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May 09, 2009

Political Linkage

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Roger Scruton takes stock of what's becoming of free speech in Europe.

* How much does free speech really count at the ACLU?

* It turns out that home-ownership is something the federal government has often promoted. According to Steven Malanga, the policy always comes to a bad end. (Link thanks to ALD)

* Razib wonders what's to become of free will as the Blank Slate thesis continues to crumble.

* Bill Kauffman has some good words to say for American anarchism.

* 2Blowhards Rewind: We did a five-part interview with Bill Kauffman. Access all of it from this posting.



posted by Michael at May 9, 2009


Scruton makes some rather serious errors in his comparison of the Koran to the Old Testament. (In full disclosure, I am not a fan of either of these religions, by the way.)

The Koran makes blanket statements about what is or what is not acceptable in the eyes of God. When Muhammed wrote his prescriptions for the blasphemers and infidels, he wasn't referring to any PARTICULAR group. He spoke of them as of ALL humanity for ALL time and in ALL places. By contrast, when God tells the Israelites to go and destroy such-and-such a town, or such-and-such a people, this god is being specific to a certain town, a certain people, and a certain time. Punishments are limited. When death sentences are prescribed for certain types of behavior in the Old Testament, stoning to death homosexuals, for instance, this punishment is limited for Jews or those who live among Jews...not a blanket decree to go forth in the world and kill all homosexuals everywhere in all places for all eternity. This is a huge difference from the Koran.

The Koran is not flexible, as Europeans, to their chagrin, are starting to understand. It is a closed system with no room for debate. I think this difference in philosophy between Islam and the rest of the world's religions is an excellent subject for discussion and it is too bad the British government have declined the opportunity.

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on May 9, 2009 8:58 AM

Hmm, what message emerges when these various links are combined? Are we to decide that leftists are hypocritical and blind to the ways in which their views are destroying Europe and the very ideals they supposedly espouse; egalitarian ideals are foolish and impossible due to genetic differences that trump ideology; that government, is the inherent problem; that Islam is a false religion based on hatred and power projection?

No doubt there is also some way to implicate modernist art and architecture in the ills expressed here. Presumably we'd be better off if right wing anarchists were successful in seceding and creating, perhaps in Texas, a place where real Americans could flock and unregulated free market capitalism will flourish and western civilization (code for "us") will be able to triumph.

Posted by: Chris White on May 9, 2009 3:15 PM

"Hmm, what message emerges when these various links are combined?"

Tell ya what, Payback. Blogger and Wordpress are free. Set up your own website and make a Linkage post of your own. It can be about whatever you want. I'm sure you could easily find a few things that some right winger could call into question as being some kind of sinister message.
But you'd better hurry. Once other right wing readers (and of course I mean Nazis, Klansmen, skinheads, gun owners, tea partiers, non-muslims, people who didn't vote for Obama, blog comment makers who don't agree with you, etc...) finish clicking the links that Michael has posted, they'll be too busy burning down ACLU offices, reinstituting slavery, killing muslims and seceeding from the Federal gov't! Not to mention (gasp!) writing scathing critiques of the works of Basquiat or Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris. We'll all be too busy to leave any comments! Well, back to building my car bomb....

Posted by: Us on May 9, 2009 3:51 PM

Dammit, Michael, how many times have I told you to not loan Chris your decoder ring!? Now look what's happened! One more time and you're out of (wink, wink, nod, secret handshake) the club!

Posted by: VRWC on May 9, 2009 5:16 PM

It appears that the ACLU has joined the Sierra Club as another "empire" devoted to its own perpetuation as well as the perpetuation of its acquisition of financial resources, while completely forgetting about the original purpose it was established for.

Tell me something I don't know.

Posted by: kurt9 on May 11, 2009 1:04 PM

As fond of liberalism as I am, I am not a fan of the ACLU. That being said, Ms. Kaminer's "expose" sounds like nothing more than the rantings of a disgruntled employee when new management took over. To quote:

"Mr. Romero's management style, she claims, is to reward personal loyalty, deter internal dissent and tighten control over the ACLU affiliates around the country."

Really? This is a bad thing? Given most "execs" in corporate America are staunch Republicans, this one line explains a lot more about what's wrong with this country's business environments and the Republican viewpoint than anything anyone anywhere could ever say.

Let me see if I can sum up her viewpoint: "and then this new guy came in and tried to clean things up, but he stopped doing things *I* wanted to do, so I got pissy, quit and wrote an expose". Did I nail it?

Posted by: Upstate Guy on May 12, 2009 10:12 AM

"Really? This is a bad thing? Given most "execs" in corporate America are staunch Republicans, this one line explains a lot more about what's wrong with this country's business environments and the Republican viewpoint than anything anyone anywhere could ever say."

So K. Rove got to the ACLU too. Bastard...

Posted by: Deep Cover on May 12, 2009 11:50 AM

Kauffman's article is interesing but that's about it. In evolutionary terms, if anarchism were an adaptive meme it surely would have sprung longer social taproots than it has to date. It remains a romantic ideal, and for a reason. It is only very occasionally, and for moments that are tragically brief, that pure voluntarism works, and that no monopoly on force is required.

Posted by: Fenster Moop on May 13, 2009 8:40 AM

Roger Scruton article about “free speech in Europe” is rather disappointing. Despite one or two good points, is generally full of factual errors. It is also both confused and dangerously delusional in its thinking. The article gets off on the wrong foot by claiming that

“Fitna means “turning away” or “temptation,” and denotes the sin to which young Muslims are exposed in Western societies.”

As a native Arabic speaker (born in Iraq) I can confirm what many people in the Western World now know (thanks to Mr Wilders courage)… “Fitna” actually means a mixture of “struggle”, “upheaval” and “conflict” all generally as violent and reflexive reactions from Muslims to any attempt by Westerners in trying to find out about the true nature of Islam – let alone daring to give it any independent thought.

Fitna is NOT about “…the sin to which young Muslims are exposed in Western societies” – what utter nonsense! On reading that remark I couldn’t help wondering if Roger Scruton has even bothered to watch the film, despite the fact that it’s only a few minutes long. No, Fitna is very much about the violence, intolerance and hatred at the core of Islam that is now not only being imported wholesale into the West but also rapidly (but surprisingly stealthily) “home grown” throughout Europe and (not far behind) in America.

Scruton is rightly critical of Blair’s Lord Ahmed, though personally I don’t think he goes far enough – I believe there is far more that could be said, for example that as a “Lord” the man should be representing Britain and its interests, laws and standards, not boasting of the “Victory for Islam” that he instead apparently succeeded in bringing about by intimidating his own government (which could be tantamount to treason if carefully analyzed).

Scruton is mistaken, however, in saying that Ahmed had been drinking prior to the fatal crash in which his dangerous driving (he was sending text messages on his cell phone whilst driving his jaguar up the motorway) killed a man. According to evidence presented in court it was the dead man (Martin Gombar) who had been drinking.

Scruton tries to suggest that Ahmed somehow isn’t respected by the British “Muslim Community” (i.e. it’s fragment of the rapidly growing worldwide “Ummah” that disregards the sovereignty of individual countries and is working – both openly and by stealth - to turn all of them into yet more Islamic states). Actually he Scruton is mistaken about this too. Ahmed is simply another of Islam’s many “weapons” of which most Muslims are extraordinarily proud.

Scruton says “ don’t make provocative films like Submission and Fitna that are bound to be taken as insults by those whose faith they criticize”. Please just watch both of these short and very well intentioned films more carefully... neither of them is “insulting” any sort of “faith”; each in it’s own way is looking at aspects of Muslim life that are without doubt ubiquitous in all Muslim countries as well as the majority of European “communities” where there is a sufficiently high density of Muslims living. These films simply speak the truth (for example in Fitna by showing normal Muslim leaders quote directly from their own “holy” book and in the case of Submission how a completely innocent woman is imprisoned in the normal Muslim way within a domestic system that in this case – as often happens in the Muslim world - repeatedly leads to her betrayal and rape by trusted members of her family and the destruction of any dreams she may have nurtured for even the simplest forms of freedom or pleasure in life).

Roger, instead of just casually condemning these films without explanation please try and identify a single quotation or concept that either of them portrays which you can show to be untrue or always incorrect. I don’t think you will succeed because each of these short films is solidly based on factual information about the way vast numbers of people in the world today think and behave.

Roger, in common with many other people you have once again rattled out the old adage of the impropriety in “shouting ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theatre”. There’s a good little article about this on Wikipedia ( ) which immediately points out that, as you have misquoted it, you failed to start with the word “falsely” as in “falsely shouting fire...”.

If shouting “fire” is really what Mr Wilders is doing then thank goodness! I’m very grateful to him and very much think it IS necessary and he may as a result be doing the world a great favour (at considerable cost and personal risk to himself).

Islam is not compatible with the Western world and I would hope that if enough Wilders shouted “fire” often and loud enough then many people – perhaps even a few liberally minded, forgiving, Islamic apologists - might eventually make the effort to look into it properly and find out (with luck even in time to save themselves) what really happening.

You say “Nobody (other than al Qaeda) wants to change the resentments of Muslim communities in Europe into a state of open war”. I wonder exactly what you mean by this? Firstly what actually ARE these “Mulsim resentments”? Could it be, perhaps, that a few sharp eyed, courageous and open minded people have actually rumbled what they are up to and Muslims resent this as it could make it harder for them to “get victory” i.e. destroy the Western systems they are currently living off parasitically? And as for the “state of open war” that you claim “only al Qaeda” wants, well, sorry, but if you take the trouble to actually read the whole of the Quran objectively (I’ve been studying it intensely in Arabic for more than two decades now) you will discover that open war is, and always has been, the main thrust of that “holy” book of warfare to be waged openly and forever against all of humanity until they are subdued and forced to submit (which is what Islam means, by the way).

I could analyse your article further – it is, as I said before, filled with misinformation and confusion – but I will just touch on one last point. You say that Geert Wilders “has not been intimidated”. What an extraordinary claim! Mr Wilders receives large numbers of totally serious and credible death threats on a daily basis which is why he must be guarded 24 hrs a day and can never lead a normal life for a moment… if he tried he would quite simply be murdered by one or other of the hordes of vile, mindless thugs – not peaceful spiritual people – that he has been so heroically warning us about!
There’s a great deal of sense and urgency in what Geert Wilders says and, along with large numbers of people throughout what remains of the free world, I’m very grateful that he does. He is however a politician and not an academic (although I respect and broadly support him). For more insight and a great deal more information and evidence I highly recommend any of the recent books (or talks which can be seen online) by Robert Spencer – truly an intellectual giant, as well as completely down-to-earth and “accessible” authority of this subject.

Kind Regards,
I.Q. al Rassooli
Author of “Lifting the Veil: The True Faces of Muhammad and Islam”
(Volume II is due out in soon)
Also a series of well over 200 talks presented on YouTube:
Recently interviewed on BlogTalk radio:

Posted by: I.Q. al Rassooli on May 19, 2009 4:27 PM

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