Free Markets, Free People

The Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt

There are a whole lot of folks who have been flapping their gums and saying the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) should be welcomed into the “process” in Egypt.   Two things – right now the “process” is an active attempt to overthrow the government in place.   I’m not saying it shouldn’t go or that’s a bad thing.  I’m just saying let’s be cognizant of what the “process” is at the moment.

Two, as I’ve pointed out in the past and will continue to point out, the MB is a wolf is sheep’s clothing and quite content to say whatever the West wants to hear in order to be considered a legitimate organization bent on the democratic ideal of Western democracy.

To put it bluntly, that’s nonsense.  They are and always have been an Islamist organization, i.e. their ideology is rooted in Islam and their method of choice is violent “jihad”.   You simply have to look around the net and you can find countless examples of where their Arabic writings and speeches have been translated to understand the point.  Don’t look at their English language site – it is designed to placate you.  Root out what its leaders have been saying to, shall we say, more local audiences.  When they talk of “liberation” they’re not talking about the type of Western freedom you and I assume by the word.  They’re talking about something completely different. 

Here’s an example from a book by Mustafa Mashhur, entitled “Jihad is the Way”.  Mustafa Mashhur was the fifth General Guide, the official leader, of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt from 1996 until his death in 2002.  He makes no bones about the duty of all Muslims as far as he’s concerned – and he certainly would be seen to speak for the MB’s attitude given he was their leader for 6 years.


Jihad is the way. We need to be fully aware of this and to act and follow in its way. The faltering of faith has led the Muslims to their current state: one of laxity, disintegration, the dominion of Allah’s enemies over the Muslim’s resources, and the succumbing of some of them to abandoning their faith. The revival of the faith is the starting point for the revival and revitalization of the Islamic Ummah [nation], so that it can regain its power and be liberated and assume its rightful position which was intended by Allah, as the most exalted nation among men , as the leaders of humanity, and through this religion of truth they will deliver humanity from darkness unto light.

You can read the rest at the link, plus there is a link in the cite with the full pdf. Obviously, encapsulated in that paragraph are the fundamental religious beliefs of the MB as they apply to their politics. Notice how he uses the word "liberated".  You are “liberated” if you come under the power of Islam. It certainly refutes the claim of a willingness to establish a secular government as we understand it.

I’m simply saying don’t be fooled by this organization’s expressed willingness to establish a “secular democracy” in Egypt.  Like many organizations of its type, it is willing to say anything – and most likely do anything, at least for a while – to establish itself in power.   Once there it will justify its takeover in the name of Allah – all things being fair when establishing a theocracy, since all moves will have been ordained by the religion’s all powerful being.

Together with the power of faith, there is no escaping from the power of unity among the Muslims to unify efforts. Then comes the power of arms and weapons, when nothing else will suffice, and this is the role of Jihad. The Imam (Muslim religious leader) and Shahid (Martyr), Hassan al-Banna (founder of the Muslim Brotherhood) learned of the need for these three forces, from the biography of the Prophet [Muhammad], may Allah bless him and give him peace…

Fair warning – again.



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137 Responses to The Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt

  • Yeah, I watched the presser these guys put on, aired in part yesterday.  They “are not against Jews”.  It is just that damn Zionist Entity thingy.  So their position is like Helen Thomas?  Except…bullshit.  If not in Israel, wherever they find Jews is where they will hate, oppress, and kill them.
    Please…  There is a word for chumping people, and it is an honored tradition among SOME Muslims, and apparently THESE guys.

    • Perhaps the beclouded vision of the 82-year-old Mubarek and his regime are ready to be had by disciplined Islamists, but there is no perhaps when it comes to the Western media. It can be taken by any outfit, foreign or domestic, with three shells and a pea. “Watch my hands!”

    • Hey, they’re not against anybody, per se, so long as ‘anybody’ is willing to convert to Islam.  Now, if you’re not willing to convert to Islam, well, we’re going to have to have some VERY serious discussions with you about why that’s a tremendous mistake on your part.
      But it’s all good, there won’t be camps or anything, they’ll just give you your chance to submit and covert or kill you right there in the street like the infidel dogs you are.  After all, they’ve got nothing to hide, Allah wills it and it sets a good example for other infidel dogs just like you.

  • Andrew McCarthy did an excellent job yesterday of adding some scope to the situation in Egypt.

    He gets into the Brotherhood’s game plan on page two.

    • McCarthy is pretty much always worth reading…sometimes essential to my list.  I think a lot of Egyptians DO want democracy, but it is a big place, with lots of folks, and it is NOT homogeneous by any means.  It is a third-world nation with awful poverty AND a fairly modern state.  Those extremes are hard to reconcile.
      Teh One seems to be flopping BACK toward Mubarak.  Funny…!!!

  • As usual, you dense righties get it all wrong.

    Egypt, nay, the entire Middle East, is poised to modernize and join comrades throughout the world in our march to glorious leftist utopia.

    The Muslim Brotherhood have to be a part of that. They deserve a seat at the table. They represent a segment of those noble brown savages who are wisely skeptical of American imperialism. And any somewhat over-the-top rhetoric you hear from them is just for the consumption of some of their less educated and enlightened constituents, and doesn’t really mean that they believe in some kind of silly califat thingy, or whatever it’s called. I decree it. I have an advanced degree in foreign studies, so it’s obvious that I’m right about this.

    All that has to happen is that everyone sits down together and works it all out. I’ve explained this to you dense righties many times. The magical, life-giving power of negotiation will cure all ills and lead to an unprecedented era of wonderment in the world. 99% of Muslims are moderate and kind and non-violent and will be completely fine with such a process. And don’t start about how I pulled that 99% figure straight out of my colon and have no empirical support of any kind for it. I don’t need any. My godlike powers of political science give me the intuition to know it without the need for your silly concepts of “facts” or “evidence” which are not a part of post-modern holy writ.

    Of course, it won’t always be a smooth path. For example, thick rightie Republicans here might interfere with the natural evolution of the noble brown savages towards a state of leftist enlightenment. But the forces of historical inevitability will come through in the end.

    So don’t start up about how I was singing a different tune about Iraq. That was completely different. Our vicious imperialism skewed the whole situation there, and I was wisely pessimistic that the different groups could manage to evolve a peaceful and democratic society. I mean, really, how could you thick righties really believe that a society is more likely to move to a state of enlightened leftist democracy while being overseen by those Neanderthal righties in the military? How ludicrous. It’s all going to blow up any time now, and Iran will be the big winner, and Sadr did too win over Maliki. So there.

    Yes, Egypt is going to be just fine. Unless something happens to completely derail the narrative process. In which case, we’ll hear about it from the fine, brilliant analysts at Newsweek and the New York Times, and I’ll be back to explain to you first, how things have changed, and second, how it doesn’t contradict anything I’ve ever said and I was right all along. Because of my advanced degrees and stuff.

  • Organizations are people, and people ultimately can be co-opted.  The goal is the modernization of Islam, something that’s already happened to Muslims outside of Arab world (and many inside), and that captures a part of Islam’s past before fundamentalist Islam pushed aside Islamic rationalism.  Ultimately, groups like the Muslim Brotherhood need to be either coopted, or morphed into something else, with a remaining core as relevant as communist parties in western Europe.  Ultimately the key to a modern Islam is the 40 million Egyptians under 23 who are more connected to the modern world than ever before.  I think it’s too easy for people to give into fear — the real news of the last decade is how weak extremist Islam has turned out to be.  Most Muslims don’t like it!

    • “Ultimately, groups like the Muslim Brotherhood need to be either coopted, or morphed into something else, with a remaining core as relevant as communist parties in western Europe. ”
      And this co-opting thingie, is it sort of the idea of establishing a western democracy in Iraq, except more on a personal level?  Nation building, one Muslim brother at a time?  Who is going to co-opt them?  How will that happen?  Drugs?  Girls?  a couple of months of re-education at the “Gitmo camp on Western Freedom”?  Will you manage that say, before, the Egyptian elections scheduled for the 3rd/4th quarter of 2011?
      Your ‘co-opting’ is an advocation of western intelligence agency interference – sort of an Iraqi invasion, writ small at a personal level, and in the short term and without attendant violence.   If you don’t appreciate the Brotherhood is a school of thought in the making for about 100 years in Egypt, you never will.  And you think it can be “co-opted” by the west, in return for?  The death of the dream of the 2nd Caliphate?   Seriously?   My goodness, that’s not a dream, it’s a hallucinogenic fantasy.

      • Eventually I suspect that Western values would co-opt them. And they think that too, which is why they attack us.

        Problem is, they can do lots of harm while they are being co-opted. And they can resist and even turn back the clock.

        • The entire Islamist movement, including the Brotherhood, is a revanchist against against Westernization. Egypt was a considerably Westernized country by the end of the 19th century, and the Brotherhood formed in 1928 to combat that. That was also what Khoemenism was/is in Iran. The Shah, God help us, was a Westernizing reformer in addition to a tyrant. It was obviously the former that the mullahs objected to.

          The Islamist movement has gained traction and momentum precisely because the West, particularly in Europe, has lost its identity, hence the “state multiculturalism” that David Cameron spoke up about after the cows were long out of the barn in his own country. Too late?

          Probably. But the Islamists know that the prey has become week, and you can see that in how delighted the Western media is to be taken by Islamist and Brotherhood propaganda and deception.

        • I agree Don, it is precisely why they now work against us, because our culture is perniciously invading theirs via the very mechanisms that Erb thinks will lead to their ‘enlightenment’.  Rather than IPods, IPads and IPhones leading them to enlightenment, I think you’ll start seeing Sharia reasons why these devices are tools of Shaitan and should be abhorred by good Muslims.
          Etb expects the ‘enlightened’ to take control – that would have to happen in the very short term, if it’s going to happen at all.  I think the MB will have it locked down long before the ‘enlightenment’ gets very far.  They’ll practice the equivalent of smashing Gutenburg’s press.

    • No serious person would buy any of that. The one modernized secular Muslim country, Turkey, is moving inexorably toward Islamism, since the election of an Islamist government in 2002. The Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t take Western arguments seriously; it does take its deception of Western media and governments seriously though, and it’s damn good at that. It doesn’t worry about what “most Muslims” think either, because the Brotherhood knows what a Muslim is supposed to think, from its point of view, and regards all deviations from that as the very malign Western influence that it is sworn to drive out of Egypt and destroy elsewhere. As it gradually gains political power in Egypt, it will steadily move toward the imposition of Sharia, which doesn’t use public opinion surveys as its compass.

    • “Most Muslims don’t like it!”
      AH, is that based on the protests that took place across Iran when they hung the gays in Mashhad?
      The huge protests in Arab countries against stoning the pregnant woman (who, conveniently, after conviction and sentencing, suddenly ALSO was found to be guilty of being complicit in the murder of her husband)?
      (you are aware of how they stone women, yes?)
      The tremendous public outcry and huge protests on the ‘Arab street” after various, yet numerous, sanctioned honor killings?
      The same people 10 years ago who took to the streets dancing when Islamic fundamentalists lunatics flew aircraft into the World Trade Center?

      • Wow, looker, you set the bar high.  For Islamic extremism to be rejected (which it has been by most youth) you demand huge protests in response to very specific events, in repressed societies no less.  Set that bar so high and you can hold on to your fear.  Yet Islamic extremism and terrorism, al qaeda’s form of radicalism is rejected, and the youth are turning to modernism.  If you let your fear get in the way of recognizing the radical change underway — and there is nothing you or the US can do about it anyway — then you’ll never understand what’s happening in the world.  You scared little men screaming “the Muslims will get us” are a bit pathetic.   The future is here, your way of thinking is dying.  We are watching a new era unfold.  Cower in fear, or stand up and work for liberty and democracy.  Your choice.

        • These are nonsense assertions about how the “youth” have rejected extremism. Most Muslim youths anywhere and everywhere probably have no opinion and wouldn’t express an opinion if they had one, especially if it varied from what Islamists wanted to hear. It is not the majority that matters, but the activist minority, particularly whe the activist minority isn’t afraid to turn to violence. So, Scott, you’re just blowing smoke that’s been blown up your ass, back up your ass. No serious person takes that crap seriously.

        • No, sir, I’m not particularly afraid “The muslims will get us”  – I have every confidence that when the times comes, and it will, we’ll replay some variation of Tours or Vienna.
          You ARE right, there is nothing we can do about it, certainly not anything I’d advocate, since there’s only 1 way to deal with the fundamentalists.  Again, in the end we’ll find ourselves in various Middle Eastern locations replaying McArthur and Emperor Worship in Japan.  The lead in to that is what I would prefer not to see, but I fully believe our hand will be forced within the next 30 years.
          You just don’t see it, because you have no real sense of history, or human nature, or how fundamentally inconsistent Islam is with actual democratic forms of government.  Let me advise you, cell phones, BlackBerry’s and Ipads are NOT going to change the Arab street enough so that you will notice a dramatic difference.  Money talks, bullshit walks, and the money in the Middle East flows from Wahab and Sharia into squalid villages in Egypt, Tunisia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon and Gaza.
          Look for Jordan to go south within a year.

          • You ignorance about Islam is, alas, far too common.  You don’t realize that Islamic philosophers introduced Thomas Aquinas to Aristotle and rationalism, thus altering western civilization.  They have that in their history, as well as the fact they were more tolerant than Christians.  When the Christians took Jerusalem in the crusades they said “convert or die.”  When the Muslims took it back, they did not seek revenge — Mohammad commanded that Christians and Jews be respected.  You can have your bizarre fantasies of war and fear.  But the people in Egypt deserve our respect and support.  They stood for freedom, and against a tyrannt the US enabled.  This is a great day in history.

          • Really!?!?!  Mohamed took Jerusalem…?!?!?!
            Did you read about more recent times, when Islamists kille Christians, Jews, and Hindus…???
            What a flucking moron!!!!

          • …Islamic philosophers introduced Thomas Aquinas to Aristotle and rationalism, thus altering western civilization.

            (1) Westerners, like Aristotle, created rational philosophies.  (2) During conquests by Islamic fanatic armies (who themselves had little or no appreciation for the ideas of other cultures beyond their narrow dogmatic religious fundamentalism), libraries containing Western philosophy were looted, and or academics familiar with the material were forcibly conquered and put under Islamic rule.  (3) After a few centuries, this information made it back to the West.
            How, exactly, does Islamism get credit for giving Westerners back Western-originated ideas?
            Offering a couple of anecdotes about how religious group A was more murderous than religious group B at particular points is time is a bit selective, particularly when there are innumerable counter examples.  (How many Christian or Jewish fanatics have flown planes into buildings in Islamic countries, blown up buses or trains?)
            But as an atheist, I’d argue that religion, in general, is a negative force around the world.  The difference between the Islamic world and the West, is that the West advanced itself via the Enlightenment.  The Islamic world has yet to cleanse itself of theocratic rule, to generally embrace secular rationalism and intellectual curiosity.

          • He’s just reciting from the new supportive and inclusive curriculum on Islam, the one that has to go back a millennium to find its important contributions to civilization.

        • Oh, and nice that you just skip over everything I sited as proof that the ‘youth’ of Islam isn’t much different than “dear old dad” is.   I wasn’t looking for huge protests, I’d accept evidence of nearly ANY protests, and you have none.
          Your usual hand wave is noted.
          Imagine a western country where STONING is a viable and acceptable form of punishment for ADULTERY (let alone being considered an acceptable form of execution in the first place), and we’ll discuss HUMAN RIGHTS, you know, those inalienable things you claimed you believe in, endowed to us by our Creator and not granted to us by our particular form of government.

          • “not granted to us by our particular form of government.”
            Or, to go one better, OUR CHOSEN RELIGION.

          • How pathetic.  The US had slavery for a long time and women couldn’t vote.  But stoning for adultery is very rare, and certainly most Muslims oppose it.  You’re just being irrationally silly.

          • The US had slavery for a long time and women couldn’t vote.  But stoning for adultery is very rare, and certainly most Muslims oppose it.

            It’s 2011 in the US.  Slavery (besides conscription) has been outlawed for nearly 150 years and the respect for the rights of women in the West far surpass anything in history.  Women have been free to be leaders, run businesses, own property, or just wear what they want walking down the street, whether it’s a business suit or a mini skirt.  The government doesn’t punish people for adultery and “honor killings” are prosecuted just like any other murders.  Outside of a few sociopaths and angry exes, virtually no one in the US supports killing adulterers.
            It’s 2011 in the Muslim world.  The vast majority of women are forced or highly pressured to dress conservatively.  A disgustingly high percentage of women are treated like cattle, and in many places they are basically slaves.  Governments who practice Shariah law do punish people for adultery (including women who are victims of rape), and in other countries which are less strict, “honor killings” are given light or no punishment.  A disturbingly significant percentage of people in these countries tolerate or even support such savagery.
            Compare 2011 to 2011, Scott.

          • A disgustingly high percentage of women are treated like cattle, and in many places they are basically slaves.

            I mean to say “treated like chattel”, though my mistake wasn’t exactly false, either.  Women are put into arranged marriages, often not allowed to go to school, unable to make choices, and are expected to be obedient baby makers.
            Come to think of that, the same thing happens in the US, to a limited degree.  Muslims who live in the US often treat their women like dirt, even in the “land of the free”.  I see them all the time wearing their slave garb.

          • “The US had slavery for a long time and women couldn’t vote. ”
            Bwwaahahahahah – THAT’S your answer, that ONCE we had slavery.  Having corrected the problem slightly less than 150 years ago (Oh, by the way, slavery still exists in Islamic countries, just thought I’d mention), we can NEVER criticize, even if these backward cave dwellers CURRENTLY bury women up to their breasts in the ground and hurl rocks at them until they are dead…in the name of ‘justice’ and God and preserving their manly dignity and honor.
            Why don’t you check with your wife on what she thinks, see if she thinks slavery 150 years ago in the US excuses stoning women today.
            And I’m irrationally silly?

  • the real news of the last decade is how weak extremist Islam has turned out to be.  Most Muslims don’t like it!

    Put up your support for that.  I’ve posted the metrics from the Egyptians showing the opposite.

  • Ultimately the key to a modern Islam is the 40 million Egyptians under 23 who are more connected to the modern world than ever before.

    That is an outright lie.

  • I’m sorry for being just a little naive here, but what exactly do Liberals/Progressives have to gain by genuflecting to Radical Islam?
    B. Hussein Øbama’s™ is already family, but for the rest of the Democrats, they publicly despise religion.
    I mean, once the game is up, they (most especially the atheists) will be the first to get their heads lopped off.

    • The common thread in the alliance between the Left and Islamism is hatred of the West. They have a common enemy. The Left’s position is suicidal while the Islamist position is homocidal.

      • That, AND they just knee-jerk (emphasis on JERK) to the position that…if anybody HATES America…they have ample reason.  Their first response is a demand that we explore and understand the motives of our existential enemies.
        Any defense of America is, per force, hatred and ignorance at work, along with moronic war-mongering…for oil…by Halliburton…and CHANEY…Booooooosh

        • And if Erb and his ilk got their desired “socialism”, they would be the first people sent to the “re-education” camps. Bolsheviks hate Mensheviks more than Capitalists.
          It is a self destructive ideology no matter how you look at it.

    • It’s pretty simple, and there have been some discussions of it around here in the past. The basic principle is “enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Both groups loathe Western Enlightenment values, want to destroy them, and crave the power to do rule the resulting society. Each believes that the other is a convenient ally, to be disposed of (in the sense of not sharing power) when the time comes.

      The left has the weaker hold on reality, however. They believe they can tame radical Islam when it becomes necessary with soothing words and vague promises. The Islamic supremacists are more practical; if they triumph, they’ll simply line up the leftists and shoot them. Well, the ones that don’t cravenly convert, of course.

      For the record, I don’t think either group is going to ultimately triumph. The problem is that neither group can build a sustainable society because they don’t know how to create a society that produces at any decent level. However, there are plenty of idiots (with a distressing percentage holding PhDs in social “science”) who will need to have that proven to them before they will accept it, and some won’t even accept it then, just as many leftists have never come to terms about the failure of the Soviet Union.

      • “Each believes that the other is a convenient ally, to be disposed of (in the sense of not sharing power) when the time comes.”
        Yes, like the Bolshaveks and Mensheviks.  Given the Islamic Supremacists values and those of the American Left, the outcome will be correspondingly similiar.  “In the send of sharing power” is NOT the only place the Islamic Supremacists would take the issue of disposal with their former allies.
        Erb would make a good Menshevik.

      • Billy, the left is an invention of western enlightenment values.  The left reflects those values, socialism was a western enlightenment ideology.  The fact you get that so wrong shows that you really don’t understand what enlightenment values are, or political ideology.  That explains a lot.
        Moreover, such a weird categorization of “the left” as wanting to rule society is so mindless and silly that it shows you are out of touch with reality.  You really believe there is this big “left” is out there to “destroy western values” and take over and “rule.”  What scarey opponents you have!  You are fighting for truth and righteousness while all these others who say they believe in American values but don’t share your particular views are out to destroy from within.  A stab in the back myth!  Wait, where have I heard that kind of thinking before?  You’re following a propagandistic path of demonizing others that has led to very dark places in the past.   Fortunately, I think Americans are immune to that kind of crap.   They’re well enough educated to know that being on the left doesn’t mean you’re (eyes rolling) anti-enlightenment.

        • You’re marvelously free of facts about the Left, Scott. But then you think that the Communist Howard Zinn’s history of America was excellent, so maybe you’re just lying.

          But it’s nice to know that Fidel and Hugo Chavez and UC Berkeley don’t exist, among other pesonages and institutions.

        • Horse shit, Erp.  I almost have to believe that you are just being a troll here, as even YOU can’t possibly support that nonsense.

          • Definitely trolling here. Every few months, I cut loose on him to let him know that his basic status here is pond scum. He gets some kind of faux-martyr thrill out of it, I guess. But I’ve still got a while since the last blast, so he’ll just have to get by without it today.

          • “his basic status here is pond scum”
            How could he…even delusional he…think otherwise?  These statements on this thread are soooo silly as to make me believe he is just acting as a poo-smearing troll.

        • Speaking of rolling eyes, was that not you rolling around like a dog in deer scat in your own delight with the Frankfurt School? You do realize that those cultural Marxists, led by Adorno, attacked reason itself, as tyrannical? How very Enlightenment!

          Such inconsistencies, Scott, always betray you as a dilettante, and worse.,

          • “betray you as a dilettante”
            Now, he’ll tell you he’s of German descent, not Italian.

          • It’s only “inconsistent” if you have a memory greater than that of a goldfish.
            We’re not supposed to remember all the times Scott has attacked those of us who promote reason and logic over popularity, sentiment, and the Kumbaya/Dalai Lama/Quantum Physics/Presto/Abracadabra “spirituality” which makes us all one, or something like that.
            He’s wearing a different hat today, apparently.  “Scott Erb has always been for reason and has always been at war with the irrational and unenlightened.”

          • We’re reading Fromm for an honors class I’m teaching.  I am very close to the Frankfurt school in my thinking.  You clearly don’t have any clue what the Frankfurt school is all about, they were certainly ardently anti-Communist.  And, of course, their goal was to point out flaws in the enlightenment in order to try to save it.  You are utterly clueless about this — but then again, your posts don’t really ever try to engage ideas, you just throw some insults and assertions out there.  You are anti-enlightenment and anti-rational, your posts are proof — you avoid real discussion and rational interaction, you engage in emotion-driven insults and attacks.  You are fundamentally anti-enlightenment.

          • Anti-Communist? They were Marxists, through and through.

            What a sillly imbecile you are.

        • Yes, the Revolution in 1917 in Tsarist Russia was a complete fantasy, and never occurred.
          Good thing, the Czar and Czarina have invited the wife and I to the St. Petersburg Winter Palace for tea in March.

        • …the left is an invention of western enlightenment values.  The left reflects those values, socialism was a western enlightenment ideology.

          So “leftists” like you want people to think.  But Enlightenment is the embracing of individual reasoning (two things you fight against, particularly in defense of your “leftist” ideological positions) and a rejection of unjustified, unquestioned fealty to crown or church.
          From the French Revolution to the October Revolution, the “left” replaced king with collective (égalité) mob and ended up with dictators.
          The American Revolution, on the other hand, for all its faults, replaced king with a republic, in which the individual could do his own thing without too much interference from authorities on high.  Like I said, it was imperfect and I could go on and on how the US Constitution was a counter-revolutionary document, how there was slavery and other forms of oppression.
          But the Enlightenment spirit never made it into “leftist” dogma.  They only tricked the useful idiots into believing that crap.  You’re a case in point.

          • I’m in favor of, and teach the importance of, individualist thinking.  Socialism was about individual liberation, Marx believed socialism would lead to true individualism.  He was anti-statist.   He was wrong in most of his theories, but it was an enlightenment theory.  He’s sort of like Ayn Rand on the capitalist side (though she’s more easy to obliterate, her arguments were really bad).  Too caught up in ideological theory and out of touch with practical reality to see the limits of ideology.

          • Nigerian, PLEASE…!!!

          • I’m in favor of, and teach the importance of, individualist thinking.

            Now you’re pretending you weren’t just attacking individualism a week ago in the “Year 3 of Obamanomic…” comment thread.
            Your words are a matter of record, so lying about what you favor won’t work.

            Socialism was about individual liberation…

            Like I said, useful idiot.  Socialism is all about sacrificing the individual for the collective.  A hundred million murdered, billions enslaved, GULAGs, “mental institutions”, tanks vs. students, the Berlin Wall.
            How enlightened and individualistic.
            You can try to change the subject by mentioning another philosopher, whose ideas are responsible for zero murders, zero enslavement, zero prison camps, and, despite their faults, far better predict the events of a century later than Marx.  But I’m not defending that woman and didn’t bring her up.  You did, as a red herring.
            It’s absurd to put any form of collectivism (socialism, fascism, radical environmentalism, theocracies) within a thousand miles of the Enlightenment.  Only by ignoring history and focusing on the original writings, ignoring how they utterly failed to predict the future, could you even begin to try to make a weak case for any such connection.
            So, are you sticking with the “history didn’t happen” argument?  Or, you want to disappear on this one?

        • The left, along with communism, fascism, national socialism, and the rest derive from the French Enlightement. American conservative/libertarian thought derives from the Scottish Enlightenment.

          The fact that the left derives from a version of the Enlightenment does not mean that it does not lothe Western values. The modern left certainly does, even if the early leftists didn’t. As a case in point, Marx had a high opinion of the US. He believed that Communism would proprely occur in the advanced capitalist countries, the US, UK, Germany. He didn’t expect Communism to come about in a backwater like Russia. Yet, those today who trace their ideas to him generally lothe the US, and celibrate third world sh*tholes. Their fathers celibrated the USSR.

        • “You’re following a propagandistic path of demonizing others that has led to very dark places in the past”

          Lovely. Thanks for starting my morning off with a laugh.

          • Yeah. This stupid fool who hadn’t even heard of Alinsky in last month’s thread (when we’ve all known about his influence on the left for years) has the temerity to lecture us on what the left wants and believes. A more vivid combination of arrogance and ignorance would be very hard to find. 

          • I think I said that very thing a few weeks ago.  Great minds, and all that…
            Actually, you find those two traits (arrogance and ignorance) expressed in the same poor puke quite often.  As here…

    • If you are talking about the Democrats.  The Democrats have consistantly funnelled money & arms to Israel and Egypt who have been allies in the suppression of radical Islam.  The Democrats have supported the Saudis and the Pakistanis in their ongoing efforts to channel Islam.  The Democrats supported the invasion of Afghanistan (and Iraq).  The Democrats have had policy towards radical Islam broadly consistant with Republican policy.

      The Democrats don’t support radical Islam.

      • Eh. At the macro-level of national policy that is more or less true. (But take a look at DNI Clapper’s comments today on the Brotherhood. A mixture of capitulation and outright delirium. He can’t be saying something like that independent of his masters.)

        But there are significant elements of the coalition of the Democratic electorate whose sympathies are with the Islamists. These will be found principally among the more radical elements who were so vital to the antiwar movement, but not exclusively that far to the Left. But on the Left, which is never completely distinct from the Democratic Party but is not congruent with it either, the Islamists are seen as righteous and fit allies. 

      • I agree with Martin on this one.

        At the Macro level, even The Won had to backpeddle on a raft of things, from Gitmo to Patriot Act to asking Bush for the A’stan stratagy (and then copying The Surge). Yes, Democrats have broadly followed the Republicans path.

        Here is the thing: in 2002 (when it mattered; at the Decision Point), Hillary voted for war. In 2006/2007 (when it was time to make hard decisions about what to do next), she was attacking the war, attacking Bush, attacking General Be-tray-us, attacking The Surge. Now, somehow, after being “wrong” on the war, and wrong on the Surge, she somehow was selected as SoS. The Democratic Party plays politics but lacks any bit of principle.

  • Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told House lawmakers that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is “largely secular” and has rejected violence and decried al-Qaida as a perversion of Islam, NJ’s Chris Strohm reports.

    Idiots at the helm.

    Here, for example, is Qaradawi speaking about the Holocaust to the audience of his popular Al Jazeera television show on January 30, 2009:

    Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them—even though they exaggerated this issue—he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers.

    Erp is just as wrong on this as he’s ever been on anything.
    I want everybody to enjoy self-determination (the OPPOSITE of the Collective, BTW).  I just have grave reservations this will end that way with such people working this from the edges.

    • Well, you know, give him this, he’ll be as outraged as the rest of us if Israel is attacked, even more outraged if they are overwhelmed and instructed to walk west from Haifa to “freedom”.
      I think even his short sightedness would recognize genocide when he has his nose rubbed in it.  He won’t suffer for his playing down of the dangers of Islamic Fundamentalism in the Middle East and the world, others will however.

      • I would like to think that Chamberlain fully grasped what he had assisted, and fully embraced his role in facilitating it.  I have no knowledge that he did or didn’t.
        But I DO understand that someone like Erp is not possessed of a great deal of moral courage…which one would require to step up to that kind of acknowledgment.  I also understand the IMMENSE capacity of people to dodge reality and their own part in shaping it.

  • And it would be strange if, given free elections, the Brotherhood did not eventually rule Egypt, for it has not only been a pillar of Cairo’s political, cultural, and intellectual life since its founding in 1928; it is also the flower of Arab political modernity, which began with Napoleon’s 1798 invasion of Egypt.
    Napoleon’s conquest left Muslim intellectuals and activists in a bind: If the ummah was, as the prophet of Islam said, the best of all people, then why had it been overrun so easily by the infidels? The answer, said the 19th-century Egyptian intellectual Muhammad Abduh—the one-time mufti of Egypt and rector of Al Azhar, a traditional seat of authority in Sunni Islam—is that Muslims had veered away from the true faith. By the end of the 19th century, Abduh believed, Islam had become riddled with fatalism and superstition; therefore, since Islam was the lifeblood of the Muslims, it was hardly surprising that the ummah was weak. The answer, Abduh argued, was to purge Islam of its non-Islamic excesses—particularly Sufi practices like the veneration of saints and other beliefs associated with traditional Egyptian folklore—and return Islam to the way it had been practiced by the prophet Muhammad, his companions and his earliest followers, collectively known as al-salaf, or the righteous forebears. Thus Abduh and his followers were known as the salafis, and their movement was the precursor of Islamism, or political Islam. Abduh’s biographer was Rashid Rida, the godfather of the Islamist movement, whose most famous disciple was Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, who in turn inspired Yusef al-Qaradawi.
    The fact is that the movement Abduh pioneered is now in the mainstream of Muslim belief, if not always practice. It was Abduh who said Muslims needed to adopt the science and technology of the West, while not abandoning their faith, as Christendom had forsaken their own beliefs for secularism. And this is precisely how the Muslim Middle East has engaged with modernity for more than a century—to take the West’s technology, arms, and consumer goods, but eschew the values, such as freedom of inquiry and freedom of speech, that made those products possible.
    No one embodies this cultural schizophrenia better than Qaradawi, a media mogul who has risen to fame on the back of information technology and yet whose information is essentially medieval. Qaradawi approves of wife-beating, he defends female genital mutilation and signs off on female suicide bombers, and he attacks Shia for trying to subvert Sunni nations. To the Iranians, Qaradawi is perhaps not the ideal voice of Sunni Islamism, but insofar as he rises and the Americans suffer, Tehran will make its accommodations.

  • Erb’s blather about “Egyptian youth,” BTW, turns out to be pure party line blather, pushed today by President Nosferatu himself.

    • I never gave Erp credit for an original thought.  But I DO think he is linked in to the moonbat early release system pretty firmly.  Remember all his “Ronnie hearts Barack” crap a few days back?  Just before the Time cover laugher and all the Reagan is just like Obama screed that followed?

      • Erp’s meltdown over Palin right after her selection by McCain told me all I needed to know. Erp is a partisan hack.

    • At first I thought it was pure cya white wash.  But, I also think to a degree the true believers are in love with the idea of ‘activism’ bringing change.  Its where Obama and his cohorts mostly live.
      If you look at the left in this country, you don’t imagine them mustering a very effective group of storm troops.  So, they won’t get their way by the ballot and they won’t get their way via the gun (a la Soviet Union), that leaves activism.  The most obvious kind is the kind we’re seeing in Egypt.  That makes the left here heartsick for the 60’s era.
      Otherwise they are left to other forms of activism, propaganda, subversion/nepotism in supposedly neutral organizations, deception, etc.  But all that works better when a civil disobedience ‘crisis’ is in play.  And they’ll never really get much of that out of this younger generation.
      I would be on the watch for violent radicalization of our youth as their next move in the long plan.

  • Quite correct, Bruce. We’re in full agreement on this one.
    And isn’t it interesting that Obama doesn’t have so clear a vision of the matter as you apparently do?

  • I note with NO surprise whatsoever that Erp never supported any of his BS “factual” assertions.  It was ever thus…

  • Fouad Ajami has a good article, “Demise of Dictators,” about the Arab autocracies and the current Arab mood of revolt against them. He doesn’t ascribe this to youth or modernization — much less to Al-Jazeera — but to the simple human desire to be free from terror and to be free in general that can’t be suppressed forever and in eventual, unpredictable time rises up against dictatorial control. This has been happening in Arab states for the past decade Ajami says, including the removal of Hussein in Iraq (which somehow always falls off Erb’s radar).
    Of course I support the Egyptians seeking to free themselves from Mubarak. However, that sure doesn’t mean that this story has a happy ending. As others have noted, revolutions usually don’t end well, often they usher in a new autocracy even worse than before, e.g. the French Revolution. Adding the MB into the mix and the support for Islamism in Islam,

    I don’t know why Erb keeps going on about how young Muslim populations are — that’s been true for couple decades now, even more so in the past. Today’s Egyption youth (<25) is 52% of the population but back in 1996 it was 59%. (

    In fact the predominance of youth is a factor in the rise of Islamism since Muslim youth are attracted to radical Islam — consider the class of 1979 in Iran. If Muslim youth have rejected Islamic extremism that doesn’t show on any polls I’ve seen. In fact I’ve seen the opposite.

    • I totally believe in self-determination, even as I recognize that choice means you can royally screw up.
      I wish the Egyptian people well, as I dread what appears to be the probable outcome.

    • The insight of Fouad Ajami notwithstanding, the extent to which this will turn out to be a “democratic revolution” will most likely be the time it takes for the largely Islamicized demos to submit to a Sharia-imposing cadre more brutal, in more ways, than anything Mubarek had to offer. There is zero Westernizing input here, and that’s what we’re talking about when we talk about modernization. Mark Steyn pointed out today that nine of ten woman in Egypt undergo genital mutilation and that the only prevailing wind there for decades has been Islamization, even without direct political power. There will not be tens of thousands of self-motivated U.S. soldiers and Marines on the ground as the innumerable examples of what freedom looks like and means. There won’t be any Western occupation with a carrot and stick process for re-earning full sovereignty lost by the previous regime.

      Right now there’s the Egyptian military, taking Mubarek’s place, and he was, ultimately, their front man to begin with. The situation there has been going bad for years and years. Best of luck to them, because they are going to need it.

      • There is zero Westernizing input here,

        Unhappily, that is SORT of true.  There remains quite a strong communist thread in the more modern parts of society from the Nasser days.  Very NOT classically liberal.  (Decidedly ANTI-Enlightenment, contra Erp).

  • Why would I have heard of Alinsky. He’s nobody.  From what I’ve read since you all brought him up, it seems the right has made him a boogey man so they can try to pretend the left follows him.  You guys are in your own alternate reality.   Thank God you don’t educate the youth!

    • We can say the same of you, Profaseer.

    • “Why would I have heard of Alinsky.”
      Anyone one that’s spent a full ten minutes researching Barack Obama has heard of Alinsky, even the Washington Post. The mystery is whether Erb’s denial is just another example of willful ignorance, or just another lie. Either way, it’s one more case where a leftist was not both honest and informed.

    • Hillary Clinton did her senior thesis on Alinsky as well.

      [Hillary Clinton] closed her thesis by emphasizing that she reserved a place for Alinsky in the pantheon of social action — seated next to Martin Luther King, the poet-humanist Walt Whitman, and Eugene Debs, the labor leader now best remembered as the five-time Socialist Party candidate for president.

      Yep. Just a nobody. Only a seminal political influence on the young minds of the current President and Secretary of State, but nobody any attention.

      Erb: Once upon a time I was leftist activist. Everyone at my level and above knew who Alinsky was. That you don’t know reflects on your ignorance, not on Alinsky’s influence.

    • Ah, Scott, Alinsky is the god of community organizers. Hillary Clinton wrote her senior thesis at Wellsley about him. The whole infrastructure of community organizing in Chicago, whence your community organizer President comes, is based on Alinsky. He’s been back in the news since Obama arrived on the scene. “He’s nobody?”

      Such a silly imbecile.

      • As a principled non-voter, I found myself changing the channel more and more often in the run up of 2008, finding non-political things to occupy my time.  And still, I heard or read about Alinsky dozens of times.  It was all over the news and there was no missing it.
        So, either Scott has brain damage or he’s lying.
        I’m not ruling out both, but if I had to choose one or the other, my money is on him lying.  I’ve seen him lie too many times before.

  • I’m not sure if one should take a step back or look with a magnifying glass for the results of the trouble in Egypt.
    What is clear is that Mubarak has resigned and the military is in control.
    But is that a good thing or a bad thing ? Who knows ? … and is it really any different ?
    We now know that Mubarak has terminal cancer, so something closely approximating this would have happened before long anyway, so … what ?
    The last time something like this happened in Honduras, the Obama Administration condemned it … but now, Egypt is in the “Hope and Change” rapture which we know will quickly be replaced with something much less.
    If this is being “right” .. being “wrong” must not be much different.

    • There was a lot of American “community organizing” behind all this, too, Neo.
      Visit Democracy Now and noodle around a bit.  Quite instructive.  And likely the source for some of Erp’s crap.

    • The head of Stratfor (something Friedman, didn’t catch his first name), a private intel outfit, reported that it was the Egyptian Army itself that wanted Mubarek out, all along. And in the end it was their call.

      As far as the range of eventual outcomes, I heard Michael Scheuer and Ralph Peters last night, neither of whom I’m that enthusiastic about. Scheuer, the former bin Laden specialist at CIA, says that any serious democratization is a glide path for the Brotherhood (this is confirmed in the polling of Doug Schoen, as well). Peters says that the military will never allow the Brotherhood to take power. Last week, Andrew McCarthy said don’t pin your hopes on the military. Others point to the gradualist process of Islamization that’s ongoing in Turkey since the election of an Islamist government in 2002. There the military, as the bulwark of secularism, has been undermined in that respect.

  • In the category of “While You Were Out” watching the event in Egypt…

    This past week the Toad Woman who runs the Department of Homeland Security told a Congressional committee that the terrorist threat was now at its highest since 9/11. Hold that thought. A few months back Nosferatu himself said that the U.S. could “absorb” a terrorist attack. (My response was, “You first, Mr. President.”) So, now, go back and read this op-ed by former DCI Michael Hayden from just over a year ago.

    • OK, that is just scary.  We appear to be back to the opening days of this idiot administration, when it appeared their highest priority was prosecuting the intelligence and defense communities.
      If these fools were ONLY clowns, that would be a vast improvement.

      • Yes, with an administration that deliberatly cultivates a “the world began the day before yesterday” approach to its own behavior, that “we can absorb a terrorist attack” comment and Napolitano’s declaration this week about the threat level need a cold, hard look through the lens of that piece by Hayden.

        And, no, it’s not just about incompetence. It’s deliberate behavior.

  • I’m stepping out of this argument. I’ve been glued to al jazeera streaming video, exhilarated by the news from Egypt, and really feeling in a positive mood with all this.  It’s all I’ve been blogging about, and it’s been a topic in my classes.  This is history.  When the Berlin Wall fell I had similar emotions — people standing up to tyranny and non-violently forcing change.   Yes, there are dangers ahead, but these two weeks have been amazing.  It seems silly to cheapen the euphoria with web trash talk.  Perhaps we can agree that people demanding liberty is a good thing, and a tyrant having to flee power is not a bad thing?

    • Such enthusiasm for a military coup! In fact, a military coup overthrowing its own 82-year-old front man. You must be an optimist. Three shells and a pea are all you need to see and the emotions just well up in you.

      • And, BTW, Scott, in your overnight reflections, did you figure out that Adorno and the Frankfurt Group were Marxists? I know that you prefer to know as little as possible about what your are talking about, but you really stumbled down the rocky embankment on that one. It’s already in the classics file.

    • We can agree that that picture makes you look like a fagot at a Barbara Streisand Festival.

    • “exhilarated by the news from Egypt,”

      Just as, in previous lives, you were exhilirated by the news from St Petersburg, Havana, Munich, etc.
      Thoughtless twit.

      • Comparing his reaction between Egypt and Iraq is instructive.

        In Iraq, millions turned out for a real election. We all hoped it would go well – except those like Scott so consumed by Bush hatred that they looked for every flaw, denigrated every advance, predicted failure at every point, and never came clean about their bile after things settled down.

        In Egypt, there has been no election. There might be one in six months. There are about a thousand ways it could go wrong. But he’s just sure it will go right. Why?

        Because this time there’s a leftist in the White House and the American military isn’t involved. It’s as simple as that. Now that the Bush “regime” (as Scott referred to it) is gone, everything just works so, so much better.

        We all want Egypt to go well, and it’s a sure thing that we won’t be salivating over the possibility of chaos the way pacifist, leftist cowards did in Iraq. But we see the dangers, simply because we are not basing our opinions on hatred or love for who happens to be in the White House right now, or contempt for our military and naive confidence in the military in a despotic third world nation.

        • Don’t forget that comparing Scott’s reaction is also to compare Obama’s reaction. Obama has done exactly the same thing. He was not merely skeptical about Iraq or emphatic about withdrawing troops on his road to the Democratic nomination, he viciously attacked the ongoing operation in Iraq to the point where he was trading on potential defeat there, implicitly offering encouragement to the insurgency, effectively saying “help is on the way, keep it up.” Aside from its sheer treachery, that required a cultivated blindness to the aspirations of the Iraqi people, who participated in far larger numbers in their actual democratic process, which included the writing and ratification of a constitution, than occurred in the street demonstrations in Egypt the past few weeks.

          There probably is a limit to what can reasonably be inferred from that dichotomy regarding just who and what these people on the American Left are, and who this Obama character is, but I don’t think that limit has been found yet.

      • Scott was happy that the terrorist bombings in Madrid in 2004 caused the election outcome to change in favor of the “leftist” party he favored.  It was sickening how jubilant he was, ignoring the carnage and the reinforcement that setting off bombs to commit mass murder can change election outcomes.

  • Chuckle, boys, boys, you’re so bitter!  This was not a military coup as much as a peoples’ uprising, with the military respecting the will of the people, refusing to shoot, and now eliminating the hated regime and setting up elections for September.
    Bush hatred?  I think Bush was a decent President, and the events in Egypt confirm his belief that given the demographics of the region, demographic reform is a necessity.  I think it hurt the US immensely to use war to try to achieve it, and I certainly do not yet consider Iraq to be democratic.   A non-violent peoples’ uprising is far better than an invasion with massive death and destruction!  Iraq probably marks the moment when US decline becomes seen as inevitable.  You all laughed at me when I noted that a few years ago, but now it’s pretty well acknowledged that the US is no longer feared or seen as the dominant super power.  But President Bush switched course, altered his goals in Iraq and adapted in a way that I respect greatly.  So, no Bush hatred here!
    Elliiot, you’re simply lying.  Have you no ethical principles?
    Rags, I like the picture, it’s outside the Sistine Chapel, taken by a student who asked me to pose with my finger in the lion’s mouth.  We’re heading to Italy again this May: 44 students, four faculty.  I’ll try to get a better photo.  The Pantheon is my favorite Roman site (went to a Catholic mass there once, really awe inspiring in that ancient building).

    • That should read “given the demographics of the region, democratic reform is necessary.”

    • Elliiot, you’re simply lying

      Here’s the proof:

      More in the summer, I just peeked in to see the reaction to the good news from Spain.
      —Scott Erb, Mar 14 2004, 7:57 pm, “Spanish Elections

      Your reaction was disgusting.

    • Well, if I can ignore your lies for a moment in order to get to your purely conceptual errors, then perhaps there will be some profit in your latest return after announcing your departure.

      The will of the people? You think that this was a triumph of the will, Scott? You old German boy, you.

      There are 80 million people in Egypt. We saw a few hundred thousand of them clamoring for the dumping of Mubarek.

      The military, which most probably wanted to be rid of their 82 year old front man anyway, and permitted the demonstrations to continue in any case, obliged the mob and dumped Mubarek.

      Now, if there are elections in September, and they are open and free, then the democratic outcome will be a vigorous leap toward an Islamist government, at the very least a government very sensitive to Sharia proponents. Them is the facts.

      Everyone hopes for a better outcome than that, but your ridiculous fantasies about a “youth movement” are just that, ridiculous fantasies. Youth are plastic and easily manipulated with cliches and mimetic contagions. I imagine that there are even some students in your classes who take you seriously, that is how gullible youth is.

    • Yeah, no, Erp.  My comment stands.  You look like you’ve just been goosed by one of the other boys in the chorus.  And really enjoyed it.  “Such a randy rascal”.

  • Oh, Elliot, a history lesson for you.  For a long time, Islamic rationalism was the guiding philosophy of the Muslim world.  Philosophers like Avicenna and Averroes used Aristotle to argue that the Koran is a human construction, to be interpreted to fit the times, with humans using logic and reason to understand its meaning.
    These are the philosophers that Aquinas read, and through them did Aristotle get brought into the Christian world.  Aristotle was not part of the “West” before Aquinas, they followed the Augstinian neo-Platonist philosophy.  Aristotle made its way to the Christian West via the Islamic world.
    Alas, Aquinas won and changed the West, but due to the crusades and Asian attacks the Ottomans established an empire in the Islamic world, displaced the rationalists and installed a fundamentalist theology that would support their rule.  Islam before then was far more advanced scientifically and philosophically than the Europeans.  It was also far more tolerant.  Islam gave the West a gift by bringing in Aristotle and rationalism, thereby allowing Aquinas to start the process of modernization.  Now we can give the gift back, and help support Islam reclaiming that rationalist heritage.

    • “Now we can give the gift back, and help support Islam reclaiming that rationalist heritage.”

      Very amusing. I can just picture the gratitude with which all those muslims will accept religious instruction from the Christian crusaders. It has worked so well in the past. 

    • The Romans spread civilization for centuries, throughout the Mediterranean region and beyond.  Of course, they also engaged in wars of conquest, ubiquitous slavery, gruesome public cruelties, etc..  Much of the technology of the day was either developed before they came along and conquered an area, or was a practical answer to how to conquer and rule people with an iron fist.  And, they stood on the shoulders of the Greeks who had preceded them.  Then Constantine adopted Christianity and thus Christians inherited the gifts of a civilized conqueror.
      Muslim fanatics, likewise, conquered lands from Spain to Persia.  At first, their goal was not to convert the civilized people, but to rule them and plunder their agricultural and other resources.  As with the Romans, much of the technologies which are attributed to the Golden Age of Islam were taken from the conquered and spread around the caliphate, or was a practical result of solving the problem of conquering and ruling.
      Just as the Christian bible’s stories offered nothing particularly new to the advancement of civilization, the Koran’s poetry and admonishments to keep a whip handy for one’s wife was nothing new nor particularly positive.  Granted, Muslim writings do include more political than the Judeo-Christian holy books, but there was nothing innovative or insightful.  And yet, Christians and Muslims would try to take credit, in the name of their religion, for the accomplishments of the conquered or for people whose contributions were secular and who just so happened to be born into a culture where apostasy was simply not tolerated.
      Yes, there were pockets of civilization in the Muslim world while Europe was mired in the Dark Ages.  Yes, there was varying amounts of tolerance for the Jews, Christians, and others living among them.  Of course, things were peaceful for the dhimmitude when they paid their taxes to their Muslim overlords.
      Again, I’m quite aware of all of the nuances involved here.  But, again, this is 2011.  You can’t pretend that the passing of information centuries ago, among the intelligentsia who just so happened to be ruled by a given brand of conqueror evens out the score when we look at the wretched treatment of women and the widespread acceptance of common savageries carried out under Sharia law (or with a wink an a nod from the more “moderate” countries).

      Now we can give the gift back, and help support Islam reclaiming that rationalist heritage.

      Which they took from the Byzantine Empire when they conquered it.  The problem is, you can’t force people to drink at the well of intellectual curiosity if they’re not intellectually curious.  Greg Swann wrote an interesting piece some time before the invasion of Iraq, in which he correctly identifies the problem of trying to deal rationally with people who reject rationality as a matter of course.  Of course, his grand dreams about the use of US military force to produce results not just in Iraq, but in Iran and Saudi Arabia as well, were naive as hell, but that’s a whole other story right there.

    • On the other hand, now that I have had some time to reflect on the idea, I think you may be on to something. Perhaps we could send missionaries to enlighten the heathen extremists, and I can think of noone better suited to helping Islam reclaim its rationalist heritage than you. Time being of the essence, I suggest you prepare to leave immediately. Remember, the fate of civilization as we know it is in your capable hands. Do keep us posted. 

    • Islam has sat side-by-side with the West for the past 500 years, with all the opportunity to absorb its rationalist influences, and the most active movement within Islam today is the one to rid it of Western influences.

      They’ll keep the cell phones, though, along with the genital mutilation of women, thank you.

      But yes, let’s give a hearty applause to Averroes for spreading translations of Greek philosophy back to Europe after the breakup of Hellenic (Graeco-Roman) civilization.

      Now that we’re done with that part of your “inclusive” lesson plan, should everyone prepare for your lecture on how wonderful CAIR is and how Sharia is just another culture that we have to “include” in America like any other “other” cultural artifact, you know, like we did with tacos from Mexico?

  • Hmmm…the Collectivist rag Newsweek isn’t NEARLY as impressed with Obama as our own Little Lame Prince…

    Tragically, no one knows where Barack Obama’s map of the Middle East is. At best, it is in the heartland states of America, where the fate of his presidency will be decided next year, just as Jimmy Carter’s was back in 1980.
    At worst, he has no map at all.

    Hell, I vote for both mapless and clueless.

  • This is priceless…

    “We’re heading to Italy again this May: 44 students, four faculty.  I’ll try to get a better photo.  The Pantheon is my favorite Roman site…”

    Scott, any trip with you at the helm, even a journey to the center of the earth itself, will acquire the essential character of an outing to Chuck E. Cheese. But, switching franchises, you yourself are six fries short of a Happy Meal.

    • “Scott, any trip with you at the helm”
      The words “Golgafrincham Ark Ship B” instantly sprang to mind.

  • Growing protests in Yemen and Iran…I guess the Iranians don’t buy Ahmadinejad’s claim that Egypt is a spreading of the Iranian revolution.  What?  Secular Sunnis aren’t embracing Shi’ite radicalism?  Will the revolution spread?  Exciting times!  Men and women risking their lives and the possibility of violence and torture to try to gain liberty.  The US should make it clear we’re on their side (but not by bombing them!)

    • The people who risked their lives in Iraq in the face of your predatory friends the car bombers know what you are, Scott.

    • Boy, THAT would be out of character for the feckless man/child!!!  Taking a position and sticking to it?!?!?

    • Erb: What’s wrong with US bombs if one really cares about overthrowing a despot? Again and again, Iraqis — the people being bombed — were polled that the war was worth it to get rid of Hussein. He was really that bad and Iraqis were dying in large numbers under his rule anyway.

      And if you really care about democracy, US bombs and a US military can make a huge difference — Germany, Japan and now Iraq. But you don’t seem to care about democracy except on the left’s terms.

      Of course, I’ve countered your relentless spitting at the US and Iraq over this and it never makes any difference. But I don’t see that you have any defense.

    • So, you’re buying the free elections in 2 months story eh?
      I have title to this bridge in New York, I was wondering if maybe you’d be interested?
      Iran, I would love to think the Persians have their own ideas about Islam that don’t fit in with the fundamentalist view.  If that is the case I cheer them on.  SOMEPLACE might have an enlightenment to push Islam into the 21st century, I’d be more than willing to put the Embassy debacle in the past if Iran were prepared to be that place.   I would DEARLY love to think Iran would truly embrace some REAL democratic form of government.   Don’t hold your breath, it’s a theocracy with a pseudo-democratic facade, the theocrats are fully prepared to dispatch lots of apostates to Allah for judgment should that become necessary.  In fact, I’m confident they will dispatch as many as it takes, and more, to maintain their control.  After all, Allah is truly on their side in this.
      I wonder, will you be cheering too if Amman goes wild, or Bahrain falls?

  • Just heard the expected report that the Muslim Brotherhood has announced that it will form a political party in Egypt as soon as the anticipated constitutional reforms allow it.

    The basic program of the Brotherhood is to make Egypt an Islamic state under Sharia.

  • For my European friend, Egypt is a shrug. “The army controlled Egypt while Mubarak was president; the army controls Egypt now that Mubarak is not president.”