Wednesday, June 05, 2013
A Leftist who admits he hates America
It's all about him
I was watching “The Voice” last night, NBC’s singing competition and I could not believe the words coming out of my flat screen television.
It happened near the end of the two-hour episode just after country music crooner Amber Carrington had been saved from elimination by television viewers.
Coach Adam Levine was upset because two of his singers were in the bottom three – and that’s when he muttered something under his breath.
“I hate this country,” he said – apparently unaware his microphone was hot. “I hate this country.”
Levine, the Maroon 5 frontman, is a passionate supporter of President Obama. During the 2012 presidential election he warned the nation in a tweet: “Dear America, if you don’t re-elect @barackobama, I’m gonna lose my sh*t.”
And after Obama won re-election, Levine tweeted: “That’s what happens when you f*ck with Sesame Street.”
How strongly do believers believe: Historical evidence
George Orwell, writing about religious belief in England, commented that what he wanted to know was not how many people confessed to a vague belief in a supreme being but how many believed in Heaven the way they believed in Australia.
I was recently reminded of that comment reading a book on Ottoman law. Under that legal system, there were situations in which a defendant could clear himself by swearing an oath. According to the author's account, there were records in the surviving legal documents of capital cases where the defendant refused to swear and was executed as a result, as well as other cases where the defendant was convicted of a capital offense on his own voluntary confession. The obvious conclusion is that the defendant must have believed in Heaven and Hell very much as Orwell's contemporaries believed in Australia, and preferred death with a hope of Heaven to a life leading to Hell.
It is the obvious interpretation, and the one the author of the book I was reading offered. It may well be the correct interpretation. But I would want to know more about the situation to be sure.
Imagine someone a few centuries hence looking at records from the current American legal system without much knowledge of how it actually worked. Observing that a large majority of felony convictions were by confession, he might well conclude that 21st century American criminals were so honest, perhaps so afraid of divine punishment for denying their crimes, that they preferred a certainty of prison to a chance of freedom bought at the cost of a lie.
What he would be missing would be the institution of plea bargaining, under which a defendant confesses to a lesser charge in exchange for not being tried on a greater, choosing a certainty of (say) one year in prison over a gamble between going free and serving a much longer sentence. Given that institution, the fact that someone pleads guilty not only does not show that he is honest, it does not even show that he is guilty.
Which makes me wonder whether we might be missing similar features of the Ottoman case. The charges were probably for Hadd offenses, the short list of offenses deemed Koranic. Hadd offenses have fixed penalties and high standards of proof. Zina, unlawful sexual intercourse, is a capital offense if committed by someone who is or has been married and so has had the opportunity for lawful intercourse, but normally requires four witnesses to the same act for conviction. Or confession.
In some, perhaps all, cases the same act that can be prosecuted as a Hadd offense with a fixed penalty and a high standard of proof can also be prosecuted as a Tazir offense with a variable penalty, set by the judge, and a lower standard; the schools of law differ on the upper bound of the penalty. One can imagine a case where a defendant believed that if he denied the Hadd charge he would be tried instead on the Tazir charge and receive a penalty as severe or almost as severe. And one can also imagine pressures, legal or non-legal, religious or secular, that would make him prefer the former alternative.
There is another possibility. Islamic religious law, fiqh, does not permit torture. Ottoman law, a fusion of fiqh and Sultanic pronouncements (kanun), did. So we do not know, at least I do not know, how voluntary the voluntary confessions were.
One might be able to explain away the evidence for strong religious belief along these lines, but it is entirely possible that the author I have been reading is correct in his interpretation.
For those of us who do not believe in religion, it is tempting to see other people's belief as only semi-real, as more like my belief in the world of Lord of the Rings (the book, which I read early enough so I had to wait for the second volume to be published, and have reread many times since) than my belief in Australia. It is tempting to interpret our picture of how religious people were in the past as an artifact of filtered data, our sources for the relevant history largely consisting of accounts written by clerics, a point made by Georges Duby, a prominent medieval historian, in a book that used a rare secular source to provide a balancing picture.
But it is hard to see how one can give a complete account of history, or even of the present world, without concluding that for a substantial number of people Heaven really was, or is, as real as Australia.
Neuroscientist: Religious fundamentalism a “curable mental illness”
Another Soviet style Leftist
A leading neurologist at the University of Oxford said this week that recent developments meant that science may one day be able to identify religious fundamentalism as a “mental illness” and a cure it.
During a talk at the Hay Literary Festival in Wales on Wednesday, Kathleen Taylor was asked what positive developments she anticipated in neuroscience in the next 60 years.
“One of the surprises may be to see people with certain beliefs as people who can be treated,” she explained, according to The Times of London. “Somebody who has for example become radicalised to a cult ideology – we might stop seeing that as a personal choice that they have chosen as a result of pure free will and may start treating it as some kind of mental disturbance.”
“I am not just talking about the obvious candidates like radical Islam or some of the more extreme cults,” she explained. “I am talking about things like the belief that it is OK to beat your children. These beliefs are very harmful but are not normally categorized as mental illness.”
“In many ways that could be a very positive thing because there are no doubt beliefs in our society that do a heck of a lot of damage, that really do a lot of harm.”
The sad truth about today's modern Germany and Jews
By Tuvia Tenenbom
Three years ago I was contacted by an editor of Rowohlt, one of the biggest book publishers in Germany. She said she loved my articles in the Zeit, the prestigious German newspaper I’ve been writing for, and would like me to come to Germany for a few months, interview people and write about them “in the same style you write for the Zeit.”
It didn’t take long to convince me and soon enough I showed up in Germany.
Unbelievable landscapes, delicious food, shiny museums, celebrated intellectuals, tireless farmers, sleepless artists, blasphemous zealots, faithful atheists and a highly modern society welcomed me. All I had to do was to befriend everybody.
Germany, I sadly found out, was obsessed with Jews. Even those who claimed to like Jews had very strange thoughts about them.
I interviewed people from all walks of life. From the famous chain-smoking iconic Chancellor, Helmut Schmidt, to the forlorn heroin addicts on the streets of Frankfurt; from the publisher of the largest European daily, Bild, to obscure bloggers; from the Prime Minister of Saxony, to bored museum guards; frail WWII veterans, to sporty high schoolers; radical leftists who want to overthrow the government, any government, to neo-Nazis who won’t settle for anything less than Adolf Hitler; top officials of Mercedes and Volkswagen, to street sellers of cheep necklaces; educated and illiterates; rich and poor; on the east and on the west, in the north and in the south.
We ate together, drank together, and they talked.
Hardly a day passed by without at least one interviewee talking to me about the “rich Jews," the "shrewd Jews," the Israelis who eat Palestinians for breakfast on a daily basis, the "manipulating Jew," or anything else "Jew."
Germany, I sadly found out, was obsessed with Jews. Even those who claimed to like Jews had very strange thoughts about them. Some told me that all Jews knew each other, others said that all Jews helped each other, and still others claimed that all Jews were "very good" with money.
The people thus talked and I wrote down what they said, word for word. I submitted the book, a testimonial to the rampant anti-Semitism in today's Germany, to my editor.
We met a week later and she told me that she cried and laughed when reading the book and that it was even better than what she had expected it to be. But the head of the publishing company, who comes of Germany’s top families, went into a rage. He told me that I couldn’t write and that the book needed serious editing.
I asked him to show me what good writing was. He did.
If there was a line in the book about people not liking “Jews,” he demanded that I change the word to “Israel.”
A chapter about a club that preached the killing of all living Jews had to be erased, he ordered. If somebody told me in an interview that the Jews were “the real Nazis,” their words had to be changed or cut.
Only if I obeyed him, I was led to understand, would I become a "good writer."
He didn't stop there. He went really low, at one point calling me a "hysterical Jew." And then he broke our contract.
No American publisher I approached agreed to give the book life. No matter what evidence at hand, mainstream American publishers were not willing to take on Germany. Taking on a Western ally, I guess, is not on the agenda of present-day publishers.
Fearing that the book’s findings would get forever lost, the Jewish Theater of New York decided to make the book available to Americans and published it under the title “I Sleep in Hitler’s Room.”
In December of 2012 one of the most prestigious of German publishers, Suhrkamp, made the book available in Germany, under the title “Allein unter Deutschen.”
Initially, German critics went ballistic, passionately denying the book's findings that most Germans today hold anti-Semitic views.
One of them, in the highly regarded Liberal newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, didn't shy away from going racist, shamelessly referring to me as "the Jew Tenenbom."
Responding to the growing claims against me, I offered to face any intellectual willing to debate me in public.
Standing before the people who demanded honesty, it soon became very clear that my staunchest critics assailed the book without actually reading it.
Happily, other critics took a closer look at the book and published glorious reviews. Tens of thousands bought the book, sending it to the top 10 of Spiegel magazine's best sellers list (equivalent to the New York Times best sellers list in the U.S.), and thousands of the book's fans attended public readings across Germany.
At its conclusion, I ended my journey into Germany having many more friends than when I started it. This makes me happy, as having new friends is always good, but this doesn't mean that I'm not worried. I am, and much more than I ever was.
Germany is a wonderful, beautiful country, its society one of the more sophisticated of our time. Germany's cultural institutions, such as museums, theater and journalism, are the most advanced in the Western world -- which probably explains why its society's stars are not movie actors but intellectuals.
To me, and as far as I could witness, most of those intellectuals are pseudo intellectuals: they are brainy beyond repair, full of themselves, have a very narrow view of the world, lack a healthy sense of reality and, worse yet, suffer from acute anti-Semitism.
Again and again, history teaches us where this senseless hate will lead. Before WWII, just as now, Germany was very advanced for its time, proudly holding one of the best human rights records. But then as now, the people had hate inside their hearts at the same time their mouths were uttering the loveliest words of freedom.
It was Adolf Hitler who knew to their deeper thoughts and he turned them into the most sadistic known to humanity.
If today Germany doesn't wake up to its inner hate, a more sophisticated Adolf will appear and nobody will be powerful enough to stop him.
It is time to tell Germany, in the clearest of words: People who suffer from cancer can't afford to ignore it. Germany must wake up to its cancer, before it will be fatally consumed by it.
Telling Germans the truth is not hate but the purest form of love. I deeply love them, and therefore I deeply care.
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Posted by JR at 12:43 AM