Peters vs. Steyn: What Will Waking Up Look Like?

John Hinderaker at Powerline has posted the following discussion of two articles, one by Ralph Peters on the Europeans ethnically cleansing their Muslims and one by Mark Steyn, on the demographic time-bomb that threatens Europe. At the end there’s a response from Mark Steyn to Peters. My interlinear comments in italic; longer comments at the end.

They Report, You Decide (with update from Mark Steyn)

Most of our readers are aware of Mark Steyn’s “Demography is Destiny” theme, which he has elaborated in much of his recent writing. Steyn thinks that low birth rates among Europeans, in particular, will inevitably lead to their replacement on the European continent by Muslims who are reproducing at a far faster rate. Steyn pursues the theme in today’s article in the Chicago Sun-Times, Quartet of Ladies Shows Where We’re Headed. He contrasts Fatma An-Najar, the 64-year-old Palestinian grandmother who became a suicide bomber, with Katharine Jefferts Schori, the new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church:

    An-Najar gave birth to her first child at the age of 12. She had eight others. She had 41 grandchildren. Keep that family tree in mind. By contrast, in Spain, a 64-year old woman will have maybe one grandchild. That’s four grandparents, one grandchild: a family tree with no branches.

Meanwhile, what of the Episcopalians?

    Bishop Kate gave an interview to the New York Times revealing what passes for orthodoxy in this most flexible of faiths. She was asked a simple enough question: “How many members of the Episcopal Church are there?”
    “About 2.2 million,” replied the presiding bishop. “It used to be larger percentage-wise, but Episcopalians tend to be better educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than other denominations.”

    This was a bit of a jaw-dropper even for a New York Times hackette, so, with vague memories of God saying something about going forth and multiplying floating around the back of her head, a bewildered Deborah Solomon said: “Episcopalians aren’t interested in replenishing their ranks by having children?”

    “No,” agreed Bishop Kate. “It’s probably the opposite. We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion.”

Is that a death wish, or what? As Steyn points out, “Here’s the question for Bishop Kate: If Fatma An-Najar has 41 grandchildren and a responsible ‘better educated’ Episcopalian has one or two, into whose hands are we delivering ‘the stewardship of the earth’? If your crowd isn’t around in any numbers, how much influence can they have in shaping the future?”

This question underlines the extraordinary combination of supreme self-confidence (bordering on arrogance) of “moral Europe” on the one hand, with, just below the surface, a profound lack of confidence that makes the same people who want to take care of the earth unwilling to defend it.

Steyn’s logic is persuasive to me, but Ralph Peters isn’t buying it. He thinks that, far from taking over Europe, that continent’s Muslims “will be lucky just to be deported:”

    Have the Europeans become too soft for that sort of thing? Has narcotic socialism destroyed their ability to hate? Is their atheism a prelude to total surrender to faith-intoxicated Muslim jihadis?

    The answer to all of the above questions is a booming “No!” The Europeans have enjoyed a comfy ride for the last 60 years – but the very fact that they don’t want it to stop increases their rage and sense of being besieged by Muslim minorities they’ve long refused to assimilate (and which no longer want to assimilate).

    Far from enjoying the prospect of taking over Europe by having babies, Europe’s Muslims are living on borrowed time. When a third of French voters have demonstrated their willingness to vote for Jean-Marie Le Pen’s National Front – a party that makes the Ku Klux Klan seem like Human Rights Watch – all predictions of Europe going gently into that good night are surreal.

    I have no difficulty imagining a scenario in which U.S. Navy ships are at anchor and U.S. Marines have gone ashore at Brest, Bremerhaven or Bari to guarantee the safe evacuation of Europe’s Muslims. After all, we were the only ones to do anything about the slaughter of Muslims in the Balkans.

It’s true that the Europeans have historically been willing to act much more harshly that Americans when they have felt threatened. But I wouldn’t start sending the Marines to Brest just yet.

As Steyn will point out below, Peters is above all a polemicist who throws out assertions with perhaps excessive ease. He does have one good phrase:

    Muslim minorities they’ve long refused to assimilate (and which no longer want to assimilate).

Nice formula that gets at both sides’ contribution to the problem (it’s so much fun being even-handed), and the element of lost opportunity (“no longer want…”). But it’s not conclusive in that howevermuch they may despise (not “hate” — that’s too strong an emotion for the Europeans, especially where a victim minority is concerned), that doesn’t mean they are ready to act. The characterization of Le Pen’s group as more ferocious than the KKK strikes me as silly. I don’t know of one lynch of Arabs by Le Pennistes, much less a systematic pattern of such aggression. More like wishful thinking on Peters’ part. Indeed, much of the essay seems like wishful thinking, which bespeaks what an abysmal situation we’ve gotten ourselves into, when we who want to see civil society survive, start hoping the fascists come back.

To comment on this post, go here.

UPDATE: Mark Steyn comments:

Steyn’s comments are more vitriolic than necessary, although obviously someone who thinks hard and writes well doesn’t like to be call a “pop pundit” by a pop pundit.

    I don’t know whether Mr Peters is referring to my book, because, as usual when this particular columnist comes out swinging, he prefers to confront unnamed generalized opponents: thus, he refers to “a rash of pop pundits” predicting Europe will become Eurabia. Dismissing with airy condescension “a rash” of anonymities means you avoid having to deal with specific arguments.

    Had he read America Alone, for example, he would know that I do, indeed, foresee a revival of Fascism in Europe. He concludes: “All predictions of Europe going gently into that good night are surreal.” Which of us predicted anything about “going gently”? As I write on page 105 of my book: “It’s true that there are many European populations reluctant to go happily into the long Eurabian night.” What I point out, though, is that, even if you’re hot for a new Holocaust, demography tells. There are no Hitlers to hand. When Mr Peters cites the success of Jean Marie Le Pen’s National Front, he overlooks not only Le Pen’s recent overtures to Muslims but also the fact that M Le Pen is pushing 80. As a general rule, when 600 octogenarians are up against 200 teenagers, bet on the teens. In five or ten years’ time, who precisely is going to organize mass deportations from French cities in which the native/Muslim youth-population ratio is already – right now – 55/45?

This is a bit weak. Le Pen may be pushing 80, but he’s got followers who are young. The point about Le Pen’s overtures to Muslims, however, are curious and troubling. If Steyn doesn’t like cheap shots, he shouldn’t take them.

    As I’ve said innumerable times, the native European population is split three ways: some will leave, as the Dutch (and certain French) are already doing; some will shrug and go along with the Islamization of the continent, as the ever-accelerating number of conversions suggests; and so the ones left to embrace Fascism will be a minority of an aging population.

As far as I can make out, it’s a minority who will leave (just as a minority of Jews left Germany in the 1930s); and another minority who will convert (at least for the time being). Possibly an important number will acquiesce quietly, but that number is as yet undetermined — isn’t that what the debate is about? So all in all, it’s not at all clear that the remainder — those drawn to active resistance — will constitute a minority.

    It will be bloody and messy, as I write in America Alone, but it will not alter the final outcome. If you don’t breed, you can’t influence the future. And furthermore a disinclination to breed is a good sign you don’t care much about the future. That’s why the Spaniards, who fought a brutal bloody civil war for their country in the 1930s, folded instantly after those Madrid bombings. When you’ve demographically checked out of the future, why fight for it?

This may well be right, but it is hardly so certain as to preclude other possibilities. It has an almost aesthetic appeal because it is so laden with ironies (Catholic Europe with no kids!). But the future is too complex to be this sure about anything. I think we should think in terms of multiple possible outcomes. History is full of surprises (including the one that Steyn has systematically mapped out).

Ralph Peters is late to this debate. If he’s going to join the discussion, he might do better to tackle the facts. But that would require him to acknowledge real specifics rather than “a rash of pop pundits”. You’ll notice that his column and mine differ not just in their approach to worldviews but in their approach to argument: mine cites four specific persons, their actions and assertions; his boldly batters anonymous generalizations. I know which I regard as more effective.

Thanks to Mark Steyn for this addition to the discussion.

Comments:

While Steyn’s work is clearly significantly more careful and thought out than Peters — who does seem to be shooting from the lip, as if the last 60 years hadn’t brought huge and possibly permanent(ly debilitating) changes to Europe — I’m not sure I’d be so certain that Steyn’s perspective is more accurate because he’s looked at four specific people. They are anecdotal, well-chosen (as far as I’m concerned), but hardly a guarantee for drawing the big picture. (I’d have tossed in Segolène Royale, but it would not have changed Steyn’s conclusions… au contraire.) But I think this unpleasant polemic exchange obscures more than it illuminates.

Hidden Transcripts and European Awareness

The key issue, as far as I can make out, is the relationship between the public sphere and the private. Part of what’s so astounding about this entire exchange is that the Europeans, by and large, are not yet even discussing the matter. European elites, who dominate what gets said in public, are in an increasingly astounding condition of radical denial. And anyone who dares point out the looming demographic and political tide on the horizon is immediately dismissed as alarmists, Zionist agents, fascists and neo-cons (which in French means “neo-jerk”). We are faced with a phenomenon that is not unique but relatively rare in history where merely addressing what seems like the obvious and very threatening is almost impossible.

So how do these kinds of dynamics work out? One way to think about them comes from James C. Scott’s brilliant book, Domination and the Arts of Resistance in which he discusses the dynamics at work between public transcripts (like deference to superiors, politeness, political correctness), and hidden transcripts (resentment, grievances, plans for vengeance). Most of the time, these hidden transcripts remain hidden. But on rare occasions, these hidden transcripts can breach the public sphere, often with dramatic effect.

“Society is a very mysterious animal with many faces and hidden potentialities, and… it’s extremely shortsighted to believe that the face society happens to be presenting to you at a given moment is its only true face. None of us knows all the potentialities that slumber in the spirit of the population.”
Vaclav Havel, May 31, 1990, quoted on the opening page of Scott’s book

Right now, my impression is that many Europeans have begun to realize just how serious their condition, and although the elites who dominate the public sphere punish anyone who dares break with the consensus, more and more people begin to exchange worried thoughts in private. Numerous times I have heard people say something on the order of “I wouldn’t say these things in public…” or, “I wouldn’t say this to another Frenchman, but here, on a plane…” (One of Scott’s points is that liminal space that offers anonymity encourages the expression of hidden transcripts… as does alcohol and other disinhibitors.) With the internet making this information available, Europeans have access to information and discussion that they ordinarily would not (including translation services).

Of course access to this discussion is not enough. One needs both the motivation to find it, and the courage to absorb the information it offers. One of the problems with cyberspace is that one can just as easily self-brainwash as self-educate: it’s a lot easier to visit the sites that make you feel good by reaffirming what you want to hear. And realizing that your entire civilization is in danger of falling to a ruthless religious enemy does not come easily. The forces that lie behind European political correctness include not only the fear of being ostracized as a racist, but also the fear of realizing how perilous one’s condition.

This latter point, of course, brings up the great dilemma: what to do? My sense is that all over the Western world, the reluctance to see Islamism and global Jihad as serious threats — terrorism is a criminal issue to be handled by police and courts — derives primarily from an unwillingness to engage in the kind of defensive/offensive moves that would seem indicated. People have difficulty acknowledging a problem until they have an answer. Liberals have no answer to a religious war waged by demopaths who disguise themselves as proponents of human rights, so they prefer to take them at face value and hope against hope that, if we’re nice and play by our rules, they’ll reciprocate.

So the Europeans keep popping blue pills, and anyone who points it out becomes either ridiculed or an enemy, a provocateur who insists on goading the poor Muslims to the violence we all hope they want to avoid.

On breaching the Public Sphere

The question then becomes when and how this awareness, that simmers under the surface will make its breach and what will the consequences be. As I have often lamented, by suppressing this awareness of the danger, liberals and progressives make the problem infinitely worse, increasing the likelihood of massive violence when the actual hostilities do break out, just like in the 1930s.

But each incident increases the awareness that matters are at an impasse, that placation/appeasement only creates a balloon mortgage of deferred conflict which at once weakens those who placate and encourages those who can gain so much just by threatening violence.

What both Steyn and Peters share is a monolithic view of Islam that, while not wrong potentially, is still not true now. The demographics of Muslims vs. (post-)Christian Europeans are not pure and simple arithmetic. Many Muslims know how dangerous Islamism is for them, and although some may take pride in the way that the Muslim “youth” have the cops on the run, and Jihadis have the Europeans quaking in their boots, they also know that the victory of these forces would be a disaster for everyone but the mafiosi who take over.

It’s a detail few know, but the famous remark of Sarkozy about the raquaille (rabble), which now has earned him a reputation for being a fascist and a racist, was in response to an Arab woman in one of the ZUS who shouted to the minister of the interior as he walked through one of the rioting neighborhoods, “When will you rid us of this raquaille?” That was her term for the hoodlums of her ethnic and religious persuasion who made life more miserable for her than for the Frenchmen living in chic Parisian arrondissement. To assume that a Muslim or an Arab is automatically against Western values is a serious error.

There are, in fact, numerous fissures in the Muslim world, and in particular in the Western Muslim population, most of it concerning the value of civil society and human freedom. It is a testimony to our ambivalence that we at once assume that they will share our values (based on the draw of a consumer society) and that we don’t really try and inculcate them. This is only partially a demographic battle; it’s more significantly an ideological battle, and to see it merely in demographic terms is to give up the ideological battle entirely.

Of course, to phrase it that way runs a major risk: we are so ready to declare ideological victory — the “vast majority of Muslims are moderate” — that we fail to understand that the ideology that confronts us has enormous potential appeal on three levels:

  • first, to a small group of zealots who find it really appealing to shed blood in the name of Allah and to look forward to exercising dominion such terror provides;
  • second, to a much larger group of people for whom the blows against the West restore their sense of honor, for whom the blood shed on 9-11 and all other such events, washes away their deep sense of humiliation; and
  • third, for an even larger group of Muslims (and non-Muslims) who keep track of which way the wind is blowing, and if they sense that Islam is going to be the winner, they will “convert” to Islamism as a way to protect themselves.

Orientation for Red Pill Takers

Above all, we must learn to distinguish between demopaths and people who are really interested in the values of a civil society. If we embrace demopaths, they will destroy us; if we reject sincere Muslims, then we alienate potential and critically important allies. This means we need to do something very different from the current suggestions among the placating “progressive” set. Instead of avoiding conflict lest we alienate them — as Loki puts it, hate-mongering (i.e., any criticism that offends Muslims, RL) polarizes — we need to criticize them civilly.

This means, among other things, challenging gently but firmly their commitment to honor-shame concerns. Most (largely unconscious) demopathic discourse comes from people who justify extremism by explaining how it’s understandable that Muslims find x, y, and z violently unacceptable (where x is depictions, no matter how anodine, of the prophet, y is descriptions, no matter how accurate, of Islam’s tendency to violence, and z is the existence of the state of Israel). We need to hold Muslims to the standards of civil society. If the nations of the world, and the “progressive left” had insisted that Muslim countries recognize and deal with Israel rather than “respecting” their sense of honor by allowing them to isolate and demonize Israel, I don’t think we’d be in the pickle we’re currently in.

Ultimately such concessions reflect a condescension that easily slides into contempt for the Muslims that they, even as they exploit it to the fullest, deeply resent. Destroying us for not having the courage to hold them to our standards makes psychological sense, even if everyone loses in the process.

These issues of honor-shame are, imnsho, critical. Here we have to deal not only with the (not-so-secret) resentment that Muslims feel at the abysmal standing of their culture in the real world of 21st century globalization — their economic retardation, their appalling record of political dictatorships, their complete failure in the realm of human rights — and the less than mature ways they compensate for that public humiliation — Schadenfreude at Western losses (9-11 celebrations), their rage at any hint of criticism, their obsession with demonizing Israel.

We must learn to discuss these matters rather than ignore them. We must learn to insist that Muslims match the standard of others in both giving and accepting civil criticism. Should we do so gently? Perhaps. But not if that means allowing them to make outrageous accusations, and then restraining ourselves from making the least criticism lest that offend and provoke them. And when we run into Muslims who insist that they are sincere about their commitment to principles of fairness and who nonetheless treat Israel as a pariah for doing to them a fraction of what they do to each other, and who justify the vitriol that passes for news in the Arab world, then we must confront them. It is in part our inability to ask for a minimum of reciprocity that encourages the worst among Muslim irredentists.

The Issue of Muslim Moderates

And in so doing, we abandon that “vast majority of moderates” who are less genuine moderates than potential moderates. Civil society and positive-sum relations may seem rational to those of us who grew up in them, and there’s no question that, especially for someone who grew up in a repressive system, whether in Eastern Europe, Asia, or the Middle East, the appeal of both freedom and a society of abundance have enormous attraction.

But civil society demands as well as provides, in particular it demands a sense of reciprocity, of respect for others’ freedoms as well as one’s own, acceptance of others’ successes perhaps greater than our own. Modernity is messy and difficult: it’s constantly shifting conditions create a perpetual wake of anxiety, demanding tolerance for high levels of cognitive dissonance. It’s abundance creates enormous problems of addictive behavior and moral laxity. Its extensive freedoms make women at once more accessible and more challenging. Unlike traditional society, modern ones are enduringly challenging, unpredictable, unstable. And as Macchiavelli explained, the reason a prince should prefer fear to love among his subjects, fear is predictable.

These are problems for all of us, but particularly strong for a population that has, for a variety of cultural reasons, done significantly less well than other immigrant groups in Europe, on the one hand, and have a de facto membership in a religion that offers a ready response to the discomiture of modernity, on the other. For those who find modernity primarily a source of anxiety, temptation, emptiness, and ego-injury, Europe is the Cancer, Islam is the Answer. So while plenty of Muslim immigrants prefer the world of plenty and freedom offered by Europe, even the most successful can find the alternative alluring (e.g., the London bombers).

Every Muslim in the West struggles with the contradictions of modernity, and the contradictions between that problematic modernity and a religion that offers anti-modern solutions to these problems. Instead of the narcissistic injury of daily life, they can find the comforts of a religion that tells them “you are God’s chosen; you are superior to all the infidels around you; you should rule the world and restore the morality God demands.”

This appeal helps explain why Muslims in the West who opt out of secular modernity prefer Islamism to the traditional Islam of their ancestors. In its resounding response to the humiliations of modernity, the Islamist project offers a spectacular solution. Muslims have a cosmic superiority which globalization now makes possible to manifest here on earth. Such a goal can make any sacrifice meaningful.

The ugliest expressions of this millennial vision, including its newest contribution, suicide terrorism, appeal to everything selfish in humans: the desire to dominate, to strike fear in the hearts of infidels, to humiliate, to win a high-stakes game where winner takes all. Global Jihad creates the ultimate anti-modern, anti-positive-sum conditions, where one cannot afford to be on the wrong side of history. There, loss is as catastrophic as victory is indulgent.

We Westerners do not, by and large, understand how our enemy thinks. (Very few people understand “others” in their own terms.) But this time, we can’t afford to misread the signals, to think that those who think that way don’t really, or, conversely, to think that those who think like us don’t. And complicating it all, are those who aren’t sure how they should think.

We are all at a point where we must choose. For many who are oly superficially aquainted with the miraculous victory of civil society over the last two centuries, the choices line up in terms of which side looks like the winner. After all, in the world of zero-sum, rule or be ruled, might makes right. Why else would 9-11 have inspired many in the West to convert to Islam, and many Muslims to move in the direction of Islamism (veil, Ramadan observance, mosque attendance)?

How Muslims perceive Western behavior matters more in this case, than how Westerners perceive their own behavior. And when the Pope apologizes, however minimally, rather than rebukes Islam for its violent response to his calling it violent, they think we have lost. When Muslims tell us that Islam is a religion of tolerance and peace, and we nod our heads eagerly in agreement (and relief), rather than ask them what Dar al Harb means, and what Dhimmi “rights” consisted of, they think we are weak-willed and foolish. When Muslims tell us they might not become terrorists so easily if we would align our foreign policy to their demands and we do so (as in Spain after the bombings), then it’s pretty clear which way the wind is blowing.

Peters and Steyn are both right in discussing the problem even as Europeans continue to ignore it. Their predictions, though, seem more assured than they ought to be. We cannot know the future. The fall of Rome can warn us of another fall of Western European civilization to a hostile tribal culture. But it does not guarantee that fall. We can, as Peters argues, wake up in time. But how we wake up, how we deal with the awareness we then confront, how we analyze our dilemma find solutions that enhance the strengths of civil society… those are the marks of our character.

15 Responses to Peters vs. Steyn: What Will Waking Up Look Like?

  1. pistache says:

    Thanks, Richard, for this very good text… I think I’ll put it in good position on my “to translate” list!

  2. Room 237 says:

    People have this view that “it will be messy” when and if Europe (or the entire West) loses the demographic game. But I disagree. Instead I think it will look more from ennui than the final scene of Spartacus. I believe that one day, people will wake up, note that many of the women are veiled, and simply shrug. It will be Elliot’s whisper, not Wagner’s Götterdämmerung.

    Look at what happened when the Western Empire fell. People have this Hollywood image of barbarian hordes descending on Rome. Yet the reality is somewhat different. Yes there were battles, but Rome was sacked in 410 — the Western Empire limped along for another 66 years. Rome fell simply because the elites and the people just stopped caring. One day, a barbarian Roman general decided he was tired of the charade of kneeling to a 9 year old emperor, so he packed the kid off to Naples and sent the imperial regalia to Constantinople. And that was it.

    The Eastern Empire fell to be sure in an orgy of blood and violence when Constantinople fell. But in reality, the end of the Empire was written centuries earlier. At Manzikert, it was barely a battle, yet it so shook the Greek’s self confidence that 20 years later they woke up to find the Turks in control of all of Anatolia. The decline was halted and reversed for a time, but still, the elites then stoped caring and started playing their own games, leading to the sack of the City in 1204, and weakening the Empire.

    I think the same will happen to the West. I am convinced my yet far unborn granddaughters will wear burkas.

  3. John says:

    I think the difference when comparing Rome and Washington is that at some point North America will retreat from Europe. Let the Germans, Dutch,Belgians, French etc wear burkas and i suppose if ones future relatives live there, they will suffer for it. North America is much more inclined to resist Islam….witness than other than Oriana Fallachi, the warnings are coming from this side of the Atlantic…pity the Brits but they are welcome in the Colonies.

  4. Gourney says:

    Room 237 please read Norwich’s three volume work on the Byzantine Empire…then come back and post,

    having read (in) them, I’m not sure what you think a read will do to Room 237′s comment. can you elucidate rather than act condescendingly erudite?

    Richard your own cognitive egocentrism will generate the genocide you desire…(said the Avenging Angel)…

    This is a sickness Richard…

    Okay, I’ll bite. What’s my cognitive egocentrism? What makes you think I desire genocide? And how will that CE contribute to it? Hint: I thought I was arguing that LCE, by delaying dealing with the problem will generate a war of religion of massive proportions. But I’m open to another read.

  5. Gourney says:

    People in these and related blogs will not desist in RIDICULOUSLY misreading Roman and later history for their own hysterical ends…you are beyond rationality…you are a reflection of the Islamists we all loathe…

    i have several lengthy posts on the parallels (not, obviously congruences) btw the fall of rome and the current threat to europe. i welcome informed comment.

  6. laine says:

    This analysis deserves wider exposure than that indicated by the dearth of comments and the poor quality of those by Gourney.

    When a civilized individual recognizes and discusses a barbaric enemy, the reality is distasteful to some people who ascribe their squeamishness to refined sensibility rather than weakness. It is difficult to decide what to do about a beheader or bomber without referring to his crimes.

    Anyone like Gourney who conflates the beheader and the defender discussing possible strategies with “You’re both the same” is too foolish to join the adults and should go back to his crayons.

    The author has accurately noted that most in the West have no understanding of the Muslim mindset. This is especially true of the chattering classes. If given the information that they have access to, your average citizen would be rightfully alarmed whereas it bounces off the leftist blinders of our misnamed “intelligentsia” who in turn take pains to censor it from the masses. To this day, there are communist apologists who deny the slaughter and oppression that have accompanied their beloved totalitarianism wherever it has set its bloody footprint. The left’s capacity to deny is bottomless.

    The author is absolutely correct that few of us in the West comprehend the power of the honor/shame motivator among Arab and Muslim peoples. We also do not understand that Islam is a religion like no other in that it categorically demands that its practitioners follow religious law and seek to do so wherever they move, even in non-Muslim countries. They are colonizers rather than immigrants. They make many inroads under the multicult umbrella using human rights commissions, the media and courts. When they get the numbers, this peaceful pressure changes to physical threats and civil war as seen in the takeover of Lebanon, which used to be majority Christian as well as Indonesia.

    In all the religious conflicts in the world at present, one side is consistently Muslim, and in many cases both sides. Islam reflects its founder Mohammed’s tactics exactly in that it presents a peaceful face while seeking to gain advantage but when it dominates, it never plays well with other religions. Infidels have three choices only wherever and whenever Muslims are master: to convert, to become a second class dhimmi with diminished rights only on sufferance in concert with augmented taxes, or death. Finally, the West does not understand that everything we pride ourselves on, our reluctance to fight, our desire to negotiate, seeking co-operation are read as WEAKNESS by the Muslim mind and encouragement to press their advantage.

    Note how any so-called negotiation goes with them. They make a demand. The West makes a concession. Now the West awaits a reciprocal concession. Instead, there’s another Muslim demand…It’s the pattern that has made Londonistan and is creating Eurabia. It’s the pattern that has prevented mid-East peace between Israel and its Muslim neighbors. Name one concession made by the Palestinians.

    For example, Israel left Gaza. What was the Palestinians’ return “concession”? If it had been a cessation of hostilities because they had now gotten some of the land they were clamoring for, the West Bank was scheduled to be turned over to them next. Instead, they moved rockets into Gaza to launch them deeper into Israel’s territory. And so it will go step by step until Israel is driven into the sea.

    “When the nose of the camel is allowed into the tent, the rest of him is sure to follow”.

  7. igout says:

    If Trotsky didn’t actually say this, he should have: “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.” In these new times, old times to be more accurate, we may rediscover certain forgotten talents and strengths. I sure hope so.

  8. betsybounds says:

    Excellent post, and some nice comments (laine, Room 237 especially). I’m always amazed at the alacrity with which those in the West jump to declare our enemies to be crazy, madmen, or the like. Whatever else they are, they aren’t crazy. What’s wrong with them isn’t a mental condition that would respond to treatment of some kind.

  9. Eliyahu says:

    gourney alias loki thinks that US foreign policy is a great supporter of Israel. He is invited to read my latest posts on Lebanon and Western policy towards Lebanon going back to the 1950s.

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2006/11/where-does-west-stand-on-lebanon.html
    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2006/12/plo-jihadists-adopt-leftist-popular.html

    To RL, I think that you make a good point in that not every Muslim is automatically in favor of terrorists or opposed to a peaceful lifestyle. And we can probably both point to exceptions. However, there are too many who indeed do favor terrorism, jihad, striking the dhimmis or the harbys [non-Muslims not yet under Muslim rule]. One problem is how to deal differentially with the two groups. Another problem is that Western powers have all too often favored the aggressive Muslim or Arab nationalist. In fact, the British often favored Arab anti-Jewish terrorists in Israel [during the "palestine mandate"] and discriminated against more moderate Muslims. Further, the British often worked against Jewish-Arab cooperation or even Jewish-Arab communication. As I have mentioned before, on occasion, as in 1920, 1929, 1936-39, the British authorities encouraged or acquiesced in Arab violence against Jews.
    See for example, Horace Samuel’s book, Revolt by Leave.

    and we’re doing it again, partly in our inability to distinguish demopaths from democrats, partly in our inability to fight back consistently and unitedly, partly in the kinds of foolish and dangerous games our western MSM play in demonizing Israel and the USA.

  10. chevalier de st george says:

    One other point in understanding the islamists.
    it has occured to me that LOOTING is one of their fundamental principles.
    In the desolate and harsh landscape of the Arabian peninsula, what other forms of survival existed?
    How convenient to justify looting by claiming everything under the harsh sun belongs to Islam.
    Even the religion of islam itself was looted from judeo christianity. The wondrous inventions and discoveries of all the lands conquered were ingested and regurgitated as Islamic were they not?
    One is reminded of the wasps who lay their eggs inside other insects and metamorphose them into their own.

  11. RL says:

    Response to Laine

    This analysis deserves wider exposure than that indicated by the dearth of comments and the poor quality of those by Gourney.

    When a civilized individual recognizes and discusses a barbaric enemy, the reality is distasteful to some people who ascribe their squeamishness to refined sensibility rather than weakness. It is difficult to decide what to do about a beheader or bomber without referring to his crimes.

    Anyone like Gourney who conflates the beheader and the defender discussing possible strategies with “You’re both the same” is too foolish to join the adults and should go back to his crayons.

    i have an essay on moral equivalence that discusses precisely this issue. i think you’ve put your finger on the point — it is puerile to take refuge in equivalences that permit one to hide squeamishness as moral sensibility. the french have a great term for this: angélisme. i call it moral narcissism.

    The author has accurately noted that most in the West have no understanding of the Muslim mindset. This is especially true of the chattering classes. If given the information that they have access to, your average citizen would be rightfully alarmed whereas it bounces off the leftist blinders of our misnamed “intelligentsia” who in turn take pains to censor it from the masses. To this day, there are communist apologists who deny the slaughter and oppression that have accompanied their beloved totalitarianism wherever it has set its bloody footprint. The left’s capacity to deny is bottomless.

    I wouldn’t restrict that to the left, although they are currently the champions. all humans are capable of enormous denial, and to some extent we cannot live without it. but when it becomes life-threatening, we need to stop. the issue is not whether we resort to denial, but how recklessly we do it.

    The author is absolutely correct that few of us in the West comprehend the power of the honor/shame motivator among Arab and Muslim peoples. We also do not understand that Islam is a religion like no other in that it categorically demands that its practitioners follow religious law and seek to do so wherever they move, even in non-Muslim countries. They are colonizers rather than immigrants. They make many inroads under the multicultural umbrella using human rights commissions, the media and courts. When they get the numbers, this peaceful pressure changes to physical threats and civil war as seen in the takeover of Lebanon, which used to be majority Christian as well as Indonesia.

    good description of a demopathic strategy.

    In all the religious conflicts in the world at present, one side is consistently Muslim, and in many cases both sides. Islam reflects its founder Mohammed’s tactics exactly in that it presents a peaceful face while seeking to gain advantage but when it dominates, it never plays well with other religions. Infidels have three choices only wherever and whenever Muslims are master: to convert, to become a second class dhimmi with diminished rights only on sufferance in concert with augmented taxes, or death. Finally, the West does not understand that everything we pride ourselves on, our reluctance to fight, our desire to negotiate, seeking co-operation are read as WEAKNESS by the Muslim mind and encouragement to press their advantage.

    Note how any so-called negotiation goes with them. They make a demand. The West makes a concession. Now the West awaits a reciprocal concession. Instead, there’s another Muslim demand…It’s the pattern that has made Londonistan and is creating Eurabia. It’s the pattern that has prevented mid-East peace between Israel and its Muslim neighbors. Name one concession made by the Palestinians.

    i agree with you. this is our dilemma. we are so used to resolving disputes with positive-sum negotiations — “getting to yes!” — that we don’t know what to do when cofronted with implacable opponents. that’s part of what i think drives Gourney/Loki. he doesn’t know what to do, partly because he assumes that if you can’t talk the only thing you can do is slaughter. so he resorts to accusing those who want to talk about what to do of planning a genocide.

    For example, Israel left Gaza. What was the Palestinians’ return “concession”? If it had been a cessation of hostilities because they had now gotten some of the land they were clamoring for, the West Bank was scheduled to be turned over to them next. Instead, they moved rockets into Gaza to launch them deeper into Israel’s territory. And so it will go step by step until Israel is driven into the sea.

    “When the nose of the camel is allowed into the tent, the rest of him is sure to follow”.

  12. RL says:

    Response to Chevalier:

    One other point in understanding the islamists.
    it has occured to me that LOOTING is one of their fundamental principles.
    In the desolate and harsh landscape of the Arabian peninsula, what other forms of survival existed?
    How convenient to justify looting by claiming everything under the harsh sun belongs to Islam.
    Even the religion of islam itself was looted from judeo christianity. The wondrous inventions and discoveries of all the lands conquered were ingested and regurgitated as Islamic were they not?

    there’s no doubt that Islam arose in a world of “plunder or be plundered.” it’s the basic zero-sum rules of tribal warrior culture that predated Islam. and Muhammad played that game to the fullest. (Karen Armstrong uses this condition to “explain” how Muhammad’s decision to kill the men and sell the women and children into slavery after the battle of Khaybar against a Jewish tribe was not really as bad as it seems to us moderns. Everyone did it.

    One is reminded of the wasps who lay their eggs inside other insects and metamorphose them into their own.

    as for the wasps, they sting their pray to keep them alive and immobile so that when the eggs hatch, the young feed off the still live victim. if you want to make the parallel, the demopathic discourse is the paralyzing sting and the young are the next generation of “immigrants” who, in the words of a historian describing the Fall of Rome, “carve out kingdoms for themselves from the Empire’s living body politic.” As Bernard Lewis points out, the difference between modern and Arab culture is that our ideal is to make not take, and theirs is to take not make. And of course, just like the Germanic tribes who wanted to take over the Roman empire, not destroy it, these plundering Muslims will destroy the very wealth they covet.

    but again, let me emphasize. this is not all Muslims, nor even, i think a majority. the draw of this tribal honor-shame mentality may exercise its sway — it does over everyone at some level — but we have to strengthen those who are ready to resist and isolate (and humiliate) those who give themselves to this mentality. above all, we need to stop placating these latter.

  13. Eliyahu says:

    I find Karen Armstrong’s rationalization for Muhammad’s slaughter of the Khaybar Jews to be revolting. Maybe she just feels that if 20th century Jews displaced [allegedly] Arabs living in “palestine” [a word not found in the Qur'an which calls the Land "the Holy Land"-Sura 5:20-22-- or "blessed abode" etc.], then 7th century Arabs were justified in displacing, nay, massacring Jews. I know that if she does think this way, then her time sequence is backwards, but that probably doesn’t matter to her. The 7th century Jews deserved what they got because Ben Gurion and Sharon were mean to the Arabs later. Or maybe she still wants revenge for the alleged Jewish role in the Crucifixion. In any case, if EVERYBODY in Muhammad’s time was doing the same thing, then what special message did he bring to justify his being revered as a prophet into the 21st century?? Actually, I’m not sure that everybody was doing the same thing in the 7th century, not even all the Arabs. In fact, Arabs were important, prosperous traders between India and the Mediterranean for 100s of years before and after the year 1 CE. Without getting into too much detail, they had overrun Edom, Moab, and Ammon by the Persian period’s end, as far as I know. http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2005/06/arabs-land-grabbers-long-before.html
    Getting back to Karen Armstrong, I am not sure that she’s all there, but she’s a favorite of certain MSM publications nevertheless. I remember a silly interview with her or write up on her in Time about 20 years ago. Be that as it may, let’s ask her how she justifies the mass murders carried out by Arabs [or other Muslims] in the 20th and 21st centuries. How many Jews, Kashmiri Hindus, Armenians, Sudanese Blacks, Lebanese Christians, petty bourgeois workers in Mumbai are Muslims allowed to murder on the grounds that everybody allegedly did the same in the 7th century?? This is of course not to mention the scores of Muslims murdered by fellow Muslims in Iraq, Algeria, Pakistan, Darfur, etc., in the 20th and 21st centuries.
    Joseph Schumpeter, the economist, wrote on Arab imperialism in his work Imperialism. He sees economic motives as strong, he also sees the setting up a ruling caste [Arab-Muslims] and an inferior caste [non-Muslims]. See excerpts from Schumpeter:
    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2005/11/sociology-of-arab-imperialism.html
    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2005/11/sociology-of-arab-imperialism_16.html
    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2005/11/sociology-of-arab-imperialism-part.html
    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2005/11/sociology-of-arab-imperialism_20.html
    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2005/11/sociology-of-arab-imperialism_24.html
    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2005/11/sociology-of-arab-imperialism_28.html
    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2005/11/sociology-of-arab-imperial_113322064172217787.html

  14. Eliyahu says:

    It is interesting that the name “palestine” [nor "Filastin"] does not appear in the Qur’an. One name of the country in the Qur’an that I forgot to mention is “their land,” that is, the Jews’ land. This appears, as I recall, in 17:104 or Promised Land [17:104, depending on which translation]. Also, “blessed land” or similar name appears in Qur’an 10:92 [verse nos. vary in some editions]. “The land we had blessed” in 7:133 or 7:137.

    http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2005/05/quran-agrees-with-zionism.html
    Hence, according to the Muslims’ own Qur’an, which Karen Armstrong so admires, the Holy Land belongs to the Jews. How does she handle that?

  15. [...] it happens, a European reassertion cannot be assumed to take place cooperatively. I have commented on the debate between Peters and Steyn on thi [...]

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