" /> I write: April 2005
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April 24, 2005

Two Books on Islam

The Sword of the Prophet
Serge Trifkovic – ISBN 1-928653-11-1

Why I am not a Muslim
Ibn Warraq – ISBN 1-59102-011-5

Let me apologize up front for the lack of brevity. The subject defies such. I’ve re-edited this commentary at least six times and can’t justify omitting more. Sorry!!

Both books are well written. Warraq’s presents a comprehensive history of Islam. He begins with the assertion that it is his right to question, deliberate over, criticize, and even blaspheme Islam should he wish. Unlike any other religion on earth, this is forbidden by Islam—recall Salman Rushdie? Indeed, execution is the prescribed penalty for conversion to another religion.

Trifkovic summarizes much of the information detailed in Warraq, after which he devotes the last half to a discussion of the implications and actualities of Muslim “modernity,” it’s impact upon, and implications for, the present world—especially the West.

Neither paints a pretty picture of the religion. Both deal with the development of Islam as a hodgepodge of beliefs and traditions which borrow heavily from pre-Islamic Arabic cultural norms, and from Judaism, Christianity and other religions. There is little true “Islamic” philosophy, and there is nothing systematically theological about it. It is a primitive religion, and the only world religion founded by a warrior; a religion which has not undergone its “reformation” or experienced its cultural “enlightenment,” thus to enter the modern world. Christianity was once pretty primitive. Islam still is.

Much of the West retains a sense of Christianity, if not its practice, and fails to understand the literality of Islam. Few Muslims think about their religion. They don’t read or consider the Koran, they memorize it, chant it, live by it, but never question its content. Few reflect upon the contradictions between its covers.

Islam is not a religion of free will and choice, but one of predestination. Reason plays no part, and truth resides in the Koran. All acts and relationships fall into one of a number of categories: obligatory, recommended, indifferent, reprehensible and forbidden. You live the Koran--or claim to--pray and hope, because you are Allah’s slave and must obey. The ethical system, to the extent that one exists, is based on fear alone, yet the course of your life as determined by your actions matters little. From conception you are Heaven bound . . . or destined to be unduly warm forever. It seems never to register that a God who creates people for the singular reason that Hell needs a population is at the very least irrational, and arguably evil.

One is required to believe that this omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent God behaves like a “petulant tyrant, unable to control his recalcitrant subjects. He is angry . . . proud . . . jealous . . . all moral deficiencies surprising in a perfect Being.” And why, Warraq asks, would such an all powerful Being “pick an obscure Arabian merchant in some cultural backwater to be His last messenger on earth?” (As I said, neither pulls his punches.)

The commonly advanced argument is that the problem is not Islam, but radicals who have hijacked the Koran and the religion--the Wahabi’s especially. But Warraq disagrees heartily: “The term ‘Islamic fundamentalist’ is in itself inappropriate,” for there is a vast difference between Christianity and Islam. Most Christians have moved away from the literal interpretation of the bible; . . . thus we can legitimately distinguish between fundamentalist and nonfundamentalist Christians. But Muslims have not moved away from the literal interpretation of the Koran: all Muslims, not just a group we call fundamentalist, believe that the Koran is literally the word of God.

The West refuses to understand that Islam is the problem, and that this is a war between religions and between cultures. As well, it is a war within religion, inasmuch as many of those killed in this jihad are themselves Muslims of a different sect or stripe. It is a very violent religion and culture. In fact, the number of inter-Muslim conflicts in the last century exceeds the total of all conflicts of the West, the Soviet Union, and China, combined.

Whereas Buddhism and Christianity (and Hinduism, Confucianism and Zoroastrianism, I’d add) are primarily personal religions, with mystical doctrines, and love of contemplation. Islam, like Bolshevism, is practical, social, and unspiritual: a totalitarian religion which controls the religious, social and political life of all. Its ultimate aim is the conquest of the entire world in order to subject it to Sharia--Islamic law.

Both authors offer a litany of Muslim misrepresentations and aggressive actions. Muslims, Trifkovic notes, are “prone to construct an invented reality for themselves.” They subscribe to a much altered understanding of their history, and exhibit an uncompromising animosity to non-believers. Many of their supposed achievements were simply “borrowed” from others, the Arabic numeral system being a prime example. These are not aberrations, but the “rules of behavior.”

Trifkovic quotes from the “Islamic Declaration” (1974) in which the following statement is made:

“The Islamic movement should and must start taking power as soon as it is morally and numerically strong enough not only to overthrow the existing non-Islamic power structure, but also to build a great Islamic federation spreading from Morocco to Indonesia, from tropical Africa to Central Asia.”

They seem to have achieved much of their stated objective, and now are gunning for the rest of the world. (Recently we have been reminded that 20% of “Frenchmen” are Muslims who do not, and will not assimilate . . . and for anyone vaguely aware of Holland, there is the recent episode involving brutal assassination of Theo Van Gogh. . . .)

One need also consider the current war of annihilation going on in Sudan where the Muslims are exterminating the Christians, which follows the recent conflict in Bosnia, wherein the facts as we understand them are not quite the facts as they are (which facts Trifkovic explains in detail.)

The Ayatollahs of Iran are manifestly unfriendly, and our ally, Pakistan, is extremely intolerant of non-Muslims, and our “best friend” in the Arab world,Saudi Arabia,is the most intolerant of all Muslim nations.

And then we arrive in Turkey, the most “modern” of all Muslim nations. After the fall of the Ottoman Turks, Mustafa Kemal’s Republic was established as the first democratically inclined, tolerant nation . . . right? Well, maybe not. Trefkovic points out that Turkey is presuming to be accepted as a full fledged member of the world community despite--amongst other things--the continuing conflict over Cyprus where their portion of the island is fully “ethnically cleansed.” And the Christian population of Turkey itself has been almost completely driven out.

Notwithstanding its alleged “pro-Western” stance there was the recent refusal to permit the U.S. from launching upon Iraq from Turkish soil as but one example of its refusal oppose a Muslim tyrant. Most important however, Turkish official policy is the “explicit rejection of the contemporary Western way of life, values and ideology.” That they continue the “persecution of not only fellow Muslims, such as Kurds and Alawites, but of Greeks, Cypriots, Assyrians and Armenians as well—gives us a small insight into what the Eastern Christians must have endured.”

The Turks deny it, but an important professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem notes: “This denial has been sustained by deliberate propaganda, lying and cover-ups, forging documents, suppression of archives, and bribing of scholars.” And he goes on . . . and on, about the myriad violations, misrepresentations and outright subterfuge of our supposed Muslim allies. There are detailed discussions of the Bosnian conflict, the Palestinian situation, etc., all with sufficient historical perspective to assist in a better understanding of them.

In summary, one needs to ask just how those of the Muslim persuasion support an organization such as Al Qa’ida, or “believe that [their] victory would bring freedom and unity to the Islamic world when, philosophically, they consign women and non-Muslims to all manner of misery, and put a straitjacket on free inquiry, freedom of conscience and the human soul?” (a slightly edited quote from Robert Spencer.) Rather like the Nazis returning “dignity” to the German people, I’d say.

Both books are good reads, but the better, and more elaborative of the two is Trifkovic’s. If, however, you wish to truly understand Islam, Warraq’s book will enlighten you . . . and frighten you as well.

Posted by respeto at 12:56 PM

April 23, 2005

Inaugural issue of the five minute rant:

Why do the “progressive intellectuals” find it appropriate to deem the new pope--a wise, well read, informed and philosophic priest--wrong because he does not agree with abortion, euthanasia, and other “progressive” attitudes?

And would you believe that the Bishop of Rome favors recognition of the fact that European/Western civilization has its roots in Christianity? Or that he opposes the Muslimization of Europe? Imagine that . . . someone with an orthodox position which has been carefully thought out and masterfully defended.

Why is it that the liberals now pontificating upon these attitudes and expressed positions seem surprised to discover that he is, after all, Catholic? After centuries of repeating the old saw: “Is the Pope Catholic?” they are flummoxed by discovering that he really is! And not one like John Kerry, either.

Does the average American really understand that it is not the Republicans who are changing protocol in the Senate, but the Democrats? For the first time in history the filibuster is being used to block the appointment of a judge. And if they do not, why don't they?

And why don’t the Republicans actually make them filibuster, instead of just threatening? I can remember when the Democrats (yes, it was those enlightened souls of the Democratic Party who now preach about their concern for minorities) sought to block the Civil Rights legislation for days . . . commanding the floor in the well of the senate continuously. That is what a filibuster is supposed to be: blocking all activity by commandeering the floor and not relinquishing it to anyone for any reason. It didn’t work then, and likely won’t work now, but still the Republicans ought to make these dissidents actually do it.

Better . . . reinstate the centuries old tradition of not blocking judges. An up or down vote will do, as it has since the 18th century. Majority rules in a democracy. The Democrats seem unable to understand the fact that they have been ritually losing elections since 1994--are no longer in the majority--and the candy-assed Republicans are letting them get by with it. They’ve been in the minority for so long they don’t know how to govern.

On the other hand, they (the Republicans) certainly have learned to spend money like the Democrats. Seems they haven’t learned the right lessons.

Finally, have you heard that the Iraqis have yet to establish a sound democracy? Those on the Left, after grousing about the war, then the “quagmire,” then the “stolen treasures,” then Abu Ghraib, then the civil unrest (terrorism), then the absence of elections, then postponement of elections (which postponement they recommended), then the elections (more honest than those in South Dakota 2 years ago), and now . . . that there really is a government . . . they chastise it for not achieving in several months—with absolutely no history of freedom in Iraq—what it took us a millennium to perfect, and which is certainly not yet perfect.

Will nothing satisfy these people? Or is that a rhetorical question?

Posted by respeto at 3:47 PM

April 17, 2005

The Death of Right and Wrong

(An exposition of the Left’s chilling assault on our culture and values.)
Tammy Bruce - ISBN – 1400052947

(For those who do not know Tammy, she is a lesbian feminist, former director of the Los Angeles chapter of NOW, who has come to understand the left, and now attacks its agenda. She is a lucid writer who is “right on.” She’s been there, done that, and understands the Left, its agenda, and how it all works.)

The thrust is the Left’s degeneracy and its absence of moral clarity. In an enlightened, self-deprecating, auto-analytic realization she notes that: “I created [for myself] a worldview replete with moral relativism, paranoia and cynicism which kept me from looking at politics, the people with whom I dealt, and other parts of life with no values-based perspective. When your life dos not incorporate these things . . . you do not seek them out or to expect them from others. I was forced to change.”

She uses the metaphor of Carroll’s “looking glass” (Alice in Wonderland) in exposing the warped world view of the Left, noting that their world is one “without judgment, conclusions, morality, rules or personal responsibility.” Neither guilt nor innocence exists. To achieve this draconian world, restriction of individual freedom of thought and deed is required, in order to destroy any concept of judgment, and to undermine near universal notions of right and wrong.

The left has been very successful in causing an acceptance of diversity, but--still unhappy--it continues to push on the boundaries of what is considered right . . . there are to be no boundaries at all. The result is a philosophy devoid of values, and since no one outside any specific interest group can understand or appreciate the specific dilemma there exists no right to judge.

“Murder, lying, cheating, betrayal—who can argue with the admonition that these things are bad? Yet we as a society are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with making judgments about issues as obvious as these. Everything, you see, is relative.” The commonly accepted cardinal virtues require effort beyond us and serious consideration of others. This aspect of reality threatens the concept which drives the left-wing “intellectuals.”

Using Serrano (the “artist” of “Piss Christ”) she exposes the “dead heart” of the Left Elite, emphasizing the moral vacuum in which they function. She catalogues the freedom enjoyed by women in America, noting that nowhere else on the planet, at this or any other time, have such freedoms existed. She adds a challenge: “How dare the so-called feminists still claim that ours is a ‘patriarchal, oppressive society’” when it is largely due to the actions of men that women have the freedom and equity women enjoy today.

She discusses the depravity of having gender altering surgery, noting that it simply victimizes the mentally ill. For this, she coins the expression “malignant narcissism.” She also relates an incident wherein AIDS-positive gay EMT volunteers lie about their HIV status. To admit HIV positivity would result in their being removed “unfairly,” and they cannot then continue their “good works.” Will they not understand the documented risk to the people they claim to wish to help? Can they really be that crass? YES!

Thru her looking glass Tammy notes that 97% of college students are confident that their college studies have prepared them to behave ethically in their lives, yet these same students believe that their professors are teaching that there are no real ethical standards. Still these same Leftist intellectuals make a plea for more money for better education, which they do not deliver. Almost nowhere in the academy are American history, values, or even the basics of judgment still taught: nothing of beneficence or iniquity. Compare Pol Pot to Winston Churchill and you can readily understand evil and good. But: “The complete picture of history obliterates the lies of the Left about the goodness, for all its flaws, of the Western world.” Hence it isn’t taught. “As long as the university is in the hands of the malignant narcissists of the Left, the truth of history will be the enemy, to be suppressed at all costs. History . . . rewritten, heroes . . . killed . . . the truth [is to be] kept dead.”

As for lawyers, “trials are no longer about freeing the innocent, punishing the guilty, and making restitution to the injured. They have devolved into a contest over who will win. The legal system is now filled with people who will not discriminate between right and wrong. “Vigorous defense” includes lying to, and deliberate misleading of, juries. For an attorney to deliberately go into a courtroom and lie to a jury to gain acquittal is quite simply and clearly wrong. Still, attorneys are rarely held personally responsible for their clearly unethical tactics. After all, they make the rules.

Finally, we have arrived at the point where we are discussing the permissibility, even the advantage, of inter-generational sex. This modern euphemism replaces terms like statutory rape, pedophilia and ephebophilia. Since other cultures think sex with kids is o.k., we are obliged to agree? Nothing good can come from this!

Is the legacy of the Left to be the right to molest children? And does the expectation of a modicum of decency and morality in one’s life really qualify someone as a Neanderthal remnant?

This is a challenging book—to all, and especially to the Left, which ought to be humbled and detached from its hubris. It should really be read in its entirety by anyone interested in civilization as we know it. It is a coherent, “pleasantly unpleasant” read which ought to challenge all who do care to get up off of their A—es and do something about it. The Left might learn just how damaging is their agenda--assuming that they care--and the rest of us might again recall that: The absence of righteous anger is devastating to our culture!

I also recommend her prior book, The New Thought Police. It is equally devastating in demonstrating the malignancy of the Leftist/Feminist movement. Both are available in paperback.

Posted by respeto at 10:54 AM

April 13, 2005

Reagan, John Paul II, Schiavo, Abortion and Stem-cell research

(what do they have in common?)

Relevant Quotes:

“Democracy is moral before it is political.”
Cal Thomas

“Complete moral tolerance is possible only when men have become completely indifferent to each other---that is to say when society is at an end.”
James Fitzjames Stephens

“Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the greatness and the genius of America. America is good. And if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
Alexis de Tocqueville

“Goodness always involves the choice to be good.”
Liv Ullmann

“Some things really are that simple.”
Thomas Sowell

Since last June, when Reagan’s life was celebrated, till this week’s celebration of the Pope’s life, millions of words have been written about celebrities and celebrity issues.

There is a common if contrasting thread which is plain to see. The two men spoke for life, faith, love, charity, honesty, optimism, democracy and freedom. The immoral “axis of evil” speaks for what has become known popularly as the culture of death: the epitome of the faithless, uncharitable, pessimistic, dishonest, hopeless, anti-democratic forces which compromise and ultimately will destroy freedom.

Tocqueville’s quote used to be explicative. It has now become frightening. Our great nation is succumbing to the myth that morality is instinctual, and worse, is definable by majority vote as influenced by “push-polls,” incorrectly defined goals and junk science, not to mention junk philosophy and logic. Such is the product of unbridled neo-Darwinism, which fosters the devolution of faith and religion as the basis of all that is good. The irony is that Liberals depend as much upon faith (however misguided) as do the religious, and they have a religion called “Progressivism.”

Our founding fathers spoke of “inalienable rights” as irrevocable gifts of “our creator.” Our constitution awarded only a few necessary powers to government. The rest were left to the people, who were presumed to be the wellspring of righteousness, based upon the well grounded beliefs of the Christian religion--and espoused by all other major religions, in any event. From the beginning, religion, morality, humility, and the wisdom gleaned from and passed thru history—imprinting, if you will—were presumed necessary for the evolution and continued well being of our country and our citizenry.

No longer do we depend on immutable natural law. Instead we have an “aristocracy of the robe” which regularly rules against natural law—and common sense—supported by the Liberal intellectuals who have lost all touch with reality. They represent themselves as speaking truth to power, while they often prevaricate to gain it. When that fails, they impose their “manifest” superiority of intellect from the bench.

The culture of death values “individual rights,” and, too often “group rights” which are narrowly defined and deviously described so as to avoid the compelling moral questions. As individuals do we have the right to destroy life (fetal stem cells) for some hypothetical “curative” possibility, or have we the responsibility to protect nascent life because it is life? Should we have the right to destroy inconvenient, uncomfortable, or expensive life, or have we the responsibility to protect it because it is life?

Of course there are, and ought to be, situations when just “letting go” is the proper thing to do. But there is a difference between using stem cells from living adults in the search for cures, and destroying infants for those same cells for use in the same endeavor. There is a difference between not aggressively treating the dying to prolong their life (and maybe their agony), and simply executing them by depriving them of food and drink. These are important philosophic, moral decisions which are not being thought out logically or in depth.

Where do we go from here? Shall we support abortion on demand--including infanticide—because of a mother’s rights? How about the child? And shall we support euthanasia on demand because the about to be decedent is inconvenient or expensive? Isn’t that murder? Our robed friends on the bench, and the legal profession at large, go to imponderable ends to protect the criminals of our society from the death penalty, and when they fail assure them a painless death.

Those convicted of capital crimes seem to be the only group with a right to life. How about the invalids and the innocent?

Posted by respeto at 4:13 PM

April 5, 2005

Born Fighting

(How the Scots-Irish shaped America)
James Webb – ISBN 0767916883

This is another fascinating, instructive and well written book. Webb is an author, filmmaker, journalist, professor, decorated Marine, former Ass’t Sec’y of Defense . . . and as you might surmise, a Scots-Irishman.

As much as I think I know about history, from Albion’s Seed to How the Irish Saved Civilization, I was unaware of just how much the Scots-Irish have defined what we all (or most all) think of ourselves as we pronounce ourselves “Americans.”

Beginning as “barbaric” Celts, driven from Europe by the Romans into what is now Scotland, then being driven about by the English--and finally out--to Ireland from whence they immigrated to what now is the U.S., they authored and represent a lot of what we honor in America—at least those of us who still love and honor America: dedication to the obligations of duty, an unforgiving code of honor and loyalty to country, all wrought within their native Celtic culture and refined by their acquired Christian beliefs.

These noble folk were encouraged to immigrate first into Northern Ireland, where they were detested by the Catholics (authoring the still raging conundrum there), and thereafter into the hills bordering the coastal settlements of “English civilization” in America. They claimed lands no Englishman wanted, and served as a buffer between the original settlers and the (understandably hostile) Indian population. Fiercely independent and deeply religious, they bent their knee and bowed their head to no one but their God. Unacceptable to settled America--the elites had and wanted little contact with this culture--they preferred to be isolated amongst their own kind (think Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett—and whilst thinking thus “remember the Alamo!”)

With a broad brush, often exquisitely detailing with one containing but a single hair, Webb paints the picture of the defining attitudes and values of the military and, more, of working-class America, including the “peculiarly populist form of American democracy itself.” It’s all here, elaborately spelled out, including brief discussions of the dozen or so presidents from this stock: notably Andrew Jackson, U.S. Grant and Ronald Reagan; and fierce warriors of the same breed: William Wallace (the “Braveheart” of history) and George Patton for those of us aware of the 20th century. Wallace, Jackson, Grant and Patton all earned renown by winning the allegiance of their countrymen thru their insistence upon unquestioned equality, loyalty and their leadership and performance on the battlefield.

The Abbot of Arbroath, Robert the Bruce’s chancellor, once wrote:
“For so long as one hundred of us shall remain alive we shall never in any wise consent to submit to the rule of the English. For it is not for glory we fight, for riches, or for honors, but for freedom alone, which no good man loses but with his life.”

No review can do this book justice. To be sure there are and have been other notable personages, including Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, etal; Lincoln and FDR as well . . . and then there are those magnificent Celts who have done so much to forge the nobility and the steel that is America. Read it and you will better understand the origins of the humility of our seriously religious population, and the fierce American independence we cherish. It is a riveting and exciting book to read; one well worth the time. I have reread it already!

Posted by respeto at 10:59 AM

April 4, 2005

Anti Americanism

Jean Francois Revel - ISBN # 1-893554-856

A wonderfully written (all of Revel’s works are) and enlightening book which all Americans, ought to read . . . and send copies to the Europeans in order that they might understand themselves. G-d it’s great to be an American. Don’t believe it, just ask Revel !

For those who question just how the French can “sometimes be so unreasonable,” I offer you this review . . . but highly recommend that you read the entire book. At a little over 150 pages, even a lengthy report would still fail to cover much of the ground. And who better to explain the French to an American than an enlightened Frenchman who loves America?

He begins: “The mystery of anti-Americanism is not the disinformation—reliable information on the United States has always been easy to obtain—but people’s willingness to be disinformed.” Europeans want to believe that the U.S. is vile and devious, so they do.

The continental conviction of inherent French (and European) sophistication and superiority is vigorously debunked as he emphasizes that the evil, criminal ideologies of the 20th century were all invented entirely within Europe, and required the U.S. to intervene twice in less than 40 years to stop the carnage. He reminds that: “America largely owes her unique superpower status today to Europe’s mistakes.”As Europeans recoil at America’s world markets and influence, they completely overlook the fact that European capital, technology, language (and people) spread over the entire globe long before America was a power. . . . Oh, well . . . !

French political activists have become: “Revolutionaries without a revolution. . . . By yelling slogans, they afford themselves the illusion of thought, and by trashing cities and striving to stymie international gatherings, they provide themselves with the illusion of action.” Long years ago French intellectuals were convinced that the U.S. was more dangerous than the Nazis or the Communists, and Revel emphasizes that such “clever minds” as these are the ones now advocating negotiation with Saddam and Bin Laden. Unfortunately, much of the American Left agrees!

A lengthy discussion of the situation with Islamic terror, and its relevance to his subject is included in this book. He summarizes the opinions of numerous authorities who repudiate the myth of moderate Islam, and goes on to point out that the bulk of Muslims approve of terrorism. Recall with him Salman Rushdie’s book and the furor in England over it. Muslim support for the fatwa was near universal, even in Britain and France.

The day after 9/11 all of the free world was “American”, which changed promptly, however, and especially in France. They believe, for the most part, that the attack was deserved because of America’s “unilateralism.” The relevant question ought to have been whether the destruction of the tallest American skyscrapers was the proper response to this allegation.

Also included is a rather amusing anecdotal discussion of how the French refuse to incorporate proven American methods to control crime because they don’t want to “act American.” To them it is unacceptable: “[the French] do well, it seems, in rejecting the American model, even if [the] choice leads to shipwreck.” While crime in France is “worse than in America,” the French are pleased above all that their approach isn’t American. Americans are well outside of their mainstream, but one might question how can anyone outside of al-Qa’ida can be that irrational?

In the 19th century “[the French] alternately described American society as a mass of rootless, isolated individuals struggling against each other in Darwinian competition . . . [and simultaneously] as a conformist, easily led herd, where the individual can neither think nor act for himself.” Notice any contradiction? They seem not to.

All cultures are equal, it seems, but France is the appropriate source and model for the world. As in The Animal Farm, they are more equal than others. (And anticipating becoming the pigs?)
The European inability to formulate a strategy to fight explains their attitudes about American unilateralism. They believe that democracies, rightfully, can neither criticize nor contain totalitarian regimes. These same sophists refuse to accept that this is a battle for civilization, and will not acknowledge the inherent superiority of Western civilization.

Pummeling the U.S. is a favorite sport of the French intelligentsia. As they identify America to be barbaric, they refuse to recognize billions of dollars spent on universities, research, libraries and other cultural entities, all the while vitriolic about American “cultural imperialism.” “Americans can never be right, no matter what they do.”

Revel offers a litany of “really nutty” French ideas and actions to reinforce his declaration that such attitudes disqualify them from serious geopolitical debate. By refusing to deal with reality the Continentals leave the U.S. with no choice but to undertake necessary actions unilaterally, and then grouse about our unilaterality.
Americans have been--and are today--useful to Europe as a calming explication of its failures. The belief that America always does less well than they do is comforting to them. And, of course, whatever goes wrong over there is America’s fault. Always!

Posted by respeto at 10:50 AM