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“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.”
— Thucydides

“A civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.”
— Jean-François Revel

Pamela Bone has passed

Monday, April 28, 2008

Among the seemingly sparse ranks of contemporary feminists who’ve dared to raise a warning lantern regarding the deeply antiliberal tendencies of Islamic fundamentalism, it was not that long ago we lost Oriana Fallaci to cancer. (Additional tributes at neo-neocon and The Economist (login required).)

Now Pamela Bone has passed on. I linked a truly remarkable article she wrote for The Australian back in August of 2006 (Muslim sisters need our help). If what I saw therein was at all typical of her work, what a great loss her death will be for the cause of freedom.

There’s an obituary for Pamela in The Australian.

An Anatomy of Surrender

At the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, a very illuminating, must-read piece by Bruce Bawer regarding the West’s crippling reluctance to name and confront its Jihadist enemy. Others have written on this topic, but I don’t think I’ve yet seen a more comprehensive view of the problem and its many facets articulated so clearly, with reference to the many awful events of recent memory that underscore Bawer’s point.

Islam divides the world into two parts. The part governed by sharia, or Islamic law, is called the Dar al-Islam, or House of Submission. Everything else is the Dar al-Harb, or House of War, so called because it will take war — holy war, jihad — to bring it into the House of Submission. Over the centuries, this jihad has taken a variety of forms. Two centuries ago, for instance, Muslim pirates from North Africa captured ships and enslaved their crews, leading the U.S. to fight the Barbary Wars of 1801–05 and 1815. In recent decades, the jihadists’ weapon of choice has usually been the terrorist’s bomb; the use of planes as missiles on 9/11 was a variant of this method.

What has not been widely recognized is that the Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1989 fatwa against Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie introduced a new kind of jihad. Instead of assaulting Western ships or buildings, Khomeini took aim at a fundamental Western freedom: freedom of speech. In recent years, other Islamists have joined this crusade, seeking to undermine Western societies’ basic liberties and extend sharia within those societies.

The cultural jihadists have enjoyed disturbing success. Two events in particular — the 2004 assassination in Amsterdam of Theo van Gogh in retaliation for his film about Islam’s oppression of women, and the global wave of riots, murders, and vandalism that followed a Danish newspaper’s 2005 publication of cartoons satirizing Mohammed — have had a massive ripple effect throughout the West. Motivated variously, and doubtless sometimes simultaneously, by fear, misguided sympathy, and multicultural ideology — which teaches us to belittle our freedoms and to genuflect to non-Western cultures, however repressive — people at every level of Western society, but especially elites, have allowed concerns about what fundamentalist Muslims will feel, think, or do to influence their actions and expressions. These Westerners have begun, in other words, to internalize the strictures of sharia, and thus implicitly to accept the deferential status of dhimmis — infidels living in Muslim societies.

After each major terrorist act since 9/11, the press has dutifully published stories about Western Muslims fearing an “anti-Muslim backlash” — thus neatly shifting the focus from Islamists’ real acts of violence to non-Muslims’ imaginary ones.

So it goes in this upside-down, not-so-brave new media world: those who, if given the power, would subjugate infidels, oppress women, and execute apostates and homosexuals are “moderate” (a moderate, these days, apparently being anybody who doesn’t have explosives strapped to his body), while those who dare to call a spade a spade are “Islamophobes.”

By all means, do read the whole thing. Thanks to Instapundit for providing the link that brought Bawer’s article to my attention.

Happy Earth Day? Thank Capitalism

Monday, April 21, 2008

Aptly put in 2003; applies just as well in 2008.

Beyond the Fringe of Tastefulness and Sanity lies...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

At Instapundit:

“A PROVOCATIVE MASKED BALL SET IN THE RUINS OF THE WORLD TRADE CENTER:” They do this because they know we won’t behead them. Such is the bravery of artists.

I declare the Marshall Plan a failure. Bring our troops home from Europe now!

Different Results Require a Different Approach

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A noteworthy quote that popped up earlier this week in the “Daisy Tracker” Dashboard widget that I keep on my Macs… It’s attributed to self-help guru Tony Robbins, so feel free to take it with a grain of salt if you’re not a big fan of his “awaken the giant within” schtick, but I think there’s a solid core of essential truth to it:

If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.

…which paraphrases a similar maxim that I’ve always found to ring true:

The definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior and expecting a different result.

A cursory search didn’t turn up a clearly correct attribution for the latter, but it sure strikes me as a deep and important truth. We tend to get stuck in our comfortable behaviors more than we’re aware of, only rarely coming to realize that some of them may be the very cause of frustrations we repeatedly encounter. It’s well to remember, and probably shouldn’t be surprising, that getting to a different, desired result is likely to require a change in approach — sometimes even one that calls for a daunting departure from our comfortable habits.

How Gays Fight Terror in Iraq

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

By ratting out their former Al Qaeda tormentors, apparently. Cool. At GayPatriot via Instapundit.

2008 "Depression" Photographed in 2005!

OK, this is pretty hilarious:

TO DEMONSTRATE A DEPRESSION IN 2008, The Independent ran a picture from 2005.

Is this supposed to fall under the heading of “fake but accurate”?

Bandera Blanca?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Shortly after this year’s Academy Awards, Roger Simon reflected on the state of Hollywood’s wartime attitudes, and asked whether “a new ‘Casablanca’” might be possible.

Now Madonna’s talking about shooting her own remake of Casablanca … only somehow I don’t think it’s quite the movie that Roger had in mind…

Berkeley Supports Our Troops

At Zombietime c/o Instapundit: lots of encouraging pictures from a March 22nd rally in support of U.S. troops, which was held at the same Berkeley Marine recruiting center that has been a frequent focus of antiwar activists. Slightly old news at this point, but worth a look.