Democrats & Liberals Archives

Land of the Free and Home of the Brave

It does not take a special kind of person to be an American, but being an American lets you grow into a special kind of person. We are the land of the free and the home of the brave, and the two are not unrelated. In a little over a weak, Keith Ellison will be sworn in as the first Muslim Representative. In his ceremonial swearing in, he will have his hand on the Quran. This man share a religion with one of our enemies. But why should that scare us?

Land of the free, home of the brave. It takes bravery not to confront the world with fear, not to amplify ignorance into stupidity for the sake of feeling in control. Ellison and others may have a religion in common with some of our enemies, but that does not mean they share the zealous hatred that some of their fellow Muslims do for their fellow Americans. It means simply that they believe that there is no God by God, and that Muhammed is his prophet. Under that heading, the world has its fill of different kinds of Muslims, both in sect and in character.

There are a number on the right who look at this and overflow with lurid fantasies of the nation getting taken over by Islamic Extremists, the Islamofascists goose-stepping down Pennsylvania Avenue. They envision the whole country forcibly, or worse voluntarily converting. They see a religion as their enemy, and make no bones about their mistrust of the enemy and all the hidden hatreds they believe its members hold. Everytime something bad happens with Muslims or Arabs, they cite it as further proof of the faith's evil and the need to defeat it.

In far too many countries, folks point to Jews, Christians, Muslims, or whatever other religion, and tell people that those who exercise them are to be feared and hated. Some even point at Atheists and secular humanists and do exactly the same. Fear, anger, hatred, it profits them all none, especially in this country, where such fear and hatred is unnecessary.

It takes a certain courage to let others be on their differences. Sure, we try and persuade we try and proselytize, but that's different- there we leave the decision to others. Some folks would take away that decision, force the results; among their numbers are our real enemy. Does al-Qaeda have sleeper cells in America? Yes, and the quicker we find them and throw them in jail, the better. Does it matter that they're Muslim? No. That will not be what gets them arrested. Should we cast aside our civil liberties to root out every last one|? No. That will not solve the problem, only impoverish us and betray the courage of the founding fathers.

The founding fathers created a federal government specifically prohibited from discriminating against religions, or the lack of the same. It did not fear the mob so much that it left them without representation. It did not fear nationality or language enough to bar any specifically in the language of its founding. The founding fathers did not feel the need to make English the official language.

The created a government based on the courageous notion that people could be left alone in what they said, most of what they did, and in all of what they believed, so long as they submitted to the rule of law. They based it on the courageous notion that a civil society could function with crimes tried under the presumption of innocent, that justice could be done and examples could be set without cruel and unusual punishments, that people could be entitled to certain right under those systems, and that our nation wouldn't collapse into chaos.

With the exception of one Civil War, which one could argue stemmed from the not so courageous decision to maintain slavery in a land of the free, America has survived 200 years under one continuous government. Many other governments around the world have changed, risen in revolution and fallen into pieces. Governments that though they could last forever in 1776 find themselves out-endured by the nation whose freedoms they ridiculed.

America endures because it does not try to break itself apart over differences that people will not allow in their pride to be forcefully homogenized. We do our best when we don't care who's a Mormon, a Muslim, black, white, hispanic, gay, straight, or anything else. We do our best when we care more what people do than what people are. We do our best when we don't beat each other silly trying to be what we never meant to be: A nation that serves only one people's interests, to the detriment of the rest.

Only when we are courageous enough to accept others freedoms is it truly the land of the free and the home of the brave. Otherwise, it is only a land of those enslave by their own fears.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at December 22, 2006 8:51 AM
Comments
Comment #200168

Stephen

The U.S. is the second oldest government in the world. The Brits got us beat by a little more than 100 years.

I always find it amusing to be lectures by upstart states who just happen to occupy a piece of territory with lots of old monuments, or can find people who kind of look like them in old paintings.

I do not care what book he uses, as long as he bring his own. If the USG has to procure a Koran, it will cost a fortune and probably be the wrong edition.

Posted by: Jack at December 22, 2006 9:54 AM
Comment #200171

A great post Stephen, but why did you choose to make such an important subject a partisan issue?

“There are a number on the right left who look at this and overflow with lurid fantasies of the nation getting taken over by Islamic Christian Extremists, the Islamofascists Neo-cons goose-stepping down Pennsylvania Avenue. They envision the whole country forcibly, or worse voluntarily converting. They see a religion as their enemy, and make no bones about their mistrust of the enemy and all the hidden hatreds they believe its members hold. Everytime something bad happens with Muslims or Arabs Christians or Republicans, they cite it as further proof of the faith’s evil and the need to defeat it.”

As an atheist, I usually just sit back and watch as the fur starts to fly. But there are two things I have noticed:
1) Some on the right will complain about Muslim beliefs being forced onto them but do not mind when their religion tries to do the same.
2) Many on the left will attribute this “fear” you speak of, onto the entire right and will treat Republican/Conservative Christians in the same hostile, fearful manner they claim Republican/Conservative Christians treat Muslims.

If the right should not believe all followers of Islam hate Christians and Americans, then the left should not believe and act like all right wing Christians want to create a theocracy.

If we as a nation truely want to accept others freedoms, we must ask everyone to do so.

Posted by: kctim at December 22, 2006 10:27 AM
Comment #200174


If KJV was good enough for the founding fathers, it ought to be good enough for these politicians today.

Posted by: jlw at December 22, 2006 10:44 AM
Comment #200184

Stephen D,

Good article as usual. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of your piece and your relatively non-partisan approach. I applaud the electorate for being open to electing a candidate of Muslim faith in a time where “Islamophobia” appears relatively commonplace. It’s peculiar to consider the various reactions individuals may have to the thought of a politician swearing in on a Quran. I generally assume the majority of individuals on the right and left wouldn’t view this act as some form of treason or anti-Americanism. Of course, there are always exceptions characterized by intolerance, ignorance, or extremism. I certainly do not pretend to understand the underlying motive of Rep. Goode’s comments regarding Ellison’s swearing in on the Quran, but I do find it somewhat disappointing and do not understand his rationale. Perhaps some on this blog who support Goode’s resistance of using the Quran could explain their rationale so that I could better understand the issue.

From a purely pragmatic perspective, the swearing in process appears to primarily be a tradition-based activity that does nothing to ensure the ethics or conduct of a politician. It seems more symbolic than meaningful. That is not to say that individuals, particularly those of religious faith, do not view the swearing in process as some form of mandate or accountability to a higher power for their service public office. I would assume most view it as a tradition, an honorable ceremony, and little more. Let us assume, however, the swearing in process is endowed with some form of sacred accountability to which the politician feels bound. From a pragmatic perspective, I would much rather the politician swear in with his/her hand on an object that is personally sacred to them. After all, if the politician feels the swearing in process provides accountability for performing his public service, would it not be more practical for he/she feel accountable to something personally meaningful? Simply put, if a Christian individual derives some sort of meaning or mandate from the swearing in process, is it not better that he swear in on a Bible as opposed to swearing in on a piece of chocolate cake. Granted, chocolate cake is meaningful to some (particularly when hungry), but one would assume chocolate cake does not tap into the sacred mandate of serving in a public office as effectively as would a Bible for a Christian politician. Again, this argument assumes the swearing in process is more than just a ceremony and serves some pragmatic role of holding a politician accountable; otherwise it’s a tradition or ceremony. (Sorry if this paragraph is a bit convoluted, but you get the point.)

Let’s dialogue a bit about Rep. Goode’s comments seem quite uninformed on multiple levels. His letter stated, to “preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States,” an immigration overhaul was necessary to avoid “many more Muslims elected to office demanding the use of the Quran” (CNN). First, his comments appear to me as relatively bigoted, and seem to imply that there needs to be government policy (via immigration overhaul) to regulate (limit) the number of Muslims holding public office. I don’t see how one could effectively defend that statement. Second, what “values and beliefs” is Rep. Goode seeking to protect? I don’t recall seeing too much about the use of the Bible in swearing in processes included in the Constitution or Bill of Rights, though it does have some precedence based on tradition. What I DO see is a Constitution and American culture that guarantees freedom of (and from) religion. Third, his solution to the “problem” of Muslim politicians is to do reform immigration to do away with “diversity visas”. Guess what Rep. Goode, Ellison’s descendants were in what would become the United States as early as the mid-1720’s. You’ll have to backdate your immigration reform bill back to before the founding of our nation if you’d like to keep Rep.-elect Ellison out of the country. I disagree with Rep. Goode, and I prefer to agree with Stephen D. The diversity of our nation is what makes us strong. We are an alloy of various cultures, creeds, religions, and races. While our differences have contributed to many a conflict throughout our history, our diversity is our source of strength and flexibility. Frankly, I’m proud of Rep.-elect Ellison’s willingness to play down the issue in a relatively generous manner.

I would like to write more about the role of religious intolerance in our current culture, but I’ll limit my thoughts for now. I feel this issue may be amongst the greatest threats our nation has ever faced, primarily due to the fact such intolerance has global implications on world policy (as opposed to other discrimination issues [e.g., racism, sexism, etc.] that for the most part are national as opposed to international concerns). I feel the writers of the Constitution were wise to understand the importance of separation of church and state. Fear-based religion dictating national and international policy is perhaps the most dangerous crises we face in international politics today. Though religion has an exceedingly important place in the values of many individuals worldwide, it should have limited influence in the values of law, policy, and politics (my opinion). http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1191826,00.html ">Here’s an article that I particularly enjoyed that loosely addressed this issue.

Posted by: Dr D at December 22, 2006 11:53 AM
Comment #200193

Jack-
The Brits can make that claim, but most of the other countries of Europe and Asia are whippersnappers by comparison. Although, in a sense, we’re younger, since we can change government on a regular basis.

I think our government endures for the same reason our bodies do: regular replacement of parts bound by a system of perpetual feedback and robust moderation. By making for a more tolerant society, we prevent the kind of repression that stokes anger and generates radicalism. By preventing that, we also prevent the serious problem that comes of radicals achieving majority power, the counterrepression that often functions as the revenge of the formerly disenfranchised.

America endures because of its negative feedback loop. Like our bodies, our government is constructed such that when one process or part overdoes things, the other parts and processes kick in and push things back. That’s the beauty of our Democracy.

kctim-
The answer to your first question is that it’s not necessarily a partisan issue, but that each side needs to moderate on things.

I do think that sometimes folks on the left go overboard on criticism of Christians and others who engage in organized religion. I don’t think my fellow Democrats should be so fearful of religion. Most aren’t. Most, indeed, are religious, in one way or another.

Christian Conservatives, though, have made a point of trying to impose themselves. The last few years, if you’ve been following the news, should tell you that. I guess the difference is that the Democrats have always been warier about the confluence of religion and power.

I think it’s appropriate to be wary, to even fear such confluence. Not to the point, though, of trying to beat out of existence the flame of either faith. That would be no better than pouring water on a greasefire. Even the mild opposition of the left has been portrayed as a call to the faithful to resist.

Additionally, it makes no sense to partake of the same mistake we object to in others.

I wrote this listening to the reports of that Virginia legislator making those xenophobic comments. Hearing about that, I thought back to all those times when I’ve read similar stuff from those on the right. I guess that’s why I aim it in that direction; such prejudice against Muslims seems more entrenched among them. They made it all about protecting Americans and American values. The article I wrote details how I believe tolerance and acceptance of Keith Ellison’s religion constitutes part of what keeps America safe and whole, part of what constitutes our values as Americans.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 22, 2006 12:55 PM
Comment #200197


Our ability to acumulate and record knowledge has allowed us to create the technological civilization we are building today. The one area in which it seems that we are incapable of learning from acumulated knowledge is our individual and instituionalized beliefs that have kept us at each others throats since our time began.

Posted by: jlw at December 22, 2006 1:40 PM
Comment #200204

Stephen,

Good article.

What I find totally ironic about Rep. Goode’s Islamophobia is that we may very well face an influx of Islamic immigrants due to the Iraqi refugee crisis created by our own actions.

I can’t help but have “partisan” feelings regarding this issue or Tom Tancredo’s recent xenophobic rant comparing Miami to a third world country. It seems that those who fear the USA becoming too Islamic, or too Hispanic are more comfortable in the Republican Party as were the Dixie-crats that fled the Democratic party decades ago.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 22, 2006 3:03 PM
Comment #200207

Stephen
“I guess that’s why I aim it in that direction; such prejudice against Muslims seems more entrenched among them”

And I would agree with you on that.
But the left needs to stop and think about how and why they treat the Republican/Conservative Christians in the same way and correct it, or no progress will be made.
Condemning an action while one practices it accomplishes nothing.

“The answer to your first question is that it’s not necessarily a partisan issue, but that each side needs to moderate on things”

I realize that Stephen and I know that is the message you strive for.
I would just like for people to be able to deal with these type of issues in a non-partisan way sometimes.

Again, great post Stephen. It’s a great topic to bring to our attention and thank you for your reply.

Posted by: kctim at December 22, 2006 3:30 PM
Comment #200210

kctim,

I think your last reply is a prime example of how to dialogue effectively with those who adhere to different beliefs or political affiliation. You’re right, those on the left (myself included at times) have a bad tendency to lump together the actions of a select group of “right-wing fanatics” with the entirety of conservativism. Such stereotyping serves two purposes (probably more): 1) Allows for intellectual laziness by generalizing rather than specifying, and 2) Fulfills others’ innate need to create “drama” in their lives for entertainment’s sake (as an example, look at how quiet this thread is given the rationale responses contained therein). You’re right, some in the left can and do villanize conservative Christianity without non-defensive dialogue between the two. I don’t know why political stereotypes always assume the most extreme positions are the party line. You and Stephen are right, moderation is paramount. Thanks for your thoughtful response.

Posted by: Dr D at December 22, 2006 4:52 PM
Comment #200211

kctim-
You’re welcome.
You’re right that we need to take it on a less partisan basis, but I can be satisfied with people taking it from their angle and reforming themselves to remain clear of the good old tu quoque response.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 22, 2006 4:56 PM
Comment #200232
But the left needs to stop and think about how and why they treat the Republican/Conservative Christians in the same way and correct it

kctim,

I know exactly how and why I treat Republican/Conservative Christians the way I do. There is a line to be drawn between practicing one’s faith freely and forcing those beliefs on others through the law/ government. I would gladly leave them alone, if only they would leave me alone. However, they will not. They have decided that their beliefs should be forced on my life, regardless of who I am as a person. Sorry, but that crosses the line and if Fundy Christians are going to push their way onto my life then they had better expect to be pushed back. Now, when I say “they,” please do not take that to mean a broad category. I am talking about those, specifically, who openly and vocally disparaged who I am as a person. Don’t tread on me, and I won’t tread on you.

Posted by: JayJay at December 23, 2006 1:20 AM
Comment #200251

Gee Steve, you can accept Muslims but rant and rave against Christians. Have you had a change of heart? No more “neo-con”, “radicalized Christian” rants? No more trying to remove crosses from Schools, prayer from football, CHRISTmas from shopkeepers lips?

Why can’t we all just “get along”? Then you tell me I’m stupid, need another degree, didn’t learn anything, blah blah blah. Sorry Steve….if you want to post a politically correct, accepting others who are different sermon…you might try accepting those you have decided to be intolerant of because they oppose your politics.

Here’s my Standard for Keith Ellison. Will he refuse to vote for deficit spending? Will he submit a balanced budget? Will he vote to FIX social security or will he ignore it? Will he vote to FIX MEDICARE or will he ignore it. Will he approve future funding for the fence to seal American boarders from illegal aliens or will he vote to leave the boarder wide open? Will he vote to END ear marks or vote for some plan to leave them in place?

Lets focus on the important stuff here. No one is keeping the Muslims out of congress or from swearing on their book that demands that we infidels be killed. What I want to know is will that “enlightened” individual fix the things that really need to be fixed.

He’s a democrat, so I doubt it. A democratic congress has not balanced a budget in our life time. I pray to god this one will…but it already sounds as if they have decided not too.

What say you all? Are you still supporting balanced budgets or are you switching to a mode where you will defend a democratic congress that refuses to balance budgets?

Posted by: Stephen at December 23, 2006 2:37 PM
Comment #200313

Stephen-
In terms of the Neocons, their behavior has earned them their lousy reputation, folk’s disdain for them. The majority of people see them as having pushed a foreign policy agenda of theirs through at the cost of the nation’s economy, security, and ability to wage war against the real threats out there. What I’m talking about folks getting judged by something else than their own actions. The Neocons have made their bed, and they can lie in it.

I think my point on religious conservatives should already be clear: the left shouldn’t let their opposition to their agenda blossom into paranoia. We have reasons to be concerned with many of their actions and much of their agenda, concerned about the confluence of religion and power, the breakdown of church-state separation, but I do not see seeking an agenda in the opposite direction as that much of a good idea. I think you should be aware that I am religious myself. Your argument seems keyed to somebody you expect to be hostile to religion.

As for Education, if you are insecure about how much you have, get more. It’s difficult nowadays to get a good paying job without a degree. I believe most people underestimate their intelligence, and could do much more if they put their minds to it. For my part, I talked about amplifying ignorance into stupidity, meaning taking deficient knowledge or theory and turning it into foolish action. Newt Gingrich, last week on Meet the Press talked about this young soldier who had this plan for dealing Anbar province which went through the Sheiks who had been the power there for centuries, and then lamented that when we went for occupation, we declared their authority irrelevant: ignorance into stupidity. What know and what we can find out, if we’re open to outside information, is critical to getting things done right.

Truthiness can be a seductive quality in one’s picture of the world, but also especially damaging. There’s a lot that can sound true to our ears, simply because it’s what we like to hear.

What I’m talking about isn’t a bunch of politically correct pleasantness. What I’m talking about is dropping the fantasy that we can have the world the way we want it, and that we are entitled to have it that way with persuading people to that end first.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 24, 2006 3:47 PM
Comment #200359

Stephen,

It’s hard to understand why some Americans are upset at Radical Islamic Warriors.

It may have something to do with Radial Islam attacking the US and killing nearly 3,000 innocent people PEACEFULLY working in New York City. It’s hard to believe but some folks are still pissed off about that!

It may have something to do with the many attacks that Islam has made on the US going back to the Clinton Administration and before. Or perhaps the fact that they have been seeking to attack us again and fortunately have failed. Or possibly people are still upset about the fact that terrorist and terror sponsering nations are actively seeking nuclear weapons with which to wage war on us. But after all, we are imperial racists that deserve to be nuked, right Steveo?

The crys of muslims for global domination have also contributed to this problem. Al Qaeda’s calls for civil war in palestine to keep the radical right wing terrorists in power don’t sound very peaceful to some, either. Al Qaeda declaring that Iraq is now central to their efforts also pisses people off that want to claim that it has nothing to do with terrorists.

Oh that we could all be as enlightened as you and laugh it off, surrender, cut and run, declare that it’s ok to walk away and let the terrorists do what they want..because we are just so loathsome.

Those silly terrorists….who will they kill next? well, now that I’m enlightened, whoever it is, they deserve it! Terrorists only kill Neo-cons right? They only butcher people in foreign lands for the most part that we don’t know anway, jsut poor ignorant people that get what they deserve! What’s a little genocide with Muslims butchering Christians anyway…just payback right?!

Oh we are so enlightened. Hey, lets send Kerry to Syria to surrender! Whoops, he already went, that clever boy. One days he voting to stand up to these guys and bragging about how he voted to remove Sadam and the next day he’s making personal surrender visits to terror sponcering nations at war with us. The man is a true liberal, may he get all that he deserves.

Posted by: Stephen at December 25, 2006 5:35 PM
Comment #200377

JD-
If New York City, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Boston slid into sectarian violence between Catholics and Protestants, Italians and Irishmen, and continued to get worse, wouldn’t you find my saying that all the rest of the states around them were under control to be a tad bit disingenous as to the state of affairs?

I mean, if four provinces being in open revolt is nothing to be concerned about, then let’s go. If it is something to be concerned about, you have to concede that so far we’ve failed to calm these areas down sufficiently. If so, the question is both why and what next, and the Republicans here, with rare exception, don’t seem to have a good idea of it. We’re tossed platitudes about not giving into to the enemy, but no plans that have any kind of guarantee to actually do anything about it.

If our efforts are worth something there anymore, beyond propping up a government that can’t sustain itself, then lets employ them properly. If not, let’s do what’s best for the country and stop beating our head bloody against the wall without a workable plan.

Stephen-
Imperial racists that deserve to be nuked. Cries of muslims for global domination. Laugh it off, surrender, cut and run, declare that its okay to run away and let the terrorists do what they want because we’re so loathsome…

Please, don’t be subtle for my benefit. Tell me what you really think I think.

You haven’t paid much attention to what I’ve said, taken serious my words and my sentiments. You want to cast me as the naive liberal who wants the terrorist to avenge the harm done to them.

Bullshit. I might understand their motivations, might talk about reform of our practices, and what we support in the Middle East, but I will not see my country attacked. Their right to protest the unfair treatment of yesteryear does not include the right to take the lives of innocent men, women, and children.

I don’t think I’ve ever been unclear on that point; it puzzles me as to how you could be unclear on my meaning.

But maybe what I write doesn’t matter to you. Maybe you just assume that all that I write is just circuitous cover for my real sentiments.

The reality is disappointingly plain. I don’t monkey around saying things I don’t believe. What you see is what you get.

I don’t see these people as perfect, as noble savages or anything else like that. I have no desire to save them from themselves, though I wouldn’t hesitate to aid them if they decided to do that for themselves. These people put their pants on one leg at a time. Like us, they have their share of psychos, wise men, and ordinary joes.

I’m not going to look at these people and imagine an apocalyptic evil. There are some pretty dangerous people among them with a dangerously twisted version of Islam motivating and justifying their efforts to themselves, and I don’t doubt that if they could get a nuke they’d set it off on us. I don’t want a nuclear Iran, or Ahmedinejad in charge. Hell, written within my last entry was a scenario I offered for getting the Iranians to kick him out.

I think there are things going on here that are beyond the facile analysis of the Neocons. They want to see the rest of the world as either evil, saintly, or naive, and that handicaps their ability to deal with folks as equals, to be skeptical of their allies, to be respectful of other folk’s thinking, and to see opportunties to relieve, rather than build, tension, to use peaceful means to get their opponents off balance.

This world isn’t a videogame. You don’t have to follow the programming to win. That’s my main message.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 25, 2006 10:33 PM
Comment #200380

The Rape of Europe
By Paul Belien The German author Henryk M. Broder recently
told the Dutch newspaper “De Volkskrant” (12 October) thatyoung
Europeans
who love freedom, better emigrate. Europe as we know it will no longer
exist
20 years from now. Whilst sitting on a terrace in Berlin , Broder
pointed to
the other customers and the passers-by and said melancholically: “We
are
watching the world of yesterday.”

Europe is turning Muslim. As Broder is sixty years old he is
not going to emigrate himself. “I am too old,” he said. However, he
urged
young people to get out and “move to Australia or New Zealand . That is
the
only option they have if they want to avoid the plagues that will turn
the
old continent uninhabitable.”

Many Germans and Dutch, apparently, did not wait for
Broder’s advice. The number of emigrants leaving the Netherlands and
Germany
has already surpassed the number of immigrants moving in. One does not
have
to be prophetic to predict, like Henryk Broder, that Europe is becoming
Islamic. Just consider the demographics. The number of Muslims in
contemporary Europe is estimated to be 50 million. It is expected to
double
in twenty years . By 2025, one third of all European children will be
born
to Muslim families. Today Mohammed is already the most popular name for
new-born boys in Brussels , Amsterdam, Rotterdam , and other major
European
cities.

Broder is convinced that the Europeans are not willing to
oppose islamization. “The dominant ethos ,” he told De Volkskrant, “is
perfectly voiced by the stupid blonde woman author with whom I recently
debated. She said that it is sometimes better to let yourself be raped
than
to risk serious injuries while resisting . She said it is sometimes
better
to avoid fighting than run the risk of death.”

In a recent op-ed piece in the Brussels newspaper De
Standaard (23 October) the Dutch (gay and self-declared “humanist”)
author
Oscar Van den Boogaard refers to Broder’s interview. Van den Boogaard
says
that to him coping with the islamization of Europe is like “a process
of
mourning.” He is overwhelmed by a “feeling of sadness.” “I am not a
warrior,” he says, “but who is? I have never learned to fight for my
freedom. I was only good at enjoying it.”

As Tom Bethell wrote in this month’s American Spectator:
“Just at the most basic level of demography the secular-humanist option
is
not working.” But there is more to it than the fact that non-religious
people tend not to have as many children as religious people, because
many
of them prefer to “enjoy” freedom rather than renounce it for the sake
of
children. Secularists, it seems to me, are also less keen on fighting.
Since
they do not believe in an afterlife, this life is the only thing they
have
to lose. Hence they will rather accept submission than fight. Like the
German feminist Broder referred to, they prefer to be raped than to
resist.

“If faith collapses, civilization goes with it,” says
Bethell. That is the real cause of the closing of civilization in
Europe.
Islamization is simply the consequence. The very word Islam means
“submission” and the secularists have submitted already. Many Europeans
have
already become Muslims, though they do not realize it or do not want to
admit it.

Some of the people I meet in the U.S. are particularly
worried about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe . They are correct
when
they fear that anti-Semitism is also on the rise among non-immigrant
Europeans. The latter hate people with a fighting spirit. Contemporary
anti-Semitism in Europe (at least when coming from native Europeans) is
related to anti-Americanism. People who are not prepared to resist and
are
eager to submit, hate others who do not want to submit and are prepared
to
fight. They hate them because they are afraid that the latter will
endanger
their lives as well. In their view everyone must submit.

This is why they have come to hate Israel and America so
much, and the small band of European “islamophobes” who dare to talk
about
what they see happening around them. West Europeans have to choose
between
submission ( Islam) or death. I fear, like Broder, that they have
chosen
submission - just like in former days when they preferred to be red
rather
than dead.
——————————————————————————-
Europeans apparently never read John Stuart Mill:

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the
decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks
nothing worth a war, is worse . A man who has nothing which he cares
more
about than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature
who has
no chance at being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of
better
men than himself.

Posted by: Joe at December 26, 2006 5:13 AM
Comment #200393

Joe-
Here’s a good response to that piece that exposes the faulty assumptions it’s based on.

There’s nothing to be scared of. It’s a bunch of bad math combine with a willingness to quickly believe anything that pegs the general muslim population as a threat. Even if Europe falls far behind in replacing population, it’s unlike that we will see a Muslim Europe. The numbers in that guy’s reponse speak for themselves.

Threats can give us purpose, but falsely perceived threats can render us more vulnerable to real ones, as they waste resources and encourage angry confrontation with those who have not yet wronged us.

It’s amazing how much mission creep we’ve seen here. We’ve gone from simply defeating al-Qaeda, to a dubious war in Iraq, and now seem to want to take on the entire Muslim world. It’s just absurd, really. We can’t change the minds and the religions of over a billion people, and besides that, most of them have no intention of harming us. Focusing on them as a threat, when they’re not really so, is just asking to make more enemies for no good reason, and we don’t need that.

Focus on the bastards who are actually attacking us, for heaven’s sake. It’ll make winning the war against terrorism a hell of a lot easier.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 26, 2006 11:06 AM
Comment #200455

Joe knows nothing. He quotes a couple of hysterics and extrapolates from that that Europe is about to succumb to the hordes. Have you even set foot in Europe Joe? If, as I suspect, you have not, how can you possibly expect to understand it? And in case you don’t know, Europe is not a country. Europe, for all of its faults, is no more degenerate than the US, maybe even less so. And if you think for a moment that Europeans are unwilling to confront extremism and lack of assimilation, then you just haven’t been listening or observing. You have not detected the undercurrents of change towards immigration nor the increasing engagement with lack of assimilation and integration. What you are referring to is not currently a problem of serious magnitude, and the realpolitik is moving to confront it before it does. But then, people who are motivated by fear and ignorance easily and simply find evidence to confirm their prejudice and fear. As FDR said, we have nothing to fear, but fear itself.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at December 26, 2006 9:16 PM
Comment #200612

Stephen,

I’m sure that if those four cities were to break out into fighting it would be between the liberal Democratic machine establishment and some other group, not the Catholics and Protestants, or Italians and Irishmen. At any rate the Dems could just threaten to take away their entitlements, and most of the people would then rise up to defend the Dems, so there would be nothing to worry about! Maybe that’s what we need in Iraq, some good old fashioned entitlements to use for social and political manipulation.
The world actually is a video game to some. I think I remember most of the Democrats simply demanding that Bush save the game, push the off button, and go finish his domestic homework. After all, a little game like that overseas doesn’t affect us anyway, right? 9/11 was just a computer glitch to most Dems. The War on terror, and the treatment of our enemies by our military were just a couple of things to rant against and hold demonstrations to try to gain secret bonuses in the goal to win extra powers by election. I heard there are actually some Arab Muslims playing simulated War games against the U.S. on their computers. I bet their tactics for winning are pretty similar to the Dems’ tactics in the last election. The games are supposed to be popular. I wonder which side the American Democrats are on?

JD

Posted by: JD at December 28, 2006 2:24 AM
Comment #200629

JD-
The problem here is that the province we don’t have under control are some of the most important and crucial ones to creating a peaceful Iraq. Without them, there is no Iraq. So the fact that ten other provinces seem to be under control is irrelevant. Again, war is not a videogame. You don’t win by having more kills or more points. You win by having the right places under control and the enemy neutralized.

The fact that you even think to suspect your fellow Americans in bulk of being traitors and weaklings shows the kind of underestimation of this nation’s character that has served the Republican so poorly in recent years. The Republicans can’t lead this country to a victory against its enemies, because they are too busy trying to defeat their own fellow Americans to deal with problems beyond our borders in a sensible fashion.

You folks talk about how Democrat and Liberal Criticism makes the country seem weak-willed. Unfortunately, you fail to see how Republican policy has brought the reality of weakness to country. That is what has shifted power to the Democrats. We look and we see huge deficits, and we know that’s not good for our country. We know its not sustainable. The Republicans, though, made excuses and did nothing except make it worse in the name of their anti-tax supply side theology.

Never mind paying for a war outright so we have the economic strenghth to endure as long as we have to, and expand as needed. The Republicans didn’t want to raise taxes.

The Bush Administration covered its ass by taking an obstinent position, but in doing so allowed the enemy to make headway they shouldn’t have. At this point, there’s much less we can do because of that.

The Bush Administration refused to bulk up the forces in order to handle this greater burden. If they had done that earlier, we’d have less manpower problems, and would have more options for handling Iraq now. Why wasn’t this done? One, because somebody wanted to prove their theory of military doctrine, and two, because doing otherwise would be yielding to the Democrats. So to keep up a facade of strength for the sake of their policies and their political ass-covering, they took an ill-advised course that now has us weakened in fact, rather than merely in appearance.

The irony in your statement about entitlements for political manipulation, if you’ve read State of Denial is that this opportunity actually existed for us. We had the opportunity to essentially buy at low cost the loyalty of many parts of the Iraqi society. Unfortunately, the Bush administration never prepared itself to do such things. They never prepared for any other course than putting a figurehead in charge and letting them worry about it.

Many Americans have come to the Democrats position because our position has been this: The Republicans may say that our positions create the appearance of weakness, but Americans know that Bush’s policies, and those of the Republicans have made the weakness real.

The worse part is that you folks won’t even face up to how badly you’ve screwed things up. I’d tell you to go ahead and dig yourself in deeper with these harebrained policies, but the problem is, they’re weakening America, and that has always been the greater problem than the Republican’s political dominance.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 28, 2006 10:07 AM
Comment #200670

Stephen Daugherty,

This is the same argument Dems made in the eighties when “the Great Communicator” was in the oval office; “this war is costing too much, we can not sustain it, Reagan is driving us into debt, etc.!” Yet, the economy did sustain it. In fact, we flourished because of the low taxation policies of the eighties. It has flourished now for more than twenty years. There is also more revenue pouring into the government coffers than ever before from our economy.
I think you said it best when you said, “the Republicans can’t lead this country to victory against its enemies, because they are too busy trying to defeat their own fellow Americans to deal with problems beyond our borders in a sensible fashion.”
Thank you for proving my point. It is uncanny that the Republicans even have to defeat their own fellow Americans first when it comes to fighting terrorists. This has been the problem from the get go! The willingness of Democrats and the Press to criticize not only our President in times of War, but also the willingness of the Press to engage in the type of unAmerican activity they have engaged in including purchasing terrorist videos of car bombs going off as our boys ride by in their armored vehicles is beyond the pale.
I saw on one network a video of a white car parked suspiciously beside the road in Iraq. For about twenty seconds cars passed by. Then just as an allied armored vehicle passed by the car went up in flames. Is this the kind of reporting we should want on the air. Either the video was taken by a reporter that knew the car bomb was there and did nothing, or it was purchased as a terrorist propaganda video by the American news network. I think most all of us have seen the video of the sniper attack against our U.S. soldiers in which the target was shown walking down the street a ways, only to meet with a sniper bullet in the back. They can’t get shots of stacks of body bags, because that isn’t happening. So, what’s the next best thing; an actual planned execution of our boys in uniform. That sure is mighty American of them isn’t it!! They seem to love that stuff!

JD

Posted by: JD at December 28, 2006 4:10 PM
Comment #200734

JD-
Wars cost money, and Bush has spent far more than even Reagan did. It’s generally agreed, though, that Reagan’s spending created the recessions that came after he left office. His tax cuts came early in his administration; recovery was not so quick to follow.

Additionally, we must recognize that America has changed technologically. That technological change is far more responsible for our prosperity across the last few decades than any tax policy. In fact, you should take into account that Reagan raised taxes three times during his Administrationn, that Bush raised them once, and so did Clinton. Clinton’s raising of taxes immediately was followed with the shift towards internet technology and the rise of the PC as a universal home appliance.

But of course, you want to believe in Supply side economics, and ignore the boatload of other factors, including national debt. You want to ignore the negative effects of deficit spending, and the unsustainability of heavy military operation, because that’s really inconvenient to telling people we can remain in Iraq indefinitely.

As for proving your point? Your point is that you folks would be doing wonders, if it weren’t for the rest of America. Please. Has it occured to you that the rest of America is pretty much staying put, and that we as a nation, and your party aren’t getting anywhere unless you cooperate and observe some measure of civility. You folks messed up this war. You failed to put the pressure on early for change.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 29, 2006 8:44 AM
Comment #236909

Stephen, you are obviously a capable analyst of politics, and I respect all of your views on the topic (not to say I agree with all of them). However, I have a few critiques to make on some of your post comments.

“We look and we see huge deficits, and we know that’s not good for our country. We know its not sustainable. The Republicans, though, made excuses and did nothing except make it worse in the name of their anti-tax supply side theology.”

If the democrats see the problem, what stops them from dealing with it? If the democratic party is the responsible group you make them out to be, where are the results from their bold and brash claims to be better leaders than Republicans? All the criticism and claims to know what’s best for America have gotten us nowhere. The issues of America cannot be averted without disciplined actions, and from where I stand, the only political group with enough gumption to execute these actions is, frankly, the Republican party.

Now that is not to say in any way that Repub leaders take a correct course of action when dealing with issues “all the time.” You simply cannot expect leadership to always make perfect decisions that make everyone happy, especially in America.
If the democratic system would define important national issues and present them to a republican executive office WITHOUT harassment or criticism, things would get taken care of more often than constant bickering over “tax policy” and war efforts.

I think JD is out of line by saying that democrats somehow cannot be trusted. I trust my democratic friends. Perhaps the message he was trying to send out is that because democrats “stir the political pot” so much, they seem to have become overly unrealistic in their expectations for government. Instead of expecting ‘something for nothing ,’ or too much too quickly, it would be better if dems took a minute to slow down and rethink their ideals.

“Were killing innocent people” is a sorry excuse to pull out of Iraq. Although I would not recommend a prolonged direct engagement with that country, I think even the democrats know why we went to war. I’m sot sure what you meant by “You folks messed up this war.” Messed up? War is war. The courses it takes are based on tactics and strategics, not “We’re America, so we should be able to fight a clean perfect war, and if not, we blame those WARLIKE republicans!”

As for government “buying off” Iraqi loyalty…well, good luck. I think the Muslim peoples have other ideas about what Allah wants vs. what the ‘American infidel pigs’ want.

Posted by: GW at October 25, 2007 3:34 AM
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