FM newswire for 15 January, hot articles for your morning reading

Contents — some updates to previous posts on the FM website, and 3 Quotes of the Day

  1. About our shameful prisons, a stain on America
  2. About the “mancession”
  3. Can the European Union survive the recession?
  4. About Japan, slowly sinking
  5. Quotes of the Day about our response to jihadists’ terrorism

(1)  About our shameful prisons, a stain on America

(2)  About the “mancession”

For more about this see Yes, it is a “mancession”, with men losing more jobs than women. Just like all recessions. (5 October 2009) and Update on the “mancession” (2 December 2009).

(3)  Can the European Union survive the recession?

For more about this see Can the European Monetary Union survive the next recession?, 11 July 2008

(4)  About Japan, slowly sinking

  1. It is Japan we should be worrying about, not America“, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, op-ed in the Daily Telegraph, 1 November 2009
  2. See the report A global fiasco is brewing in Japan, Dylan Grice,  Société Générale, 12 January 2010 — Posted at Zero Hedge.

For more about this see As Japan sails into the shadows, let’s wish them well and wave good-by., 14 July 2009

(5)  Quotes of the Day about our response to jihadists’ terrorism

It’s a hat trick today, with 3 great quotes!  All in red.

Academic Freedom Abridged at Yale Press“, Cary Nelson (AAUP President), American Association of University Professors (AAUP), 13 August 2009 — Red emphasis added.  Excerpt:

We do not negotiate with terrorists. We just accede to their anticipated demands.” That is effectively the new policy position at Yale University Press, which has eliminated all visual depictions of the Prophet Muhammad from Jytte Klausen’s new book The Cartoons That Shook the World. Yale made the unusual decision not only to suppress the twelve 2005 Danish cartoons that sparked organized protests in many countries but also historical depictions of Muhammed like a 19th-century print by Gustave Doré. They are not responding to protests against the book; they and a number of their consultants are anticipating them and making or recommending concessions beforehand.

In an action that parallels prior restraint on speech, Yale also refused to give the author access to consultants’ reports unless she agreed in writing not to discuss their contents. Such reports typically have their authors’ names removed, but a prohibition against discussing their content is, to say the least, both unusual and objectionable.

Publishers often refuse to print color illustrations to save money or limit the number of black and white illustrations to reduce the length of a book, but Yale Press has not raised any financial issues here. The issues are:

  • an author’s academic freedom;
  • the reputation of the press and the university;
  • the impact of these twin decisions on other university presses and publication venues;
  • the potential to encourage broader censorship of speech by faculty members or other authors.

What is to stop publishers from suppressing an author’s words if it appears they may offend religious fundamentalists or groups threatening violence? We deplore this decision and its potential consequences.

Darkness Falls“, Mark Steyn, National Review Online, 12 January 2010 — Red emphasis added. Excerpt:

Christopher Caldwell also weighs in, apropos the attempt to kill Kurt Westergaard — and, in a very explicit sense, intellectual freedom. Few industries congratulate themselves on their “courage” and “bravery” more incessantly than artists and journalists — at least when it comes to plays about a gay Jesus, or joining the all-star singalong for Rock Against Bush. But it’s easy to be provocative with people who can’t be provoked. Faced with an opportunity to demonstrate real courage, the arts and the media shrivel up like a bunch of dying pansies. As I wrote in my book:

If it were just terrorists bombing buildings and public transit, it would be easier; even the feeblest Eurowimp jurisdiction is obliged to act when the street is piled with corpses. But there’s an old technique well understood by the smarter bullies. If you want to break a man, don’t attack him head on, don’t brutalize him; pain and torture can awaken a stubborn resistance in all but the weakest. But just make him slightly uncomfortable, disrupt his life at the margin, and he’ll look for the easiest path to re-normalization. There are fellows rampaging through the streets because of some cartoons? Why, surely the most painless solution would be if we all agreed not to publish such cartoons.

We Eurabia types aren’t predicting a Muslim conquest on a set date in 2025 but a remorseless, incremental surrender. And, actually, we’re not predicting it, because it’s already well under way.

Afterword

Please share your comments by posting below. Per the FM site’s Comment Policy, please make them brief (250 word max), civil and relevant to this post. Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).   Reference pages about other topics appear on the right side menu bar, including About the FM website page.

20 thoughts on “FM newswire for 15 January, hot articles for your morning reading

  1. Link error for “Withdrawal and expulsion from the EU and EMU: some reflections” by Phoebus Athanassiou…
    .
    .
    FM reply: Thanks for catching this. It was correct. I just retyped it and it works now. Very strange.

  2. From Mark Steyn: “But it’s easy to be provocative with people who can’t be provoked.”

    Sorry, this is just wrong:
    * “Knoxville Unitarian Universalist church shooting“, wikipedia page re: July 27, 2008 shooting.
    * “911 Call Led Police to Deadly Ambush“, AOL news, by Joe Mandak, AP, April 4, 2009

    It is not at all obvious to me that I am objectively in more danger from a foreign, Islamist cultural war than a native, Christianist culture war.
    .
    .
    FM reply: The incidents described in Steyn’s article are about art and free expression — not terrorist attacks (“provocative” does not mean “deadly” in common usage). I doubt you can find equivalent examples of Christian responses similar to those.

    The inks you give have no relationship to a “native, Christianist culture war”, and appear to be your deliberate attempt to deceive us:
    * The first: “According to a sworn affidavit by one of the officers who interviewed Adkisson … ‘Adkisson stated that he had targeted the church because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country.'” No involvement of a Christian al Qaeda, and he targeted a Church — not operated from a Church.
    * The second is a lone psycho shooting ” “was precipitated by a fight between the gunman and his mother over a dog urinating in the house.”

  3. FM should post a few articles about how black African Americans are degrading American culture because of their inherent inferiority. There are more than a few authors that will help him out and it would be no less offensive then Mark Steyn’s racist bullshit.
    .
    .
    FM reply: Since he’s describing actual incidents, I do not see how you can describe them as “bullshit.” I don’t post articles about African Americans doing such things because they don’t do such things.

  4. 1. Shameful prisons. In These Times was writing about this 10 to 15 years ago. Nothing new here. As long as the malls are open, the gas stations have gas and we have $, who cares. Too many of us believe they had it coming.
    2. Mancession. I am a victim. When you are over 50 like me, you are toast in the engrg world. Couple this story with FM’s idea that college campuses are predominately female. In 2 or 3 generations, men will be talking about the glass ceiling.
    3. Euroland. I have been hearing reports of Greece, Ireland, and Spain having severe financial problems. Add Iceland also. It doesn’t make for a pretty picture.
    4. Japan sinking. FM, you really know how to ruin someone’s weekend. Add also that Japanese debt is something like 200% of GNP. One of the articles mentioned a birth rebellion by women. I remember seeing a video of a 5th grade Japanese kid in class. He was the only one in the room beside the teacher. It doesn’t make for a bright future.
    5. Jihadists. One fly in the ointment is that muslims will be exposed to western ideas like never before. It’s like a former employer said once: “If you throw enough s**t on the wall, some of it’s bound to stick.” As muslims become more integrated into Europe, they will be exposed to western ideas like never before, including christianity. It may take a couple of generations, but it should produce a change. It may be easy to impose Islamic codes in a place like Iran or Saudi Arabia, where there is much more control. Europe has much more intellectual freedom. I think cartoon incidents will lessen as time goes on. Allegiances are another matter. Will muslims be more loyal to the fatherland or their new home?
    .
    .
    FM reply: Your 2nd point is an esp important one, which briefly discussed in Update on our government’s deteriorating solvency. People in their mid- to late- 50’s getting axed are probably retired. They’ll draw down their savings then take Social Security’s early retirement option. So social security and Medicare get less income from them than anticipated — and pay out earlier and more. It’s another ugly aspect of the downturn.

    Re: Euroland — It’s the periphery that’s suffering. Iceland, the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain), and eastern europe. These states difference in important to the EU core, but together exert a powerful drag on Europe’s economy.

    Re: Jiahadists — I strongly believe that western culture will win in the end. Although there may be exchanges between us and them, as there has been in the past. How strongly we can only guess. My WAG — with little supporting evidence — is that the part Islamic though most influences is feminism (weakening but not eliminating it).

  5. From FM reply to #2: “The second is a lone psycho shooting ” “was precipitated by a fight between the gunman and his mother over a dog urinating in the house.”

    There’s more to the second story: “Friends have said Poplawski was concerned about his weapons being seized during Barack Obama’s presidency, and friends said he owned several handguns and an AK-47 assault rifle. Police have not said, specifically, what weapons were used to kill the officers.” So it’s a guy stockpiling weapons specifically because he’s afraid of Obama taking away his weapons.

    Anyway, you’re right to criticize my choice of incidents. This is what I should have used to talk about a Christianist cultural war in the USA: (“Suspect held in slaying of Kan. abortion doctor“, AP article on MSNBC.com, May 31, 2009, no author given). That would be an example of violence action in a Christianist cultural war. And this related bit would be an example of more subtle Christianist cultural warring: (“‘Necessity’ defense: Did abortion doctor need to die?“, Christian Science Monitor, Mark Guarino, Jan 11, 2010), or a better & less sensationalistic example would be this: (“Texas on evolution: Needs further study“, Salon.com, by Gordy Slack, March 28, 2009).

    Finally, what I say might be wrong or deluded but I don’t think I’m trying to deceive anyone.
    .
    .
    FM reply: My point was that neither indicident had anything however remote about Christian or “culture”. Just because he doesn’t like Obama does NOT imply that he’s a Christian. I cannot believe that’s what you intended, but I don’t see any other logic.

    You are, of course, correct about the anti-abortion violence — that is Christian. Just like the more widespread (but mostly property damage so far) violence by animal rights activists is liberal. But IMO both are the sort of low-level violence endemic to America. As was the racial wars and anti-war violence of the 1960’s. So calling this “native, Christianist culture war” is IMO a gross exaggeration.

    “what I say might be wrong or deluded but I don’t think I’m trying to deceive anyone.”

    I don’t think so either, but the difference between the comment’s description and the actual text was astonishingly wide. The shooting was almost the opposite of your description, the other (lone gunman) totally irrelevant.

  6. The connection with the Texas case, I’m trying to say, would be that one one hand cowardly universities are self-censoring to make Islamist nutbags happy, and on the other the Texas school board thinking of censoring its biology textbooks to make Christianist nutbags happy.
    .
    .
    FM reply: That’s a parallel. On the other hand, under our system local communities — through their elected school boards (and on a larger level, State administrations) have the right to choose what they want to teach. You might consider them to be nutbags, and vice versa. Democracy in action. The cowardly universities are violating their own standards — and acting hypocritically as well.

  7. Finally, I should be clear that “Christianist” isn’t the same as “Christian”, and “Islamist” isn’t the same as “Muslim”. The “Islamist” or “Christianist” designations mean someone whose political goal is a religious state. I think they are minorities in both religions, though if someone can show how I’m wrong with statistics that would be fine.
    .
    .
    FM reply: Agreed. For more on this I suggest reading the Wikipedia entry. My (very limited) understanding of Islam suggest that the basis for Islamist beliefs in the Koran and Islamic culture is stronger than that for Christianist thinking in either the New Testament or any of the major strands of Christian theory.

  8. >FM reply: Since he’s describing actual incidents, I do not see how you can describe them as “bullshit.”

    Tell me FM is it the Black welfare moms the Jewish bankers the Wetbacks and the Arab terrorists that are dragging America down ?
    .
    .
    FM reply: That’s a non sequitur, unrelated to anything in the cited articles (nor have you provided any supporting evidence) Why not choose a more creative insult. Demon-loving heretic. Card carrying Commie. Fascist (overused but still trendy among “the no-evidence so I’ll smear those I don’t like” crowd). Mulatto (dated, but once popular with the “smear them” folks). Or look ahead: ally of the flying monkeys from Mars.

  9. It’s absurd to equate a supposed threat from “Christianists” with the threat from Islamists. There are no theocratic Christian states (OK, well, Vatican City), and in historically Christian nations, other religions are tolerated, nay, celebrated. In contrast, there is Islamist Republic of Iran (and no, I’m not beating a drum for war), Saudi Arabia, and a host of other countries where there are no churches (except in secret) and many where it is illegal to proselytize.

    It’s just plain ridiculous to try to equate the two.
    .
    .
    FM reply: Agreed!

  10. Atheist wrote, “Finally, I should be clear that “Christianist” isn’t the same as ‘Christian’, and ‘Islamist’ isn’t the same as “Muslim”. The ‘Islamist’ or ‘Christianist’ designations mean someone whose political goal is a religious state. I think they are minorities in both religions, though if someone can show how I’m wrong with statistics that would be fine.”

    Your fears about “Christianism” are misplaced, your atheism notwithstanding. Simply visit the website The Religion of Peace, which is a well-researched and documented resource for tracking Muslim violence across the globe. It has statistics, as well as specific docmumentation, going back a number of years.

    My challenge to you is to find equivalent data for the so-called Christianist movement. I can save you the trouble, you won’t find it. Lone-wolf type incidents, such as the sniper killing of Dr. George Tiller, do happen, but they are not representative of a mass movement with maleviolent intent. Oh, that is, unless you are a member of Team Obama’s DHS, which regards returning veterans, Consitutional constructionalists and church ladies as a threat to national security.

    Are there fringe Christians who desire a theocracy? Sure, a few nutjobs living in the remote mountains of the Pacific NW, probably… but there is no such movement with anything like mainstream clout or acceptance.

    You might enjoy the Brit commentator Pat Condell {his website, Wikipedia entry}, who is also an atheist, but be warned — he recognizes Islam for what it is, and as much as he dislikes organized religion, he does not conflate peaceful Christians with violent and/or intolerant Islamists. Look him up on YouTube.

  11. You are sending all this aid to Haiti. Why isnt it getting off the airport to the people ? Why cant they move it by hand chain ? Why cant the journalists give stuff out , they are there in huge numbers for 2 days , with camera crews, all over the area and being made welcome ?
    Cant you put a sharp woman in charge ?

  12. No one seems to have drawn the obvious connection twixt the prison rape stories and the economic data. How do you beat down the middle class, turn them into serfs, crush them until they eagerly beg for minimum-wage jobs without benefits or health care or paid overtime?

    Simple — make prisons so horrific that the penalties for making a living in any way other than working as a wage slave are too grotesque to contemplate.

    The purpose of America’s sadistic gulag archipelago is simple and obvious: to make sure that America’s formerly middle class occuption hearfully raise their eyes to the victims of our prison-industrial state as they shuffle off to an endless hell of rape and torture and mutter, “Well, I may not be doing very well with my part time job at the fast food joint and living in my car, but at least I’m better off than those poor bastards…”

    From this we can easily predict that economic conditions worsen, America’s prisons will become far more sadistic and brutal. Look for systematic torture to be instituted in American prisons soon.
    .
    .
    FM reply: That is a brilliant but max depressing insight. I too have wondered if torture will spread into the domestic police and intelligence world, now thta the government has learned that the American people have accepted it.

  13. From FM reply to #5: “I don’t think so either, but the difference between the comment’s description and the actual text was astonishingly wide. The shooting was almost the opposite of your description, the other (lone gunman) totally irrelevant.

    You’re right and I apologize. That was me letting my anger get the best of me.

    From FM reply to #6: “On the other hand, under our system local communities — through their elected school boards (and on a larger level, State administrations) have the right to choose what they want to teach. … The cowardly universities are violating their own standards — and acting hypocritically as well.

    Granted the school boards are doing things in a more democratic fashion.
    .
    .
    FM reply: Agreed. The idea of local democracy is that over time on the whole things will work out well. Individual communities will experiment with weird ideas. Most will not work out well, but we all benefit from the successes.

  14. Roy Edroso, at his blog “Aliculog”, had the best (though not the most serious) response to the whole “pictures of Mohammed angering Muslims” controversy that I’ve ever seen: “THE RETURN OF MICHAEL TOTTEN’S PROTEST BABIES!“, posted on Feb. 5th 2006.
    .
    .
    FM reply: I dont’ get it. What’s he attempting to say? It makes no sense to me, other than he likes to mock people with whom he disagrees.

  15. From Pete in #10: “My challenge to you is to find equivalent data for the so-called Christianist movement. … Lone-wolf type incidents, such as the sniper killing of Dr. George Tiller, do happen, but they are not representative of a mass movement with maleviolent intent..”

    Pete, Scott Roeder did not act alone. He had, and still has, support from many elements in his “Pro-Life” movement * as well as the larger society. He had support from websites which published Dr. George Tiller’s work, home, & vacation home locations, and the land that his family owned, as well as info on Tiller’s employees, freinds, and the church he went to, as a way of aiding anyone who wished to attack him **, he had ideological support from politicians who attempted to prosecute Dr. Tiller, and Dr. Tiller’s clients ***. Most importantly in my mind, he had support from “Main-Stream Media” outlets who consistently referred to Dr. Tiller as a “Nazi” and his profession as being part of a “holocaust” ****. It is poor analysis to consider Roeder without his surrounding context of support. Whether the “Pro-Life” movement is “Malevolent” is a question I can’t answer, but they are definitely a Christianist movement, they definitely have widespread support, and they definitely kill abortion doctors and attack the abortion doctor’s clients.

    * Note: “What Will EBay Do? Anti-Abortion Auction Slated for Alleged Killer of Abortion Doctor George Tiller“, CBS News “Crimesider” blog, Ryan Smith, 27 Oct. 2009. excerpt: “Anti-abortion activists are planning an auction on EBay and other online shopping sites to raise money to defend the man charged with killing Wichita, Kan., abortion doctor George Tiller.”

    ** Note
    A. The “Dr. Tiller” oppositional website.
    B. Dr. Tiller website, “A Look at Tiller’s clinic – Fort Tiller“, this link has detailed info on his clinic, as well as some info about Dr. Tiller’s home address.
    C. Dr. Tiller website, “The Tiller Residence“, which claims that they only published the neighborhood of Dr. Tiller’s vacation home to shame the neighborhood.
    D. Dr. Tiller Website, “Tiller’s property in Haskell, Kansas“, detailed information on this property.
    E. Dr. Tiller Website, “Aid & Comfort – Those Who Support Dr. Tiller” which has the following links, “Click here to learn about Tiller’s other abortionists, Click here to learn about Tiller’s office employees, … to learn about Tiller’s medical employees, … Tiller’s business partners, … Churches that defend and comfort Tiller, …. Christians who cower [sic].” It is quite possible that Roeder knew Dr. Tiller’s Church from that website.

    *** Note: “Phil Kline” wikipedia page, “Abortion Controversy” section. excerpt:

    “In 2003, Kline began investigating possible cases of child rape and illegal partial-birth and late-term abortions. In doing so, Kline requested the redacted medical records (without names) of 90 women and girls … On December 21, 2006, Kline charged abortion provider Dr. George Tiller with more than 30 misdemeanors, most involving abortions Tiller allegedly performed on minors. … June 28, 2007, a 19-count indictment was unexpectedly filed against Tiller … On March 27, 2009 Dr. George Tiller was found not guilty of all 19 misdemeanor charges stemming from some abortions he performed at his Wichita clinic in 2003. On May 31, 2009, George Tiller was shot and killed while serving at his church’s Sunday morning services.”

    **** Note
    A. “Tucker Carlson calls comparison of Dr. Tiller to Nazis and al-Qaida “objectively true”“, Media Matters, by Jamison Foster, June 1, 2009. excerpt:

    Anonymous: Over the past few years, Bill O’Reilly has made the following comments about Dr. Tiller: He’s guilty of “Nazi stuff”, “This is the kind of stuff that happened in Mao’s China, Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union”, “operating a death mill” Tucker Carlson: Every one of those descriptions of Tiller is objectively true. I sincerely think it’s appalling that he was murdered. But Tiller was a monster, no doubt.

    B. “O’Reilly falsely claimed he didn’t call Tiller “Dr. Killer”“, Media Matters, no author given, June 10, 2009.
    .
    .
    FM reply: This is clearly not evidence of a “Christianist movement”. This is opposition to abortion, with a small but murderous fringe. The debate about the morality of abortion (esp late term viable babies) has no visible end. But its a moral debate — not a political one — with strong reasoning on both sides. Just because people believe abortion to be wrong does not mean that they seek to create a religious state. IMO you’re using a smear of the lowest kind in a democracy, declaring your opponents views to be illegitimate (in a political sense, as advocating overthrow of our regime).

  16. Atheist, you need perspective on this. As horrible as they are, anti abortion fanatics target a very select group of people: people who work in the abortion industry. A whopping 8 people ever have died as a result. OTOH, jihadists target everyone, even other Muslims. And they kill far more.

  17. From #15, FM reply: “This is clearly not evidence of a “Christianist movement”. This is opposition to abortion, with a small but murderous fringe. The debate about the morality of abortion (esp late term viable babies) has no visible end. But its a moral debate — not a political one — with strong reasoning on both sides. Just because people believe abortion to be wrong does not mean that they seek to create a religious state. IMO you’re using a smear of the lowest kind in a democracy, declaring your opponents views to be illegitimate (in a political sense, as advocating overthrow of our regime).

    Fabius, I feel like I should state what I am saying, and what I am not saying.

    I am not declaring the “pro-life” movement’s views to be illegitimate in a fundamental sense. The fact that their movement contains a violent fringe is not necessarily an argument against their views. Just as the fact that the Islamists’ “movement” contains many violent political actors is not necessarily an argument against their views. My earlier comment was not to say that all “pro-lifers” are inherently violent. I was reponding to claims that killers like Roeder are lone whackos, and I was pointing out that Roeder’s actions were not random, but were in fact predictable given their context of support and the rhetoric of their movement and of the “Main-Stream Media”.

    I am not saying that the endgame of the “pro-life” movement is necessarily a religious state in the sense of a caliphate or a “holy American empire”. What I am saying is that their movement’s stated aim, which is the eradication of legal abortion as well as a radical reevuation of the concepts of “personhood” and “life”, is inseparable from a religious critique of modern society. This is why I call them a “Christianist” movement, because their views have a religious basis *.

    I am not saying the debate over abortion lacks morality, far from it. I am saying that this moral debate indelibly colors American politics. One of the largest stumbling blocks for the current healthcare reform is the “Stupak-Pitts Amendment”, which was attached to the healthcare bill H.R. 3962 by Rep. Stupak (D-Michigan) and Rep. Pitts (R-Pennsylvania) **. Or, for a foreign policy example, the recently rescinded “Mexico City Policy/Global Gag Rule” which forbid US aid money going to NGOs which supported abortion services ***.

    What I feel is missing is perspective. Steyn rings the alarm bell over a sneaky Islamist scheme to ban images of Mohammed at Yale, and the professors’ cowardly and pointless aggreement to this unreasonable, antiliberal, anti-free-speech demand. I agree that this sucks, I just have two reasons for skepticism. 1. This is not the only case I’ve seen of slow political “bullying” by a religiously-based movement which has a very real effect on society, I give the example of the “pro-life” movement. 2. What Steyn appears to be calling for, goes beyond the “go screw yourself” response to that I would give to the Islamists. Steyn appears to be calling for explicit separation between Muslims and the rest of society which would be enacted by the State. This seems to me a bad idea.

    * One of a million examples: Jill Stanek, a fairly famous pro-life blogger at her self-named blog, this is from her “Bio” page:
    When it would have been easier to look the other way, Jill Stanek’s commitment to Christ led her to risk her job, reputation, and friendships to stop the terrible practices of abortion and infanticide. (emphasis in original)

    ** “Stupak-Pitts Amendment“, wikipedia page

    *** “Good riddance to the gag rule“, Foreign Policy Passport blog, Elizabeth Dickinson, Jan 26, 2009
    .
    .
    FM reply: You replies are IMO increasingly disturbing. IMO views like yours are more totalitarian than most of what you described.

    (A) “from a religious critique of modern society. This is why I call them a “Christianist” movement, because their views have a religious basis”

    IMO there are 2 repellent aspects to this comment.
    (1) First, the political use of this “Christianist” is (from the Wikipedia article you cited earlier) “that civil government should be controlled by Christians alone and conducted according to Biblical law.” You hae cited nothing to support applying this to the anit-abortionists — any more than it applied to the Christian abolitionists of the antebellum era.
    (2) If you use “Christianist” in a broader sense as having their personal morality driven from a religious viewpoint, what is your problem with that? Who are you to criticize how people arrive at their moral views, or pronounce some sources good or bad? Or apply their personal morality to their political views?

    (B) “I am saying that this moral debate indelibly colors American politics.”
    Your point is what? You don’t say where you’re going with this logic, which is wise since it leads to dark places.

    (C) “One of the largest stumbling blocks for the current healthcare reform is …”
    OMG, other people have views that disagree with yours! Call out the secret police! (If this is not where you’re going, than I suggest a bit more clarity — since this sort of talk has bad historical echos).

    (D) “Steyn appears to be calling for explicit separation between Muslims and the rest of society which would be enacted by the State.”
    Do you have any quote to support this statement, which seems grossly exaggerated to me? A smear, to avoid dealing with what he actually says.

  18. Western society is not an organic unity, it is a hybridized body composed of different “tribes”. These “tribes” can work together productively toward the health of the overall body, as long as the body constantly takes its anti-rejection serum *. It seems to me that Mark Steyn considers the hybrid western body grotesque and demands that we stop taking our anti-rejection drug. I think that if we do this, the results will be ugly and counterproductive.

    * “Anti-Rejection Drugs“, at Medical Dictionary, the Free Dictionary. excerpt: “Definition Anti-rejection drugs are daily medications taken by organ transplant patients to prevent organ rejection.”
    .
    .
    FM reply: Can you cite anything supporting this? Esp saying “considers the hybrid western body grotesque.” All I see is you repeatedly smearing him, as an alternative to dealing with what he says. As a political tool I believe your attempts will fail. In his major publications Steyn cites facts and makes specific arguments — unlike you. Right or wrong, that gives him a big advantage.

    More specifically, you are attempting to discredit him by misrepresenting Steyn’s writings in a bizarrely exaggerated way. It’s a commonplace in the FM website’s comments, esp in the threads about climate science. The doomsters lie — make up stuff and attribute it to me — then give rebuttal to their lies. The pro-war folks do this as well, though less often. I’ve lost patience with this tactic. If you object to what he says, tell us what he says and why you disagree.

  19. If only you recognized how your punctuation undermines your argument, Ms. Nicholas.
    .
    .
    FM reply: Unfair! Sloppy grammer, spelling (esp spelling!), and punctuation are all excused by the “they’re just comments” rule!

  20. From #18

    FM reply: Can you cite anything supporting this? Esp saying “considers the hybrid western body grotesque.” All I see is you repeatedly smearing him, as an alternative to dealing with what he says. …
    More specifically, you are attempting to discredit him by misrepresenting Steyn’s writings in a bizarrely exaggerated way. … If you object to what he says, tell us what he says and why you disagree.

    You know Fabius, this is where I run into one of those perceptual problems I always remark upon, only this time it is my perception that is at issue. I have read some of Mark Steyn’s columns, including the ones you link to. It is possible that, when I read Steyn, I am so distrustful that I actually see implied statements — statements which he is not attempting to make. I read him, in other words, through shit-colored glasses, due to my distrust.

    He’s right that violent Islamism/Jihadism is still a real security threat to folks worldwide, I’ve never doubted that. Perhaps the concept of a “Clash of Civilizations”, between a “Western World” and an “Islamic World”, is one which I must take seriously if I am going to objectively assess this security threat. It’s easy to laugh at a failed “Underpants Bomber”, but at the same time you have to look at what drives a young man to attempt such violence.

    Steyn’s also right that, it is problematic for a liberal democracy to tolerate views which are inheretly intolerant (for instance the acceptance of “honor killings” by many in the Muslim community), this is not only a real issue, it is one which strikes at the philosophical underpinnings of “toleration” in liberal democracies, and perhaps demands a reevaluation of them. Finally, large-scale immigration into nations of relative wealth definitely has many costs attached, and people are often squeamish about discussing these costs for fear of appearing racist. So maybe I need to re-evaluate Steyn.

    And maybe my equivalence between the “pro-life” movement and the Islamists fails on several levels. As Captian Ramen pointed out, the direct body count for the Islamists is orders of magnitude higher than that of the “Pro-Lifers”. Almost as important is the way the “Pro-Lifers” use democratic action to advance their agenda in addition to all their other tactics, while the Islamists so far seem mostly unable or unwilling to do this, at least in the USA & Europe. The scope of these movements’ goals is different too.

    I do not mean that religious morality as a basis for political change is inherently illegitimate. Were I to consider it so, I would also consider most of 20th Century US politics inheretly illegitimate, including the Civil Rights movement, and I don’t. I don’t consider morality in politics illegitimate, whether this morality has a religious basis or not. But it honestly worries me when a pundit like Bill O’Reilly can state for his wide audience that George Tiller is “the moral equivalent of … Al Qaeda”, or guilty of “Nazi stuff”, or “This is the kind of stuff that happened in Mao’s China, … Stalin’s Soviet Union”, and the equally famous Tucker Carlson can say that’s all “objectively true”. And then after Tiller is shot, they can claim, “well, it’s not my fault, the killer was a lone psycho”.

    On a final note, in comment #17 my language about “this moral debate indelibly colors American politics” wasn’t meant to be ominous. It was meant as a response to your statement in comment #15, where you said, “The debate about the morality of abortion (esp late term viable babies) has no visible end. But its a moral debate — not a political one — with strong reasoning on both sides.“. You are right of course that it is at base a moral point that is contended. I was trying to make a more basic point, that in this case at least, the moral debate is a political debate, whether we like it or not. The moral, social, medical, religious and political aspects, are all intertwined with sex, the place of women, birth, abortion, and contraception.
    .
    .
    FM reply: I agree with most of this, which (as you suggest) seems discordant with what you previously wrote about Steyn. Also, I agree that the sentence you quote from comment #15 was incoherent. But in context it was IMO clear. Here I’ve added additional text to make it more so:

    The debate about the morality of abortion (esp late term viable babies) has no visible end. But its a moral debate {about a single issue} — not a political one {about the US political regime} — with strong reasoning on both sides. Just because people believe abortion to be wrong does not mean that they seek to create a religious state.

Leave a Reply