I think we need a bit of a breather from all the pseudo-intellectual ranting. Only this morning I saw some fallen Christian write that "relativism is indisputable" - whereas we have seen - it hasn't got a leg to stand on. Which brings me to another one of post fin-de-siècle's mysteries: is it me or is irrationality on the rise, especially among classes that are supposed to be the strongholds of reason? These are interesting times, in so far that at this moment there is hardly anyone alive (I think), who has seen the last time in human history, that there was so much confusion about.
Which provides me with a convenient bridge to one of the most interesting books written in recent years. Published in 2005 I'm surprised it didn't get more attention before now; but then, it is reality based! I read it a year ago when I was preparing the ground in Athens for my impending emigration. Bought, in a draughty airport bookshop - a place mostly associated with the lighter digestible material - "The Orientalist" by Tom Reiss provides some valuable understandings and profound insights into a world that is now gone, but that is impacting us until this day.
The book has a few lessons too, if we are willing to internalize them. I am at present re-reading it and propose - whenever I hit a passage worth sharing - to jot down some notes in this blog. For those interested in another perspective on history, or a holiday from ethnocentricity, this is it. Multicultis: off your lazy bums and to the bookshop with you! (Or hit the Library button on your left hand side.)
It tells the story of the author of what can be termed, Azerbaijan's national novel: Ali and Nino, the tale of a Muslim boy and a Christian girl, set in the oil capital Baku. The author of this national treasure, Lev Nussimbaum, was born there in a railway carriage, in the midst of the failed revolution of 1905 as the son of Jewish parents: father an oil magnet, mother a revolutionary, would be suicide and an associate of the Georgian Koba Djukashvili, in later years known by his nom-de-guerre, Joseph Stalin.
The latter, having been thrown out of seminary (one can only guess why, or the reason for entering in the first place), operated in those years in Baku where - due to the vast oil wealth - there was a lot of expropriation to do. Reading his exploits, one is reminded of the early years of Saddam Hussein in Iraq: setting out as a thuggish enforcer of the imperial secret police, the Okhrana, he soon developed into a revolutionary in his own right: terrorist attacks, intimidation, extortion and kidnappings were the order of the day.
Russia was of course fertile breeding ground for the revolution, that had been in the making since 1881, when the liberal and progressive Czar Alexander II was killed in a terrorist attack by a group called The People's Will. But it took until 1917 to come to full fruition.
Feudalism like we knew it in Europe, with a hierarchy of aristocratic nobility from the king or emperor downwards, was non-existent in Russia. There was the Czar and there was serfdom, only abolished in 1861 (!) by said Alexander II, and nothing in between. To put this in perspective, when Parisians were shouting à la Lanterne!, in Russia Czarina Catharine the Great was granting basic rights to the nobility.
My grandfather used to say, that one's social class is betrayed by whom you look down at. He meant, that the queen doesn't look down on the cleaning lady (they are probably on first name terms), but the doorman does. Accordingly, while Russia's new middle-class was acting this out by turning serfs into slaves, another social mechanism kicked in: the well-educated children and grand-children of the new middle-class turned against it. They became the self-appointed advocates for the exploited and downtrodden, turning themselves into the engine of the revolution, as the downtrodden themselves were rather loath to up the barricades.
We have seen the same happening in our own time with Mohamed Atta c.s. on 9/11, and before them the Bader Meinhoff Group and the Rote Armee Faction. All combined to a fatal potion: a mentality by which the end justifies the means, the glorification of violence as the exclusive means towards the realization of The People's Will (no pain, no glory), the prescribed philosophy for the Russian engine of the revolution: nihilism, Paul Cliteur's accusation of Stuart Sim, that sent the latter into the chandeliers.
The Russian agitatist-terrorist groups bore names that makes Al Qa'ida look a rather unimaginative crowd: Death for Death, The League of the Red Fuse, The Terrorist Individuals, The Anarchist Blackmailers, etc. Starting out as self-styled people's advocates, their actions soon became violence for its own sake. The assassinated Czar Alexander II was succeeded by his son Alexander III, whose first act was the re-call the modern oukazes of his father, and afterwards did little else but clamping down on the revolutionaries.
It may be argued - as some now do - that clamping down probably made matters worse: the revolutionaries even preferred a tightly closed lid so that when a hole was breached, steam would be let off proper, thus fuelling the revolutionary zeal. But without the proper controls and repressive measures The Black Hand would have agitated twice as hard for the lack of it, and so as to compensate for more steam. There doesn't seem to be a 'right' way, to react to terrorism. Clamping down quick, still seems to be cautious advice.
But the environment for terrorists and agitators to foster in the first place, is a police-state that is characterised by oppression, injustice and exploitation; not one subjected to the rule of law, democratic principles and the occasional well-deserved critique. The conclusion that a democratic process in the Middle East is long overdue, seems to be not that far fetched.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
I think we need a bit of a breather from all the pseudo-intellectual ranting. Only this morning I saw some fallen Christian write that "relativism is indisputable" - whereas we have seen - it hasn't got a leg to stand on. Which brings me to another one of post fin-de-siècle's mysteries: is it me or is irrationality on the rise, especially among classes that are supposed to be the strongholds of reason? These are interesting times, in so far that at this moment there is hardly anyone alive (I think), who has seen the last time in human history, that there was so much confusion about.
Monday, February 26, 2007
Sometimes, on these winter Athenian nights when the cold winds blow in over the Carpathian mountain range, a terrible noise can be heard, sharply penetrating the broody dark of the night's sky, riding the waves of a million demons and piercingly echoing through the silence of The Lighthouse, sending the cat, fur on end, into the curtains: the witch-finder's shriek with the familiar re-occurrence of a word I thought staked, suitably buried and garlicked nearly half a century ago. And considering its hailing I suddenly realised hence the relativist and multiculti winds blow. The retrospective state of apoplexy caused by that awe inspiring word ...Authority... gives away the 1968 iconoclast identity.
What is it with the baby-boom generation and authority - the justification of power - that awakes the damnedest in them? It is work for the good doctor, I think - perhaps she has some slot on the couch available shortly?
"If there is no right and there is no wrong, you cannot blame anyone anymore than you can blame them for the colour of their hair", reads a memo in my notebook. "This is a convenient situation for some people", you might be inclined to think. Yes, it is called relativism and it is thought up and developed by a category of people that from experience has learnt a few useful ideological survival tricks: see that you get a gullible popular movement behind you that believes in make-ability, and if what you propagate turns ugly, see you have an exit strategy to pass up the blame.
What The Unholy Alliance of convenience, of assertive Muslims, habitual Western iconoclasts and their Leftist dupes, in fact is doing, is furthering their misguided ideals of salvation for all, and when things go wrong or they are disproved by adverse facts on the ground, with a pointer to relativism say 'well, don't look at us'.
Nice Left-leaning people like the Euston Manifesto signatories and Stuart Sim aren't really relativists, and neither are the other self-confessed adherents to universal values, freedom of speech and expression and other such eternal truths. Because you cannot be both: relativism states that there is no truth, eternal, universal or otherwise. If that's leading cold incisive logic too far, just ignore, rename or spin it - as Professor Sim prefers to do. You end up with something like, the sun but without all that heat. It sounds nice but it doesn't exist.
At present they subscribe to relativism and multiculturalism simply because it offers the latest opportunity to wreck the enterprise called Western civilization. At a given point - some, a lot later than others - they got disenchanted with communism and its derivatives. That particular fruit of the Enlightenment at first looked like the most promisingly road to destruction. After its glory-less demise - leaving behind millions of victims, wrecked economies and pointlessly destroyed lives just to prove the people's authority - for a while they sat brooding, oozing cynical nihilism, unlike Nazi adherents, ducking responsibility for the misery they caused or advocated.
But never caring all that much for logic and consistency anyway, they adopted relativism and multiculturalism in a last ditch effort not to go into history as the generation of total losers. One last shot at leaving a permanent mark before being pensioned off, to wait out the pointless existence on planet Earth until - in full and final settlement - the physical atoms start disintegrating and the soul with Asmodean shriek commits itself to the realm of all pretenders to total power.
They didn't succeed in the past and I pray Our Good God that they won't succeed with the present project either, but at what price this time?
Saturday, February 24, 2007
In last week's two part post A Failed State on a World-Wide Scale we saw how Paul Cliteur in Falling Prey to Relativism refuted Stuart Sim's radical multiculturalist posit, that all that isn't relativist, is in fact fundamentalism. Cliteur said: "Multiculturalists also reject the universality of Enlightenment ideas of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, viewing them instead as isolated preoccupations of no universal appeal and ... just one more kind of fundamentalism that has to be rejected." One wonders why all the Leftist and Liberal adherents to the notion seem to be unaware of that!
Cliteur also accused Sim of nihilism, which seems to have touched a raw nerve, an allegation that Sim is at present endeavouring to refute in the article Don't Blame the Post-Moderns - something that I personally do incessantly as I blame them for almost every current ill in the world. We will see how far he gets.
First a short reminder of Cliteur's accusation addressed to Sim c.s., Timothy Garton Ash and Ian Buruma.
- "What Sim wants to encourage is a kind of radical skepticism toward all ideas of authority ('the more scepticism the better')".
- "The reasonings of postmodern relativists have preposterous consequences, but these consequences logically flow from the postmodern outlook".
- Cliteur expressed his "worry about this relativistic - or rather, nihilistic - position, in that it makes Western societies easy prey for the ideology of radical Islamism".
- "Demonizing every criticism on religious mentalities as "polarizing" and "provocation" denies even the right to defend democratic institutions. That would be a suicidal position", says Cliteur. I call it immoral and authorophobic.
The French writer Pascal Bruckner in a refute Enlightenment: fundamentalism or racism of the anti-racists? takes it yet one step further, calling the multicultural efforts, propagation of "legal Apartheid" and a display of "a neo-colonial attitude towards 'the natives'", leaving them to celebrate their 'otherness' in their own ethnic and religious enclaves and reservations.
The author exposes the symptoms of the relativist error, the inherent paradoxymora  that it "accords the same treatment to all communities, but not to the people who form them, denying them the freedom to liberate themselves from their own traditions."
At that point it dawned on me that multiculturalism isn't concerned with individual rights. Quite on the contrary! Its implicit premise is the submission of the individual to the group; the latter is declared sacrosanct and untouchable. It has no place for dissidents like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an icon of individualism. "Multi-culturalism's crypto-totalitarian and dictatorial character is shining through here", I stated in that post. It's a profound accusation that I propose to work out further in a dedicated article.
I do not propose to repeat each polemist's posits verbatim as anyone can read the articles for themselves. Rather I add my own comments and draw conclusions as per above. No doubt Paul Cliteur will in turn refute Sim's allegations. Let's at present move on to Sim's refute.
At which point ... about three hours later ... in a fit of sheer hysterical madness I tore up the whole thing! In all honesty, I find it deeply depressing and not a little disturbing that intellectuals - as Professor Sim - inhabit places of higher learning and is set loose on our children and politicians. What he's lacking in academic attitude and logic, he makes up for in unresolved youthful issues towards religion and God. He seems to be stuck in a 1968 time warp of anti-authoritarianism out of which there seems no escape; hence perhaps his almost skatalogically immature obsession with the transcendental - it borders on paranoia.
Every other sentence is refutable and wide open to attack. Frankly, I simply do not have so much time and I doubt my readers have either. I hope Paul Cliteur will make mince-meat of this shoddy piece of sophistry that uncovers once more relativism and multiculturalism for the nonsense and time-waster that it is.
Professor Sim launches completely off the rails and into thin space rather early in the piece, stating: "Multiculturalism has its drawbacks and paradoxes, but it is still worth defending if the alternative is enforced cultural homogeneity". God forbid! The last half of that statement is self-explanatory in its lack of an example on the real ground (please, not again Al Andaluz!). As to the former half I can only lament that if a philosopher finds himself in the presence of a paradox and isn't alerted to the fact that something might be seriously flawed in his logic, then frankly - I don't wanna know ... it is deeply depressing.
I'm giving up on the polemics of the Kindergarten variety on the relativist treasure trove, the German government sponsored "international debating site" that seeks to counter the "American dominance" of their own language. Intellectual flatulence indeed!
Friday, February 23, 2007
While yesterday I had a bit of a breather thanks to Danny Carlton's new CrossPosted initiative, things are now piling up quite heavily and the back-log is becoming apparent all over the house. The relativist treasure trove Signandsight has posted a reply from Professor Stuart Sim (if it isn't relativst, it's fundamentalist!) to Paul Cliteur's Falling Prey to Relativism. (See posts A Failed State on a World-wide Scale and Leviathan.) If that's not enough multiculturalism, our Muslim brothers are also at it, again. Let's take one at a time:
The new Dutch government has officially been installed, and truth be told, it doesn't look good. While I have no intention of getting into matters of taxation and just who is going to pay up - any post 1945 government of whatever colour or description has been equally expert at this form of daylight robbery - it is at once apparent that the Labour Party has returned to power, judging by appointments that basically come down to, on the one hand employing the fox to run the hen-house and on the other, letting the flea circus run itself. While the previous message to immigrants was, assimilate or do - whatever it is you are doing - elsewhere, the new tenure has unearthed the old multiculturalist adagium, by all means celebrate your own culture in your own ghetto. Back to square one. Long live the burqa! Go ahead, draw a bag over your head and call it personal choice and respect for women! Multiculture wins, society looses.
Meanwhile in Iraq it's Hypocrisy Revealed: "Sunni insurgent groups including al-Qaida in Iraq have called for revenge attacks after a second rape allegation against the Shiite-dominated security forces." While it is too sad of words that a chance of civilised government is being squandered in this way, it must be stated that under the old regime nobody ever talked about it, but this was regretfully the norm. And that was just rape in the name of law enforcement. Saddam's boys had made it a habit to commit - how did Ann Coulter describe it? - recreational serial rape! Now the shoe is on the other foot, but at least at present Sunnis are in a position to cry foul!
In the U.S. justice has its course - at least, that is what we must assume (if it doesn't mirror the case of Eric O. in the Netherlands). A soldier of the U.S. army, who has been accused of being part of a group, which raped and murdered an Iraqi girl and killed members of her family, has been given a sentence of 100 years in a military prison.
The Daily Telegraph has Tony Blair on the couch: in an article "The Unspoken Truth Behind Blair Interview" it alleges the U.K. Prime Minister is in denial in his Today interview, insisting that the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq was not an admission of failure but a sign that its fledgling democracy was growing stronger. While this may be the obvious conclusion of the neutral observer, to the anti-war activist it is the umpteenth sign of lies, more lies, giving raise to rage, and more rage! Although my time is scarce and bathroom chores await, I don't mind throwing caution to the wind and fisk this article to shreds for a while. Let's see:
Q: What he did not say: It's not the British but the US forces who are patrolling Baghdad who are much more unpopular.
A. Yes, perhaps ... but what has that got to do with 80-90 percent of the violence being caused by terrorism? Even if it were penguins it wouldn't make a difference. The terrorists don't throw bombs at the troops because of their unpopularity, but because they cannot let go of total power and because their interests are best served under chaotic and hopeless conditions. (Unpopular indeed, as if it were Top of the Pops which is no longer attainable!)
Q: What he did not say: The militias carrying out the killings could not have existed under Saddam.
A. Indeed. In the time of Saddam it was Saddam doing the killing. It has been calculated that the rate of deaths per 24 hours stood at 240, a figure - in spite of all the terrorism and revenge killings going on - not matched till this day.
Q: What he did not say: Estimates of Iraqi casualties range from 150,000 to 650,000 with more than two million people fleeing the country.
A. Yes, my aunt may have 1 million in the bank, but it may actually be six! It so happens that it is not the allied troops that torture people to death each God-given night, dumping their bodies in the streets. Neither do they plant IEDs, nor as a rule do they commit kidnappings and hostage takings. Moreover, as per above.
Q: What he did not say: It took far too long to replace them (the Ba'athist Iraqi police force and army).
Yes, it takes a bit of time to replace the entire police and army of a country going 27 million inhabitants. The quicker you do it, the less you're able to do the proper screening so as to avoid infiltration by general bad hats and re-hire former rapists (see above rape allegation), etcetera.
Q: What he did not say: An opinion poll cited by senior Democrat and Republicans in Washington showed 61 per cent of Iraqis favoured armed attacks on coalition forces.
A: While it is quite an achievement to conduct an opinion poll under the circumstances, armed attacks are not carried out by the respondents, but by different lots. These, we must assume, weren't voluntarily participating in the poll.
Q: What he could not say: It would be political disaster to even countenance it (after withdrawing troops, having to redeploy because of adverse circumstances).
A: No, sunny side up.
Q: What he did not say: His own focus groups show that most voters think suicide bombers have come to Britain because of Iraq.
A: This is a peculiar way of reframing "extremists previously used Kosovo, Palestine and Kashmir as justification for terrorism". And, as we know, opinion shouldn't be confused with fact. Roger Bacon, English philosopher (1214-1292) identified several obstacles to truth, among them uninstructed popular opinion and long-standing but erroneous custom.
Q: What he did not say: How does this (interventions in removing dictatorships from Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq) square with my prediction after one month as Prime Minister: "Mine is the first generation able to contemplate the possibility that we may live without going to war or sending our children to war."
A: It doesn't. Ah, live can be a bummer, can't it?
The rest is too much innuendo and drawing on sentiment, to be worthy of my time. Time for the weekly cat litter.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
I noticed I hadn't been getting any updates from Stop the ACLU, then realized that I had accidentally blocked the email address I'd given them. I always had a problem having to reformat the entry they provided. What they emailed didn't have paragraph tags, and what was on their site had other tags I didn't want.
Lately I've been working with article directories, setting some up http://resourceshop.net/, http://hyux.com/, http://dogs-cats-pets.net/, http://blogepublishing.com/, http://homeschoolarticles.net/ and also submitting some of my posts to various directories. In the process I've looked through several different article directory scripts.
Then the two came together! Bloggers cross post entries all the time. Why not have a place where bloggers can go to look at posts other bloggers think are worth cross posting? The current scripts available all had problems, but they were fixable. I quickly got the domains name http://beta.blogger.com/, set up an account on my server, and within 5 minutes of coming up with the idea, the site was live. Last night I tweaked the script I'd chosen and have the site fully functional. I'll be working on the overall design over the next couple of weeks, but for now it's ready to be used.
This is also a great tool for those who run BlogBursts. It will allow you to more easily provide the posts to be used in the BlogBurst, as well as provide a more useable and uniform HTML code. As the site grows, it will also be a way for other bloggers to find out about your BlogBurst and join.
Author: Danny Carlton. Cross posted from JackLewis.net.
Danny Carlton has blogged at JackLewis.net for several years now.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Today I can proudly announce that we have found our post-modern fallacy (PMF) number 13! A lucky number and so central to our research into the fatal pseudo-philosophy of relativism.
Have you ever wondered about the ego inflation going on in the bl*#%y blegosphere and elsewhere in the post-modern world? Antwerp's city poet Ramsey Nasr once remarked of Dutch young men that they are arrogant little blighters whom somehow have learnt they are important (or words to that effect). Now we know why (and it isn't just their mothers that are to blame, and it surely isn't just Dutch young men! Here goes:
13. Relativist pseudo-philosophy causes ego-centrism and pompousness
It's the fallacy that denies objective truth that lurks at the very bottom of the fatal mistake (I should have known!). A young lay philosopher The Barefoot Bum summed it up as follows:
"Statements about ethics have an absolute truth-value if and only if they are stated relative to some subjective entity or property. 'Killing people for fun is wrong,' has no truth-value. 'The Barefoot Bum violently disapproves of killing people for fun.' does have truth-value (as is in fact true)."It's the error of which Albert Einstein famously said, "do you really think the world isn't there when you aren't looking at it?". Antony Rizzi has devoted an entire book to the subject, Science before Science, a guide to thinking in the 21st century. The problem with modern science is that students don't do proper natural philosophy - think it beneath them, and for Middle Agers, Aquinas (St Thomas, a Scholastic and only one of the finest minds in history) and such - hence the basic errors and the laughable results in theoretical physics, that comes up with an unlimited amounts of parallel universes and what else have you (two membranes, I believe?).
Now that we know where that self-importance and ego-centrism stems from - each person literally the Master of the Universe - we can concentrate on two remaining mysteries: on the one hand what is with the present obsession with the trivial, and on the other the habitual and disproportionate terms of force directed at all and sundry.
When I started out with this blog I had one huge question mark: whatever has gotten into people these days. But bit by bit I find the answers to my query - thirteen of them to date - and all can be traced back to the relativist blunder as per above. George Weigel often states that ideas have consequences: well, here's your proof if there ever was one!
A small thing, huge consequences.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Regular readers know how charmed the undersigned is by polls and surveys: not! But now there's the BBC World Islam-West relations survey that polled people in 27 countries and it might actually be considered a valid one since those questioned may actually influence the outcome on the ground.
Its most significant find was that an average οf 56% see that common ground between the Muslim and the Western world, could be found. That's a majority, but let's be honest, not one that could bear the epithet overwhelming, but still - let's call it realistic.
There's hardly a news outlet of any description that doesn't carry the results. So I thought to conduct a meta-survey of my own in an understated sort of way: a little poll of polls. I took five articles from different parts of the world and tried to see what stands out. No scientific conclusions of course and I don't propose to repeat their findings, so the links are included:
1. The original BBC World article ("Poll sees hope in West-Islam ties");
2. Today's Zaman from Turkey ("Global Public rejects 'clash of civilizations');
3. Gulf News ("Majority do not believe world is locked in a 'clash of civilizations');
4. The Muslim News from London (West, Islam tensions caused by 'political power', says poll");
5. Canada.com ("Many blame Islamic-Western tensions on 'intolerant minorities', poll finds").
I use the term positive where it means that common ground can be found. If a violent conflict is seen as inevitable, I use the term negative.
1. The original BBC World article breaks down 12 countries surveyed, but surprisingly has no interest in Egypt. It singles out Nigeria as an ominous example, theatre of frequent clashes of civilization. The figures for that country break down as follows: 56% see religion as the source of tensions, but still as much as 53% are positive, while 37% are negative.
2. The Turkish paper is the only one that breaks down the positive stand in Christians (51%) and Muslims (55%). Of the European countries surveyed it only finds Germany and Russia of enough interest to list. It also mentions Nigeria (see 1. for figures). It lists the U.S., but not the U.K., France and Canada.
3. Gulf News gives no breakdown at all and concentrates on the averages: 56% positive, 28% negative, 52% blame politics and 29% point the finger at religion.
4. Muslim News from London is a little more specific: it lists Lebanon, the U.S., the U.K., the Catholic bulwark Italy, multicultural flagship Canada, France, and Mexico as the positive outsider (69%). It also goes heavily down on the averages: 55% of Muslims surveyed blame politics, of the negatives 35% are Muslim while 27% is Christian. Religion is blamed by 26% and 58% point the finger at violent minorities.
5. The only thing that really stands out is that Canada is cooking the books in Nigeria: while the original poll says that 53% surveyed see common ground, Canada.com maintains that 63% say an accord can be reached (about what?!).
While the German Government is subsidizing English language 'high culture' website Signandsight for the express purpose of 'countering' the dominance of American influence of their own language, and hired a French editor to do so (oh, grow up!), the vilified right-wing transatlantic press is busy writing the finest articles on Islam that I've seen in a long time. While Europe is passively contemplating its own slow suicide by multiculturalism through fruitless debate based on personal opinion, America is analyzing the problem and is trying to solve it in a realistic fashion.
It may be anathema for those that seek a solution in an idealistic nowhere land, but Townhall.com's columnist Frank Pastore in a two part article "Islam is not the Enemy" (parts I and II) in part I sums it up as follows:
"Lastly, of the many things it means to be an American, it certainly means that you will fight for the political right of your neighbor to be theologically wrong–that’s the Constitution. An American believes that you can be any religion–or no religion–that you choose, as long as you don’t try to legitimize an immoral act in the name of your religion, such as polygamy, temple prostitution, or illicit drug use. Our Founders believed it best to be a Christian people with a secular form of government, and this hybrid is in large part evidence of the genius of this experiment in self-government. It is a testimony of our greatness that we would fight to protect the right of Muslims to worship freely in America. Let’s make the distinction from now on: We are not at war with Islam, but at war with radicals doing evil in the name of Islam."Pascal Bruckner in his polemic "Enlightenment: Fundamentalism or Racism of the Anti-racists", a peculiar title if you don't know that multiculturalists see all that isn't relativist as fundamentalism, acknowledges that "secularism was written into the Gospels". Indeed: "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s", Jesus Christ is quoted as saying. This has given rise in the very early Middle Ages to the Division of Church (Pope) and State (Emperor). It is a very interesting subject about which misunderstandings and confusion galore! I'd be grateful for any contributions of people in the know. At some point I propose to do a series of posts on the subject in an effort to establish some clarity.
In fact secularism can only have flourished in the Christian culture. In a recent Dutch study about the contemporary state of belief the conclusion is made that "... only a culture (the Christian) that makes such a division in domains (religion and state) ... can construct a word for such a notion (religion) ." In other words, other cultures do not know such a division, and secularism couldn't have come to fruition in any other culture.
Those who value the secular, the cherished neutral state: laïcité, Radical Enlightenment, a culture of life, had better come to value and defend Christianity. And this is why - in spite of it sounding perhaps crude or impolite to non-Christians, and multicultis whose only belief is their own fallacy - Frank Pastore is spot on when he states that: "our Founders believed it best to be a Christian people with a secular form of government" and that Christian morality needs to set the norm as the sole guarantor of peace and space for all.
The second piece of insight is an article that has come my way by means of an unlikely place, a digital 'cowboy' in the American Midwest operating a blog called 'Barking Moonbat Early Warning System', a political and literary gem! In a post "Islam Divided" he's relaying us an article "Sunni vs. Shi'a: It's not all Islam" by Ralph Peters, a former CIA intelligence analyst, from which I'll give you one paragraph as a night cap:
"We’re a fringe player in multiple zero-sum struggles: Persian Zoroastrianism in Muslim garb vs. Bedouin fascism; multiple insurgencies within the Sunni global campaign to re-establish the Caliphate; an interfaith competition to jump-start an apocalypse; an old ethnic struggle between Persians and Arabs; and a distinctly Zoroastrian struggle between good and evil (alert the White House)."
Monday, February 19, 2007
Although I'm preparing a major piece with astonishing revelations on the favorite subject, today Ash Monday (in Greek Clean Monday, Kathara Devtera) some noteworthy news items. First, what happened to Geert Wilders, the Freedom Party's M.P. in the Dutch Parliament? Well, never a dull moment, as they say.
For starters he's doubting if he should go on a Parliamentary 'fact-finding mission' to Pakistan and Afghanistan shortly. He's already on 24/7 police protection and he just hurled a major insult at the Prophet, hypothetically advocating deportation accompanied by tar and feathers treatment. Since this is punishable by death in Pakistan it is perhaps to be recommended to either stay at home or consider a trip to the sea-side instead.
Before he does so, it is to be decided if he should perhaps retract the whole blasphemous thing, including his words regarding the Koran, of which he said that half should be trashed before it becomes a respectable book. The Saudi government is 'unofficially' demanding a retraction and an apology to the ummah. I wouldn't go to Pakistan, if I were Geert. Doing so would be wreckless.
Equal rights for all ... except for Dutch municipal registry officials, if the Amsterdam 'gay community' gets their way. Not content with getting the preposterous concept of same sex marriage generally accepted, the Amsterdam Pink Action Group (or whatever the name of this little pressure society is) is insisting that present freedom of conscience of marriage officials - having the right to refuse marrying gay couples should they wish so - should be abolished. Mind you, they're still able to marry, only the proceedings will be done by an official who has no scruples in that regard. The 'gay community' however is as persistent as ever and is of the opinion, if there are officials with uncalled for discriminatory pangs of the conscience, they should go find themselves another job.
Expatica is reporting that "in the first nine months of last year almost 100,000 people left the Netherlands to settle elsewhere, 12,000 more than the same period in 2005... About half of the emigrants were Dutch natives ... if the trend continues, more than 130,000 people will have left the country by the end of this year.
Lebanon's Daily Star is reporting that British Anti-Terror Law also protects tyrants and dictators. Seems to me lawmakers are increasingly less able to do so. Loopholes and unintended effects abound!
The same paper also assures us that spring is in the air: The Taliban have deployed 10,000 fighters for a spring offensive of "bloody attacks" against foreign troops in Afghanistan, a rebel commander said on Friday.
Ending with some good news for the day! There are signs the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe is starting to show cracks as last! But it isn't a painless process ... Inflation has hit 1600 percent and "discontent is very high up to mid-level officers. They do not earn enough to buy basic groceries. They are suffering the hardships all of us suffer now, yet they are the ones Mugabe depends upon to be ruthless in putting down any opposition. It adds up to trouble for Mugabe."
Saturday, February 17, 2007
~ Continued from Part I ~
Today we're sustaining second instalments on two outstanding issues.
- For starters a follow-up on Thursday's sorry state of affairs in the Dutch Parliament.
- And Germany's magazine Die Zeit  has a commentary by Thomas Assheuer to Pascal Bruckner's polemic in defense of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Enlightenment: Fundamentalism or Racism of the Anti-racists", a peculiar title if you don't know that multi-culturalists see all that isn't relativist as fundamentalism; yesterday the focus was on Christianity, today it's the Enlightenment ideologies that are the culprits.
I don't have access to the original commentary in Die Zeit, so I'll have to build a refute on the basis of Signandsight's gist of it: the commentary starts with a rather empty qualification, calling Bruckner's article a 'breathless invective'. It's a wonder why they don't leave bitching to those who know how to apply it artfully!.
Having that out of they way, we get to substance of sorts with Assheuer's rather enigmatic conclusion that Bruckner is 'off target':
"... in the field of theory, multi-culturalism was the attempt to undo the Gordian knot of how a society ... treat(s) people who interpret these liberties as an attack on their religion. That is the question of questions." What? In Canada, in 1971?
Well, in the meantime we know the answer to the question of questions, which in fact should be reading "How do we deal with people in our midst that are out to destroy us from within?" I do understand reality on the ground is very disappointing to nice, liberal people who only want the best for everybody, but what can you do? Maybe it's time to start learning how to deal with reality ... In the meantime - it may be Signandsight's translation that's at fault here - but I don't see how Mr Assheuer's comment in any way refutes or even touches Bruckner's points.
Back to the Dutch Parliament, for which a very strong stomach is required indeed. Well, the jury is in. Today there's an avalanche of reactions of feckless peawits shouting 'Discrimination', missing the point altogether. Others seem to be having a vague inkling about what it is they're trying to accomplish - a perfectly legitimate query to be remedied by an Act of Parliament - but they're simply incapable of pinning it down, all fuzzed up as they are by the opposition interpreting their attempt in terms of emotion: "not very nice eh, calling people's loyalty into question", feigning shock and indignation over so much rudeness and ill will.
God give me strength! To think that people have given their lives to make this possible! In May it'll be one year since I emigrated and nobody in Holland as yet has even the beginnings of an inkling there's something wrong in the State of Malcontent. Of course it's relativism in action: there is no truth, only opinion and if you have an opinion that's considered unpleasant, you are at fault for not changing it to a more agreeable one: fact is confused with persons is confused with opinion is confused with bad manners!
Yesterday's developments can be comprised as follows:
- The Moroccan would-be junior Minister ascertains us of his loyalty till death do us part, after which he wants to be interred in heavy Dutch clay soil: that should convince us he's no 007 in His Majesty's Secret Service for the African dessert Kingdom.
- The Turkish junior Minister in spe can hardly wait to put her maiden policy in action, granting a general amnesty to thousands of illegal immigrants to be set loose on the continent, and says to have no intention of jilting the Turkish passport since she isn't doing anything illegal ... you know. Indeed the ditched Act should have seen to that! Oh, have I mentioned her intended place of business? At the Justice Department, top floor ... not the basement day care center!
In the meantime it transpired that the Speaker has no good excuse at all for declaring a member's Motion out of the order! She acted on her own initiative and out of politically correct indignation: and that, as they say, is that - none of her esteemed colleagues gets insulted on her watch! Case closed.
Of course there are academic relativist experts being unearthed who see no problem at all with Ministers and Secretaries carrying passports of foreign powers, but Maastricht University Professor Tak tells Elsevier Magazine that the matter should have been dealt with a long time ago. Unlike others, he does see risks involved. "National security is at risk - to my generation that grew up closer to World War II it is perhaps a more sensitive issue, but yes there is a risk and the point is, are we willing to take it? The Speaker has no business declaring the Wilders party's Motion out of the order. No matter what your take is on that party, from my expertise and perspective it is sheer necessity to debate the matter. But then that party, which has nine seats in Parliament and represents half a million voters is being told to shut up! Totally undemocratic. Pressure must be exerted on the Turkish and Moroccan governments  that force descendants of former citizens to automatically retain the parents' nationality. I ask you, is that acceptable? They want to keep their citizens without accepting the responsibility. It's undermining the principle of reciprocity and it is simply anti-social."
Elsevier confirm my suspicions that - having learnt nothing of the cold-shouldering of Pim Fortuyn (whose party has been decimated in the November elections) - we have all the makings here of a new cordon sanitaire, this time of Wilders' party. Next elections he may well double his seats! Hey, what's that squeak I hear? Oh, it's Leviathan  - ready for hatching ...
Friday, February 16, 2007
In The Netherlands Freedom's Party (PVV) leader Geert Wilders is this week once again at the centre of things. Not content with 24/7 personal protection and escaping last week's suicide attack, he caused great uproar this morning in Parliament by his endeavour to table a Motion calling for the newly formed cabinet to delay instating two junior Ministers of Turkish and Moroccan descent, pending parliamentary acceptance of an act initiated by the previous Cabinet against Government Ministers carrying dual nationality.
The new left-leaning House is likely to vote the proposal down. But the Parliamentary dust-up either highlights just how monstrously our anti-democratic Leviathan has already fledged, or that there could be some obscure piece of parliamentary procedure by which the Speaker is entitled to retaliate if the integrity of members is put in question.
Earlier this week Wilders hit the press, venting the opinion that if the Prophet Mohammed were living in the Netherlands today, he would have to be deported from the country. And if Muslims want to stay in the Netherlands, they must tear up and throw away half the Koran. Nasr Joemann, secretary for the Contact Organisation for Muslims and Government, said he planned to raise the 'demonizing' of Islam with the new Cabinet. While calling it counter-productive, he said nevertheless not wanting to react to the content, as it cannot be taken seriously.
While the botched suicide attack on Wilders lays bare the security risk of radical - or not yet so radical - Muslims in the military one wonders if Government Ministers with dual citizenship, albeit junior ones, aren't potentially an even bigger hazard to national security. The November election campaign showed just how far the Turkish government is willing to go to influence matters abroad. Reason for Wilders to table the motion that he did.
But the Socialist House Speaker has declared it out of the order. M.P.s sharply criticized it, upon which the Speaker took the decision that outraged Wilders, calling into doubt her impartiality as a Speaker. The two would-be junior Ministers are technically still M.P.s and as such are under oath and above suspicion of any disloyalty.
Apart from being in itself significant that a people's representative's motion is trashed by the Speaker, it could also be the start of a so-called cordon sanitaire against Wilders by the new centre-left House. The political isolation of an anti-immigration party has been done very unsuccessfully for years to a Flemish separatist party.
~ Continued in Part II ~
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
The point Pascal Bruckner is making in his article "Enlightenment: Fundamentalism or Racism of the Anti-racists" is actually shocking in its clarity: multi-culti advocates propagate legal Apartheid, display a neo-colonial attitude towards 'the natives':
"We bear the burdens of liberty, of self-invention, of sexual equality; you have the joys of archaism, of abuse as ancestral custom, of sacred prescriptions, forced marriage, the headscarf and polygamy. The members of these minorities are put under a preservation order, protected from the fanaticism of the Enlightenment and the "calamities" of progress."What's lost on Bruckner is that multi-culturalism is a branch of relativism: the pseudo-philosophy that denies objective truth! He seems to labour under the impression that multi-culturalists are presenting us with a solid message: their point is however, is that there is no point! He's not alone in this. Many commentators still take relativism seriously as an ideology and as a consequence loose sight of its inherent fallacies. And as its still considered a progressive idea, they presuppose kinship to Liberalism, while - as we shall see - it is totalitarianism's ugly little cousin.
Bruckner does expose the symptoms of the relativist error, the inherent paradoxymora : " This is the paradox of multi-culturalism: it accords the same treatment to all communities, but not to the people who form them, denying them the freedom to liberate themselves from their own traditions. Instead: recognition of the group, oppression of the individual ... Multi-culturalism is a racism of the anti-racists: it chains people to their roots ... Yet this segregation has the full backing of Europe's most prominent progressives!" (my emphasis).
I was just going to pencil this paradox in as error number 13 on my list of Post-Modernist Fallacies, the PMF, when I realised this isn't a paradox at all! One of the aims of multi-culturalism is peaceful cohabitation of different groups on the same territory. Multi-culturalism isn't concerned with individual rights, on the contrary! Its premise is the submission of the individual to the group. It has no place for dissidents! Hence the irritation with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an icon of individualism. Multi-culturalism's totalitarian and dictatorial character is merely shining through here!
Bruckner goes on to denounce the Anglo-Saxon form of multi-culturalism (U.K. variety), a social model based on communitarianism and separatism, that "on the government's own avowal ... doesn't work ... many people scoffed at French authoritarianism when parliament voted to forbid women and young girls from wearing headscarves in (public areas) ... yet now political leaders in Great Britain, The Netherlands and Germany, shocked by the spread of hijab and burqa, are considering passing laws against them."
With typical French assertiveness Bruckner goes on to propagate the superiority of the French model of laïcité, whereby the entire public domain is 'neutralized' of religious expressions, even to the point where jewelry can become an offensive item. It doesn't particularly breed tolerance or understanding of 'the other' either! And he doesn't seem willing to explain the random and widespread violence, and the states within the state, that exist in the French banlieues.
Our French commentator doesn't think much of the Dutch system either; nor does he display much understanding of it: "Thus ... (the) mayor of Amsterdam ... demands that one accept "the conscious discrimination of women by certain groups of orthodox Muslims" on the basis that we need a 'new glue' to 'hold society together'. In the name of social cohesion, we are invited to give our roaring applause for the intolerance that these groups show for our laws".
One wonders why the Dutch system, whereby the government guarantees freedom of conscience and faith - and religions and secular ideologies have a limited form of 'sovereignty within their particular circle' worked so well for Christians, Jews, and the various seculars, but doesn't for Muslims? The answer seems to lie in their 'too much otherness', the incompatibility of our values and their inherent intolerance of infidels (in practice, all that isn't Islam).
Considering Bruckner's rubbishing of "our Jihad collaborators [sic] on the extreme left as on the right: at the time of the Muhammad cartoon affair last year, deputies of the UMP proposed to institute blasphemy laws that would have taken us back to the Ancien Regime", he does seem to be a staunch atheist who wouldn't be having trouble leaving his rosary at home.
Neither does he realize, that the supposed secular neutrality can easily develop into an oppressive dictatorship as well! The dominant feature in today's Radical Liberalism is that it sees itself as the single guarantor of freedom for all, and considers all theism as its opposite and the surest way to obscurantism and oppression in the name of God. Bruckner displays the same attitude, but he is willing to acknowledge that "secularism ... is written into the Gospels".
Pascal Bruckner is in favour of fostering an enlightened European Islam along the lines of Vatican II, provided we speak to the right audience; not "styling the fundamentalists as friends of tolerance, while in fact they practise dissimulation and use the left or the intelligentsia to make their moves for them, sparing themselves the challenge of secularism."
The author leaves us to ponder the words of Kant, and a word of warning from his side that I can heartily ratify: "Kant defined the Enlightenment with the motto: Sapere aude - dare to know. A culture of courage is perhaps what is most lacking among today's directors of conscience. They are the symptoms of a fatigued, self-doubting Europe, one that is only too ready to acquiesce at the slightest alarm. Yet their good-willed rhetorical molasses covers a different tune: that of capitulation!" Amen.
Monday, February 12, 2007
America, be prepared! Here comes a woman that doesn't even know how to spell compromise ... and cares even less. Not if it means selling out to blood-thirsty Islamists, their immature appeasers or multi-culti advocates. While Ayaan Hirsi Ali's latest book, an auto-biography titled "Infidel" hits the shelves and the mainstream media start sharpening their pencils, on the other side of the pond, polemics in Europe's salons of 'high culture', are still raging. The previous two posts dealt with just one of the contributors to that debate, Professor Paul Cliteur who defends Hirsi Ali's position and counters by attacking the 'preposterous consequences' that the post-modernist solution to avoid a major clash, would have.
Another proponent of Ayaan's tenets is the French writer Pascal Bruckner. In an article dated 24th January he is defending her against the attacks and condemnations of the multicultural apostles, Ian Buruma who is "embarrassed" by her attacks on the Koran and denies her the right to quote Voltaire, and Timothy Garten Ash who doesn't stop at old-fashioned machismo and talks the little woman down, accusing her of being "irresponsible" as well as being "counterproductive".
Indeed, the latter prefers appeasement and poshly advocates a state of semi-autonomy for the natives. Bruckner accuses them both of "chaining people to their roots"; in fact committing a latter day version of racism, Apartheid even and of promoting a contemporary version of colonialism: a very insightful perspective indeed.
To put it succinctly, Bruckner writes, and I have to agree with him wholeheartedly on this one: "There's no denying that the enemies of freedom come from free societies, from a slice of the enlightened elite who deny the benefits of democratic rights to the rest of humanity ...".
I don't propose to take you very far into the polemics. Anyone interested can read the articles for themselves. I do want to draw attention to a few new perspectives on the discourse, as well as comment on those points that have become so fashionable over the last few years that we hardly notice their eccentricity anymore, a sign of just how pervasive and dangerous these social experiments are. In the meantime they have reached the status in the European Union, of all but the officially prescribed policy for all member states.
Unlike above critics Ayaan indeed "never transgresses the domain of reason". This is in which she differs, and what infuriates the loyal defenders of Islam so much! No matter how many insults and threats are being thrown at her, she always remains outwardly calm and refuses to be pushed off course, pairing arguments and trains of logic with good, solid rationality. She does so with unusual modesty, ever allowing her opponents their say - not that that is always done in the best of tastes.
Just how "vulnerable" Islam is, I will not comment on. As we have seen at Dr Pat's, as long as people can "pretend that the objects of their hate are the real cause of any problem, they don't have to deal with the external reality (of the Islamo-Nazist terror), or face the truth about their own unacknowledged and pathological internal reality." But sometimes you have to admire the capacity of turning the tables.
The values of the Enlightenment - or, for that matter any other idea or faith that prides itself on representing objective truth - are irrelevant to the knights of multi-culturalism: which is why they see no problem in telling anyone to shut up (as today, Australia's Prime Minister John Howard)! And since at the core of their sophistry lurks an oxymoron, logic and rationality are seen as irrelevant: that is why they can deride religion and denounce the "evils of the Enlightenment, capitalism, colonialism, totalitarianism" without offering a viable alternative, except what basically amounts to a world in which anarchy and tribal warfare with the neighbours will be the norm: welcome to the multi-culti world of Hobbes of Balkan and Somali infamy: a failed state on a world-wide scale.
In passing Bruckner provides us with an informative piece of background into the origins of multi-culturalism . But regretfully he follows in the post-modern tradition of master deconstructionist Derrida in explaining the world through linguistics, clarifying the distance taken from 'the natives' by etymologically breaking down the word respect. This method is deserving to be confined to eternity once and for all, as it bears all the hallmarks of reading tea leaves: it defies logic!
To be continued.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Relativism maintains to offer a solution to what it sees as the problem: the tendency of people to kill each other. The basic thought is that they do so, because their beliefs and ideologies clash, be they religious or secular isms. The solution they are offering is that "minorities (in Western societies) should live according to their own customs (a Leftist pet policy that was widely practised and since discredited in The Netherlands), and - insofar as national culture is at variance with non-Western ideas - the national culture should adapt itself to new conditions", and "refrain from criticism"! I ask you, that's the multi-cultural contribution to world peace: refrain from criticism!
That criticism isn't at the root of Islamist terrorism may be obvious, but Cliteur is offering evidence in the fact that two soft-spoken Amsterdam city politicians who have avoided criticism ad nauseam, need 24/7 police protection. Multi-culturals draw the wrong conclusion and because of it, they don't benefit from the lessons on offer from appeasing Adolf Hitler before WWII: that you shouldn't appease bullies and that you cannot negotiate with someone who is out to destroy you. But that is just one of the dangers.
Cliteur is worried that it makes Western societies easy prey for the ideology of radical Islamism and that it would be a suicidal position. There's that too.
The barbaric necessity of sanitizing the entire Western legacy so as not to give offence, would constitute a mere inconvenience in comparison with what would follow. And it's a process that is already well under way - primarily as evidenced by ludicrous examples of political correctness: to mind comes the abolition of A.D. in favor of C.E., the removal of national flags and other visual expressions of national identity, calls for the French version of laïcité that foresees in the 'neutralization' of the entire public domain, etc., etc.
Much worse is the tenet that "the West is denied the right to defend itself", which is simply immoral!
Replacing universal human rights and other Western values with what Cliteur calls the "glorification of otherness" - whatever that may be - is another mere detail that would set civilization back some two millennia.
The real horror is the madhouse that awaits us once humanity has lost its sense of objective reality, another ongoing project! We ain't seen nothing yet!
Cliteur aptly debunks relativism's inherent fallacy to equate the most impossible entities with each other, simply because they carry the same adjective or adverb, or have some other feature in common (Christianity with cannibalism, Ayaan Hirsi Ali with the murderer of her associate, etc.). It is an offence against reason only forgivable, if made by véry young children.
The relativist world view is an irresponsible intellectual immaturity: while its tenet contains two oxymora, it is riddled with paradoxes and its undesirable outcomes can be predicted by a well-trained primate, they would nevertheless have us transform the world into one big post-modern lab test - and to hell with the consequences!
And then to think there are people - intellectuals, politicians - that take this sad piece of pernicious sophistry seriously and give it respectability! The best that can be said about defeatism-turned-respectable-policy is that the misguided objective may be to avert confrontation, but thereby denying a chance of mature debate and undermining tolerance as what it still supposes to mean: respecting and allowing another person's opinion.
Cliteur says that the consequences of multi-culturalism as proposed would be preposterous: that is why relativism and its derivatives aren't solutions at all but red herrings; and dangerous fallacies at that! In fact, while Muslims are experiencing noisy and at times lethal grow up pains and the whole of Westerns civilization is looking that way, the real enemy within sits here at the heart of our societies, chipping away at all we hold dear, as we shall see in the next post.
Today's post is devoted to the challenge of analyzing Professor Paul Cliteur's article Falling Prey to Relativism. With it, he really puts the culture-clashers on notice. Inter alia, what I said about the spinal problem, still stands.
The point that he's making, is that the post-modern relativistic position makes Western societies an easy prey for the ideology of radical Islamism. Digest that for a second, if you will! Well, he is right and it is stating the obvious with feeling for under-statement. But one or two other reasons could be added in re of the dangers of the pseudo-philosophy of high fashion.
As the conclusion must be that relativism (and all its derivatives) is another fruit of the Enlightenment, it again goes to show that the revolution eats its own children. Post-modernity has now turned against Liberalism - as it must, for every truth is one too many for relativism. As Cliteur points out:
"For multiculturalists, European civilization has been fundamentally on the wrong track since the Enlightenment. The Holocaust, Nazism, communism, slavery (Ed. !) - these are seen not as deviations from the generally benign development of Western culture but as inevitable products [sic] of the European mind, which is inherently oppressive."We are reminded of young Dev's representative of the Union for the Suppression of the Metaphysical: "The inherent violence of the Catholic position is really no different from Islam's!"
As relativism inevitably must turn against Liberalism, so it must turn against any other ideology and belief system, against universal values such as democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and all the other things we hold dear, simply because these imply truths and objective values that it denies.
What an awful disappointment this must be for the subscribers of The Euston Manifesto, but they could have known! The Left may be fond of adopting relativist and multi-cultural notions, they are hence informed that to the post-moderns, they are just another fundamentalist ism with blood on its hands, deserving to be relativized out of existence. Relativism is nobody's friend or ally!
The attraction of cultural relativism to the Left is, that it provides a convenient "intellectual" basis for Bush-bashing, thereby taking it at last beyond the realm of the school-yard. Cliteur states that to multi-culturalists "it is preposterous and a manifestation of cultural arrogance [sic] ... to invade foreign countries to export democracy and other Western ideals; it is likewise ridiculous to expect that religious and ethnic minorities in Western societies should be expected to adopt these ideas and integrate into liberal democracy".
The conclusion is of course that relativism is incompatible with anything human beings can ever think up. Relativist proponent Stuart Sim, Professor Critical Theory in the Dept. of English Studies at the University of Sunderland (U.K.), goes just one step further. He makes a vain effort at sublimation, calling relativism, radical skepticism, which sounds a lot more scientific than *#@k Bush! That may convince some he's a relativist, but make no mistake, he's a fire breathing fundamentalist. To Professor Sim Anything That Is Not Relativist, is Fundamentalist.
To be continued.
Friday, February 09, 2007
In re of yesterday's blog I must say of those Dutch politicians - and I don't remember at this stage who they were - that used the term "multi-cultural society" as a definition of a society with more than one culture - pretending there are no pernicious ideologies at the bottom of the phenomenon - are either liars and demagogues, or ignoramuses. In either case, it's an outrage! And it feeds stories as the following.
No sooner had I published the post, or I stumbled upon the long rumoured conspiracy theory of Eurabia. I don't subscribe to these stories, but there may be something in it, in so far that the European Union is running towards its completion as far as member states is concerned; it cannot hurt to explore possibilities, as is indeed being done towards the east with Ukraine and Georgia.
Then there are the customs and excise agreements that the E.U. has always had with various non-members in the vicinity, amongst them Morocco, Turkey and Israel.
Also Europe has of course already a very substantial Muslim population with monetary and legal implications for the countries of origin. That set of circumstances give rise to various taxation and insurance covenants and agreements.
And then there's the matter of development funds and cooperation, which may be at the root of this story about Italy's Health Cooperation, as mentioned in the post in The Brussels Journal.
It is perhaps significant that Robert Kagan in his book Of Paradise and Power, America and Europe in the New World Order quotes from Everts' Unilaterial America , Lightweight Europe as follows: "The 'essence' of the European Union is all about subjecting inter-state relations to the rule of law and Europe's experience of successful multilateral governance has, in turn, produced an ambition to convert the world. Europe "has a role to play in the world's 'governance'", says Prodi, a role based on replicating the European experience on a global scale. In Europe "the rule of law has replaced the crude interplay of power ... power politics have lost their influence". And by "making a success of integration we are demonstrating to the world that it is possible to create a method for peace". Aforementioned Prodi is of course present Italian Prime Minister and the former President of the Commission, also referred to in The Brussels Journal article.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
We don't know anything, do we? Total empathy would make life in Europe impossible, but sometimes I can understand the mind-set of those Americans that see the government as the enemy.
When I first returned to The Netherlands from Greece in 1989 it was silently rumoured that - we live in a multi-cultural society, don't we? My conclusion was that must have happened gradually in my absence, while I was dancing the bouzouki with a Greek dude who didn't know how to spell women's lib. I took multi-culturalism to mean what most people believed it meant, being nice and tolerant to immigrants and buy an occasional Turkish loaf in the old quarter from time to time.
In the course of the happy nineties multi-culturalism developed into a real policy and got official status. Laws were introduced and regulations appeared. Being nice and tolerant to immigrants was no longer a form of politeness, but an imperative. Politicians surfaced to tell those that dissented that they had no choice, as the multi-cultural society simply was "a fact"; so they had better deal with their negative attitude and get used it.
I don't think anybody was ever asked permission despite the country being a free democracy, or that a referendum was put to the vote "Do you want to transform your country into a multi-cultural laboratory? Yes/No, strike what's not applicable". It just happened and nobody was ever told what the consequences would be, besides having to be nice and tolerant, and hire foreign if you want to be seen as an ethical employer.
The problem is, like immigrants, multi-culturalism doesn't come alone, but brings an entire family of pseudo-philosophies and destructive world views. Because, if you really want to be nice to immigrants - even if they murder loud-mouthed intellectual liberals, or threaten them to the point of them being taken into protracted protective custody - you really need to become a cultural relativist as well.
One who jumped the public discourse entirely after the ritual slaughter of Theo van Gogh, was the Liberal philosopher Professor Paul Cliteur, who has since re-merged with a article Falling Prey to Relativism. I condemned him for being spineless, but he may have known what I at the time was still blissfully unaware of, namely that a discussion with relativist multi-culturalists on the one hand, and a bunch of unhinged radical Muslims on the other, doesn't get you anywhere, intellectually speaking.
By the time I made the return journey to Greece in the spring of last year - between the aforementioned, and the majority of expletives hurling barbarians that don't know any better for their lack of a proper education - they had transformed the country into a living hell. As far as I can see from a distance, little has changed.
The readership can look forward to a series of posts on this subject, as I have just unearthed a veritable treasure trove of sheer relativist madness to dissect. By the way, for some time now I've been sitting on a really, really nasty picture ... I mean, they hardly come any more gruesome: do you want to see it?
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Once upon a time, before political correctness and sobbing over black babies became the norm at the BBC, I had the pleasure to watch a documentary they produced about the state of happiness. The notes I made at the time, read as follows:
- Happiness within a community can be measured by the level of mutual trust;
- The sum is made up of what's known as social capital;
- Social capital is what binds people within a group and builds bridges between groups;
- What fosters happiness is: rights and responsibilities, codes of conduct and shared values;
- Impediments are: personal isolation and prolonged individual activities.
Francis Fukuyama in his book The Great Disruption. Human nature and the reconstruction of social order takes a short cut and says, mutual trust is a by-product of shared values and shared moral behavior.
What follows is that social activities like scouting, bingo and the right to do volunteer community work enhance happiness. As do good manners, team sports and assimilation.
What makes us unhappy is protracted queueing, watching television and doing yoga. As well as crime, playing tennis (always found it highly suspect) and joining the blegosphere.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
I thought it would be a nice idea to do a post from time to time with a digest of news from the Low Countries. That is, if there is anything remarkable to share. On the whole the media there express the same obsession with trivia as the rest of the MSM in the Western world. Anybody with good suggestions where that sociological phenomenon may be coming from, I'd be grateful if you let me know. If I may venture a guess: might it be another consequence of the relativistic world view that is common among the journalists; one that denies the existence of objective news, and considers it impolite and unfashionable to foist a personal opinion on others? Unless it happens to be the Bush Lied, Children Died repetitions, of which by now everybody has become sick and tired. What rests, is the trivial.
But in The Netherlands there are one or two things that stand out. For one, a new government is on the verge of hatching, one that will include a small but tenacious Bible-based party (with a left-leaning interpretation of same).
There's more. The Netherlands is a self-appointed "guide-land". There's no good translation, but the word means to convey something like "an international socio-economic trend setter", or something such. This is an illusion, since the Dutch haven't produced an original thought between them since Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536 Anno Domini), the scholar who ruined Greek pronunciation.
The Batavian tribes-men and woman are born conformists and as such faithful followers of fashion (often with dire results), rather then avant-gardists. But they have something else what every international marketeer can attest to: as children of Calvin they know instinctively that fashions are fickle and aren't likely to stand the test of time: they see the relativity of it, if you will. As a consequence they are always open to trash the old and go for some new product or service.
But this time the shoe is on the other foot and we are having a real papist revival on our hands! And that in a country where even the vicars are self-confessed atheists. A Protestant newspaper on 2nd February reported on a recent book presentation by a Catholic umbrella organization, of a tome called "Onderstroom" (Under-current) in which seven young Catholics give "an open and personal testimony of their faith" . Noteworthy in the report is the "coming out" language that is being used - the need to openly come out of the closet - which just shows how oppressive anti-theism has become.
Striking was the repeated call for more inspiration in respect of the tradition and the faith. "The time has come to snatch something back of what we have shamelessly let go", said the chairman of the Scientific Council for Government Policy, a public think tank that recently published a surprising report  about the state of religion in The Netherlands. He added: "The rise of Islam forces Christians to express their belief more clearly and with more fire".
Americans in the midst of their culture war might be pleased to know that Dr Antoine Bodar pleaded to start the days on Catholic schools with the sign of the cross or a short prayer. He warned not to confuse openness  with a diluted identity. Dr Bodar is critical of the tendency highlighted in the report, to be religious without necessarily carrying a membership card of the Church.
During the last decades there has been a tendency in the Church to adapt to post-modernity and changing life-styles by conforming the liturgy to tastes, instead of the faithfull following the Church as a source of religious leadership. This started in the seventies of the last century with the so-called beat Mass, a sad effort to get the first post WWII generation out of the cafeterias, back into the Church. It never worked.
But if signs are not deceiving us, if not for anything else, it seems we may have to thank Islam for the tentative beginnings of a Christian revival. There's a call for a sharper contrast and a clearer, stricter morality. Well, it stands to reason: it has become so murky of late it's become hard to distinguish reality from the daemons it has created.