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    Following Mr. Trump’s kaleidosopically shifting policies isn’t easy. He was going to declare China a currency manipulator on day one, but didn’t, going to impose a forty-five percent tariff on Chinese goods but apparently won’t, was going to shift the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem but isn’t, going to tear up the Iran treaty...
  • Fred’s view of the alleged Mexican-haters is extreme. He exploits it to make his points about motives vs. what is supposedly inevitable.

    I’d say most whites with any grievances in this department simply prefer to associate with their own kind, and want to have that option for the future. Just like Latinos do. Of course these whites also reflect on the constant, endemic dysfunction of Latino culture in Miami, Anaheim, etc. It’s hard not to notice.

    “All of this would suggest that encouraging immigrants to move into the middle class might be a Real Good Idea.”

    Do they get their own waiting line or do they compete with the rest of us aiming for that same status? This is a ridiculous suggestion on multiple levels. No one arrives in the middle class by invitation.

    Maybe we can start by ensuring that Latinos arrive in the U.S. by invitation.

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  • For a lot of Trump supporters the past week has been a painful one. Whether we chose to react with abject panic or pretended like nothing happened, something did happen and it was something big: the Three Letter Agencies pulled-off a de facto coup against Donald Trump by forcing him to fire his most important...
  • @Dissenter
    Oh, wait, another "supremacist" comment...this time on IQ...possibly the same Anon, who, curiously, is all day complaining at Saker´s about other anons, when he started at Saker´s precisely as Anon in 2007, to then be Brother Anon, to then become Bro93, out of some strange "conspiracy theory" about number 93 related to that flight on 9/11 explained by a former confessed Satanist called Passio whose videos and rocambolesque theories he is promoting all day at Saker´s, apart from all that weird stuff coming from the LaRouche org., the Schiller Institute and InfoWars

    Have you consider the possibility that mine has nothing to do with race but, simply, English is not my mother tongue?

    I am West European most probably whiter than you could ever be, and, but, of course I have no obligation to know every of your "cultural referents". Then you have that these racial issues have never been any of my worries, nor of most of people in Europe, but seem to worry more ( too much to be sane, I would say ) "certain people" in the US.

    Since these clear hints of "supremacism" remind us, Europeans, of the worst of our continent´s history, it is easy to understand why The Donald, and his Movement, as they call it his supporters, has ignited all the warnings on the other side of the Atlantic, uniting against this threat forces that until now had little in common for what to fight. To put it middly, like many people, even of progressive tendence, joined the Trump election to avoid the menace of an assured war with Clinton ( obviously being blind to what this really means, but discovering at increasing pace ), the same way a presidency whose aim, amongst others, was the destruction of the EU, has just provoked an almost forgotten and unprecedent solidarity in the EU against a much bigger evil than ideological difference could represent.

    Another thing may be not, but in Europe we can recognize Fascism and all illnesses it brings whenever we see it at first sight, if not because we all, more or less, have suffered under it quite a lot, a difference of you, who always remain safe on the other side of the Atlantic, despite promoting and financing always all the mess.

    “Another thing may be not, but in Europe we can recognize Fascism and all illnesses it brings whenever we see it at first sight, if not because we all, more or less, have suffered under it quite a lot, a difference of you, who always remain safe on the other side of the Atlantic, despite promoting and financing always all the mess.”

    Wow, is that really how you see us? How did I miss that in history class?

    No need to go into European power centers “promoting and financing always all the mess” for centuries but there is an issue here of pattern of performance. Europeans may be perspicacious in seeing the smoke of a fascist fire from ten miles away but if you cannot put the fire out I wouldn’t brag about your gift of vision. If you keep suffering under similar horrors “quite a lot” then it seems your uncommon wisdom has failed you.

    I’m curious about a few things from your European perspective: Do you see the Muslim invasion of Europe now as a threat of any kind to your way of life? Is it unreasonable to believe that the EU, in its fully implemented phases, would be yet another experiment in (European) fascist control?

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  • See also What McVeigh Meant and Timothy McVeigh`s Execution: Justice As Soap Opera, by the late Sam Francis PBS just aired “Oklahoma City,” Director Barak Goodman’s expose of the “far-right” influences on Timothy McVeigh, the 26-year-old mass murderer who killed 168 people on April 19, 1995 by bombing the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in...
  • @Carlton Meyer
    McVeigh was not stopped for speeding, but for driving a car without a license plate. Not a good escape plan, unless the Feds took it off so he would be stopped. And he didn't get out shooting at the cop, but simply surrendered for having a loaded 9mm in his belt.

    He plead guilty after the Feds threatened to arrest his sister as a conspirator. Last year the FBI was forced to released the four security tapes from cameras pointing to the blast area. All four go blank a few minutes before the blast, yet record again just after the blast. We saw the same game at the Pentagon on 9-11, where no video from the dozens of security cameras outside the Pentagon recorded the event.

    About 10 years ago I followed-up and read something about the tapes being officially “lost” in storage. So now they have been “found” and critical portions redacted. I never did read much about this event but the fact that those tapes were “denied” as evidence by the judge made a bad stink that still smells. This one aspect always comes to mind when okc comes up.

    How can any involved government spokesman sleep at night or talk about finding truth in light of these obvious deceptions?

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  • A Russian joke goes like this: "Question: why can there be no color revolution in the United States? Answer: because there are no US Embassies in the United States." Funny, maybe, but factually wrong: I believe that a color revolution is being attempted in the USA right now. Politico seems to feel the same way....
  • @jacques sheete

    But for the most part, Americans are apathetic and will not put forth the effort to change things if it requires sacrifice.
     
    For sure. They typically won't even expend the effort to search for the truth; they have been, continue to be, and always shall be content to wallow in mythology.

    “They typically won’t even expend the effort to search for the truth; they have been, continue to be, and always shall be content to wallow in mythology.”

    Mostly yes. As for what Americans might do or not do under duress, the dire prognostications in this thread seem to posit scenarios based only on the current conditions. As history amply demonstrates, it is under some combination of political turmoil and economic distress that the mythology is more likely to be armed and dangerous. So long as folks have basic provisions and comforts they are not easily moved to counter-revolution.

    Revolutionaries on the other hand…

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  • Fundamentally solve the “intelligence problem,” and all other problems become trivial. The problem is that this problem is a very hard one, and our native wit is unlikely to suffice. Moreover, because problems tend to get harder, not easier, as you advance up the technological ladder (Karlin, 2015), in a “business as usual” scenario with...
  • @iffen
    So we’ve traded power over us by familial and close actors, to distant and conceptual actors, but many confuse this as a gain in individual liberty.

    I see what you mean.

    It is true that the individual has been empowered vis-à-vis the traditional groups and institutions.

    I disagree with everything else that you wrote.

    That does not mean that everything is peaches and cream. It seems to me that we need to re-evaluate the balance between the group and the individual.

    We decided to use government to re-inforce and utilize the marriage contract in place of religion. If you want religion to control the marriage contract you need to remove government from the marriage contract business, you can’t have it both ways. That’s called having your cake and eating it too.

    That is an interesting argument for the utility of marriage. Would it be worth it to place marriage strictly outside of government recognition and tax benefits? How much legalism would still apply to married couples?

    The group-individual dynamic will always be in play. Liberals tend toward shifting responsibility (and power) upward to governing bodies or councils (socialism, welfare state, etc.). It seems ironic that conservatives champion individual freedom but they do not see that what they promote (2nd Amendment, property rights, etc.) is strongly dependent on a society that is tied-down by tradition, family, church and so on.

    “Freedom” for liberals comes via centralized power, especially the judicial branch, that can introduce and sustain leftist ideas that would otherwise never pass social filtering. Their idea of social autonomy or individualism is very different than the conservative’s “freedom” based on what is the underpinning. The desired result is also very different.

    Further reading on this idea of “autonomy” can be found here:

    http://ozconservative.blogspot.com

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    • Replies: @iffen
    Their idea of social autonomy or individualism is very different than the conservative’s “freedom” based on what is the underpinning.

    American conservatives are infected with libertarianism. I stand by my estimation that what they want is hyper liberalism for themselves and strict conservatism for the "others" to keep them in line.

    Maybe the DNC will make Sally Boynton Brown and Keith Ellison co-chairs. That should help draw the lines.
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  • Is there such a thing as a libertarian society? I think there is only the condition of a host society where libertarianism can exist as a supplemental idea. Libertarianism is dependent on others who are biased, particular, traditional, etc., to enable a framework for their ideas to come to life. To that extent I’m ok with libertarianism as a relativistic and marginal practice.

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  • @Abelard Lindsey

    Your point about the knowledge frontier – again, missing the point. There is no reason to think there cannot be an entire dimension of existence that cannot be apprehended by our five sense under any form and that yet influences us greatly.
     
    String theory postulates the existence of additional dimensions. I already said that our five senses are limited and that is the reason why we make scientific instruments to increase our sensing capabilities. If any of the theories about additional dimensions (string theory, many worlds interpretation of quantum, etc.) are correct, there is no doubt in my mind that we will eventually develop the means to access those additional dimensions (traversable wormholes??? who knows) at some point in the future. Our argument does not change mine at all.

    What is very clear to me is that you guys want to believe there exists a reality that is non-empirical and that only certain special people have some sort of "secret knowledge" of this reality. This "reality" in turn is then used as justification to restrict individual liberty. I see no reason to consider this dynamic in any other context.


    I discovered certain truths when I was around 16-17 years old.

    1)Reality and truth are empirical. That is, all knowledge is acquired through observation. There is no such thing as "hidden" knowledge.

    2) As such, reason and rationality are the proper cognitive tools for understanding reality and ascertaining truth.

    3) As a corollary to 1) and 2), I came to the conclusion that human individuals autonomous moral free agents and that the proper way for individuals to relate to each other is on the basis of mutual respect and rational self-interest (some of this is based on game theory, which I will not get into here).

    4) As corollary to 1-3, that morality was exclusively about how how people treat each other and was, therefor, inherently contractual in nature.

    There was more to it than that, but that is what I came up with in a nut shell.

    Some years later in college, I was driving with some friends to go rock climbing, where I described my world view. One of them, a grad student, remarked that my world-view was not original that that others had thought of it as well. He said that there was even a name for it. It was called "libertarianism". That was literally the first time I had ever heard the word "libertarian". He also said that there was this "liberarian" author who wrote novel based on this idea. It turned out he was talking about Ayn Rand. I had never heard of Rand before this. I read "Atlas Shrugged" and found that a world-view that I independently derived while in high school, was essentially the same as that expressed in this novel.

    My point in telling you all of this is that my being able to independently "invent" or derive the libertarian world-view, and the notion of individual as autonomous free agents in particular, without having any previous knowledge of libertarianism and figures such as Murray Rothbard and Ayn Rand, is the surest confirmation I could have that reality and truth are empirical and that the libertarian Paradigm is essentially correct. I have never once felt the need to reconsider my convictions over the past 35 years of life.

    What is very clear from our discussion here is that humans will bifurcate into two groups. One group, which you guys seem to be a part of, want to maintain the status quo and live life within a fixed horizon. The other group, which I am clearly a part of, want to use tools to increase our capabilities and to pursue an open, unlimited future of ever expanding possibilities. Since our goals are mutually incompatible, the key is how to manage the relationship between the two groups such as to maintain peaceful coexistence while simultaneously allowing for both groups to get what they want.

    I think people of both groups can peacefully coexist as neighbors in western countries, particularly the USA. However, I suspect that some sort of partition will be necessary for much of the rest of the world.

    “This “reality” in turn is then used as justification to restrict individual liberty.”

    Historically this is certainly true. History also shows that individual liberties need to be restricted by other group members– parents, siblings, in-laws, etc. Without recognition and enforcement of common cultural mores there is no civilization at all. Various non-religious rational “realities” have severely restricted life and liberty as you know, so how is religious tyranny somehow worse than those tyrannies?

    Possibly you have no objection to folks practicing their religion quietly and privately, after the English style. Likewise, I have no objection to the workings of scientific progress and technology so long as their proponents do not go on to try to destroy that which their “truth” says is false, i.e., religious belief. This intolerant attitude seems to be gaining and as many have observed it starts to resemble the oppression of certain religious eras. Remember, when only one small group was the keeper and dictator of Truth? I guess you don’t see this.

    Individual liberty includes my right to reject your ideas, and yours to reject mine. It includes the right of people to enjoy religious flourishing or atheistic philosophy. I think our Founding Fathers had a keen understanding in this area and even today we benefit enormously from their wisdom. Just a glance at other countries demonstrates this profoundly.

    Thanks for sharing your early experience with independently derived libertarianism. I can say that I had a parallel experience that revealed something transcendent that superseded my “autonomy” yet did not abolish my free will. While I have not exactly found a correlation like your Ayn Rand example it allowed me to escape the closed sterility of materialism and nihilism which seem to capture the attention of thinkers who reject spiritual matters for whatever reasons.

    Religion is not the “only way” for all people, obviously. Neither is libertarian atheism. To demand that others follow your morality, whatever its source, is wrong. People have to see the light as they say and recognize a better path when they see it. Christ’s teachings strongly emphasize free will. All of the vagaries of human existence and human nature are addressed in the Bible.

    I have always wondered how libertarians expect their idea of individual morality (so 6 billion+ individualized moralities??) to work out in practice. This idea seems to obviate the fact that humans are mutually dependent, for starters. You sense that agreement on a fixed moral code is a barrier to “open, unlimited future of ever expanding possibilities” but I wonder how you seem to see only the dangers of the former and not the latter.

    The “free form” morality you espouse seems to have as much, if not greater, potential for normalizing genocide and other horrors as religious commandments. Your vaunted rational thinking can provide the rationale for exterminating whole groups of people that are perceived, quite rationally, to be a mortal threat to your own group. Especially if you have the technological upper hand. Whose rational thinking do you trust to avert or prevent such a terrible outcome?

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    • Replies: @iffen
    I have always wondered how libertarians expect their idea of individual morality (so 6 billion+ individualized moralities??) to work out in practice.

    I don't think that they think that far out. It is like their ideas on government in a modern economy and society, they are non-existent. Basically it is libertarianism for me and the people with which I agree and regimented good behavior for all the riff-raff.
    , @Daniel Chieh

    This idea seems to obviate the fact that humans are mutually dependent, for starters.
     
    The strong notion from AL's posts is that technology enables decentralization. His main evidence for such is presumably the increase of individual independence from traditional groupings such as families or churches for physical welfare.

    My objection as noted before is that technology actually aggregates and increases power of collective entities, with the increasing centralized power of media organizations, mass distribution, and mass surveillance entities. The confusion is that by the migration of the center of power, it has increase been portrayed as an increase in individual liberty.

    His view is incompatible with mine since we have different axioms of the result of increasing complexity. I find his view optimistic as best and do not actually believe that any separation is possible as barriers fall, while he seems to believe that it will be possible to segregate influences and groups.

    In essence, I think that he's misguided and has an identity defined by the notion of presumed independence from influence. I think its essentially a delusion and meaningful in terms that it lacks applicable value as a practical form, but you can't exactly dissuade people from delusions, its real to them.

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  • Apropos of some of the interesting commentary in this thread:

    “Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.”

    – G. K. Chesterton

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  • @AaronB
    Technology cannot be merely a tool - because the mindset needed to invent technology itself involves a total transformation of your being. The more you train yourself to think in the way needed to create technology, the more you lose access to dimensions of human experience that may - or may not - contain the key to human happiness and flourishing.

    Did it ever occur to you that mastering one kind of power involves the sacrifice of other "ways of being"? Mastering technology just might be a total commitmentof your being.

    Technology is not neutral - its necessarily a choice about the ultimate ends of human life. Material mastery and accumulation, or other satisfactions entirely? Because you can't have both - if you choose technology, you have to train yourself to think a certain way and completely reorganize your life and priorities, and of course all of society itself, in ways that sacrifice other values and priorities which may - or may not - be better.

    So technology is the furthest thing from neutral imaginable - it is an implicit choice about the deepest and most important questions surrounding human life.

    Charles Darwin said that as he continued to think 'reductionalistically', later in life he lost the ability to enjoy poetry and appreciate beauty, and John Stuart Mill famously went into a depression after a horrific mechanistic childhood education imposed by his father that squeezed the life out of him, and he recovered only by a deep engagement with Wordsworth and other Romantic poets.

    Incidentally, one reason I think Asian countries tend to be less creative is not because of some mysterious lack of the creativity gene, but because they have not completed the personal (spiritual) transformation involved in thinking technologically. Interestingly, I find that in Japan technology is far more 'merely' a tool than in the West - the Japanese have this talent for creating these ultra-modern bars, cafes, and restaurants that exemplify modern decor but somehow remain utterly warm, inviting, and human, whereas these kinds of ultra sleek modern places in the West are cold and alienating, and if we want human warmth, we must turn to "vintage" decor. For us, technology is a way of life, for the Japanese, it seems it can be subordinate to human goals.

    Also, Talha constantly talks up Neil Postman's books on how even the use of technology can have the effect of transforming your total being - smart phones seem to come to mind. So even the uses of technology aren't neutral, perhaps.

    This cult of "more" - I do get it. This is the basic spiritual divide among humans, and I at least appreciate that you are unambiguously on one side of it. But at some point, it may begin to seem rather pointless to you, that you have sacrificed the best part of life, and that indeed the cult of "more" masks a profound lack of what is important - a band-aid, if you will. In a sense, of course, I am disinterested in technology because I feel I need "more" than what it offers :)

    As for Mormons, yes, they are the most materialistic (God is an actual physical being who lives on another planet) and most committed to material success of any religious group that I know of, perhaps with the exception of Jews (I am Jewish, btw). A blogger I used to like but no longer read, Bruce Charlton, after briefly flirting with genuine spirituality for a spell, found he couldn't quite shake off the modern thought-structure (materialism and personal power as the goal of life), and found a home in Mormonism. Of course, I am sure there are many born Mormons who are fine spiritual people, but it is a religion that could only arise in a modern materialistic climate, and appeals to people whose focus is on worldly success.

    “The more you train yourself to think in the way needed to create technology, the more you lose access to dimensions of human experience that may – or may not – contain the key to human happiness and flourishing.”

    An excellent statement. It reminds me that scientism requires “believers” to abandon and even repudiate those other dimensions, especially if they are metaphysical. If materialism and atheism–and technology– become more dominant we can expect much greater hostility toward any who stand in the way.

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  • @Abelard Lindsey
    That's right. So since there is no difference between the two with regards to these kinds of issues, which one to prefer is only a matter of personal preference. I prefer a decentralized liberatarian one based on freedom.As you just said, I've got nothing to lose and everything to gain by choising freedom to non-freedom.

    in any case, the most likely scenario for a Trump presidency is another Reagan economic revolution, but where the jobs stay home this time. I doubt anyone on this blog is going to complain if this happens. We all get what we want. That's called positive sum game.

    “I prefer a decentralized liberatarian one based on freedom.”

    I think people organize themselves mainly around morality, a particular morality that distinguishes any one group from other groups. Other features of society are organized both vertically (status and dominance) or horizontally (social ties, individuality). Thus hierarchy and autonomy are not mutually exclusive. In its proper form, religion directs people to live harmoniously in all these areas. One benefit of such an arrangement, under certain conditions, is freedom. Freedom is not an organizing principle itself but results from reasoning and effort both in the secular and spiritual domains.

    As far as fear of technology, other commenters here have made excellent points, especially Talha’s comment about human cycles. I would only add that no matter what fantastic technological wonders lie ahead, science and technology remain ancillary to the essential problems of human nature that secularists and religious writers both have investigated for centuries. Those problems (and triumphs) drive us no matter what our living conditions are. There is no tech fix for the ache of the human heart. There is also no shortage of human suffering now but what do the science/tech master planners have in mind? To remove all the bad features and leave only a perfected human race? That would be something to fear I think.

    I agree that decentralization is desirable in many cases but do you think increasing scientific advancement will lead in that direction? More than likely it will coincide with centralized global rule, the very opposite of what most of us here seem to want.

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  • @Abelard Lindsey

    Possibly…but it may well be that the inescapability of the aging process is itself essential to the calibration of human aspirations.

    Imagine the ability to procrastinate…forever.
     
    This is true, but utterly irrelevant in the discussion of radical life extension. Does the fact that there are people who currently do drugs and make nothing of themselves in any way prevent me from, say, doing a technology start-up? No, of course not. This, of course, brings me to my larger point about hedonism.

    Certain conservatives and alt-right people fret and obsess over the supposed dangers of excesive hedonism. I think this fear is a non-sense. It is true that a society of abundance results in lots of people doing nothing more than hedonism with their lives. But such a society also has lots of people engaging in productive accomplishments as well. The fact that there are people who do nothing more than drugs and sex does not prevent the Silicon Vallay types from doing new start-ups, or keep artists from making new music. The people who want to accomplish the great feats of life are going to be driven to do so, regardless of the actions of those who do not share such aspirations. As long as the rest of humanity does not engage in any kind of political/religious trop to inhibit the accomplishments of the productive, the hedonism of the non-productive is totally irrelevant to our long-term future. This is why hedonism is a non-issue.

    “As long as the rest of humanity does not engage in any kind of political/religious trop to inhibit the accomplishments of the productive, the hedonism of the non-productive is totally irrelevant to our long-term future.”

    There is no steady-state in the social order, nor anything like refuge for non-hedonists. Do you see a tipping point where enough non-productive people could be very relevant to your long-term future?

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  • The Main Stream Media consensus on the War on Christmas has long been a denial that there is such a thing—coupled with an insistence that, even if there might be, no one could possibly consider it an important issue. 2016 did not cooperate with this narrative, since the year saw discussion of the War on...
  • “Christmas leads to the heart of our culture…”

    Christmas– Christ– leads to change of heart. This will change the culture.

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  • During the last few months I’ve seen on TV and read in Newsmax the views of an earnest American patriot, Zudhi Jasser. A onetime naval officer, distinguished cardiologist and more recently, an inspired leader of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Dr. Yasser has been second to none in denouncing Islamicist terror and in exhorting...
  • “Coexistence is more important to us, incompatibility is an assumption, but who cares?”

    So you don’t want Muslims to live apart or segregated from non-Mulsims and you are happy to live incompatibly in this process. Is that right? Are you uncaring about the discomfort of Muslims or non-Muslims, or both?

    You say you don’t care that Jews and Christians live sinful, destructive lives so long as Muslims can live a separate religious existence– within the same society. Why is coexistence important to you? Why not promote religiously pious Islamic societies that enjoy their own territory and autonomy?

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    • Replies: @Talha
    Hey pelagic,

    I'm not here to run society and tell everyone what to do. If people can mingle just fine that's great and if they feel a little distance helps keep relations healthy, that's great too. I'm a fan of self-segregated cantons. Most people like to live around what is familiar to them whether that means language, ethnicity or religion. Which is why you have places like 'Little Italy' or 'Chinatown' or heavily Jewish areas of Manhattan; good fences make good neighbors.

    Sometimes force integration causes the most discomfort.

    You say you don’t care that Jews and Christians live sinful, destructive lives so long as Muslims can live a separate religious existence– within the same society.
     
    I do care in the sense that there are spiritual ramifications in the next life and I don't want them to be on the receiving end of consequences. But we have no mandate to fix or interfere with their religion - especially when they live as minorities in Muslim countries. I doubt any of them wants to have Islamic rules enforced on them.

    Why is coexistence important to you?
     
    Sounds better than wiping religious minorities out, wouldn't you agree? Again, coexistence is mandated by the sacred law.

    Why not promote religiously pious Islamic societies that enjoy their own territory and autonomy?
     
    That's not a problem in Muslim majority countries. In non-Muslim ones, that kind of self-segregation happens; observant Muslims tend to coalesce around vibrant mosques. As far as autonomy; that's up to the authorities to decide. Certainly if parts of, say, France are almost completely inundated with Muslims, I don't see a problem with them being given semi-autonomous status kind of like the Ottoman's ran the millet system - others might. In the US if Muslims form a super-majority in a city, they can legally set up a framework that is accommodating to them; the Mormons have a whole state.

    I'm not sure where you are going with this - are you saying Muslims should leave Western countries? If so, like I have mentioned to others, that's fine, just have the governments give us official notice that we are no longer welcome.

    Peace.
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  • “Yup, in the cultures that are into that. However, for those like Bosnians, Chechens, Malays, etc. it doesn’t exist or is negligible.”

    You may say that any number of non-Arab Muslims are doing something different culturally and of course this is true but it rather misses the mark. The strength of Muslim Arabs is the central strength of Islam, would you agree? Arabs and their ways have always dominated the characterization of the religion.

    “I don’t think you understand; Islam is a religion, it is an integral part of multiple cultures like Somali, Turkish, Persian, Berber.”

    I thought my meaning was fairly clear. By compatibility I was referring to the compatibility of Islamic ways with non-Islamic peoples and countries, where Muslims are now making inroads as never before. That was the gist of the main article after all and it is why we are having this conversation that would not have been dreamt of even 20 years ago. Somalis and other diverse groups are out of the contest, so to speak.

    You seem to be saying that Islam is readily compatible with any and all cultures and peoples around the world. If only us non-Muslims could learn more and have a deeper understanding of Islam, such as might be found in the various links you’ve supplied, then we could live in mutual respect and even admiration. But the nature of Islam is to control how Muslims and non-Muslims may live and not live together. This is coexistence at best and it does not reflect or indicate compatibility.

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    • Replies: @Talha
    Hey pelagic,

    The strength of Muslim Arabs is the central strength of Islam, would you agree?
     
    No, they dropped the baton to the Persians pretty early on, then it was picked up by the Turks and various others. Arabic is definitely the language of the liturgy and religious writings for sure, but it is well known that even Arabic grammar was codified by Persians as was most of our creed.

    Arabs and their ways have always dominated the characterization of the religion.
     
    In the minds of people who don't know enough about the religion, sure. Read the writings from the West from a few centuries ago; in them Islam is synonymous with the Turks more so than the Arabs. You could wipe off every Arab off the face of the Earth and the religion would continue soundly in the hands of all the other people that have adopted it and mastered the sacred law and its various disciplines.

    where Muslims are now making inroads as never before
     
    This is true, we have no precedent from the past for this. Muslim lands were able to absorb Muslim refugees (and even non-Muslim refugees), but we don't have historical records of a large amount of Muslims going the other direction. Largely because the Muslim scholars either considered residing in non-Muslim lands permanently to be a sin or something to be cautious about; one is possibly playing with one's religion and that of their future generations.

    You seem to be saying that Islam is readily compatible with any and all cultures and peoples around the world.
     
    It is not in an absolute sense, it is compatible with whatever portions of culture don't contradict it which can be quite a lot or quite a little based on culture in question.

    Case study: Some random Scottish guy works in the docks, goes drinking with his buddies, sleeps around and once in a while gets into tiffs with his dad where he yells at his father and loves to eat haggis on the weekend. Well, if he accepts Islam, he has to toss the booze, stop sleeping around, and not raise his voice to his father. He doesn't need to trade in the haggis for camel meat nor his tartan kilt for a thobe and turban. And when he gets married, he is neither expected to marry his cousin nor more than one woman.

    we could live in mutual respect and even admiration
     
    You may say that I'm a dreamer...

    But the nature of Islam is to control how Muslims and non-Muslims may live and not live together.
     
    Yes, it does try to define those parameters, otherwise some other philosophy or framework will.

    This is coexistence at best and it does not reflect or indicate compatibility.
     
    Coexistence is more important to us, incompatibility is an assumption, but who cares? Let's take a Muslim country for example; if Jews or Christians are living in their own predominate districts and having drinking parties, what does it matter to us? And if they are divorcing, or not wearing head coverings, or charging each other interest, or setting inheritance rules according to their standards, or saying men can marry men who cares as long as they don't try to change our rules that we apply on ourselves?

    Peace.
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  • @Talha
    Hey pelagic,

    I think there is a very fine line between “filial piety” and clannishness, though.
     
    No, I meant filial piety. Have you ever seen a grown man humble himself before his mother and press her feet? Have you seen grown men (brothers) vie with each other to fetch their elderly father's shoes? Then you will know what I am talking about - nothing about clans or tribes.

    in the hopes that secularism will provide what religion could not
     
    Good luck, they'll need it; maybe donuts can provide what sex cannot.

    Thus many in the West have relinquished the latter whereas I do not see any phenomenon like this in Islamic areas.
     
    I should hope so - if we are intelligent, we will no trade our religion for material progress. Question; is it better to be an atheist living in comfort and luxury in Paris, or a half-starving Berber with deep faith?

    If we can have a level of material progress without tossing religion, well and good. Once we reach a point where we must decide to jettison one or the other, we should jettison the material. And if we make the wrong choice, and if God cares for us, then He will send down upon us all sorts of calamities and trials until we return back to Him and if we have lost His favor completely, He will leave us to our own designs and give us more material rope to hang ourselves with - beware once faith becomes an object of derision in society that is not a good sign.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M97AYxthblw

    How can that be compatible with secular ideas?
     
    It isn't. I said 'correct' when you mentioned that Islamic societies do not accept secularism as a virtue; it is not a virtue as far as we are concerned. Respecting the rights of non-Muslims to practice their faith is a virtue and should be upheld.

    Should Muslims entertain secularism or democracy just because it appears these mechanisms have brought prosperity and freedom to billions of people outside of Islam?
     
    Secularism is a rival philosophy, democracy is an organizational tool. With secularism, they should take what is good and leave what is not just like they did with the Hellenistic sciences, medicine and philosophy. With democracy, there is a lot more leeway in adopting its forms in organizing society.

    Some parts of the Muslim world have quite a bit of prosperity (often far more than they need) and some do not. And we don't worship at the alter of freedom. Even in a very free society like Denmark or the US, a Muslim is obligated to obey God just as much as he must in Muslim lands. Just because I am free to drink alcohol in the US, doesn't mean I should. The rules are meant for our benefit, we leave them to our detriment - some people get that, some don't.

    As far as freedom for others (that share our beliefs); we should allow them reasonable freedom to practice their religion even within Muslim lands (like the alcohol example from Pakistan, or what they worship, or who they marry, or what they eat, etc.). From classical times, non-Muslims had their own parallel court and educational systems.

    Would you be opposed to all Muslim areas becoming Islamic states?
     
    'Islamic state' (al-Dawla al-Islamiyyah) is not a term you find in Islamic literature. It is a recent phenomenon trying to marry the nation-state and extremist Islam in a shotgun wedding; and it has begotten monstrous children. I don't any of them becoming anything like the territory Daesh controls.

    Traditionally, the lands of Islam, where Islam ruled supreme or its rules were enforced (even imperfectly) were called Dar us-Islam and this has always been there since the beginning.

    Peace.

    Clannishness is based in part in the family hallmarks you describe. The nuclear family plan works more across clans and disrupts clannishness. Clans and Islamic culture go together very well and besides filial piety there is the notorious predilection for cousin marriage, yet another pre-Islamic cultural trait that is coincidentally found in Muslim societies.

    “From classical times, non-Muslims had their own parallel court and educational systems.”

    What should that tell us about the compatibility of Islam with other cultures? That Islam is virtuous in its tolerance?

    Where Islam dominates, Muslims and others can get along fine– so long as everyone lives by Islamic rules and laws. In this way Muslims not only carry on as usual but they benefit from the considerable accomplishments of non-Muslims. The latter benefit … how exactly?

    It seems that Muslims have everything to gain by continuing their historic campaigns of demographic conquest and war while others, in mirror image, have everything to lose by welcoming the advances of Islam.

    Cheers,

    Read More
    • Replies: @Talha
    Hey pelagic,

    Clans and Islamic culture go together very well
     
    Yes they do, quite well - so do non-clan cultures like Malaysians, Persians, Turks (they left their tribes a while back), etc.

    the notorious predilection for cousin marriage
     
    Yup, in the cultures that are into that. However, for those like Bosnians, Chechens, Malays, etc. it doesn't exist or is negligible.

    What should that tell us about the compatibility of Islam with other cultures?
     
    I don't think you understand; Islam is a religion, it is an integral part of multiple cultures like Somali, Turkish, Persian, Berber.

    That Islam is virtuous in its tolerance?
     
    We think so, it certainly has a live and let live sort of ethos - I doubt non-Muslims would want to go through our court system, would they? We certainly don't want them clogging up Shariah courts.

    so long as everyone lives by Islamic rules and laws
     
    Hmmm...I think you are either ignoring my specific statements or skipped over them - that's OK, I wrote a lot so it's understandable.

    In this way Muslims not only carry on as usual but they benefit from the considerable accomplishments of non-Muslims.
     
    I would definitely agree, in a material sense there is not much benefit coming to European countries from Muslim immigration. The US is a bit different in that it gets a lot more brain power from the Muslim world; IT people, physicians, etc. but still could be more selective in who it allows in.

    demographic conquest
     
    Dear West,

    We promise not to send any more boat people if you promise not to trash reasonable functioning countries.

    Signed, The Muslims


    and war
     
    Well, I admit we did have a good millenium plus maybe a century or so, but after that, man did Europeans kick our butts for the last three hundred or so years. I think they'd probably still be running us if they hadn't been completely exhausted by the no-holds-bar-pulp-your-brother-free-for-all known as WW2.

    Post WW2 international order, it's mostly been non-Muslims invading Muslim countries minus a few exceptions. Muslims have been pretty busy invading each other, honestly.

    Peace.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Talha
    Hey pelagic,

    I think I understand your questions, but not sure. I'll take them one by one:


    What in the life of a Muslim in an Islamic society is considered to be outside of Islam?
     
    What takes them outside of Islam is denial of core belief - like God, revelation, prophets, etc.

    What makes them profligate or transgressors is violating its rules.


    Secularism is a value in the West today but I do not believe this is true in Islamic areas. Like all things in these societies it will fall under Islamic scrutinization and accommodation.
     
    Correct, if one is asking; can minority rights be accommodated in Islam? Then yes, ensuring minority rights in built into the framework, though not all Muslims are keen on letting them have those rights, unfortunately. The other thing is that there are, what we consider reasonable, limitations like blasphemy laws.

    Actually, on paper at least, Pakistan has a technically viable 'modern' model. It is stymied by corruption, ignorance and extremism, but it is worth reviewing general framework...

    The country is run like a republic and representatives are elected. Minority populations have guaranteed reserved seats per their percentage:
    "The federal cabinet of Pakistan has approved on Sept. 5 a constitutional amendment to increase the number of minorities’ seats in the predominated Muslim parliament, in proportion to their population. Religious minorities are just 4 per cent of the total population of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. If the parliament passed 23rd Constitutional Amendment, minorities’ seats would increase from 33 to around 44 in the National and provincial assemblies."
    http://www.speroforum.com/a/DSRCQMTWOK56/73102-More-seats-for-Muslims-in-Pakistani-parliament#.WG5XdlMrJEY

    They formulate laws just as other countries do, but the laws are scrutinized (after normal judicial scrutiny) by a Federal Shariah Court (FSC) which checks if they are in violation of Islamic Law and should be discarded or sent back to be amended. The FSC is composed of both secular judges and religious jurists (the current Chief Justice is not a religious scholar):
    http://www.federalshariatcourt.gov.pk/

    Minority rights are protected from the majority. For instance, if the 97% Muslims could vote on it, they would likely close down the famous Muree Brewery in Rawalpindi and extend prohibition to everyone. However, prohibition is only enforced on Muslims:
    "Under the present prohibition law, only non-Muslims and foreigners are permitted to consume alcohol."
    http://www.murreebrewery.com/history.html

    Which sometimes leads to non-Muslims petitioning that their rights be revoked because it makes them look back in a generally religious society - whack!:
    "A group of Christians have argued that the fact that their community can sell alcohol is 'giving them a bad name' in Pakistan. A petition was filed against the decision of the Federal Shariat Court that allows minorities to hold liquor permits in Pakistan as a result."
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/557839/petition-pakistans-christians-say-liquor-permits-giving-them-a-bad-name/

    Anyway, there are many models to make it work, but if it is done right I have not seen a specific reason why introducing Islam into governance must necessarily preclude the ability to build a multi-ethnic, multi-religious community (with certain limitations, of course). In fact, the late Hon. Avin Cornelius (who was a Catholic Chief Justice in Pakistan - yes, it did happen) wrote about how the Shariah could be used as a bulwark against the oppression by the majority:
    "Once skeptical about arguments that Pakistan’s law should be self-consciously measured against Islamic norms, Cornelius lived through the establishment of secular military dictatorship. As I will explain, he came to believe that Islamization might be a necessary precondition for the reestablishment of the liberal rule of law in Pakistan….Thus, the rise of popular piety and governmental programs to Islamize society have undoubtedly led to illiberal treatment of people and human rights abuses in Pakistan and Egypt. At the same time, however, liberal judges in both countries have been able to develop Islamic arguments both to forestall abuses by secular government and, more intriguingly, to resist abuses carried out by citizens or government officials claiming to be acting according to ‘Islamic’ principles.”
    http://ir.stthomas.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1237&context=ustlj

    For a fairly successful monarchy model (for minority rights - corruption is another thing), see Morocco in which the Jewish community adores their king:
    "Morocco’s Jews are fiercely proud of their special status in a kingdom that is thoroughly Moslem. King Hassan II is regarded by the Jews to be as benign and beneficent a ruler as one could hope for in the Arab world, and they are almost uniformly grateful for the protection he and his father, Mohammed V, have afforded them."
    http://www.jta.org/1993/05/26/archive/behind-the-headlines-moroccos-jews-feel-protected-by-king-but-always-wary-of-shifts-in-mideast-p

    Other models worth exploring are Malaysia and Turkey and Iran - though each have their own issues.


    the amoral materialism that threatens to seduce the West.
     
    Others have historically held your view:
    "Benjamin Rush, the Pennsylvania signer of the Declaration of Independence and friend of Adams and Jefferson, applauded this feature of Islam, asserting that he had ‘rather see the opinions of Confucius or Mohammed inculcated upon our youth than see them grow up wholly devoid of a system of religious principles.’”
    https://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/0205/tolerance.html

    where Muslim countries fare worse
     
    Again, indices of infrastructure, trade, manufacturing, GDP are actually not relevant to me in judging a society. God has never let us know that He cares about that stuff, so why should I? 'Social trust' on the other hand is very important, same with things like 'lack of corruption', 'ability to obtain justice', 'lack of violence', 'charity', 'filial piety', 'strength of family', etc. Those are what concern me in judging a society these are moral imperatives and at times a tribal society can do better than a very technological and literate one. In fact, WW2 was a case study in how completely dysfunctional and destructive the most advanced societies in the world can be.

    Yet, many of those qualities I pointed out are not measurable. But it is also obvious that many Muslim countries are often behind the West in some of those things like corruption or ability to obtain justice - but ahead in, say, filial piety.

    Peace.

    “But it is also obvious that many Muslim countries are often behind the West in some of those things like corruption or ability to obtain justice – but ahead in, say, filial piety.”

    Well, that is a kinder way to put it. I think there is a very fine line between “filial piety” and clannishness, though. A society without a critical mass of people sacrificing something of these bonds for the sake of the larger whole is bound to have higher levels of corruption and suffering. Westerners have jumped into this sacrifice headlong in the hopes that secularism will provide what religion could not. Thus many in the West have relinquished the latter whereas I do not see any phenomenon like this in Islamic areas.

    My original question was this: “What in the life of a Muslim in an Islamic society is considered to be outside of Islam?” You answered:

    “What takes them outside of Islam is denial of core belief – like God, revelation, prophets, etc.”

    This does not answer the question since I said nothing about taking anyone outside of their beliefs.

    “What makes them profligate or transgressors is violating its rules.”

    So the rules of Islamic life, regardless of sects or jurists, are supreme then. How can that be compatible with secular ideas? Should Muslims entertain secularism or democracy just because it appears these mechanisms have brought prosperity and freedom to billions of people outside of Islam?

    Would you be opposed to all Muslim areas becoming Islamic states? If so, why?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Talha
    Hey pelagic,

    I think there is a very fine line between “filial piety” and clannishness, though.
     
    No, I meant filial piety. Have you ever seen a grown man humble himself before his mother and press her feet? Have you seen grown men (brothers) vie with each other to fetch their elderly father's shoes? Then you will know what I am talking about - nothing about clans or tribes.

    in the hopes that secularism will provide what religion could not
     
    Good luck, they'll need it; maybe donuts can provide what sex cannot.

    Thus many in the West have relinquished the latter whereas I do not see any phenomenon like this in Islamic areas.
     
    I should hope so - if we are intelligent, we will no trade our religion for material progress. Question; is it better to be an atheist living in comfort and luxury in Paris, or a half-starving Berber with deep faith?

    If we can have a level of material progress without tossing religion, well and good. Once we reach a point where we must decide to jettison one or the other, we should jettison the material. And if we make the wrong choice, and if God cares for us, then He will send down upon us all sorts of calamities and trials until we return back to Him and if we have lost His favor completely, He will leave us to our own designs and give us more material rope to hang ourselves with - beware once faith becomes an object of derision in society that is not a good sign.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M97AYxthblw

    How can that be compatible with secular ideas?
     
    It isn't. I said 'correct' when you mentioned that Islamic societies do not accept secularism as a virtue; it is not a virtue as far as we are concerned. Respecting the rights of non-Muslims to practice their faith is a virtue and should be upheld.

    Should Muslims entertain secularism or democracy just because it appears these mechanisms have brought prosperity and freedom to billions of people outside of Islam?
     
    Secularism is a rival philosophy, democracy is an organizational tool. With secularism, they should take what is good and leave what is not just like they did with the Hellenistic sciences, medicine and philosophy. With democracy, there is a lot more leeway in adopting its forms in organizing society.

    Some parts of the Muslim world have quite a bit of prosperity (often far more than they need) and some do not. And we don't worship at the alter of freedom. Even in a very free society like Denmark or the US, a Muslim is obligated to obey God just as much as he must in Muslim lands. Just because I am free to drink alcohol in the US, doesn't mean I should. The rules are meant for our benefit, we leave them to our detriment - some people get that, some don't.

    As far as freedom for others (that share our beliefs); we should allow them reasonable freedom to practice their religion even within Muslim lands (like the alcohol example from Pakistan, or what they worship, or who they marry, or what they eat, etc.). From classical times, non-Muslims had their own parallel court and educational systems.

    Would you be opposed to all Muslim areas becoming Islamic states?
     
    'Islamic state' (al-Dawla al-Islamiyyah) is not a term you find in Islamic literature. It is a recent phenomenon trying to marry the nation-state and extremist Islam in a shotgun wedding; and it has begotten monstrous children. I don't any of them becoming anything like the territory Daesh controls.

    Traditionally, the lands of Islam, where Islam ruled supreme or its rules were enforced (even imperfectly) were called Dar us-Islam and this has always been there since the beginning.

    Peace.
    , @another fred

    Westerners have jumped into this sacrifice headlong in the hopes that secularism will provide what religion could not.
     
    Having lived through the 60s and 70s (born in '46), my observation is that it was believed that we could completely do without what religion provides. That is to say, the belief was, and still is for many, that religion was preventing the "free expression" of the spontaneous goodness of life. The romantic belief was that all that was painful in life was the fault of society. Kind of like Mao Tse Tung's "let a hundred flowers bloom" that turned into Lord of the Flies.

    These people cannot accept that there are dark impulses inherent in man that must be restrained for society to flourish.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Talha
    Hey pelagic,

    My understanding of Islam is that it is holistic and there is no separation of mosque and state.
     
    So goes the mantra. The issue is far more complicated. Let me give you an example and see if you can figure it out a clean explanation...
    Imam Malik (ra) was one of the greatest scholars (jurist and hadith scholars) the Muslim world has ever known. When the Umayyads forced the people to giving them allegiance to legitimize their rule, Imam Malik (ra) spoke against it and gave a fatwa that the allegiance was invalid due to coercion. For this he was arrested by the governor of Madinah and publicly flogged. The Umayyads were a caliphate - can you tell me why one of the top jurists in Islam was arrested and flogged by the caliphate? Can you tell me why this also happened to the three other founders of the surviving Sunni schools?

    The jurists have traditionally been separate from the government - in the Sunni tradition. They often have gotten in trouble with the secular authorities - it is almost a right of passage:
    "Like Ibn Taymiyya before him and al-Suyuti after him, al-Subki had many clashes with the Mamluk military authorities."
    Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature, Volume 2

    The jurists have played a role in distinction to the government, formulating rulings independently which the secular leaders (and I mean secular, those Seljuks loved their wine) then either chose to enforce or not.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwMXvSBNbU4

    The idea of Muslim jurists running the government is a relatively recent phenomenon since the introduction of the nation-state.

    The jurists would simply have more or less influence on policy depending on; a) the piety of the ruler in charge, b) the piety in the general populace.

    This is quite flexible with a great many variations on governance.


    What do you suppose are the limitations of Islam, inherent or practical, that have confined its success to the more backward peoples of the world?
     
    Why should we assume Islam has everything to do with it? Do the Tuareg want to settle down into urban dwellings and have internet connections and shopping malls and leave their tribbal nomadic lifestyle of centuries? Again, the shotgun in the mouth seems to be an apt analogy.

    Some people want that and can adapt just fine; have you seen the skyline of Kuala Lumpur? Or Jakarta?

    If the question is; does Islam inherently put a damper on material progress? I would say; dear God, I sure hope it does!

    I would hope the religion would put a reign on unchecked materialism or the thinking that technological progress is the only yardstick. If it didn't do that, what good is it? What makes it stand apart from secularism? How does it give man meaning by buying into the discourse of that which it stands against - the absence of God in life?

    If you have a chance, please read this book and maybe you can understand where I'm coming from:
    https://www.amazon.com/Technopoly-Surrender-Technology-Neil-Postman/dp/0679745408

    Also see why despite the lack of material or even stability, countries heavily populated with Muslims are clustered at the bottom of national suicide rates:
    http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.MHSUICIDE?lang=en


    Islam is the religion of peace
     
    It is, and when the circumstance calls for it, it isn't - the wisdom lies in understanding when it should be which.

    Peace.

    What in the life of a Muslim in an Islamic society is considered to be outside of Islam? Secularism is a value in the West today but I do not believe this is true in Islamic areas. Like all things in these societies it will fall under Islamic scrutinization and accommodation.

    “I would hope the religion would put a reign on unchecked materialism or the thinking that technological progress is the only yardstick. If it didn’t do that, what good is it? What makes it stand apart from secularism? How does it give man meaning by buying into the discourse of that which it stands against – the absence of God in life?”

    Thank you for saying that. This reminded me that while I cannot support Islam I sometimes see your religion as a sort of bulwark against atheism, humanism, etc. Nothing in Islam is as bad for humanity as the amoral materialism that threatens to seduce the West.

    Low suicide rates, got it. Let’s not forget other indices like GDP, health, extra-Koranic literacy, infrastructure, trade, manufacturing, social trust, etc. etc. where Muslim countries fare worse. Just above sub-Saharan Africa as I recall. The word “backward” comes to mind…

    Read More
    • Replies: @Greasy William

    I sometimes see your religion as a sort of bulwark against atheism, humanism, etc. Nothing in Islam is as bad for humanity as the amoral materialism that threatens to seduce the West
     
    exactly
    , @Talha
    Hey pelagic,

    I think I understand your questions, but not sure. I'll take them one by one:


    What in the life of a Muslim in an Islamic society is considered to be outside of Islam?
     
    What takes them outside of Islam is denial of core belief - like God, revelation, prophets, etc.

    What makes them profligate or transgressors is violating its rules.


    Secularism is a value in the West today but I do not believe this is true in Islamic areas. Like all things in these societies it will fall under Islamic scrutinization and accommodation.
     
    Correct, if one is asking; can minority rights be accommodated in Islam? Then yes, ensuring minority rights in built into the framework, though not all Muslims are keen on letting them have those rights, unfortunately. The other thing is that there are, what we consider reasonable, limitations like blasphemy laws.

    Actually, on paper at least, Pakistan has a technically viable 'modern' model. It is stymied by corruption, ignorance and extremism, but it is worth reviewing general framework...

    The country is run like a republic and representatives are elected. Minority populations have guaranteed reserved seats per their percentage:
    "The federal cabinet of Pakistan has approved on Sept. 5 a constitutional amendment to increase the number of minorities’ seats in the predominated Muslim parliament, in proportion to their population. Religious minorities are just 4 per cent of the total population of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. If the parliament passed 23rd Constitutional Amendment, minorities’ seats would increase from 33 to around 44 in the National and provincial assemblies."
    http://www.speroforum.com/a/DSRCQMTWOK56/73102-More-seats-for-Muslims-in-Pakistani-parliament#.WG5XdlMrJEY

    They formulate laws just as other countries do, but the laws are scrutinized (after normal judicial scrutiny) by a Federal Shariah Court (FSC) which checks if they are in violation of Islamic Law and should be discarded or sent back to be amended. The FSC is composed of both secular judges and religious jurists (the current Chief Justice is not a religious scholar):
    http://www.federalshariatcourt.gov.pk/

    Minority rights are protected from the majority. For instance, if the 97% Muslims could vote on it, they would likely close down the famous Muree Brewery in Rawalpindi and extend prohibition to everyone. However, prohibition is only enforced on Muslims:
    "Under the present prohibition law, only non-Muslims and foreigners are permitted to consume alcohol."
    http://www.murreebrewery.com/history.html

    Which sometimes leads to non-Muslims petitioning that their rights be revoked because it makes them look back in a generally religious society - whack!:
    "A group of Christians have argued that the fact that their community can sell alcohol is 'giving them a bad name' in Pakistan. A petition was filed against the decision of the Federal Shariat Court that allows minorities to hold liquor permits in Pakistan as a result."
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/557839/petition-pakistans-christians-say-liquor-permits-giving-them-a-bad-name/

    Anyway, there are many models to make it work, but if it is done right I have not seen a specific reason why introducing Islam into governance must necessarily preclude the ability to build a multi-ethnic, multi-religious community (with certain limitations, of course). In fact, the late Hon. Avin Cornelius (who was a Catholic Chief Justice in Pakistan - yes, it did happen) wrote about how the Shariah could be used as a bulwark against the oppression by the majority:
    "Once skeptical about arguments that Pakistan’s law should be self-consciously measured against Islamic norms, Cornelius lived through the establishment of secular military dictatorship. As I will explain, he came to believe that Islamization might be a necessary precondition for the reestablishment of the liberal rule of law in Pakistan….Thus, the rise of popular piety and governmental programs to Islamize society have undoubtedly led to illiberal treatment of people and human rights abuses in Pakistan and Egypt. At the same time, however, liberal judges in both countries have been able to develop Islamic arguments both to forestall abuses by secular government and, more intriguingly, to resist abuses carried out by citizens or government officials claiming to be acting according to ‘Islamic’ principles.”
    http://ir.stthomas.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1237&context=ustlj

    For a fairly successful monarchy model (for minority rights - corruption is another thing), see Morocco in which the Jewish community adores their king:
    "Morocco’s Jews are fiercely proud of their special status in a kingdom that is thoroughly Moslem. King Hassan II is regarded by the Jews to be as benign and beneficent a ruler as one could hope for in the Arab world, and they are almost uniformly grateful for the protection he and his father, Mohammed V, have afforded them."
    http://www.jta.org/1993/05/26/archive/behind-the-headlines-moroccos-jews-feel-protected-by-king-but-always-wary-of-shifts-in-mideast-p

    Other models worth exploring are Malaysia and Turkey and Iran - though each have their own issues.


    the amoral materialism that threatens to seduce the West.
     
    Others have historically held your view:
    "Benjamin Rush, the Pennsylvania signer of the Declaration of Independence and friend of Adams and Jefferson, applauded this feature of Islam, asserting that he had ‘rather see the opinions of Confucius or Mohammed inculcated upon our youth than see them grow up wholly devoid of a system of religious principles.’”
    https://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/0205/tolerance.html

    where Muslim countries fare worse
     
    Again, indices of infrastructure, trade, manufacturing, GDP are actually not relevant to me in judging a society. God has never let us know that He cares about that stuff, so why should I? 'Social trust' on the other hand is very important, same with things like 'lack of corruption', 'ability to obtain justice', 'lack of violence', 'charity', 'filial piety', 'strength of family', etc. Those are what concern me in judging a society these are moral imperatives and at times a tribal society can do better than a very technological and literate one. In fact, WW2 was a case study in how completely dysfunctional and destructive the most advanced societies in the world can be.

    Yet, many of those qualities I pointed out are not measurable. But it is also obvious that many Muslim countries are often behind the West in some of those things like corruption or ability to obtain justice - but ahead in, say, filial piety.

    Peace.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Talha
    Hey pelagic,

    It is a religion - like all religions before it, it helped define the society including the government (even Zoroastranism and Buddhism did this) - that assumption of that relationship was perfunctory in the past. It is actually the common era that is the historic anomaly.

    Running the West under Somali tribalism is absolutely mad.

    Islam provides some general guidelines, basically it draws a picture and it is up to the various people to color it in as they wish (and try to stay within the lines). Many systems of government can run and be run relatively successfully under an Islamic rubric; republic (Indonesia), monarchy (Jordan), revolving monarchy (Malaysia), tribal confederacy (Somalia), matriarchal nomadic (Tuareg), even military dictatorship (Egypt - if people don't think one can be run well, they have never heard of the Bahri Mamluks). So introduction of Islam into a Western country would likely make it resemble more Indonesia or Turkey rather than the Tuareg.

    Western man needs to make a choice about where he wants to go because there seem to be certain systemic issues going on. If he wants to keep going this route, introducing Islamic reforms/suggestions are indeed foolhardy and likely going to make matters worse very quickly. If he wants to re-evaluate which direction he wants to go, there are a few options still around - Islam certainly being one of them.

    Peace.

    My understanding of Islam is that it is holistic and there is no separation of mosque and state. The very idea of such a separation is incomprehensible to Muslims. Secularism/democracy must be forcibly impressed on Muslim countries– would such ideas occur within Muslim populations absent outside forces?

    It seems that tribalism is not hampered by the introduction of Islam. Is it possible Islam even exacerbates or is a catalyst for these ancient and belligerent relations? Evidence abounds in Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, etc.

    You paint a very amenable picture of your religion and its capacity to adapt, much as Catholics might say about the cultural mixing and matching of the Church around the world. What do you suppose are the limitations of Islam, inherent or practical, that have confined its success to the more backward peoples of the world? Note: I do not use “backward” in a pejorative sense; I just can’t think of a better way to render the socio-economic meaning otherwise.

    Of course the West has options. One option is to elect leaders who will no longer use the ridiculous expression “Islam is the religion of peace.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Talha
    Hey pelagic,

    My understanding of Islam is that it is holistic and there is no separation of mosque and state.
     
    So goes the mantra. The issue is far more complicated. Let me give you an example and see if you can figure it out a clean explanation...
    Imam Malik (ra) was one of the greatest scholars (jurist and hadith scholars) the Muslim world has ever known. When the Umayyads forced the people to giving them allegiance to legitimize their rule, Imam Malik (ra) spoke against it and gave a fatwa that the allegiance was invalid due to coercion. For this he was arrested by the governor of Madinah and publicly flogged. The Umayyads were a caliphate - can you tell me why one of the top jurists in Islam was arrested and flogged by the caliphate? Can you tell me why this also happened to the three other founders of the surviving Sunni schools?

    The jurists have traditionally been separate from the government - in the Sunni tradition. They often have gotten in trouble with the secular authorities - it is almost a right of passage:
    "Like Ibn Taymiyya before him and al-Suyuti after him, al-Subki had many clashes with the Mamluk military authorities."
    Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature, Volume 2

    The jurists have played a role in distinction to the government, formulating rulings independently which the secular leaders (and I mean secular, those Seljuks loved their wine) then either chose to enforce or not.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwMXvSBNbU4

    The idea of Muslim jurists running the government is a relatively recent phenomenon since the introduction of the nation-state.

    The jurists would simply have more or less influence on policy depending on; a) the piety of the ruler in charge, b) the piety in the general populace.

    This is quite flexible with a great many variations on governance.


    What do you suppose are the limitations of Islam, inherent or practical, that have confined its success to the more backward peoples of the world?
     
    Why should we assume Islam has everything to do with it? Do the Tuareg want to settle down into urban dwellings and have internet connections and shopping malls and leave their tribbal nomadic lifestyle of centuries? Again, the shotgun in the mouth seems to be an apt analogy.

    Some people want that and can adapt just fine; have you seen the skyline of Kuala Lumpur? Or Jakarta?

    If the question is; does Islam inherently put a damper on material progress? I would say; dear God, I sure hope it does!

    I would hope the religion would put a reign on unchecked materialism or the thinking that technological progress is the only yardstick. If it didn't do that, what good is it? What makes it stand apart from secularism? How does it give man meaning by buying into the discourse of that which it stands against - the absence of God in life?

    If you have a chance, please read this book and maybe you can understand where I'm coming from:
    https://www.amazon.com/Technopoly-Surrender-Technology-Neil-Postman/dp/0679745408

    Also see why despite the lack of material or even stability, countries heavily populated with Muslims are clustered at the bottom of national suicide rates:
    http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.MHSUICIDE?lang=en


    Islam is the religion of peace
     
    It is, and when the circumstance calls for it, it isn't - the wisdom lies in understanding when it should be which.

    Peace.

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  • @Talha
    Hey pelagic,

    'Anarchy' was the term the researcher used, not me. In the absence of a centralized government, most Westerners assume 'anarchy'. People who know better are quite aware that governance resolves back to the tribes as it did for centuries before the idea of the nation-state was introduced.

    I have a friend; a White convert who married a Somali woman. We were talking about a lot of these issues. People here think it is a given that an 18 year old cheerleader should have the same voice as a 65 year old Vietnam veteran. My friend and I talked about how completely insipid it is to introduce a system into a tribal society where the political voice/vote of an 18 year old woman counts the same as a 65 year old tribal elder. Not only is it insane, it is asking them to take all that makes them uniquely Somali, take a shotgun to its mouth and blow out its brains.

    Peace.

    “Not only is it insane…”

    Agreed. As a comparison, would you say that introducing a system such as Islam (because it is a system as you know, and not merely a religion) to Western societies is equally insane? And vice versa?

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    • Replies: @Talha
    Hey pelagic,

    It is a religion - like all religions before it, it helped define the society including the government (even Zoroastranism and Buddhism did this) - that assumption of that relationship was perfunctory in the past. It is actually the common era that is the historic anomaly.

    Running the West under Somali tribalism is absolutely mad.

    Islam provides some general guidelines, basically it draws a picture and it is up to the various people to color it in as they wish (and try to stay within the lines). Many systems of government can run and be run relatively successfully under an Islamic rubric; republic (Indonesia), monarchy (Jordan), revolving monarchy (Malaysia), tribal confederacy (Somalia), matriarchal nomadic (Tuareg), even military dictatorship (Egypt - if people don't think one can be run well, they have never heard of the Bahri Mamluks). So introduction of Islam into a Western country would likely make it resemble more Indonesia or Turkey rather than the Tuareg.

    Western man needs to make a choice about where he wants to go because there seem to be certain systemic issues going on. If he wants to keep going this route, introducing Islamic reforms/suggestions are indeed foolhardy and likely going to make matters worse very quickly. If he wants to re-evaluate which direction he wants to go, there are a few options still around - Islam certainly being one of them.

    Peace.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Just like European maps place Europe in the center of the planet, so do most western commentators look at the past year from a US/Europe-centered perspective. Which is fair enough. Furthermore, the AngloZionist Empire has just suffered two major disasters, the Brexit and the election of Trump, so there is truly much interesting to focus...
  • “Contrary to Rozanov, these russophobic “liberals” rejoice in every Russian failure and they can barely contain their joy when some tragedy befalls the Russian people which they hate and despise for supporting a “tyrant” like Putin instead of them, the self-perceived “intellectual elites” of Russia.”

    Geez, I thought self-hating white leftists were confined to the West…

    Thank you for an informative and “liberating” piece.

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  • During the last few months I’ve seen on TV and read in Newsmax the views of an earnest American patriot, Zudhi Jasser. A onetime naval officer, distinguished cardiologist and more recently, an inspired leader of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Dr. Yasser has been second to none in denouncing Islamicist terror and in exhorting...
  • @Talha
    Hey attila,

    JS is right; Somalia is better without a central government - he has metrics on his side:
    “Such was the case with Somalia’s government, which did more harm to its citizens than good. The government’s collapse and subsequent emergence of statelessness opened the opportunity for Somali progress. This paper investigates the impact of anarchy on Somali development. The data suggest that while the state of this development remains low, on nearly all of 18 key indicators that allow pre- and post-stateless welfare comparisons, Somalis are better off under anarchy than they were under government.”
    http://www.peterleeson.com/Better_Off_Stateless.pdf

    Our system doesn't work for them, their system doesn't work for us. We should all be mature enough to recognize this.

    Thousands of Somalis are going back now that things have gotten better - we should encourage this and avoid destabilizing the country:
    "Going back: Somalia’'s diaspora return home - Thousands of Somalis have left comfortable, secure lives in the West to return to Somalia."
    http://www.trtworld.com/mea/going-back-somalias-diaspora-return-home-51506

    Peace.

    One could argue that Somalis are better suited to tribalism or clannishness rather than anarchy. If Somaliland, Puntland and Somalia each attained sovereignty that will not guarantee peace but it will make a lot more sense to those directly involved.

    “Our system doesn’t work for them, their system doesn’t work for us. We should all be mature enough to recognize this.”

    Amen to that.

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    • Replies: @Talha
    Hey pelagic,

    'Anarchy' was the term the researcher used, not me. In the absence of a centralized government, most Westerners assume 'anarchy'. People who know better are quite aware that governance resolves back to the tribes as it did for centuries before the idea of the nation-state was introduced.

    I have a friend; a White convert who married a Somali woman. We were talking about a lot of these issues. People here think it is a given that an 18 year old cheerleader should have the same voice as a 65 year old Vietnam veteran. My friend and I talked about how completely insipid it is to introduce a system into a tribal society where the political voice/vote of an 18 year old woman counts the same as a 65 year old tribal elder. Not only is it insane, it is asking them to take all that makes them uniquely Somali, take a shotgun to its mouth and blow out its brains.

    Peace.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @MEexpert

    I would call it inherently violent, militant, and expansionist, though. Mohammed is their model, the way Christ is the model for Christians. You can take anything and commit violence in that thing’s name, but with Islam, it’s the converse; you can’t take the militancy out.

     

    Boy are you ignorant. Which history book are you reading? Stop reading Pat Geller or Robert Spencer. The word Islam itself means peace. Don't read the neocon propaganda.

    Mohammed lived the life of a bandit, executed prisoners, took and kept slaves, had many wives (way more than four), and had sex with children. The contrast with Christ could not be more stark.
     
    And you know it how? It is easy to regurgitate the filth the neocons are putting out against Islam by insulting the Prophet, the most peaceful person. Here is what the real scholars of religion have said about him in the past. Do you think they would have said this if what you wrote were true?

    Ah, the personality of Muhammad! (P.B.U.H), it is most difficult to get into the truth of it. To quote Professor Ramakrishna Rao, in one of the best articles from a non-Muslim, "One can only catch a glimpse of it. What a dramatic succession of picturesque scenes. There is Muhammad, the prophet. There is Muhammad the General; Muhammad the King; Muhammad the Warrior; Muhammad the businessman; Muhammad the preacher; Muhammad the philosopher; Muhammad the statesman; Muhammad the Orator; Muhammad the reformer; Muhammad the refuge of orphans; Muhammad the Protector of Slaves; Muhammad the emancipator of women; Muhammad the Law-giver; Muhammad the Judge; Muhammad the Saint."

    The literature is full of glowing tributes to his personality. French historian, Lamaratine writes, "Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without images; the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he?" (Lamartine, HISTOIRE DE LA TURQUIE, Paris, 1854, Vol. II, pp. 276-277.)

    Another western author (Bosworth Smith) continues, "He was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without Pope's pretensions, Caesar without the legions of Caesar: without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a palace, without a fixed revenue; if ever any man had the right to say that he ruled by the right divine, it was Mohammed, for he had all the power without its instruments and without its supports." (Bosworth Smith, MOHAMMAD AND MOHAMMADANISM, London, 1874, p. 92.)
    Michael Hart puts him at the top of his 100 most influential persons in history. His reasons, "My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular level." (Michael H. Hart, THE 100: A RANKING OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS IN HISTORY, New York: Hart Publishing Company, Inc., 1978, p. 33.)

    "If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and astounding results are the three criteria of human genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with Muhammad? The most famous men created arms, laws and empires only. They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled away before their eyes. This man moved not only armies, legislations, empires, peoples and dynasties, but millions of men in one-third of the then inhabited world; and more than that, he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and souls. . . his forbearance in victory, his ambition, which was entirely devoted to one idea and in no manner striving for an empire; his endless prayers, his mystic conversations with God, his death and his triumph after death; all these attest not to an imposture but to a firm conviction which gave him the power to restore a dogma. This dogma was twofold, the unity of God and the immateriality of God; the former telling what God is, the latter telling what God is not; the one overthrowing false gods with the sword, the other starting an idea with words. (Lamartine, HISTOIRE DE LA TURQUIE, Paris, 1854, Vol. II, pp. 276-277.)

    Historian Edward Gibbon writes: "It is not the propagation but the permanency of his religion that deserves our wonder, the same pure and perfect impression which he engraved at Mecca and Medina is preserved, after the revolutions of twelve centuries by the Indian, the African and the Turkish proselytes of the Koran. . . The Mahometans have uniformly withstood the temptation of reducing the object of their faith and devotion to a level with the senses and imagination of man. 'I believe in One God and Mahomet the Apostle of God' is the simple and invariable profession of Islam. The intellectual image of the Deity has never been degraded by any visible idol; the honours of the prophet have never transgressed the measure of human virtue, and his living precepts have restrained the gratitude of his disciples within the bounds of reason and religion."
    Edward Gibbon and Simon Ocklay, HISTORY OF THE SARACEN EMPIRE, London, 1870, p. 54.

    "It is impossible for anyone who studies the life and character of the great Prophet of Arabia, who knows how he taught and how he lived, to feel anything but reverence for that mighty Prophet, one of the great messengers of the Supreme. And although in what I put to you I shall say many things which may be familiar to many, yet I myself feel whenever I re-read them, a new way of admiration, a new sense of reverence for that mighty Arabian teacher."
    Annie Besant, THE LIFE AND TEACHINGS OF MUHAMMAD, Madras,1932, p. 4.

    “The word Islam itself means peace.”

    No, it means submission, both submission to God (for Muslims) and submission to Islam for everyone else.

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    • Replies: @MEexpert
    The root word of "Islam" is salaam which means peace. Generally, Arabic words have multiple meanings. When you submit yourself to the will of Allah (GOD), you are at peace.

    .........and submission to Islam for everyone else.
     
    What are you implying?
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  • @jtgw

    Respects natural liberty or demands that this be the sole ruling principle of society?

     

    It's the standard by which we judge political systems. For example, if theft is morally wrong, why is it permissible when the State does it through taxation? Does it make sense for moral principles to bind only certain groups of people and not others? I suppose some of the more extreme Nietzscheans on the alt-right would say "yes", but I imagine most conservatives would concede that moral principles ought to be universal and bind all men equally.

    A “universal” libertarianism seems to be about denying and avoiding the tradition of recognized moral virtues. Without a shared morality, which necessarily will violate personal freedoms, there is only legalism to hold down a civic and civil existence. Under libertarianism, your freedom runs into trouble as soon as it bumps into my freedom– we are in conflict or disagreement long before another is harmed, per se.

     

    Who recognizes these moral virtues and what are they exactly? When the US was born, there was a lot of discussion of religious liberty. It seems quaint now, but people seriously believed that differences of doctrine and religious practice were of serious moral and social import. Nevertheless, it was agreed that groups of differing religions could coexist, provided they agreed to refrain from violent aggression against other groups. This is the historical foundation of the libertarian principle of non-aggression: even if you disapprove of someone else's religion or lifestyle, you are not allowed to use violence against that person, unless the other first commits or threatens violence against you.

    As others have said, libertarianism is the logical end point of liberalism. It is mainly suited to those who hold their autonomy and the fulfillment of their personal desires above all other values.

     

    This is a strange statement in view of history. Classical liberalism, the forerunner of modern libertarianism, was mostly corrupted by leftist ideas until it became modern left-liberalism. The metamorphosis of traditionalist conservatism and the Old Right into neoconservatism followed a similar path. I think a better way to understand libertarianism is as the distillation of classical liberalism, which was itself a distillation of the ideas underlying the Reformation, namely the importance of individual freedom of conscience, which was first extended to people in the realm of religion, and gradually in other realms as well. Along the way, confusion arose as to the precise definition of liberty, with some arguing for the existence of positive rights, e.g. the right to sustenance, alongside negative rights, e.g. the right to be free from aggression. Libertarians are about removing the confusion, adopting a precise definition of liberty in negative terms, and applying those principles of liberty rigorously.

    “It’s the standard by which we judge political systems.”

    No, it is one standard and many earth dwellers would not rate it as being the most important.

    “Does it make sense for moral principles to bind only certain groups of people and not others?”

    Yes. Some principles appear to be universal or nearly so but not all. Why does this blind quest for universal norms never strike liberals as being irrational? One of the fatal flaws of libertarianism is the belief that certain “universals” are true and can be or should be followed by all. Why would anyone believe this should be applied to people everywhere? And who would be in charge of such a progressive campaign?

    “I imagine most conservatives would concede that moral principles ought to be universal and bind all men equally.”

    To observe some common desires or inherent needs among all men is one thing. But to channel that understanding into a system that demands that all should abide by certain principles (“freedom”) that some small number of elites have defined according to their whim takes some hubris. Is that any different than ways others have historically worked their way to power?

    “Nevertheless, it was agreed that groups of differing religions could coexist, provided they agreed to refrain from violent aggression against other groups.”

    Has it occurred to you that many in those “differing religions” do not want to coexist with you and your kind? Islam for instance, whose pattern of conquest and violent suppression is as true now as it was on Day One? What will you do with folks in your own country who will not subscribe to your wonderful Rights of Man ideas? You speak of religion as if you stand outside of it but it’s a safe bet that some religion has a lot to do with how you got here and shapes the world around you.

    Your definition and precise application of principles of liberty may have some merit but you need meat on those bones. My impression is that libertarians say that man lives by liberty alone. Full stop. His spirituality, religion, ethnicity, race, history, language and culture are just too difficult to reconcile so they are consigned to irrelevance. No. Liberty is the afterthought, as important as it is to Westerners.

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    • Replies: @jtgw

    Has it occurred to you that many in those “differing religions” do not want to coexist with you and your kind? Islam for instance, whose pattern of conquest and violent suppression is as true now as it was on Day One? What will you do with folks in your own country who will not subscribe to your wonderful Rights of Man ideas? You speak of religion as if you stand outside of it but it’s a safe bet that some religion has a lot to do with how you got here and shapes the world around you.

     

    I'm not sure what this critique is aimed at. I was explaining the history of the development of libertarian ideas, how they grew out of the classical liberalism of the Enlightenment, which itself grew out of the yearning for religious liberty and freedom of conscience that inspired the Reformation. I was showing that libertarianism is not some end result of left-liberalism, as you asserted, but that the historical development went in precisely the opposite direction: classical liberalism precedes left-liberalism. Libertarianism is essentially those classical liberals that never went to the left.

    In any case, the non-aggression principle is a normative principle, not a descriptive one. No one is saying that people do not and will not continue to commit acts of aggression, whether in the name of religion or for some other reason. It is simply describing the principle that would maximize peace.
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  • @jtgw
    Thought-provoking piece. Gottfried notes several things that I have wondered about but rarely seen discussed, e.g. the incompatibility of modern multiculturalist and egalitarian values not only with traditional Islam, but other traditional religions as well. At the same time, he notes that traditional Islam does seem to suffer from more violent tendencies, though I'm sure if you look through history you can find examples of violent expansionism in Judaism (a good portion of the Old Testament, for starters) and Christianity (Baltic Crusades, the conquest of New Spain). So I guess you could conclude that a modern liberal democracy might find a way to coexist peacefully with traditionalist communities of Jews and Christians, but will always live under threat from a community of traditionalist Muslims in its midst.

    Violent Judaism today seems focused on maintaining and strengthening Jewish hegemony in historic Palestine. Whether or not you think this is just towards the Palestinians, it is still very locally directed, and consequently any nation that stays out of Israel's way in the Middle East is sure to be safe from Jewish violence. I see practically no evidence for violent Christianity these days, except perhaps in Russia's fight to keep control over Muslim border territories like Chechnya; America's wars for democracy seem to have nothing to do with advancing or defending Christendom, and indeed seem to have had the opposite effect, as far as Iraqi and Syrian Christians are concerned. Only violent Islam seems alive and well and outwardly focused.

    As a libertarian, I would quibble with Hobbes' dichotomy between civil order and natural liberty. A true civil order respects natural liberty, since natural liberty can be defined as doing what you want, as long as you don't harm another. Universal observation of this principle would obviously result in universal peace and concord. Clearly Hobbes meant something else, i.e. submission to the aggressions and depredations of the State in order to ensure peace among those governed by the State. But the State is not held to the same standards; while private citizens are forbidden from murder and stealing, agents of the State may commit those crimes with impunity. Whether this results in universal civil peace is questionable.

    “A true civil order respects natural liberty”

    Respects natural liberty or demands that this be the sole ruling principle of society?

    “… since natural liberty can be defined as doing what you want, as long as you don’t harm another. Universal observation of this principle would obviously result in universal peace and concord. ”

    “Natural liberty” and “freedom” mean little outside of community and an ordered social fabric. Concepts of freedom and liberty would not even occur to an individual without such a contextual reference.

    A “universal” libertarianism seems to be about denying and avoiding the tradition of recognized moral virtues. Without a shared morality, which necessarily will violate personal freedoms, there is only legalism to hold down a civic and civil existence. Under libertarianism, your freedom runs into trouble as soon as it bumps into my freedom– we are in conflict or disagreement long before another is harmed, per se.

    As others have said, libertarianism is the logical end point of liberalism. It is mainly suited to those who hold their autonomy and the fulfillment of their personal desires above all other values.

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    • Replies: @jtgw

    Respects natural liberty or demands that this be the sole ruling principle of society?

     

    It's the standard by which we judge political systems. For example, if theft is morally wrong, why is it permissible when the State does it through taxation? Does it make sense for moral principles to bind only certain groups of people and not others? I suppose some of the more extreme Nietzscheans on the alt-right would say "yes", but I imagine most conservatives would concede that moral principles ought to be universal and bind all men equally.

    A “universal” libertarianism seems to be about denying and avoiding the tradition of recognized moral virtues. Without a shared morality, which necessarily will violate personal freedoms, there is only legalism to hold down a civic and civil existence. Under libertarianism, your freedom runs into trouble as soon as it bumps into my freedom– we are in conflict or disagreement long before another is harmed, per se.

     

    Who recognizes these moral virtues and what are they exactly? When the US was born, there was a lot of discussion of religious liberty. It seems quaint now, but people seriously believed that differences of doctrine and religious practice were of serious moral and social import. Nevertheless, it was agreed that groups of differing religions could coexist, provided they agreed to refrain from violent aggression against other groups. This is the historical foundation of the libertarian principle of non-aggression: even if you disapprove of someone else's religion or lifestyle, you are not allowed to use violence against that person, unless the other first commits or threatens violence against you.

    As others have said, libertarianism is the logical end point of liberalism. It is mainly suited to those who hold their autonomy and the fulfillment of their personal desires above all other values.

     

    This is a strange statement in view of history. Classical liberalism, the forerunner of modern libertarianism, was mostly corrupted by leftist ideas until it became modern left-liberalism. The metamorphosis of traditionalist conservatism and the Old Right into neoconservatism followed a similar path. I think a better way to understand libertarianism is as the distillation of classical liberalism, which was itself a distillation of the ideas underlying the Reformation, namely the importance of individual freedom of conscience, which was first extended to people in the realm of religion, and gradually in other realms as well. Along the way, confusion arose as to the precise definition of liberty, with some arguing for the existence of positive rights, e.g. the right to sustenance, alongside negative rights, e.g. the right to be free from aggression. Libertarians are about removing the confusion, adopting a precise definition of liberty in negative terms, and applying those principles of liberty rigorously.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • There are clear signs that the Neocons running the AngloZionist Empire and its “deep state” are in a state of near panic and their actions indicate they are truly terrified. The home front One the home front, the Neocons have resorted to every possible dirty trick on the book to try to prevent Donald Trump...
  • @Alden
    Our most troublesome non White population, black Africans were brought in the 17th and 18th centuries when Catholicism was illegal in all colonies but for Pennsylvania.
    In the 1700s we had the largest black population ever, a bit more than 20 percent. S Carolina was about 50 percent black. The 1800 Washington DC census showed 900 permanent residents. 700 blacks, 200 Whites.
    The reason the founding stock is in such bad shape is because since colonial times the elites of the founding stock has gone all over the world in their search for cheap labor instead of hiring their own people.

    Consider the railroads. There were practical reasons why Chinese were brought in to build the Oakland Salt Lake City stretch of the trans continental railroad. But why was it necessary to bring in Irish immigrants to build the St Louis to Salt Lake City stretch? Why were most railroads east of the Mississippi built by Irish immigrants instead of founding stock native born Anericans? Why were the Chicago and Omaha stockyards and the Pennsylvania coal mines staffed exclusively by European immigrants instead of founding stock Americans

    It's because the founding stock elite since the Africans arrived in 1619 prefer to hire cheap labor rather than their own people.

    If the wages already enjoyed by “their own people” prevented them going off to build the railroads isn’t that a good thing?

    Those who can hire will exploit or import (or export to) whatever labor pool they can. I don’t think market forces afford much opportunity to be ethically choosy, if that were even a consideration on the part of such operators.

    In broader social terms, some sense of unity in whites is needed to fight modern liberalism, feminism, and low reproductive rates. White people have forcibly marched us down the progressive path and only their kin will lead the way back to sanity. It is the Utopian dream of liberals to split whites as often and as deeply as possible and I wonder if a distinction like “European immigrants” vs. “founding stock Americans” is helpful except as an historic reference.

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  • The long national nightmare that was the 2016 presidential election is finally over. Now, we’re facing a worse terror: the reality of a Trump presidency. Donald Trump has already promised to nominate a segregationist attorney general, a national security adviser who is a raging Islamophobe, a secretary of education who doesn’t believe in public schools,...
  • Since you are a self-described pacifist I wonder if you have considered the idea that other people, and other peoples, are non-pacifist by choice? Would you respect that choice, regardless of where in the world they lived?

    Almost everywhere on earth it is easy to find warriors and ancient rivalries that are kept alive by tribalism and shifting resources and outside allegiances. That Arabia Felix is notable in this regard has more to do with the nature of her people and their history than any modern foreign influences. Maybe Yemenis love peace as much as anyone else but they seem to have other priorities, too.

    I agree the U.S. should have a minimal role in that country. Since America chose Donald Trump as President instead of the bellicose candidate maybe we can now move in that direction.

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  • @E. A. Costa
    "It's 2016. Do You Know Where Your Bombs Are Falling?"

    Is this a rhetorical question or is it addressed to Unitedstatesians?

    If the latter, the answer is no. They don't know shit from shinola and haven't since the police action in Korea.

    In Vietnam it got a little dicey,. since so many white middle class young males were disappearing. But now, thanks to Nixon, the armed forces are "professional", don't you know?

    Who cares about the bombs?

    Actually if you want to make a case, why don't you research how many abortions are caused by US-made cluster bombs or white phosphorous or even drones?

    That might get some attention.

    Then again it might not, since most Unitedstatesians don't give a spit about how many miscarriages and birth defects are being caused by the explosion of depleted uranium munitions by NATO and the US in Serbia and Iraq.

    “If the latter, the answer is no. They don’t know shit from shinola and haven’t since the police action in Korea.”

    I’m not at all sure I disagree with this, but pray tell in which countries DO they know shit from shinola?

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    • Replies: @E. A, Costa
    You expect an annotated list, free or charge and without any elbow grease on your part?
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  • Almost all advanced countries, if not all, have national medical care. It is telling that in the debate over Obamacare, few looked at systems in other countries to see how well what worked. The reason seems to have been a mixture of the classic American arrogance and lack of interest in anything beyond the borders....
  • @Anon
    "Universal – basic – health coverage is not HARD. A small tax on ALL incomes (say 1.5%) should cover the basics. The rich can further insure themselves for speedier service, face lifts & breast/penis enlargements."

    Right, if it were to cover only the BASICS.

    But what is considered ESSENTIAL by Americans goes way beyond basics.

    Americans have a very spoiled and pampered concept of basic rights. Same in Europe and Canada.

    If single payer system only focused on basic healthcare and essential needs, it'd be doable. But too many Americans get too fat and unhealthy and then go to doctors to demand all kinds of drugs and service and etc.

    Consider all the Americans on this or that medication. Now, I'm not gonna be Tom Cruise about this and denounce all drugs. But drugs should only be used as last resort. For many Americans, it is the first resort, and they want more and more.
    And this stuff is really expensive.

    How did people in the past cope without all these drugs and other stuff? They found meaning in community, church, family, relatives, and culture. All that is gone for many Americans. They just got junk culture, hedonism, youth cult, and etc. And when youth passes, they feel empty like grasshopper of Aesop, and they turn to drugs. Some turn to bad drugs like meth. Some turn to professional soma doled out by Big Pharma that should be called Harma.

    This is why Single Payer system won't work. Too many Americans became accustomed to getting too much from the system.
    Basic Care is no longer enough for a lot of Americans who need their soma, soma, soma.

    Michael Moore is perfect posterboy for what is wrong with America. He is a fatty fatass fatkins who can't control his fatbody appetite. A fat tubaroon like him will have all sorts of health problems, but of course, his ilk want the STATE to take care of it.
    Lardsass mother******.

    Maybe these Americans you speak of deserve the for-profit insurance structure we know so well. Both parties are inherently corrupt and act only in their narrowly selfish interests. To effect change requires a jolt of some kind.

    What could work better and in favor of regular folks is a direct arrangement with doctors and even hospitals for low level, routine visits. All out-patient work would be paid for directly by the consumer and he would carry insurance only for “big stuff” like surgery or expensive level drugs or testing. I believe a basic doctor visit is in the $150-250 range: not impossible for most and likely to incentivize people taking better care of themselves. This is not a new idea but how to explore the possibilities?

    Next time you visit a doctor ask him how much ANY procedure costs in actual dollars. (Very likely he will have no idea). Tell him you are shopping around and plan to go with the lowest cost provider. Middleman (insurance) automatically eliminated. If millions did this the system would adjust costs downward in short order.

    If Democrats focused on this kind of activism the way they focus on demonizing others they might actually accomplish real progress.

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    • Replies: @woodNfish

    Maybe these Americans you speak of deserve the for-profit insurance structure we know so well.
     
    We've never had free competition in the medical industry. It has always been regulated by the states and outsiders (any other state) were kept out. Trump wants to change that so insurance companies can compete for business in multiple states. I expect that competition will be promoted in other areas too.

    No solution is going to be perfect, but it will be better than obdumbass care and what we had before.

    What could work better and in favor of regular folks is a direct arrangement with doctors and even hospitals for low level, routine visits.
     
    Forbe's Magazine has offered this type of program to their employees for years. Not sure if it survived odumbass care, but it was a good program and controlled costs.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • In my opinion, all political campaigns are identity based. Shaking the money tree to the tune of $1 billion + it now takes to run a national campaign demands access to big money, deference to capital, and a willingness to promote political loyalties on the basis of identity, not class. George Soros is not going...
  • @Mao Cheng Ji

    Class standing can be changed, race cannot.
     
    'Race' is not a category, 'race' doesn't exist. Race is a proxy for class.

    "Irish" and "Italian" used to be "races" on the US census. And then they weren't.

    Previously you said:

    “A billionaire black woman (like Oprah) is far more privileged than 99% of while males…”

    If “‘race’ does not exist” why do you use it as a concept to make this point about class?

    I get your emphasis on class and perhaps we agree that class distinctions are in practical terms more important than race per se. Yes, race is often a proxy for class (and vice versa), good indicators that “race” exists on some real level.

    I would argue that “class” is more difficult to define and substantiate than concepts of race.

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    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
    'Race' does exist, of course, but it only exists in people's heads. Irish came to the US in late 19c, they were poor, they were rude, hotheaded and violent. A danger for any middle class person. So, they became a race, to be avoided. Similar with the Italians, who had had little respect for anyone's property. Many of them were anarchists (like Sacco and Vanzetti). Same thing.

    And then they raised out of poverty, most of them joined the middle class, their culture changed, and they had become, gradually, proper petit-bourgeois citizens. Their 'racial' characteristics disappeared.

    It's a bit different with the 'blacks', since they do have a different skin pigmentation, and therefore immediately recognizable, even if wearing white shirt, suit, and tie. Nevertheless, white shirt suit and tie do help a lot - a 'black' guy wearing business attire in not immediately perceived (or perceived not as much) as a different 'race'. So, like I said, 'race' is a proxy for class, or rather for social status... But capitalism does require a hierarchy or social statuses (classes), and therefore of 'races'.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @WorkingClass
    The ruling class discourages any talk of class distinctions because such talk is a danger to them. They encourage race distinctions because it is important to them to keep the working class at each others throat. It's not just liberals who buy the idea that Race trumps Class. Many of the commenters here agree with it.

    A good insight but the two categories are not comparable. Class standing can be changed, race cannot.

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    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    Class standing can be changed, race cannot.
     
    'Race' is not a category, 'race' doesn't exist. Race is a proxy for class.

    "Irish" and "Italian" used to be "races" on the US census. And then they weren't.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.