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November 15, 2006

Comments

Now, hilzoy, that Bous slip could have been a typo of whoever transcribed the interview, so it is not fair to pin it on Steyn (who, by the way, is a big fat plagiarist and a liar to boot) Especially when there is so much juicier idiocy afoot.

June 2005

"John Hawkins: Take a look at Iraq and tell me how you think we've handled it up to this point and look ahead one year to June of 2006, just a few months before the mid-term elections in the US, and tell me where you see things going.

Mark Steyn: I think Iraq is on the wane as a domestic policy issue in the US....My bet is that enough of the American people are made of sterner stuff, and that Democrats who continue to argue for retreat – and thus defeat - will find the anti-Iraq drum has less and less resonance.

There’ll be other changes with the Iraqis in the driving seat, rather than a Bush Administration that has to keep one eye out on whether Dick Durbin’s going to blubber all over the Senate floor again. Baghdad is likely to be far less squeamish about its enemies than Washington is. I don't just mean in the sense of that TV show they have over there, the one where they broadcast the interrogations of captured insurgents, which is the only reality TV show I enjoy watching."

Well, one for two.

New Mad Steyn.

As it is, we're in a very dark place right now. It has been a long time since America unambiguously won a war, and to choose to lose Iraq would be an act of such parochial self-indulgence that the American moment would not endure, and would not deserve to. Europe is becoming semi-Muslim, Third World basket-case states are going nuclear, and, for all that 40 percent of planetary military spending, America can't muster the will to take on pipsqueak enemies. We think we can just call off the game early, and go back home and watch TV.

It doesn't work like that. Whatever it started out as, Iraq is a test of American seriousness. And, if the Great Satan can't win in Vietnam or Iraq, where can it win? That's how China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Venezuela and a whole lot of others look at it. "These Colors Don't Run" is a fine T-shirt slogan, but in reality these colors have spent 40 years running from the jungles of Southeast Asia, the helicopters in the Persian desert, the streets of Mogadishu. ... To add the sands of Mesopotamia to the list will be an act of weakness from which America will never recover.

Funny thing is that I completely that it is very important for superpowers, even regional powers, not to lose wars. So I wonder why the vast majority of people who push this point do not reserve their righteous indignation for the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld cabal that got us into a difficult-to-win scenario. It is always the weak-knee'd liberals who are the targets of their fury.

Raise your hand if you think we are choosing to lose the war in Iraq.

Interestingly enough, I was at a training event last week (on "inclusion": which is to say, "How not to accidentally offend people you want to work with") and the trainer for that event, a Muslim, was quite confident that in 40 years or so Islam in Europe is going to look a lot different to Islam in Pakistan or Bangladesh, let alone Islam in Arab countries.

He pointed out that, right now, the imams in the UK are - almost without exception - men who grew up in Pakistan. But, the next generation of imams in the UK are going to be people (women can be imams, though except for very exceptional cases they're supposed to only teach women) who grew up and were educated in the UK: and that means that when they're asked to decide about whether a course of action is Islamic or unIslamic, they won't be responding out of a cultural background that is very different from the UK: they'll be interpreting the Qu'ran as they live it in day-to-day life in the UK.

And the next generation of imams, who learned from UK-educated imams, will be different again.

The point he was making, very strongly, was that a lot of the things we say we don't like about Islam, come from cultures that we in the UK associate with Islam because most of the Muslims we know are either first or second generation immigrants (at best, third generation) from those cultures - and the imams they go to to answer questions about how they should practice Islam are, almost without exception, all from those cultures.

Islamic practice, while retaining the five pillars of Islam, always adapts to the culture it moves into.

PS: I recall, in the 1980s when I was coming out, reading so many feminist books where women discovered they were lesbians because men are so lousy, that it quite worried me - I do recall semi-seriously wondering, when I was a teenager, if in order to be a "real lesbian", I first had to have one or two really bad relationships with men. I didn't want to: I just wanted to move directly to having really bad relationships with women. ;-)

For a take on Mark Steyn's powers of prediction, see only this brief compliation in the Guardian of his predictions on Iraq:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1534673,00.html.

What is really nasty about Steyn (well, actually, one of the really nasty things) is his enjoyment of violence. He is of the type of 'Arabs only understand threats' style. I think we should start a campaign to get him to go back to Iraq (it should be safer by London than now, after all) and see how he likes understanding the language of force from the other side.

Have you tried "Melanie Phillips"? Quite reliable too.

But I'm willing to bet my reputation against Steyn's on this one.

What to make of this? First I thought, hilzoy is giving him generous odds. But then, although she has a higher reputation, his is more widespread. Does that make it evens? And anyway when she turns out to be right, she keeps her reputation for sagacity and he enhances his reputation for being a priceless eejit. Everybody wins!

When this came up on Crooked Timber, it was pointed out that European men might decline to convert to Islam to avoid undergoing circumcision.

On another level, though, isn't it intuitively obvious that Islam and lesbianism are essentially equivalent options? Me either.

If you're as old as I am, you're familiar with the sort of logic that holds both that Communism is a failed system but is almost certain to take over the world. Nowadays we fear that gay atheists are about to impose Islam.

It's the Chinese diner menu of fear: pick one from column A and two from column B.

The article in the Sun Times has some classic Steyn:

... to choose to lose Iraq would be an act of such parochial self-indulgence that the American moment would not endure...

Because in the end, winning or losing a war is a matter of choice. What would happen if the insurgents choose to win the war is not clear, however.

And, if the Great Satan can’t win in Vietnam or Iraq, where can it win?

Of course, his solution is not to revise a strategy that has consistently failed over a 40-year period. On the other hand, I’m not sure what his solution is, apart from choosing to win.

What would happen if the insurgents choose to win the war is not clear, however.

The insurgents, being instruments of Evil (or perhaps Teh Ghey, I can never keep track), lack the free will and hence the ability to choose.

IOW: They simply are; whereas we may choose to be.

Mark Steyn: Well, my view of Europe in 20 years' time is that you'll be switching on the TV, you'll be looking at scenes of burning and conflagration and riots in the street. You will have a couple of countries that are maybe in civil war, at least on the brink of it.

As I said at CT, this is in itself not a terribly weird prediction. For the last thirty years at least, you could have turned on the TV and had a fairly good chance of seeing riots in Europe. Or, for that matter, the US. Or South America. Or east Asia. Or Africa.

As for the civil wars - well, we've had three in the last decade or so (Bosnia, Serbia/Kosovo, Albania) and so another couple in the next twenty years isn't impossible. I wouldn't care to bet against the possibility of civil war in, say, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova or Ukraine by 2026 - not that I think it's likely or inevitable, but there's certainly a non-ludicrous prospect of at least one. (Key question: are any of these states more worrying, from a civil-unrest point of view, than Yugoslavia was in 1972?)

Of course, the civil wars in these countries, if they happen, won't have anything to do with Teh Radical Islam, which is the point he's really trying to make.

If I thought that Steyn would live that long, I would happily bet my pension against his on the following proposition: That no country presently a member of the European Union will by 2040 have introduced sharia as the foundation of either its civil or its criminal law.

"as opposed to leaving one to confront the same old problems *while wearing a headscarf*?"

That is a classic line. Reminds me of Johnson's adage that service in the Royal Navy has all the disadvantages of life in prison, with the additional danger of drowning.

Ajay is right about the frequency of rioting and burning in Europe. This is because courses in how to torch cars are a mandatory part of the French curriculum. First you have to get a certificate in how to pry up paves, of course.

Every year, in every major town in France, someone is burning a car somewhere. May be the students, may be the farmers, or just people tired of waiting on line. It's just a Gallic expression, like a slightly more emphatic shrug.

Most often it's something you do as part of your late teen-age education. Then after you have passed your examen in municipal havoc, you settle down to developing your embonpoint and decrying the decadence of today's youth.

Look, it seems like a waste of time to me, too. But they're only Peugeots, for the most part, and apparently this is a stable part of the culture that is handed down through the generations.

Steyn might be over the top, but he is certainly not alone in believing that there is a very real and purposeful “Islamization” going on in Europe.

This is a very link-rich post. If you spend the time to read this article and all the linked articles, I’ll be surprised if you can still discount it quite as easily. (Yes, some of the links are to wingnut sites, but you can click through to the source material from there.)

I haven’t been to Europe since 1989, so I don’t have any firsthand knowledge of conditions there, and I’m not going to make any predictions about the future.

All I am saying is that I don’t think we can dismiss this point of view out of hand. I’d be interested in the opinion of any European readers concerning the article I linked – total nonsense?

This is a very link-rich post.

as soon as i hit that second paragraph, i found myself thinking: if i had the time and energy, i don't doubt that i could find a few similarly-worded articles from the 20s or 30s where it's The Jews who are congregating in city centers, changing the character of the cities themselves, pushing the natives out into the countryside; where it's the Jews who are going to take over; yadayadayada.

or, maybe it's the gypsies. or maybe it's the Mexicans who are going to displace and the replace all the white people in America.

same old story. same old song and dance. my friend.

Steyn makes me nostalgic for Mr. Ed, who, as we all know, would never speak unless he had something to say.

So I wonder why the vast majority of people who push this point do not reserve their righteous indignation for the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld cabal that got us into a difficult-to-win scenario.

Bingo.

There will be no winner in Iraq. Everyone is going to lose. There will be no victory, just a lot of dead people and a big pile of broken stuff. It'll be years before the dust settles enough for us to see exactly how big of a mess has been made.

Deciding to stay, or not stay, will have no effect on this. The point at which we could actually direct the flow of events in Iraq is past. A year ago, I would have argued that putting half a million US troops in country might actually turn the situation around, or at least stabilize it. I wouldn't make the same argument now. At this point, we're just surfing on an avalanche.

At this point our task is to understand, or try to understand, how bad it will be if we stay vs. how bad if we leave, and to decide whether we are willing to pay whatever it will cost us to stay if, in fact, that will make things any better. It might, in fact, make things worse, in which case we should start the process of leaving. There is no point in staying to preserve our credibility, because that is already gone.

None -- not one bit -- of this is the responsibility of people who argued against the war, either before we invaded or after. It is all a function of how the decision to invade was made, and how the war was prosecuted once we went in. All of that belongs to Bush and his crew, lock, stock, and barrel.

Thanks -

I saw someone link to this with "John Hawkins interviews Mark Steyn" and thought to myself, "Oh wow, really!?" I was almost giddy with excitement. I have to admit that I too occasionally take pleasure in reading someone who is completely out there. But when the interviewer is John Hawkins it's almost too much.

OCSteve: I’d be interested in the opinion of any European readers concerning the article I linked – total nonsense?

I didn't click on all the links in the article provided (I recognize the URL from another deeply misleading story). I wouldn't say it's total nonsense: I'd say it's pernicious racism togged up to look pretty.

The writer seems to be conflating a known problem in France with immigrants from Algeria with racist complaints from England about immigrants - which have been being made, in similar style by similar people, for sixty to seventy years at least, and probably for longer. Only the groups complained about change. (Orwell noted that during WWII, while English intelligentsia were careful to say "Of course, I'm not an anti-Semite" they'd then make openly anti-Semitic comments about Jewish refugees. We see the same process going on today with "Of course, I'm not racist, but - ")

There has also been a recent (consistently over the past five to ten years) and thoroughly disgusting campaign in tabloid newspapers against "bogus asylum seekers", which has led to some real horror stories - both in government treatment of asylum seekers, which has gotten worse and worse in the UK, and in how people treat asylum seekers. The Times isn't quite a tabloid, and the Telegraph certainly isn't, but both have been guilty of attacking the Labour government where they think a weak point is - the necessary support the government provides for refugees/asylum seekers, contrasted with the populist hate whipped up by the tabloid campaign. And because of current events, many asylum seekers are Muslims.

Steyn might be over the top, but he is certainly not alone in believing that there is a very real and purposeful “Islamization” going on in Europe.

If by "Islamization" you mean that there are more Muslims living in Europe than there used to be, and that that number is increasing, that is undoubtedly true.

You lose me when you say "purposeful".

I'm not European, don't live there, and haven't traveled there, so to a large degree I'm talking out of my hat. Please apply the appropriate number of grains of salt.

That said, my general understanding is that Muslims move to Europe because they can find jobs, education, and a chance to improve their lives. If they could have these things back in Pakistan, Algeria, Turkey, Morocco, or any of the many other nations they come from, they'd probably stay home.

When they arrive, they often find it hard to assimilate, because they look different, speak a different language, dress differently, eat different food, etc. So, they stick together with folks like themselves.

Some European countries make this worse by intituting policies whereby Muslim (and other) immigrants can come and work, but never gain full citizenship.

All of this falls under the general heading of economically motived immigration. All of the problems named here have been seen before, many times, in many places. We have seen them, and continue to see them, here in the US, just not in the context of Muslims.

There are real problems there, but I'm not sure it's helpful to think of it in terms of a "purposeful" plan to infiltrate and subjugate the last bastion of Christendom.

I think they really just want a chance to make a living.

Thanks -

kid bitzer:Ajay is right about the frequency of rioting and burning in Europe. This is because courses in how to torch cars are a mandatory part of the French curriculum...(drivels on)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_riots

Yep, sure enough, it's all France.

Seattle, France. Toledo, France. Lansing, Michigan (France). New York, France. Cronulla, France.

same old story. same old song and dance. my friend.

I wouldn't say it's total nonsense: I'd say it's pernicious racism togged up to look pretty

OK – same old same old. I can see that point. But I don’t recall Jews/Gypsies/immigrants establishing no-go zones in the historical context you point out. I think that these parallel communities, or communities within the community, or whatever term makes the most sense, where the authority of the host country is rejected is somewhat unprecedented. And it’s not just happening around Paris correct? Am I wrong about that? Is Paris an isolated case?

I’m not being argumentative – I’m genuinely curious. I have one perception (formed by the media). If folks living in Europe tell me there is no problem there then I’m relieved.

OCSteve: But I don’t recall Jews/Gypsies/immigrants establishing no-go zones in the historical context you point out.

No, because they didn't. But I have read contemporary claims that they were doing that: just as I read contemporary claims now that Muslim immigrants are doing that. I have friends who live in areas in London and in Glasgow (two cities with large and growing Muslim communities) which have, proportionally, very many Muslims. I have read claims by racists that those areas are "no go" areas if you're white/not Muslim, if you're a woman who doesn't veil, and I can tell you from my own personal experience that this is utter, racist, rot.

Going to the other issue, of Algerian immigrants/children of immigrants in France: there is certainly an issue of violence and disrespect for the law/authority within those communities, as there is a wider issue of racism, Islamophobia, and disrespect/lack of opportunity from the French establishment towards those communities. To blame this on the religion practiced by many Algerians seems as absurd to me as blaming race violence in the US on Christianity, just because the majority of black people in the US are Christians.

Thanks Jes. I appreciate the local perspective.

I can only say with any authority that the part of that article that dealt with Sweden bore no relation to anything I saw while there, or heard about from my relatives who lived there. While I was travelling, I was deliberately looking to see, for instance, whether I could observe any serious social separation between Swedes and immigrants -- e.g., whether people who looked like immigrants (for instance, who were members of other ethnicities speaking Swedish, or who were wearing Muslim dress) tended to be in groups containing only other people who looked like immigrants, or with people who looked like Swedes. The answer, based only the non-random but reasonably large sample I saw, was: the second, pretty much invariably.

Also, I have a bunch of relatives who live there, and I asked them about immigration; they all seemed to think that while there were the normal sorts of issues (e.g., the same sort that the US had with respect to the Irish, the Germans, southern Europeans, Jews, and now Hispanics), it was in general going pretty well.

they all seemed to think that while there were the normal sorts of issues

Good to hear. Like I said, I haven’t been in Europe since 89. I place a lot more faith in first hand observation than the media.

Oh, and back then there were places I wouldn’t go – but it was because of the skinheads, not the Muslims :)

ajay--

you see? There's no sense of proportion. People rant about the islamicization of Europe when the French have already annexed Lansing, Michigan. (Were they setting Peugeots on fire there? Don't forget the Motor City!)

OCSteve--

"But I don’t recall Jews/Gypsies/immigrants establishing no-go zones in the historical context you point out. I think that these parallel communities, or communities within the community, or whatever term makes the most sense, where the authority of the host country is rejected is somewhat unprecedented."

The case is not entirely parallel. But there was a great deal of controversy in London in the '90s about a plan by the Jewish community to mark off a large part of London as a special zone. See the following.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/2182994.stm


I don't have a dog in that fight, pro or con, but it's the closest to a counter-example to your claim that first comes to mind.

OCSteve,

I read the linked article referring to "no-go zones", and it seems that the "Asian youths" are participating in escalating tit-for-tat violence with white gangs. The article quotes Pakistanis complaining that they're beaten and harassed when they visit "white" neighborhoods and are simply returning the favor: "It's like this now, we go to a white area and we get done over. It's like them coming here they get done over..."

There's nothing helpful in their reaction. They're only escalating the problem. But the phenomenon of minorities turning to violence when they feel the police don't care is surely nothing new. I can do some research if you like, or we could go watch "Gangs of New York".

And as Jes mentioned above, the existence of a "no-go zone" is being pushed not by its residents, but by those who fear them. I've also been told that Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn is a no-go for whites. And Spanish Harlem. Increased racial violence or fear thereof does not necessarily equate to "the authority of the host country being rejected", which is an assertion the source article doesn't seem to support.

OCSteve, how do these "no-go zones" differ from the inner-city areas where most white people are afraid to go in many US cities?

Kid: Interesting. I don’t recall hearing about that before. As you noted, not quite parallel.

I do think this quote aged quite well:

“This is a free country and people can believe anything that they want," she told BBC News Online.

“The question that we have constantly asked is what happens when that belief infringes on the rights of others not to be party to that belief.”


Ian: Probably not clear in my comment, but I meant “the authority of the host country being rejected” mostly in regards to the Paris situation. My concern was that the segregated communities exist elsewhere, and eventually would go that same direction.

Jes and Hil have alleviated those concerns to some extent, at least regarding the current state of affairs.

OCSteve, I lived in France for a couple of years around 2000 and traveled there frequently until about 2005. My ex-boyfriend lived in Asnières, which is basically Clichy, and worked some of the time in St-Denis, which is another "no-go" banlieue. A more familiar term for these areas would be "ghettoes." These can be pretty tough neighborhoods; you walk through briskly and don't talk to anyone on the way. But I'd say that's true of any ghettoized neighborhood where you don't fit in.

There *is* a serious problem with street-level sexual harrassment in France that has been exacerbated by class and cultural tensions. Given how bad it can get on the street, the reports of rape and coerced marriages don't surprise me. (For comparison, after a year in Paris, I went to Rome for a week and felt positively ignored; not what I had expected.) Since France is still a fairly chauvenistic society, when I complained about this sexual harrassment to French men of my acquaintance, they tended to shrug it off.

It was also fairly obvious that if a guy was messing with you, the lounging, leering police officers on the street wouldn't be of any help: when a female friend of mine was assaulted by a crazy, creepy guy with a knife, the police told her that the fur trim on her collar made her stand out too much.

But it was always pretty clear to me that this street-level sexual harrassment represented some basic frustration and generalized hostility. Young men from the banlieues would take the metro into the center of the city, sit on the sidewalk with their friends, and try to chat up any female who walked by with lines like "hey, miss, you're so hott, you wanna f*ck?" and, when rejected, would call them whores. Since these approaches were terribly unlikely to lead to actual romance, some other dynamic, some drama of rejection and resentment, was being played out in these encounters.

This sort of thing does not make for easy-going race-relations in a very crowded city.

There's a LOT more to talk about on this subject, especially the entrenched racism in French institutions like education, real estate, and hiring. Studies are finally beginning to dribble out about what people have known anecdotally for years: if you have an African-sounding last name, your applications (for jobs, for apartments, for spaces at the childcare) tend to get lost in the shuffle at astonishingly disproportionate rates.

All this has been going on for years, and, really, it's only now that French immigration communities are beginning to go up in flames that the chattering class is beginning to think that there's a serious problem.

But I wouldn't call it an Islamic uprising, even if some enterprising clerics have attempted to channel the frustrated energy to their own purposes.

how do these "no-go zones" differ from the inner-city areas where most white people are afraid to go in many US cities?

Maybe they don’t. You could certainly draw comparisons between the Paris situation and say, the Watts riots. I wouldn’t argue with you much. Certainly the economic factors are similar.


Jackmormon: Thanks for the personal perspective.

even if some enterprising clerics have attempted to channel the frustrated energy to their own purposes

That’s the key to the whole thing I think.

I agree with Jackmormon: the issue of "Islamist" social conflict in Europe is WAY more complicated than simpleton screedists like Mark Steyn make it out to be. Unfortunately, like most complex sociopolitical issues, its very complexity makes it hard to discuss, and it is almost inevitable that it will tend to get reduced to easier-to-handle talking points.

"Fjordman"'s piece in the Brussels Journal that OCSteve linked to is a sterling example of this oversimplification: it is just a variant on the "Eurabia" scare-talk that has been a staple of right-wing commentary for years.

One the other hand, it would be naive to the point of derangement to assume that there are NO (or aren't going to be) social problems in European countries regarding their Muslim minorities: it defies common sense that the presence in any nation of a sizable, unasssimilated (or poorly-assimilated) minority of mostly poor Muslim immigrants would not engender some level of social friction (though "who's to blame" will vary depending on the political slant of the commenter)

In both cases, though, the views are merely extrapolations from current trends, differing mainly in whether the commenter is optimistic or pessimistic about the future (or pontificating towards said view). JM's right: the subject provides a LOT to talk about: but as long as the "arguments" of the "sides" consist of "Europe is doomed to Islamofascist totalitarianism" vs.
"Europe will be a rainbow-hued garden of tranquility", very little is likely to accomplished.

And if the opinions of hack bloviators like Mark Steyn count as anything, change "very little" above to "nada".

I wouldn't say that the clerics have been terribly successful as of yet. France is still an overwhelmingly secular society. Second and third generation immigrants mostly want to integrate; they've just been having a helluva time doing it. Women seem to be integrating more easily than men. They may have greater incentive to do so, or maybe they're perceived as less of a threat than are the men.

Actually, I suspect that framing this whole problem as a Christian vs. Muslim conflict might be a rather dangerous thing to do. It lets the corrupt institutions off the hook, for one thing, and it lends legitimacy to some of the more radical Islamic critiques of frustrated young men's experience.

I haven't been reading the French papers with any regularity for awhile, though, so these thoughts may be a little dated.

Given Steyn's theories of lesbian motivation, I'm going to theorize that these unidentified European women are his ex-girlfriends.

In fact, when I read Steyn, I consider becoming a lesbian, just as a diversion. I might even do the ironing instead of reading him.

There seems to be a lot of sex talk going around among our Republican former overlords in the press and the political class, what with women seeking men solely for their reproductive power and pills that might provide men with a vagina two days a week.

I'm still trying to figure out the downside to that last idea.

I read yesterday that the erstwhile Prof Walter Williams, noted conservative economist, recently told a confab of young college Republicans that all taxation is tantamount to violent sexual assault.

I'm beginning to think that the entire Republican revolution from 1994 on has been a prolonged spastic release of long-frustrated sperm pressure. Testosterone soaks the walls and floods the streets.

There was a recent New Yorker cartoon showing a woman in modern suburban dress leaving her husband and prehistoric cave home, carrying a little suitcase and her purse. She's turning to her hubby, a bearded, dazed caveman slouched against the wall surrounded by bits of animal remains, and she is saying (I paraphrase):

"He may not be the best hunter, but he makes me laugh."

I think she voted last week.

Second and third generation immigrants mostly want to integrate; they've just been having a helluva time doing it. Women seem to be integrating more easily than men. They may have greater incentive to do so, or maybe they're perceived as less of a threat than are the men.

Those of us with recent immigrant heritage might find this VERY familiar....

I mean, I have met one (1) lesbian who claimed to have decided to take women for lovers after several dreadful relationships because, as she put it, "I thought: why not date people who are actually interested in figuring out their emotions?"

Hey, if you're an aerodynamics type, you can extrapolate from that one sample using cubic splines.

Sorry, that's probably an inside rocketscience joke.

OT but I need to scream somewhere.

TRENT LOTT?!?! Are you idiots (R) trying to drive me completely and permanently out of the party? Man, are we on a roll.

I agree with Jackmormon: the issue of "Islamist" social conflict in Europe is WAY more complicated than simpleton screedists like Mark Steyn make it out to be.

JFTR I would gently and only partially disagree with that. The issue of Islamist social conflict is complicated in its particulars, as evidenced by the fact that Islamism is wildly different in the US than in Europe. But European Islamism is also perfectly typical of the "tribalization" of communities which accompanies economic degradation and low employment, particularly in urban settings. That's a relatively simple, relatively constant, and well established phenomenon.

And in addition to what KCinDC said at 10:59, it's worth mentioning that there are plenty of places, including some in the US, where "white" or "white-ish" tribes aren't even in the running. Parts of greater LA are good examples -- lots and lots of ethnic/cultural conflicts that involve no white people at all.

"Of course, his solution is not to revise a strategy that has consistently failed over a 40-year period. On the other hand, I’m not sure what his solution is, apart from choosing to win."

Ponies. Lots and lots of ponies.

OCSteve: first of all: Brussels Journal is a rightwing rag, not a reliable source of information. I've read some of their articles before, and it is a lot of FUD.

They recently did a study in the Netherlands, and the group of immigrants that was best integrated (from all immigrants, that includes the christian area's and some former colonies) were the Iranians. They scored high on all counts, including following 'our' demographic pattern (average age of mother of first child 29, average number of kids 1.8). Which shows that it is not the religion that causes bad integration.

We do have problems with immigrants, but there is a lot more FUD than facts. Which is a shame, because that makes it harder to address the real problems.

I'll have a look through the BJ article now, be back later.

OCSteve: if they annoy you too much, remember: there's always room for you here in the party of defeatism and dhimmitude.

there's always room for you here in the party of defeatism and dhimmitude.

And ponies, don't forget the mutha' f**kin' ponies.

"Mark Steyn: where have you been all my life?"

Plagiarising?

Reading through the article... hmmm. Immigrants have almost always gone for the urban centers. There are exceptions (Dutch farmers for instance) but the general rule is that immigrants go to cities.

London knows many immigrants, that is true. Amongst whom half of our Royal Familie - they do breed, but only christian children...

There are afaik parts of Britain (mainly in the industial area's I think) where there's a lot of racial violence. When I read about it it often reminds me more of the 'youth gangs' than of religiously motivated riots.

France I know only from the holidays and the newspaper. The riots and car-burning seem to be part of their culture, all groups do it. But the banlieu's of Paris are a real problem.

Secret prayer rooms in Disneyland? That might be a cause for intelligence surveillance, if militant islamists meet there, but that is not really threatening business. Actually, nothing in the article they link to seems very threatening for business in France. Cloth selling is more important than libraries for islamic businesses - nah, does not feel really threatening for the economy.

The info about the Netherlands is really squewed. Can I recommend this article for a realistic picture?

I'd actuall love the fundamentalis muslims to have their own party. Engaging in the political reality dampens extremism - and you always have a certain percentage of fundamentalists in any given group. Our fundamentalist protestant party (who want a theology, and who do not permit governing jobs for women) has had a steady base for decades.

I sometimes wonder wether it would be a good idea to move most fundamentalist muslims to our biblebelt. They definately share some idea's. I mean... only this year we had the case of a reformist boy wanting to do a study to become a teacher - in one or our biblebelt institutions. He was turned down because his parents believed in parental input for shools, they had television and internet acces at home and his sister sometimes wore trousers - which made him not protestant enough. He sued and lost.

I still don't think that the fundamentalist protestants take over (I am more worried about the US in that respect), and I am not too worried about the islamist fundamentalists taking over.

I DO think we have an immigration problem, yes, but we had those before.

Ok, I know I'm going to have to duck, but here goes:

I have lots of gay and lesbian friends. I would say about 1/3 of the lesbians I know would tell their coming out story like: "I dated all through high school and college. I had a really bad experience with this guy, jumped into a worse one, and then that other guy beat the crap of me. I decided right then that I would never go out with a man again."

For maybe 2/3 of lesbians and almost all gay men the story is "At some point in my life I finally realized that people of my sex are just hot and I was never really turned on by people of the opposite sex. I resisted it for X years, but finally realized I couldn't be happy any other way."

(Numbers approximate)

I'm not saying that all lesbians had a bad experience with men. Not at all.

I'm not saying that all women with bad experiences become lesbian. (That is sooo obviously not true.)

But I would say that there are a noticeable number of women who would describe their story in a "bad experience with men" rubric, while the number of gay men who would do similarly with women to describe their orientation is almost zero.

It is possible that such women are essentially 'gay' (to the extent that there is such a thing) and so repressed that they had to have abuse male mates to wake up. But that isn't how they describe it. And deeply closeted gay men may describe their attempts to stay in the closet as 'bad', but they don't typically ascribe the bad experience as the cause of their feelings.

Ok, I had better lock the shelter now.

Note, this of course has nothing to do with converting to Islam so far as I can tell, so don't take me as signing up for the whole Steyn program.

"think that these parallel communities, or communities within the community, or whatever term makes the most sense, where the authority of the host country is rejected is somewhat unprecedented."

Ever seen Godfather I and II?

Some other superb Steyn predictions, by the way, which turned out to be amazingly accurate!

Okay, not so much.

Seb: fwiw, my (unspoken) response to the person I cited was: gee, your sexual preferences must be a lot more malleable than mine. And I think they really were -- that one person, at least, really did claim to have decided to become gay, and nothing about her even remotely suggested either that she was kidding herself about this, or that she wasn't having a wonderful and very sexual time in the long-term relationship she had been in for some years when I knew her. -- I mean, I can imagine some hypothetical person saying that she had decided to become a lesbian, and my thinking either: I guess you weren't really straight, or: I guess you're just sort of making yourself be/act gay. This particular person, however, just did nothing at all to make either response seem the teensiest bit appropriate.

"Engaging in the political reality dampens extremism"

Ah. Perhaps you should explain this to the German Nazi Party of the 1930s, the Italian Fascist Party of the same, the Spanish Royalists of Franco, the banned Kach Party of Israel, the Beitenu Party of Israel, the American Revolutionary Communist Party of the Seventies and later, Lyndon LaRouche, the British National Party, Hezbollah, Hamas, Mao's Communist Party, and Lenin's same, and a variety of parties and factions in Iraq today.

In other words, I find this is often not the case, but rather simply a nice thought. It's pretty much only the case with not-very-extremists.

(I resist the mild urge to mutter about American's Libertarian Party.)

Come to think of it, cross-connecting to another thread (and then I really am out of here!), I should have mentioned that the formation of the Dixiecrat Party in the U.S. in 1948 did not, in fact, cause any fall-off in people joining the Ku Klux Klan, nor did George Wallace's formation of his racist and extremist American Independent Party in 1968 (still on the ballot in California!) cause his followers to become any more mellow (though many did peel off to vote for Richard Nixon, whose more thuggish supporters did enjoy the sport of Beating Up Longhairs and N------ from time to time).

"Seb: fwiw, my (unspoken) response to the person I cited was: gee, your sexual preferences must be a lot more malleable than mine."

Absolutely! :)

I'm merely reporting what others have told me, it wasn't my personal experience at all.

I have friends who live in areas in London and in Glasgow (two cities with large and growing Muslim communities) which have, proportionally, very many Muslims. I have read claims by racists that those areas are "no go" areas if you're white/not Muslim, if you're a woman who doesn't veil, and I can tell you from my own personal experience that this is utter, racist, rot.

Lived in an area like this last year - inner-city NW London. Following the London bombings (which thankfullly for me didn't involve the Jubilee line) we were asked to leave our house by police one day as they were searching a house at the end of the road where the bombers had supposedly met, and where a bomb may have been.

Never had a problem there, or anywhere else in London.

One factor that isn't mentioned in these discussions is the friction between more moderate Muslims and extremist Muslims. The London bombers killed a number of fellow Muslims that day; the bombs were detonated on rail lines and in some of the areas where lots of Muslims live. If the bombers wished to act as a focus for some sort of Muslim/Christian struggle, Edgware Road was the singularly stupidest place in England to blow up.

I think this fear of Eurabia is built of stereotypical and outdated view of Europe; the London of businessmen in bowler hats and charming cockneys. Such people probably think the national English food is fish and chips, and don't realize that it's been balti and chicken tikka masala for years now.

There are afaik parts of Britain (mainly in the industial area's I think) where there's a lot of racial violence. When I read about it it often reminds me more of the 'youth gangs' than of religiously motivated riots.

Sorry to double post, but I would guess that there is more football-motivated violence in Britain than racially-motivated violence.

The number of people in Glasgow, say, motivated to be violent towards Muslims would be far less than the number motivated to be violence towards Rangers fans.

"Such people probably think the national English food is fish and chips, and don't realize that it's been balti and chicken tikka masala for years now."

Decades. And the deep cultural interconnection with India and what is now Pakistan goes back several centuries, from the 1600s through Victoria, Empress of India, and onwards. (The Victoria & Albert had a huge exhibit on the theme when I was there a decade ago.)

Paul McCartney was singing, in early versions of "Get Back," from the point of view of Enoch Powell-ish nativists complaining about "too many Pakistanis taking everybody's jobs" in 1968. There is nothing new under the sun.

Sebastian: But I would say that there are a noticeable number of women who would describe their story in a "bad experience with men" rubric, while the number of gay men who would do similarly with women to describe their orientation is almost zero.

I think there's a bunch of reasons for this. One is, that one in four American women have been raped/sexually assaulted by a man or men at some time in their lives, whereas the number of American men who have been raped/sexually assaulted by women is miniscule by comparison. So, naturally, lesbians/bi women will report a far higher proportion of bad experiences with men than gay/bi men will report bad experiences with women.

Further, I'm convinced that the proportion of bisexual people in the human species is far higher than is ever readily admitted: we live in a culture which prefers to think that people are either hetero or homo, and rarely ever acknowledges that bisexuality is a normal sexual orientation.

From my own personal experience, a bisexual woman will gain far greater support and acceptance within the lesbian community if she presents herself as having given up men completely than if she admits to feeling sexual attraction to both men and women.

And my guess is, too, that a woman who has experienced sexual assault/rape by a man or men, and who is attracted normally to both genders, may well suppress (deliberately? unconsciously?) attraction to men for quite some time afterwards: especially as identifying as a lesbian rather than a bi woman brings such social reward within the lesbian community.

Unless we can allow for all these factors (and one we haven't dealt with at all: the social pressure on women not to recognize and acknowledge our own sexual feelings) it's not really possible to argue that female sexual orientation is "naturally" different from male sexual orientation: there are too many social differences that would warp the "natural" differences. (I don't think Sebastian was arguing for a "natural" difference between female and male sexual orientation, btw: but I have seen similar arguments used by people who were.)

Shinobi: Such people probably think the national English food is fish and chips, and don't realize that it's been balti and chicken tikka masala for years now.

And in Scotland, deep-fried pizza and haggis pakora. ;-)

The G.O.P. is worried that its going to run out of enemies, especially if it dawns on the public that a war between cultures is a terrible way to cast the situation. The paradigm guarantees the recruitment of "enemies".

Terrorism was an intelligence, law enforcement problem long before 9/11. A war on "terrorism," especially as broadly as the administration chooses to apply the term, creates continuous war, and does not limit the war to criminals only.

"I'm a lesbian because of disgusting men," may be the simplest way to describe the sexual orientation to "straight" people.

Too good not to share:

Belle Waring at Crooked Timber takes Mark Steyn's blather apart with her trademark wit: Best line:

"It’s a refreshing frappe of ignorance, suspicion, and homophobia topped with whipped misogyny and dusted with grated stupid!

Priceless.

Further, I'm convinced that the proportion of bisexual people in the human species is far higher than is ever readily admitted: we live in a culture which prefers to think that people are either hetero or homo, and rarely ever acknowledges that bisexuality is a normal sexual orientation.

My gay male friends have been citing a study that claims that, in men at least, bisexuality doesn't exist. Something to the effect that they stuck electrodes on a bunch of self-described bisexual men and then had them watch porn; 90% of the bisexuals responded indistinguishably from the gay control group, 10% indistinguishably from the straight control group. Anyone know anything about that? I tend to side with Jes on this -- especially with the notion that there are some people who aren't particularly "sexualized" qua hetero/homo/bisexuality at all, but are simply... malleable -- but I don't know of any research supporting that except quality time spent in bars and late-night conversations.

I'd ask my gay female friends about all this but, alas, they're all out of town. Though I've just been inducted into a new circle of friends in which at least casual lesbian experiences are (apparently) the norm -- though not at all when it comes to casual male-male experiences; the fact that I, as a male, am comfortable around male homosexuals is apparently a big plus amongst the girls in this group -- so maybe I'll get a fresh new set of perspectives in a few weeks or so. Who knows?

Jay, see the "via Crooked Timber" link in Hilzoy's post.

Have fun and stay safe, Anarch!

JM: Have fun and stay safe? I'm... not sure what you mean.

KCinDC:

Just saw link.
Sorry.
Jay slow today.

Belle still wicked clever.

;)

Is that not an understood "blessings on your hijinks" message where you are, Anarch? That was how it was intended, no offense intended.

Oh, absolutely, JM. It's just that my hijinks are rarely safe... ;)

Easy, Anarch. For all you know, one of your parents might be reading this blog.

Anarch: Anyone know anything about that?

I read it at the time: I read several arguments against it at the time. I can't recall where, because this was over a year ago, I think.

At least in Britain, it's pretty misleading to associate Muslim 'ghettoes'/social segregation with violent terrorism. The convicted/killed terrorists have generally been pretty well assimilated by conventional means: mostly second generation, schooled in racially mixed schools (one went to a Jewish school) and often worked in jobs in mixed communities. There have also been several converts to Islam among the terrorists. As far as I know, there have been absolutely none of the known terrorists in Britain who a) don't speak English or b) wear a niqab, despite all the recent fuss about the evil effects of these actions.

Somewhat OT, but truly depressing:

Laura Rozen on possible US shift towards Shi'ites in Iraq.

I sincerely hope the Administration is not so foolish as to follow this course. Even if it works as planned, we get:
a. increased Iranian influence in Iraq.
b. rewarding Sadr for his destructive conduct.
c. massively pissed off Saudis and other Sunnis.

And if it doesn't work as planned, add to the list:
d. the US being seen as choosing sides in a civil war.
e. even more sectarian violence than current levels.

In a thread earlier this year, I noted the Administration's preference for risky courses of conduct which had an upside instead of prudent conduct which does not, and even predicted something like this, but I am still astounded.

For all you know, one of your parents might be reading this blog.

Nah. They're both far too busy and important to fritter away their noontime, suppertime, choretime too reading ObWi.

Well, at least one of them is.

OCSteve: After the news that the first muslim entered the house after the elections I feel that I should point out that we have had a few muslims in our 'house' for years. Even the Christian Democrats have a muslim politician in the 'second chamber'.

Every conversation about Steyn should also include mention of the man who eulogizes him like he's Jonathan Swift.

As we experience the exigent state we perform our duties and they are our function. We do those things that we know are best. When we do things contrary then we knew we were wrong. The course of human history leads us by trial and error to our current position and so our intellectual developments are felt through out the world but they are not the possessions of the west where they spring up, but of all mankind as a result of the culmination of our experiences and learning. We have built vast societies and learned from the ancient egytpians, pythagories, and the histiories of the israelites so long ago, but they are all gone. Indeed, a rational secularist would admit that our real, actual first hand knowledge on planet earth does not stretch beyond the oldest member of the planet, maybe 120+ years. From their it becomes historical, photographs and texts reveal our past and the legacy of human knowledge and learning. The further back we look the more uncertain the details are. But to be sure we are here today, even all of us in the whole world, by-products of the history that came before us. Perhaps we are even the consequences of the past, for good or bad we inherit the troubles and the triumphs of our predecessors and yet we are not them. We clearly do not have to do as they have done. So what is the best thing to do? What is right and what is wrong? If you and I have found the absolute truth about God and others refuse to accept it, is it our place to kill them? Should we not question this absolute truth before we kill? What if we are being deceived and the bloodshed serves anothers purpose other then Gods? If God wants to kill should he not kill by Himself? Why should we do it for Him? So He won't send me to hell? Isn't it Gods place to kill? Why should God command man to kill, if He is God then let God kill by his own greatness? If a man kills to protect his family, which he must do, then the man shows that he deals justly. For he killed the evil one before him and saved his family, he is great. But the one who comes against the family if he kills the man and his family, then we know he was an evil one. That is what we believe and want we know. This reasoning has lead us to build great nations. But what if we did not believe this way, but were as the evil man? Believing that God had commanded us to harm others for some specified reason. And of course who are we then to disobey? But before we set about to kill the specified enemies of God should we not first ask, 'what God would have us kill in his place, after all we are not great like God, shouldn't God do his own killing?'

God #1 - " 'Do not take vengeance, because vengeance is mine.' says the Lord, the Almighty..."
Holy Bible

God #2 - "Take vengeance upon the unbelievers, it is allahs command."
Holy Koran

- "Choose you, this day, who you will serve."
Old Testament, Holy Bible

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