Free Markets, Free People


Islam, the Middle East and ruthlessness

Reading through Martin Walker’s Feb. 28th piece for UPI about the unrest in the Middle East and N. Africa, I found this interesting:

That heady early talk of an Arab spring and a democratic flowering across the Arab world now seems distinctly premature. It is going to be much more difficult, and much more complicated, as the Europeans found when they started turning back thousands of Tunisians looking for jobs and opportunities in Europe rather than staying home to enjoy the new freedoms.

Beyond the unpleasant endgame of the Gadhafi regime, there are three predictable crises yet to come in North Africa. The first will be the question of food shortages and subsidies in Egypt, where the price of bread has been kept artificially low for decades at a cost of more than $3 billion a year. (The Mubarak government spent more on its various subsidies than it did on health and education.)

Egypt’s new government faces a tough dilemma. It cannot afford the subsidies but nor can it afford the popular outrage among the poor if it tried to end them.

The second crisis will come when business returns to normal and 30 percent of Egyptians and Tunisians in their 20s remain unemployed and a new class of graduates emerges to join them. They will demand government jobs. The government will try to comply but the government has no money. Money will be borrowed and printed. Inflation will result.

The third crisis will be more a problem of U.S. domestic politics but it will have grave implications for Egypt. It concerns Israel. The new Egyptian government, whatever its politics, will find it difficult to be quite as accommodating to Israel as Mubarak used to be. In particular, it will find it politically very unpopular to maintain the siege of Gaza.

His point, of course, is while there are many other problems attendant to any forced overthrow of a government, there are some others that will likely manifest themselves that will put even more stress and pressure on compromise governments (by the way, whatever happened to ElBaradei in Egypt?).

In fact, the new Prime Minister of Tunisia’s latest government just stepped down over dissatisfaction that change wasn’t coming fast enough.  So as hard as putting some form of government together that can quickly take the reins and effect the changes that the protesters have said they want, there are other externalities, beside a lack of history or tradition with a free form of government, that may sabotage their efforts.

As most pundits are now saying – after the initial orgy of opinions claiming this was nothing short of the flowering of democracy in some very arid land – we’re “early” into all of this. That’s called “walking it back”.   Now that the heady days of nonsensical optimism have passed, more sober analysis is becoming prevalent.  And, as one might expect, many are looking back into history to find a clue to what may happen in these countries.

Lo and behold, some are finding some fairly disturbing examples and principles that seem they may apply themselves to these particular situations.  For instance, as David Warren reminds us, the “most ruthless usually triumph”.   And our history is rife with examples.

A couple of points from Warren’s piece.  First ruthless doesn’t just apply to those who rise in opposition to the current government.  A recent example:

It does not follow, from the fact everyone is hooting, that Moammar Gadhafi will fall. He might, tomorrow, for all I know, or all anyone knows who is not clairvoyant. But as I recall, Saddam Hussein did not fall after the Gulf War of 1991. And the comparison is instructive. Every part of Iraq not directly attached to him through extended family and tribal networks (so tightly that they would share his fate) rose against him. And the world, beginning with the United States, was then as now urging his opponents on.

Saddam endured plenty of defections. Eventually, even "no fly zones" were established, to stop him from using airplanes and helicopters against the general population. But by the time these could be declared, and enforced, he had broken the back of the insurrection, and needed ground force only.

Saddam’s consistent policy was to be more ruthless than any potential rival. He slaughtered people by the tens of thousands to retain power, on that occasion alone. And that was not the only occasion on which his power was challenged. The casualties in the Iran-Iraq war, that continued eight years from September 1980, may never be adequately counted. Mixed in with them were huge numbers from his own side that Saddam massacred "pour encourager les autres." Millions of Iraqis found themselves being minced between two satanic giants: the other, of course, being Ayatollah Khomeini.

Gadhafi is also ruthless.

Loony as a cartoon character, but certainly ruthless.  That sort of ruthlessness obviously has a value to the person or organization that uses it – it provides a means to keep or take power.

Ruthlessness can come in many guises, but it essentially means letting nothing stand in the way of attaining an ultimate goal.  Whether it is in politics, sports or revolution, the most ruthless in the pursuit of their goal usually triumphs.  And that’s regardless of whether or not you agree with their methods. 

So Libya has descended into unspeakable violence.  But I’d guess few would believe anyone more ruthless than Gadhafi (and his family) exits there – but there may very well be.

Which takes us to part II of this.  Why do some nations who go through the throes of this sort of revolutionary change find it within themselves to create a more free and democratic society while others fall into even more and greater tyranny than before?  Warren’s theory:

We should grasp, for instance, that the American Revolution was almost unique in history, for ending so well. We should also grasp why. It was, from beginning to end, under the leadership of highly civilized men, governed by a conception of liberty that was restrained and mature. George Washington commanded, in his monarchical person, the moral authority to stop the cycle of reprisals by which revolutions descend into "eating their own." Nelson Mandela achieved something similar in South Africa.

Alternatively, a whole society -I am thinking here of the nations of Central Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall -may be so exhausted by revolutionary squalor that they long for return to "normal" life and have constitutional orders in their own, historically recent past, available as models. But even they needed Walesas and Havels.

Where such men exist, they are visible at any distance, from the start. Nowhere in the Arab world -and particularly not in Egypt, its centre of gravity -can such leaders be detected; only ridiculous pretenders. Nor do the conditions exist for wise statesmen to emerge. Nor have any of the Arab states a stable constitutional order to look back upon. Tyranny begets tyranny.

Certainly there are many shades and flavors of tyranny, and a nation may even lessen the hold its tyranny without actually ending it.  But as Warren observes, there are no real leaders emerging (at least not yet) that one could label, at least in the way Westerners would, that could be considered “highly civilized men” imbued with a sense of liberty that is “restrained and mature”. 

Instead, given the area, the culture, the history, we see this as what will likely emerge:

As we should surely have observed by now, whether or not the Islamists command Arab "hearts and minds," they are not only the best organized force, but the most ruthless. They are also in possession of the simplest, most plausible, most easily communicated "vision."

Islam, in whatever form, shape or flavor is the common thread of these revolutions.   As I’ve mentioned before, what is considered a “moderate” in most of these countries would be viewed, were he a Christian, as a fundamentalist in most other places. The inclusion of Islam into the everyday lives of the people is as natural as breathing.  They take for granted it will be an essential part of any government they form.

There are no Walesas and Havels in those countries.  There are Imams and Ayatollahs who fill that function.  And, as Warren points out, the vision they present is indeed the “simplest, most plausible, most easily communicated vision” of all of them, to include secular representative democracy. 

They also fulfill the other two historical requirements to take power  – they’re the best organized and, as we’ve seen in many other places, the most ruthless.

~McQ

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50 Responses to Islam, the Middle East and ruthlessness

  • But, but…Facebook, an’ Twitter, an’ stuff…!!!!
    It’s the freakin’ 21st Century…human nature has changed…!!!!
    Meanwhile, reports out of Germany are that two American airmen were killed by a youth shouting “God is great!”.  The motive for his crime remains a mystery…

    • >sarc<
      He’ll turn out to be a fundamentalist Christian from Kosovo protesting the DADT decision – you just KNOW.  It’s also likely he had no access to Facebook, Twitter or an IPad and was living in some Christian Fundamentalist version of the previous century.  You know how these Christians are, running around, killing people crusading, blowing themselves up in pizza parlors and buses in violation of the Biblical proscriptions against murder and suicide.
      >sarcoff<
      I gather from the reports the bus driver was also offensive in his eyes, and at least one other passenger.

  • Clinton said al Qaeda’s affiliates are now the greatest threat to the United States, and fighting them is the Obama administration’s “highest priority.”
    “We are literally working as hard as we can every single day, because there’s no doubt that al-Qaeda and its affiliates continue to plot against us, plot against our European allies, plot against many other countries,” she said.

    Well, all I can say is I hope this “focus” is a lot more successful than their “jobs” thingy…  GAWD!

  • Que the polisci dialectic tape and standby to roll………… in 5 …… 4 ……. 3 ………

    • I’m afraid we can all play that threadbare tape in our bad dreams by now.  I don’t look for him for a while.  He may be doing the arduous “work” of a half-pay prof at Moose U, getting out mid-terms and such.

    • Nah, he won’t touch this one, because there’s no possible defense.  Like the Lara Logan assault, he’ll ignore it.
      Even his limited tactical sense tells him to avoid things like this.

      I mean, after all he can’t very well tie American slavery and American female voting rights into an excuse for this guy shooting American Airmen in Germany.

  • Green lighting groups like the Muslim Brotherhood is one thing.  Whatever.

    But whatever possessed this amateur that made him think is was so smart to green light these groups in all these countries simultaneously during his international apology tour?  Idiot.

  • And for further signs of encouragement (FAIL) – here’s a use for hi-tech in the low-tech world.

    If this doesn’t scare the crap out of you, it ought to.

  • We should grasp, for instance, that the American Revolution was almost unique in history, for ending so well. We should also grasp why. It was, from beginning to end, under the leadership of highly civilized men, governed by a conception of liberty that was restrained and mature.

    Hogwash.
    I would remind this author that these “highly civilized men” were also slave owners.  And that their concept of liberty that was “restrained and mature” was hardly mature.
    The American revolution, as unique as it is, is not as perfect as the author implies.  In fact, it took another two centuries to get it to our current state that is hardly perfect.

    These arguments are annoying.
    Yeah, Egyptians, you just don’t get it.  Talk to me in 230 years.  Until then – you guys suck at this.

    Cheers.

    • Well, you have reverted to FULL-BORE bore.
      A fraction of the men behind the Revolution held slaves.  Which was, at the time, a totally NORMATIVE thing to do.  You don’t get to condemn them from 230 years away, putz.
      I did not see the word or implication “perfect”.  The Revolution was “almost unique” in its civility.
      Suck that, sucker.


      • Well, you have reverted to FULL-BORE bore.

        Well, I’m so glad you decided to comment, anyway.

        A fraction of the men behind the Revolution held slaves.  Which was, at the time, a totally NORMATIVE thing to do.

        Well then, since it was the norm, then that makes it okay in your book.  Obviously, since it was the norm to segregate back in the fifties and prior to, you would find it acceptable.  Good to know.  Rags here would forgive Robert Byrd.  You know, because he was “in the norm.”

        You don’t get to condemn them from 230 years away, putz.

        Oh, but I do.  Just like I would condemn others from 23 years away.  Just like you would condemn FDR from 70 years away.

        I did not see the word or implication “perfect”.

        Then you should read for comprehension.  The idea is clear that since we had “civilized men” in a time and place, that our revolution succeeded against all odds.  A “perfect storm” if you will.

        The Revolution was “almost unique” in its civility.

        Explain.  How was it “almost unique” in its civility?  Other revolutions weren’t civil?  What is a revolution if not a civil one?  I’m intrigued.

        Cheers.
         

        • Pass on butting heads with a drunken Irish idiot who is just posting to pick faite.
          I’m better than you, Poque.  Not the other way ’round.
          Blue cheer up you ass.

    • The author is not implying that the American revoltuion ended with a perfect society, the ending he is referring to is how the resulting government was formed. As opposed to have different factions literally fighting it out until one ended up taking power by force (and needing force to maintain their group’s supremecy), the leaders of the different states and factions within them agreed to abide by the Articles drafted during the reolution.

      • And I did not suggest that the author implied that the American Revolution ended in a perfect society.  Did I?
        My implication is that even after these “highly civilized men” started a revolution over two centuries ago, their conception of liberty was hardly mature back then, considering that we have hardly reached such a goal over two centuries later.

        I never mentioned “society” or “democracy.”  And it should be clear that I never implied it.
        The intention is to weaken the author’s argument that a successful revolution need to have “highly civilized men” for whom their idea of liberty is “mature”, when these men the author speaks of were slave owners and should have no credence of possessing an idea of a “mature” liberty.

         

        • “The American revolution, as unique as it is, is not as perfect as the author implies.  In fact, it took another two centuries to get it to our current state that is hardly perfect.”

          So you are implying the current state of what, if not our society or our democracy?

          Either way, the author makes it perfectly clear he is referring to the lack of bloodshed in the endgame, and he clearly shows examples where revolutions ended differently when people who were less mature vied for control

          • How many loyalists were killed and how many forced to flee their homes and property during the Revolution? It was not bloodless.

          • Both the American Revolutin and the Civil War are remarkable events. One striking aspect is the relative lack of attrocities, and the quick manner we got over those events.

            This may seem odd, specially if you hear Southern complaints about Sherman, etc., however compared to events elsewhere the behaviour was very good.

            Consider that when Santa Ana suspended the 1824 Mexican constitution and declared himself dictator, a small fight occured in several states and people died in the hundreds. Then Santa Ana gave his troops several days of open rape and pillage in the defeated states, and several thousand died in the resulting attrocities. 

            We, on the other hand, have behaved with remarkable maturity and civility. Most modern historians now consider that there were few rapes or attrocities against people by Sherman’s troops or other union forces. Men like Jefferson Davis and Robert E Lee were treated with respect in the aftermath of the war. If you want a good feel for the worst behaviour of the Civil War, watch “Ride with the Devil”, which does a good job of capturing the thinking and behaviour of the period. 

            Bottom line is that we have a good history of behaviour with respect to these sort of events. Not perfect behaviour, to be sure, but better than anyone else.

            The other point is the level of stand up violence we engage in the actual war.  We fight particularly hard in the actual war, then quickly revert to peace in the aftermath. Like a switch turing on and off . . . a step function.

        • Pogue!
          ESAD.
          Thank you.

        • “My implication is that even after these “highly civilized men” started a revolution over two centuries ago, their conception of liberty was hardly mature back then, considering that we have hardly reached such a goal over two centuries later.”

          But for their time period were they advanced? I’d say yes.
          Islamic fundamentalists who wish to create a theocracy in 2010?

        • The intention is to weaken the author’s argument that a successful revolution need to have “highly civilized men” for whom their idea of liberty is “mature”, when these men the author speaks of were slave owners and should have no credence of possessing an idea of a “mature” liberty.

          The results of the American Revolution speak for themselves. These results are much different than the results of the French Revolution, the several Mexican revolutions, the many other latin American revolutions (“plowing the sea”), the Russian Revolution, the Iranian Revolution, etc.
          Slavery in America at the time of the Founding Fathers was an established insitution. The American Revolution was really a rebellion, not a true revolution, and carried no mandate for social change. While there was some talk of freeing the slaves at the time, the reality is that it was a difficult taks that eventually resulted in the Civil War.
          Slavery does not show immaturity on the part of the founding generation. It was an inherited problem they struggled with, and which remained a core American problem that peaked in the Civil War but remains in some ways with us today.

          The issue of slavery appears in our Constitution. The counting of slaves is one example. Another is the fact that the federal government was prevented from halting the import of slaves until the early 1800s. Early America had no choice but to compromise between the slave owners in the South and Northern antislavery views. The issue provided no easy solution, and is much like our current entitlement mess.

          The problem was not due to immaturity. The problem was due to the practical nature of the problem.

          But at heart, Pouge is raising a strawman. The Founding Fathers were not perfect, but they were wise and mature. There is no reason to think wise and mature applies to Egypt or the other uprisings in the middle east.

          • Also I’ll add that I can clearly blame FDR and LBJ for the bulk of our current entitlement mess. But no one in 1860 could blame Washington or Jefferson or any other FF for the slavery mess.

            Slavery was a problem that had a long build up over time. It began in the English colonies shortly after Jamestown was established in 1607, when English pirates siezed slaves from the Spaniards. It continued as slaves were imported over time to the colonies. By the time of American independence, it was a huge problem with no easy solution.

            It is reasonable to blame FDR and LBJ for the mess they created, but slavery was a mess created long before the founding generation.

    • There was a point, other than to piss in the pool, yes?

    • Hogwash.
      I would remind this author that these “highly civilized men” were also slave owners.  And that their concept of liberty that was “restrained and mature” was hardly mature.
      The American revolution, as unique as it is, is not as perfect as the author implies.  In fact, it took another two centuries to get it to our current state that is hardly perfect.

      >>>  I see nothing in the para that you quote that implies the revolution was “perfect”.  Slavery was our original sin as a country, and the repercussions are felt to this day.

      And yet, with that said…..as a matter of fact, yes, the American revolution was in fact a near miracle. A consensual society, one NOT ruled by a hereditary bloodline, peaceful transfers of power, individual freedoms and governmental power limitations codified into law?  Good lord, even with the (unfortunate but probably necessary) compromise to allow slavery, it really is hard to dump on what was accomplished.  And yet you do.  Congrats!  You just regurgitated the generic “dead white European” bashing talking points.  Good on ya mate.

      These arguments are annoying.
      Yeah, Egyptians, you just don’t get it.  Talk to me in 230 years.  Until then – you guys suck at this.

      >>>>  When they decide to talk up any of the above points in their “revolution” gimme a call. 

    • Hogwash.
      I would remind this author that these “highly civilized men” were also slave owners.  And that their concept of liberty that was “restrained and mature” was hardly mature.

      Actually their concept of liberty was restrained and mature. The outcomes of the American Revolution and the Civil War make that clear. The creation of the Constitution and Bill of Rights makers that clear.

      Events like the American Revolution and Civil War usually end in massive horror. In fact, both of these events ended with amazing restraint. South America can hardly hold an election without the former president fleeing with a bag of cash, but Jefferson Davis was able to survive the Civil War with his estate intact (minus slaves).

      Yes, I understand that you don’t like the fact that the Founding Fathers owned slaves. But you are the one who is immature. Slavery was an established institution in America long before 1776, and ending it was not an easy proposition.

      The Founding Fathers were no more responsible for the institution of slavery than my generation is responsible for New Deal and Great Society entitlement programs. You are a fool for not grasping that.

      The American revolution, as unique as it is, is not as perfect as the author implies.  In fact, it took another two centuries to get it to our current state that is hardly perfect.

      In many respects, we have been going down hill. We have had runaway unconstitutional government for the last 70s years, driving us towards an economic cliff as well as a significant loss of freedom.

      • Not that it’s right because of it’s endurance, but slavery has existed since before the beginning of recorded history.

        Let’s all play the “Only America ever had slavery game”.  Good lord, it’s entirely possible that every single person who posts here in the past, the present, and the future, is descended from people who were at one time considered to be someone else’s slaves, not figuratively, but literally.  Taking captives in battle or conquest and putting them to work for you was absolutely standard.  Hell, the very word SLAVE is derived from the word SLAV, as in Slavic, as in Eastern Europe and the rolling steppe.

        Again, I’m not trying to make it sound right, it sounds abhorrent to me on any number of levels, but to pretend that it was not part of the universal human condition through out history is ludicrous.   I’m disappointed that they HAD slaves, that the trafficked in slaves and that they couldn’t recognize other races as equals from the git-go, but I’m not going to get all high and mighty on them and denigrate a historically remarkable accomplishment.

        If we want to do that, than there’s not a single culture worth spit to enter the world since the dawn of time.
         

        • My understanding is that racism grew with slavery. The slave trade in African slaves started as an African tradition. I don’t think the English in 1607 considered someone inferior due to skin pigment.

          It is often claimed that English didn’t intermarry with American Indians because they were racist. This is false, it was due to religion. English Prodestants didn’t engage in forced conversions, so any heathen woman they married would have to be convinced to convert, and there was a risk she would remain a pagan. Spanish Catholics didn’t have this problem.

          • Not sure about the racism thing.  It’s hard to be “racist” when the only people you experience are people who look like you, so I can see the grounds for the theory.  Suddenly you have a plethora of people who aren’t the same color as you pulled out of their villages and sold as slaves (making them implicitly inferior).  Certainly the interchange of slaves in the Mediterranean from the time before the Romans through the defeat of the Turkish fleet at Lepanto I don’t recall reading allusions to someone being necessarily inferior because of skin color, though I submit that commonplace occurrences are seldom recorded by journalists because they are…commonplace.  Why make a note that you think people of darker or lighter skin than you are different (they don’t bathe, they eat odd food, etc).  I can think of no anecdotal evidence off hand that indicates racism, but I wasn’t specifically looking for it.  Still I can’t believe it didn’t exist just as much as now prior to the Dutch/English/Spanish participating in the African slave trade.  It is a regrettably natural reaction humans have to other people who clearly don’t ‘look like me’.

            For slaves, all we need is our superiority, you don’t need to be a different color than me to be inferior, you just have to come from that tribe down stream from mine who bathes and draws water from the river we piss in, or from some of those tribes that roam the forests on the eastern bank of the Rhine like a bunch of animals, or those wacky Macedonians with their crazy long spears and barbarian ways, or….etc

          • Looker,

            With respect to racism, what I’m mostly saying is that I see no indication the English were more racist than the Spanish. In various modern interpretaions, it was English racism that prevented interbreeding with native populations. This is in fact false.

            The other point is that explicit racism appears to peak in colonial America due to slavery. This doesn’t mean early English were not racist, I have no idea, but race inherently plays a part in American slavery: if nothing else, skin color could be associated with freemen or slaves. I’ve heard of instances where free blacks were siezed and enslaved on the asumption they must be escaped slaves. I grant that different skin color is not a requirement for slavery, but it certainly aids it and has the potential to justify it.

          • Well, it certainly makes it easier to find them in the general population without resorting to the less obvious method of branding.

            And it was justified because the theory had it that Africans were descendants of Ham, rather than descendants of Shem (two of Noah’s sons) and were subject to the “Curse of Ham”, all based simply on skin color.  Wonderful eh?

            Your point does make me wonder about racism in pre-columbian Europe though, more reading headed my way I suppose.  The Spanish, by virtue of their location, and the Moorish conquests were more familiar with a wide variety of skin hues nationally, and I suspect that also plays a part in their willingness to consider intermarriage in the first place.
            Cheers
             

          • John Rolfe wrote an open letter explaining his marriage to Pocahontas. His argument was about religion, and marrying a pagan. His audiance was fellow Englishmen of the early 1600s, so it would seem that race was not the issue; marrying pagans was.

            As far as the Spanish having more experience with various skin tones, I’ll not that often those with little interactions with other races are less inclinded to racism. This is some what the same argument I was making (in reverse) when arguing that black slavery increased American racism. I’ll note that Latin America is very aware of skin tone, and I’ll further note recent studies that show mixed ethnic communities are less trusting than more homogeneous communities.

          • I’ll note not I’ll not.

  • I have just enough time to come here and have some fun irritating you dense righties today. LOL. Which is not either an indication of a psychological sickness. It’s just that I get such a thrill from watching you all dance to my tune and keep on responding, while I laugh and handwave away everything you bring to bear against me. I just can’t resist taking hours on top of my sixty hour workweek to come here and laugh and laugh.

    Because none of you understand what I’m really like. {eyes rolling} {chuckle} You say that I talk about how I’m wonderful and better than you guys, but you can’t support that. Nope, the fact that I keep touting my phd and all the research I do on these issues and all the times I have basically told you guys that you don’t know what you’re talking about don’t count. I decree it.

    In fact, none of you have ever supported anything you’ve said. Oh, sure you think you have. But because you lack godlike powers of post-modern political science, it doesn’t mean anything. I can just handwave it all away.

    So let me set forth the rules and principles for engagement with me again, since you thick righties just don’t seem to get the point.

    1 – I want nothing more than for you to engage me as an equal.

    2 – Except that only I get to decide what counts as points in an argument, because of my phd and all. Yes, we’re all equal, but I’m more equal than you. Simple, really.

    3 – You must treat any assertion I make as fact. Hey, it’s the intuition of a trained political scientist we’re talking about here. That means, for example, that I can say that Saddam would have been overthrown by now if we had not invaded Iraq, and you must assume that I’m right. So don’t blather about how such a thing could never be proven. I feeeeel that I’m right, and that’s enough to give my assertion complete confidence.

    4 – Any assertion you make must be backed up with a link. After I handwave it aside or ignore it, you must provide another link. And another. I don’t actually read them, of course. I don’t need to. With all my research, such as the articles I read in Newsweek, I’m fully informed on all these things. Besides, you guys have a bad habit of sending me to articles with lots of numbers and charts and graphs and other grunt engineer type stuff.

    5 – I never have to respond with links to back up anything I say. I just decree things, that’s what I do. Well, that and write too many run-on sentences and long rambling posts with no paragraph breaks. But, because you guys do drone on about this so much, I do sometimes stick in links that are irrelevant to what I say they support. Just to test you. LOL.

    6 – If you insult me, I’ve won the argument.

    7 – If you go back and forward a thousand times, with you providing long-winded argument based on your so-called “evidence” and with me handwaving it all away, eventually you’ll give up in frustration at my wisdom and genius and give me the last word. That means I’ve won the argument.

    8 – If you say you don’t have the time to argue with me, that means you are afraid to argue the issue, and that means I’ve won the argument.

    9 – Nothing I say is a lie or a contradiction. The holy writ of postmodernism guarantees it.

    10 – If you don’t understand and agree with all these principles, you are an ideologue. You are arguing your position from faith. {eyes rolling}

    11 – Even though you’re all ideologues who are wrong about everything and arguing from faith, I come here because it’s an interesting blog. And certainly not because it’s one of the very few right-leaning blogs that won’t ban me for obvious troll-bait posts and using logic that does’t pass the laugh test. Well, that’s what they’ve told me anyway, though none of it is true. Anyway, I love coming here, and it is not either to feed my narcissism by getting you supposed rationalists to dance like organ-grinder monkeys and get all lathered up. Nope. It’s research.

    I hope this has cleared some things up, since some of you were clearly misinformed in that long discussion earlier in the week. It was just a snow day and I had lots of time, and so I couldn’t think of anything better to do that come here and irritate the living h^ll engage you in long, fruitless discussion.

    To summarize, the middle east is starting a grand journey towards wise leftist open societies because they are stagnant and their young people have Twitter, and Islam isn’t really a threat no matter how many buildings they knock down, and it’s OK for Muslim women to be treated like cattle and have their genitals mutilated because we had slaves a hundred and fifty years ago, and those revolutions in the middle east are guaranteed to succeed because the US military isn’t involved, but Iraq is probably going to fail because the US military is involved, and besides it’s all going to be a hard road with many difficult steps so for goodness sake don’t claim that I made more wrong predictions if things go sour in Egypt for a decade or two.

    That last point is particularly important. Why, that prediction on the election was such a howler that I had to lie about it adjust my memory so that I didn’t have to face the remote possibility that you guys might have been a teeny bit more right about it than I was. LOL. {eyes rolling} {giggle}

    • Ott, you da main…!

    • Good one, Ott. Just got around to reading it.

      And that thumbnail photo. That’s better than the Bozo on the bus version.

    • Hey a$$wipe…
      “So let me set forth the rules and principles for engagement with me again,”
      Only me again sets the rules of engagement for me again.
      Just sayin’ ;-)

      • {sigh} {eyes rolling} {giggle} There you go, starting right up with insults, instead of engaging me as an equal in rational, give-and-take, mature argument founded in the glorious principles of post-modern leftist social science.

        Just like all you other inbred, Nazi-like thugs around here, though of course I come here because you are interesting, not because of the Nazi stuff. So definitely don’t start up the all that about how I come here to feed my narcissism. Just give that a rest, OK? {eyes rolling}

        Besides, what you don’t seem to comprehend (as I told Elliot a few days ago) is that my phd gives me to godlike ability to set the rules for everyone. I’m truly sorry that your simplisitic belief that you can set the rules for yourself is wrong. But as I proved definitively, man is a social animal, and you rank individualists don’t have the right to do most of the things you believe you have the right to do. No, society makes those decisions.

        And since it’s impractical to vote on every little thing, society delegates that kind of work to trained professionals like me. See, it’s simple and logical, and don’t start up with any supposed refutation using the word “collective” because I’ll just have to handwave that aside. So don’t waste your time.

  • That heady early talk of an Arab spring and a democratic flowering across the Arab world now seems distinctly premature.

    For people who didn’t have their heads up their a**es, it seemed “premature” (read: bloody stupid) from the start.  O’ course, to voice skepticism about the prospects of Arab countries developing an Enlightenment-style democracy was to be branded as some sort of a bigot.

    We should grasp, for instance, that the American Revolution was almost unique in history, for ending so well. We should also grasp why.

    Oh, I DO grasp why.  So did the greatest of our Founding Fathers:

    No Man has a more perfect reliance on the all-wise and powerful dispensations of the Supreme Being than I have, nor thinks his aid more necessary…The man must be bad indeed who can look upon the events of the American Revolution without feeling the warmest gratitude towards the great Author of the Universe whose divine interposition was so frequently manifested in our behalf….In war He directed the sword, and in peace, He has ruled in our councils.

    — George Washington

    No people can be bound to acknowledge the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the united States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.

    — George Washington

    In short, I believe that God can be seen as the author of our national successes in every trial from the War for Independence to to drafting and ratification of the Constitution (the greatest governing document in the history of the world) to the Civil War to the Second World War to the Cold War to present.

    Where such men [as the American Founding Fathers] exist, they are visible at any distance, from the start.

    Not necessarily.  Even Washington was criticized at various points during the War for Independence (there was even talk of replacing him with Horatio Gates, who had his a** handed to him at Camden); the other Founding Fathers had their own slings and arrows of criticism to deal with (often hurled by each other).

    McQThe inclusion of Islam into the everyday lives of the people is as natural as breathing.  They take for granted it will be an essential part of any government they form.

    And the corollary is that Islam as practiced by many in the region, is antiethical to democracy.  It is certainly antiethical to the concept of minority rights; non-Muslims are clearly to be treated as second-class citizens or worse, and Muslims who profess a different creed (for example, Shiia living in a predominately Sunni nation) are clearly to be treated as apostates to be driven out… or worse.  Muslims who have left the faith are apostates to be killed.

    It’s ridiculous to me that lefties, who can cite chapter and verse about every outrage and crime committed by Christians over the centuries as clear evidence of the “intolerance” of Christianity refuse to see that Islam has the same intrinsic failings.  Worse, perhaps: I am not aware of a Muslim counterpart to Jesus Christ preaching “love thy neighbor”.

  • It’s not just that there are no Walesas and Havels in those countries, it’s that if leaders of that kind stand up, they’re assassinated.

    There was another assassination today of a leader in Pakistan (obviously not part of the Arab core of Islam, but besieged by Islamic radicals nonetheless) who had opposed the blasphemy law.

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