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Rebirth of Reason

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Post 20

Wednesday, May 5, 2004 - 11:11amSanction this postReply
Michael, David, Orion,

I agree that David's question indicates an underestimation of the extent of the problem when he asks, "How many real terrorists are there? Maybe 2000 worldwide? What is the real extent of the danger?"

But I also think Michael's emphasis, "It seems to me there can be no doubt that bin Laden will use nuclear weapons against American cities if he has the chance. If he detonates nuclear weapons -- even crude, low-yield ones - in, say, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and the middle of the Panama canal, how many people will die? 5 million? 10 million?" misses the real danger, as well.

According to Adherents.com, there are 1,780,000,000 Muslims in the world, up nearly four million since the 2002 estimate of 1.3 billion. It is the fastest growing ideology in the world. That is the real danger and it is much more significant than the danger of terrorism which Michael, I believe, correctly describes.

Every single Muslim is a potential terrorist. There are undoubtedly many more than 2000 Palestinian terrorists alone. Those Muslims who are not active terrorists (yet) will be, as soon as their Imam or Mullah gives them the word. The penalty for leaving or defying the Muslim religion is death. How many Muslim terrorists are there in the world? About a billion.

Short of attempting the logistically impossible killing of a billion people (ideological genocide?), how is terrorism to stopped? The fact is, it cannot be stopped. Israel does not have to contend with a billion terrorists, only the 8 million that live in Palestine. If terrorism could be stopped, Israel would have done it long ago.

But terrorism is not the ultimate danger. The ultimate danger is the goal and purpose of Islam to control the whole world. Unlike most Christians, who are content to wait for their God to return and conquer the world for them, the Muslims believe their God requires them to conquer the world for Allah themselves. They almost did it once. They intend to do it again. This time, they must might.

How? By terrorism? No; terrorism does nothing more than keep the civilized off-balance and intimidated. Their method is completely unstoppable; they intend to overwhelm the world with their sweaty uncivilized presence.

I know no one who describes the method and intention of the Muslims more eloquently than Oriana Fallaci. I posted that thread on Solo about her new book, The Force of Reason (La Forza della Ragione) (only in Italian) and her older book, The Rage and The Pride, and provided links to some articles about her.

Here are some extracts from her October 22, 2002, address at the American Enterprise Institute, "A Sermon for the West".
... since September 11, we are at war ... the front line of that war is here, in America. ...when I was a war correspondent, I liked to be on the front line. And this time, in this war, I do not feel as a war correspondent. I feel as a soldier. The duty of a soldier is to fight. And to fight this war, I deploy a personal weapon. It is not a gun. It’s a small book, The Rage and The Pride.

My soldier weapon is the weapon of truth ...
"From Afghanistan to Sudan, from Palestine to Pakistan, from Malaysia to Iran, from Egypt to Iraq, from Algeria to Senegal, from Syria to Kenya, from Libya to Chad, from Lebanon to Morocco, from Indonesia to Yemen, from Saudi Arabia to Somalia, the hate for the West swells like a fire fed by the wind. And the followers of Islamic fundamentalism multiply like a protozoa of a cell which splits to become two cells then four then eight then sixteen then thirty-two to infinity. Those who are not aware of it only have to look at the images that the TV brings us every day. The multitudes that impregnate the streets of Islamabad, the squares of Nairobi, the mosques of Tehran. The ferocious faces, the threatening fists. The fires that burn the American flag and the photos of Bush.

The clash between us and them is not a military clash. Oh, no. It is a cultural one, a religious one. And our military victories do not solve the offensive of Islamic terrorism. On the contrary, they encourage it. They exacerbate it, they multiply it. The worst is still to come.

President Bush has said, 'We refuse to live in fear.'

Beautiful sentence, very beautiful. I loved it! But inexact, Mr. President, because the West does live in fear. People are afraid to speak against the Islamic world. Afraid to offend, and to be punished for offending, the sons of Allah. You can insult the Christians, the Buddhists, the Hindus, the Jews. You can slander the Catholics, you can spit on the Madonna and Jesus Christ. But, woe betide the citizen who pronounces a word against the Islamic religion.

I call my book a sermon—addressed to the Italians, to the Europeans, the Westerners. And along with the rage, this  sermon unchains the pride for their culture, my culture. That culture that in spite of its mistakes, its faults, even monstrosities, has given so much to the world. It has moved us from the tents of the deserts and the huts of the woods to the dignity of civilization. It has given us the concept of beauty, of morals, of freedom, of equality. It has made the unique conquest in the social field, in the realm of science. It has wiped out diseases. It has invented all the tools that make life easier and more intelligent, those tools that our enemy can also use, for instance, to kill us. It has brought us to the moon and to Mars, and this cannot be said of the other culture. A culture, which has produced and produces only religion, which in every sense imprisons women inside the burkah or the chador, which is never accompanied by a drop of freedom, a drop of democracy, which subjugates its people under theocratical, oppressive regimes.

Socrates and Aristotle and Heraclitus were not mullahs. Jesus Christ, neither. Leonardo da Vinci and Michaelangelo, and Galileo, and Copernicus, and Newton and Pasteur and Einstein, the same.

My book is also a j’accuse. To accuse us of cowardice, hypocrisy, demagogy, laziness, moral misery, and of all that comes with that. The stupidity of the unbearable fad of political correctness, for instance. The paucity of our schools, our universities, our young people, people who often don’t even know the story of their country, the names Jefferson, Franklin, Robespierre, Napoleon, Garibaldi. And no understanding that freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline.

I accuse ourselves also of another crime: the loss of passion. Haven’t you understood what drives our enemies? What permits them to fight this war against us? The passion! They have passion! They have so much passion that they can die for it!
Their leaders, too, of course. I met Khomeini. I discussed with him for more than six hours in calm, and I tell you that that man was a man of passion. I never met bin Laden. But I have well observed his eyes. I have well listened to his voice. And I tell you that that man is a man of passion. We have lost passion.

Well, I have not. I boil with passion. I, too, am ready to die for passion. But around me, I see no passion. Even those who hate me and attack me and insult me do this without passion. They are mollusks, not men and women. And a civilization, a culture, cannot survive without passion, cannot be saved without passion. If the West does not wake up, if we do not refind passion, we are lost.

To quote from my book:

“The problem is that the solution does not depend upon the death of Osama bin Laden. Because the Osama bin Ladens are too many, by now: as cloned as the sheep of our research laboratories…. In fact, the best trained and the more intelligent do not stay in the Muslim countries... They stay in our own countries, in our cities, our universities, our business companies. They have excellent bonds with our churches, our banks, our televisions, our radios, our newspapers, our publishers, our academic organizations, our unions, our political parties…. Worse, they live in the heart of a society that hosts them without questioning their differences, without checking their bad intentions, without penalizing their sullen fanaticism.

[“I]f we continue to stay inert, they will become always more and more. They will demand always more and more, they will vex and boss us always more and more. ’Til the point of subduing us. Therefore, dealing with them is impossible. Attempting a dialogue, unthinkable. Showing indulgence, suicidal. And he or she who believes the contrary is a fool.”

Oriana Fallaci was a freedom fighter against the fascists at fourteen in her native Italy. She is an atheist and passionate fighter for truth, culture, and individual liberty. Want some passion? Read  The Rage and The Pride.


Post 21

Wednesday, May 5, 2004 - 12:01pmSanction this postReply

Hmm... a billion Muslims, that is a whole bunch of Muslims. I see your point.

And I agree with you and Rick about the nature of Islam. The question is, what are we going to do about it? What does Oriana Fallaci think we should do about it?

Post 22

Wednesday, May 5, 2004 - 1:38pmSanction this postReply

The question is, what are we going to do about it?
Excellent question. For now, stay out of the city. The first rule of self-defence is, "don't be there when it happens."

Actually I have some serious comments for you and some others, but have to run for a while. Stay tuned. Thanks for the comments.


Post 23

Wednesday, May 5, 2004 - 2:52pmSanction this postReply

I am glad that I think you see my point here, and are speaking up about the real extent of the threat.



At times I agree with you... your decisive attitude to get in there and DO something is admirable, to me at least, and more than that, I think objectively so.


You said the following, which I need to dissect for you:
"These regimes need to be destroyed. Not necessarily the entire country, not the entire population, but certainly the regime, its leaders, and all of the infrastructure that could be used to support a nuclear weapons program. How to identify what should and should not be destroyed is clearly going to be difficult."

You still don't get it, fully. For the most part, there IS no distinction between the "regimes" and the population. By and large, the "leaders" there are simply the ones with the resolve to voice and do something about their convictions... But make no mistake. By and large, they ALL think them! That means the general citizenry! This is how Islam has indoctrinated virtually ALL of them, since around 700 A.D.! It's a process which has been running almost totally unchecked for 1,300 years!!!!These are well-established strains of people and mindsets that have long since thought and acted this way... all rational opposition has been sneakily and ruthlessly been murdered! This is like systematically creating a whole new breed of dog by destroying those who by birth do not fit the ultimate design, for lack of a better comparison! And yes, this process works with whole peoples and even societies!

Taking out their leaders is just cutting off one head of the mythological Chimera! Another one grows right back! The beast cannot be defeated that way! The entire beast must be destroyed in one fell swoop! There can be no grey areas here, no harsh wounding to "send a message" that can be reflected on later by the enemy. IT WILL NOT HAPPEN. Because during that "healing time" that you imagine, whereas you and I would use that time to heal and reflect on ethical mistakes made, they will not. They will make very effective use of every second of that time to plot new ways to destroy us.

The basic conversion of the soul that true Islam inflicts on the soul, forces the individual to convert to the conformity of the religion, much like a very strong magnet converts non-magnetic iron into a magnet, if held in close and unavoidable contact with the original magnet.

The only thing that will save these people is psych-ops level deprogramming. The others who are far more dangerous than that, must be destroyed.

Make no mistake; this is a nightmare beyond imagining, and quite frankly, it's everywhere... right here, right now. Beneath so many priestly, peaceful smiles, a closely-guarded and lethal, cherished hate is being nurtured.

I'm going to post the famous poem called "A Poison Tree" from English poet William Blake (1757-1827), as an example of precisely what I'm talking about... the true mindset of our enemy:

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears
Night and morning with my tears,
And I sunned it with smiles
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright,
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine -

And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning, glad, I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

I'm desperately, honestly, exhausting myself here, to try and make you see.


(Edited by Orion Reasoner on 5/05, 2:53pm)

(Edited by Orion Reasoner on 5/05, 2:57pm)

(Edited by Orion Reasoner on 5/05, 2:59pm)

(Edited by Jeff Landauer on 5/06, 11:22pm)

Post 24

Wednesday, May 5, 2004 - 3:04pmSanction this postReply
David MacGregor,

The last two posts that I wrote were also specifically meant for you, in response to your incorrect premise that these terrorists are purely "anomolous", and that they are no indication of the rest of the societies in which they live.  I would like you to read them very carefully.


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Post 25

Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 12:22amSanction this postReply
I queue-jumped this article partly because I knew it would provoke roughly the degree of hysteria from certain Saddamite sources that indeed it has. The fact that Mr Reasoner made it clear that he was stating a provisional view against which he wished to hear counter-arguments did nothing to stem the tide of hysteria. Personally I am far from persuaded that the nuke option is necessary - but if I thought it were, I would not shrink from advocating it. I would have no hesitation in nuking entire continents of what Ayn Rand called "dinky little savages" if their leaders or associated subterranean terrorist maggots posed an imminent threat to western civilisation & nuking was what it took to remove the threat, even if the dinky little savages themselves were not a direct part of it. The simpering Saddamites would still denounce the nuking of Hiroshima, I presume? And prefer that Japan had been blitzed with copies of Atlas Shrugged (had it been written)? LOL! Gimme a break!

Post 26

Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 1:15amSanction this postReply

Everybody I know tells me that I'm abyssmally bad with detecting sarcasm, but I think I'm reading a certain measure of support for what I've said in this string.  If that's the case, then thanks for your support.


Post 27

Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 1:51amSanction this postReply
Orion - have you read the SOLO Credo? The bit about "Say what you mean & mean what you say"? There is no sarcasm in what I posted. I have read your other article in the queue, & I respect your integrity & courage more than I can say. Which is more than I can say for the simpering Saddamites. As I say, I don't think the nuke option is necessary, but I know that if it were, *those* contemptible appeasing specimens would be the first to argue against it & stand (or rather, kneel) by while the civilisation that honours their freedom to spout their weasel-worded drivel is destroyed by "dinky little savage" Muslims.


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Post 28

Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 4:24amSanction this postReply
I don't think the nuclear option is out of order if there is an imminent threat to U.S. security.  Yes, there would be a lot of "collateral damage"---which might be contained if, for example, a tactical nuclear weapon is used---but in the case of an imminent threat, one uses everything at one's disposal to meet that threat and defeat it, and the "collateral damage" in such instances would be the responsibility of the group that initiates force.

I do not see, however, how nuclear weapons could be effective in this war on Islamic terrorism.  There are many Muslims throughout the world, and they are spread across many continents, and not all Muslims are fanatical jihadists engaging in the initiation of force, whatever the requirements of their ideology.  That's why surgical strikes against known terrorist camps remain the best option, far more effective, say, than invading a country, occupying it for what might be decades, committing billions of US taxpayer dollars to "nation-build" a new corporate welfare state, and trying to bring "democracy" to a people who are culturally and politically opposed to the very concept of freedom.  As Ayn Rand once said, there is something amiss when the U.S. "sacrifice[s] thousands of American lives, and billions of dollars, to protect a primitive people who never had freedom, do not seek it, and, apparently, do not want it" ("The Shanghai Gesture, Part III").

I don't think people realize, however, that mass death is not strictly a by-product of nuclear weaponry.  As I said here, the whole WMD debate is a bit unprincipled: In the era of modern warfare, the killing is a difference in degree, not in kind. WMDs are terrible weapons that make pip-squeak countries or terrorist organizations into international players. I'm not denying their ferocity or danger. But please note that killing is killing.  The US killed more than a million people in Tokyo---many more deaths than either the Hiroshima or Nagasaki atomic blasts.  On the nights of 9-10 March 1945 alone, 334 B-29s carried 2000 tons of incendiaries, which burned 15.8 square miles of Tokyo, killing at least 100,000 people, injuring 1 million (tens of thousands quite seriously) and leaving more than 2 million people homeless.  From the 11th through the 18th of March 1945, similar bombing raids on Nagoya, Osaka, and Kobe killed an additional 50,000 people.  And this was done with purely conventional bombs.  The similar "fire bombing" or "carpet bombing" of Dresden killed about 35,000 Germans.  

With today's technological advances, however, it does seem that warfare can be contained far more effectively to target actual combatants rather than noncombatant civilians.  And with that technology at the disposal of the U.S., I see no reason to take out whole civilian populations, since most people in most countries simply live their lives, minding their own business, while being pawns of their religious and political leaders.

But there is a principle involved in this whole discussion, and it has nothing to do with numbers.  As I said here:

In the end, however, it is simply wrong to think that an advance in the technology of death changes the central principle involved in our understanding of the roots of war. As Rand puts it, "there is something obscene in the attitude of those who regard horror as a matter of numbers." Indeed, "it makes no difference to a man whether he is killed by a nuclear bomb or a dynamite bomb or an old-fashioned club. Nor does the number of other victims or the scale of the destruction make any difference to him . . . If nuclear weapons are a dreadful threat and mankind cannot afford war any longer, then mankind cannot afford statism any longer . . . if war is ever to be outlawed, it is the use of force that has to be outlawed" ("The Roots of War").  

A military battle of any scope is like a "political battle"-"merely a skirmish fought with muskets"; for Rand, "a philosophical battle is a nuclear war"-and only rational ideas will ultimately win it ("'What Can One Do?'").

And so, that is the central issue, as other commentators have stated.  This is a philosophicaland a cultural war, and on that front, nobody---neither the liberal nor the conservative nor the neoconservative---is offering a fundamental alternative to the status quo. 

 See "Not a Blog" for more posts on US foreign policy and the war...

(Edited by sciabarra on 5/06, 4:32am)

(Edited by sciabarra on 5/06, 4:37am)

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Post 29

Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 5:12amSanction this postReply
I've been slow to post to this thread as I've been busy offline holding libertarian events at my university, amongst other things. Anyway, I agree with Cameron, Regi, Chris and others who've argued that the fight against Islamic fundamentalism is a war of ideas, and with the argument that the use of nukes could be justified in the case of an imminent threat to the west.

I'm very sorry to see that Linz (whom I respect greatly and agree with on a large number of issues) has once again begun throwing around petty insults and false accusations of "Saddamism" at those SOLOists who've argued that the invasion of Iraq was wrongheaded and not in the US/UK's long term interests. Given the increasing instances of violence by Islamic resistance forces I think an argument can be made that Iraq is now increasingly likely to end up with an Islamist regime that will actually be far friendlier to fundamentalist terrorism than Hussein ever was. Not only is military action not going to defeat terrorism, it may actually be driving people toward supporting bin Laden. I think Chris and Regi (and perhaps others) have made similar arguments elsewhere.

Oh and regarding Linz' atomic bomb point - I don't necessarily endorse this but there is some evidence to suggest that at least the bombing of Nagazaki, if not that of Hiroshima, actually achieved nothing. This is to do with the terms of surrender being offered by the US and the Japanese wanting to keep the Emperor in some form. The argument was that the surrender eventually came only after the US agreed that the Emperor could remain as a "figurehead". I'll have to try and dig up a web link or two on this.


One sentence edited for poor choice of words.

(Edited by Matthew Humphreys on 5/06, 5:24am)

Post 30

Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 7:00amSanction this postReply

There was a documentary quite a few months ago about the bombing of Hiroshima. The Japanese were absolute nutters at the time, and even after Hiroshima, some in the army were trying to stop the Emperor from surrendering to the allies. Then at Easter, I saw the absolutely brilliant film, "Pearl Harbour”, which really brings home how little the Japanese Army and Government at that time valued human life.

What did the atom bomb accomplish? It stopped the war without the expense of more life on the side of the allies. The end of the war allowed the introduction of a constitution that secured the rights of individuals in Japan, which determined its future direction towards becoming a free, prosperous and wealthy country. Therefore, the bomb was only the expedient means to surrender, so that the constitutional and ideological bomb could be put in its place.


It seems to me, that atom (or nuclear) bombs are a good idea whenever a country such as the USA needs to defend itself against an enemy that a) does not value human life and b) is hell-bent on inflicting as many casualties on our side as possible and c) the enemy power base is located at an isolated target. That may not be possible, or necessary (if other military means are available) in the case of Al Quaeda, or Iraq. However, the military strategy is only the means to the ideological ends that need to follow. Unfortunately, at the moment in Iraq, the US seems to be kowtowing to Muslim Pressure Groups with respect to the future Iraqi constitution, effectively allowing a backdoor whereby fundamentalists could in the future introduce the rule of “Islamic law”. That would be a very sad development indeed!

Post 31

Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 9:01amSanction this postReply
I agree with Orion that Islam is the problem – not militant Islam, not radical Islam, not fundamentalist Islam – but Islam. There is essentially only one Islam. That being said we can still distinguish between “demographic Muslims” and true Muslims. Some Muslims are Muslims in name only – they are no problem as long as they don’t practice their religion. However, when a Muslim becomes devout and takes seriously his duty to wage Jihad, then we have a serious problem.

I find it odd that Chris, who says “This is a philosophical and a cultural war”, does not wage a philosophical and cultural war on Islam. During the Cold War, we just didn’t note that Communism was a bad idea then toss it aside as if no further implication follows. If this is first and foremost a philosophical war (or contains a philosophical war) then that requires both a clarification of our ideals and a complete condemnation and vilification of the enemy’s. I’m not hearing the latter.

Instead, whenever I properly vilify Islam, I hear people say: “If Islam is that bad we’ll have to … oh, no, we don’t want to do that … Islam can’t be that bad.” Now, I don’t know about the battle plan and I won’t comment on that. However, we have to face the facts. Islam is intrinsically an imperialistic religion.


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Post 32

Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 10:36amSanction this postReply
Rick writes that he finds it odd that I don't wage "a philosophical and cultural war on Islam."  In my original article, "Understanding the Global Crisis," however, in a section entitled "A Deeper Cause," I turned my attention precisely to that need to understand the philosophical underpinnings of the radical Islamicists.  I discussed the ideological origins of Al Qaeda, which emerged from the militant musings of Sayyid Qutb and the Muslim Brotherhood.  I do believe, however, that Islam is nota monolith, and that Muslim countries are not monolithic.  Indeed, the tribalism within Muslim countries has been a great barrier to their political and military unity; they are too busy killing each other---and have been doing so for generations.  (Take a look at that glorious film, "Lawrence of Arabia," which, whatever its historical inaccuracies, dramatizes the Mid East situation in the early part of the 20th century:  you'll have a strange sense of deja vu.)

Of course, I do believe that the current situation is the result of two ingredients:  it is the combustible collision of a history of US foreign interventionism and radical Islamic fundmentalism, and it is the former that has all-too-often provided the context for the emergence of the latter as a maniacal political and military force to be reckoned with. 

So, I agree that Western values need to be clarified and expressed and fought for; this is a philosophical battle of enormous significance.  I do not believe, however, that such values are being preserved, nourished, or extended in the war in Iraq for the precise reason that I do not believe that culturalchange can be imposed from without.  It comes from within, or it comes from nowhere.  (And I don't believe that references to Japan or Germany apply here, for the reasons I outlined in my original article, last year.)

Interestingly, I think the greatest potential for genuine cultural and political change might come from Iran, not Iraq, for reasons that I have expressed here.  In the meanwhile, this war on Islamic terrorism remains a testament to hypocrisy, as I have said here:  the US maintains an army of occupation in Iraq, a country that had no WMDs and no developed ties to Al Qaeda, while continuing to bed-down with the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, "allies" who are involved in either the export of weapons of mass destruction or the export of ideas of mass destruction.

Post 33

Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 11:13amSanction this postReply
I must respectfully disagree that the crisis in Islam is only the obscure figure of Qutb – yes, I read the New York Times Magazine section, too. This is a very popular theory currently circulated among the intelligentsia. It reminds me of the old line that the only problem with Communism is Stalin. Here we go again! (Man, are you still taking to those Trots? LOL)

Now, the notion of a monolith is more a political one than anything else and it goes back to the Cold War analysis. Yes, it is wise to note that our ideological enemies may hate each other. Shia and Sunni have had a political split going back to the first decades of Muhammad’s death. I’m well aware of that. Most of your last post is political in nature. I haven’t even mentioned Iraq let alone nation building. This isn’t exactly a nation-build thread. These are secondary facts – important – but they come after the initial philosophical understanding of Islam and its potential danger. Sorry, Chris, but I don’t see the philosophy again. (Sorry for hitting below the belt.)

Let me note in passing that you seem to have an odd contradiction in your post. You imply the potential to add fuel to the fire but deny the potential to throw water on it. If the Islamic revival is authentic, as I believe it is, it is rooted in the culture. We can’t cause it or discourage it. At most we can either buy some time or hasten the moment before we face the problem yet again.

In summary, until we understand Islam, we will be hampered in our formulation of a plan of action. (Thus, I’ve avoided a battle plan.)

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Post 34

Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 1:48pmSanction this postReply
Rick and Orion:

You are saying it is a war to the death with Islam per se. It is a thought that has occurred to me on more than one occasion. Let me ask two questions:

1) Since evil is impotent, what would the Islamic world threaten us with if we gave it nothing? 

Suppose we destroyed what they presently "have", in terms of the regimes,  the infrastructure that could be used to support a nuclear weapons program. and their import-export infrastructure -- rail sidings, shipping facilities, oil pipelines, etc., so that they can export nothing  and therefore receive nothing. Will the "head that grows back" really be a threat to us?

2) Does a person surrender his right to life merely by believing in an evil philosophy, even one that worships death?

(Edited by Michael Smith on 5/06, 1:50pm)

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Post 35

Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 2:40pmSanction this postReply
Rick, I don't want to replay all the debates we've had on other threads, but I'd like to make a few comments in response.

I never said that "the crisis in Islam" is rooted in "the obscure figure of Qutb."  What I said is that this recent Muslim insurgency can be traced to that radicalization of Islam.  We can argue all we want whether that radicalization is inherent in Islam or not.  But the simple fact is:  Muslims were not blowing up American cities or attacking American citizens abroad in the early part of the 20th century; they are doing so now, and we can't drop the historical context that has led us to this point.   (That they directed much of their previous hatred toward their British colonial occupiers actually makes my point:  the political factors shape the very context we seek to analyze and change.)

Philosophical analysis is necessary, but it is not sufficient to explain the current crisis.  Islam, like Christianity, has been around for centuries.  What we need to do is focus on the historically specific facts of the current situation.  I don't deny the philosophical need to analyze the doctrine of Islam, anymore than I would have denied the philosophical need to analyze the doctrine of Christianity.  But I don't see where this leaves us, absent historical specificity, unless our goal is to wipe out the 1.3 billion Muslims on the planet Earth.  There are plenty of Christians who have engaged in religiously-inspired violence too; some have argued that the whole history of Jewish subjugation, pogroms, and genocide is rooted in the Christian belief that the Jews killed Christ.  Does this mean that Jews won't be safe until all 2 billion Christians have been exterminated?  Of course not. 

Note:  I'm not suggesting that you are saying that all Muslims have to be exterminated in order for the West to feel safe.  I just don't see the utility in making Islam, per se, the enemy.  Like all religions, it is only an enemy of individual rights when it is conjoined to the use of initiatory force.  And different Muslims will tell you different things about whether that initiatory force is inherent in the Koran.  (It may very well be.)  But even if it is:  Why is Islam a threat now?  That has as much to do with the specifics of recent history as it does with doctrinal matters.

BTW, I would never say that the only problem with Communism was Stalin.  The problem of Communism, like the problem of Islam, is doctrinal.  But the doctrine existed in various guises for decades prior to its political triumph in Asia (precisely where Marx would have least expected it).  If I focused strictly on a philosophical analysis of Marx's writings, it would have told me very little about the manifestations of Communism in the 20th century (since Marx saw communism as the product of a long history of advanced capitalist development, rather than as the savior of the quasi-feudal Third World).  Communism didn't become a lethal movement until it became the official ideology of a murderous Bolshevik group seeking political power.  And the Cold War could never have been won if the US had perceived all of Communism as a monolith.  The US exploited the differences between the Russians and the Chinese, for example, in ways that were strategically effective.  Any strictly philosophical analysis of Communism, absent the historical and geopolitical realities of Russia and China, could never have been sufficient to defeat it.

There is, therefore, no "odd contradiction" in my post.  Yes, the essential battle is a cultural one.  But I think Rand's analysis of this is right on target:  There is a reciprocal relationship between politics and culture, and it is the rise of statism at home and abroad that remains the political cause of tribalism's rebirth, whether we are talking about Islamic tribes in the Middle East or pork-barrel groups in Middle America.  That is why any battle plan must be simultaneously cultural and political. 

Post 36

Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 3:35pmSanction this postReply

I'm thrilled to see the sheer boldness and courage that's going on here.  I thank you for your words of support sans sarcasm (thank you Lindsey), more than I can put into words, and I also want to add some VERY important points to the understanding of Islam.

First, let me relay what I have read in a book by an enormously courageous "defector" from Islam, an ex-professor of Islamic Studies at the Harvard of the Muslim world, Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt.  His new name (he converted to Christianity... not my ideal, but a very good improvement considering where he was) is Mark Gabriel, Ph.D..  His two paperback books, easily readable, are called Islam and Terrorism and Islam and the Jews.  To not read these books is a gross dereliction of your duty to your own life, with no exaggeration on my part.  Just about everything I'm going to write of here, can be found in his book.  I have heard that a certain government agency is requiring its agents to read his books; I will name no names, nor will I accept any taunt, challenge, or trick to do so.  My point is:  read his books.

Dr Gabriel relays the biography of Mohammad in his second book.  Mohammad was orphaned by the death of his parents at a very young age, and raised by older relatives in the time of a contemporary culture that was in a state of illogical and piggish decadence, with a depraved indifference to human suffering and poverty.  He was a highly diligent person full of integrity, and it seems that what he was originally out to do was to inject a spirit of genuine compassion and charity into that culture.  All of this was happening in Mecca. 

Needless to say, he gained followers.  But his increased status grew resentment from the entrenched power groups, represented by the dominant Christian, Jewish, and idol-worshipping groups of then Arabia.  But during this phase of beneficent, rational advocacy, he wrote bits and pieces of what would later be the Koran, and the theme of those bits still remain in the Koran as diplomatic and tolerant:  such commandments as "let there be no compulsion in religion".

However, eventually, the native power groups came to interpret his prominence as a threat, and they attempted to slaughter he and his followers, and he barely escaped with his life.  He escaped to Medina, very psychologically scarred, traumatized, and with much hatred and a radically different view of the world as ruled by sadistic and sinister groups.  And at the time, those groups were the very religious groups I named above.  While in Medina, his writings changed dramatically; at that point, the rational, humane approach had been tried, and be barely escaped with his life as a reward for his efforts.  Now, the basic gist of his writings was "punish, torture, butcher, and/or convert them, by any means necessary, even faking being their friends in order to gain closeness".  (Those quotes are mine, not his).

And basically, this is why the Koran oftentimes contradicts itself, because it was written in two radically different spirits.  And because of this, the average person tends to think that it is therefore an option of which imperative to pick in any case:  the gentle or savage one.  Well, that freedom is not allowed... because, somewhere also in the Koran, it says that if two instructions contradict each other, you MUST go with the one written later.  AND, since the instructions written later (the Medina period) typically advocated sadistic savagery, even if you want to choose the gentle option, you are violating true Islam by doing so.  You are bound to obey the typically more savage instruction.

Mohammad and the followers of Islam instituted certain "Sharia" laws specifically designed to systematically dehumanize, humiliate, and even breed out of the population, all non-Muslims.  Under these laws, Muslim men could marry a female of any faith, who then became a Muslim.  However, no non-Muslim male was allowed to marry a Muslim woman.  In addition, all non-Muslims were not allowed to ride high up on horses, but rather ride on shorter animals like donkeys, and then, only side-saddle, in a submissive, female manner.... this especially meant males. 

My point once again is, most of this (and an awful lot more) is chronicled in Dr. Gabriel's books.  It will clear up a lot for you that the secretly America-hating, ivory-tower, ivy-league liberals do not want you to know, and will deny until they are blue in the face, as if it were fact.  And it's for sure that the Arab oil money-controlled major media outlets don't want you knowing the real truth, either.

In all of this, I want you to understand that I do understand a man like Mohammad, and his want to make the world a better place. And I'm not sure that he was doing the wrong thing... AT THE TIME.  But haven't times changed rather a lot?  The trick is knowing when to employ a strategy, and when to turn it off.  Clearly, his followers lack tools... all they have is this hammer, and they're treating everything like a nail.

Post 37

Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 4:01pmSanction this postReply

I want to add that I think that the invasion of Iraq was wholly necessary, even if it has not yet yielded weapons of mass destruction (WMD's).

I say this because numerous meetings between the Hussein administration and leading al-Qaeda members had been happening for some time prior to the invasion and 9-11.  I have heard reported that Hussein was likely providing training grounds and support for al-Qaeda training.  Only to the delusional, pure liars, or skillful saboteurs, does this not mean a clear and decisive proof of intent to prepare for and wage war against first Israel and her allies, but then also all non-Muslim nations.

The most effective behavioral specialists in any field know and base their approaches on the FACT that it is precisely a person's inner logic that will drive their behavior, far beyond anything else.  It will compel their convictions and course of action. 

When you consider THAT, coupled with ALL the numerous threats that both Hussein and al-Qaeda have made against Israel and her allies (and eventually, all non-Muslim nations), only a muddle-headed coward "believes" that we the United States and our allies are responsible for our going into Iraq and laying waste to their nation.

Hussein and al-Qaeda are to blame, entirely.  This is because they are dealing with a nation that was built on the worship of rationale and the significance of words.  When you say that you are devoted to causing someone's death, you have only yourself to blame when they come to destroy you.

The WMD's may in fact not exist, or they may be being stored in someplace like Iran, Syria, or even Libya (yes, Libya).  These peoples are no longer fighting among themselves.  Contrary to popular wisdom, scumbags WILL UNITE when their comment scumbag interests are being threatened, and then you have a helluva fight on your hands.  Remember Elliot Ness and The Untouchables.

We are dealing with miserable, drama-craving sado-masochists from an utterly barren land with seemingly no escape from the endless and bottomless misery of their lives.  Under those conditions, it is only natural to expect that death is a reward, an escape for them.  And what better way to die then in the excitement and passion of battle.

They actually fear nuclear and bioweapon attack because it deprives them of their Wagnerian epic, final battle.  In such a situation, they just die as insignificant numbers, no glory, no intimacy on the battlefield, face to face with their enemy, bathed in his blood and guts, as he (or she) stares in recognitional horror and trembles before the finality of your god-like significance. 

This is why I say we promote our own WMD method, because it is exactly this that they desperately do NOT want.


Post 38

Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 8:51pmSanction this postReply
Hi people new poster... Cameron how old are you? You're wise behond your years...or either you look young. As you seem to be the only person using rational thought. To me it's very hard to justify nuclear weapons in "the war on terrorism"  This war is much more then a "war against civilization" .  I can totally justify using these weapons in the "fight for civilization" and for  the "free world" if the U.S. was actually a country bound by it's constitution. It seems to me that many people want so badly to believe that the U.S.. is completely innocent. Jefferson must be rolling in his grave right now. Please don't take this post to mean that I support terrorism or that I hate the U.S. I love what the U.S. once stood for, and now no longer does. Nucking the world to "clear out the terrorists" is not rational. What we must ask is why it's happening in the first place. But there again everyone has their own reason for this.

Post 39

Thursday, May 6, 2004 - 9:13pmSanction this postReply
Mr. Sciabarra... I'd like to complement you on your post, very well said....

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