Eich & Ayan Hirsi Ali-Kenan Malik At Pandaemonium: ‘Conforming, Not Transforming’

Full piece here.

After the outrage and faux outrage (so hard to tell these days) eventually cools down, and Brandon Eich, fired from Mozilla, boxes-up his belongings from work:  After Ayan Hirsi Ali likely nods and clicks ‘End Call’, a blander, more conformist society remains.

Malik, as a British Muslim, is still looking for a more classical liberalism instead of the standard Leftist fare:

‘There is a difference between creating a society in which we have genuinely reduced or removed certain forms of hatreds and demanding that people shut up because they have to conform to other people’s expectations of what is acceptable. To demand that something is unsayable is not to make it unsaid, still less unthought. It is merely to create a world in which social conversation becomes greyer and more timid, in which people are less willing to say anything distinctive or outrageous, in which in Jon Lovett’s words, ‘fewer and fewer people talk more and more about less and less’…’

The thoughts we so often think, often-times true, many times not, often with at least some truth in them, remain that much less likely to be brought-out and tested, challenged, joined in common cause, scoffed-at, ignored, laughed-at, endorsed, dismissed, etc.

Ayan Hirsi Ali responds to having an honorary degree from Brandeis…not bestowed, as it turns out:

‘What did surprise me was the behavior of Brandeis. Having spent many months planning for me to speak to its students at Commencement, the university yesterday announced that it could not “overlook certain of my past statements,” which it had not previously been aware of. Yet my critics have long specialized in selective quotation – lines from interviews taken out of context – designed to misrepresent me and my work. It is scarcely credible that Brandeis did not know this when they initially offered me the degree. ‘

Malik disagrees with Hirsi Ali on many issues, but doesn’t want her to simply to shut up:

‘I know Hirsi Ali and I admire her courage. I also trenchantly disagree with many of her views. She has, for instance, opposed Muslim immigration to Europe, supported the Swiss ban on the building of minarets and declared that ‘we are at war with Islam’. Such views I find deeply objectionable. But equally objectionable is the insistence that her anti-Islamic and pro-Israel views are of themselves reasons to deny her an academic award.’

On a related note, here’s a debate from Intelligence Squared with Ayan Hirsi Ali on one side, arguing that Islam is the problem (the same absolutism in Islam that will not tolerate questioning of its tenets, its many violent passages, and its unreformed worldview which has a prescription for pretty much all aspects of the culture and public square). A member of the opposing side suggests that Muslim alienation in British life, combined with a European influenced fascist inspired-Islamism is the problem, not Islam itself (yes, it’s colonialist Europe’s fault).

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And Hitchens, no fan of religion, still makes for compelling and interesting listening on speech:

See his piece: Yale Surrenders

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And also one more video from here at home:  Comedian Patrice O’Neal defends the aim of comedians simply aiming to be funny and saying some of those things we all think out loud:

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Related On This Site: Lay-Off Eich, Man–From The Washington Examiner: ‘Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Forced To Resign For Supporting Traditional Marriage Laws’

Ayan Hirsi Ali in The NY Times: Lee Harris’s ‘The Suicide Of Reason’ Theodore Dalrymple Still Attacking Multi-Culturalism In Britain From YouTube: Roger Scruton On Religious Freedom, Islam & Atheism…From The Middle East Quarterly Via A & L Daily: Europe’s Shifting Immigration Dynamic

Free speech and Muslimst From Kenanmalik.com: ‘Introduction: How Salman Rushdie Changed My Life’… Via YouTube: ‘Christopher Hitchens Vs. Ahmed Younis On CNN (2005)’…  Mohammad Cartoonist Lars Vilks HeadbuttedDuring Lecture’From The OC Jewish Experience: ‘UC Irvine Muslim Student Union Suspended’From Volokh: ‘”South Park” Creators Warned (Threatened) Over Mohammed’… More From Spiegel Online After The Westergaard Attacks Via A & L Daily: ‘The West Is Choked By Fear’

A Few Thoughts On NPR And Current Liberal Establishment Thinking Under Obama

From FIRE.org-’Federal Government Mandates Unconstitutional Speech Codes At Colleges And Universities Nationwide’

Greg Lukianoff At FIRE.Org: ‘Emily Bazelon And The Danger Of Bringing “Anti-Bullying” Laws To Campus’

Race And Free Speech-From Volokh: ‘Philadelphia Mayor Suggests Magazine Article on Race Relations Isn’t Protected by the First Amendment’…What about black people held in bondage by the laws..the liberation theology of Rev Wright…the progressive vision and the folks over at the Nation gathered piously around John Brown’s body?: Milton Friedman Via Youtube: ‘Responsibility To The Poor’……Robert George And Cornel West At Bloggingheads: “The Scandal Of The Cross”

Kenan Malik At The New Humanist: ‘People Power’

Full piece here.

Interesting read:

‘The 20th century witnessed also a revolution in the way that artists were able to conceive of the human. The emergence of the modernist sensibility, the breakdown of conventional forms of representation, of the old fixed, linear, views of the world, and the growth of a much more fractured, dissonant, abstracted, multilayered, self-conscious awareness transformed the ability of writers and painters and composers to explore the human condition. The result was a growing tension between the new possibilities of art and the darkening perceptions of humans, a tension out of which emerged some astonishing works of art, from Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet at the End of Time to Mark Rothko’s paintings, from Barbara Hepworth’s figures to Pablo Neruda’s odes.’

(Aside from the art), did the Unitarian Universalists get there first to transcendence without God, a mishmash of faith and secular humanism?

Towards a theme: Perhaps you’ve also heard of the Rothko chapel, in Houston, Texas:

‘The Rothko Chapel, founded by Houston philanthropists John and Dominique de Menil, was dedicated in 1971 as an intimate sanctuary available to people of every belief. A tranquil meditative environment inspired by the mural canvases of Russian born American painter Mark Rothko (1903-1970), the Chapel welcomes over 60,000 visitors each year, people of every faith and from all parts of the world.’

There’s even a suite of music by Morton Feldman, entitled ‘Rothko Chapel’

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RelatedA definition of humanism:

“‘…a morally concerned style of intellectual atheism openly avowed by only a small minority of individuals (for example, those who are members of the British Humanist Association) but tacitly accepted by a wide spectrum of educated people in all parts of the Western world.”

Roger Scruton At The WSJ: ‘Memo To Hawking: There’s Still Room For God’

Repost: Kenan Malik In The Spiked Review Of Books: ‘Twenty Years On: Internalizing The Fatwa’-Salman Rushdie’

Related On This SiteFrom Darwinian Conservatism: ‘The Evolution of Mind and Mathematics: Dehaene Versus Plantinga and Nagel’

From Edward Feser: ‘Nagel And His Critics Part IV’

John Gray Reviews Jonathan Haidt’s New Book At The New Republic: ‘The Knowns And The Unknowns’

Steven Pinker somewhat focused on the idea of freedom from violence, which tends to be libertarian. Yet, he’s also skeptical of the more liberal human rights and also religious natural rights. What about a World Leviathan?: At Bloggingheads Steven Pinker Discusses War And Thomas HobbesFrom Reason.TV Via YouTube: ‘Steven Pinker on The Decline of Violence & “The Better Angels of Our Nature”‘Simon Blackburn Reviews Steven Pinker’s “The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial Of Human Nature” Via the University Of Cambridge Philosophy Department

Evolutionary psychology and moral thinking: Franz De Waal At The NY Times 10/17/10: ‘Morals Without God?’

Timothy Snyder Responds To Steven Pinker’s New Book At Foreign Policy: ‘War No More: Why The World Has Become More Peaceful’

Charles Murray At The New Criterion: ‘Belmont & Fishtown’

Theodore Dalrymple At The Library Of Law & Liberty-‘Group Preferences: Opiate Of The Intellectuals’

Full piece here.

Here’s a sentence you don’t come across every day:

‘Clearly the example of a transsexual Muslim airline pilot was meant as a reductio ad absurdum and not as a real or actual concern.’

With irony and/or sarcasm, you can end-up addressing an issue elliptically; the meaning easily lost or confused.

Also On This Site: So, You’re Telling Me What’s Cool?-Theodore Dalrymple At The City Journal: ‘Banksy In Neverland’

Theodore Dalrymple At The City Journal: ‘What The New Atheists Don’t See’Theodore Dalrymple Still Attacking Multi-Culturalism In Britain…From The WSJ Weekend Journal-Theodore Dalrymple: “Man Vs. Mutt”

From The New Criterion: ‘The Special Relationship: Past, Present, & Future’

Full piece here.

What are some goals the American and British governments share beyond the gamesmanship of diplomacy and pursuit of their respective national interests on the world stage?

Kissinger:

‘One of the great acts of statesmanship is Churchill’s decision, or the recognition, during the war that Britain could no longer be a world power by itself. For the country that had been the dominant nation for a century, whose sacrifices had made it possible to win two wars, and whose endurance in 1940 saved the future of freedom, that was a very difficult recognition’

and we took over a lot of British interests after WWII:

‘I used to joke that the French try to deal with us by making us feel foolish, to prove to us that we didn’t have the brain power to follow them; the British dealt with us by making us feel guilty that we had let them down. They built themselves into our decision-making process in a manner that made them in many ways indispensable’

After some discussion of our objective in Iran as he sees them (will Iran get rid of its fissile material or not?), he argues for a return to a Reagan/Thatcheresque vision of the relationship:

But I don’t want to go so much into the details as to stress the fact that it’s absolutely imperative for the West to develop a common approach; and that this makes a Special Relationship at this moment more important even than it was historically. And on the American side, this makes it necessary that our foreign policy reflect an understanding of the history and of the national purposes of our friends, and again, very much, of Britain.’

Or at least he’s arguing for a more commonly shared Western strategy with more realism involved, if I’m not mistaken. Whether or not you think peace is a worthwhile long-term goal, more shrewdness and effective strategy probably couldn’t hurt at the moment.

Definitely worth a read.

George Shultz & Henry Kissinger At The Hoover Institution: ‘What A Final Iran Deal Must Do’

Thursday Quotations: Henry Kissinger

So, You’re Telling Me What’s Cool?-Theodore Dalrymple At The City Journal: ‘Banksy In Neverland’

Full piece here.

Banksy’s website here.

Here’s what much of that ‘meta’ commentary on commerce and transgressive street-art might get you.  Local thugs charging those Banksy groupies to see his art.  Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?:

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Dalrymple:

‘The enormous interest his work arouses, disproportionate to its artistic merit, shows not that there is fashion in art, but that an adolescent sensibility is firmly entrenched in our culture.  The New York Times reports that a lawyer, Ilyssa Fuchs, rushed from her desk the moment she heard about Banksy’s latest work and ran more than half a mile to see it.  Would she have done so if a delicate fresco by Peiro della Francesca had been discovered in Grand Central Terminal?  In the modern world, art and celebrity are one.  And we are all Peter Pan now:  We don’t want to grow up.’

Well, I certainly hadn’t noticed an adolescent sensibility at the NY Times.  Certainly not.

An image of one of those Peiro della Francesca frescoes here.

Perhaps it’s worthwhile to view Banksy as a kind of poor man’s Damien Hirst:   A ‘working-class’ British guy with some native talent but not too much in the way of formal training nor arguably lasting artistic achievement (perhaps in the ‘graffiti’ world).  Instead of working as a gallery, mixed-media modern installation artist like Hirst, he’s followed the street-graffiti path leaving ‘transgressive’ messages on politics and ethics scrawled across the cityscape in anonymity.  For all his irony, and the fact that he’s likely in on the joke, Banksy still finds himself subject to the larger forces at work where art, money, & fame are meeting.

As a girl in Seattle here mentioned to me at a party:  ‘His work is a meta-commentary on art, commerce, greed, creativity and all that.  His becoming a commodity is the ultimate irony.’

Deep, man, deep.

Yet, as to Dalrymple’s point, I could imagine an adult sneaking off to check out a Michaelangelo fresco with childlike anticipation, and maybe even a little childish or adolescent delight at being the first to arrive.  Of course, I think that fresco tends to engender a much deeper and complex response than that of Banksy’s work and ‘social commentary’, but the desire for beauty, hope, and brief bursts of transcendence aren’t going anywhere.   This reminds me of Richard Wilbur’s poem:  ‘First Snow In Alsace.‘  which evokes the grim realities of war and suffering covered up by a beautiful snowfall.

Here are the last stanzas and line:

…You think: beyond the town a mile
Or two, this snowfall fills the eyes
Of soldiers dead a little while.

Persons and persons in disguise,
Walking the new air white and fine,
Trade glances quick with shared surprise.

At children’s windows, heaped, benign,
As always, winter shines the most,
And frost makes marvelous designs.

The night guard coming from his post,
Ten first-snows back in thought, walks slow
And warms him with a boyish boast:

He was the first to see the snow.

The worst war can bring is juxtaposed against our simple childlike wonder (and possibly childish) delight at that which is beautiful and mysterious in nature.  Of course, such desires can help cause the destruction of war, too, but…hey.   People love to be the first and the coolest.  As Dalrymple argues above, these childish impulses are the ones that should not be so easily encouraged nor celebrated, especially by Banksy nor his reviewers at the NY Times.  I pretty much agree.

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Performance artist Marina Ambramovic and Jay-Z are together at last during a 6-hour lip sync performance-art pieceto promote Mr Z’s new album.

Still, it’s probably more engaging than Tilda Swinton in a box.

Maybe Jeff Koons got there first, where marketing, money, and branding met pop art:  A Reaction To Jeff Koons-For Commerce Or Contemplation?

***I’d currently argue that in a successful commercial culture such as ours, with such strong tensions between the individual artist and the demos, and such high and low-art available, and where we’re awash in pop culture, music & entertainment, it’s natural to have strong debate going as to what’s ‘cool’ and what’s good art.  Clearly, religion and religious duties come into constant tension with both commerce and art.  Clearly, that commercial culture has formed a celebrity culture which is also affecting our politics.  Clearly, whether or not you’re an art snob, an aesthete, or a secularly or religiously moral person, you can easily see how that culture produces a lot of crap, and can arouse the base desires in people which can be as harmless as a crush, sexual longing, a desire for romantic love and/or the cult-like worship.

Here’s Robert Hughes being especially critical of an Andy Warhol modern art collector, and where money, marketing, art and fame meet:

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Addition:  I’ve gotten a few emails suggesting this is too negative.  Bah.  I like some of Banksy’s work for it’s cleverness and wit, and his experience in doing what he does.  Beyond that, not too much and there’s way too much hype.

Another Addition:

Related On This Site:  Jay Z And Marina Abramovic Via Twitter: A Pop-Rap Art Marketing Performaganza

They designed a city in the heart of Brazil that really doesn’t work for people: Brasilia: A Planned City

No thanks to living in planned communities upon someone else’s overall vision.: Roger Scruton In The City Journal: Cities For Living–Is Modernism Dead?Repost-Via Reason: ‘Salvador Allende’s Cybersocialist Command Center’From Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’… some people don’t want you to have the economic freedom to live in the suburbs: From Foreign Policy: ‘Urban Legends, Why Suburbs, Not Cities, Are The Answer’

A structure in the desert…not even a city Update On LACMA, Michael Heizer And The ‘Levitated Mass’-Modern Art And The Public;..where is modernism headed? Via Youtube: Justin, The Horse That Could Paint

Denis Dutton suggested art could head towards Darwin (and may offer new direction from the troubles of the modern art aimlessness and shallow depth…the money and the fame) Review of Denis Dutton’s ‘The Art Instinct’

Theodore Dalrymple At The City Journal: ‘Thoughts On Woolwich’

Full piece here.

According to Dalrymple, it is South London that produced these men, desperate for something to believe in, seeking out group membership and meaning, moral certainty and a handbook for life.  The franchise of radical Islam will continue to provide answers in the minds of men moving in and out of a criminal subculture, not entirely without opportunity, but rootless, sometimes violent and aggressive.  While looking towards Islam, the Islamist agitators give structure to express some of what was already inside and part of the milieu in which they moved:

‘The hacking to death of Lee Rigby on a street in Woolwich tells us as much about the society that we have created, or allowed to develop, as it does about radical Islam preached by fat, middle-aged clerics.’

I can’t speak for the men, but clearly they had serious problems, and Dalrymple provides a little background on both.

There are other issues which the multicultural bien-pensant worldview simply hasn’t accounted for regarding Muslim immigration, including how to properly integrate Muslims into the British economy and civil society.  It ought to be made clear that there is a civil society with laws and rules governing it, and some pathway to join that civil society.

There has to be more than just signing arrivals up for benefits in a large Welfare State, piling them and their relatives into council houses and expecting job programs to do the trick.  You will breed the same pathologies as one finds in the homegrown wards of the State, but also manage to import native customs and sometimes barbaric native traditions, while keeping London neighborhoods, cultures, and religions toxically divided.  This creates a powder keg ready to blow, and the politicians ever more mealy-mouthed and full of half-empty promises and half-baked visions of civil society.

Of course, this is pretty much what many American progressives, Leftists, multiculturalists and non-classical liberals would do over here, but many Americans haven’t quite figured that out yet.

Here’s to hoping.  And here’s to letting the Woolwich killer speak for himself.  Violence begets violence.  Islamism and multiculturalism form an unholy marriage:

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Related On This Site: A British neo-conservative type?:  Islamism, Immigration & Multiculturalism-Melanie Phillips Via Youtube

It’s the fierce critic of religion, new Atheist, and 68er Christopher Hitchens who has defended free speech most vigorously:  Repost-From Beautiful Horizons: ‘Christopher Hitchens and Tariq Ramadan at the 92nd Street Y’

From YouTube: Roger Scruton On Religious Freedom, Islam & Atheism

A British Muslim tells his story, suggesting that classical liberalism wouldn’t be a bad idea…as a more entrenched radical British Left and Muslim immigration don’t mix too well: From Kenanmalik.com: ‘Introduction: How Salman Rushdie Changed My Life’… Via YouTube: ‘Christopher Hitchens Vs. Ahmed Younis On CNN (2005)’

Free speech (used both well and unwell) meets offended Muslims: Mohammad Cartoonist Lars Vilks HeadbuttedDuring Lecture’From The OC Jewish Experience: ‘UC Irvine Muslim Student Union Suspended’From Volokh: ‘”South Park” Creators Warned (Threatened) Over Mohammed’

Najat Fawzy Alsaeid At The Center For Islamic Pluralism: ‘The War Of Ideologies In The Arab World’

More On Lars Hedegaard Via the NY Times: Is Europe Waking Up?

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Theodore Dalrymple At The City Journal: ‘What The New Atheists Don’t See’Theodore Dalrymple Still Attacking Multi-Culturalism In Britain…From The WSJ Weekend Journal-Theodore Dalrymple: “Man Vs. Mutt”

Islamism, Immigration & Multiculturalism-Melanie Phillips Via Youtube

Here’s Briton Melanie Phillips speaking about Muslims in Britain, and also finding excessive fault with multiculturalism (~15:00 min):

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Phillips wrote a book called Londonistan, and perhaps she’s the British equivalent of a neo-conservative, having been ‘mugged by reality’ to some extent, for which she draws special ire from her former fellow travelers. As a columnist who started out for the British Left-Of-Center Guardian, and moved to the Daily Mail, Phillips targets that unholy marriage of Islamism and multiculturalism.

In the case of Britain, civil society has managed to create a space which shelters a number of Muslism immigrants operating outside of British law, sometimes bringing tribal customs and Sharia courts with them. Obviously, this is a problem.

Islamism and Islam, for Phillips, are two different creatures. There are Muslims who subscribe to the faith, and emigrate from their home countries. They come to the West for economic opportunity, political stability and all the other reasons people immigrate to the West. In the case of America, for example, they are particularly free to practice their religion, and perhaps have their religion insulted by South Park or the likes of Terry Jones.

Islamists, on the other hand, are a different matter. They range from the radicalizing Tsarnaevs, to Al Qaeda, to Anwar al-Awlaki and the Muslim Brotherhood. They subscribe to a form of Islamic ideology that sees itself in a global struggle against the encroachment of outside ideas, particularly the freedoms, culture, and influence of the West at the moment.  Islamists are reactionary, ideological, and often advocate violence. They have serious issues with modernity, demanding and seeking solidarity and soldiers for the front lines against all enemies. Islamists seek to re-establish the kinds of laws and society that would enforce strict and impossibly ideal and narrow Islamic codes. This form of Islamic idealism has many wings and various sympathizers. It’s the kind of idealism we’re battling both abroad and on our soil, sometimes effectively, sometimes not very effectively at all. Some Islamists have even imported Western fascistic and socialist ideology and fused them with their own Islamism.  A toxic brew.

Islamism is a major force throughout the Middle East and Muslim world right now, and at the very least, perhaps we can recognize that the Islamists mean harm to other Muslims as well.

So, how does Phillips think Britain should handle Muslim immigration? By highlighting terms which Britons should be quite clear about:  There are laws to follow, forms of government to understand, a language to master and traditions which they might one day be expected to defend.  This means locking horns with the multicultural Left.

The West is not merely a stop on the global benefits welfare chain.  We’re not necessarily here to offer asylum or student visas to those who don’t particularly care to be here, nor those Islamists who travel from mosque to mosque, calling for jihad.  Of course this is closer to the melting-pot approach that was once dominant in the U.S., which has since been on a slow decline due to the rise of multiculturalism here as well.   I doubt this is a coincidence.

I’d add that America is obviously more than just a well-educated university faculty, or the talking heads on T.V.  There are many other ideals, beliefs and virtues besides those like the new atheism, environmentalism, feminism and multiculturalism etc.  Such secular ‘-isms’ tend to have universal aspirations, and many of their followers believe in these ideals with a kind of secular faith, rallying around these ideas and often presuming them to be universally true. As in Europe, universities and the media are natural draws for people who want to pursue such idealism, eventually influencing the culture and politics.

If Britain can show us anything, it’s that allowing the secular ‘-isms’ to be the highest things around, right alongside Muslim immigration and Islamism, is asking for serious trouble.

Now, I don’t think Phillips has everything right (nor obviously do I have everything right, for that matter) but her voice, like that of Christopher Hitchens, and Lars Hedegaard, are interesting voices of dissent tracing paths out of the Marxist, socialist and multiculturalist European Left.  They have important truths to tell us.

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Sayyid Qutb isn’t a bad place to start to understand a little more, I’ve been told.

Michael Totten’s various interviews over the years with the Muslim Brotherhood are not inspiring.  They’re Islamist lite, perhaps, and not likely the kinds of people we can do much business with.

A great piece here: Lawrence Wright At The New Yorker: ‘The Man Behind Bin Laden’

Also, check out that sophisticated link between the Brotherhood, Muslim world and multiculturalist Europe, Tariq Ramadan.  He sure knows how to speak the language:

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***Inevitably, criticism comes from the Left that highlights Phillips’ Jewishness.  “She’s a shill for Israel” etc.  Well, there you go.  Anti-American, anti-semitic victimhood is all the rage in many quarters in Europe these days.  Where’s that getting them?

Ever closer to the ideals which they hold aloft, and which move forever out of view.

Related On This Site:  Why Lars Hedegaard Still MattersUpdate And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’…Morality away from a transcendent God, but back toward Hume through the cognitive sciences?: Franz De Waal At The NY Times 10/17/10: ‘Morals Without God?’

People think I’m crazy, but NPR is the manifestation and mainstreaming of 60’s idealism.  This idealism will always need money, and gravitates towards the public purse. Foundations which served other ideals naturally attract idealists. A Few Thoughts On NPR And Current Liberal Establishment Thinking Under Obama

You know it’s getting bad when even a former NPR exec says it’s getting out of hand: Jack Shakely At The Los Angeles Review Of Books Reviews Ken Stern’s ‘With Charity For All’

From YouTube: Roger Scruton On Religious Freedom, Islam & Atheism…From The Middle East Quarterly Via A & L Daily: Europe’s Shifting Immigration Dynamic

Kenan Malik In The Spiked Review Of Books: ‘Twenty Years On: Internalizing The Fatwa’-Salman Rushdie

Theodore Dalrymple argues that France has the potential to handle Muslim immigration better because of its ideological rigidity, which can better meet the ideological rigidity of its Muslim immigrants…Theodore Dalrymple Still Attacking Multi-Culturalism In Britain

How do you reasonably deal with relativism anyways?: From Virtual Philosophy: A Brief Interview With Simon Blackburn

Repost-Eugene Volokh At The National Review: ‘Multiculturalism: For or Against?’

Brian Stewart At The American Interest: ‘The Boy From Bombay’

Full piece here.

We have strong and vigorous free speech laws and traditions in the U.S., and as we see in Europe, radical, marginalized imams and multiculturalists can make strange bedfellows, potentially backing themselves into worse problems.

What are some lessons to be taken from Salman Rushdie’s fatwa?  This case still offers food for thought in our need to combat the rise of Islamism on the cultural front (the military and security fronts have altered our society in many ways):

‘The “cancer of cultural relativism” infecting the West has recast the defense of liberty as a “liberal inquisition.” There is such a thing as secular religion, but secularism is not one of them. Any suggestion of moral equivalence between “Enlightenment fundamentalism” and the other sort is repugnant. Intense devotion to free expression has no resemblance to reactionary Islam.’

Where can common interest be found?:

‘In “For Rushdie”, one hundred Arab and Muslim intellectuals expressed solidarity with their beleaguered comrade. Among their number was Antoine Sfeir, the great Lebanese historian, who declared, “We will never say it enough: to attack the Islamists, to denounce their actions and their lies, is not to attack Islam. To attack the Islamists is, on the contrary, to defend the Muslims themselves, the first though not the only victims of the Islamists.” And yet, much of the Right had been too dull to spot the exemplary cause that Rushdie’s case presented, while much of the Left failed to recognize an enemy in a blood-drenched cleric halfway around the world.’

Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie by Nrbelex.

Photo found here by Nrbelex

Related On This Site: A British Muslim tells his story, suggesting that classical liberalism wouldn’t be a bad idea…as a more entrenched radical British Left and Muslim immigration don’t mix too well: From Kenanmalik.com: ‘Introduction: How Salman Rushdie Changed My Life’… Via YouTube: ‘Christopher Hitchens Vs. Ahmed Younis On CNN (2005)’

Tariq Ramadan speaks both multiculturalese and the language of Muslim Brotherhood, and ironically it’s the 68er and socialist who stands for neither religious belief nor multiculturalism confronts him Repost-From Beautiful Horizons: ‘Christopher Hitchens and Tariq Ramadan at the 92nd Street Y’

When you add it all up, it’s a lot From Kenanmalik.com: ‘Introduction: How Salman Rushdie Changed My Life’… Via YouTube: ‘Christopher Hitchens Vs. Ahmed Younis On CNN (2005)’…  Mohammad Cartoonist Lars Vilks HeadbuttedDuring Lecture’From The OC Jewish Experience: ‘UC Irvine Muslim Student Union Suspended’From Volokh: ‘”South Park” Creators Warned (Threatened) Over Mohammed’… More From Spiegel Online After The Westergaard Attacks Via A & L Daily: ‘The West Is Choked By Fear’

See Also:  If you thought the cartoons were bad, more on the Fitna movie here.  Via The A & L Daily-Interview With Christopher Caldwell At Spiegel Online Ayan Hirsi Ali is a Muslim immigrant to Europe, who seems quite populist and anti-Islam…is this a potential track for immigrants if they are integrated better?:  Ayan Hirsi Ali At The CSM: ‘Swiss Ban On Minarets Was A Vote For Tolerance And Inclusion’

It’s a big assumption to make: From YouTube: Roger Scruton On Religious Freedom, Islam & Atheism

Some Tuesday Links-Two Foreign Fronts

Afghanistan-Have we met our objective of disrupting the Islamist terrorists that gather in Afpak?

Perhaps temporarily, but in the long run, no, probably not.  Nearly every American soldier has likely seen some good in what we’ve done.  The fighting has been very fierce at times.

From dnaindia:

‘US President Barack Obama has said that by the end of next year, America’s war in Afghanistan would be over. Obama said that the core objective, the reason America went to war, is now within reach- in ensuring that Al-Qaeda can never again use Afghanistan to launch attacks against America  ‘

There is no way around it:  Afghanistan is a mess.  The Taliban and our opposition really aren’t going anywhere.  Karzai is a notably unstable leader.  The government is corrupt, the army seems untrainable, the border porous.  Pakistan is not really an ally.  Our policy is adrift and commitment unsteady.

Afpak is a work in progress, and will require close attention.

Michael Yon says to cut losses.

The NY Times despite and because of its worldview has pretty good coverage.

About that objective of disrupting terror networks…what’s our plan for the future?

Mali-With or without Gerard Depardieu, French leaders will be raising troop levels from 750 to a projected 2,500 and are currently using airstrikes to bottle in the Islamist insurgency that controls the Northern half of the country.  These are a brutal bunch of competing warlords, really, seeking heaven on earth.

The US and UK are offering assistance.

How is this going to work, exactly?

***It’s good to see people so sure of good and evil these days:  Mali in throes of genocide by US, UK, France evil trio: Analyst

Perhaps, as in Libya, we are giving rise to neo-neo colonialism and its discontents.

About that objective of combatting the larger Islamist resurgence that seems to be going on,…what’s our plan for the future?

Addition:  Adam Garfinkle takes the NY Times to task for shallow coverage of Mali:

‘Hence, what’s going on in Mali is going to keep going on, in one form or another. It is likely to spread to Niger, possibly to Mauritania, too. I can barely wait for the next drive-by, nomad-journalism New York Times potshots aimed at trying to convey the shape of this burgeoning mess. Maybe one day they’ll even figure out how to connect the dots back to Libya.’

Ideologically speaking, it’s not about Libya, or the Tuareg, or the broader world outside.  It’s about shifting U.S. culture and politics to a more Western universalist lens: Their favored ideas and politicians and what they can see from inside that lens.

That’s a schism in our society, Mali, Syria, and Afghanistan aside.

Related On This Site: I don’t believe that we can appease Islamic extremists, which seems to be the premise of this administration’s approach…blunt American power and incentivize Muslim societies to drive the extreme elements out through international cooperation: Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill

Form Foreign Affairs: ‘Stephen Biddle and Max Boot Discuss U.S. Afghanistan Policy’

Obama’s vision?  His Security Report here.

Repost-Via Youtube: Conversations With History – Walter Russell Mead

Mead discusses his then new book entitled God and Gold:  Britain, America and the Making of the Modern World.

Maybe there are other options besides Fukuyama’s Hegelian end point of history, and Huntington’s Clash Of Civilizations with regard to our current dealings with the Islamic resurgence and its anti-modern, ant-Western, theocratic impulses (liberal internationalism and Obama’s foreign policy have certainly created problems, but there are underlying issues the West will face):

Mead argues that religion, government, free-trade, capitalism, sport, and especially naval power have shaped our two cultures which have thus shaped the world (a [economic] model he suggests originally came from the Dutch).   He is an Obama voting Democrat, a broad thinker, and teaches at Bard College.

This blog welcomes large, grand visions that posit the possibility of finding truth in philosophy, political philosophy, the social sciences and foreign policy not merely based upon reason alone, and a post-Enlightenment pursuit of reason alone which includes scientism, secular humanism, materialism, postmodernism, relativism etc. trickling down into the political realm.  Hopefully, Natural Law and Natural Right get a fair shake here in the pursuit of truth, though they needn’t necessarily be guides to constitutional interpretation.

Some of this has been in the water (the Atlantic?) lately, but it’s quite interesting.

So, it’s easy to feel vaguely good about our relationship, as happens quite practically here, but let’s not forget moments like these:

washingtonburns.jpg

This is a depiction (thanks to impiousdigest.com) of British troops burning the White House, as they indeed did.

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Related On This Site:  Mead takes a look at the blue model (the old progressive model) from the ground up in NYC to argue that it’s simply not working.  Check out his series at The American Interest.  Technology is changing things rapidly, and maybe, as Charles Murray points out, it’s skewing the field toward high IQ positions while simultaneously getting rid of industrial, managerial, clerical, labor intensive office jobs.  Even so,  we can’t cling to the past.  This is quite a progressive vision but one that embraces change boldly.  We’ll have to make things better ourselves, and our politics is way behind.

Francis Fukuyama has started a center for Public Administration at Stanford…it’d be interesting to imagine a conversation between Eric Hoffer and Fukuyama: Francis Fukuyama At The American Interest: ‘Mexico And The Drug Wars’…Has Fukuyama turned away from Hegel and toward Darwin? Adam Kirsch Reviews Francis Fukuyama’s New Book At The City Journal: ‘The Dawn Of Politics’……From The American Interest Online: Francis Fukuyama On Samuel Huntington

On Americanization: China is growing a middle class, Brazil, too.  People want more freedom, more options after they industrialize: Sachs and Niall Ferguson duke it out: CNN-Fareed Zakaria Via Youtube: ‘Jeff Sachs and Niall Ferguson’

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