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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Surrendering to ISIS is the Only Way to Defeat It

By On March 30, 2016
If you’re keeping score, freeing Islamic terrorists from Gitmo does not play into the hands of ISIS. Neither does bringing Syrians, many of whom sympathize with Islamic terrorists, into our country. And aiding the Muslim Brotherhood parent organization of ISIS does not play into the Islamic group’s hands.

However if you use the words “Islamic terrorism” or even milder derivatives such as “radical Islamic terrorism”, you are playing into the hands of ISIS. If you call for closer law enforcement scrutiny of Muslim areas before they turn into Molenbeek style no-go zones or suggest ending the stream of new immigrant recruits to ISIS in San Bernardino, Paris or Brussels, you are also playing into the hands of ISIS.

And if you carpet bomb ISIS, destroy its headquarters and training camps, you’re just playing into its hands. According to Obama and his experts, who have wrecked the Middle East, what ISIS fears most is that we’ll ignore it and let it go about its business. And what it wants most is for us to utterly destroy it.

Tens of thousands of Muslim refugees make us safer. But using the words “Muslim terrorism” endangers us. The more Muslims we bring to America, the faster we’ll beat ISIS. As long as we don’t call it the Islamic State or ISIS or ISIL, but follow Secretary of State John Kerry’s lead in calling it Daesh.

Because terrorism has no religion. Even when it’s shouting, “Allahu Akbar”.

Obama initially tried to defeat ISIS by ignoring it. This cunning approach allowed ISIS to seize large chunks of Iraq and Syria. He tried calling ISIS a J.V. team in line with his claim that, “We defeat them in part by saying you are not strong, you are weak”. Unimpressed, ISIS seized Mosul. It was still attached to the old-fashioned way of proving it was strong by actually winning land and wars.

Europe and the United States decided to prove that we were not at war with Islam by taking in as many Muslims as we could. Instead of leading to less terrorism, taking in more Muslims led to more terrorism.

Every single counterintuitive strategy for defeating Islamic terrorism has been tried. And it has failed. Overthrowing “dictators” turned entire countries into terrorist training camps. Bringing Islamists to power in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia led directly to attacks on American diplomatic facilities. The Muslim Brotherhood showed no gratitude to its State Department allies. Instead its militias and forces either aided the attackers or stood by and watched while taking bets on the outcome.

Islamic terrorism has followed an intuitive pattern of cause and effect. There’s a reason that the counterintuitive strategies for fighting Islamic terrorism by not fighting Islamic terrorism don’t work. They make no sense. Instead they all depend on convincing Muslims, from the local Imam to Jihadist organizations, to aid us instead of attack us by showing what nice people we are. Meanwhile they also insist that we can’t use the words “Islamic terrorism” because Muslims are ticking time bombs who will join Al Qaeda and ISIS the moment we associate terrorism with the I-word.

There are contradictions there that you can drive a tank through.

The counterintuitive strategy assumes that Islamic terrorism will only exist if we use the I-word, that totalitarian Jihadist movements want democracy and that our best allies for fighting Islamic terrorism are people from the same places where Islamic terrorism is a runaway success. And that we should duplicate the demographics of the countries where Islamic terrorism thrives in order to defeat it.

The West’s counterterrorism strategy makes less sense than the ravings of most mental patients. The only thing more insane than the counterintuitive strategy for defeating Islamic terrorism is the insistence that the intuitive strategy of keeping terrorists out and killing them is what terrorists want.

If you believe the experts, then Islamic terrorists want us to stop them from entering Europe, America, Canada and Australia. They crave having their terrorists profiled by law enforcement on the way to their latest attack. And they wish we would just carpet bomb them as hard as we can right now.

When ISIS shoots up Paris or Brussels, it’s not really trying to kill infidels for Allah. Instead it’s setting a cunning trap for us. If we react by ending the flow of migrants and preventing the next attack, ISIS wins. If we police Muslim no-go zones, then ISIS also wins. If we deport potential terrorists, ISIS still wins.

But if we let ISIS carry out another successful attack, then ISIS loses. And we win. What do we win?

It depends. A concert hall full of corpses. Marathon runners with severed limbs. Families fleeing the airport through a haze of smoke. Only by letting ISIS kill us, do we have any hope of beating ISIS.

Politicians and experts claim that ISIS is insane. It’s not insane. It’s evil. Its goals are clear and comprehensible. The objectives of the Islamic State are easy to intuitively grasp. Our leaders and experts are the ones who are out of their minds. They may or may not be evil, but they are utterly insane. And they have projected their madness on Islamic terrorists who are downright rational compared to them.

Unlike our leaders, Islamic terrorists don’t confuse victory and defeat. They aren’t afraid that they’ll win. They don’t want us to kill them or deport them. They don’t care whether we call them ISIS or Daesh. They don’t derive their Islamic legitimacy from John Kerry or a State Department Twitter account. They get it from the Koran and the entire rotting corpus of Islamic law that they seek to impose on the world.

Our leaders are the ones who are afraid of winning. They distrust the morality of armed force and borders. They disguise that distrust behind convoluted arguments and counterintuitive rationales. Entire intellectual systems are constructed to explain why defeating ISIS is exactly what ISIS wants.

After the San Bernardino shootings, Obama insisted that, “Our success won’t depend on tough talk or abandoning our values... That’s what groups like ISIL are hoping for.” But ISIS does not care whether Obama talks tough, even if it’s only his version of tough talk in which he puffs out his chest and says things like, ”You are not strong, you are weak.” It is not interested in Obama’s “right side of history” distortion of American values either.

ISIS is not trying to be counterintuitive. It’s fighting to win. And our leaders are fighting as hard as they can to lose.

The counterintuitive strategy is not meant to fight terror, but to convince the populace that winning is actually losing and losing is actually winning. The worse we lose, the better our plan is working. And when we have completely lost everything then we’ll have the terrorists right where we want them.

Just ask the dead of Brussels, Paris, New York and a hundred other places.

This isn’t a plan to win. It’s a plan to confuse the issue while losing. It’s a plan to convince everyone that what looks like appeasement, defeatism, surrender and collaboration with the enemy is really a brilliant counterintuitive plan that is the only possible path to a lasting victory over Islamic terrorism.

But intuitive beats counterintuitive. Winning intuitively beats losing counterintuitively. Counterintuitively dead terrorists multiply, but intuitively they stay dead. Counterintuitively, not discussing the problem is the best way to solve it. Intuitively, you solve a problem by facing it. Counterintuitively, collaborating with the enemy is patriotism. Intuitively, it’s treason.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Endless Ages of Purim

By On March 23, 2016
Tonight the celebration of the holiday of Purim begins. Purim is a Jewish holiday often neglected outside the more religious communities in America and the State of Israel because it commemorates an attempt to exterminate the Jews. And we all know that stopped being a problem long ago.

If Purim had culminated with some smart power diplomacy and a lesson on tolerance, liberal Jews might be more inclined to celebrate it. Unfortunately it ends with a genocidal madman being hung from a tree and the Jews fighting for their lives, winning and slaughtering their enemies.

And instead of feeling guilty about it, their descendants eat pastries, dress up in costumes and get drunk. At least those of their descendants who believe in survival instead of surrender.

Liberal Jews complain about the difference of values they have with Israeli Jews who insist on survival instead of surrender. They have an even bigger difference of values with the Jews of the Bible. And with Jews throughout history. Not to mention with the religion of the Jewish people.

The more liberal a Jew is, the less likely he is to celebrate the substance of his people's holidays as they conflict with his worldview and virtues. Moshe, the Maccabees and Mordechai don't seem like role models, not even if you rebrand them as community organizers and claim that they were fighting prejudice. There is something relentlessly bloody-minded about them. They care very little about a sustainable environment or LGBT rights, and instead walk through the corpses of their enemies with no regrets or apologetic winces. They stand up for their own people in a regrettable show of tribalism that perpetuates the cycle of violence instead of preaching about Tikkun Olam.

The story of the Megillah, the Scroll of Esther, is the story of how Mordechai, the descendant of the first Jewish king of Israel, snubbed the Grand Vizier of a multicultural empire by refusing to bow to him. The obstinate Benjaminite so infuriated the Vizier that he plotted to kill all the Jews.

The smart thing to do would have been to bow to Haman. To invite him to AIPAC and let him give a pre-written speech and then give him a standing ovation. Then the important official might have been willing to help out the struggling Jews of the Second Commonwealth in Israel. Instead the narrow-minded fanatic offended Haman. And the angry Agagite decides to strangle the newly reborn Second Commonwealth of Israel and all the other Jews throughout the Persian Empire.

By refusing to bow to Haman, Mordechai had turned the formerly moderate Haman into an extremist. He had radicalized him. Jewish leaders hurried to reassure Haman that this fanatic was in no way representative of their values of tolerance and appeasement. Hadn't they attended the feast where the sacred vessels of their own people were used to serve wine and spirits to the mob? Rather than anticipating the return to their land at the end of the prophesied 70 year period of exile, they had cheered the brutish tyrant and made Sushan, his capital, into their new holy city.

A few tens of thousands had gone back to Israel, which the empire had repopulated with other peoples. There they struggled to survive, building half the day and keeping watch with their spears from the time the stars came out until the sun rose.  Most Jews however had remained behind in the Persian Empire. The struggling settlements of the Jews under the last of the prophets seemed like a futile proposition. The future belonged to empires, to Babylon, Persia and Rome. 

There was no room anymore for the sort of pride displayed by Mordechai. This was Haman's hour. Israel was gone and would never return. Rebuilding the Temple was a fool's dream. Why go off to some place your ancestors had come from, to slave in the hot sun, to choke on dust and sleep with a spear by your side expecting an attack from the nomads that had settled in the land?

In Sushan, the wine is plentiful, the bazaars are never closed and the empire will never fall.

There is no room for ancient dreams in the new empire. No room for old fables about slavery and freedom. Perhaps in ancient times some deity had liberated them from Egypt, but here in the modern present, it was the fall of the Babylonian Empire which had raised them up out of slavery and given them a place among the subject peoples of a new empire. They bowed to Haman and to the new order. They gave up their dreams and their religion and drank headily of the wine at the festival of the king. On their couches, they dreamed they saw a new world opening before them.

But Mordechai, narrow-minded fanatic that he was, only saw an old world. And he was determined to fight for it. He wasn't willing to let the old dreams die. To bow to Haman and to imagine, as so many Jewish leaders have done, that some accommodation with evil could be made on mutually beneficial terms. Mordechai was not a man of the Empire. He was an Ish Yehudi. A Jew.

He saw through the illusion of empires and new ages. He saw what his first ancestor had seen when he looked at the sky. He saw that the only true permanence was G-d. Nations would fall, empires would perish and even the stars would burn out. Only G-d would endure.

And so he did not bow. And Haman understood what his refusal meant.

Had Mordechai refused to bow out of personal pride, Haman might have had him and his family killed. But Mordechai refused to bow to Haman because he was a Jew. Haman sensed that the old man had seen through him. The emperor was naked. The old man in rags at the gates did not worship power. He might rule, but had no appetite for it. He worshiped only G-d.

Was it personal conviction? Haman investigated and learned that Mordechai was a member of an  obscure people. A people who do not worship the empire, but worship G-d.

And so they all had to die. The king was bribed. The letters were sealed and sent. The decree was death. It was all over.

But Mordechai had seen more than the nakedness of Haman, the crawling, insecure lackey, filled with hatred for the Persian ruler, flattering him and craving the ultimate power he could not have. He had seen the nakedness of the empire and the age. His eyes had seen past the horses and palaces, the ranks of scribes penning decrees, the harems, bureaucracies and armies.

Mordechai knew that all this would pass away. He had seen through the illusion that every age brings with it the end of history, a new age whose achievements break with the past and usher in a boundless future. The shadow crosses the sundial, the walls come crashing down and the new era of history ends up buried under the rubble of time.

Exile divides the Jewish people into Jews and New Age Jews. Jews wander on their meandering course through history concerning themselves with a past that modern people dismiss as myth and legend, more ancient than that story about Troy, and even more dubious.

The New Age Jews always see the coming of a new era of history, a bright and shining plateau that makes all those old moldy beliefs completely irrelevant. History ends and now a new age of human progress begins. The age of Alexandria, the age of Sushan, the age of Berlin. How, in such a new age, could they be expected to take a few bygone fairy tales retold by barbarians seriously? Such things weren't for enlightened people who were witnessing the peak of human civilization.

The old Jews know what the New Age Jews do not, that history has not ended, that the past is still with us and that it has sharp teeth. They know that Man has not changed, that his sophistication is still only a shell and that sooner or later the shell cracks. If it does not crack from within, then it is cracked from without. 

Those who feel time in their bones know the patterns of history, reading ages like constellations, can never lose themselves in one age or fall into the fallacy of a new era. They know that there is nothing new under the sun. Machines may come and go, but the world is a broken place because the hearts of men have not turned from their ways. And so they remember that every age carries within it the seeds of its ruin. They witness the ruin, climb out of the ashes and move on.

Liberal pieties embrace the new age, fixate on a final transformative era of history at the hands of messiahs who promise hope and change, who will uplift us and inspire us to make the world into a better place. But history never ends. That is the lesson of the Holocaust, of Purim and of countless other horrifying intrusions of the old into the new. The shining new era that begins with grand public spectacles and displays of the power and might of an empire, ends with corpses and men and women fighting and running for their lives.

Jews like Mordechai understand this. New Age Jews do not.

The confrontation between Mordechai and Haman was a collision between two different conceptions of history. It was a contest for the Jewish soul.

Mordechai defied Haman to remind the Jews, who had abandoned religion and nation for the new age of the Persian Empire, of the ugly and bloody truths under the hollow glories of that new age.

In every age, the Jewish soul is nearly lost and then redeemed. The people seem on the verge of vanishing, but then survive. Mordechai understood that the future of the Jews did not depend on the Persian Empire. It depended on their willingness to remember who they were. And so he defied Haman and brought on a Holocaust. And at the end of it, the Jews fought for their survival.

Purim, a holiday preceded by a fast kept by the men going into battle and their loved ones, is not about forgiving your enemies, progressive taxation or coming out of the closet. It is about survival. Not mere survival, but the skin of the teeth sense of how close we came, that moment of revelation which pulls back the curtains of the material world and reminds us of the impossibility of our survival under all the ordinary rules of the world that new ages are found on. It reminds us that behind the scenes of the brick and mortar, steel and steam world, is something else entirely. A force that breaks apart the towers of history, that saves us when we should have died, that has entrusted us with a mission. It reminds us of what the world is and reminds us of Itself and of what we are.

When you stand on the edge of death, life is a revelation. It is not our deaths under the Egyptian sun, the blades and bullets of a thousand empires and kingdoms, or the ovens of Dachau that we are obsessed with. It is that moment of survival. The revelation that even amid the horrors of all that we have witnessed and the terrible things that we had to do to survive, we have risen out of the ground, watched the flesh cover our bones and stood alive again upon the earth. Every time we survive, we are reminded of the fragility of the world and of our enemies who wielding every power and trick, have failed to destroy us. Each time we rise, we transcend the world, in confronting our dead, we confront our immortality.

It is not a purely joyous experience. The day of Purim is preceded by a day of fasting. Before the celebration comes a day of battle as the struggle to survive, the long decline into the abyss, the final desperate hours, suddenly give way to the upheaval of an impossible salvation. We remember the pain, the sense of the grave closing over us, the bodies lying everywhere, the certainty that we will be next. We accept the hopelessness of our situation and then we walk out of the grave and praising G-d, sit down to the feast.

This is Jewish history. It is an alien one to the New Age Jew who clings tightly to the new era and its rules, to its pieties and its mores, who scowls at the old ones for refusing to come and join the imperial festivities where the vessels of the temple are used to serve drinks and the mob toasts that the 70 years have come and gone, and still there is no chance of the Jews returning to their Jerusalem and reclaiming the lost history. "The past is the past," says the New Age Jew. "The past is the present is the future," says the Jew.

The feast of the New Age is the celebration of the end of history, a golden time when there is an unlimited bounty for all, where the wine and the free health care will never run out, where everyone will live together under one government in perfect brotherhood for all time. Many Jews are drawn to this feast, its golden vessels, its vast bounty and its glorious ideals. But then enters the Grand Vizier and some of them begin to frown for though he wears rich garments and speaks soothing words, he is a monster. They don't always know how they know it, but it is a nagging feeling that creeps into them that there is something rotten at the heart of this new age.

Most of them still bow to him, touching their heads to the floor, some even embrace him and celebrate his vision. They assure others that he is our friend, the only man who can realize the promise of this age, a wise and noble leader whose vision of change brings new hope. But one or two stay away from the feast and refuse to bow to him. Instead they look to Jerusalem, to where the battle between good and evil was once fought, and where it will be fought again. They know him for what he is.


The Grand Vizier knows that he must destroy them, must destroy them all, because they have seen through what he is, and they have seen through the shallow trappings of the golden age of fools. They know that there is more to the world than the might of men and the cornucopias of kings. They know that he is not all-powerful and when he looks at them, a scowl wrinkles his face, because he knows it too.

So he casts a lot, random chance in a random world where chance is supreme and the whim of every ruler outweighs the weight of history. The bills are signed, the laws are passed, the decrees go out, the officers from the vast imperial bureaucracy are assigned to inform every citizen that their new age will be inaugurated with blood. A people who are not a proper part of the multicultural empire of laws must be wiped out in a properly democratic fashion. Crowd-sourced genocide.

And then the Grand Vizier ends up dangling from a rope, the tanks break through to Berlin, the chariots fall into the sea, the mustachioed dictator dies in a bedroom in Moscow his clothes soaked in his own urine-- and everything has gone completely wrong.

It's an old story and a new story. We tell it over and over again because it is always happening. It is our story and the story of the world. It is the story we have accepted from our parents and it is the story that we will pass on to our children. It is the story of the blood sacrifice of the New Age that goes wrong. The sacrifice survives, bloodied and scarred, the New Age goes down to ruin.


Purim exists because Queen Esther asked the Jews of Israel to write of her for generations. The Persian Empire she had become a part of, the sacrifice she made by leaving the physical stream of Jewish history to be repaid by becoming a vital part of its spiritual history, would fall. Not in her time, but it would. The memory would be carried on by the Jews. Purim is that memory.

Jewish holidays celebrate the interconnection of Jewish survival and productivity with G-d.  The Second Commonwealth fell. Israel may fall. A thousand years from now, the world may little resemble anything we can imagine. And yet, somewhere, Jewish children will celebrate Purim as they have for thousands of years. They may even celebrate other holidays, still unimagined, other memories of salvation from horrors yet to come and remembrances of tragedies yet to be experienced. And if we look through history, as Mordechai did through Haman and the Persian Empire, we may be able to see them on the other side, the descendants of those who survived the whips of Egypt, the slave markets of Babylon, the armies of Rome, the sword and the flame, the concentration camp and the suicide bomber, celebrating a million holidays yet to come.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Islamic Terrorism Is Over If You Want It

By On March 22, 2016
The National Intelligence Council has predicted that Islamic Terrorism will end by 2030. Around the same time we'll all be eating food pills, driving flying cars and living entirely in an imaginary world.

By 2034, the last murder will have taken place and by 2042, a scientific cure will be found for crime. By 2051, even bad thoughts will have been eliminated, and by 2062, work as we know it will be abolished and everyone will mediate all day on the serious questions of life. "Why are we here? What is our purpose in life? How can there be a National Intelligence Council so devoid of intelligence?"

In the real world, by 2030, there will be thousands of emirates, many no more than small terrorist groups, but some of which control sizable territories. Some of these emirates will pledge allegiance to a single Caliphate like ISIS. Others will try to get big enough to turn into their own Caliphate.

There will be a hundred miniature Afghanistans fought by international peacekeeping forces composed of a combination of local forces and NATO troops try to push out the bands of Salafi holy warriors, and their pirate camps, brothels and drug labs. There will be drones over the skies of a hundred deserts fighting Toyota pickup trucks with bands of hooded men firing machine guns. There will be wire transfers from a dozen Islamic finance institutions wending their way from the great oil economies of the Persian Gulf and American soldiers, who have never seen a conventional war fought in their lifetime, heading in on another rescue mission into the territory of a Terror Emirate.

The United States of 2030 will fight some of these emirates, ignore others and try to claim that some of them are moderate. Clinton tried to work with the Taliban. Obama backed the Brotherhood. By 2030, the smart men and women who got us into this will conclude that the best way to fight some of these caliphates and emirates is to pay them protection money to fight the other caliphates and emirates. We're already doing that in Syria. Eventually we'll begin doing it everywhere.

In Benghazi, Hillary Clinton was paying protection money to an Al Qaeda ally for security. Today, Europe decided to pay protection money to the state sponsors of terror in Turkey. By 2030, we'll stop pretending that it's foreign aid and start calling it what it is. Or maybe we'll go on lying to ourselves.

Western countries are already paying their Jizya as foreign aid, trading cash for the promise of stability. The United States and its allies have paid out fortunes to Afghan and Iraqi militias during the past two wars. And that doesn't even begin to take into account the sheer amount of money spent on development in the Muslim world. It is likely that the United States has spent more on Jizya, the traditional protection money payment of the non-Muslim Dhimmi to the Islamic State, than every other nation had throughout all of history. And that's just the down payment on the big bill.

Back when the Marines first saw action against the Barbary pirates, most nations found it easier to pay than fight. Jefferson's "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute" set us apart. The Marines came into being because America decided to invest in defense instead of protection money. But defense today is so tangled with tribute that it's hard to tell the two apart.

There are countless such private deals that have been made already and there will be countless more made to allow Western countries, and their companies and NGOs to function in territory controlled by Islamist Emirates. And that territory will include international shipping lanes.

By 2030, most countries will have come to view Islamic terrorism as a strategic asset, the way that Saudi Arabia does. They will recognize that the only way to transform the strategic liability of Muslim terrorism into an asset is by funding it and aiming it at their enemies. Islamist militias, will gain valuable experience, training and weapons by serving as the barbarian armies of a decaying West that they will use to conquer the West, the way that the Goth ancestors of Westerners did.

The America of 2030 will spend nearly as much trying to buy off the Muslim world as it will spend on trying to kill terrorists. We will continue financing the terrorism that we are trying to prevent while appeasing our killers. American soldiers will be stationed around the world in a hundred little undeclared wars, building generators for sullen villages before coming under fire from them.

The war will be endless. Both sides will hate it and will perpetuate it anyway.

Imagine the conflicts of the Cold War if instead of Moscow, there had been a thousand decentralized Communist dictatorships across the world with no central enemy to fight, and if the Viet Cong were coming out of Oakland. Imagine the Drug War if the drug lords were aspiring feudalists fighting for a world government that would turn us into their serfs. Imagine World War II if the Nazis were a religion that anyone could convert to and immediately become a member of the master race with the right to rob, rape and kill anyone from the inferior breeds.

But you don't have to wait for 2030 to see that world. It's already here.

By 2030, Europe will be a police state fighting terrorism by eliminating privacy, deploying soldiers in every city and criminalizing dissent. The EU police state will be able to access the contents of any mobile device at a click. Even speech that is still permitted today will lead to prison sentences at worst or at best, mandatory reeducation at special centers organized to combat extremism.

The bombs will still keep going off, but they will be a nuisance. Europeans will learn to adapt to the occasional suicide bombing the way that Israelis have. A bomb will go off, the survivors will be carted away, the broken glass will be swept up and the television will praise the refusal to give in to extremism and hatred, while prominently featuring the half-hearted condemnation of a local cleric.

The No-Go Zones will grow and slowly turn into emirates. The authorities will make deals with the local gangs, who will act as Islamist militias. There will be lashes and honor killings in the formal setting of Islamic law and no one will pay attention. Urban and suburban enclaves will eventually become indistinguishable from Gaza. By 2030 the first crude homemade rocket, made with plans offered on the internet, may rise into the Parisian sky aimed at the Eiffel Tower.

But there will be immediate half-hearted condemnations.

Like Europe, the United States will operate a paranoid surveillance state that its critics decry, even while both the state and its critics support the migration that makes it mandatory. There will be  terrorist attacks, some thwarted, some not, including possibly one big one, when an Islamic terror group finally gets its hands on chemical or nuclear weapons from one of the Islamic states.

The America of 2030 will sink half its intellectual capital into praising Islam while the other half will be spent trying to find more elegant ways to kill Muslim terrorists. Homo Americanus circa 2030 will be a veteran of two dozen wars in the Muslim world and of two thousand television programs, museum exhibits, books, movies and high school classes celebrating Islamic religion and culture.

Western leaders, like their ancient Roman counterparts, have come to admire the virtues of the savage more than the virtues of their own civilization. By 2030 it will be clearer than ever whether the outcome of their bloody halfhearted campaigns to civilize the savages with doses of democracy and civic institutions will have led to civilized savages or the savaging of civilization.

Is this world of 2030 inevitable? No, it's not. We don't have to live this way. We choose to.

In 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono put up billboards with the message, "War is Over! If you want it" to protest against the Vietnam War. Will terrorism end by 2030? It will if we want it to.

There are two sure ways to end a war; either by winning it or by losing it. The world's most famous cokehead and mental patient duo meant the latter when they offered their Viet Cong Christmas greeting, but winning wars is still an option. It just isn't the option that we've chosen.

The hearts and minds way of war will take us to the 2030 that I have described. And that 2030 will take us to a 2060 and a 2090 where the war is over because we lost.

If we want our civilization to end there, all we have to do is to keep on doing what we're doing.

We know how to win wars. We don't lack the tools or the skills. We lack the conviction. We aren't  trying to win the hearts and minds of the enemy because we know we're right. It's a strategy born of a lack of confidence. We don't believe in ourselves. We need the enemy to affirm our morality.

The United States does not lose wars except when it loses the conviction and unity of its purpose. To win, we have to believe that we have a nation, a culture and a people worth protecting. The enemy believes that. It believes that enough to destroy us. If we believed it, the war would already be over.

Islamic terrorism is over if you want it. We have the power and the skill to end it at any time. What we lack is the faith that we are worth fighting for.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Activism U and the End of Education

By On March 21, 2016
The campus wars aren’t really about race. Race and the rest of the identity politics roster are the engine for transforming an academic environment into an activist environment.

Think of it as the Post-Educational University. Or Activism U.

The average campus already skews left, but maintains the pretense of serving an educational purpose. The demands put forward on campuses begin with racial privileges, but do not end there. These demands call for politicizing every department, the mandatory political indoctrination of all students and faculty, and the submission of non-political academic departments to activist political ones.

The campus wars are a declaration that activist non-academic departments that offer identity politics analysis while contributing nothing and which often owe their existence to campus clashes from a previous generation, should dominate all areas of life and thought at every university.

Imagine if physics majors rioted and demanded that every single area of study on campus had to incorporate theoretical physics and hire physics majors. That is exactly what is happening with identity politics studies. It’s a naked power grab that has the potential to redefine academia.

Behind the minority students that are the public face of the campaign, are embedded faculty radicals like Melissa Click whose abuses recently led to her firing from the University of Missouri. Click’s body of work, gender, race and sexuality analyses of popular culture, is fairly typical of the activist faculty behind the power grab. Media studies is often confused with journalism, but the two have little in common. Media studies has become a guide to politicizing culture by viewing it through the intersectional lens.

Click’s husband, Richard Callahan, who also took part in the harassment, is a religion professor on paper, but in practice offers class analysis of religious practices. These resumes are fairly typical of the faculty activists behind the crybully insurgency. They may belong to anthropology, sociology, religious studies or a dozen other departments, but all they ever do is overlay their political filter over a given field. And once it is in place, activism is the inevitable step for correcting the "injustices".

They’re not academics; they’re activists with a mandate to impose their filter on everyone.

When we talk about political correctness, it isn’t just about banning certain jokes. That’s the smallest part of it. Political correctness is about making the political filter, the left’s lens, mandatory for all.

The campus wars are dividing universities between academic departments and activist departments. The activist demands call for embedding activism deeper into the structure of universities with more activist deans, departments and professors dedicated to their agenda. Funding is diverted from education to activism. The activist curriculum become mandatory to recruit more student activists.

Student activists demand exemptions from their studies for activism and academic bankruptcy that will allow them to erase entire semesters from their records. Academics take a backseat to activism. The purpose of the institution ceases to be education. Instead the university exists to manufacture more activists to make more demands, first of the university, and then of everyone else.

The university is just a training ground for activists. A political playhouse for them to shake down before moving on to shaking down the rest of the country. That's what this is about.

On campus, the conflict escalates as activist departments use their new resources to expand the scope of their pressure tactics. In the timeless struggle for academic resources between faculty and departments, student activism is a nuclear weapon. And the endgame of this struggle is the triumph of activism over academics and ignorance over knowledge.

The crybully targets in this latest round of campus wars have been university presidents and student leaders. Baseless claims of an unsafe environment are used to leverage leadership changes that either bring activist allies to power or new leaders that are terrified enough to give in to activist demands.

Even the rise of BDS has been embraced by non-Muslim social justice activists as a means of forcing out Jewish and even non-Jewish student leaders. Allegations of Zionism were used by Students for Justice in Palestine co-founder Hatem Bazian to block Jewish student leaders back in his student days. That tactic has been revived on California campuses as one more political offense to be exploited by activists.

The multiplication of petty political offenses is an Orwellian tactic for enforcing the activist agenda.

None of this is really about the imaginary hate crimes or offensive Halloween costumes. The activists invent pretexts for activism. And they will always find something that makes them feel “unsafe” and traumatized even if they have to invent it. The high pitch of their hysteria usually makes up for whatever logical and factual deficiencies there are to be found in their latest claims of victimhood.

The crybully demands are not the final campus endgame, but they offer us a disturbing preview of it.

Their ideal campus is a political organization, not an educational one, whose primary mission is indoctrinating students to view all matters through a race, class, gender, sexuality lens for the purpose of political activism. It’s not just the Western canon being eradicated, but learning as we understand it.

The activist complex doesn’t believe in education, but in a constant process of reeducation in which an evolving left adopts new positions, purges dissenters and reeducates the public to the new position. It does not believe in facts, historic, moral or scientific, but perspectives that are only as valid as the intersectional oppression status of the individual. It does not draw the line at cultural perspectives in media studies, but insists on a feminist mathematics and rejects what it calls Eurocentric physics. Giving its activists control of universities would unleash Lysenkoism on a grand scale as every area of science would be broken down into perspectives of gender, sexuality and race.

The left claims to love science, but with their victory science as we know it would cease to exist.

This is not hypothetical alarmism. For example, the California Polytechnic State University demands call for forcing engineering students to take “anti-racist science and technology” studies. Princeton’s Black Justice League warned that, “Learning about marginalized groups, their cultures, and structures of privilege is just as important as any science or quantitative reasoning course.”

At the University of Virginia, the demand was that “every course should strive to recognize minority perspectives and every department should make it a goal to offer multiple courses that include or focus on minority perspectives”. Biology would discuss eugenics and Systems Engineering would “discuss culturally sensitive industrial organization”. Such demands have become altogether typical.

Academic departments would be subservient to activist departments. The latter would take over and hollow out the former leaving nothing but worthless degrees and student debt. Graduates would be qualified to do little except be activists and “allies” in their chosen fields. Their mission would be to propagate and enforce politically correct doctrines in the classical Soviet political commissar sense.

Safe space culture would silence dissent among faculty and students while creating activist student-faculty organizations empowered to conduct endless purges and protests. College would be free and utterly useless for anything except turning out the next generation of community organizers. It is not only the ideas themselves that are endangered, but the entire mechanism for exchanging them.

The activist model would not only eliminate intellectual diversity, it would eliminate education.

The campus wars are about political correctness as a way of life. And we are only beginning to discover what that truly means.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Youmerica

By On March 16, 2016
The paradox of the individualistic society is that it can only exist if individuals embrace virtues that are greater than their own needs and whims. A society where each individual acts as a little tyrant, pursuing his desires with total selfishness at the expense of everyone else becomes collectivist as the little tyrants turn to a series of big tyrants to get what they want no matter who gets hurt by it.

Social compacts are the alternative to big government. Communities built around unwritten laws in which people do the right thing keep government at bay better than a million laws ever could. No Constitution can protect a people that does not know or care about what it says. Laws embody ideas about what a society can be. But only the people can actually live out those ideas in their lives.

As individual virtues and social compacts break down, selfish squabbles escalate. Tribalism turns into legal civil war. Laws become the means by which one group imposes its will on the other and by which one man seizes the property of another. The people come to view the system with contempt. All virtues and principles are abandoned as neighbor turns on neighbor in resentment and hatred.

Our society has cultivated narcissism as its highest virtue. Even liberalism has become condensed to an identity politics of narcissism in which each victim gets to talk about their feelings for fifteen minutes before crybullying for someone's head. Political discourse has become an exchange of feelings. And unlike contradictory ideas, clashing feelings of entitlement cannot be resolved.

Ideas can exist objectively. Feelings only exist subjectively. Identity politics resolves this problem by treating the objective response to feelings as privilege. But even subjective empathy can never truly approach the subjective experience of the crybully. Even a member of that same identity group will differ in some way from the multiple intersectional identities of the crybully. And that difference is its own privilege. This isn't really politics. It's self-help narcissism crossbred with stale Marxism.

Marxism pretended to be a science. Its idiot inheritors use the same highly specialized vocabulary to describe their imaginary science of feelings to decide whose feelings get hurt microscopically worse.

But that's the only kind of politics that narcissists can be expected to embrace. The left has personalized the political as much as it has politicized the personal. Its politics is purely personal. Its ideas can be condensed to "X upsets Y". With the corollary that in the future X will not be allowed to upset Y because Y will be in charge of everything and stupid people like X will all die off so that history is on the side of Y and not X. This is a seven year old's politics with better vocabulary.

But narcissism of the kind that our society has cultivated is a formula for perpetual childishness. Adulthood means doing things you don't want to do and discovering that they can make you the person you want to be. That's how virtue is born. Perpetual childhood prevents virtue from ever forming. Instead public life is cluttered with oversized children who have the language skills, resources and political power of adults, but none of the virtues that come with maturity.

They blame everyone else for their failures. Nothing is ever their fault. Everything is unfair. They can never admit they were wrong. Every failure adds more grievances and enemies to be blamed. They are incapable of acknowledging simple facts. Instead they lash out when they are shown why they cannot have what they want. The immature mind treats reality as a personal attack. It does not care what the truth is. It only wants its feelings validated by blaming someone, anyone else. 

A childish society is an "I Want" society in which everyone wants everything and no one wants to do the hard work of getting it. The clamor of demands is negotiated through the childish hierarchies of bullying, shame, braggadocio, tears, outbursts, violence and deceit. Any social compacts or laws that interfere with "I Want" are always unfair. Anyone who doesn't agree is the enemy.

Denying a narcissist anything hurts their feelings. And so they lash out in retribution. They are immune to facts or explanations. They know what they want and they know that society isn't fair because it isn't oriented around their feelings, but they think it will be once they get their way.

Democracy can't exist under these conditions. No civil society can. Without common virtues, there can be no enduring common ground. One side makes concessions while the other celebrates its successful bullying until the first side finds its own bully. Without a consensus, winning becomes everything and the winners are those who break the most rules while complaining the hardest.

And refusing to live by any rules while playing the victim is what narcissists are so good at.

Ideas, virtues and principles are the enemies of narcissism because they imply that there are greater and more important things than its feelings. To the perpetually immature, everything is personal. The attempt to move from the subjective to the objective is treated as devaluing the importance of its feelings. The narcissistic refrain of crybullies in campus debates is, "Stop talking and listen to me".

The safe space represents the total rejection of all dialogue. It is also the ideal metaphor for the politics of an immature mind. It extends the entitlement of the crybully from its mind into the physical space with the ultimate goal of expanding that physical embodiment of its entitlement to the entire world.

All rights become condensed to self-esteem. Individual virtue is reduced to a lack of shame. Narcissists are always fighting battles of personal self-expression against "haters" who make them feel bad about themselves. Freedom of speech, and any other freedom, can't exist in this space of emotional tribalism where negotiating the validation of your identity is the only thing that matters.

And yet it's ideas that resolve personal conflicts. They allow us to set limits of mutual respect. These principles make it possible for us to exist as individuals without big government to watch over us. Principles check our entitlement. They tell us that there are things which matter more than what we want or the anger we feel. They tell us that we are not entitled to steal from someone just because we really want to. They remind us of the price we end up paying for winning at any cost.

These are the things that set apart society from savagery and human beings from animals.

A narcissistic society only empowers individuals to destroy their individual freedoms and the society that made it possible. The self-centered logic of narcissism can justify anything as long as it feels right. Principles are abandoned, virtues are mocked and morality is meaningless. The longer this goes on, the worse society becomes since the very worst way of finding happiness is perpetual immaturity.

Narcissists who can't win their own battles turn to bigger narcissists. Little tyrants become big tyrants. Anything is justified and the very idea of a truth apart from feelings dies away. All that's left is a brutish scramble to find the power proportionate to the feelings of everyone in Youmerica.

And these days we all live in a Youmerica where feelings matter more than facts, where narcissism is the only politics, where the only way to win is to hate and cry harder and where the future is a government as big as the ego of its rulers. Youmerica is our culture, our government and our creed.

Youmerica is the nightmare of the Founding Fathers come to live. "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion," John Adams warned. "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." The same is true of all the rest of it.

We have no government capable of contending with human passions unbound by any code. The only government that will serve is tyranny. We can have a virtuous society of free men and women. Or we can have what we have now, and that is only a taste of what is still to come in the dying days of an empire whose people are busy trading their virtues for pottage without counting the cost.

Without virtues, all politics are reduced to their basic roots of tribal emotion and personal greed.

Without personal responsibility and truth, the cycle of decline will never be broken. Instead it will intensify. There will be scapegoats and circuses, massacres in the forum and fires in the night. There will be a new tyrant on the balcony every week and a new mob in the streets calling for blood.

And the country we once had will never return. There will be no America. Only Youmerica.

The country that we once had was not merely documents or buildings or territory. It was people. They were not a perfect people. Far from it. Like all of us, they were deeply flawed. But they believed in things. And as flawed as these things were, many were willing to live and die by them. They were willing to seek truth even if where it led did not please them. They made mistakes, but they grew up and became the men and women who tamed a land, build a nation and saved the world.

If we are to deserve the inheritance they left us, we must become better than we are. All of us.

We have been betrayed, undermined, misused, lied to and exploited. But in the end only we are capable of that final betrayal of our dreams and our heritage. We can choose to rebuild a social compact, a moral society that can undo the damage that has been done. Or we can let it all go.

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