Saudi Reformation?

Haaretz

Have you ever wondered what it was like to live in Martin Luther’s Germany, Henry VIII’s England, or revolutionary America? I sure have. And now we can watch what it is like. That is essentially what is happening in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Myron Magnet wrote about it in City Journal yesterday.

How extraordinary to see a world-historical revolution unfolding before one’s eyes and not know how it will turn out: that’s what’s happening right now in Saudi Arabia. Mohammad bin Salman, a 32-year-old too young to be a partner in most law or finance firms, has managed, by intrigue not yet fully disclosed, to supplant his cousin Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef as heir to the throne and to carry out a purge of the royal family breathtaking in its sweep. Imagine: not only did bin Salman order the arrest of at least ten other princes and a score of former government ministers, now held in luxurious restraint in Riyadh’s Ritz Carlton; he also supposedly had Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, one of the world’s richest men and a major shareholder of 21st Century Fox, Citigroup, Apple, Twitter, and a host of other giant Western corporations, hanged upside down and beaten in an “anti-corruption” investigation.

No matter that “wasta”—corruption, kickbacks, and cronyism—has long governed Saudi Arabian business dealings. Now, the kingdom’s economic crown jewel—Aramco, the Saudi state oil company—is headed for sale on the public stock markets, and the financial future of the kingdom and its oligarchs is on the line. Sadly for the Saudis, Aramco is no longer as valuable, economically and geopolitically, as it once was. Natural gas from fracking has displaced oil as the fuel of the Western economy, with the result that OPEC (and, less critically, Russian oil) can no longer hold anybody’s economy hostage. […]

I’m not completely certain that the Russia part of the story is less critical, but the Saudi story is certainly more gripping at the moment.

Economic modernization and diversification, the prince saw, were essential, and they required social liberalization as the first order of business, beginning with allowing women to drive cars, the royal road to women’s liberation. Already, Saudi women are casting off the hijab and seizing modern social pleasures. The important point is that half the kingdom’s potential workforce will become free to produce, with hugely positive consequences for the economy.

But that’s only part of the social revolution that the prince’s economic transformation entails. Crucially, the royal family will find it harder to fund the radical Wahhabi Islam that OPEC has let grow like mushrooms. It’s hard to imagine that this well-established, well-fed worldwide network of terrorist-supporting fanatics, in their opulent mosques and madrassas—and especially in the more Spartan ones in Pakistan—will go quietly; little wonder that the prince has surrounded himself with a repressive security apparatus reminiscent of the Shah of Iran’s. He appears to be a quiet but inexorable foe of Muslim extremism, and consequently it is uncertain that he will emerge from his heroic and visionary remaking of the Saudi order with his head intact on his shoulders. Many a social liberalization has spun out of control and produced anarchy or fascist counterrevolution. But well-wishers have long hoped that some Muslim Martin Luther would purge Islam of its quotient of bloodlust and allow the self-perfecting, ethical version of its peaceful adherents to prevail in a secular society, where separation of mosque and state makes religion a private matter. In a medieval region like Arabia, it turns out, a king might do the job equally well—if he can survive to inherit the throne and rule from it. And then the question will be whether his revolution can last, as the Pahlavis’ and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s did not.

I tend to wonder whether Henry VIII is a closer parallel than Martin Luther, a top-down imposed reformation rather than Luther’s more or less bottom-up one, but then I’m an Anglophile, and its a pretty small point, overall.

But the ramifications are breathtaking. While we American worry more about the Iranians (not to mention their manifold connections with North Korea) Britain, who have more problems with homegrown terrorists than we do, worries quite a lot more about KSA and Wahhabism. Different experiences, different outcomes.

The US, for all our conventional power, often focusses on strategic weapons (read nuclear missiles). That’s important, and I think the Brits (and others) should pay more attention, that Nork launch last week means that all of the northern hemisphere is a target, in fact, London is closer than Los Angeles.

But that doesn’t make the British focus on KSA wrong. The Saudis have financed a lot of bad actors, especially in Pakistan, where a lot of the British problem originates. Remember Pakistan was, like India, part of the Raj, the British Empire in South Asia. It complicates a lot of things for them, and this is one of them.

What will happen? I simply have no idea, I don’t know enough. But it has many good possibilities, just as that document signed on 2 July 1776 did. But like that document, it may well have to be made good in blood, and even if it is, it may be worth it. I guess we’ll see if we live long enough.

Good luck to the Crown Prince though, I think he is on the right track.

 

Gays, the Left, Terrorism, and a bit on Oil

w1056We’ve been talking most of the week about gays and conservatives, in a political context. You can find those articles here, here, and here. And yes, I am always very grateful when Jessica chimes in on these matters, I’m an old fuddy-duddy sometimes and a younger (and female, not to mention British) perspective helps quite a lot.

As Jessica said the other day, we are not discussing this as a religious matter. The US, particularly, long ago decided that while most of our citizens are Christians, and a plurality quite strong ones, our government is, and was meant to be, secular, although Christian belief and principles lie at its heart.

Not the least of these is the right to worship (or not worship) as you please. That’s one reason it’s quite difficult for me, and hopefully for many of you to consider Islam as our enemy. They have just as much right to worship Allah, as we have our triune God, or for that matter, as many of our citizens do, to worship ‘the God’s of the Marketplace’.

Radical Islamists are another story, however. They have indisputably (unless you’re a leftist, I guess) made it clear that they are an enemy of our culture. If we are wise, we will recognize both that they are, and act on it. Yes, the world is a complicated place, and not prone to useful over-simplification very often.

The ad that leads this article makes a valid point. I found it both funny and profound, and I found the leftist hysteria that resulted from it even funnier. I haven’t heard even the most radical Christian say that we should be killing gays, have you? Didn’t think so. And that is the difference between Christian and radical Islamist – they do so advocate, and they do so act.

That leaves the question hanging as to why the left insists on propping up the Saudi (and other) fundamentalist Islamic regimes. Canada and the United States have it within our power to impoverish all of these states, to the point they would go back to being the irrelevant hellholes they were when the United States was founded. And make a profit doing it, just like we did with the Soviets.

In fact, the very people that first protested that ad were exactly the same people who killed the Keystone Pipeline. Leaves me wondering if they are simply against progress or against western civilization. Wonder if Jane Kleeb would like to answer that question, since it has cost our joint state of Nebraska several million dollars, just in the construction phase.

So, I can only conclude that those people consider it perfectly fine to kill gays, and support radical Islamists. After all, where I grew up, actions speak louder than words. Of course, as Jessica said the other day, leftists think of various groups as ‘brands’ (check out those WikiLeaks emails for more on this) and like some other mass marketers will say one thing to one group and quite the opposite to another. That’s why for those of us who pay attention, they long ago lost any credibility they ever had. Not the first brand to kill itself off that way, and I doubt it will be the last either.

Of course, none of this is new for the left, in either Britain or America (likely in all of Europe, but I don’t know as much about that). Radical Islam is hardly the first mass-murderer that the left has made an icon of, witness Castro’s executioner, Che Guevara, who the left has made an icon out of, as well as others. Here, find out a bit more about him, and see if you think he is an appropriate hero for anybody who values life, let alone freedom. Hat tip to The Daly Gator.

You’ll excuse me while I wash my mind of the thought of who some of my countrymen think are heroes.

Critics of “Gays for Trump” Party Miss the Point |

An interesting follow-on from the GOP convention, and many bad things happening in the world.

Gay rights activists have not traditionally found a political home on the right. Yet gay activist and alternative-right icon Milo Yiannopoulus wants to change that, arguing that while the Republican party may not love homosexuality, Islam wants gays dead, and therefore gay people should support Trump (who Milo calls “Daddy”).

This was the theme of “WAKE UP,” billed as “the most fab party at the RNC,” which brought Milo together with controversial activist Pamela Geller who has gained notoriety for her “Draw Mohammed”cartoon competition as well as billboards in New York which read: “In the war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”

The event was panned by media outlets such as Salon in a piece which shrugged off the event as a “virulently anti-Islam party at the RNC” and The Nation, which slammed it as “Islamophobes, White Supremacists, and Gays for Trump—the Alt-Right Arrives at the RNC.”

Teen Vogue said the event “perpetuates Islamophobia.” The Nation’s piece revealed the alarmingly open presence of white nationalists at the event and the seemingly small numbers of gay people who showed up.

Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who spoke at the event, referred to Europe as “Eurabia” and said, “Islam is the problem.”

If they would have looked to France, they would have seen that gay support for the far right has already happened there. In 2015 a national scandal occurred when it emerged that the winner of France’s largest gay magazine’s beauty contest was an outspoken supporter of France’s right wing Front Nationale.

As early as 2012, 26% of the gay community in Paris supported the Front Nationale, as opposed to 16% of straight people.

The rationale is startlingly simple. Milo’s cult status as an online provocateur has been generated by making controversial statements and pushing the accepted boundaries of discussion. He has been able to tap into the large and growing alt-right movement — a disparate collection of mostly young white males who support socially liberal policies but who hold the left in contempt for their perceived abandonment of liberal values when it comes to human rights abuses committed in the name of Islam.

Because of this, Milo and others make the argument that only the right will stand up to defend gay people against Islamist extremism.

The movement also partially consists of white nationalists and racists, who are able to maintain their foothold because they have consistently spoken out against radical Islam (and indeed Islam in general.)

Put simply, people would rather be racist than dead.

That’s very true, of course, even very socially conservatives don’t want to kill gays. They may want to ‘cure’ them or ‘convert’ them or something of that nature, but they universally realize that conversion at the muzzle of a gun is likely to be insincere, and invalid.

Personally, I would be more pleased if the gay activists would realize that many of us, on the right, simply don’t care, in civil manners about any groups, our quest is for individual rights for each and every one. What Martin Luther King referred to as the content of the character, rather than the color of the skin (and we could easily add sexual preference to that). That underpins all of our belief structure, including the free market.

However the ideology in question is not Islam, as Geert Wilders would argue, but is Islamism, the theocratic political project which seeks to impose the religion of Islam over everyone in the world and implementsharia governance, complete with hudud punishments. This ideology does threaten the freedoms of all Americans.

Tarring all Muslims with the same brush is not only morally wrong, but also facilitates the very thinking propagated by the Islamic State and other Islamist groups –- by dividing the world into two camps, Muslims and non-Muslims.

However, the refusal of the elites around the world — with a few notable exceptions such as the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron — to correctly name and challenge the issue has created a vacuum.

People know there is a problem and know that it needs to be tackled.

When the Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups such as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) object to billboards calling on Muslims to talk to the FBI if they become suspicious of terrorism, when President Obama and Hillary Clinton point blank refuse to name the ideology at fault, people will start to draw their own conclusions about who is to blame and take action accordingly.

via Critics of “Gays for Trump” Party Miss the Point |

And so our elites themselves have prepared the battleground for the battle between the west, and not our real enemy radical Islam, but Islam itself, and quite possibly our own elites, as well. But we should forestall that, for defeating the wrong army is not victory. We need discernment in our leaders as much as we need courage enough to see and identify the enemy. And yes, there is one, and no it is not Islam. It is radical Islam, and when we fight this battle, we will do enough inadvertent damage to Islam, without confusing Islam itself with it in our minds.

This is the mistake that our political leadership (all across the west) makes. The west will be defended in the end, but there should be enough leadership to show that proper targeting will save many, many lives, on both sides.

I see little reason to fear radical Islam once proper defense measures are put in place, ones that do not overly infringe on our desiderata: individual freedom. But we have leadership that appears to be using radical Islam as a means to control their own populations, rather than defend our civilization. That is unlikely to end well for them, for us, or for Islam.

The State: and Terrorism

marcus-cicero-freedomSo, on Bastille Day, the French version of Independence Day, which far more than ours represents a revolt against the authorities, a guy named Mohamed, decided that a crowd of people in Nice, France  were having too much fun so he drove his truck over them, and then committed suicide by cop. It was pretty obviously an Islamic terrorist attack. You haven’t read much about it here, simply because I see little point, in rehashing things we all know. I’m as appalled and angry as any, I just wait until I know enough to write about things, and there’s little point to being the 684th to say something.

What matters to us, as a society, is what we do about these things. Horrific things haves always been done, often in the name of Islam. They’ve been done in the name of Christianity too, in the past, but several centuries ago, Christianity seemed to grow up, and no longer feels the need to torture and kill people. Any that can’t see that distinction are either delusional, or that have other motives.

Who gains from terrorism? ISIS at least thinks they do, and right now, it appears to be working as a recruitment tool. Someday, that will likely change, if their subjects ever figure out that the leaders don’t do suicide attacks, they live much too well, but send the sons and daughters of the poor and oppressed to do them. Or if western society ever gets their earplugs out and blindfolds off, and takes care of business. As westerners, that should be our concern, there’s no fixing ISIS, any more than there is stupid; evil is as evil does.

But who else benefits from Islamic terrorism? Western governments do. No, not as representatives of the people, but as the rulers of the people. You’re going to have to think through this with me. We like to think our governments represent us. I submit they don’t, they rule in our name, but for their own benefit, whether elected or civil service, their good is not our good. Our good would be best served if they stayed out of our business, and left us alone, to succeed or fail, and get back up and try again.

But the government’s interest is best served by regulating any and all aspects of our life that they can get away with. What you do for a living, for recreation, marriage, sports, everything. Not to metion how you do literally everything. In addition, their meddling has made our formerly productive enterprises, whether steel, automotive, clothing, what you eat and drink, whether your doctor can help you, or almost anything else you can think of uncompetitive, mostly because of government’s interference in the free market. Many want to claim that they’ve made life better or safer, or some such claptrap. That may be true, for those unwilling to work to eat, for the competent, the willing, and the productive they have made it nearly impossible.The old saying is: if it moves regulate it; if it doesn’t paint it. With an overpaid (and underskilled) painter, of course.

And so over the years, terrorism has multiplied the benefits of government over the people they used to serve, from the execrable TSA, to the NSA, to the militarized police, both local and federal, terrorism has allowed the government to grow, and to intrude into our lives.

Many have come to the conclusion that a breakdown in morals is responsible for where we are. Well, they’re right, sort of. The breakdown of morality is a symptom, not a cause. It is in the direct interest of the state to destroy the family, it leads to the populace being dependent on the government, not the family (or the individual) finding its own way through life. In exactly the same way, Christianity, which forms the basis of our morals, and ethics, has come to be seen by the government as an enemy of the state.

We’ve said it before, If you cannot fail, you cannot succeed. And that is where we are, the safety net is so expensive and close beneath our feet, that we can no longer fail, instead we fail at leading a life which we can be proud of, not necessarily getting rich, but having a fulfilled life, that is what our governments have stolen from us, using our money to do so.

Falkland once wrote, “What should not be changed, must not be.” Very true, and like all deep truths, so is its opposite, “What cannot be changed, must be”.

And soon, if free societies are to survive. That will be difficult, I say it is our right, nay it is more, it is our duty to do so.

Orlando

1280x720_60612P00-ZTIPWSaturday night fifty-one Americans were killed. Not gay Americans, not gay, male Americans, not anything less than full undifferentiated Americans. That is what is wrong with almost all of the coverage. These people were Americans, and our countrymen. It’s possible that we don’t agree with their lifestyle choices, their sexual orientation, their political goals, their religion, if any, even their dress style. So what? They were Americans fully entitled to all the priveledges of being so.

They were apparently murdered by a person who disliked their lifestyle. Who died and made him God, anyway? That’s the problem with so much these days. Instead of worrying about making ourselves better, we’ve decided that we’re as perfect as can be, and so we must tell everyone else what to do. Well, that ain’t my America, nor was it what Salisbury was talking about, and why that quote is in the sidebar here. And that’s a major problem in our society these days. Our government is quickly becoming much too authoritarian. Yes, there is danger in freedom, the danger that a lone fool can do something like this, but even today, I can say that we gain enough from freedom to warrant the risk.

But there is something else here. Until Saturday, he had committed no crime sufficient to deprive him of any of his rights, but he had it seems, twice made enough comments, detailing his feelings about homosexuals, and/or America to warrant a visit from the FBI, and it seems somewhat likely that they downplayed the investigation because he is Muslim. And that too is wrong, and unAmerican, it is time and beyond time to remember that equal under the law means equal, and quit playing favorites. I suspect (in fact I know) I’m not the first to notice that the Muslim interest group trumps both women and gays (probably so-called transgendered as well) with our leftist politicians today.

He was a security guard for G4S, a British firm, most of their American operations used to be Wackenhut, which merged with G4S, it is the largest security firm in the world, with many government contracts, including with DHS. Amongst other things, that refutes the entire anti-gun argument, he was a licensed to carry arms, specifically, although there are those troubling reports that led to the FBI interest, that may indicate that he should have been terminated for his Islamic terrorist connections, or maybe not, it’s none too clear, but it is troubling.

In fact, it smacks of political correctness sweeping the issue under the rug, and that’s hardly unheard of in either the US or the UK, and is a very bad thing. Another manifestation of political correctness we saw almost instantly was a willingness to obfuscate the facts in an attempt to shift the blame, somewhere, anywhere other than Islamic extremism. Well, I’ll go this far, Islamic extremism didn’t commit this crime, a very troubled Islamic extremist did, and he too is dead. Whether he was influenced by others is a proper course of investigation, but likely a sterile one.

And there is one other thing, as always, the only thing that stopped a bad man with a gun, was a good man with a gun, in this case, a SWAT officer. Good on him, I’m not going to call him a hero, although he may be, but he is a man who did his job competently and well. But the club was a gun free zone, and as always, the perpetrator selected a gun free zone for his attack. Well, why wouldn’t he go where there will be no effective opposition? But what would have happened if 1 or 5 or 50 of those enjoying the club had been armed and trained? Would we be burying 51 Americans, and nursing another 50 or so back to health? I doubt it.

And so we come down to this: until we are willing, as a nation, to look reality in the face, indeed, to stare into the face of evil without flinching, this will happen again and again. There is only one perpetrator here, who is dead, and so will face no earthly trial, but contingent responsibility for this atrocity extends to much of the so-called leadership.

And a few words of benediction to my God for the victims,

UNTO Almighty God we commend the soul of our brother[s] departed, and we commit his body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection unto eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ; at whose coming in glorious majesty to judge the world, the earth and the sea shall give up their dead; and the corruptible bodies of those who sleep in him shall be changed, and made like unto his own glorious body; according to the mighty working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself. (1928 BCP)

And for the rest of us, a phrase occurs to me, coming from those who willingly give their lives over to defend us all, for truly, America, and freedom itself is under attack.

Lock and Load

I also note gratefully that Jessica has posted her feelings on “All along the Watchtower” in an excellent article. It is here

 

Provide for the Common Defense

CT57UEaXIAEpS78I want to pick up on some of Jess’ points which she made so well, yesterday. She’s right, very few of the refugees had much of anything to do with causing the problems in Middle East. But there is also this, the highest duty of our secular governments, is to ‘provide for the common defense’.

That doesn’t mean that we don’t have a duty to help them, but it does mean we have the right to control who we allow into our countries, and we should not allow those who seek to destroy them. That is plain common sense. it is also one of the reasons, we set up governments, in the first place.

She’s also right, that America, not least because of the calumny directed at her for the last few decades (and other reasons) does appear to be returning to our historical outlook. We are remembering John Quincy Adams words:

Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will [America’s] heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force…. She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.

And that is much of what we are seeing happen, and we don’t like it. And so if Europe is to be defended, it will likely be up to Europe to do so. Mostly we have decided that three times in the last century is enough. And it is, it has dislocated our economy and our theory of government, but those ogres were so big, that we knew Europe would succumb.

It it succumbs to radical Islam though, it will be from essentially suicide. Andrew Bolt wrote recently in the Melbourne Herald Sun:

Why Brussels? Why have Muslim terrorists in Brussels this week slaughtered 34 civilians in the city’s airport and underground?

Why did Muslim terrorists from Brussels earlier join the Islamic State attack in Paris that killed 130 people?

Why did a Muslim terrorist in Brussels kill four people at the city’s Jewish museum? Why did Muslim terrorists from Brussels have a deadly shootout with police last year and again last week? Why have an astonishing 450 Belgian Muslims–the vast majority from Brussels–served with Islamic State?

The answer? There are now 300,000 Muslims in Brussels. That’s why.

Brussels is Europe’s biggest Muslim city, home to a virtual colony large enough to sustain its own culture and hide entire networks of terrorists from the police. What’s more, the huge Muslim enclave is in a European country already torn between its Flemish and Walloon halves, making newcomers in this militantly multicultural land more likely to take refuge in their own ethnic identity, too.

But maybe it’s already too late.

The vast demographic experiment of the West–importing largely unskilled immigrants from an essentially hostile culture–has failed and cannot be undone.

Europe is now paying the deadly price. There have been mass murders by Muslim extremists in Madrid, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Brussels and Toulouse.

There have been attacks on cartoonists in Denmark, riots against Jews in Paris, a rape epidemic in Scandinavia, pack attacks on women in Cologne and the assassination in Amsterdam of a film director who mocked Islam.

And more every week.

Leslie Loftus wrote in The Federalist after the attacks on France last fall:

The hashtags might fly. The city skylines will glow in thick stripes of red, white, and blue. The politicians and so many others will publicly claim a prayer to a God that many of them don’t believe in. We will put on a good show of caring, but the harsh truth is, we aren’t coming.

We remain at heart as our sixth president had described. Unless we elect one of the Cuban senators, Americans will not come to Europe’s aid until they are in chains or on their knees and we feel the threat on our own shores. Perhaps that will happen faster than in the past, but students of history know that is how this story goes.

“What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, ‘See, this is new’? It has been already in the ages before us” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).

And that is, as always, true.

%d bloggers like this: