2004 November 05 Friday
Paper Of Liberal Record Worse Than Useless On Theo Van Gogh Murder
Filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was murdered by Muslim extremists in the Netherlands and Ayaan Hirsi Ali has to have full-time bodyguards. What does the paper of liberal record have to say? Nothing useful. The Grey Lady is more worried about the safety of Muslims in the Netherlands than the safety and liberty of the Dutch.
The problem is not Muslim immigration, but a failure to plan for a smoother transition to a more diverse society. One very real danger is that the public trauma over the van Gogh murder may lead to a clamor for anti-Muslim policies that could victimize thousands of innocent refugees and immigrants.
The challenge for Dutch political leaders is to find ways to reverse this disturbing trend of politically motivated violence without making it harder to achieve cultural harmony.
Theo Van Gogh was killed because the centralized Dutch planning bureaucracy failed to make better plans! The idea never occurred to me. But then I'm not a left-liberal. Still, I'm willing to get on board with any idea that might help. Maybe the Dutch can hire some retired Soviet Russian government planners to help out. Government planning is the solution. Who would have thought it? Oh, only the editorial board of the New York Times. I applaud the comrades for their insight.
Oh left-liberals look at how far your political movement has decayed. How shameful your most prestigious media outlet, how pathetic, how incredibly invincibly ignorant and foolish. Western culture needs to be defended but you have become its enemies. No wonder Bush was reelected. Middle America knows the liberal elites are their enemies.
The violence by Muslims against Westerners is both politically and religiously motivated. Islam is inherently political. The only "cultural harmony" that the Muslims will accept is one in which all others bow down to Muslim authority. The real danger is that any society that gets a large number of Muslims in its population will become oppressed by Muslim extremists. But the Grey Lady is never going to admit that. There is reality and then there is the world according to the secular religious faithful.
Fervent believers in the secular religious faith do not want to abandon their worship of multiculturalism. The irony here is that these same secular faithful look down on Christian fundamentalists for their beliefs that are purely based on faith. Yet the secular liberal faithful embrace false beliefs about human nature that have been shown to be false in this world.
Pieter Dorsman of the Peak Talk blog grew up in the Netherlands (I think he now lives in America) and he has translated a Dutch report of a poll of Dutch people about the Theo Van Gogh murder.
More than 60% is afraid of riots between Moroccans and Dutch as a result of the murder of Van Gogh. Almost 90% thinks that the Dutch security services should keep a closer eye on fundamentalist Muslims than the 150 that are now being watched. Also, 80% of the interviewed agree with the statement that: “Holland is much too tolerant”. The poll also reveals that 3 out 10 Dutchmen (28%) would leave the country if they were in a position to do so.
The Dutch want to flee their own country. The New York Times is more worried that the Dutch might oppress their oppressors.
Peiter reports that the Dutch government will eventually lull themselves back to sleep so that the problem can continue to worsen.
Well I did that about fifteen years ago and as much as it pains my parents to see their only son with his young children abroad they understand it and often tell me over the phone that Holland just isn’t a great place to grow up these days. I hear that from a lot of Dutch friends. If that many people are ready to bolt and if elections are driven exclusively by how much you can extract from the government and not about the imminent threat that seeks to destroy your society from the inside, then that society is pretty much on the ropes. Yes, the Van Gogh murder will invoke a new spirit of action and determination but no one has the political capital to act on it and if they had, it is bound to fizzle after a few years, which is what happened after Fortuyn.
The West is going to continue to decay as long as its intellectuals are to be counted in the ranks of its enemies.
Update: A 5 page typed letter was stuck into the body of Van Gogh with a knife.
"Dear Mrs Hirshi Ali (sic). Since you stepped into the political arena in the Netherlands you have been constantly busy terrorising Muslims and Islam with your remarks," the letter said, calling Hirsi Ali a "disbeliever fundamentalist".
Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner thinks a larger movement is behind the murder of Van Gogh.
Donner said the five-page letter, which was neatly typed and written in Dutch and Arabic, appears to be "not from one person but a movement."
Titled "Open Letter to Hirsi Ali," it threatens jihad, or Islamic holy war, against "infidels" everywhere, particularly in America, Europe and the Netherlands.
"Saifu Deen alMuwahhied," apparently a signature, is written at the bottom of the last page.
Five politicians are now believed to be targetted for assassination.
The other five names on the list are Somali-born Liberal VVD MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali, independent conservative MP Geert Wilders; Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk; and Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen and his deputy Ahmed Aboutaleb.
At least two of the suspected targets have been taken into hiding.
Dutch police now believe that the muder of film maker Theo van Gogh is part of a larger and coordinated action by radical Muslims to public figures that they feel are 'enemies of Islam.' As a result, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders, two politicians critical of Muslims, have been taken to a safe house by Dutch police.
The Dutch have one thing going for them at this point: The Jihadists seem determined to prevent the Dutch government from going back to sleep.
You're right that Islam is inherently political. Good muslims must orient their political, personal, and religious life according to their community's dominant view of Islam. To do otherwise is to take a huge risk with their lives and their families' lives. Very totalitarian.
The intellectuals who run the NYT, and who supported Kerry, will never understand the threat that this fact poses to a free western civilization. They will always favor appeasement, as the european governments do. The Euros are going to have to eat their own genitals if things continue the way they are going. Unless they submit.
What a bigot. Unlike you, Putin and the Islamofascists, President Bush appears to understand that the proletariat, regardless of their religion, want democracy. Indonesia and Afghanistan seem to embrace it.
"Indonesia and Afghanistan seem to embrace it."
Afghan democracy is an illusion,the "democratic government" in Kabul will last only as long as the warlords are on our payroll.That will change the moment they think there's a better deal elsewhere.
Democracy is not simply a political system,it's cultural as well,it took the West 1,000 yrs to evolve,in fits and starts,this far.The presumption that societies that have no democratic cultural history will develope such in a generation,much less a decade or so,is ludicrous.Even Latin America hasn't been able to get a handle on this democracy thing,despite descent from Western Civilization and 200 yrs of effort.
I would like to point out also,the only stable long term democracies have been "anglo-saxon" countries,at least in culture.
Bush has mistaken his own PC flavored Messianic Universalism as our national interest.That is what he understands,that and not much else,and why he gets on so well with Messianic Universalist Tony Blair.Both are quite willing to destroy their own nations,societies and cultures for a vague abstraction.
"I would like to point out also,the only stable long term democracies have been "anglo-saxon" countries,at least in culture."
I believe that the climate also dictates culture to some degree. Even though democracy was invented in Greece,
the environment and climate turned out to be too volatile, and democracy was often unstable there (but still good
by European standards.) Perhaps the cold climates in England, and Scandinavian countries, people are more
calm, and they are able to reflect in a more rational manner, making democracy work.
Germany also had the capability to develop democracy, but its geopolitically vulnerable location made it
more vulnerable to foreign invasions, and it was difficult for Germany to win any war due to being
surrounded and encircled by enemies in every direction... and as a result, the defeat of WW I and the economic
chaos brought the Nazis to power. So the geography, climate, etc have a lot to do with the psychology
of a nation.
But it is quite surprising that Islam turned out to be such a powerful political system in addition to being
a religion, especially in this millenium.
Are you even aware of the irony of your quoting Putin as someone who understands that the "proletariat" want democracy? Putin is systematically gutting the free press and rigging the electoral outcomes in Russia while he arbitrarily shifts power from the Duma and the judiciary to himself. But do you see pictures of him and Bush smiling together and read that Bush thinks Putin is a Christian and from that do you decide that Putin must be a friend of democracy?
As Amy Chua has pointed out, Indonesia's newly elected government systematically looted $58 billion of wealth from the Chinese minority and the police did little to protect the Chinese when Indonesians rioted..
Afghanistan's election was rigged to make sure Karzai was elected. See my post The Fix Is In For Afghanistan Election.
Islamofascists: As I've previously written, attempts to apply abstract Western ideological categories to pre-ideological religious and tribal societies do not work. Ideologues such as Christopher Hitchens and Paul Wolfowitz do us all a grave dissservice by applying Leftist ideological categories to the Middle East. See my post Mark Bowden: Baathism Not The Ruling Ideology Of Iraq.
Racially and tribally based regimes predate the creation of modern fascism. Absent a European intellectual influence the Middle East would still have regimes that were centered around powerful families and clan loyalty with identification extending further out into ethnic group and religious identity. Consanguinity is the biggest underappreciated factor in Western analyses of Middle Eastern politics. Most Western political theorists seem blind to the importance of pre-ideological kinship-based political bonds in large part because those bonds are not derived from embrace of abstract Western ideological models of how societies and political systems should be organized. Samuel P. Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations argument is therefore demonstrated by the Western inability to understand societies that do not fit into any recognizeable modern Western ideological political category.
There are a lot of reasons why democracy isn't going to do well in the Middle East. You would do well to click thru on that link and then click thru on the bullet list of items I have in that post and read about what those reasons are. Also read my post History Of American Interventions Bodes Poorly For Democracy about the more numerous American failures to try to transform various countries.
Also, on calling people who disagree with you "bigots": Ad hominem attacks in place of reasoned debate are usually a sign that you really have no substantial arguments to back up your position. Is that the case?
On surface, the new dictatorial system of Putin, seems to be a counterexample
that disproves my theory (above) that in cold countries, rationality and democracy
would prevail... But my theory of psychology also requieres geographic stability, which is
missing in Russia. Russia is surrounded by many potentially (and actually) hostile nations,
just like Germany was before WW I and WW II. And the population of Russia is shrinking so fast
that Russia will not be able to defend itself without a fascist regime that will crush all
hostile groups with extreme prejudice, which is why fascism will soon become the only possibility
in Russia. On the other hand, it is important to note that as the price of oil climbs, and given
that the total demand for oil is increasing in the world, Russia will make hudreds of billions
of extra dollars from oil and natural gas exports. Some of this money will go into the re-militarization
of Russia. Either Russia will use these weapons to solidify its geopolitical security, or else, it can
also give its new weapons to Muslims in order to let them bother the western countries, so that they
leave Russia alone. We shall see how exactly Russians will use their new-found military strength in a few
You misunderstood my post. If I had meant Putin was someone who understood that the proletariat wanted democracy, it would have been meant ironically. What I meant was Parapundit, Putin and Islamofascists ( noone and Invisible Scientist too) do NOT understand as Bush does.
The term bigot was not intended as an insult. It was simply a definition. When you say certain areas or religions are incapably of managing democracy you are being racist. To believe a race or nation is incapable of democracy, I need more proof than 'it didn't work last time'. Maybe Bush and I are idealists, but it seems to me, in the end, it is the only alternative to extermination. Totalitarianism isn't working in Saudi Arabia or Palestine and domination isn't working for Isreal or Russia.
Although all races and nations are capable of democracy, this capability varies a lot.
In fact,it seems that in the Middle East, in order to make the democracy work, one must
often use so much deadly force, that the democracy is rather impossible. And it seems that
without external intervention, democracy may not even start in that region. And so the other
alternative for "democracy" is to impose that it from outside, and this is why Bush is trying very
hard this week. Nice try, but once he takes over one city, the rebellion will start elsewhere.
Addendum to the reply to Hogan's comments:
You wrote above that Bush is an idealist. I claim that even if he is, the ones who are pulling the
strings behind him, are not. I am referring to the oil companies he is connected to. He did very little
to start a national movement to gain independence from oil. The cost of keeping Iraq occupied, is
in the hundreds of billions of dollars per year. If the US had invested only $100 billion per year
in an energy project after September 11 (let's call it Bronx Project instead of Manhattan), then after
5 or 7 years, we would have started driving petroleum-free cars. But the Republicans are in collusion
with the oil companies, and they would sabotage any such attempt. This is not science fiction:
Diesel Fuel From Coal:
Additionally, I also want to repeat myself like a broken record, and reiterate that the newest
nuclear reactor designs, such as the Integral Fast Reactor, are 100 times more uranium fuel efficient,
and they would burn the long term nuclear waste internally as their own fuel, leaving behind only low
level nuclear waste which has half-life only about 300 years, making the Yucca Mountain storage unnecessary.
This technology (and other competing new nuclear technologies) make it possible to build 1,000 reactors
in 5 years, making it possible to charge fuel cells that can power cars.
Integral Fast Reactor:
And for the zinc-air fuel cells, there are already working electric vehicles that are competitive with
petroleum, but unless the nation is mobilized to make an effort, this won't start soon enough:
In retrospect, Bush did not invade Iraq for democracy, but because of the following two reasons:
1) To make sure that Middle Eastern oil fields are not controlled by the fundamentalists
2) Because of the threats of Saddam and Osama to price the Iraqi and Saudi oil in euros instead of dollars.
"When you say certain areas or religions are incapably of managing democracy you are being racist."
On the contrary,I understand very well.You completely ignore the point that democratic culture must evolve,it CANNOT be imposed in a single generation,the whole of society must move in that direction also.Turkey's vaunted "secular democray" is an illusion that has exsisted only among the roughly 15% of Turks who constitute the military officer class and the urban middle-class.We attempted to nation bulid in Haiti from 1915 to 1934,did it work?
The neo-con templates Germany and Japan both had quasi-democrat institutions for at least a couple of generations and both,incidently,have very conformist cultures to begin with.Both nations(and thier cultures)were defeated beyond any doubt.Now,however,we knock the Islamist down with one hand and try to shield them with the other.
Our doubts that you can impose democracy in a decade or less is not racist,rather the idea that you CAN impose democracy on the primitive wogs in a decade or less becasue you are just so smart and sophisticated is very racist.
To believe that a religion is incompatible with some political form is not racist. Genetics alone does not make one believe one religion or the other.
Look, what you are arguing is tantamount to arguing that the specific beliefs that are unique to each religion are irrelevant, that these beliefs have no impact in the real world.
Maybe you are idealists? Of course you are idealists. But being idealistic is not morally virtuous if you pursue an impossible course which causes net harm.
I argue from evidence. I read widely and dig up tons of it and link to it. I have provided lots of evidence why Bush's idealistic pursuit of democracy in the Middle East is unlikely to work out. Have you read it? If a democracy is produced in Iraq it is very unlikely to be clasically liberal and to respect speech rights and other rights. It is very unlikely to be secular too.
Bigot: You apparently do not know what the word means. From Random House: ""Utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion". If I think we can't convert Iraqis into Westerners how exactly does that make me bigoted? Do tell.
You are promoted a course of action that is impractical and you are holding out extermination as the only alternative to a policy that is deeply flawed.
Saudi Arabia: But Bush is opposed to invading Saudi Arabia.
You wrote: "Saudi Arabia: But Bush is opposed to invading Saudi Arabia."
Presently true, but this can change if Saudi Arabia (the oil in that country)
is conquered by Al Qaeda in a couple of years.
That a bilingual murder note, in both Arabic and Dutch, was found affixed to Van Gogh's body must surely be accounted as one of the successes of Holland's ability to integrate, if not fully assimilate, its burgeoning moslem population.
Bilingualism is surely the hallmark of an integrated yet multicultural community of peoples and a very pragmatic achievement of the Dutch government that is not given due credit by the NYT.
I don't think an assassin without strong roots in Dutch culture would have bothered with this.
Hogan is wrong. While it is true that being a bigot might imply that you don't think democracy would work in the Middle East, thinking that democracy won't work in the Middle East does is not evidence that you are a bigot.
But likewise, I'd argue that while being a Marxist NY Times Editor/nut bar implies that you are a left liberal, being a left liberal does not imply that you are nutty.
Granted, you personally are surprisingly realistic about human nature in spite of leaning leftward in a lot of ways. But you are a statistical outlier. The highly prestigious Paper Of Liberal Record which is read by so many left-liberals has nut bar editors. Surely that says something bad about what liberalism has become in contemporary America.
Yes, the assassin and his colleagues showed their strong multicultural credentials by writing their note in Dutch and Arabic. At the same their message has subtle but undeniable subtext because they intentionally did not include an English translation. The reason for this can easily be deconstructed: English is the language of the dominant white male racist imperialist oppressors. The multicultural Jihadists refuse to engage in discourse in a language controlled by Christian crusaders.
Randall: Granted. What I really meant to get across is that too much liberalism is not what's wrong with these people. Marxism, post-modernism, etc. is what's poisoning their minds. Indeed, I believe the best way to deal with them is to show them how they've become illiberal (a threat to liberty). I recommend carefully crafted letters to the editors with this ploy in mind.
First of all, it depends on how you define "liberal". A classical liberal is more like a libertarian. But modern liberals are all into the welfare state and see so-called positive rights as being as real as negative rights. Some are like yourself and subscribe to a Rawlsian view (unless my arguments changed your mind) that ethical beliefs about government's role should be based on what you'd selfishly choose if presented with Rawls' hypothetical situation.
Marxism and post-modernism: I think the appeal of post-modernism is it provides a flimsy rationale for how one can ignore empirical evidence. The rejection of empiricism happened on the Left when the empirical results too strongly contradicted the Left's agenda. Rather than give up the agenda they gave up evidence. Hence the demonization of psychometricians and the Lysenkoist attitudes about how the environment can overcome just about all genetic factors.
But I think classical liberalism is in trouble from science as well. At least one liberal sees that the historical tear that liberalism has been on since John Locke is threatened by the results of science. Back before the neocons became more ideological The Weekly Standard published an article by Chandler Burr on the idea of a "gay gene" that includes some comments by James Fallows and others on the problem science poses for liberalism.
The liberalism that emerged from Locke and Rousseau holds that everyone is born tabula rasa, as a blank slate upon which society and environment write the adult that emerges. This is liberalism's most fundamental assumption, and in late 20th century America it is the intrinsic justification for taxpayer-funded social programs. Pass enough programs, spend enough on them, and we can equalize the sexes, equalize the races, level all professional playing fields, wipe out criminality, make the lazy industrious, the stupid smart, the violent pacific, and the poor rich.
The research on homosexuality says: No. It says: In fundamental ways, we are born with many important aspects of the way we are. And nothing-- no Head Start program, no midnight basketball, no welfare check, no well-intentioned but misguided clemency from the bench-- can modify that or make it better. It is evidence for the most important assertion that conservatism makes about human
nature: We are, in some ways, born different. Men are different from women. Sometimes the violent need to be locked away. Intelligence is, to a certain degree, a given. The brand of liberalism that now dominates public policy is futile because it ignores human nature. Its philosophical leniency is an assault on society and on common sense.
Journalist James Fallows, himself a liberal, put it to me this way: "Liberalism, which has for the past four hundred years ridden to triumph on science, is now at odds with science, which is showing deeper remnants of our animal past than liberals are comfortable with."
The implications of biology's findings have not escaped scientists. Laurence Frank, a zoologist at Berkeley, exclaimed to me with disgust, "I can't even call myself a liberal anymore!" Frank had given a lecture on animal endocrinology and the way hormones determined maleness and femaleness "and a young woman came up afterwards and she was shocked, shocked that I would say such a thing."
In her view, "maleness" is just macho posturing "socially constructed" by society, "femaleness" a myth created by the Neanderthal patriarchy. But to biologists, gender is as real as oxygen.
Randall, rather than filling up your comments section, I've made a reply here.
"No wonder Bush was reelected. Middle America knows the liberal elites are their enemies."
Indeed. Unfortunately, Middle America has not yet learned that Bush and his apparatchiks are also their enemies.
I emphatically agree with you.