Monday, July 25, 2005

Changing the Subject

On Dymphna’s post last Friday, commenter erp said:
     All these essays and articles, as well written and insightful as they may be, won’t rid us of those who want to kill us and make the world into their own image.
What is needed is force, and unfortunately, force is something we western effetes are very uncomfortable talking about, never mind actually implementing.
Alas, a sedentary, civilian, and middle-aged blogger has very little chance of taking any kind of action against the Great Jihad. Not even aspiring to be an armchair general, one is lucky to be an armchair subaltern.

But this war is primarily a war of ideas, a war of ideology, beliefs, and value systems. If it were a matter of simple firepower, the outcome would never be in doubt. But our principal enemy is the enemy within. The outcome of this conflict depends on whether the nagging voice of self-doubt and self-loathing within the mind of the West can be silenced.

To that end, these “essays and articles”, these ideas and syntheses, these rants and diatribes, are crucial. If we hope to change enough minds to save the West from self-sabotage, we must argue fiercely and unceasingly.

So it is important to remember that by and large the mainstream international news media have gone over to the enemy. Sedition may not be the intent of Reuters or CNN or the New York Times, but their unceasing hostility to the Bush administration and America in general has had a seditious effect. Their enmity tilts public opinion towards despair and defeatism and undermines our collective will to carry this fight to its necessary conclusion.

And this is where the blogosphere and new media come in. Fifteen or twenty years ago we would not have had a prayer; we might just as well have laid down our arms and paid the jizya. The establishment media had full control of the public discourse then, and their actions would have had a catastrophic effect.

But times are different now, and we can change the subject. If we are serious about resisting the Great Islamic Jihad, this is our function as warbloggers. That is, we storm and occupy the national conversation.

So “Torture at Guantanamo”, “Quagmire in Iraq”, and “The Legitimacy Which Can Be Conferred Solely by the United Nations” can be left to CBS News and the Washington Post. Blogs can discuss the truth.

To begin with, we can consider and argue the following topics:
1. Whether we like it or not, we are in a religious war.
2. The demographics of Islam are against us.
3. There is a significant portion of unassimilated Muslims in the West, including the USA. They comprise a danger to our security.
4. Our enemy is adept at using our tolerance and “multiculturalist” sentiments to his advantage.
5. Islam is deeply misogynistic and abusive to women.

And then we can research the following questions:
1. Are we at war with all of Islam, or only a small portion of it?
2. Can Islam be politically reformed to accept democracy?
3. Can Europe pull out of its suicidal demographic spiral?
4. Is profiling for a “Muslim” appearance preferable to enduring more terrorist attacks?
5. And most importantly: Is the West worth saving?

If the traditional media had their way, none of these topics would ever be discussed. And, instead of posting on this blog, I would be limited to writing curmudgeonly letters to the editor.

I like it better this way.


goesh said...

Well said

goesh said...

I liked the part about being a middle aged blogger who can't take much action against the great jihad - sort of fits me to a T, having had my war in viet nam and done a spot of similiar service in some other places, I now sit and write. I reckon I could still hump a few clicks with a full load, having done a hard day of labor in the heat we are having just yesterday, i.e. brushing with axe and machete and moving rock with a wheel barrow and digging with a pick and shovel. I put in 9 hours with a short stop for some food and alot of gator aid drinking. Maybe they should sacrafice us old bastards first, round us all up, arm us and have a great human wave assault somewhere. Think of all the social security money that would be saved down the line. The last charge of the light geezer brigade, eh? I would recommend Iran. Convert a bunch of oil tankers into transports, ship us over via one way ticket, soften up the beaches and send us in with all the ammo, food and water we could carry. The standing order would be simple. To the Light Geezer Brigade: Advance towards Tehran killing anyone bearing arms, forage as you go, Good luck and it's been good knowing you.

Baron Bodissey said...

Goesh, I'm with you! Just as soon as I make the last payment on the Junior Baron's college tuition -- then it's "Marching to Teheran" for me!

Pofarmer said...

I think you probably just made Dan Rathers head explode! More! More!!

Always On Watch said...

My concern over the matters presented here, including the links to "The Enemy Within" has turned me into a frenzied blogger. The msm and the multiculturalists within our institutions of learning have indeed "gone over to the enemy."

But a commenter on my blog pointed out that, just recently (Fri, 07/22/05), Lou Dobbs (CNN) took a survey and found that some 80% of the participants favored renaming this conflict "The War of Radical Islam." Notice the interesting acronym: WORI (worry). Maybe--just maybe--people are catch on to at least one aspect of the danger which faces us.

I, too, am middle-aged, and won't go down without a fight, even if the fight is one of words. And I'm starting to notice the appearance of the unvarnished truth in some of the mainstream news magazine. In last week's issue of Time Magazine appeared an essay by Irshad Manji: "When Denial Can Kill."

Manji is a Muslim, and she says this: "For too long, we Muslims have been sticking fingers in our ears and chanting 'Islam means peace' to drwon out the negative noice from our holy book....[A]s long as Muslims live in pretense, we will be affirming that we have something to hide."

Over at another blog, I noticed this:

Is there truly a conflict within Islam? Can that conflict save Western civilization? Those are the big questions for me.

I will address the first question at the end of your posting. We are not, at this point, at war with all of Islam. But the passivity of those Muslims who are not militants must change. The day I see moderates turning in militants will give me assurance that there really are significant divisions within Islam. Can the West come up with strategies to foster the moderates' coming forth in an effective manner?

I have no problem with Islam as a personal faith. I have a real problem with Islamism as geopolitical ideology, an ideology which advocates putting all the world under Shari'a law. Can Islam and Islamism be separated? If not, Islam itself is incompatible with Western ideals--that's the ugly truth I have come to.

goesh said...

I don't know if islam can be separated from sharia law and its advocates. That is the million dollar question. On the surface, the answer appears to be no. Surely muslims enjoying the benefits of civilization know that they too will be drug back to the 7th century - don't they??

wildiris said...

Good Morning Baron. An observation on the question "are we at war with all of Islam". In mathematics there is the concept of a "dense" subset. A subset P of larger set Q is said to be "dense" if every neighborhood of any element of Q, contains an element of P. The feature that arises from this condition is that one cannot draw a boundary around the elements of P that will separate them from the rest of the set Q. And when that happens, a proof about some property of the elements of P can often be extened to the whole set Q.
The Jihadists form a "dense" subset of the Moslem population, as there is at least one in every neighborhood( no math pun intended). In this situation, where there is no way to separate out the Jihadists from the Moslem population as a whole, there can be no logical basis to consider them as separate populations.

El Jefe Maximo said...

"Is the West worth saving ?" Hmmmm. I confess to wondering about that one myself. I like my neighborhood, and most of my neighbors and friends, warts and all...but the larger culture ? Confess to some skepticism there.

My son and I, along with his Cub Scout Pack, were recently privileged to spend the night on board USS Lexington (CV-16) down at Corpus Christi, Texas. Lexington is a WWII Essex class carrier, full of both military and non-military artifacts evoking the world of 60 years ago.

Now thinking on your question -- I'd take up arms in a minute to save THAT world: Glenn Miller, and apple pie, Tommy Dorsey records, baseball, Lucky Strike, etc. Ditto the world of 1914 (too bad we couldn't save that world from itself).

But take up arms for Barbra Streisand ? Madonna ? Hip Hop Music ? Michael Moore ? Certainly I wouldn't want to for these people, their friends, or for their complacent, repulsive, nihilistic culture. The problem with what passes for culture here is that all of it lacks seriousness. It's the product of a rich society that, unlike that of 60 years ago -- cannot even comprehend that anything or anyone could threaten it.

You have argued, Baron, to the effect that the only way we can win this war is to get a little religion, ourselves. I would agree with you, but argue that it's broader than that. Not only do we need to put paid to Osama and his crew, and the whole Islamofascist morass that feeds and backs it, but we need to figure out some way to get our own house in order as well.

wildiris said...

My recent short post got me thinking about the very abstract nature of the beast we are facing in the Jihadist's worldview. If memory serves me correctly, a poster at Belmont Club used the expression, "distributed entity or consciousness" to describe this nature. It seems that with the Internet and instant communications that a new form of community is arising in our world, one that is not constrained to a specific geographical region of the planet. There is an almost science-fiction quality to the Jihadist’s movement that defies conventional pre-Internet thinking. One of the problems that many here in the West are having in comprehending the nature of this war is that they are either unwilling or unable to view it at the abstract level that it is being played out at. One advantage for people to cast the current conflict as a religious war is that it then allows them to view it with the more abstract perspective necessary to grasp it true nature. (I would be curious to hear what Jinnderella’s take on this line of thinking might be.) It seems that maybe this is what you were trying to get at in The Enemy Within thread when you talked about a new religious view that was more (scientific?) in its nature?

Baron Bodissey said...

wildiris -- I well know the mathematical terms of which you speak, since that was my field. And I remember that a set can be "locally dense", that is, dense in all neighborhoods of a point or finitely bounded point-set, or it can be "everywhere dense".

Is the Great Jihad everywhere dense in Islam?

Baron Bodissey said...

Jefe -- I don't think we can reach victory in this war until we get our own house in order. Until then it will be one step forward, two steps back.

But we have a lot of things going for us. There are our military personnel, who are carrying the cultural genes of health and sanity until they are needed. And we have the milbloggers. We have Mark Steyn. Then there's the Pope. And at the opposite end there's Oriana Fallaci -- all reasons for hope.

truepeers said...

There's a new blogger, Adam Katz, who looks to be a leader in this ideas war, an amazingly vigorous trooper whom the blogger captains might look to for recon. He is using a new and somewhat challenging conceptual vocabulary, but this is all the more reason he could use some commenters. Some of us may have lost our chance for heroic physical action, but wisdom and what "Prospero" calls generative thought experiments remain for all:

Baron Bodissey said...

wildiris again -- I think we are definitely entering a new era of "distributed intelligence". Eventually we may need a new mathematical/cybernetic discipline in order to describe and understand it. I'm sure it will be very exciting; it's a pity I'm too old to take part.

As for the new religion -- it will have to absorb our scientific worldview, all the understanding of the universe to which science has led us, so that it can co-opt secular culture and provide an alternative to narcissistic nihilism. I hope I live to see it.

Engineer-Poet said...

Quoth the Baron:

"... this war is primarily a war of ideas, a war of ideology, beliefs, and value systems."

But it's more than that.  Has nobody noticed that this was a tempest in a teapot until the Wah'habi priesthood got their hands on Saudi oil wealth and started spreading their odious ideology worldwide?

It's a war of ideas, but their power to spread themselves is determined by money.  Money flows according to economics, which in turn interacts (both influencing and influenced by) technology.

Crucial point:  Before the technologies which used petroleum were invented (and became a source of economic and political power), Saudi oil was worthless and the Wah'habi were powerless.

Base our transport technology (the biggie) on something other than oil, and you'll lop off most of the Hydra's heads right there.

Energy technology is a front in this war, a front where the West has unique and unparalleled strengths... and it's being ignored and even ridiculed by many of the people who take the war most seriously.

Islam is what Jinnderella calls an ESS, an evolutionarily stable strategy.  Attacking it with beliefs and values is like attacking a fortified city where it is strongest while we pay for its supply convoys.  We need to attack it with technology and starve it to death.

wildiris said...

Baron, regarding the question of separation, my wife whimsically suggested a T2 topology, but I personally wouldn't go more that a T1. But getting serious again, mathematics is the richest of all areas of human inquiry when it comes to its abundance of abstract logical frameworks in which to cast its ideas. But for people outside of the disciplines of math and the hard sciences, their religious views are probably the most abstract level of thinking they will do. Our notion of the ‘separation of church and state” can only occur in a cultural/religious environment were the secular and spiritual can be abstracted into two separated, though intersecting, realms. But this in turn implies a cultural foundation that supports such a level of abstract thought. Clearly the Hindu culture of India as well as the Protestant culture of Western Europe both qualify in this regard, but does the Islamic cultures of today’s Moslem societies qualify? Other people in these posts have noted the correlation between a culture’s religion and its level of abstraction and the level of abstract though that you see sustained by that society in its more secular aspects. For example, the Moslem countries seem to produce engineers but no scientists, while a country like India has produce countless brilliant mathematicians and physicists. The point I’m trying to get at is that since Islam does not contain the level of abstract thought that you find in Hinduism or Christianity, it is no wonder that in the Moslem cultures, the abstract notion of the ‘separation of church and state” just can’t be sustained by the average individual member.

Baron Bodissey said...

wildiris -- Yes, it is quite a mystery why one monotheistic faith (Islam) is quite resistant to open-minded scientific thinking, while two others (Judaism and Christianity) as well as a sophisticated polytheistic culture (Hindu) have no trouble embracing science. Not to mention the Chinese scientists -- what would they be, typically? Buddhists? Taoists? Atheists?

To the Christian scholar, scientific inquiry is the eye of God turned towards His creation, using the God-granted faculties of intelligence and reason to further understanding. But Islam does not seem to want further understanding; in fact, outside the Koran and the accepted corollaries, any further inquiry is heresy.

As to why it's set up that way, I have no idea.

Dymphna said...


As the Baron well knows, I have lots of theories about this. Let's begin at a very basic level: the structure of the family. Arab culture does not allow for one of the basic, bottomline regulating emotions: curiosity. In fact, it pretty thoroughly squelches it. Had Mohammed not come along with his rigid ideas (just that submissive structure, writ larger) and had not Islam developed into a cosmology, then things would have been radically different.

What is the opposite of curiosity? Shame, of which the components are:
1. Attack other.
2. Attack self.
3. Avoid others.
4. Withdraw from others.

In other words, rage, suicide, drug addiction or the funny farm. Or sometimes a mixture.

Eventually reactive rage goes looking for a target. As when the bear in Pogo says "somebody asides me is gonna rue this here particular day."

Islam is not the RoP, it's the RoS -- the religion of submission. The Jewish/Christian G-d is always giving his people what for in some way or another. Allah, like the black rock, does not speak...except of course when he spoke thru Mohammed, but M. ain't coming back whereas maybe the Messiah or Jesus is.

The J/C G-d is about faith, hope and love. Allah is about faith. Period. That isn't creative and it doesn't make for Einsteins, it makes for envious robots who feel they've been cheated. And they have...

Here's a thought for the geneticists: what if the demand for submission has resulted in a breeding out of curiosity? Since curiosity is one of the hallmarks of intelligence and creativity, where does that leave the survivors after 1400 years?

Engineer-Poet said...

According to this, about 15 points behind the European average.

wildiris said...

Dymphna, I agree with your observations, as far as they go, but I suspect that you have found in your quest for root causes, the same thing that I have. That is, an endless loop of mutually re-enforcing social and cultural forces. In other words, the classic “which came first, the chicken or the egg” problem. The concept that I find most useful when thinking about Islam and its attendant culture is one that has appeared in these posts before; that of an ESS, an evolutionarily stable strategy. How ESS’s get established and how in the end they find their termination is a subject that is probably worth its own blog site. But for our purposes, all ESS’s have one thing in common. There must be social/cultural force(s) to conformity that meet or exceed the forces of social/cultural drift. (start humming Carly Simon’s song “you’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you”) One of the vanities of the political liberal left apologists for the Islamic terrorists and their attacks is that they think every bomb and attack is about them. Viewed from the perspective of an ESS, the stratagy of Jihad is just as important in enforcing conformity in the Moslem communities as they are attacks against Western Culture. If we in the West are waiting for the “moderate Moslems” to come to the forefront, then we have a long time to wait. Not until the Moslem communities themselves fell free from the threat of Jihad will this happen.
Creativity and its twin Curiosity are virtues of the individual. To paraphrase Nietchze, there is no such thing as a creative society, only creative individuals. Only societies that elevate the individual over the group can be creative in their endevors, and the natrual outcome of a creative society, a productive society as well. Socialist societies that elevate the group over the individual can never be creative, and as a result must be parasitic on the productivity of other societies. The Islamic cultures are of the latter type and as an ESS, Islam is probably closer to the Borg of Star Trek than anything we in the Western world are familiar with.

wildiris said...

Viewing Islam as a parasitic ESS, the question then arises, “what was the host that it had been sustaining itself on?”. Historically, parasitic ESS societies have been with us as long has humans have been civilized (i.e. city-dwelling). But parasitic ESS cultures/societies that live off of the fruits of others don’t last very long. Once a host society’s resources have been exhausted, such parasitic ESS cultures/societies must move on by conquest to the next available society (mongols) or stay and assimilate (vikings). But what host has the Moslim world been sustaining itself on? One historical fact about the Muslim world, that has been completely ignored in all of the discussions I hear/read these days, is that for centuries it sat astride all of the trade routes, both land and sea, from east to west. While the Crusades, which affected geographically probably less than 5% of the Muslim world at that time, have been given all of the attention, the economic affects of being able to control trade between east and west has been given no notice at all. It is no coincidence that the Muslim world’s decline from its cultural peak, beginning around the end of the late Middle Ages, correlates exactly in time with the discovery and development of ocean going trade routes from Western Europe to the Far East that bypassed the Middle East completely.
In the beginning, Islam grew as all parasitic ESS societies do by conquest of it neighbors. But it had the great historic fortune to find itself a host (east-west-trade) that was strong enough to sustain it through the many centuries that followed. It was the discovery of oil in the Arab lands and the money that brough in that pumped life back into a culture that had all but fallen back into a backwater-third/fourth world status.
And as a parasitic ESS society/culture, it is no wonder that Islam is finding ready and willing hosts to sustain itself on in the welfare states/economies of Western Europe.