Monday, October 08, 2007

The Failure of Government

Dymphna’s post yesterday about Ayaan Hirsi Ali generated a lot of controversy among our commenters. Before I wade into this free-for-all, I want to emphasize that I am not arguing about Ayaan Hirsi Ali, her character, her deeds, her opinions, her philosophy, or anything else about her. She is a brave and intelligent woman and is serving the cause of the Counterjihad, but this is not about her.

This is about the failure of our governments, the democratically elected governments of the West, to carry out faithfully one of their primary duties: to protect their citizens.

I’ll let one of the commenters on Dymphna’s post speak for the rest of those who were outraged by her opinions. Paardestaart said this:

It is the duty of government to keep its citizens safe, isn’t it? By what right can they give out rights otherwise?

Paardestaart, I couldn’t agree with you more. It is the duty of government to keep its citizens safe.

And that’s why I oppose the idea of bodyguards for private citizens paid for by the government. If citizens can’t be protected unless the government provides bodyguards for them, then our civilization is doomed.

Bodyguards are very expensive. If we hope that disaffected Muslims will leave Islam — as did Ayaan Hirsi Ali — or risk their lives by speaking out against the most fanatical forms of Islam, then we are expecting many thousands of Muslims to put themselves in the same situation as did Ms. Hirsi Ali. Assuming that two full-time (with benefits) state employees are required for each of these apostates, the protection of all of them would swiftly bankrupt any Western government, even at EU levels of taxation.

The United States has a different way of doing things. According to our laws, private citizens are not entitled to government-provided protection unless they are in the federal witness protection program. Presidents, former presidents, and various other public officials are protected by the Secret Service, but not private citizens.

The murder of Ghazala KhanBut, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that everyone does things the way the Europeans do.

Who deserves this expensive protection? You pointed out the German Muslim woman who tried to divorce her husband and was brutally murdered. So how many Muslim women in the West want to divorce their husbands? How many of those get the bodyguards, and how do we choose which ones?

Look at the Central Committee of Ex-Muslims. It is a growing movement throughout Europe, and every one of these apostates has gone public with his or her apostasy. Each of them deserves a bodyguard just as much as Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Or consider Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser of The American Islamic Forum for Democracy, who appeared on Glenn Beck’s program, as I mentioned earlier today. He puts himself at grave risk every day. Every member of AIFD opposes shari’a, political Islam, and Wahhabism. Each of them is as likely to earn a death threat as is Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Should all of them be provided with bodyguards?
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I know a man in Richmond who, as part of his activities in a Christian organization, takes a strong public stand against Islam. During high-profile events he wears a Kevlar vest and has a security detail, paid for by his organization. Should the government be footing the bill for all this instead?

No matter what one’s philosophical position on these matters is, the fact remains that it is not a practical possibility to protect everyone who opposes Islam or radical Islamic principles. There are neither enough bodyguards available, nor enough tax money.

If free citizens cannot choose their religion or speak their views publicly without fear of violent death, than the government has failed in its duty to protect them. But supplying bodyguards for each and every person who might be at risk is not the solution.

The ugly truth of the matter is that only major celebrities are ever likely to earn a government-paid bodyguard. Ms. Hirsi Ali has been fortunate to have benefited in this way from her celebrity, but those teenage girls in Finsbury Park or Rosengård are not so lucky. They will simply have to dye their hair, wear the veil, and stay home at night if they want to avoid beatings and rapes.

If all of the people who face this risk can’t have bodyguards, then none of them should. It is especially unfair that protection is offered mainly to celebrities, who have more resources and are better able to afford the protection themselves. The poor wife of an angry and abusive husband in Hamburg does not have the same options.

All of this leads to the inexorable conclusion that our governments have failed us. We are not safe because our elected representatives have consistently invited communities of our enemies to live among us. They are allowed and even encouraged to retain their original culture and ideology, and to display violent antipathy towards their hosts.

This is criminal negligence on the part of our governments. It says a lot about the mass insanity that reigns throughout the West that we keep freely electing leaders who do the same thing to us, over and over again.

Bodyguards are not enough to solve this problem.


atheling2 said...

Hear, hear, Baron, my sentiments exactly. That's why Americans, (well, at least the ones who are self sufficient), arm themselves.

I don't understand why Ms. Hirsi Ali didn't apply for US citizenship, or if there was a stumbling block to getting one, but she would be safer here than in Europe.

Kirk Parker said...


Thanks for the great (though very sad) clarification.

If I may pick a minor nit:

"Assuming that two full-time (with benefits) state employees are required for each of these apostates,"

That assumption far understates the cost, as (assuming a 40-hour work week) it actually requires 4.2 FTE's just to cover the week's 168 hours with only a single bodyguard.

And of course a single bodyguard isn't really adequate: don't they get lunch breaks? Or have to visit the restroom? Providing effective 24x7 security for an individual is a massive undertaking; there's a reason why only presidents, governors, and a few big-city mayors get it.

The real path to security is of course (as you perhaps hint at) a matter of offense, not defense, of taking the battle to the enemy.

Baron Bodissey said...

Kirk --

I know that. I was using lower numbers just to demonstrate how undoable it is, even at minimum levels.

The real cost would be astronomical.

Kirk Parker said...


I probably shouldn't have used the word "nit", since I didn't mean to criticize what you said but only to supplement it.

In that vein, here's another thought: by working to protect the deserving victims of jihad, the bodyguards themselves would become targeted persons, so they, too, would need their own bodyguards when they were off duty. Hello, infinite regress! Maybe the current GWOT isn't so expensive after all...

songdongnigh said...

From Dymphna’s otherwise fine post yesterday, I‘m afraid I can‘t agree with the statement: "But in the US, a person is free to make threatening remarks under the first amendment of our Constitution."

“Under state criminal codes, which vary by state, it is an offense to knowingly utter or convey a threat to cause death or bodily harm to any person. It is also an offense to threaten to burn, destroy or damage property or threaten to kill, poison or injure an animal or bird that belongs to a person.”

We are a nation of law which protects us all from unreasonable threat.

Concerning personal protection, should anti-Jihadists receive special protection if they receive threats from a certain “religious“ group because of their stand? I think the answer should be yes, if credible threats are made because it is not just the individual who is threatened, but our very society.

It is of course expensive to provide such protection, but what is the alternative? Dhimmitude? At what dollar amount do we draw the line? That is the conundrum. Everyone who opposes that certain “religion” will be not threatened individually. However, it is also the first responsibility of everyone to ensure their own protection.

In my mind, a threat against any American by a terrorist is threat against all Americans and must be met with the most appropriate means.

Are we the Ik or are we a nation?

Baron Bodissey said...


Even if I agreed that everyone who is threatened by the Religion of Peace deserves government protection, it can't be done. It simply can't be done.

Some may be protected. Others must go unprotected.

Do you want to be the one to choose who deserves protection, and who doesn't?

In the end, we will wake up and realize that we must tackle the root of the problem. The only question is how many innocent people will have to die before the waking up occurs.

FluffResponse said...

Whiskey said...

Arguing what or what not to do on the basis of morality and rightness is IMHO pointless.

What is useful is thinking about what WILL happen. Those with enough power through lobbying groups will get protection, the rest will not.

What WILL happen is that most will have no protection and thus the government loses legitimacy. Now in most nations there is a thriving black market for drugs and guns. If you can find drugs you can find guns on the black market.

People will simply ignore laws and act as vigilantes. Vigilante action has it's advantages. It gives power back to ordinary people, who act in secret. To organize counter-terror on their tormentors or enemies, real or perceived. Muslim terror presented to individuals will provoke counter-terror by self-organizing people who have no other choice.

This is what happens when elites become degraded and degenerate.

I am actually shocked that vigilante action has not taken place already. Many Europeans are "sunk" in that they have property not easily sold, no access to capital and connections needed for immigration to the US (young people can and will move, older ones are "sunk" with property and connections). Or other places like the US.

European governments are practically begging for vigilante action. If they wanted to create it on purpose they could not do a better job.

songdongnigh said...

I regret that I cannot seem to express my view clearly. I do agree though, everyone needing it cannot always be protected on a individual basis. To follow your train of thought though, should a doctor who must triage several patients but can only save one, save none? To say no one should be given individual protection can't be the answer. Sometimes all we can do is all we can do, but we must do our best.

From a practical point of view, the actual numbers needing protection can’t be huge. At this point anyway, it can’t be unmanageable. But that will change if the Islamists realize they can kill almost at will.

In the long term, the Islamist assault on the west must be overcome through joint governmental action. The big fight will take decades. But in the meantime we can’t allow roving terrorists to pick us off. Throwing up our hands and saying everyone is on their own is a victory for the Jihad. It will draw them like wolves to stragglers.

And no, I don’t want to be the one to pick and choose, but would if that was the job. I have been in a position where my judgments were not always right, but had to be made.

KG said...

whiskey 199 said: "European governments are practically begging for vigilante action. If they wanted to create it on purpose they could not do a better job."
Which may just be the most heartening thing about this situation.
When Westerners and oppressed muslims finally explode, the governments who betrayed them will bleat and moan about how shocked and surprised they are at the reaction--I just hope some of those on the receiving end of vigilante action are the politicians and bureaucrats who made it necessary.

R. Hartman said...


Thanks for making my point (in the other post): "No government should ever have to protect individual citizens, as it takes all personal freedom away from that citizen. The only real excuse for any government to exist lies in its one and only true responsibility: the protection of the individual freedom of its citizens."

This is the libertarian phrasing, but the essence is the same as Paardestaart's phrasing: "It is the duty of government to keep its citizens safe".

Obviously it can't do that by providing everyone with a personal set of bodyguards.

anti-uffe said...


Re. your comment in the other thread, I am of course aware of the impossibility of providing personal protection to everybody. In the best (least worse) scenario, this impossibility will force this issue out in the open and end the denial and silencing of critics once and for all. Our governments will be forced to choose between the security of its electorate, and the protected victimhood status of Muslims. Having both is not possible.

In the current situation, however, I will still argue the point that having a few high profile apostates such as Hirsi Ali under 24/7 protection is a valuable PR focal point which ought to benefit everybody, long term. As Hugh Fitzgerald has argued on Jihad Watch, apostates such as her provide the general public, and potentially lawmakers, with unique insight into the workings of the Submissive ideology. She is photogenic, she is articulate, she is good television, she can phrase the problem of Islam in terms recognizable to Westerners. It would be a loss for everybody not to welcome her as the torch bearer of apostasy.

I have noticed another aspect which relates to her specifically: her colour of skin causes cognitive dissonance in leftists and multiculturalists. They don't know how to handle the problem of a black person saying exactly what the dreaded Islamophobes say. Look at the bizarre criticism she is met with (when not simply ignored): she is a "secular fundamentalist," or "right wing." In Denmark (and likely everywhere else) criticism of Islam is not dealt with on a factual basis, but is associated with a small, specific group of "bigoted" or "paranoid" persons. We have, for example, Lars Hedegaard of the Free Press Society or Pia Kjærsgaard of the Danish People's Party. Simply associating criticism with these shamed individuals is a simple sleight of hand that eliminates the need for arguments. By routinely referring to critics such as Hirsi Ali, we may ultimately be able to sever this simplistic linking. She is too valuable an asset. I really hope she will come to Denmark, should everybody else let her down.

Baron Bodissey said...


If we can only protect some people, I think the celebrities should be the last ones we protect.

An army of frightened and enraged celebrities would do wonders for public awareness of our cause.

Too many of the rest of us already have to live that way -- famous authors could discover what it's like for the peons.

Ain't gonna happen, but it's a nice thought.

Dan Kauffman said...

"It is the duty of government to keep its citizens safe, isn’t it? By what right can they give out rights otherwise?"

Governments don't give out Rights

We hold these truths to be self-evident******

Dymphna said...


You are right re threatening remarks. I had in mind domestic violence. The fact is that police here in the US will *not* arrest an abusive partner for verbal threats. The simple reason is that if they do so and bring the guy to the magistrate, he will either dismiss it or charge the guy and let him go without bond --i.e., he's "released on his own recognizance." Which leaves his victim right back where she was. I was told over and over again by officers that their hands were tied if the guy was not living in the house, and already had a restraining order.

Some creative judges would make the woman a temporary officer of the court so that threatening her became contempt of court and they could lock him up.

There is a large gap between the rhetoric and the reality when it comes to violence between family members. Threats to strangers are different, though they shouldn't be.

Maybe honor killings will erase that difference?? I don't recall any incidences of honor killings in this country, but maybe I'm jut not remembering. Or maybe, as is often the case in the UK, these women just "disappear."

Dymphna said...

In the current situation, however, I will still argue the point that having a few high profile apostates such as Hirsi Ali under 24/7 protection is a valuable PR focal point which ought to benefit everybody, long term.

This is the utilitarian point of view re the value of life. Again, it has the potential to quickly devolve into measuring the value of one life against is already happening with "voluntary" euthanaisa.

Protecting Hirsi Ali because she can be of use to us in the fight against political Islam is a slippery slope. What happens when she stops being so useful?

Zerosumgame said...

If Europe is to pay for bodyguards for Ms. Hirsi-Ali, it must pay for bodyguards for every Jew in Europe.

For there is nothing that Muslims hate more than Jews, and Jews are at the top of the Islamofascist murder list.

I R A Darth Aggie said...

My idea of government protection is to issue me a Glock 19/29/36, a couple boxes of ammunition, and adequate trips to the pistol range, and upon showing sufficient competency, a concealed carry permit.

And kudos to Dan for pointing out the governments don't hand out rights - that's a particularly European view of government. Because as surely as what the government giveth, the government may taketh away.

songdongnigh said...

RE: domestic violence. As a matter of fact, you are certainly correct, unfortunately. If the excuse not to enforce subsequent threats because there is already a restraining order is valid, then bank robbers out on bail should get a pass on subsequent robberies. That magistrates fail to enforce the laws shows their ignorance and or bias. A similar outrage is magistrates who go easy on child molesters. (makes me wonder about their motivation and associations) Our culture has some Muslim-like flaws which deems women and children less worthy of protection than men.

I read GoV daily because it pushes me to delve into detail I might not otherwise consider. Your weapon is the epee, mine the battleaxe. The solution of how or if to protect those targeted individually by That Religion will no doubt fall somewhere between our positions. said...

I agree that people need to be able and willing to protect themselves and government and laws must not stop them.
I agree that Hirsi Ali is an asset, a very useful asset for the present and the future, in the war against Islam and Islamists.
So, I want her protected, as like I want leading politicians, judges and others protected.
You could not be aware, but in Italy people like Falcone and Borsellino (and many others) lived under police protections until they were killed from the Mafia of the terrorists (Brigate Rosse).
If it is an high value target, it need to be protected. This is not a public order issue, it is a war issue. And if the islamist want the Hirsi Ali dead, they must need to pay for her life in advance.

If, like Dymphna, you think it is a sloppery slope, I agree again with you. It is slippery of blood, but in war you need to kill enemy, to send your soldier to certain death and protect others if you want win. This is how the game is played.

And, when she will stop to be useful, she will stop to be protected. We need to protect her because she is useful, not because she is in danger.

ProFlandria said...

I read Dymphna's post yesterday, and while I found it well argued I did a mental double-take when reading this: "... I do not think any government has an obligation to provide security for her — this protection would not be necessary if she had not, of her own free will, made that mediocre movie. Actions have consequences, and this one is hers." Stated more bluntly, this argument appears to imply that she did not deserve government protection because the questionable nature of her decisions caused the apparent need for protection in the first place. Let's remember that her actions were not illegal - and even if they had been, the acceptable response can not be to leave her to her fate. It would send the signal that if you say things that offent anyone with the will and intent to kill, then you deserve what's coming to you. Whatever the price, we really shouldn't go there, should we?

In the Baron's post today, he argues that (I paraphrase) governments shouldn't be in the business of protecting individuals because it disproportionally benefits "celebrities" while ordinary citizens, under no less threat of death, are left to their own devices. I can agree with this statement to the extent that we're talking about "celebrities"; God knows the government can have but little legitimate interest in direcly protecting them - although on a local level, some do get police protection for specific events. However, Ayaan is no Britney just as Salman Rushdie is no Ward Churchill. These people are much more besides celebrities.

I would also like to add a thought on the Baron's following:
"[...] It is the duty of government to keep its citizens safe. And that’s why I oppose the idea of bodyguards for private citizens paid for by the government. If citizens can’t be protected unless the government provides bodyguards for them, then our civilization is doomed." I am of the opinion that if the government has failed in its task of protecting society at large - as I agree it has - then the appropriate response is not to throw up our hands and let government off the hook, but to highlight its failure by insisting on "remedial" measures for those individuals who act as canaries in the coalmine. The threat against these people is from a militant ideology which treatens us all. The long-term goal must be to restore government's capability to protect our society by electing officials with the will to do so. But in tandem, we must keep those Cassandras safe who give voice to this need.

As things stand now, Ayaan's only option appears to be privately funded protection. Unfortunately, as a "non-millionaire" celebrity (I assume), and with a non-astronomical income, it's hard to see how she could obtain this kind of service without outside sponsorship (corporate, ....?)

Unknown said...

We're in a war.

Hirsi Ali is a heroine of the counter-jihad resistance.

If my government wants to break with standard operating procedure to protect such a person at a time like this, it's abolutely FINE with me.

I consider it part of the war effort, on which we are pouring billions already, and justifiably so.

Hell, we should be giving massive grants to her, Wafa Sultan, Ibn Warraq and the rest of the resistance.

Admittedly, if discovered that could be a terrible public relations embarrassment. But they are probably accused of being on our payroll already.

On the other hand, perhaps it would be just as well to give them all large grants as part of some State Dept program or under the war powers, and tell the rest of the world that that's just how we feel about it.

Either way, it's FINE with me if they spend some money on her.

OF course, it would be better if we had it wrapped tight enough that such protection would be unnecessary.

But that tells us something about our immigration and policies, doesn't it?

David M said...

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A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

Profitsbeard said...

Works of Art in many public museums are protected with armed guards paid for by the taxpayers.

Hirsi Ali's voice is vitally useful toward protecting Art, per se.

By her strong opposition to the iconclastic lunatics from militant Islam who would erase all forms of creativity.

She deserves as much protection as a painting of a soup can.