Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Did Bush Lie about WMDs?

Or was he just following the conventional wisdom?

Did Bush Lie? Posted by Picasa

From Michelle Malkin

The link to the search is:


The GOP strikes back (with the Dem's own words)on the WMD question here and here.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Meanwhile in France...

Meanwhile in France... Posted by Picasa

Paris Riots Spread to 20 Suburbs - "A week of riots in poor neighborhoods outside Paris gained dangerous new momentum Thursday, with youths shooting at police and firefighters and attacking trains and symbols of the French state."

Distinguishing Roe from Griswold

Interesting thought posted as feedback from a Corner reader by Ramesh Ponnuru today on distinguishing Roe from Griswold:

"It seems to me that Roe and Griswold can be distinguished on grounds short of 'constitutional personhood,' but rather simply on the nature of the state interest involved. All the Court would have to do is recognize that a state legislature might have a reasonable belief that an unborn child is a human person in a moral sense to find that the protection of that person's life is a state interest of the highest magnitude. Certainly if racial diversity in public post-secondary education is a compelling state interest, preventing the killing of those who might possibly be people should qualify. And if we apply strict scrutiny, then it would be a narrowly tailored approach to preventing the killing of those who might possibly be considered humans to ban that killing."
Also see Robert George's comments on framing the abortion debate (also from the Corner):

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A Root Cause of Islamic Fascism? Follow-up

Andrew McCarthy in NRO commenting on Fukuyama's piece (discussed below) - Islam, Democracy and Assimilation:

First, Fukuyama rightly contends that this assimilation must begin with an end to fractious multiculturalism. He concludes, however, that this means the societies themselves must change, if not fundamentally than at least significantly. Countries, he declares, "need to reformulate their definitions of national identity to be more accepting of people from non-Western backgrounds."

I'm all for acceptance, but I respectfully disagree. Immigrants presumably come to a new place because it is attractive to them as is, not because they seek to reform it. More desirable would be real gate-keeping immigration policies that admitted only those of a mind to assimilate to the home culture, not the other way around. If that means people who would otherwise emigrate end up remaining in their home countries, is that such a bad thing?
McCarthy has it right. Why is it always that Western culture needs to adapt? I don't see a lot of people arguing that third world cultures need to adapt to the cultures of 1st world immigrants. Part of this is the fact that immigration is overwhelmingly one-way. People from the Middle East and the third world are drawn to the West because of opportunity. These opportunities are a direct result of Western "global" culture.

It doesn't make sense for France or any other western culture to try to adopt non-western ways because that is exactly what those 1st generation immigrants were fleeing. They're not moving to France to recreate their home culture, they're moving there because France gives them opportunities that their home culture can't. It's when the children of these immigrants grow up without the knowledge of the hardships left behind that you have trouble.

For better or worse, France is the country of the French, Germany is the country of the Germans, etc. The whole history of these nation-states is invariably tied up in the history of their people; in a sense, the country is the people. This isn't true of the U.S., which is a country as an idea. Anyone can become an American. You may become a French citizen, but you can't become French.

What we're seeing here isn't so much immigration as conquest. David Frum, also in NRO, quotes from "Islam in Britain,” a report of the UK Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity, available from http://www.isic-centre.org:
The report quotes Zaki Badawi, president of London’s Muslim College, holder of the Order of the British Empire, and the widely recognized “unofficial leader, representative, and advocate of Britain’s mainline Muslims”:

”A proselytizing religion cannot stand still. It can either expand or contract. Islam endeavors to expand in Britain. … Islam is a universal religion. It aims at bringing its message to all corners of the earth. It hopes that one day the whole of humanity will be one Muslim community, the Umma. As we know the history of Islam as a faith is also the history of a state and a community of believers living by divine law. The Muslims, jurists and theologians, have always expounded Islam as both Government and a faith. This reflects the historical fact that Muslims, from the start, lived under their own law. Muslim theologians naturally produced a theology with this in view – it is a theology of the majority. Being a minority was not seriously considered or even contemplated. … Muslim theology offers, up to the present, no systematic formulation of the status of being in a minority.”

The report’s authors cite similar views from authoritative spokespeople, and conclude:

”Muslims find it difficult to assume minority status in a majority non-Muslim society. More than other minority communities, they constantly, sometimes subconsciously, strive to redress the balance and assume an expanding and dominant position in their host countries.”

For more on the roots of Islamic Terror see: Understanding Jihad

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A Root Cause of Islamic Fascism?

Is Western Europe itself a root cause of Islamism? That's what Francis Fukuyama, argues in the Wall Street Journal on the first anniversary of the murder of Theo van Gogh: A Year of Living Dangerously:

There is good reason for thinking, however, that a critical source of contemporary radical Islamism lies not in the Middle East, but in Western Europe. In addition to Bouyeri and the London bombers, the March 11 Madrid bombers and ringleaders of the September 11 attacks such as Mohamed Atta were radicalized in Europe. In the Netherlands, where upwards of 6% of the population is Muslim, there is plenty of radicalism despite the fact that Holland is both modern and democratic.
This isn't a case of blaming the victim though. Fukuyama contends that Europe's lazy embrace of multiculturalism and its inability to absorb muslim immigrants is a contributing factor:

Contemporary Europeans downplay national identity in favor of an open, tolerant, "post-national" Europeanness. But the Dutch, Germans, French and others all retain a strong sense of their national identity, and, to differing degrees, it is one that is not accessible to people coming from Turkey, Morocco or Pakistan. Integration is further inhibited by the fact that rigid European labor laws have made low-skill jobs hard to find for recent immigrants or their children. A significant proportion of immigrants are on welfare, meaning that they do not have the dignity of contributing through their labor to the surrounding society. They and their children understand themselves as outsiders.

It is in this context that someone like Osama bin Laden appears, offering young converts a universalistic, pure version of Islam that has been stripped of its local saints, customs and traditions. Radical Islamism tells them exactly who they are--respected members of a global Muslim umma to which they can belong despite their lives in lands of unbelief. (snip)

If this is in fact an accurate description of an important source of radicalism, several conclusions follow. First, the challenge that Islamism represents is not a strange and unfamiliar one. Rapid transition to modernity has long spawned radicalization; we have seen the exact same forms of alienation among those young people who in earlier generations became anarchists, Bolsheviks, fascists or members of the Bader-Meinhof gang. The ideology changes but the underlying psychology does not.
And much like the Luddites at the beginning of the industrial revolution. Jonah Goldberg had previously compared Islamism to Bolshevism here.

If Fukuyama is right, then, as he points out, bringing Democracy to the Middle East will not help the problem currently. There is an argument however, that it will over time. If Middle Eastern societies move closer to global norms (i.e., as Thomas Barnett would say, they start integrating into the core) then not only will there be more opportunity at home, but Western Europe will seem less alien.

The problem is unique to Western Europe and not the US:

Contemporary Europeans downplay national identity in favor of an open, tolerant, "post-national" Europeanness. But the Dutch, Germans, French and others all retain a strong sense of their national identity, and, to differing degrees, it is one that is not accessible to people coming from Turkey, Morocco or Pakistan. (snip)

Many Europeans assert that the American melting pot cannot be transported to European soil. Identity there remains rooted in blood, soil and ancient shared memory. This may be true, but if so, democracy in Europe will be in big trouble in the future as Muslims become an ever larger percentage of the population. And since Europe is today one of the main battlegrounds of the war on terrorism, this reality will matter for the rest of us as well.
Anyone though can be an "American" - we're a self-selected country. Given the ongoing riots in France, this warning is very timely.