is to have your own pit bull.
Monday, October 24, 2005
Below we post a lovely essay from New Criterion Magazine. We'll keep our comment this short, adding only that the photo above is indeed of the notorious Walter Duranty whose ghost still haunts the halls of the Times.
Martin Heidegger once said that the fundamental metaphysical question is "Why is there something rather than nothing?" While waiting for an answer to that query, we would like to offer for the consideration of our readers a less fundamental, but perhaps no less pressing, metaphysical question: "How is it that cultural coverage in The New York Times, which yesterday seemed as awful as it was possible to be, is today even worse?" This ever-fresh question deserves serious thought. How do they do it: each week a little more tawdry and demotic, more politically correct, less intellectually nimble and journalistically serious.
Some of you may immediately object, pointing out that this prodigy of deterioration is by no means confined to the Times's coverage of culture. We concede the point. After all, we are talking about a newspaper that actually employs Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich, and Bob Herbert, not as comic relief but as some of its star pundits. These are moveon.org folks, infatuated by a combination of narcissism, ideology, and moral hysteria. And let's not forget that cynosure of fatuousness, Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger, the perpetually adolescent publisher of the Times, who sets the tone. In matters big and small, young (we speak characterologically) Sulzberger can be counted on to do the wrong thing. Remember the Howell Raines/Jayson Blair affair? Pinch blustered his support for the plagiarist and his boss until it looked as if it might actually cost him something, and then he cut them loose and went into full therapy mode, with hand-wringing memos about How Things Must Be Done at the Times. Remember the recent flap over demands that the Pulitzer Prize for Walter "Friend of Joe Stalin" Duranty be rescinded? The Times couldn't give it back, Pinch said, because it didn't actually have the award. Yes, and here's where you quote Dorothy Parker about Marie of Roumania.
The truth is, deterioration at the Times is a rich subject, full of cautionary tales about how a great liberal institution can go rancid by making a caricature of its principles and adulterating its work. When a great newspaper's front page is indistinguishable from its editorial page, and its editorial page is indistinguishable from a transcript of a Democratic Party rally, journalistic decay is a certainty. But if what's happened to the Times's news reporting and opinion pages is an outrage—think only of the repulsive way in which the paper attempted to generate anti-Bush capital from the Katrina disaster—its coverage of culture is somehow more depressing than infuriating. Here, too, one finds the triumph of ideology over principle and an unseemly race to the lowest common denominator. Yet in matters of culture and the arts, the Times adds another dimension of depredation—we mean the element, half preposterous, half nauseating—of unthinking modishness.
An entire dissertation might be written about what has happened to The New York Times Book Review. In many respects, it is Exhibit "A" in the metaphysical sweepstakes under discussion. It was already as bad as it could get when a new editor came along and—treating readers to, inter alia, full-length reviews of tell-all books by famous porn stars, a garish redesign, and a steady diet of politically correct sermons about the world of ideas—somehow made it worse. Our favorite recent example was the preposterous essay by Jim Sleeper, a lecturer in political science at Yale, which attempted to rehabilitate Allan Bloom and The Closing of the American Mind for the Left. The basic argument was that Bloom's book was not the simple-minded prescriptive book it has often been taken to be (taken to be by the Left, that is, though Mr. Sleeper left out that bit). Ergo (note the logic), it cannot be something that would give aid and comfort to conservatives who, as everyone knows, are simple-minded, prescriptive ideologues. It would have been funny if it hadn't been in earnest. But of course it was in earnest. Everything about the Times is oh-so-earnest—which is not at all the same thing as serious. (Indeed, the divagations of the Times form a revealing object lesson in the extent to which the earnest, fueled by the emotion of virtue, is often the enemy of the genuinely serious.)
Much more could be said about the Times Book Review. But what caught our attention most recently was the lead article, by Ginia Bellafante, in the Sunday arts pages for September 18. Entitled "Bill T. Jones Is About to Make People Angry. Again.," this 2,200-word valentine to the fifty-three-year-old black, HIV-positive choreographer-activist (get the picture?) was partly an exercise in hagiography, partly an ideological position paper. The occasion for the article was "Blind Date," a new dance by Mr. Jones which was due to premier in New York at the end of September.
Ms. Bellafante begins with a little praeludium about her subject's "fabled musculature," on view for her amidst the "soaring windows" in his studio above Times Square and for readers of the Times courtesy of an artsy color photograph. Now, the truth is that Bill T. Jones is one of those artists better known for his political positions than his art. He is a sort of anti- or inverse George Balanchine—that is, he is more interested in movements than in movement. But he is exactly the sort of figure to appeal to the Times. He is the right race, loudly advertizes the right sexual inclinations, and suffers from the world's most politically correct malady. He also, of course, espouses the right sort of politics—not just on soap boxes and in manifestoes but also, or so we are told, in the very guts of his choreography.
The spectacle of the Times writing about such a figure is awe-inspiring. Kid gloves are insufficiently obsequious for the task. But Ms. Bellafante proves herself mistress of the required rhetoric. "Blind Date," she informs us, had its origin in a speech that Mr. Jones heard in Germany last year in which the speaker warned that words like "honor" and "valor" had been "cheapened, emptied and recast as purely anachronistic." Well, yes, as Thucydides pointed out, periods of cultural upheaval are also periods of linguistic disintegration. But that is not quite what Ms. Bellafante meant. "The last presidential election," she writes, brought Mr. Jones's "relatively vague ideas about civil malaise into sharp focus." Ah, yes: "the last presidential election." That would be the one in which George W. Bush beat John Kerry, right? Now, what do you suppose our Paper of Record will make of this? Whose side do you suppose they will take? Take your time. And while you ponder, consider how Ms. Bellafante weaves her garland. Mr. Jones, she writes,
responded not with a screed calling for the dismantling of the Bush White House or the secession of the Northeast. Instead, invoking Bach, he set about to create a work of choreography endorsing the values of the Enlightenment, a piece that would cast a critical eye on what he described as a national atmosphere of "toxic certainty." And he has done so with a series of segments that question the expediency of war, reflect on limited opportunities for the urban poor and remark on the centrality of sexual moralism to the Republican agenda.
"Blind Date" does not try to obfuscate its point of view. It makes no pretenses to pure abstraction. This will, no doubt, agitate some observers, just as Mr. Jones's work has done before. But what is truly striking about the piece is that the politics Mr. Jones has in the past fought so fiercely to express sit squarely in the mainstream of American liberalism. "Blind Date" is in many ways the sort of composition that might have sprung from the forces of the Democratic National Committee were they inclined to think in pas de deux and counterpoint. Had Mr. Jones wanted a more literal title, he might have considered "Dancing for Howard Dean."
"Dancing for Howard Dean"? Yes, that is about right. But does that place Bill T. Jones "squarely in the mainstream of American liberalism"? It may well place him squarely in the mainstream of the Michael Moore, Howard Dean, Democracy Now crowd. That, thank heavens, is a far cry from the "the mainstream of American liberalism." Surely there are editors left at the Times who know this?
The remarkable thing about Ms. Bellafante's effort is not its politics—they are the usual off-the-rack left-wing pieties to which readers of the Times have long been inured—but rather its insinuations. Enlisting the devout J. S. Bach into the brigades of the Enlightenment is an amusing divertimento, a testament to audacity, possibly, or—could it be?—to simple ignorance. But what we really admired was the way Ms. Bellafante purveys the clichéd animosities of the Michael-Moore-Left as if they were startling new insights into the national soul. Mr. Jones offers us dances that "question the expediency of war, reflect on limited opportunities for the urban poor and remark on the centrality of sexual moralism to the Republican agenda." Hello? Is this a dance we are talking about? Or is it some species of political sermonizing? Can Mr. Jones tell the difference? Apparently not: "Mr. Jones refuses to classify some of his pieces as more political than others," Ms. Bellafante tells us, obviously as impressed by this as by her subject's musculature. "In his poststructuralist worldview, all art is political." Who would doubt it? And who would deny the label "poststructuralist" to his reasoning: "'Swan Lake,' he enjoys pointing out, was conceived to delight the aristocracy." Oh, we see: The aristocracy, i.e., the bad guys. Whatever was conceived to please them is ipso facto political. Another Marie of Roumania moment.
Ms. Bellafante or her editors want us to believe that "Blind Date" will make people angry. We very much doubt it. It is much more likely to make them yawn. The audience for his brand of politics-in-leotards already agrees with him about George W. Bush, the urban poor, sexual license, the war in Iraq, not to mention the environment, "women's rights," racism, and a thousand other such topics. Mr. Jones's performance will simply pander to their prejudices—always an agreeable thing, of course—but without the redeeming feature of anything aesthetically memorable. It's a mug's game, laughable in one sense but also a sad, weary-making, and depressing portent.This article originally appeared in
The New Criterion, Volume 24, October 2005, on page 1
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Below we have two versions of some of the most disgusting and hateful fascism in the world today, and the chances are that most people won't be bothered by it in the least. Though this is the very stuff of fascism, the kind of fascism that should have reasonable men and women in secret meetings plotting, in arms and in the jungles of the concrete kindergaartens of our modern cities, likely nothing will come of this, and tomorrow more will follow this, and then more. Who puts up with this? We do, we adults responsible and mature. We ordinary men and women.
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a school teacher in your face--forever.
UNESCO Takes Historical Step Against Cultural Invasion
By Ali Ihsan Aydin
Published: Thursday, October 20, 2005
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is preparing to adopt an international convention to protect cultural diversity around the world. The convention envisages the exclusion of cultural products from the category of commercial goods and confers expansive rights to countries to enable them to protect their cultures. The document will be put to vote on October 20, Thursday, at a UNESCO general assembly in Paris. In a preliminary vote held last week, 151 countries supported the convention while only the US and Israel voted against it. To put an end to the cultural expansionism of powerful countries is set as another objective. If the draft convention comes to effect, it would be possible for states to impose restrictions on the imports of foreign cultural content and to subsidize the domestic cultural production. Turkey has dropped its reservations on the draft upon the European Union's demand, adopting a joint-attitude with the Union and backing the convention, the approval of which is regarded as certain.
The Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions, drawn up after a two-year process of extensive study and discussion, aims to end cultural expansionism of powerful countries in order to protect cultural diversity in the globe. The UNESCO charter envisages excluding cultural products such as movies, music records and artworks from the category of commercial goods and confers ample rights on countries to take measures to protect their cultures and languages. If the draft passes and comes into effect, then a country that signed it can impose limitations on the imports of Hollywood movies, force radios to broadcast a certain percentage of domestic musical content and impose high taxes on the imports of foreign cultural content.
The United States, which has control over 80 percent of the culture industry as well as the cinema sector, is fighting "a diplomatic war" against the enterprise, which was pioneered by France and Canada two years ago. Although the US takes the position that cultures can best flourish in the free market economy, it opposes UNESCO's interference in economic strategies with the argument that the World Trade Organization (WTO) is entitled to be involved in economic matters. The culture commission, however, took a vote on Monday, with 151 votes for the agreement. Only Israel took sides with the US against and Austria and Kiribati were the abstentions. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rica reportedly wrote a letter to the UNESCO foreign ministers, threatening them with the US's departure from the UNESCO. The Americans previously abandoned the organization in 1984 on the pretext of its being politicized, but then returned to the organization in 2003.
U.N. Body Endorses Cultural Protection
U.S. Objections Are Turned Aside
Friday, October 21, 2005; Page A14
PARIS, Oct. 20 -- In a vote cast as a battle of global conformity vs. cultural diversity, delegates to a U.N. agency turned aside strong U.S. objections Thursday and overwhelmingly approved the first international treaty designed to protect movies, music and other cultural treasures from foreign competition.
The 148 to 2 vote at the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization emerged as a referendum on the world's love-hate relationship with Hollywood, Big Macs and Coca-Cola.
The American delegate doesn't like to hear the word 'protection,' " Joseph Yai Olabiyi Babalola, clad in the ornate gold robes of his tiny country, Benin, told UNESCO delegates. "Not all countries are equal -- some need to be protected."
U.S. officials say the measure could be used to unfairly obstruct the flow of ideas, goods and services across borders. Films and music are among the United States' largest exports -- the foreign box-office take for American movies was $16 billion in 2004. Assuring access to overseas markets for these products has been a prime U.S. goal at the World Trade Organization.
Louise Oliver, U.S. ambassador to UNESCO, told delegates at the organization's headquarters near the Eiffel Tower that the measure was "too flawed, too prone to abuse for us to support." She contended that dictators could potentially use it to control what their citizens read.
The measure passed at a time of growing fear in many countries that the world's increasing economic interdependence, known as globalization, is bringing a surge of foreign products across their borders that could wipe out local cultural heritage. France, for instance, has long kept measures in place to protect its film industry against imports, notably Hollywood productions.
Called the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of Diversity of Cultural Expressions, the document approved Thursday declares the rights of countries to "maintain, adopt and implement policies and measures that they deem appropriate for the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions on their territory."
Cultural expressions are defined as including music, art, language and ideas as well as "cultural activities, goods and services."
The convention would go into effect if 30 countries ratify it, a step that U.S. officials say is inevitable.
What its practical effect would be remains unclear. But proponents and dissenting U.S. officials agree that it would at least allow countries to require that imported movies have subtitles or dubbing in native languages.
Advocates say it could help small nations promote and distribute their cultural products on the world market.
Supporters included some of America's closest allies, such as Canada and Britain. British delegate Timothy Craddock called the document "clear, carefully balanced and consistent with the principles of international law and fundamental human rights."
In the vote, only Israel sided with the United States. Four countries abstained.
The showdown came two years after the United States rejoined UNESCO following a two-decade boycott that began over objections to the organization's media policy. Many American officials said UNESCO was inherently anti-American.
"Everyone would love to make this into some big U.S.-against-the-world routine," U.S. delegate Oliver said in an interview, insisting that the vote was not a sign of anti-Americanism. "It's the U.S. standing for principles, the U.S. standing for freedom, the U.S. saying things that should be said."
She and other U.S. officials have not suggested that the United States might withdraw from UNESCO again over this issue.
The vote came less than a month after delegates at a U.N.-organized summit in Geneva sided against the United States to try to remove technical control of the Internet from U.S. hands. Talks deadlocked after the European Union refused to support the United States, in a move that stunned American officials.
"In the battles over issues critical to shaping the globe in the 21st century," French sociologist Eric Fassin said, "each side is defending its own best interests." Most of the world, he said, is asking: "Is there only one way to look at things?"
Proponents are uncertain how the convention would be enforced or how potential conflicts with the free-trade rules of the World Trade Organization would be resolved. The convention states that it is not intended to overrule existing treaties but would have equal force with future ones.
The case above is the most striking of all examples we can find recently of Left dhimmi fascism. Its very innocuousness is the worst of it. This is the end of freedom in the West. Yeah, it's only movies and books, and others will take their places, original media, local productions, more viewpoints, authentic, traditional, unalienated, volkish.