Wednesday, April 14, 2004


Theodore Dalrymple thinks backwardness and aggression is built into Islam: "the problem begins with Islam's failure to make a distinction between church and state. Unlike Christianity.. Islam was from its inception both church and state, one and indivisible, with no possible distinction between temporal and religious authority... In the West, the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment ... liberated individual men to think for themselves, and thus set in motion an unprecedented and still unstoppable material advancement. Islam, with no separate, secular sphere where inquiry could flourish free from the claims of religion, if only for technical purposes, was hopelessly left behind: as, several centuries later, it still is. The indivisibility of any aspect of life from any other in Islam is a source of strength, but also of fragility and weakness, for individuals as well as for polities. Where all conduct, all custom, has a religious sanction and justification, any change is a threat to the whole system of belief. Certainty that their way of life is the right one thus coexists with fear that the whole edifice-intellectual and political- will come tumbling down if it is tampered with in any way. Intransigence is a defense against doubt and makes living on terms of true equality with others who do not share the creed impossible."

Dalrymple also has an article on the complete collapse of any sexual morality among the British working class. Sexually active girls aged 11 seem to be seen as normal.

The conflict between privacy and the intelligence-gathering needed for national security: "The privocrats only grudgingly acknowledge that terrorism exists, and they never concede that a gain in the public good may justify a concession in "privacy." Their operating principle can only be formulated as: no use of computer data or technology anywhere at any time for national defense, if there's the slightest possibility that a rogue use of that technology will offend someone's sense of privacy.

VD Hanson thinks the USA has brought Islamic attacks on itself by being too weak in its response to the many attacks BEFORE 9/11: "in the decade since 1991 the Middle East saw us as a great power that neither could nor would use its strength to advance its ideas-that lacked even the intellectual confidence to argue for our civilization before the likes of a tenth-century monarchy. The autocratic Arab world neither respects nor fears a democratic United States, because it rightly senses that we often talk in principled terms but rarely are willing to invest the time, blood, and treasure to match such rhetoric with concrete action".

Kay Hymowitz says America's youth are returning to traditional values: "Yessiree, family values are hot! Capitalism is cool! Seven-grain bread is so yesterday, and red meat is back! Wave away the colored smoke of the Jackson family circus, Paris Hilton, and the antics of San Francisco, and you can see how Americans have been self-correcting from a decades-long experiment with "alternative values" ... During the last ten years, most of the miserable trends in crime, divorce, illegitimacy, drug use, and the like that we saw in the decades after 1965 either turned around or stalled. Today Americans are consciously, deliberately embracing ideas about sex, marriage, children, and the American dream that are coalescing into a viable-though admittedly much altered-sort of bourgeois normality. What is emerging is a vital, optimistic, family-centered, entrepreneurial, and yes, morally thoughtful, citizenry."


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