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02/07/2008

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Wow, Tom, take a chill pill, man.

First, sorry if I was unclear about the Moslems. Let me clarify:

Of course not all Moslems want to kill us. That doesn't change the fact that the majority of modern-day terrorists are Moslems, and that they are motivated by Islamic belief. Furthermore, I'll go on a limb and say that of those Moslems who do want to kill us, it's limited to those who (1) actually believe what the Koran says about killing infidels, i.e., that the Koran approves it, that infidel-killers get a special spot in paradise for doing so, that they get 72 virgins, etc.; and (2) have the motivation to follow through. Y'know, the devout ones.

Tom, may I suggest you actually read the Koran? Then you might understand what make me say that Islam is incompatible with our culture, and to say that Moslems are driven by their religion to either kill, convert, or dominate us. (Incidentally, there is no concept in Islam of "render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's": in Islam, everything "rightfully" belongs to Moslems, and all interactions--religious, personal, and social--should be carried out as dictated by Allah).

My solution to the Moslem problem is simple: let them stay in their countries and practice their beliefs to their hearts' content. Keep them out of our countries, so that they cannot harm us or our cultures. Nothing violent or radical: it's what we were doing until 1965, anyway.

As for your rant about "racist" (!) immigration policies, well...

First of all, God wants us to be united in Christ--but in separate nations. That's (part of) what the Tower of Babel is about: God deliberately divided people into separate nations.

Also, the Bible is about the individual soul's relation with God through Christ; it is not about how to create or sustain civil society. Christianity assumes such structures already exist and goes from there. Christianity is at the center of our culture, but is not the whole of it. This makes Christianity and Christian societies multileveled and complex--more so than that of any other religion. More here.

Unfortunately, pudding-headed liberal Christians have "taken one part of Christianity, the rule of compassion, removed it from its biblical and personal context (the Good Samaritan helped one person who was in need of help, he didn’t self-righteously tell his society to open its borders to tens of millions of unassimilable foreigners), and turned it into a political principle ruling all other principles..." (from here).

Speaking of nations, let's look at what you wrote:

the idea that a nation -- any nation -- should round up its least fortunate and exile them

I assume you are talking about illegal aliens here, and not, for instance, black and/or poor Americans.

Did it ever occur to you that Mexicans, Salvadorans, Columbians--for that matter Chinese, Irish, and Botswanans--are NOTAmericans? What part of "foreigner" fails to convey the idea that they don't share our citizenship and therefore have NO right to be here? I simply cannot believe you are that dim, Tom, so I'll chalk it up to carelessness.

I further fail to see how it's racist™ to simply enforce our laws. More fundamentally, consider the nation-state. At its most basic level, it exists to serve its citizens, not those of another nation and/or state. One of those basic services, one that is existential, is self-defense, which starts with the borders. No borders, no nation.

This seems to be a difficult concept for liberals to grasp, so I'll make an analogy.

Let's say you come home one day to find someone has broken in to your basement--maybe by opening an unlocked window--and has moved in. Does he have a right to be there? Do you have an obligation to him?

Let's also say that you decide to be nice and let him stay there, or maybe you didn't even notice he was there in the first place. Next, his family moves in. Are you now responsible for feeding them? Tending to their illnesses? Paying their legal costs? Educating his children? Would it be un-Christian to call the police and have them remove the trespassers? Would it be un-Christian to insist that the trespassers return to their own home?

How, other than the scale, is the situation I described above any different than the situation we now have vis-a-vis illegal aliens?

Sadly, many liberal Christians have misread scripture and interpreted it to support open borders. I've already gone on long enough, so I'll refer you to this article, which argues the points better than I could, anyway.

By the way, Tom,

You aren't going Wally on us and asserting that America isn't a Christian country--are you?

How nice of you to let Moslems live in segregation. It reminds me of my late grandmother, whose answer to the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960s was "give 'em Texas." Certainly nothing bigoted there.

And your interpretation of Christianity is, if nothing else, self confident. It's not related to anything Christ ever said, but it's certainly self-confident.

We're a country dedicated to liberty, including religious liberty. We're Christian only in the sense that most Americans are Christian. The theory of the United States is sufficiently robust to allow those of any religion to be part of this country, so long as they buy into the tolerance of those whose application of our freedoms differs from their own, including those of different religions.

You disagree with that, of course.

Three things.

1. Your assertion that America is "Christian only in the sense that most Americans are Christian" means that America could, in theory, cease to be Christian by that definition and yet remain America. While this is true in the geographical sense, it is utterly false in the cultural and ideological sense.

Christianity was very much a part of the founding. Not only does the Declaration of Independence say that we "are endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable Rights," God is mentioned by name in the very first sentence of the document. Furthermore, God is mentioned (sometimes by aliases like "Supreme Ruler of the Universe") in all fifty state constitutions.

What's more, the notion of separation of church and state is misunderstood by most people. It is an injunction to keep the state from meddling in the affairs of churches; it is not meant to keep religion out of the public sphere. As for official churches, while the Federal government is forbidden from establishing one, the states are not, and as I understand it, some of the states did have official churches. At the very least, some had religious test laws, which establishes a de facto official church.

2. Multiculturalism has been an abject failure wherever it has been implemented. Examples: the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Iraq. I'm sure you can come up with more. However, minorities can peacefully co-exist with majorities, as long as the groups agree to get along; this includes the minority respecting the right of the majority to be the dominant group, the one that sets the overall tone. This worked very well in the US between majority Christians and minority Jews--until the Cultural Revolution of the 60s turned everything on its head. Now, sadly, with the attack upon mainstream America going full bore, some Jews join in the attack, insisting that their minority religion (about 2%) be given time equal to that of the majority, like menorahs on display next to Christmas trees. This way lies madness--and destruction.

3. According to Islamic scripture, non-Moslems have two choices: convert to Islam or die. "People of the Book" (i.e., Jews and Christians) have a third option: pay jizya, the Islamic equivalent of protection money. If they pay, they may live as third-rate citizens, unable to testify in court, unable to repair their houses of worship, and--by definition--always in the wrong in a dispute with a Moslem.

Islam is sui generis--unlike anything else. This is a difficult concept for modern Westerners to grasp, because we've been indoctrinated to believe that "everyone is just like us" and that perceived differences are merely superficial. If you read the Koran, read the hadiths, read about Islam's history of violent expansion and murderous conquest of others, you might come to realize that "tolerance" is not a trait valued by Moslems. So, by your own definition, Moslems do not belong in America--because they do not "buy into the tolerance of those whose application of our freedoms differs from their own." As Justice Robert Jackson's words are usually rendered, the Constitution is not a suicide pact. Granting religious freedom to Moslems is akin to granting freedom of speech to seditionists.

Unfortunately, realizing that Moslems are not like us, that they do not want the same things, that they do not share our values, and that granting them equal rights is ultimately suicidal--accepting all this would require you to give up your liberalism. I expect that's not going to happen because of anything I write, but I do trust your ability to look long and hard at your views in light of new facts. Now--are you willing to let those new facts in?

P.S. to fish: enjoying the thread?

To Tom,

During WWII, we did not let Germans, Italians, or Japanese into the country. This was discrimination. Was it a bad idea?

During the Cold War, we did not let Soviets or nationals of East Block states into the country. This was also discrimination. Was it a bad idea?

During the Global War on Terror, we allow Moslems, who are the practitioners of terror, into the country. This is not discrimination. It has resulted in 9/11, as well as a spate of other, smaller attacks by Moslems against Americans. Is this a good idea?

Again, Squid, Moslems are not perpetrators of terror. Some Moslems are perpetrators of terror. Your logic would allow the imprisonment of...well, everyone. It's the exact same logic that makes radical feminists declare that all men are rapists and the Ku Klux Klan assert that all blacks are drug addicts and pimps. It justified the smearing, during Vietnam, of all soldiers as "baby killers."

As for American founding documents' references to "the creator", etc., demonstrating that we're a Christian nation: I say those references prove just the opposite.

There are no references to Christ, who is -- I think we can agree on this, at least -- fundamental to the whole concept of Christianity. It appears that rather than establishing the United States as a Christian nation, by being purposefully vague about just whose God they were crediting, the founders were going out of their way to make room for other religions.

Finally, there's this spectacular expression of worldview:
However, minorities can peacefully co-exist with majorities, as long as the groups agree to get along; this includes the minority respecting the right of the majority to be the dominant group, the one that sets the overall tone.
So, to recap: minorities can live here as long as they don't mind being treated as second class citizens. This ignores completely the founders' concept of the tyranny of the majority, the Reason the Bill of Rights became part of the Constitution in the first place.

P.S. to fish: enjoying the thread?

Not really!

These always degenerate into little more chattering monkey sessions...I do hope we can avoid the feces throwing!

I concede that you raise some valid issues regarding the nature of muslim society! I just can't believe that we are all so worked up by the "threat" posed by them!

America is indeed fortunate for the ineptitude of her enemies!

Let me just close out with a little Fred!

A malign and poorly understood influence on foreign policy is the paranoid truculent male (though a few females share the ailment). The PTM is a fairly well-defined type, who believes that They Are Out to Get Us. He doesn’t much care who They are. If one They fails him, he will find another. These They must be fought to the death. It’s us or They.

As a current example, I get email telling me that Moslems hate us and want to enslave us. We must therefore gird our loins and prepare for an apocalyptic conflict that will determine whether Western civilization will survive. A war of peoples approaches, and we must win it.

This of course is transparent nonsense. A week or so ago I spoke with a friend in government service who recently returned from an extended period in Jordan. Perfectly friendly people, he reported. That was my own experience, years back. They knew he was an American, and consequently wanted to talk to him. He traveled by public transportation to Petra and so on. Not the slightest problem.

The difference between documentable fact and ferocious email was predictable. An unvarying characteristic of the PTM is the belief that his current enemies are implacably evil and united in pursuit of his enslavement. Frequently he hasn’t had the most minimal experience of this relentless enemy. Few of today’s PTMs have passed time in Moslem countries. Many do not have passports. The proportion who speak Arabic or Farsi or actually know any Moslems is very low. It doesn’t matter. PTMs share a specific personality that wants an enemy. They will always find one.

The PTM endows the enemy with near-magical powers. The utter irrationality of this doesn’t faze him because he doesn’t notice it. Only sub-clinical paranoia can explain the view that Moslems are going to enslave America, or even want to. A reasonable person looking at the Moslem world sees a disunited, industrially backward, technologically primitive group of ramshackle semi-civilizations that couldn’t enslave Guatemala.

The same thing happened during the days of the Soviet Union. It was in fact a vast, rickety, unstable, and backward empire butting heads with the US in the standard manner of large nations. To the PTM, the USSR was – altogether now – evil, relentlessly focused on our destruction, plotting a nuclear first strike, and desirous of enslaving us. (“Enslaving” is a favorite word of PTMs.) Odd. When I visited the USSR, I liked the people and they liked us. Nations in conflict, yes. Weird obsessive hatred of us, no.

The Soviets too had magical powers, said the PTMs. They were stealing our secrets. They were rapidly catching up with the US in all technologies, and actually ahead in the crucial ones. Their weapons coming off the assembly lines were better than ours, shrieeeek! Their tanks were robust, deadly, and practical, not high-tech gizmos like ours.

I had covered American tanks extensively, and knew a lot about Soviet armor. I went to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland to talk to the enlisted men who actually worked with captured Russian tanks. Junk they said. Hard to use, broke down constantly. I knew that Russian armor was at best using microchannel photomultipliers for night-vision instead of thermals. I had spent a lot of time with the M1 Abrams. I knew exactly what would happen if the two fought each other, and it always did.

None of this dented the PTM’s delusional armor. The Russian weapons that I had seen, that the Israelis had faced in ’67 and ’73, were “monkey models,” said the PTMs: primitive versions stripped of their lethal everything, just to fool us into complacency. (Everything is a conspiracy. No exceptions.) I reflected that the whole Russian economy must have been a monkey model. In Russia the stores had used the abacus. The only computer I saw was the Agat, a bad knock-off of the Apple II, I think it was, with an English operating system. Russia amounted to Mexico, without the consumer goods and technology.

An unvarying part of the PTM’s mental furniture is the belief that enemies within bore away at the national fabric. (Does one bore at fabric? I won’t take responsibility for my metaphors. The little voices give them to me.) Spies multiply like nits. Secret saboteurs await their chance. We must be afraid of everything. The world is a dark and perilous place, and They are everywhere. We must Suspect.

Thus Commies were lurking under rocks, penetrating every aspect of American society. Today of course it’s terrorists. We must tighten security, multiply surveillance, read email, suspect secret messages in photos, search all and sundry. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance, say the PTMs (eternal lunacy might be closer). It doesn’t occur to them that excessive vigilance ends liberty, because they don’t care about liberty. They want war with the hated enemy.

The notion that the enemy is demonically evil and magically powerful justifies any countermeasures, certainly including nuclear war, which latter appeals to the PTM’s adrenals. They believe they are practicing realism. The usual argument is that the enemy – Russia, the Moslems, soon China – has a huge population and therefore can afford to lose several hundred million people in a nuclear exchange (which sounds like Christmas presents). The stupidity is patent, but the PTM allows nothing to compromise his delusion. Since the enemy is determined to destroy us, we must be willing to kill those hundreds of million.

The tendency to see life as conflict with a merciless opponent engenders another favorite preoccupation of the PTM, that We Have Grown Soft. Yes. Americans no longer chop cordwood of a morning, don’t hunt bears. The rude strength that made the country great is sapped by suburban life. We are become a nation of metrosexuals. Awake, America! Before it is too late! Gird those loins.

PTMs can be highly intelligent, and their barely subdermal hostility – the largest component in their makeup, along with a total lack of empathy – gives them a lot of horsepower. Questions of morality do not interest them: Greater things are at stake. We must fight! Thus one often finds them at the levers of power.

It can be difficult to distinguish the true PTM from the merely conscienceless without talking to them. Still, Curtis LeMay was a prime example, perfectly willing to burn a hundred thousand civilians alive in a night. Ariel Sharon fits. So do a lot of the neocons who run the US. And so America, with no military enemies, raises the military budget relentlessly and finds ways to use it. Few in the military are PTMs, but the Pentagon embraces them to justify getting more money, and the weapons contractors milk them like cows. Hey, scare the public, take up a collection, and blow hell out of the demons twisting in the inner shadow.

Actually, Tom, I don't think that minorities should be second class citizens. I do think that they should accept the majority culture as the norm without necessarily capitulating to it (e.g., Catholics don't need to become Protestants). They, like any other citizen, have the right to challenge that which they think is mistaken, for whatever reason. I disagree with the notion that their culture and practices are due equal time, however. What we're seeing now is the pre-eminence of minority culture at the expense of the majority, which is even worse.

How you leapt from what I said to thinking that implementing it would lead to the imprisonment of any (maybe all) minorities is one of those hyperbolic leaps that liberals excel at. It reminds me of someone comparing Andrew Dice Clay's comedy to the Holocaust, or Bush to Hitler. For the life of me, I can't figure out where you people get some of these wacky notions.

Moslems have had 1400 years to show the world how they get along with others. So far, the answer has been "very, very poorly." War, slavery, massacres, misogyny, tyranny, terrorism--it's a terrible track record. In the modern day, Moslems atrocities are rarely condemned by their co-religionists, but are often celebrated by them. "Palestinians" have posters of suicide bombers on their walls; mothers are happy when their sons "martyr" themselves. There was dancing in the "Arab street" on 9/11. "Protesters" burn cars, shoot at police, and otherwise engage in low-level insurgencies.

I'd simply prefer not to have to put up with that in my country. Compare airport security now to the way it was 20 years ago. There is one and only one reason for the difference: Islamic terrorism.

If there were no Moslems amongst us, does it not stand to reason that there would be no Islamic terrorism? Is non-discrimination such a lofty ideal as to be worth dying for?

I like and get along with the majority of Moslems I know personally. I don't get along with some, but that's because of incompatible personalities--nothing more. But I recognize truths that are larger than the individual. After educating myself about Islam--something you have never claimed to have done, Tom (or fish)--I came to the conclusion that our ancestors were right: Islam is our eternal enemy--not because we say so, but because they do.

How is it moral or just to allow those who declare themselves to be our enemies to live among us?

fish,

There were Communists infiltrating our organizations and attempting to subvert our government. The Communist Party of the USA was funded by Stalin's government. Dalton Trumbo, one of the "Hollywood Ten," was a member of the CPUSA. While there were HUAC excesses, the threat was not imaginary.

Some of the criticisms in the piece you quote are accurate. I have seen people advocate violence against Mestizos and Moslems simply because they're here. I have never done that; I think it is wrong. However, there is a simple way to avoid such violence: the return, to their countries of origin, of people whose presence in the US is incompatible with our laws and culture. It would make us more secure, restore some of our lost liberties, decrease the multiculturalist threat to our society and culture--and yet I'm sure to be castigated as a wannabe demagogue with prison camps and mass murder on his mind for advocating it.

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