Sunday, October 01, 2006

Human Rights Fundamentalism, NGOistan and the Multicultural Industry

The Fjordman Report
The noted blogger Fjordman is filing this report via Gates of Vienna.
For a complete Fjordman blogography, see The Fjordman Files.

Respect for individuals and human rights are frequently — and rightfully — quoted as crucial factors separating Western civilization from Islam. Ohmyrus, one of the pundits at Iranian ex-Muslim Ali Sina’s website, explains important differences between the Western and the Islamic views of human rights:

“In August of 1990, representatives of 54 Muslim countries met in Cairo and signed the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam. What then are Islamic Human Rights and how do they differ from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)?

The Cairo Declaration allows stoning as punishment, prohibits Muslims from changing their religion, prohibits usury, does not give women equal rights and divides the world between Muslims and infidels. It makes it clear that Muslims are the “best nation” whose duty it is to make you become like them. The Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam is a harsh document that comes from a harsh faith.”
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Human rights are thus an important component of our defense against sharia. However, is it also possible that the concept of human rights can be pushed too far, and become a self-defeating idea? Is there such as thing as human rights fundamentalism?

In Britain, a West Yorkshire hospital has banned visitors from cooing at new-born babies over fears their human rights are being breached. Debbie Lawson, neo-natal manager at the hospital’s special care baby unit, said: “Cooing should be a thing of the past because these are little people with the same rights as you or me.”

Norwegian medical doctor Ståle Fredriksen thinks that giving homework to school children violates their human rights. He refers to article 24 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, stating that: “Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours.” Dr. Fredriksen believes school children in Norway don’t have this right.

These examples are, admittedly, rather extreme, and look silly more than anything else. But this mentality may have less than funny consequences in other circumstances. Traditional Islamic law prescribes the death penalty for Muslims who want to leave Islam, as well as for persons who “insult” Muhammad or Islam with blasphemous statements. How will people who are afraid that cooing at babies or giving homework to children might violate their human rights fare against people who think that those who insult Muhammad should have their heads cut off?

In August 2006, Dennis Parker of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) told a news conference: “The price to pay for racial profiling is too high. All people should be treated in the same way regardless of their race, their ethnicity or their religion.” The news conference, convened by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, highlighted the case of an Iraqi-born U.S. family, whose members said they were held for six hours, questioned and searched at John F. Kennedy Airport, only days after Britain foiled a plot by Islamic terrorists to bomb multiple U.S.-bound planes.

In the old days, people used to talk about “death before dishonor.” In our age, this has become “death before discrimination.” Westerners would rather get killed by Islamic terrorists than do profiling of Muslims, because this would be “racism,” which has thus quite literally become a mortal sin, perhaps the only sin left in a world where there is no good or bad and everything is permissible and “equal.”

The ideological sickness of the West could be called Egalitarianism, of which Multiculturalism, but also radical Feminism and sometimes economic Marxism, is a part. Everybody should be equal, not just before the law, but their choices should be equally valid, too. If somebody has not achieved exactly the same level as everybody else, this constitutes “discrimination” and requires state intervention to correct.

The scary thing is that Egalitarianism is not just limited to the political Left anymore. It has made inroads into what used to be the political Right, too.

Bjørn Stærk is the Grand Old Man of Norwegian blogging. He’s also considered a right-winger by local standards. According to him, terrorism will end only if or when the terrorists grow tired of it:

Brave is sitting down calmly on a plane behind a row of suspicious-looking Arabs, ignoring your own fears, because you know those fears are irrational, and because even if there’s a chance that they are terrorists, it is more important to you to preserve an open and tolerant society than to survive this trip. Brave is insisting that Arabs not be searched more carefully in airport security than anyone else, because you believe that it is more important not to discriminate against people based on their race than to keep the occasional terrorist from getting on a plane.

Sir Andrew GreenNine Afghan asylum seekers who hijacked a plane at gunpoint to get to Britain should have been admitted to the country as genuine refugees and allowed to live and work there freely, the High Court stated in a ruling. Sir Andrew Green, the chairman of Migration Watch UK, said Britain should ditch the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Writer Robin Harris noted that “The traditional British view is that rights should be negative: we may do whatever the law does not forbid.” This is how Anglo-Saxon law has been shaped from the very beginning, all the way back to the Magna Carta in 1215, which placed limitations on the king’s power.

According to Harris, “We do not expect from the state a positive right to specific benefits a job, or a house, or a good education. Yet it is precisely these kinds of rights that continental Europeans have come to expect. Because of the European Convention (ECHR) it is now impossible to expel foreigners who pose a threat to the country’s security,” or to maintain immigration control.

In Norway, the Directorate of Immigration gave all Iranian asylum seekers residency if applicants claimed to be homosexual, even if the testimony often had little backing or appeared to be patently false. Homosexuality is punishable in Iran, but the demands of proof are extremely high, making punishment rare in practice. Protecting gays from persecution sounds nice in theory, but when this is combined with absolutely no amount of proof, it becomes a suicidal decision to abandon your own national borders.

Egalitarianism and human rights fundamentalism become especially lethal when combined with an entitlement mentality, notions of positive rights and ideas of group rights over individual rights.

It is possible for all members of a society to obtain their negative rights, such as freedom from oppression and tyranny, at the same time. These include the rights to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” as stated by Thomas Jefferson in the 1776 United States Declaration of Independence.

This becomes a lot more difficult once we introduce the idea of positive rights, such as the right to a job. These require others to actively do something to fulfill your rights for you.

Jeremy RabkinIn The Case for Sovereignty, Jeremy A. Rabkin describes how Jürgen Habermas, Germany’s most celebrated philosopher, has coined the term “global domestic policy.” Habermas talks about establishing a structure of international law and authority that will control and direct all governments in their governing duties.

However, an international authority able to secure universal peace would require the means of enforcing peace. It would require the authority to resolve every dispute that might otherwise lead to war and to resolve all conflicting claims about the distribution of resources, within and between nations.

As Rabkin timely asks: “Who could challenge or constrain a world authority with such immense power? Even if it were constrained by a formal constitution, who could possibly ensure that the world authority remained within its proper bounds? How could it be anything like a democracy? Would a hundred small nations outvote the half-dozen largest nations? Or would a billion Chinese, a billion Indians, and a half-billion Southeast Asians be allowed to form a permanent majority, dictating law and justice to the rest of the world?

It is not a bad thing for the world for independent countries to remain independent. It is not a bad thing even for small countries — or perhaps especially for small countries.”

Rabkin describes how the US Founding Fathers made federal law (and the federal Constitution) the “supreme law of the land.” He thinks the “Founders would have been appalled at the thought that the federal government, in turn, would be subordinate to some supranational or international entity, which could claim priority in this way over the American Constitution and American laws.”

Yet this is precisely what is happening in Europe: “All members of the EU have now bound themselves to a scheme in which the European Court of Justice treats mere treaties as superior to national constitutions — and national courts give priority to the rulings of this European Court, even against their own parliaments and their own national constitutions.”

The EU is always presuming some consensus that will — supposedly — be discovered by bureaucrats and judges. In the long run, “the American scheme is bound to be more alert to security threats,” since the EU scheme “always suggests that people can be protected by negotiations, since Europeans have ceded supreme power to a ‘construction’ that doesn’t have an army. The structure encourages Europeans to continually disregard actual threats to their security.”

Rabkin also talks about the possibility of the Unites States leaving the United Nations, “to remind ourselves what we are seeking at the U.N. — not a world government, but simply a tool for our diplomacy.”

An International Criminal Court (ICC) already exists. How is it going to function within a worldwide criminal justice system without a world state? And what other international courts will later be established? Will they be limited only to genocide and war crimes, or will they expand into much more sensitive areas? Will Islamic countries attempt to enforce sharia through these courts on a global basis? They are already trying to ban Islamophobia and defamation of Islam through the UN.

Following the Muhammad cartoons jihad in 2006, an op-ed in the Baltimore’s Jewish Times proposed the creation of an International Religious Court, composed of Christian, Muslim and Jewish clergymen: “Anyone feeling that his or her religion was insulted could appeal to the International Religious Court for a ruling on the matter, and the court would then determine whether a penalty should be invoked. It would be the responsibility of the government on whose territory the action took place to impose the penalty.”

In the business world, outsourcing or contracting out tasks to an external entity that specializes in a particular activity has become very common. However, not enough attention has been paid to the outsourcing of both freedom of speech and control over immigration in Western nations.

Internally in these countries, we have a maze of various organizations, sometimes supported by the state, sometimes not, that put together make up an important component of the machinery of power. Perhaps we can label them, collectively, as the Multicultural Industry, since many of them make their living off — and have their personal prestige tied to — the Multicultural project. And just like the oil industry will oppose anybody going against their interests, so the Multicultural Industry will oppose anybody criticizing the Multicultural project.

NGOnetIn addition to this, we have another, international network of non-governmental organizations, NGOs. Since many of them seem to have a decidedly anti-Western and pro-Islamic tilt, I will call them collectively, NGOistan.

Quite often, representatives of the Multicultural Industry, NGOistan and anti-racist organizations team up together, sometimes in collaboration with UN bureaucrats, to influence national immigration policies. Frequently, they also denounce advocates of stricter immigration policies as “anti-democratic forces,” which is quite ironic given the fact that most of these groups and individuals have not been elected by the people and do not represent them. Isn’t it the other way around? Shouldn’t the people of a nation state be allowed to decide who should be allowed to settle in their lands, not bureaucrats and self-appointed guardians of the truth with no popular mandate?

Alan DershowitzToo many NGOs have a political agenda that tends to be anti-Western and anti-capitalist. Alan Dershowitz, professor of law at Harvard University, responded to criticism by human rights NGO Amnesty International to Israeli military actions to prevent attacks from Jihadist organization Hizballah in Lebanon:

“Had the Allies been required to fight World War II under the rules of engagement selectively applied to Amnesty International to Israel, our “greatest generation” might have lost that war. If attacking the civilian infrastructure is a war crime, then modern warfare is entirely impermissible, and terrorists have a free hand in attacking democracies and hiding from retaliation among civilians. Terrorists become de facto immune from any consequences for their atrocities.”

Hizbullah flagThe International Committee of the Red Cross wanted to visit the Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hizballah to ensure they were treated humanely. However, Hizballah has no obligations under international law. It is not a nation state. But at the same time, many people seem determined to ensure that Hizballah gets all the benefits of international law, without having to abide by it itself.

French philosopher and cultural critic Alain Finkielkraut thinks that Europe has made human rights its new gospel. Has human rights fundamentalism approached the status of quasi-religion? Have we acquired a new class of scribes, who claim the exclusive right to interpret their Holy Texts in order to reveal Absolute Truth, and scream “blasphemy” at the few heretics who dare question their authority? The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a great document, but it is written by humans, and may thus contain human flaws. We shouldn’t treat as if it were a revelation from God, carved into stone. Far less should we deem as infallible the veritable maze of regulations and well-meaning human rights resolutions that have rendered democratic nations virtually unable to defend themselves.

Multiculturalists dismiss violent verses from the Koran and say that these should be read “within their historical context.” However, the same Multiculturalists get furious and call you “Fascist” if you question the UN Convention on Status of Refugees. But shouldn’t UN conventions also be read within their historical context? The UN Convention on Refugees was written in 1951, when communications were slower, when world population and migration was much less than it is now, when we had no Islamic terrorist groups operating within our countries, no Third World ghettos in our major cities and when nation states still managed to maintain their territorial integrity. Isn’t it then reasonable to have a second look at it now, as circumstances have changed?

If democratic nations are bogged down by suicidal human rights regulations while non-democratic states simply ignore any agreements they sign, doesn’t this mean that we run a risk that human rights and international law, instead of helping people in repressive countries, will weaken the democratic countries that actually respect them?

These are not easy questions, and we will have to grapple with them for a long time to come. But one thing is certain: Societies that have become too soft to protect their territories have become too soft to survive. The West may have strayed too far in the direction of signing well-meaning conventions removed from the realities of human life. Western civilization may need a correction soon.


unaha-closp said...

Good post.

A more positive variant on egalitarianism is offered by the Labour Party "third way" approach - equality of opportunity. As different from the socialist equality of outcome Fjordman correctly derides.

Dee said...

"Muslims are the “best nation” whose duty it is to make you become like them."

This is a sign of their utter lunacy. Muslims have not created one single prosperous, liveable society. Their culture is rife with inbreds because of their unfortunate habit of marrying first cousins; half their population (women) are oppressed non-contributors (except as baby machines); the literacy level in most Islamic countries is laughable; Muslims are forbidden art, music, dancing, in fact all the things that make life enjoyable; they are so lacking in initiative (except for murder) that they need instructions on the smallest things in life; their countries are such hellholes that they invaded our countries - in fact, Muslims are a failure on all levels. The fact that they wish to force others to be like them reeks of a giant inferiority complex. Their stupid terrorists even had to steal our technology. I beg to disagree with the fools definition of 'brave' - 'brave' should only apply to those who dont go weak at the knees at first sight of Muslim thugs; 'brave' should apply to those who finally stand up and rid the West of these imported neanderthals. We need El Cids, not Bjorn Staerks. We need soldiers, not dhimmis. And when its all over, I hope the dhimmis and traitors will be brought to justice. There will be a reckoning one day for those who sold us out to the Muslim hordes - I hope I'm here to see it.

Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Fjordman, I respectfully suggest that this essay was a little off base, and I think rather too unfocused*.

I would think that the west's primary disease is better described as liberalism**, the essential weakness of which has allowed/promoted speciously good-sounding cryptomarxist doctrine to be repackaged and integrated.

Equality of (economic) outcome was of course a plank of marxism, whereas the Frankfurt school has applied this to the cultural and social sphere. Their theory is disguised under the label "critical theory of society" or just "critical theory", but that may more accuratly be described as the "marxist theory hostile to and critical of western society". Critical theory is only negative, it only "proves" that western society is evil and oppressive, and calls for "liberation" to some unknown future utopia by destroying it. In it, while marxism values are assumed a priori good (that is subsumed in the theory, since "good" is by sleight of hand redefined as those marxist values), it has virtually nothing else constructive to suggest. It is inherantly deceptive, since its application in necessarily and deliberately constructed to be harmfull to society, while appealing to liberation, freedom and equality. Hence a host of offshoots, each of which is defined by opposition to modern western society. Thus along with radical environmentalism (as opposed to the ordinary and rational version), Radical Feminism is also largely a derivative of the Frankfurt school. While we're here - politically correct speech and one sided "tolerance", the derision of objectivity in favor of feeling or politically slanted "truth", are also Frankfurt school offshoots.
Incidentially Habermas just happens to be the last of the Frankfurt school (Adorno's and Horkheimer's grad student).

Multiculturalism, interesting, the Frankfurt School and Soviets had tendencies to this, but as far as can be ascertained multiculturalism is the bastard offspring of north american thinking on immigration issues (first seen in Canada, but its precedents are the US immigation policy debate melting pot vs cultural pluralism etc). The usual suspects have however placed it firmly both alongside the other products of critical theory.

In passing I would note that Internationalism and idealization of world government is a very very soviet ideological disease.

Yes, the west needs a rethink, and very soon. Ironically, in hindsight the weak liberalism of the west was only propped up by the discipline imposed by the cold war. As soon as the soviet enemy dissappeared, so did the last vestiges of resolve and the last defences against marxist inspired ideologies. Now evolved marxism rages uncontested through our governments, and there is no McCarthy to root it out.

"Marxism" is not just a generic label for evil : it has specific basic characteristics which are pernicious - equality of outcome is one as unaha-closp mentions. Furthermore, it is not just esoteric knowledge, the liberal (and that includes much of conservative politics, especially the neocons) and the left politics is rife with marxist economic concepts that have been inappropriately reapplied to social and cultural issues. The people peddling these issues are unaware of the roots of the theory they apply, and while they may do so out of misguided good intent, the intent of the people who framed those theories was nothing less than the wholesale destruction of western society. Multiculturalism is one example.

*If examining NGOs, some of which evade detailed scrutiny by being international and thus avoiding national oversight, I think a list of the prominent international NGOs (Amnesty, HRW, ICRC etc etc) compared with their roots and political leanings would be rather more instructive For instance : how many people realise that Amnesty international was founded by a self proclaimed socialist, Peter Benenson? That was during the height of the USSR, so make your own conclusions as to the roots of Amnesty. "Oddly", the Amnesty website doesn't mention illustrious founders Benensons biography much.

**The modern kind. See Lawrence Auster's blog View from the Right for many detailed, pointed and logical essays on the spread and consequences.

David S. said...

Good post, Fjordman.

When reading this, a strange thought occured to me, on account of the references to a world government controlled by the demographics of Asia. I was thinking about Russia; in 20 years time, at current rates, Muslims will become the majority in Russia, which was mentioned in passing on the Putin dhimmi speech post.

The thought is this: legitimately, on account of this population shift (and barring some directly revolutionary actions of the muslim population), according to democracy, Russia SHOULD become an Islamic state. Shouldn't it? Democracy is based on the will of the people. If the people are a majority muslim, then an Islamic state is the inevitable outcome, and could take place entirely according to the law of the land.

The response to this is that there are objective truths and goods of society that necessarily must be preserved for that society's government to be legitimately recognized. In an Islamic state, for instance, there would be no freedom of religion, etc. But this means that democracy is a secondary vehicle of this set of values, and not truly a value of Western Civilization at all. Where it fails to provide for these goods and rights, it ought to be abandoned.

This means one of two things: that we are not in a fight for democracy at all, but rather for the Enlightenment values, or that, designating Democracy as a primary good and not a secondary vehicle, that democratic societies contain within them the seed of their inevitable destruction.

Think of it; if democracy is an ultimate value of government, then the will of the people should rule, and any shift in values ought to cause a corresponding change in the government, with no restriction. This means, of course, that any democratic society which holds democracy as a primary value will inevitably develop moral relativism (not necessarily in each of its members but certainly as a collective whole). It is, once again, the will of the people, and if the vox populi cries out that all morality currently in practice ought to be turned on its head (such as will be the case in Russia a generation from now), if democracy is a primary good that ought to be precisely what happens.

I think virtually everyone here can agree that the Sharia law should not rule ANY nation, even those with predominantly muslim populations. This being the case, we have to as a matter of course relegate democracy to a secondary value, a mere vehicle by which we transmit a moral philosophy, that of Locke and his intellectual successors.

This places me, as a Christian and Catholic, at an impasse. I believe that the moral law of God truly ought to rule in society (as most Christians do to a greater or lesser degree). That is in direct conflict with the ideals of Lockean/Masonic thought (the values upon which the Constitution is based) on a number of levels. Not in opposition to democracy, of course, but in opposition to the nonreligious nature of the concept of law. Up until the 20th century this was never a problem in the US, because we as a people were predominantly Christian and therefore cultural mores stood in place of law (and in certain cases was codified against the spirit and/or law of the land, such as the sodomy and adultery laws, etc.), but in modern day these mores have dissolved nearly completely.

In essence, I do not see how anyone who holds to a set of absolute, universal values could hold democracy as anything less than a secondary good, since the primary notion of it necessarily assumes and creates moral relativism, as well as the other various errors we are trying to combat as the fifth column of the Western world.

This is the 200+ year old debate of the Catholics against the French Revolution all over again. I don't see how any other conclusions are possible.

I apologize for the long-windedness of this post (alas, I do not have my own blog on which to post my thoughts), but I think it is a terribly relevant topic for the current conflict. This philosophical quandary seems to put the whole modern Western notion of society in trouble. Democracy seems to destroy the culture in which it takes hold if it is held as a primary good. If not, however, then this is based on a worldview that I (and many Christians) do not necessarily agree with; moreover, at the very least we must entertain the notion that democracy is not an essential element of the West, and can be abandoned once it loses its usefulness.

I hope people comment on this and offer their insight. Also, I promise I wasn't intending to hijack your post, Fjordman - your article just got me thinking. My apologies.

Yorkshireminer said...

A great read as usual, it is funny I did not know that the Muslim counties had signed an Islamic Declaration of Human Rights until I came across a reference a few months ago. I knew that a Universal Declaration of Human Rights had been signed in 1947 and Saudi Arabia had signed. The incongruity of it all then struck me. Universal means one size fits all, so why a special Islamic Declaration of Human Rights. I down loaded the relevant documents off the web and on reading them the reason was soon obvious. Here is the preamble for the Islamic version.

Since God is the absolute and the sole master of men and the
universe, and since He has given each man human dignity and honor,
and breathed into him of His own spirit, it follows that men are
essentially the same. In fact, the only differences between them are
such artificial ones as nationality, color, or race. Thus, all human
beings are equal and form one universal community that is united in
its submission and obedience to God. And at the center of this
universal brotherhood is the Islamic confession of the oneness of God
that, by extension, includes the oneness and brotherhood of humanity

They first declare that we are all ruled by one God. They then declare that the God in question is Allah, united in its SUBMISSION and obedience to God, being the operative phrase. Then they give themselves the right to decide for all of us. For Chutzpah it takes some beating. It seems in this world that all Humans have Universal human rights but muslim more Universal human rights.

Archonix said...

Fjordman, another excellent article. I can't say more, because I agree eith the entire thing. :)

Unaha-Clospm, I agree that the "third way" sounds good on paper but the reality is that it's just old socialist redistributionism in a fancy coat. It uses new language, but it retains the essential properties of socialism: a bigger state, more regulation, more tax and fewer actual opportunities for people to improve their lot. Thatcherism was closer to giving everyone real opportunity, though her failure to reform the social security mess and her recidivism in facing the EEC prevented it from being properly realised.

David, it's interesting that you brought up the French revolution near the end of your comment. People often compare the French and American revolutions, bcause they were so close in time, and because the French were, for a long time, closely allied with the new United States (perhaps merely because it was oppoised to their hated enemy the English). I find the comparison very interesting myself, not because of the similarities, but because of the remarkable differenes between the two. What it boils down to is where the emphasis was placed in each of the revolutions.

THe French revolution was based on overturning everything that had previously existed, in order to institute a new system based on "enlightened" meritocracy. Very Voltaire. Unfortunately the problem with a meritocracy is that the people on top get to decide who's smart and who's stupid and, since those on top were the ones with the guns, it quickly descended in to a farce.

The American revolution, meanwhile, was based on preserving what they already had. It was a war of defence against a perceived enemy, and the end result was that the US retained the ideas of common law and individual rights that were somewhat submerged under franko-norman bureaucracy, so it wasn't so much a revolution as a fight for the status quo.

The national temprement created by these revolutions is what has driven France and the US ever since. The French have always had a fear of the general population, which has had a strange trust in the existing state; whereas the US goverment has always -0 until recently at least - trusted its people, who don't trust their government as far as they can conveniently spit it. The mistrust of self-appointed authority and explicit trust of the general population is probably the more successful of the two attitudes.

Yorkshirminer: it looks like they were trying to ape the preamble of the US declaration of independence.

They get it backwards, of course. The god mentioned in the declaration created all men equally noble and free, whereas their version would have us all equally under a despot's foot.

DocNeaves said...

It seems to me this is one more argument for State's Rights. The premise is this: If you reach further and further to the Left, to my definition, you get more and more government control. If one government deciding for all is bad, then more governments deciding for themselves would be better, and the maximum number of governments would be best. Hence, as I have defined left and right before, further left is for total government control, further right is for a total lack of government control. This is the reason why my blog, if I ever get it off the ground, will be called One Small Step to the Left of All the Way Right. I believe that each individual family must be the final arbiter of their future, and should hold responsibility. Dad can't run the family like a democracy, but he can be the smallest cog in a democratic government. America is, after all, a Republic, not a Democracy. The same seems to be the best form of governming for all. Small groups, the smallest possible, deciding for themselves what is best. Certainly, the one small step to the left would have to be a strict set of basic laws, such as, you can't vote out the right to vote, and to restrict freedom requires the decision from a higher body that you are a danger to society. Even with these small groups, though, someone will come along and say, if we just had a little more power, or, if we just combined these two things, they would be more able to do something they can't do now (more power, still, as it always is). This is where we start giving up freedom for power. When one group decides for the whole, this is bad. Basic right and wrong, maybe, but again, you have to allow the public as a whole to vote on things, and yes, as their attitude shifts, the nation-state should adjust. But the reason why Russia should not become Islamic is because it is not Russians who are deciding, but immigrants who should not have been allowed to immigrate who are changing things, ergo, by invasion, not by democracy. Each small unit should be able to protect itself against invasion. So should each state, and each country. Things like the EU were a bad idea from the beginning, the sacrificing of sovereignty for a little economic power. There is no way those governments should have been able to sign away the sovereignty of any nation, much less free nations. Sorry if this doesn't make sense, it's too big a subject to nail in a post, and I'm afraid too big for my limited intellect.

DocNeaves said...

And just to confuse, I think homework SHOULD be outlawed. It is stealing time from families. Children go to school to learn. If they can't learn it during the day, while they are there, maybe the teachers should look at changing the curriculum so that we spend more time on the three R's instead of all this multi-culti feel good garbage. Maybe we should stop taking three months in the summer, and another two months during the school year, to have holidays that simply destroy adult's lives, since THEY don't get those same holidays off. Why do teachers get to send the kids home one day a month for 'teacher development'? How come we don't just send the kids to school on those days, and send the TEACHERS home with their 'teacher development' homework?

Demosthenes said...

Homosexuality is punishable in Iran, but the demands of proof are extremely high, making punishment rare in practice.

I agreed with the rest of your essay, but this simply is not true. It seems weird, perhaps even motivated by homophobia, for you to argue that the standards of proof are extremely high for any crime in Iran. You can't seriously have that much faith in Iranian justice. Is there any "crime" besides someone happening to be gay that you would trust the Iranian justice system to have a high standard? Human Rights Watch, which we may not like but probably is still correct here, says:

"The Code also offers a way of circumventing this titular high standard of evidence. Judges may lodge a conviction for sodomy based on the knowledge of the judge, in practice allowing a wide range of circumstantial evidence to be adduced as proof. Furthermore, the practice of torture is prevalent in Iran, and the practice of torturing prisoners to extract confessions is common. Forced confessions are openly accepted as evidence in criminal trials."

Anyway, Iran suppresses information on the number of people murdered for homosexuality, as it does other executions. I have also read that some people tried for drug charges are actually gay people that the Iranian state prefers to kill for the less controversial reason of drugs. Of course, that may or may not be true. But if you think that it is out of the question for Iranian government to do that, you have much more faith in the decency of the Ayatollahs than I do.

Steve Harkonnen said...

Islamic Human Rights.

Seems to violate the other, eh? Huge difference in UDHR, obviously. I see no purpose in such a declaration.

Phanarath said...


Its posible for an Iranian male to go to Thailand an have a sexchange opperation and come back and get his/her socialsecurity nr. changed to fit that of a female. There is a very big Homosexuel sociaty in Theran. Its my empresion that as long as you dont shout about it in the streets you are resonable safe. I know these things from exile Iranians here in Denmark, some of whom often go back there. I dont know any details about the rule of law there. But these things to me indicate that Fjordman is right about this.

It is just the state of things and isnt realy related to faith in the decency of the Ayatollahs.

Beach Girl said...

David S - democracy is /can be self-destructive. That is why Founding Fathers went with a republic so that the small (population wise) states would not get trounced by the larger ones.

We have gone over-board in that we are plagued with "moral equivalency(sp)". All started to get out of whack when we went through the "non-judgementalism" phase. Now we can hardly decide which car to buy. just kidding but it seems that way.

It is one thing to respect others; it is quite another to let them ruin your way of life. I think I said that someplace, recently. Whoever said that the battle may be one of enlightenment could be on to something.

Always a great experience, here at the Gates.

LA.Bueche said...

Great stuff, as usual. Melanie Phillip's - Londonistan - goes into a lot of these individual points at length for anyone interested in following up Fjodman's excellent overview.

I think that the experiment with "world government", (the UN), and transnational institutions, (the EU, UN, NGOs), is complete. The results are in, and anyone who doesn't see the abject failure of these organizations, and multiculturalism in general, is either: an enemy of the West, an idiot, in a patholigical state of denial.

The "antiquated" nation state is the best, and only durable institution that's ever shown the ability to provide for and protect human rights and personal liberty. We're in a race against time to see whether people will realize this, or dismantle our civilization. Hard to say which will happen first. What I see coming out of Europe doesn't make me too hopeful.

Fjordman makes a good point about the "religious" quality that the debate about human rights, multiculturalism, etc. takes on with the left. These supposedly scientific, rational people, who laugh politely at any mention of religious faith suddenly get all dreamy when Lennon's Imagine plays at their local pub. And the song perfectly embodies the unspoken postulate of the post nation state, EU, UN crowd - If I can Imagine it, it can happen.

New flash - I can imagine being able to hold my breath for twenty minutes, but I wouldn't bet on it. Their whole theory implies some quantum change in human nature that hasn't, and won't be happening. To base social policy off ideas that make you feel good about yourself, (see Vision of the Annointed - T. Sowell), is the ultimate act of narcissistic wish fulfillment.

There's a great moment at Woodstock when all the dropouts are getting rained on and someone gets hold of the PA and starts chanting - "Maybe if we think think real hard, we can stop this rain. No rain, no rain, no rain!" That's the left - "Just trust me. Just imagine. If I can think it - it'll happen."

Pardon my lack of 'imagination" but I'll throw my lot in with Hamilton, Madison and Fay. Imagine a leftist reading the newspaper and actually responding to the world as it is, not as it "should be" - that would be something worth imagining.

Matt said...

"Rabkin describes how the US Founding Fathers made federal law (and the federal Constitution) the “supreme law of the land.” That's why I don't mind if we work with the UN but we shouldn't have to submit to their decisions. We're our own sovereign nation. As far as that proposed International Religious Court, I'd laugh if it wasn't so scary of an idea.

David S. said...

My point was, basically, that whoever holds the absolute ideal of democracy must necessarily become a moral and cultural relativist. This seems to be the origin of the left, this mindset, and so it seems to me that a democracy naturally creates an enemy within itself.

If we had to list the primary, absolute values of Western Civilization, what would they be? And I don't mean the cultural values we have such as respect for the individual over the group, but rather that which we would define as absolute truths. The West clearly has its foundations in two principles: Reason and Christianity. Christianity was eroded first - in Europe almost to the point of death I hear - and Reason has been slowly chipped away at by the left as it shows itself to clearly oppose their absurd imaginings.

I think that if I had to make a list of the absolute truths upon which the West is built (currently), it would be something like this:

1. Human nature tends toward evil when there are no consequences.
2. Government, as it grows in power, lessens consequences for rulers, and therefore increases the likelihood of evil actions by the rulers. Limitations must be placed on governments because of this.
3. Reason trumps all, and Faith must submit to it (or work in tandem with it) to be taken seriously.
4. Mankind has the right to live, to be free, and to perform any moral action one so chooses.
5. There are certain immoral actions that, by natural law, all know to be immoral; consequently these should all be outlawed.
6. The duty of the government is to provide for defense from both internal and external forces which would deprive the rights of the people.
7. The best singular object of sovereignty is the nation-state, since a singular culture promotes united values and common bonds of affection.
8. People have the right to earn enough to live, and those who work harder/longer/better should earn more.

On top of these, there are two more which Christianity adds, and which are held by Christian nations alone:

9. Christianity is the true religion, and from the Christian God - the True God - we receive all, including power, rights, being, etc.
10. Anyone, therefore, who violates the designs of God loses or lawfully ought to lose, to a greater or lesser degree (depending on the degree of offense) the rights which they enjoyed at His good pleasure.

Every enemy of Western Civilization violates one of the original 8 truths of mankind. Each element of the left violates some of them, and collectively they violate all of them (including the 2 Chrisian tenets). The various interpretation of Point #9 is the source of differing denominations, and the degrees of Point #10 determines the religious or secular nature of a Western society.

Anyone, therefore, who believes otherwise than the 8 truths is an enemy of the West, and anyone who believes otherwise than the last 2 is an opponent (though not necessarily direct enemy) of Christian Civilization.
Any democratic society which would oppose any of these 8 facts would lose its legitimacy. It ought to be opposed as an enemy of the West in the manner that and to the degree which it attempts to supplant the West's known truths.

Can we all agree to this? Is there anything else to add, or does anyone have a dispute with any of the points? I think that this is a pretty good list of what we all hold to be the essence of the West, and that which both the Leftists and the Muslims oppose. If anyone disagrees, please let me know.

Naturally, from this list, we would have to conclude that democracy is a vehicle, a secondary good, which we have found to be quite successful at transmitting these values throughout history. It is the preferable format because, at least as an historical trend, it is the most effective at doing so. However, if democratic processes lead to a violation of any of these 8 principles, they are undermining our society, and the ordinary place of democracy can be supplanted by whatever means seem fit.

Can we all agree to this? I'm sorry, for yet again I am ranting and somewhat off subject, but I feel that this is such a fundamental point that we need to have a grasp of it, especially considering what we may have to endure in the near future on account of the current situation. If we do not have a coherent notion of 'the West,' how can we fight to preserve it?

I hope, Baron, Dymphna, or Fjordman, that you could address this in some way on a post. I'm not saying you should post my little rant as an article, since you may well all have a much clearer or more convincing notion of what the West is in its essence, but I do not think we can overstate the importance of this. Right now it seems like a simple mental exercise, but in the future these truths (which I have just listed and did not conceive) may be the rallying point for all of us who will fight to save our world. I think a concrete declaration of the Western truths is very important - and may be a useful tool to detect which side someone is on - and a healthy debate on the subject could only benefit us. I do hope you all feel the same way; I'm not trying to be a pain, I promise.

Jesus Christ Supercop said...

These are not easy questions, and we will have to grapple with them for a long time to come.
No, we don't. Asking questions or thinking about things is fascism, nazism and racism. Asking questions implies that you don't necessarily agree with the Truth. Thinking about things can lead you to incorrect conclusions, and we can't have that kind of behavior in our modern world.

Jesus Christ Supercop said...

david s.:
On top of these, there are two more which Christianity adds, and which are held by Christian nations alone:

9. Christianity is the true religion, and from the Christian God - the True God - we receive all, including power, rights, being, etc.
10. Anyone, therefore, who violates the designs of God loses or lawfully ought to lose, to a greater or lesser degree (depending on the degree of offense) the rights which they enjoyed at His good pleasure.

That's known as "religious fundamentalism." Do you support religious fundamentalism?

David S. said...

Boy, that word 'fundamentalist' sure is a fine way to make whoever you disagree with look silly, isn't it? :) So you don't hold to those points; do you hold to the 8 above them? Does that make you a 'Western fundamentalist"?

I was merely making an observation of the basis of the Christian nations that once existed in the West. We cannot speak of the essence of the West while ignoring well over a thousand years of its history.

But since you mention it, yes, I do believe in those two points. Does that make me a 'fundamentalist'? Ok, fine, but then so is virtually everyone who lived before 1800 then. Not bad company.

It is a simple fact that any and all societies are based on a particular worldview, philosophy, and/or religion. The current makeup of the West is based on the 8 above. Before 1800 or so, the West was made up of all 10.

It seems preposterous to me that someone could honestly believe in Christianity and at the same time not acknowledge point #9. I doubt anyone does. Point #10 has to do with the two different conceptions of society we have in the West: a rule of law based on natural law and the concept of rights, and a rule of law based on the supernatural law of Christianity and the concept of God's rights.

Believe it or not, the Christian God ALSO commanded His people to stone adulterers, etc., at one time. Does this mean this is what we should do now? No. Does it mean, however, that God has actively spoken in support of society based on His laws, and not solely on rights? Yes.

In a secular society there is a distinction between the immoral and the unlawful. This distinction, however, can only last for a time. Just as the human psyche doesn't do well when its notion of morality contradicts the person's actions, society as a whole will either codify that which it holds to be immoral (e.g. America's adultery, cohabitation, sodomy laws, no Sunday labor, etc., in the past) or will begin to accept the lawful actions as moral.

I do believe that immoral actions ought to be illegal, including adultery. Not punishable by death mind you, but, say, a fine or a loss of any grounds in divorce hearings (not that I approve of divorce, but its a legally necessary evil). I do believe in our society that religious liberty is entirely necessary. However, if we were, say, 98% Christian (or more specifically, Catholic), I would not support it (save for Jews). By that I mean people could privately believe what they want as long as they don't shout it from the rooftops. All rooftop shouting activities would have to be Christian.

You don't like this notion of the world? Well, that's what I want, and plenty others like me, and that's what I think the world will end up being after the dust settles from WWIII's biggest battles, which are yet to come. You hold values that others do not, and you want to live in a society where the values you hold are imposed on all people. I want the same thing; we simply differ in those values.

So call me what you will. I'm a traditionalist Catholic, and I want a world that follows and serves God, with God at its center, not man. I don't want to kill anyone for not believing or even for all but the gravest crimes (murder for example), I don't want to force conversions at the end of the sword, and as long as they aren't stirring up trouble I don't even want to have any restrictions on people's personal beliefs (as though it were possible anyways). If anyone doesn't like that idea, they need to come to terms with the fact that this has been what the West was for some 70% of its history. Your world comes from this idea, and to say that nowadays we live in more 'enlightened' times is both pompous and antiChristian.

Cosmo said...

"In the old days, people used to talk about “death before dishonor.” In our age, this has become “death before discrimination.” "

I believe John Derbyshire coined the expression "better dead than rude" to describe our squeamishness about profiling at airports.

As you've detailed (most excellently, as always fjordman), human rights absolutism leads to absurdity. Such is the degradation of language brought to us by leftism.

Just as disturbing are the double standards for 'offense,' 'grievance,' 'hate crime' and 'incitement to violence' you've hinted at.

'Desecration' of the koran is discussed seriously as an 'incitement to violence,' yet calling for the beheading of those who 'insult the prophet' is somehow construed as an exercise of free speech worthy of police protection for those with -- all together now -- 'legitimate grievances,' but never as an 'incitement' to 'islamophobia'?

What a hall of mirrors. But when you have the absolute power statists crave, you get to run this particular circus amusement.

Jesus Christ Supercop said...

I do believe that immoral actions ought to be illegal, including adultery.

So call me what you will. I'm a traditionalist Catholic, and I want a world that follows and serves God, with God at its center, not man.

Yep, you're definitely a fundie. You even have the same goal as the Jihad, except you (probably) won't pursue it with violence.

I do believe in our society that religious liberty is entirely necessary. However, if we were, say, 98% Christian (or more specifically, Catholic), I would not support it (save for Jews). By that I mean people could privately believe what they want as long as they don't shout it from the rooftops. All rooftop shouting activities would have to be Christian.
So you support religious freedom, but at the same time you don't support religious freedom? Your position is not fundamentally different from what the Muslims do. You want to impose the same restrictions on religious minorities as they do.

I hate all forms of religious fundamentalism, whether it's Christian or Muslim.

Dymphna said...

Oh. My. Heavens.

I have finally found a point of agreement with JCSupercop. What to do???

JC quoting a commenter--

So you support religious freedom, but at the same time you don't support religious freedom? Your position is not fundamentally different from what the Muslims do. You want to impose the same restrictions on religious minorities as they do.

You are *exactly* correct here, sir. And these "smelly little orthodoxies" are the most dangerous obstacles to liberty. Liberty, for those who believe in Something larger than ourselves* is simply a given. Some call it free will and consider this quality of man the fundamental basis of what makes us human. Skinner tried to prove that free will didn't exist, but he operated from a mechanistic world view and was essentially...well, boring.

I do wish we had a better word than "fundamentalists" for the scared ones, the ones demanding some secure orthodoxy to follow and to impose on others, thereby inducing a state of being in which they won't/don't have to make decisions for themselves. But such a theology flies in the face of what I understand about human freedom.

This blogger linked below may give you the language which helps to move past those pathetic arguments when you see them:
One Cosmos

And not only is he brilliant and lucid, but over there you can use anatomical phrases not permitted here. I think you would find him appealing. For example, from today's top post:

When I speak of the “culture war,” no one should be offended, because I am not speaking of this or that individual person, nor of this or that particular policy. There are many decent (although I believe misguided) people on the left, just as there are many a-holes on the right, especially among politicians, who, for a variety of reasons, are a special kind of a-hole.

As a brief aside, this is why I am never surprised when any politician, left or right, is involved in scandal or corruption. I expect it. As I may have mentioned last week, I see the world of “professions” in a very Darwinian manner, as a field of occupational “environments” that selects certain personality types. Politics, as much as any other field (including show business, which is merely politics for the attractive), attracts narcissistic, insecure, vain, and power-seeking individuals.

Therefore, I am hardly shocked at the sexual misconduct of a Mark Foley, Gary Condit, Bill Clinton, Gerry Studds, James McGreevey, Barney Frank, or JFK. Rather, I am shocked by a James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill or Ronald Reagan.


BTW, I didn't go back to see who you were answering in your comment, but I'd guess it's our very young theologian. He hasn't been tested enough by life yet. Which is worrying, in a way. If he's that rigid at such a young age, how will he acquire the resiliency that growing up demands? Sometimes he worries me because he seems merely the flip side of the rabidly devout atheist -- which is a more normal developmental stage at this point.


And now, JC, I must go lie down with a cool cloth on my head and consider the implications of this revelation that you and I have, finally, a point of agreement. But help me find a better word that "fundamentalism" to describe the pinched world view that lurks behind that tired, overcooked word. Like the term "God", it has been bandied about too much to be useful.

And it's an MSM word anyway. Yucky poo, as my daughter used to say.

Go ye, therefore, and consult One Cosmos, a very loose and lucid dude.
*I call It "the entity formerly known as God" since people have so multilated that word [God] -- and one another -- in attempting to "save" us from ourselves

David S. said...

Obviously I'm not going to convince anyone by continuing this, so I'll just let it go. I do want to make the point, however, that the great Catholic theologians - St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Pius X, Leo XIII, etc. - hold the same position, and explain it with much greater clarity than I do (and they weren't too young to not be tempered by experience). I simply don't have it in me to disagree with some of the greatest minds that have ever written on the subject (besides the fact that they are right). I don't mean to take a shot at anyone with this, but it seems unbelievably arrogant to me to disagree with such people, since doing so means you think you understand the subject better than they do. If you're curious, read what they wrote.
Finally, I'd like to point out that the nature of the State is that it is founded on a common philosophy, and any opposition to that philosophy (rightly) designates such opposition as an enemy of the State which ought to be prevented in its goals in the same manner which it pursues them (word by word, violence by violence, etc.).
Most people in this country would rather live under the curious delusion that this country does not impose its ideology on both its citizens and the world at large. It does. So does every other country; it's the nature of the beast. The only difference between a Christian state doing so and - for lack of a better term - the Lockean/Masonic state doing so is the ideology behind its actions. You see the US's actions as justified and my idea as 'looney' solely because you agree with the US's ideology. It's a question of your base ideology, which even for most Christians in this country isn't Christianity, but rather the ideals of the state. I'm not trying to rip into the US, because I believe at the moment it's probably the best country in the world and a great ally to the rights of Christians; I'm just pointing out a fact.
Oh, and I knew I shouldn't have revealed my age on here. Instead of people listening to what I have to say, instead I get the same response to inquiry an 8 year old gets: "You'll understand when you're older." What nonsense.

David S. said...

Oh, one more thing:

It's quite silly to assume that someone who holds a different ideology than you is just 'too scared' to think the way you do. Honestly. That's as absurd as saying the Islamists attack us because they're scared that 'freedom is way better'!

Jesus Christ Supercop said...

I don't know if there's a better word than "fundamentalist" to describe a person who wishes to impose his religion on everyone else. I can't think of anything, anyway.

Phanarath said...

David S

Thats exactly why the islamists attack us. They are afraid that to many muslims will figure out that freedom is way better.

Phanarath said...

And may I add. The fact that you found that notion so absurd, is a tribute to your general good nature an unability to understand the absurdnes of Islam.

The fact that you still managed to hit the nail right on the head is a tribute to human intuition or maybe even to god working in mysterius ways.

M. Simon said...

You might find this of interest:


Careless said...

I was conversing with someone a few months ago about the subject of someone supporting racial profiling and this person said "He'd be better off dead"
When I expressed my surprise at this comment, he changed his statement to "I'd rather be dead than racist"