To Understand France’s Jihadis, Look At Where They Came From

English: Regions of Belgium

English: Regions of Belgium (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This, from Dan Hannan, is very interesting, I think. I haven’t much to add, particularly since I don’t really know much about continental Europe. So, I’ll let him tell it.


I think it has to do with the way that patriotism has been derided and traduced by Europe’s intellectual elites. If you want newcomers to assimilate into your society, you have to give them something into which to assimilate. You have to project a sense of pride, of common purpose, of self-belief.

This is perhaps especially difficult in Belgium. There is no Belgian language, no Belgian culture, precious little Belgian history. The country is divided between French and Dutch-speakers and subsists, as the saying goes, only in its monarchy and its football team.

The last Belgian election was won by a party that favors Flemish self-rule, and French and Dutch-speaking populations are, in consequence, identifying less with the national institutions, more with their own communities. But where does this leave, say, a Moroccan-origin boy from Molenbeek? What is there for him to be join?

Think of the experience that boy will have had in his adolescence. His every interaction with the Belgian state will have taught him to despise it. If he got any history at all in school, it will have been presented to him as a hateful chronicle of racism and exploitation. When he hears politicians on TV, they are unthinkingly blaming every ill in the world on Western meddling. It’s hardly an inducement to integrate, is it?

Americans are very good at assimilating newcomers. They go in for loud displays of national pride – flags in the yard and bunting on Independence Day and stirring songs – that strike some Euro-snobs as vulgar, but that make it easy for settlers to want to belong. [,,,]

Source: To Understand France’s Jihadis, Look At Where They Came From | PA Pundits – International

The thing is, what exactly do Europeans believe in? They seemingly are no longer Christian, they don’t believe in their countries, they surely don’t believe in Europe. they don’t even believe in reproducing themselves. Life really is more than football.

And how many times have we said, Nothing will fall for anything!

As it is now constituted, I think Europe is doomed, and perhaps yeats saw clearly


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?



God bless fracking! and Teaching our History

Look at this – Hard.

The environmentalists and the left and the Democrats1 would have us believe that fracking is evil, evil, evil! but I, as a working man, sure have seen the benefits. The chart shows what I had to pay for heating oil last winter, in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, compared with what I paid for a delivery on Wednesday.

The great increase in domestic oil production, coupled with OPEC’s decisions to not cut production, has driven the price of oil down, and that’s a real benefit to working families in the northeast.

Source: God bless fracking! | The First Street Journal.

Now tell me again why you oppose this safe method of obtaining oil, which is even environmentally friendly!


We talk a good bit here about education, and we try to do more than ‘scream and shout’ but look at things that don’t work, or might, or do. Well, you all know how much I love history, and how horribly it’s taught these days. Suzannah Lipscomb talks about it a fair amount as well, and with a far better grounding than I have. Here’s a bit of her latest.

On the eve of the invasion of Iraq, in July 2003, Tony Blair told the US Congress: ‘There has never been a time when … a study of history provides so little instruction for our present day.’ The aftermath proved how wrong this hubristic judgment was and it is a sentiment that few in the public eye would dare to voice today.


Much of the concern about the curriculum hinged on a perceived choice: that versions of history must either tell a traditional story of the great and the good, a national narrative of Whiggish heroes, or, by incorporating the histories of women and racial, religious and ethnic diversity, they will tell a politically motivated history that fragments our treatment of the past. My colleague, Oliver Ayers, reminds me that much the same discussion was had in the US in the 1990s, resulting in an all-out cultural war.

Both in the US and the UK it is and was a false dichotomy. First, there need not be anything intrinsically wrong with telling a nation’s history as part of the curriculum. As Simon Schama pointed out in 2013, there is value in preserving a national memory of our ‘imagined community’, but the narrative cannot be uncritical. Second, it is ahistorical to suggest that these two stories can be extricated from each other. Any intellectually robust tour of British history requires consideration of the ongoing interactions between Britain and the world and must incorporate local histories that will bring those global communications home.

Source: An adult education

That’s important, I think. We need some kind of balance, both in how we present our history (especially to our kids), we aren’t, and never were, perfect, but you know, we were and are pretty damn good at that. And it’s inexcusable to me to leave out other things, or exclude whole groups of people.

Leftover Turkey Day and How Do We Solve a Problem Like Syria

English: Iraq Defense Minister Abdul Qadir pre...

English: Iraq Defense Minister Abdul Qadir presents a gift to U.S. Army General David Petraeus during a farewell ceremony in Baghdad on September 15, 2008. Petraeus turned over command of Multi-National Forces – Iraq to Army General Raymond Odierno on September 16. Petraeus has served in three command positions in Iraq since 2003. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A little bit of leftover business from Jess’ new post yesterday, she also had a message for us as Americans:

As some of you know, I spent a year in America when I was younger, and that intensified a love of America that came from a crush on John Wayne and a love of American films. It’s so easy, looking and admiring that great nation, to forget how precarious were its origins, and now, with so much political correctness, almost to have to apologise for them. But those brave Pilgrims might easily have suffered the fate of those Vikings who had tried to establish settlement much earlier, and in fact almost did suffer that fate. But their faith in God which led them to cross a vast ocean in vulnerable wooden ships, kept them firm and saw them through. May that be said of us all – and let us always give thanks to Him who alone is truly worthy of all thanks and praise.

I don’t think truer words were ever spoken written.

 But that isn’t to say that all of our problems are due to political correctness, although it has much to do with why we can’t seem to solve them. As Jess and I both know, in order to solve a problem first you have to define it, and then define a plan for dealing with it. And that is much of the problem with IS (which someone this week defined as Islamic Scumbags, which I like). A retired British officer wrote about this in The Spectator this week. You need to read the whole article, but I’m going to give you a few highlights.

Like most British soldiers of my generation, I fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. Few would now justify the reasons for invading Iraq; most of us who fought there at first recognised the amateurish nature of the strategy and its lack of realistic political objectives. But in 2007, under General Petraeus, the coalition adopted a new strategy that was underpinned by coherent policy. This stemmed from the recognition that unless common cause was found with moderate Sunnis, a workable Iraqi polity could never be established.

The rapid improvements that flowed from this change were impressive but disgracefully shortlived. The US departure from Iraq in 2010 allowed the Shi’ite Nuri Al Maliki a free rein to threaten Sunni interests and explains the Iraqi half of today’s tragedy in the Middle East.

In the other half, the West has shown similar strategic illiteracy in Syria. Efforts to excite opposition to Assad were unsupported by even the remotest understanding of what might follow. Just as with Saddam and Gaddafi, no credible alternative to Assad waits in the wings.

Part of this stems from the crisis of confidence experienced by both the US and UK as a result of Iraq and Afghanistan. The prevailing judgment is that all interventions are ill-advised, especially those involving boots on the ground. The best the West can do is to bomb from a safe distance and make half-hearted efforts to raise local militias. Bombing and drone strikes have their place if properly targeted, but no aircraft has ever held ground. Without western forces, local militias will continue to be highly unreliable.

[…] Until there is a change of policy, Obama is unlikely to provide the lead that he should. And Cameron has shown no appetite to have the sort of relationship that Churchill had with his military chiefs, preferring instead the advice of his intelligence agencies. Agency heads can give you the intelligence, but they are unqualified to determine the solutions.

(Emphasis mine) I think that is a good nutshell description of the problems we face in the UK and US.

The House of Commons should therefore ask itself the following questions:

— What is the political objective and is it realistic?

— Can a grand coalition of the willing be created under US leadership which can coalesce around the same political objective?

— If a grand coalition cannot be created (without for instance Russia and Iran), how would this affect the strategy?

— What military resources will be needed to achieve the objective?

— If, for political reasons, the right military means are judged unacceptable (notably ground forces), then would doing nothing be better than doing something?

— After the political objective has been achieved, are we willing to show strategic patience and stay the course?

If the government can produce sensible answers to these questions, then its strategy should be supported. But if not, the House of Commons would be wise to wait.

So emphatically should Congress, because we know the executive hasn’t the knowledge or the will to, and it should resume its rightful place as one of the keys of the American system, which seems nearly as doubtful, as is anybody doing the work of defining this problem and then its solution.

As I said above, you should read the whole article. It is: How to defeat Isis, by a retired British commander.


A Very Special Announcement

If you all were to follow this link, you will find a new post by our editor, my dearest friend, and a friend of most all of you. Jessica has just posted on AATW.

Huzzah, Huzzah, Huzzah!

Happy Thanksgiving

I’ve a fairly serious Thanksgiving post up at AATW, so here let’s just relax. You know these guys, we’ve loved them most of our lives.


Trifecta: Paris

There is simply nothing to add to this.

Except perhaps this. And yes, I do see many parallels between Corbyn’s Labor party and a large portion of our own Democratic Party, including its leadership.

Corbyn and his Marxist cronies see a terrorist victory as their path to power

The Labour party now has as its main objective the establishment of a socialist one-party republic. The Leader of the Opposition is a neo-communist, as is his shadow chancellor. They associate with neo-communist groups, like Owen Jones’s People’s Assembly.  The people Jeremy Corbyn is recruiting as his advisers follow in this tradition. They seem to see terrorism on British streets as a possible path to power.

Of course, as I have written before, they cannot openly admit their communism as the use of the c-word has invited ridicule since the fall of the Berlin Wall, if not before. The MPs of the Parliamentary Labour Party, most of whom did not vote for Corbyn even if some actually nominated him, are seen as irrelevant compared to the thousands of members, old and new, and the trades unions that are ranged in support of the new Labour leader. This is despite the fact that as MPs they have been elected by ordinary voters and not card-carrying union or party members and thus have the greatest democratic mandate within the party.

Labour’s rulebook makes it all but impossible to topple an incumbent Labour leader, a glaring but obviously socialistic omission compared to the party rules of the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives, which have both allowed MPs to oust clear vote-losers in a timely and efficient manner. Indeed, Corbyn is proposing a change in the rules to make it certain that he cannot be ousted, or if he is, he is replaced by a fellow-thinker.  Nominating Corbyn in the name of ‘widening the debate’ has been a disaster and an act of insane socialist doublethink by those MPs who did not support him.

Wanting to establish a socialist one-party republic is not a new aim of the Labour party. Leading figures of the Labour movement have wanted the establishment of a left-wing dictatorship before. The 1983 manifesto was more or less explicit about it. Back in the 1970s, the only dispute was exactly who would be in charge once this ‘socialist utopia’ had been established. Writing in The Spectator in 2009, Douglas Eden of the University of London tells of an argument between two hard-left Labour grandees:

I can still recall the knock-down argument at Blackpool between Jack Jones and Ian Mikardo, representing the union and parliamentary wings of the pro-Soviet Left respectively, as to whether the coming far-left government of their desire would be run by the TUC General Council (or Soviet?) or the Parliamentary Labour Party. They infuriated each other, and left the meeting without shaking hands or resolving the argument. The revolution was not in question — its proponents were arguing over who should control post-revolutionary power.”

Source: Paul T Horgan: Corbyn and his Marxist cronies see a terrorist victory as their path to power


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