On Liberal Overconfidence: Excerpt from Harris’ Suicide of Reason

Here is a telling paragraph from the end of Lee Harris’ Preface to his new book, The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam’s Threat to the West.

Both the tribal mind and fanaticism are rational adaptations to a world ruled by the Law of the Jungle – rational in the sense that they increase the odds of surviving. On the other hand, the rational actor doesn’t have a chance of survival in the jumgle. He who has neither tribe nor pack to defend him will perish. That is why the rational actor must be horrified at the very thought of a return to the Law of the Jungle – in order to exist at all, the rational actor must be living in an environment in which the Rule of Law has replaced the Law of the Jungle. Yet in the modern liberal West, the Rule of Law has been so successful in pushing back the jungle that many in the West have forgotten that we are the exceptions, and no the rule.

In short, today there are two great threats facing the survival of the modern liberal West. The first is its exaggerated confidence in the power of reason to alter the human condition; the second is its profound underestimation of the power of fanaticism to change the world.

Although he uses his terms differently, I think it fair to substitute, at least provisionally, my terms Civil Society vs. Prime Divider for Rule of Law and Law of Jungle.

52 Responses to On Liberal Overconfidence: Excerpt from Harris’ Suicide of Reason

  1. fp says:

    i think it’s possible insofar as there is overlap of the law of the jungle and prime divider society and law of reason and civil society. the mechanisms involved are different.

    what harris does make clear is that both flaws are in the reason/law society: fanaticism can change the world only because the law society is furnishing the jungle society with the means to do it, while disarming itself.

  2. fp says:

    i wonder how harris will take this:

    http://www.newenglishreview.org/blog_direct_link.cfm/blog_id/9466

    reasoned fanaticism? law of reasoned jungle?

  3. fp says:

    from the last link i posted:

    “About 25 percent of eligible Israeli male draftees do not serve—more than double that of 1980. **Of those not serving, almost half are legally exempt as ultra-Orthodox Jews.** With Israel’s 20 percent Arab minority also exempt, only 54 percent of the country’s 18-year-old men are now inducted into the Israel Defense Forces for their mandatory three-year service.”

    Sounds like religious fanaticism has opposite effects on islam and judaism. Contradicts those who deplore secularization and blames it on the west’s collapse before islamism.

    And before anybody brings up the settlers, they are actually a security burden, not asset, their rhetoric notwithstanding.

  4. Joanne says:

    FIRST POINT:

    Regarding Harris’ statement that “the rational actor doesn’t have a chance of survival in the jungle…in order to exist at all, the rational actor must be living in an environment in which the Rule of Law has replaced the Law of the Jungle”:

    I think there’s a confusion here about what is meant by “rationality.” In game theory, at least, there is no normative aspect to the definition of rationality. It simply means that you choose the best means to your desired ends. That is to say, given complete information about what each means will achieve, you have enough presence of mind to choose the one that will lead to your preferred end. This concept of “rational actor” makes no statement about the moral value of the actor’s ends. I don’t know if Harris was specifically referring to game theory, but that’s where notions of rationality among actors are drawn from.

    We shouldn’t confuse the “rationality” of an actor with the moral or philosophical laudability of that actor’s goals. WE in the West feel that diplomacy, good sense, fairness, democracy, openness and like virtues are “rational,” because WE feel that it’s only rational to promote those values that seem to generate the most good in the world. But that’s only by our sights. Harris’ statement that I quote above falls into that trap, and so it’s an example of ethnocentrism or western-centrism.

    I think that the law of the jungle is supremely rational. The goal is survival. Period. And you do what is necessary to survive. There are no other values. This reasoning is horrific, certainly. But it’s not irrational. Not given the goals.

    You could say that most of the world evolved away from the Hobbesian state of nature, where life was “nasty, brutish, and short,” because of a prisoner’s dilemma kind of reasoning. By cooperating with each other, all political actors forfeit their top goals, but they gain plenty in return, certainly much more than they would have gained if they’d kept on fighting. That’s probably why governments were formed, treaties were made, and so on.

    I think that Richard Landes’ “prime divider society” is essentially a situation in which prisoner’s dilemma reasoning hasn’t fully taken hold. Such countries have national governments, armies, courts, and so on. They have all the accoutrements of functioning states. But their institutions are superimposed on societies riven by family, clan and confessional groupings that have little or no loyalty to the country as a whole. So these groups fight for the spoils that exist, rather than cooperating to build those spoils up.

    Of course, there is infighting between groups and parties and economic interests within even the most “advanced” states. But there is a difference in degree there. And a difference in kind. With exceptions due to corruption, the rivals will operate (mostly) within the rule of law.

    SECOND POINT:

    Now for Harris’ views about the international stage:

    The end of that state of nature was more successful within states or empires than on the international level. That’s because, in the latter, there is no overarching government or authority that has a final say. Treaties, conventions, and international organizations serve to address that problem, but they cannot do so completely.

    We don’t have a state of nature on the international stage, but we have something closer to it. We do have the UN and other organizations, and these usually embody the norms of human rights and cooperation promoted by the powerful West. But not all the states and cultures in the world adhere to those values, or at least not to the same degree. So international norms of behavior are not followed by every government, or at least not to the same degree.

    Here Harris makes a valuable point about the ethno-centrism or western-centrism of the Left. Leftists forget how deeply their own views are rooted in the Enlightenment, which emphasized the role of Man’s reason. And they forget that those values aren’t shared by other civilizations.

    Appearances can be deceptive. You may have Saudis, for instance, who go to western universities, wear jeans, know the latest in Western films and music…but deep down they could still be very different. When they’re back home, it is easy for such Westernized Saudis to fall back into their own society’s norms and practices. Or, indeed, they can have two sets of attitudes at the same time: admiring the West for its arts, sciences, and economic prowess, but maintaining a fundamental worldview drawn from their own culture.

    We have to remember that many of the values we take for granted never evolved sui generis in most parts of the world. Other great civilizations have never had a Renaissance, an Enlightenment, or an Industrial Revolution (except for what was imported) in their recent histories. And that apparently matters. Some countries, like India and Japan, have assimilated them rather successfully. But others have done so only partially, and still others that have done so only superficially.

    So Harris is right. We are fools if we think that, like us, everyone in the world just wants to be friends. That may be true of many peoples, but not of all of them.

    We in the West may be playing a game of Prisoner’s Dilemma, in which the gains through cooperation are preferred to the losses from mutual warfare. But our enemies within the Muslim world may be playing a game of Deadlock. That’s a game in which victory is valued above all else, and cooperation is valued not at all. That’s a very dangerous situation for us to be in, especially if we don’t recognize it or refuse to acknowledge it.

    AN ANECDOTE:

    I know this comment is very long, but I just want to add an anecdote. When I was briefly living in Paris, I quickly became good friends with a man who was very bright, witty, sensitive…just an all-around great guy. With his tweed jackets, ever-present pipe, and British accent, Ali first gave the impression of coming from Britain. He was Jordanian, actually, though he’d studied in Britain for a decade.

    He was a moderate. He was all for allowing Israel to survive and prosper, and even for Jordan’s having good relations with Israel. He said he hadn’t felt that way at first, but then he witnessed a surprising amount of anti-Semitism among the highly educated Brits he met while living in Britain. As a result, he began to understand “what the Jews were up against.” I should add that this was around the time of the Oslo accords, so a certain optimism was in the air.

    So far, so good.

    But then, some statements came out. He said Israel should survive in the Middle East, but on the condition that Israelis be “more Semitic,” which I could only interpret to mean “more like the surrounding cultures.” His tolerance wouldn’t be so generous for a country that remained resolutely Western.

    Another time, he said something a little more ominous: If it were possible, he said, he would of course make the whole world convert to Islam. Mind you, this was long before anyone had ever heard of Al Qaeda or Osama bin Laden. The first attack on the World Trade Center had recently happened, but it was a small attack (six killed) and didn’t much dent our consciousness. My jaw practically dropped to the ground when he said that.

    Then he said–in a tone that reeked of a Dutch-uncle kind of good sense–that of course it’s most sensible for all citizens of any given country to belong to the dominant religion of that county. And he went on to give examples. I don’t remember the exact countries he named, but it was something like “in Britain everyone should be Christian, in Jordan, everyone should be Muslim…” And then he mentioned Israel, but he couldn’t complete the sentence: “In Israel, everyone should be…uh…uh…” I was amazed, not only at his double standard vis-à-vis Israel, but that a statement plainly against pluralism and freedom of religion should be presented as a well-grounded conventional wisdom.

    There was another time when he told me how he’d teased one of his Arab friends–a woman student whom I’d spoken to during an outing–for becoming such great friends with… I don’t remember what term he used, whether he referred to me as a Jew or an American or both. I’m not sure if it was “friends with the little American” or “the little Jewish girl.” But it was something like that, something condescending. He didn’t realize the insult even as he recounted the story to me.

    OK, these are small instances. And they happened over a period of maybe five or six months, after which I returned to the States. This was a great guy and I’ve missed him ever since he moved back to Jordan and we lost touch. But these small instances did give me pause for thought. He was very cosmopolitan, bright, open-minded, and rational (sorry, in the non-game-theory sense of the word). Yet that pipe and tweed jacket were a bit deceptive. Had I gotten to know him better…who knows. He was a more complicated chap than I had thought.

  5. fp says:

    joanne,

    1. I don’t think Harris meant the game theory rationality. It looks as if he means reason as a foundation for society. The rule of law is the consequence of such foundation. But having myself specialized in rational/collective choice theory, I can tell you that there is no need to invoke game theory to realize what is going on between islam and the west.

    2. The problem with the left’s doctrine is that having been proven to be a fantasy ideology, they are too vested in it to give it up, so in their desperation to save it they bastardized it, which Harris explains in the article I linked to above. And that bastardization has essentially corrupted the morality of their initial position. Were they to recognize that, they would have to admit total bankruptcy,so they are in vehement denial.

    3. You probably mean the “ideal” UN as defined by its nominal (declared) objectives and values. Certainly not the actual institution which has been utterly corrupted and used to promote the exact opposites of those values.

    4. The problem with westernized arabs/muslims is that it is practically impossible to tell whether they are demopaths or not; in fact, it is not clear that your jordanian KNEW HIMSELF whether he was. One of the reasons is that islam not only permits but advocates taqiya, so it is quite kosher for muslims to show a western face to infidels, something which other religions do not condone (which does not mean their members don’t lie, of course).

    5. At the root of the clash between islam and the west is envy. Islam as a religion and culture is preventing modernization and development, which means that as a rule the arab/muslim world is held back economically and politically. This discrepancy between the indoctrination with islamic superiority/domination and the reality on the ground produces a profound sense of seething envy which is probably unbearable. It should be no surprise that it tends to be strongest precisely among the educated muslims who visit the west and get quite westernized (Quttb, Osama, al-Atta, probably Ramadan, etc.) So their outer looks and behavior can be very deceiving either intentionally, or subconsciously. That’s why almost in every terror case you hear “But he is such a nice man”.

    There is no question that a major root of the arab judeophobia is envy. Had the israelis been less successful the hatred would have probably still be there, but several octaves lower.

  6. fp says:

    one more thing: 5 above does not mean that economic development will resolve the problem, as so many seem to think. that’s because not only does islam prohibit emulating the west, but produces generations which continue to be incapable of implementing such development even if it were doctrinally allowed, not to mention if the honor-shame factor was not present too.

    That explains why all the zillions pumped into the palestinians never amounted to much except weaponry.

  7. Sante says:

    Envy is a powerful motivator. Muslim arabs can look at their civilisation that publishes virtually no scholarship, invents no technology, and exports only oil and terrorism. Comparing arab civilisation which has a GDP less than that of Spain, with the west with riches beyond a bedouin’s imagining, is bound to stimulate envy.

    Joanne emits a whiff of the Stockholm Syndrome in her complex account of the intriguing Jordanian of infinite depth. But the rest of her comment was certainly stimulating.

    Without the rule of law, rational people would be forced to adopt protection-in-numbers jungle law. It would be rationality under a different regime. The loss of the golden age, to be reminisced upon with nostalgia …

  8. fp says:

    sante,

    it’s not just seeing the difference; it’s comparing it with the islamic indoctrination of superiority and domination. since it’s impossible to beat the west at its own game, it must be either removed or subjugated, because the difference is unbearable.

    i think joanne has a more emotional reaction than those of us who understand what causes her experience.

    in the jungle there would be the tendency for protection-in-numbers, but there would also be a strong free rider temptation: maximizimation of one’s own utility could mean taking advantage of both and enough of the latter could defeat the former. the outcome is not predictable with certainty. think the common greens.

    the free rider is the achilles heel of collective action. you can see it clearly almost everywhere, particularly in how the west reacts to islamism: not together, but rather splits. the best systematic treatment of the subject is in THE LOGIC OF COLLECTIVE ACTION by Mancur Olson.

  9. Joanne says:

    To Sante and fp,

    I don’t think I had any sort of Stockholm Syndrome when it came to my Jordanian friend. As far as I can recall, when he expressed his views about the rightness of adhering to a dominant religion, I disagreed with him, albeit gently out of politeness. In the other cases, I didn’t bother to argue with him, but reacted with stony silence or a disapproving “hmmmm.”

    With the Stockholm Syndrome, the victim internalizes the opinions of the Other, and identifies with the Other, when such feelings are totally inappropriate. That certainly was not the case with me, or else I wouldn’t have disliked his views so much–then and now.

    The problem was that I didn’t provide you with enough context for the story. This was a genuinely nice, intelligent and witty person, most of whose opinions were surprisingly sensitive and open-minded. It was precisely for this reason that these instances of narrow-mindedness stood out.

    Nor was my reaction particularly emotional. If that were the case, I would’ve blown up at him or fatuously worshipped his every word. My emotions were limited to surprise and disappointment.

    Also, it is easy to say that you understand what caused my experience from a distance of over 10 years later. Of course you understand better. I understand better, now that I can see his comments as reflecting aspects of Islamic culture that have come to light since 9/11. But you have to keep in mind that, back in 1994, I heard these comments with no such knowledge. These comments came out of the blue, especially the one about ideally preferring the whole world to be Muslim. And I recoiled. No, this was no case of Stockholm Syndrome.

  10. fp says:

    i will let sante explain what he meant by SS; my impression is that you were somewhat distracted by his reasonableness OTHER THAN those opinions that disturbed you. my point was that it is easy to be distracted that way for reasons I explained. the fact is that you DK whether he was telling you what he assumed you wanted to hear or not.

    there is no question that you have an emotional outlook. this is intended as a description of fact, not pejoratively.

    and speaking for myself, I was not referring to what you thought then — you are correct that the west knew less about these things, although we israelis did the whole lot — but rather to how to think now about your experience then.

    what is astounding is how now that the west has more than ample evidence coming out its ears, it actually reversed its position to the arab/muslim world from negative to positive — all that islamophobia and anti-israel crap. given which, one help suspecting cowardice as a major factor.

    which is why I don’t agree with harris that 9/11, 7/7 and the rest are non-rational in the game theoretical sense.

  11. fp says:

    earlier i said that i suspect cowardice in the reversal of the west counter to facts. here’s some concrete evidence that terror works as it’s intended to:

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/017659.php

  12. Joanne says:

    Just for the hell of it, I’ll mention a few other things about my Jordanian friend.

    He’d also studied at Georgetown, for a masters at their school of foreign service. He found the school very conservative. OK, I wouldn’t know one way or the other.

    What surprised me was what he said he noticed about the US media and Israel when he was living in Washington. He must’ve been in the US in the early 90s or the late 80s. It had been recent, in any case. He said that he found the media prejudiced against Arabs, with many stereotypes. That was probably true enough. But then he said that the media portrayed Israel in halcyon terms, with the “they made the desert bloom” theme being very prominent.

    That nearly blew me away. That hadn’t been the case since the 1960s, or the early 1970s at the latest. And he was there well before Fox television. What media was he talking about? The New York Times? The Washington Post? Network news? CNN? It was as if he were describing an alternate reality.

    And he said that Israel really didn’t make the desert bloom…that was a myth. Huh?

    And he said that Israel was very ungrateful to the Circassians who guarded Jews before Israel was founded (I read later that they were paid guards). He himself was of Circassian descent.

    And he admiringly told me of a cousin of his, who was getting a doctorate at Harvard, who was contemptuous of a tour guide in Washington giving the usual speal at the Lincoln Memorial about Lincoln’s freeing the slaves. The cousin had said the Civil War was not fought just to free the slaves; it was fought for economic reasons only. I told Ali that I was sure that the history was more complex than a tour guide would present, but his cousin was replacing one myth with another. I told him Lincoln was fighting the war to save the union, which mattered very much to him. That convinced my friend, really making him pause. And I said that the tour guide wasn’t really wrong. Lincoln was indeed for freeling the slaves, only he had to be very careful in his speeches, depending on to whom he was talking. Not everyone in the North was abolitionist.

    These statements of his do show that he was coming from a very different world view. Which shouldn’t have been surprising. After all, he was raised in a hostile political environment. Jordan’s government may be relatively friendly to the US, but its people aren’t too much. It says a lot that he was friendly to Israel at all.

    I don’t know if he was telling me what he thought I wanted to hear. He may have emphasized the positive thoughts that he genuinely did have, but he also freely expressed negative thoughts he had about Israel or the US when they came up.

    Maybe saying what they think you want to hear is an Arab thing, with not always intentions to deceive but to simply ingratiate. When I was in Morocco, people often drummed up whatever positive themes they could think of to say about the USA once they knew I was American. You don’t know how many times I heard about the great friendship between the US and Morocco, and how Morocco was the first country to recognize the US after the American Revolution. That last point was mentioned by lots of people, like a mantra.

    I met a few Moroccan men who even had nice things to say about Jews, although one did refer to the “taking of the land.” He then quickly changed the subject. It may just be their way of being gracious. I don’t know. I should’ve pretended to be Canadian or German or something else, just to see what they would’ve said. [I was speaking in French, but wouldn't have gotten away with saying I was French]. I never would’ve dared to say I was Israeli, although one person trying to guess my nationality asked that as a possibility in a not unfriendly manner.

  13. RL says:

    comment on joanne’s SS and emotionality. i was impressed with how she could notice the inconsistencies despite this fellow’s performance. i think her comment on how easily one can “fit in” in the west and then regress upon returning to an honor-shame culture is right on. that’s the subject of “Not without my child,” and it’s a story i heard many times from western women who dated eastern men — they were wonderful in the west, professional, smart, charming, cultured, and not sexist. but once back in the bosom of their families and under the peer pressure of the community, the personal relationship took a back seat to what others thought.

    i do think there’s something to the idea that real intimacy is harder in an honor-shame culture where what other people think is more impt than what you feel inside.

    i also definitely agree with fp when he writes:
    The problem with westernized arabs/muslims is that it is practically impossible to tell whether they are demopaths or not; in fact, it is not clear that your jordanian KNEW HIMSELF whether he was.
    i first realized this when going to a talk by Sari Nusseibeh. he claimed to be against suicide terrorism, but had been on al Jazeera sitting next to the mother of a “martyr” and ended up protesting that he wd never oppose suicide terror for moral reasons, only pragmatic ones (it alienated support — if only!). as i listened to him, i realized that his performance on al Jazeera was no more or less genuine than before a western liberal audience. we project consistency when it’s not necessarily there.

    this led me to the following conclusion: which way SN or anyone else in the Arab/Muslim world “lands” when the chips are down, has mostly to do with which “peer group’s” opinion matters more to them. it’s our job to make sure that our peer group’s opinion has weight. right now, with our feckless progressive accommodationsim and appeasement, we guarantee that even people like SN (who, i think, would like to live in a gentle and cooperative world), will end up siding with the mothers of suicide terrorists and the millions of viewers that would tear him apart were he to say on Al Jazeera tv that suicide terror is morally revolting and shames the muslim world in the eyes of infidels who believe – rightfully – that they are morally superior to the depraved and envious muslims.

    but of course, as happened when i said about 12% of that in my arab-israeli dialogue group, the progressives will jump in to defend the demopaths who accused me of “dehumanizing” the arabs.

    ultimately this is a battle of peer groups, and ours needs a great deal more “esprit de corps.”

  14. fp says:

    which validates my position that islamists are not killing the west, it’s a suicide.

    bear in mind that while in the west going against the grain incurs little cost, if any, in the arab/muslim world it costs plenty, including possibly life. so the situation is exacerbated in both directions: the west is appeasing, their world is punishing. hard for our peer-groups to win.

    incidentally, consistency is not a salient factor in the arab/muslim world and it’s increasingly losing saliency in the west, also due to collapse of education.

  15. Richard Landes says:

    fp: while i find most of what you say of great value, i confess to being somewhat taken aback by your remorselessly pessimistic prognosis. if we’re committing suicide rather than being killed (i agree), then we can do something about it, no?

  16. fp says:

    what you see as pessimism I consider realism. i see no evidence that justifies optimism. can you provide any evidence?

    as to what we can do, i’m afraid not much. the solution requires collective, not individual action, and that has intrinsic difficulties.

    if it is true that the collapse of proper education is the root of the problem, not only does not education improve — so that sometime in the future we may get a solution — but it continues to go down the drain.

    those who understand the reality are very few and do not have much influence. the elite is ignorant and prone to appeasement even worse than the public.

    unfortunately, my sense is that the trend is unstoppable. they care to dismantle us more than we care to depend ourselves. and israel too.

  17. fp says:

    Would you say she’s pessimistic too? She has much more evidence than I do.

    Bat Ye’or Interviewed by Paul Giniewski in Paris, 1993, published in Midstream February/March 1994 No. 2, pp. 16-19

    “I think the movement of Islamic radicalism will eventually sweep away the present Muslim governments and will win the allegiance of the Muslim masses in Europe, despite the very great courage of those Muslims opposing it. ..I do not see serious signs of a Europeanization of Islam anywhere, a move that would be expressed in a relativization of religion, a self-critical view of the history of Islamic imperialism, an acceptance of the principle of equality between Muslims and non-Muslims, a retroactive recognition of the rights of the peoples decimated and degraded by the system of dhimmitude, and an attitude of great moral humility—a necessary stage on the path toward reconciliation between peoples: we are light years away from such a development. On the contrary, I think we are participating in the Islamization of Europe, reflected both in daily occurrences and in our way of thinking”

  18. igout says:

    I’m not as pessimistic as fp, but I don’t think things will improve peacefully, and the remedy will probably come from us fed up nobodies and work its way up. The elites who brought this mess about will have to go of course.

  19. fp says:

    igout,

    the only question is WHEN will this happen and whether it won’t be too late.

    take a look at sweden: swedes are 2nd class citizens in their own country, which is descending into anarchy. there are similar trends in most european countries. in france there are whole areas that no french agency can enter including police.

    here in the us, even though there are only 2+ millions of muslims they are starting to effectively dismantle some of our critical defense mechanism (e.g. the imams/john doe suing) and the fooling of our elite with “islamophobia grievances” etc. and we’ve got an increasingly moonbatish left who is going berserk with anti-semitism and even violent behavior.

    and as bat yeor predicts, i can see iran go nuke, i can see pakistani nukes go to jihadis, i cannot vouch for the other arab countries.

    i see no signs of this slowing down, let alone reversing and i don’t see any response from the fed- ups, because I don’t think that the majority of the population comprehends or pays attention to what’s going on. if it did, all this would not have happened.

    so assuming that something will happen in time to be effective, i don’t see justification for it. but I’ll be glad to be proven wrong.

  20. fp says:

    looky here:

    http://the-american-israeli-patriot.blogspot.com/2007/08/retired-terrorists-keep-busy.html

    now consider this

    http://the-american-israeli-patriot.blogspot.com/2007/08/hamas-fires-fatah-affiliated-hospital.html

    and what would have happened to the pals if they were not propped up by jiziya from the west. they would have self-destructed many times over. but it is the west and its “allies” the saudis who have prevented it.

    based on this i am an optimist, just like murphy was with his laws.

  21. igout says:

    As we know, our host is fond of referring to things by their initial caps. It seems the medical profession is as well, and some show a macabre sense of humor, which in understandable in that line of work. They’ll say of a patient who’s on the point of dying: he’s CTD–circling the drain, to take one example from many.

    So, even granting that our good old West is CTD (and I don’t, not yet), what good is there in throwing up our hands and curling up in a corner to wait for the butcher’s axe? That’s how dumb cattle go out.

    I’d sooner take a few with me and I bet I’m not alone.

  22. fp says:

    being hopeful counter to evidence — is that any good?

    given the opportunity i would do the same, but that does not give me optimism and won’t change the outcome.

  23. igout says:

    Not hope, but something better:

    Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
    That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
    Let him depart…

    C’mon, fp, don’t be a wet blanket.

  24. fp says:

    You’re talking to the wrong person: I am not the wet blanket.

    The real problem is not only that the west has departed, but that it helps the enemy.

  25. fp says:

    http://sioe.wordpress.com/2007/08/09/the-eu-staggers-what-of-our-citizens-rights/

    see what i mean? now, let’s see who is gonna NOT depart this fight, ok?

  26. igout says:

    So, fp, you read those comments from those MEN (of both sexes) of Europe who want to fight. We owe them better than to sit here and tell everybosy, Oh woe is me, all is lost…

    Now pull yourself together and let’s use these blogs to put some fight into people, OK?

  27. fp says:

    I have no problem with your sentiments and I do have a blog that tries to make its small contribution. But I think that even those with better contributions, like for example:

    http://www.townhall.com/columnists/DianaWest/2007/08/10/dont_let_them_terrorize_our_freedoms

    cannot stop the trend. But let reality prove me wrong.

  28. fp says:

    Looky here, an effort like you propose. But consider the last sentence — this in America!!!!

    America’s Truth Forum intends to host its third in a national series of educational symposiums October 26 through 28 in the Midwest. The event, by design, will not only prove to be intellectually controversial, but should serve as a catalyst to awaken our citizenry and generate much-needed media coverage. ***Due to security protocol, the exact location of the venue will not be disclosed for several more weeks.***

  29. fp says:

    And another effort, a seminar by the Center for Strategic Analysis:

    For security reasons, the exact location will only be shared with attendees who are fully paid-up and agree not to share the location information with non-attendees.

  30. igout says:

    Sorry, don’t know who these groups are. As for the state department, I’d expect nothing else from them.

    One of the shackles we of the West have loaded on ourselves is the notion that fighting is always a sad necessity, so we undertake it diffidently and in a hang dog spirit. Contrast this with the enemy, who seem to enjoy it hugely.

    The West used to, and when it did it was invincible, even when pitifully outnumbered.

    Somewhere above.RL said that the West needed to recover its esprit de corps

    Not exactly. We need our old esprit de corpse!

  31. fp says:

    yeah, but we don’t.

    we don’t even defend ourselves without real fighting. we make it easier for them to fight.

  32. igout says:

    True, we encourage them by showing a reluctance to shed blood. But…Deep in my heart I dooo believe, this will not be so someday.

  33. fp says:

    not just that: we dhimmify.

    sorry, i need something more reliable than the depth of your heart.

  34. lgude says:

    I’m in the middle of reading Harris’ book and find his realism a bit too negative just as I do fp’s realism. BUT I fully accept that what we face is a true threat that has to potential to bring down the current world order. I believe we just don’t know what might work and might not any more than anyone knew in 1950 that Harry Truman’s loss of China, and his mess in Korea would turn out to be secondary to the success of the Marshall Plan and the eventual collapse of communism. Harris says we need to face the worse case scenario and I agree, but I also think we have to keep looking for things that work. As Dubya pointed out supporting despots in ME didn’t bring either stability or safety. Neither did his attempt to bestow liberty, but it did eventually lead to the Anbar awakening – tribal Sunnis turning against the jihadis. Interesting. New. Maybe exploitable. Do we have the stomach to ram that spear in the jihadi’s guts? Not yet, but I think we are getting there. Our elites will continue to tack futilely right and left – Sarkozy in France, Hillary in the US – until the jihadis leave us no choice. Then the real war will begin. So we lose – the jihadis take over Europe and sideline the US. Are the Chinese going to just give up too? How about the Indians? I looked at the screen on 9/11 and said – whoever did that is dead meat. I intend to live long enough to see that come true.

  35. fp says:

    >I believe we just don’t know what might work

    One thing that guaranteed does NOT work is denial and dhimmifying ourselves.

  36. fp says:

    neither do work bankrupting ourselves and destroying our army to protect shia and sunni from killing each other — we should do the exact opposite and facilitate it — nor this:

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/123345

  37. fp says:

    our media tries to obscure the truth and prevent recognition of what’s going one:

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/017746.php

    This does not work either.

  38. fp says:

    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,2147052,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=networkfront

    see what i mean?

  39. fp says:

    and here’s the leader of the world:

    http://freedemocracy.blogspot.com/2007/08/frank-rich-shuffling-off-to-crawford.html

    that’s why I washed my hand off the west. it does not deserve to live.

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