Friday Round-up: Freedom and Leaders

All you need to know about why this week’s debate was utterly useless.

Anybody surprised at NBC’s conduct? That what I thought.

Speaking of elections-

The Free World Has Lost Its Leader

From Dan Hannan.

The free world has lost its leader. In the absence of a vigorous American foreign policy, Canada’s Stephen Harper supplied his own. For the better part of a decade, he energetically championed Western interests. He was serious about fighting terrorism, keen on free trade and prepared to deploy proportionate force in defense of freedom.

His defeat in last week’s Canadian general election will be felt far beyond that sparse, chilly country. When other Western leaders fretted about Israel’s 2006 Lebanon war, he gave his full backing to the Jewish state. When others dithered over Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, he led international condemnation. Obliged to meet Vladimir Putin at a summit meeting, he was admirably curt: “I guess I’ll shake your hand, but I have only one thing to say to you: Get out of Ukraine.”

Source: The Free World Has Lost Its Leader

This is superb. It is also the most important article here, if you would understand how America got to the ugly place that we are now.

“Anatomy of a Juggernaut,” By Bradley C. S. Watson

The subtitle of Paul D. Moreno’s new book, “The Twilight of Constitutionalism and the Triumph of Progressivism,” is the thrust of a growing body of revisionist scholarship on the Progressive movement. Moreno adds a valuable historian’s perspective to this scholarship, which is associated largely with the “Claremont school” of political science. He notes the central conceit of twentieth-century American history: the triumphalist portrayal of an ever-expanding national state, one that would finally offer authentic liberty—freeing individuals not only from inequality but from the reactionary idea that human nature itself imposes permanent constraints.

Moreno suggests that the Obama presidency has brought this Progressive narrative squarely before the bar of public opinion. Enduring doubts about the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare,” conjoined with concerns about unprecedented levels of government spending, have shown that older notions of constitutional limits still animate at least some citizens. They demand a full hearing for constitutional arguments long after the political classes gave up on such arguments—nowhere better captured than in former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s dismissive response to a question about Obamacare’s constitutionality: “Are you serious?” she asked, with an incredulous laugh.

Our current situation, says Moreno, is that we occupy a “twilight zone between constitutional and unlimited government.” The political philosophy of the Founders is alive, if on life support. They were neither laissez faire libertarians nor statists, but constitutionalists. Their arguments are echoed today by Americans who believe that the US Constitution has a fixed meaning that binds political actors, a meaning that is informed by a moral and political philosophy anterior to the writing of that document. This view allows that a genuine common good exists, even in the face of considerable individual freedom—and that the government is bound to respect and pursue it. Under this older view, “class legislation” cannot be tolerated.

Moreno begins by considering the “old regime” left by the Civil War Republicans, who embraced the Founders’ constitutionalism even as they adopted Hamiltonian mercantilist economic policies in the midst of the American industrial revolution. He points to the postwar demobilization of the Union Army as evidence of Republicans’ commitment to the Founders’ idea of minimalist federal power. He further argues that the Republican revival of the “American System” of Hamilton and Henry Clay, “based on protective tariffs, banks, and internal improvements,” was largely within antebellum constitutional understandings.

Source: “Anatomy of a Juggernaut,” By Bradley C. S. Watson

A Heroine for our Time

Even as she held tightly to Islam, something was happening to Ali, thanks to her new English-language and reading skills:  She was exposed to a world of ideas that contradicted what she was learning through the Qu’ran about man’s subjugation to the Qu’ran’s rules and about women’s subjugation to man. Dickens (especially Oliver Twist), Alcott, and even Nancy Drew exposed her to the idea of an individual with free will, one who freely makes choices for good or ill – but that are his choices.  Even Nancy Drew was an inspiration, with her lauded brave and intrepid (albeit still feminine) spirit.

Armed with this growing intellectual arsenal, Ali began to ask the “why” questions that a repressive society cannot tolerate: Why must I be treated this way? Why don’t we celebrate individuality? Why do we force people to behave in a certain way when free nations achieve greater things?  Why are women subordinate to men?

Bookworm on the greatness of Ayaan Hirsi Ali via Ace

Europe’s Rape Epidemic:

w706I mentioned this in passing the other day, here, but it needs talking about. The main question is why Europe permits such an outrage. I can think of several reasons, none complimentary.

Perhaps, the only reason Europeans pretended to respect women was the thin veneer of Christianity they used to wear; that is possible since the advance in the rights of women has always been linked to Christianity.

Perhaps, Europeans are just too wimpish to any longer protect their women, in which case they are doomed because a man who won’t protect his wife and/or daughter will not protect himself or his civilization either.

Perhaps, the Europeans simply hate their (and our) civilization so much that any outrage committed against it is fine with them.

Perhaps all of the above, or maybe other reasons. It doesn’t really matter, Europe has given up. I suspect a secondary reason is the very reason they have always resented us Anglo-Saxons, as they call us, the very evident fact that historically we have made sure we are free to take action with or without government sanction, against a crime in the street. Sadly, Britons have largely given up that right, leaving it the sole possession of Americans, who firmly believe it.

Make no mistake, Westerners are about to be made to suffer from Europe’s Rape Epidemic and the reason is that our leaders fully believe that we deserve to.

Readers will be more than aware that Sweden has become Europe’s rape capital. Its government has blamed this on everything from increased reporting to the internet to the weather. Norway and Denmark also have some rather alarming rates of rape, but those countries are more readily willing to admit the cause. 

In Norway, recent statistics revealed that 100 per cent of violent street-rapes committed in the capital city of Oslo were committed by “non-western” immigrants.  It’s a similar story in Denmark, where the majority of rapes are committed by immigrants, usually Muslim.

In England, it’s been rape after rape – tens of thousands of young British girls are brutalised, tortured, beaten and raped by organised gangs comprised almost exclusively of Muslims. And now we have Germany. When Chancellor Merkel threw open the doors of her country to hundreds of thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa, she opened the door to the rape of German women.

Rape and sexual assault (as well as forced prostitution) is rampant within the refugee camps in Germany, and it has spilled out to the nearby towns. Rape in has already been described as an “epidemic” and one that the German authorities, and media, are keeping rather quiet about. The reality is that German authorities, who know that many of these asylum seekers are rapists, will allow those men to live freely among German women – they have decided to allow German women to be raped, just like authorities all across Europe.

Women of Europe must understand what is happening here. This is not Page Three, or aCarry On film sexist joke (for the record, I wouldn’t be without my Carry On collection); this is a truly brutal hatred of women that demands we are slaves and absolutely believes it has the right to rape women who don’t submit. The men think of women this way because that is where they come from, that is what they know. 

Source: Europe’s Rape Epidemic: Western Women Will Be Sacrificed At The Altar Of Mass Migration

via PUMABydesign001’s Blog

And there is this, from The Gatestone Institute

  • “They are also taught that white non-Muslims are easy, cheap, dirty sluts and that it is their right [to take them]. … On top of this, teaching people to hate anyone who is not a Muslim — as is done in many mosques — will, of course, lead to a lot of people hating anyone who is not a Muslim. … The problem, however, is also due to police, judges, lawyers, and teachers, fearing the words ‘racist’ and ‘Islamophobe’ — and nothing is being done to stop that.” — Toni Bugle, women’s rights activist, founder of Mothers against Radical Islam and Sharia, and victim of child-rape.

  • “When girls are raped, they are referred to by the rapists as ‘white trash,’ ‘white whores’ and ‘white kuffir.’ It is said to the girls quite openly. And the girls tell the police. Yet the assaults are never recognized as ‘racially motivated. … “I am sick of being told that I matter less because, I was born white, or that someone else matters less because he was born a different color. Such terms are themselves racist. People now seem to be using the race card to behave in the most appalling manner.” — Toni Bugle.
  • Many British girls still stay silent. The perpetrators threaten and intimidate them: “This would be enough to silence most girls. In addition, the police ignore the pleas of these girls, so they do not trust the police. I do think the silence of the community means it acquiesces.”
  • In Islam, only non-Muslims may be taken as slaves — a rule that is unfortunately only further evidence of a supremacist doctrine within Islam: that Islam is superior to other religions, and its adherents therefore entitled to privileges not afforded to members of other religions.

Source: Sexual Slavery: “Nothing to do with Islam”?

I would remind you that slavery ended in the west (including the United States) because British and then American Christians decided that it must. Nobody else cared, really. Apparently, our so-called leadership elites no longer care either, and so an old evil returns to Europe, and soon the United States as well.

David Cameron’s ‘British values’ agenda is anti-Christian

CMMxrnmWEAA8qGKIs it? Yes, and its also anti-Islamic, anti- Jewish, anti-Hindu, anti-Sikh, and anti-secular humanist. It’s also anti-British, anti-American, and anti-western civilization. Unless you worship David Cameron as the one true god, it’s against whatever you believe. Here’s Cameron’s money quote:

For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone’.

In other words do as I say, not as the law of the land says. Even Obama isn’t crass enough to say this out loud.

Here’s Professor Charmley:

Legislation to counter ‘extremism’ will threaten free speech for all faiths and give the state the final say on what we can, and cannot, teach our children

With ISIS in the news, and with young people leaving this country to join them, ‘‘extremist disruption orders’’ (EDOs), designed to prevent the spread of extremism, appear both sensible and popular. This is, we are reassured, about defending “British values”. Again, this seems unproblematic, until you start thinking about it. During the Coalition, the Liberal Democrats asked some searching questions about what this actually meant, and the legislation was dropped; now it is back on the agenda – and in the absence of the Lib Dems, the rest of us need to step up to the plate. Why so?

We can get our first glimpse of why we should be concerned from the response of the Conservative MP, Mark Spencer, to a query from a constituent as to whether EDOs would erode free speech. After the usual airy generalised reassurances about free speech being protected, Mr Spencer volunteered the suggestion that they might, though, be used against someone teaching that gay marriage was wrong. So, espousing the traditional Christian, Muslim and Jewish teaching on marriage, one which until a couple of years ago was the law of the land, can now be considered espousing ‘‘extremism’’? What other aspects of the teaching of our faith might fall under suspicion? It is not, after all, as though our ruling elite has shown itself particularly literate when it comes to religion. As Prof Tariq Modood of Bristol recently commented: “The decline of public religion in Britain in the second half of the 20th century has meant that British society, including higher education and its leaders, has little understanding of religion.”

Our leaders lack the ability to understand what faith means to people. They seem to think we should regard it in the same way they treat their party’s principles – something infinitely malleable and, in an emergency, saleable for something more serviceable.

The Welsh Government, not usually a fan of the Conservatives, has jumped on the bandwagon of the “extremism” agenda to suggest that because religious education is badly taught in Welsh schools, it should be scrapped and replaced with something that fits with the “social cohesion” agenda. This sort of thinking is the fruit of the old narrative, taken as normative in the West, that religion is a fading force in the world which can be generally done away with in the public sphere, and which, if it must exist, should be strictly confined to the private sphere. That this is not true of much of the rest of the world, or of many in this multicultural country, appears to be beyond the grasp of a political elite which fails to see the dangers that will follow by treating public affirmations of faith as signs of “extremism”. Mr Spencer’s blithe assumption that his constituent would agree with his definition of extremism is precisely what should worry us, because he is far from alone in sharing it

With so many examples before us to choose from, it would be futile for anyone to argue that this is not the thin end of a wedge; it always is. Every time our liberties are curbed, we are assured that this is the end of it, but that will come only when the relevant authorities are satisfied we are all on message.


The Government’s instinctive mistrust of what it does not understand, combined with an equally instinctive desire to ban opinions it dislikes, is worrying. Claiming to be progressive, the Government is, in fact, in danger of regressing to the days of the Test Acts of the period from 1689 to 1828, when membership of the political nation required a Confessional Test – were you or were you not a communicating member of the Established Church? We already see, with Andy Burnham, that it is necessary to jettison authentic Catholic teaching on matters such as birth control, abortion and gay marriage to secure support in the Labour Party, while Education Secretary Nicky Morgan’s about-turn on the issue of same-sex marriage tells us the same is true of the Tories.

Politicians who are practising members of the Catholic Church are wise to either self-censor or change their views on fashionable issues if they wish to get on. The monstering of Tim Farron by a media shocked at the idea of a believing Christian leading a political party reveals how hostile our political life is to confessed Christians, while his own muted reaction on the issue of same-sex marriage shows how hard it is to speak against the fashionable consensus which so illiberally enforces its writ. Is it wise to give this political elite such wide-ranging powers to decide what we can and cannot express with regard to our faith?

It is, perhaps, hopeless to expect a Conservative Party bent on erasing all traces of it to remember its own history, but the last time it legislated directly on matters of belief was the Public Worship Regulation Act of 1874. Designed to stem the rising tide of ritualism within the Established Church, it forbade various practices such as candles on altars and the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament. The result was that some patently holy men ministering in the poorest parishes of London found themselves in jail for obeying their consciences rather than the government. The law quickly fell into disuse, but not before creating a generation of Anglo-Catholic martyrs. Perhaps Mr Cameron and Theresa May cannot conceive of men and women so principled that they would go to jail rather than defy their own consciences?

via » David Cameron’s ‘British values’ agenda is anti-Christian.

Professor John Charmley is head of the Interdisciplinary Institute at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. His speciality as a historian is modern Britain, with a focus on the Conservative party.

I’m not convinced that people like Cameron and May even understand what a conscience is. And do understand, it is happening on this of the pond as well.

Religion in Foreign Policy

A protester at a rally against ISIS organised by Muslims in Edinburgh (PA)

A protester at a rally against ISIS organised by Muslims in Edinburgh (PA)

It is undeniable that we are suffering a failure of education, including education in our faiths, especially Christianity. This is evidenced not only by our lack of knowledge of our history of our society but also of our church history, and our churches’ teaching. A large proportion of our populations, even those that will admit to Christianity, claim to be spiritual but not religious. Nor is this new, it’s been going on in the US since the sixties, perhaps longer in the UK.

Professor John Charmley, writing in the Catholic Herald posits that:

Education in “spirituality”, while a useful corrective to a tendency towards utilitarianism verging on the Gradgrindian, does not fill the gap left by the ebb of faith in our society.

What Benedict XVI called the “dictatorship of relativism” is relativistic about everything except itself. It seeks to dissolve the organic fabric of established order and replace it with its own, appropriating Orwell’s insight that you cannot express things you do not have words for – which is why it tries so hard to change the language. A world in which a man can be a “mother” and priests can wonder whether the Holy Spirit is feminine, without asking what it then means to say that Our Lord was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, is one in which Christian anthropology has vanished from the public square.

The effects of this go wider than the Church. A state department or a Foreign Office full of political science graduates will tend to analyse things through certain lenses, which is why they will advise politicians to say of ISIS that it is not “Islamic”, and instead, use the language of terrorism and national security. This plays well to an agenda of not upsetting an abstraction called “Muslim opinion”, but is it true? We deal with terrorists, in part, by isolating their political demands and seeing what deal can be struck.

But if, as history suggests, ISIS shares many characteristics which inspired the initial Islamic conquests, its demands are not likely to be ones to which we can agree. If we do not understand this, and if we insist on a reductionist approach to religion, which sees it as an adjunct to secularist definitions of quality and inclusion, then, unable even to ask the right questions, we are unlikely to get close to the right answers.

True, isn’t it? How many times have we groaned in frustration when the State Department made some pronouncement about ISIS, that betrayed a lack of understanding, not only of ISIS but even Christianity, perhaps even American patriotism? It’s rather like sending the Chicago Bears to play cricket, about the only thing they have in common is that there is a contest and some sort of ball. They are not only not on the same page, they are not in the same library.

He comments here that our newspapers no longer have specialist religious reporters, which is true, but given the appalling job they do reporting anything these days, I’m not entirely sure that it’s a bad thing.

Does the Church have a part to play here? Blessed John Henry Newman wrote that “the Gospel requires the reception of definite and positive Articles” and the reverent acceptance of the “doctrinal Truths which have come down to us”. It is even more the fashion of our age than it was of his to ignore this wisdom in favour of a vague belief in personal spirituality; recovery of his ideal is essential both to good catechesis and a wider religious literacy. The idea of a received truth, which cannot be changed at the whim of fashion or a majority, is at the heart of the faith once received – and of other faiths too. As Newman wrote: “Faith is a state of mind, it is a particular mode of thinking and acting, which is exercised, always indeed towards God, in very various ways.” This non-reductionist way of thinking about faith is one way in which the Church could help fill the gaps in our public discourse.

Perhaps even more to our point, they might actually have some inkling of understanding what motivates people like ISIS, or Iran and Saudi Arabia, and what also de-motivates them. Realpolitik was, perhaps, a useful club for beating godless communists, who already understood that Marx and Lenin were false gods, and bringing them to heel. It is much less likely to work on people who actually do believe in their God, no matter how false we may believe them to be.

In truth, many of these people appear to have gone so far done this Gradgrindian road that they no longer even understand what Conservatives speak of when we talk of the meaning of the Constitution, or the effects of Manga Charta, all has become political, that is to say, in flux and subject to change at the drop of a poll number, with the change itself instantly disappearing into the ‘memory hole’. “We’ve always been at war with Oceania”. don’t you know?

None of this is to say that only people of faith can understand other religious people, but it is to suggest that they can bring to the study of such things a language, and an understanding, not readily available from an education system which studies the many epiphenomena of religion without understanding the phenomenon itself.

Professor John Charmley is head of the Interdisciplinary Institute at the University of East Anglia, Norwich

From the » How religious is ISIS?.

There is also a podcast that Professor Charmley did with the Catholic Herald, link below, which extends his points very well. I know some of my readers find the British somewhat hard to understand but, I think you’ll find him to be quite easy to comprehend.

What You Should Know About The Armenian Genocide


This comes from that dead period before America thought as a world power, and besides we were paying attention, if at all, to the Great War, especially the western front, so we never heard much at all about it.

But it happened exactly a hundred years ago starting today. It can be considered a precursor to the Nazi Holocaust, or ISIS or other things in the twentieth century, progressing right up to yesterday.

We should probably note that Turkey (and a few other nations) deny the term Genocide, although not the fact. They claim that the term is inapplicable because they didn’t plan on killing all those people. I have a low opinion of nation-states using incompetence as a defense, but that’s what it is.

From The Federalist:

April 24 marks the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, a massive tragedy that brutally snuffed out the lives of up to 1.5 million Armenian Christians in the Ottoman Empire.

It was a systematic attempt to exterminate an entire race of people. And now, on the one hundredth commemoration, President Obama joins those who deny it byrefusing to call it was it was: genocide. This is the seventh time he’s retracted his 2008 election-year promise that if elected he would recognize the Armenian genocide.

As the granddaughter of genocide survivors, it’s personal for me, and I grew up knowing all about it. But too few people today are even aware of what took place in that part of the world exactly 100 years ago.

Unfortunately, as philosopher George Santayana noted, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. We can see today how the calamity that befell the Armenians 100 years ago seems to be repeating itself in the wholesale slaughter of Christians in the Middle East by ISIS and other terrorist groups. So I’d like to offer a bit of a primer on the Armenian Genocide.

What Happened?

About 1.5 million Armenian Christians were systematically slaughtered by the government of the Ottoman Empire. It was jumpstarted on April 24, 1915, when hundreds of Armenian community leaders and intellectuals were rounded up in Constantinople, arrested, and killed.

Young Armenian women who were not raped and killed could end up Islamified and taken in as wives or concubines.

The goal was to exterminate every Armenian Christian, whether child, woman, or man. The killings themselves often included all manner of butchery, torture, and humiliation. My grandmother lamented the crucifixion of her father, who was known in the village as a holy man.

Another part of this extermination program involved deportations that forced Armenians out of their homes and basically put them on death marches into the Syrian Desert. Many died of starvation and exhaustion on these caravans. Others succumbed to diseases like typhus in lice-infested camp conditions. Young Armenian women who were not raped and killed could end up Islamified and taken in as wives or concubines. My grandmother’s younger sister was taken into a harem.

Some of the most harrowing accounts of the murders are included in the extraordinary memoirs of the survivor Bishop Grigoris Balakian, entitled “Armenian Golgotha.” For in depth documentation of the genocide online, I recommend this website.

Continue reading What You Should Know About The Armenian Genocide.

The Barbarians Within Our Gates

christians-eradicated-in-iraqThis article, which got buried in my drafts dates from last September, but little has changed, I think.

Hisham Melhem is the Washington bureau chief of Al-Arabiya, the Dubai-based satellite channel. He is also the correspondent for Annahar, the leading Lebanese daily. I  find him to read like a man who knows whereof he speaks, and understands the culture far better than most of us do, and who laments the destruction of his culture.

I think it worth our time to read, and to reflect on what he says here.

With his decision to use force against the violent extremists of the Islamic State, President Obama is doing more than to knowingly enter a quagmire. He is doing more than play with the fates of two half-broken countries—Iraq and Syria—whose societies were gutted long before the Americans appeared on the horizon. Obama is stepping once again—and with understandably great reluctance—into the chaos of an entire civilization that has broken down.

Arab civilization, such as we knew it, is all but gone. The Arab world today is more violent, unstable, fragmented and driven by extremism—the extremism of the rulers and those in opposition—than at any time since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire a century ago. Every hope of modern Arab history has been betrayed. The promise of political empowerment, the return of politics, the restoration of human dignity heralded by the season of Arab uprisings in their early heydays—all has given way to civil wars, ethnic, sectarian and regional divisions and the reassertion of absolutism, both in its military and atavistic forms. With the dubious exception of the antiquated monarchies and emirates of the Gulf—which for the moment are holding out against the tide of chaos—and possibly Tunisia, there is no recognizable legitimacy left in the Arab world.

Is it any surprise that, like the vermin that take over a ruined city, the heirs to this self-destroyed civilization should be the nihilistic thugs of the Islamic State? And that there is no one else who can clean up the vast mess we Arabs have made of our world but the Americans and Western countries?

No one paradigm or one theory can explain what went wrong in the Arab world in the last century. There is no obvious set of reasons for the colossal failures of all the ideologies and political movements that swept the Arab region: Arab nationalism, in its Baathist and Nasserite forms; various Islamist movements; Arab socialism; the rentier state and rapacious monopolies, leaving in their wake a string of broken societies. No one theory can explain the marginalization of Egypt, once the center of political and cultural gravity in the Arab East, and its brief and tumultuous experimentation with peaceful political change before it reverted back to military rule.

Nor is the notion of “ancient sectarian hatreds” adequate to explain the frightening reality that along a front stretching from Basra at the mouth of the Persian Gulf to Beirut on the Mediterranean there exists an almost continuous bloodletting between Sunni and Shia—the public manifestation of an epic geopolitical battle for power and control pitting Iran, the Shia powerhouse, against Saudi Arabia, the Sunni powerhouse, and their proxies.

Read more:

I have little to add to what he says. But my point is that, whatever happens, in the Arab/Muslim world, we in the United States, and western Europe will find ourselves drawn in.

It behooves us to inform ourselves about the situation,, or we will undoubtedly do more harm than good. We should remember though, that we cannot fix the world, nor does all the world want to be like us, and it is up to them, not us to decide. That does not preclude us from attempting to persuade and encourage those whose goal strike us as laudable but, there are limits.

Read and reflect

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