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The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky



















These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 2, 2007.
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
In Kuwait preparations for Eid
and the end of Ramadan are reaching fever pitch.
Shopping fever for Eid has started and people have started rushing to different markets and malls to buy new cloths for Eid. This trend causes pressure on the sales staff and makes the traffic impossible to get to any shopping center.
The opening hours of most malls are till midnight and some are opened till 1:00 am.
When we have too much customers, we can't just close the store early. Many stores stay till open after midnight and our manager tells us not to close the store when there are many customers. This is the high season for selling and we have to work although it's exhausting," said Ahmad, a salesman in one store at Al-Fanar Mall.
The situation is similar to the rest of the new shopping malls that are open till after midnight. As people go to work later in Ramadan, they can stay awake later and have more time for shopping. When seeing the malls so crowded you think if all people came here, who are going to the rest of the malls, but in fact all the malls are crowded.
During the holy month of Ramadan, the opening hours change so the stores, which close at 10:00pm, are now closing at midnight. Some close by 1:00 am. "It's terrible for us as salesladies. We have no time to spend with our families. Now we close at 1:00 am but next week, just before the Eid, our timing may extend to 2:00 am or even later. But this is still better than the employees working in the Avenues, who will work till 4:00 am," said Abeer, a saleslady in one store in Souq Sharq Mall.
The Avenues Shopping Mall is the newest shopping mall in Kuwait. It's unbelievably crowded and has many new brands which are available only there. The biggest problem at this mall is to find a parking space for your car. The roads leading to the mall are crowded as well so shoppers should go early before the rush.
And I thought Lakeside before Christmas was to be avoided.
Posted on 10/02/2007 2:39 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
Taking the biscuit

The false note, the one you overlooked, was that "Jacksons of Piccadilly."  I don't doubt the McVities but I doubt very much that one English person would say to another,in such a situation, "Earl Grey from Jacksons of Piccadilly" except as a joke. One exception: if that English English-speaker is Mrs. Bucket (pronounced "Bouquet"), telling poor harried Richard that instead of a "candlelight supper" she will be having over these immigrants, but since they don't rate, they'll have to be satisfied with "McVities and tea from Jacksons of Piccadilly."  [From Hugh's heavily accented attempt at Brit-speak here]

Outside the sitcom (Britcom?) you mention, we would be very unlikely to talk about having McVities. We would say, "Digestive, darling?" or "Care for a custard cream?", or "Help yourself to a hobnob."

Click on the jammie dodger above for more information on tea and biscuits - essential reading for Americans who are pretty clueless about this kind of thing. Iced tea, for example, is wlatsome.

My mother always warned me never to come between a man and his ginger nuts. This advice has served me well.

Posted on 10/02/2007 5:53 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
Hirsi Ali: Pipes Is Wrong

Lawrence Auster alerted us to two developments with Ayaan Hirsi Ali this morning. The first is she has been forced to return to The Netherlands because U.S. government won't pay for her security detail. and the second is an inteview to be out shortly at Reason magazine covered by Rod Dreher here:

Hirsi Ali: Only if Islam is defeated. Because right now, the political side of Islam, the power-hungry expansionist side of Islam, has become superior to the Sufis and the Ismailis and the peace-seeking Muslims.

Reason: Don't you mean defeating radical Islam?

Hirsi Ali: No. Islam, period. Once it's defeated, it can mutate into something peaceful. It's very difficult to even talk about peace now. They're not interested in peace.

(...)

Hirsi Ali: ...There is no moderate Islam. There are Muslims who are passive, who don't all follow the rules of Islam, but there's really only one Islam, defined as submission to the will of God. There's nothing moderate about it.

Reason: So when even a hard-line critic of Islam such as Daniel Pipes says, "Radical Islam is the problem, but moderate Islam is the solution," he's wrong?

Hirsi Ali: He's wrong. Sorry about that.

Posted on 10/02/2007 6:45 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
More Than One Damaging Myth

"The creation of the Mohammed Al-Dura myth did great damage to the state of Israel."
-- a statement by the government of Israel, taken from this article


"The creation of the 'Palestinian people' myth did great damage to the state of Israel."

"The creation of the 'occupied territories' myth that completely ignored the legal and historic claims, including those based on the express terms of the League of Nations' Mandate for Palestine, did great damage to the state of Israel."

"The failure of successive Israeli governments to begin to understand the basis for the Arab and Muslim opposition to Israel did, and is doing, great damage to the state of Israel."

"The total inability of successive Israeli governments to forthrightly express its worry that, since the Treaty of Al-Hudaibiyya is the model for all treaty-making between Muslims and Infidels, and since every treaty Israel has ever signed with the Arabs has been broken by the Muslim side in ways little and big, as soon as they felt they could get away with it, has done and will do at Annapolis in November great damage to the state of Israel."

"The failure of the Israeli government to recognize that Islam explains the Arab opposition to Israel's existence, no matter what its borders or size, did and is doing great damage to the state of Israel."

Should I go on? No.

You go on. You fill up the page.

Posted on 10/02/2007 7:07 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
Coulter Would Prefer Muslim President Over Atheist

I just heard Ann Coulter on The Today Show say, "I'd take a Jew or Muslim who believed in God over an atheist for President."

I thought she had read Robert Spencer's books. Her blurb for his latest is on the front cover...

Posted on 10/02/2007 7:40 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
Absolutely Relative, Or, Relatively Absolute

by Theodore Dalrymple

The question of whether morals and values are absolute or relative – a question to which I am inclined to give different answers at different times and on different occasions, according to my mood and my interlocutor – is perhaps the most crucial one of our time. No doubt my wavering is a sign of lack of intellectual power: at my time of life I should have worked out a wholly consistent position, and the fact that I have not done so probably means that I now never shall. The problem is simply too difficult for me, and I lack the patience or persistence to worry at it until I have found the indubitably correct answer – if there is one, that is.

Closely connected to the question of moral relativism is that of cultural relativism. If moral values are not absolute, one culture cannot be superior, in any absolute sense, to another. Even if we can prove that German music is objectively superior to, say, Albanian music, we are not justified in saying that German culture is superior to Albanian culture unless we also able to demonstrate that the production of music is at the very least one of the most important purposes or characteristics of a culture, one by which a culture is rightly judged.  more...

Posted on 10/02/2007 8:17 AM by NER
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
Disgust. Fury. Contempt.
The refusal of the American government to pay for Hirsi Ali's security detail, which could not be more than a few hundred thousand dollars, disgusts. It disgusts, and it worries. For if the Administration, if anyone in the American government, understood her value, symbolic but also real,  they would realize that she is worth more than the whole goddam idiotic "surge" in Iraq, and a good deal more besides.

But they don't. They can conceive of  "war" as Boots On The Ground, or Bombs Away. That's it. Bush and others keep telling us that is an "ideological war" and then proceed to show, by their actions, that they haven't the faintest idea how to conduct that "ideological war" that they think they have identified. They think that the "ideology" they are fighting is not Islam (Islam is fine, Islam is swell, Islam is one of the world's great religions, let's not touch Islam), but some strange modern mutant, something that comes from weird "takfiris" who will be solemnly analyzed by the likes of that Hero of Baghdad, Frederick Kagan, sudden scholar -- like so many on the think-tank-and-lecture-circuit gravy train, who now recognize that they have to start talking about Islam with an air of great authority (just read the My Weekly Standard piece by Kagan, the one published a week or two ago, in which he describes those brand-new "takfiris" and the brand-new ideology that explains "Al Qaeda" with not a hint of understanding that this is all classic Jihad doctrine, facing not "modernity" but rather the current conditions of the world, a world in which Jihad can now  be pursued, using instruments far more effective than direct military combat would be at this point, not because  some "new" and "fringe" variant --  in the kaganish understanding -- of Islam has appeared to conduct this thing that new and fringe group calls “Jihad,” but because Jihad can be pursued by traditional Muslims but in untraditional ways, in ways that take advantage of OPEC trillions (ten trillion dollars since 1973 alone), and  immigrant-Muslim tens of millions, who through their own inexorable overbreeding compared to the indigenous non-Muslims (an overbreeding supported by the generous subsides in medical care, in housing, in education, in unemployment benefits, in everything, paid for entirely by those same non-Muslim taxpayers and the system of entitlements they created, long ago, for their own poor, having no thought of what a Muslim underclass determined to become a permanent  overclass everywhere they went would mean for them, those Infidels, and their children, and their grandchildren).
 
So Ayyan Hirsi Ali, brilliant and beautiful, who should have been on talk-shows, who should have met with Congressional leaders, who should have addressed audiences of generals and other officers at the Pentagon, who should have met with Bush and the National Security staff and the upper (and lower) echelons of the F.B.I. and the C.I.A., who should have met with the Clintons and Barack Obama and all the other Democratic candidates, who should have addressed the Senate, instead was denied what she needed – a life-and-death matter for her – that security detail, and not a billionaire in America, now busily organizing to “support the Iraq war effort,” not a single person in the Pentagon or in the Executive Branch or in Congress or in the media, appears to have taken note, and demanded that she be protected, and not just she, but all others who have proven themselves to be articulate enough to be valuable, or invaluable, in the real war effort.

Meanwhile, in Tarbaby Iraq, where no one can explain how keeping Iraq together, and bringing toys and good things to eat to the boys and girls, the “Iraqi people,”  on the other side of the goddam mountain will help us, no one can explain so they don’t explain, they simply force us to accept and the opposition, unsure of itself but determined not to “look soft” on “terrorism” (in other words, not to analyze the problem, not to speak forcefully out about that carefully-unnamed “ideology” that is tip-toeingly alluded to), keeps Tarbaby Iraq going by the failure to present the devastating and unanswerable critique that can be made, and has been made here, at this website, about a thousand times. And part of that critique was a presentation of What Should Be Done.

And What Should Be Done is for Infidels to arm themselves, arm themselves with a knowledge of Islam, not the Islam of the armstongs and espositos and ernsts and bulliets and safis and assorted MESA-nostrans, but rather the Islam of C. Snouck Hurgronje, and Joseph Schacht, and Antoine Fattal, and K. S. Lal, and St. Clair Tisdall and Henri Lammens, the Islam of Ray Ibrahim and Bishop Moubarec and Habib Malik and Charles Malik and Youssef Ibrahim, the Islam of Ali Sina and Ibn Warraq and Irfan Khawaja and Azam Kamguian and Wafa Sultan and mediagenic, brilliant and beautiful, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, whom the government of this country simply couldn’t afford to protect, just couldn’t be bothered. After all, it needs the money to win hearts, to win minds, in Iraq. Or Afghanistan. Or Pakistan. Or Jordan. Or Egypt. Or the so-called “Palestinian” territories.

Disgust. Fury. Contempt.  
Posted on 10/02/2007 9:13 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
Satana Tinto Di Tutti I Colori

TEHRAN -- A group of prominent MPs have warned over the presence of Italian clothing retailer Benetton in Iran, saying its fashions are a bad influence on female consumers, newspapers said Monday. --from this news item

So the "United Colors of Benetton" may now be burned at those famous Iranian rallies, alongside the flags of America, the Great Satan, and England, the Behind-the-Scenes Satan, and Israel, the Little Satan.

And in the taxonomy of Satanhood, where will Benetton of Treviso, in the Veneto, be placed? What name shalll we give it? Well, I'd like to suggest (the Iranian Embassy may forward me a fat and much-needed check if my suggestion is adopted -- goodness gracious, I seem to be doing the work for both sides now) that it be kept, fittingly, in Italian, but in an easily-decipherable form. Let's call Benetton, keeping in mind its famous ad, the "Satana Tinto Di Tutti I Colori."

Posted on 10/02/2007 9:55 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
Pseudsday Tuesday

Q: When is a mytheme not a mytheme?

A: When it's a matheme.

Mythemes are generally, but perhaps not exclusively, Barthesian. Mathemes, in contrast, are positively, or indeed negatively, Lacanian. From Blah-feme:

Lacan’s formulation of neurosis is constituted in particular in a deliberate refusal to name as normative any notion of mental health, and leads to a radically re-formulated conception of what is general and what is particular in mental health and in the analytic situation; in the neurotic logic we have identified here as that grounded in the neighbourly encounter, the undecidability is what is crucial here, and, in particular, how one deals with that undecidability. In Raimunda’s disavowal or refusal of it, in her ritualised displacement of it in favour of a kind of imago-in-process (as if to say, ‘as I sing I refuse the ambiguity of modernity’), we encounter a particular formation of neurotic disavowal (repression) in what Lacan terms the discourse of the hysteric:

The symbols, oft-used Lacanian ‘mathemes’ in this ‘algebra’, represent the following actors: the barred subject ($); the master signifier (S1); knowledge (S2); and the objet petit a or ‘thing’ as cause of desire or as symptom (a). The four elements $, S1, S2 and a are ranged across the four positions (‘functions’) thus:

The hysteric for Lacan positions itself in relation to the discourse of the master as one who disavows it, refutes it and yet fundamentally relies on the master signifier for its subjectification through the question: “what/who am I?”  Hence the statement $ → S1 (the question posed by the hysteric of the master signifier) is wrought thus: Tell me who I am? → You are what I say.  

If you say so.

Not for the first time, Blah-feme talks of "musicking". A musical interlude is called for. So let's strike the viol, touch the lute, wake the harp, and inspire the flute. Make all that discourse disappear.

Next Tuesday: Mytheme or Motheme? Literary Lepidoptera, with special reference to Nabokov. 

Posted on 10/02/2007 10:04 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
Le tops des pops

This one isn't as good as I remember it. And it may even be Belgian.

And let's not forget Dummy Knicker Knicker Knicker.

Posted on 10/02/2007 12:34 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
I'll Have The Salat And Salad Special

What about those communities of Yemenis, longing for their qat, that leafy narcotic which 90% of Yemenis chew (as so Somalis and some Ethiopians), and indeed, knock off from work a little after mid-day to spend the rest of that day chewing qat? Why not make sure that they feel at home -- that is the point, isn't it -- to bring to Western countries all kinds of people, and make sure that they "feel at home" wherever they are, in Vancouver or Toronto, in New York or San Francisco, in Washington or London, must be made -- if they are Muslim at least -- to "feel at home" and every possible accommodation, including Shari'a laws, which Muslims claim, will for now be applied only by Muslims to Muslims, and only about divorce and inheritance and the treatment of Muslim women by Muslim men, and of Muslim apostates by Muslim believers, and what's the harm of that? Yes, why should non-Muslims care at all? In fact, it will please Muslims, and thus lessen the natural tensions that otherwise arise in society when Muslims are present, and feeling less than pleased with the larger society? Isn't that something to think about?

Yes, what's the harm of any of it? Hookah-parlors as the only exception to anti-nicotine regulations, which is merely a way to favor, provide an economic boon for, those hookah-parlor owners who are now claiming that exception on pseudo-"cultural" grounds.

Why stop there in the apparent need to be extra-solicitous of Muslims? Why not allow other groups of Muslims who need to "feel at home" while far from home, by opening up qat-chewing establishments? Or, for that matter, why should not restaurants include, so as not to interrupt the dining pleasure of customers, little prayer-rooms on the side, to which Muslim diners may repair, say, in the middle of lunch, or even the middle of dinner, if the diners are eating fashionably late?

Yes, I'll have that salat-and-salad special. And would you mind leaving the dressing on the side? I'd prefer to put it on myself.

Posted on 10/02/2007 1:45 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
An Embassy To The Kingdom of Ava, Or, Aren't You Glad Burma Is In The News?
If your peach
Keeps out
Of reach
Better practice
What we preach
Burma-Shave
 
Doesn't
Kiss you
Like she useter?
Perhaps she's seen
A smoother rooster!!
Burma-Shave
 
These signs
We gladly
Dedicate
To men who've had
No date of late
Burma-Shave
 
A whiskery kiss
For the one
You adore
May not make her mad
But her face will be sore
Burma-Shave
 
Around the Corner
Lickety Split
Beautiful Car
Wasn’t It?
Burma Shave
 
At School Crossings
Heed Instructions
Protect Our Little
Tax Deductions
Burma Shave
 
Henry the Eighth
Sure Had Trouble
Short On Wives
Long On Stubble
Burma Shave
 
 
Riot In Drug Store
Calling All Cars
100 Customers
99 Jars
Burma Shave
Posted on 10/02/2007 2:16 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
Abbas Appointee: "Muslims are masters of the world"

Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook write at PMW (hat tip: JW):

One of the defining principles of Hamas and the Islamic Brotherhood is their insistence that the only truth is Islam and that the world is destined to be enlightened only when ruled by Islam. A similar Islamic supremacist ideology was expressed recently in an article by a Palestinian Authority religious leader who was appointed last year by Mahmoud Abbas as member of the Supreme Fatwa Council:

"The Muslims and their societies are more advanced and more sublime than the West and its societies… are more perfect in value system and humanity. The fact that there are those who believe that these are Western values – it is a delusion and false, since the Muslims are masters of the world, its leaders and teachers, even if the West rejects this."

Yes indeed, that must be why the whole world wants to emulate the Palestinian areas and why we all flock to Gaza for vacation every year just so we can bask in the reflected glory of such an advanced civilization, unsurpassed in art, literature, mathematics, philosophy and the advanced sciences.

Posted on 10/02/2007 2:35 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
Mary, you may not be old enough

to remember this, banned by the BBC and my school headmistress in 1969.
But that was then, this is now.

Posted on 10/02/2007 3:07 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
Re: Burma Shave

This is only skin deep. Good manners make up for a lot of stubble.

Posted on 10/02/2007 3:38 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
A Word, But Not Necessarily To The Wise

Some time ago I posted "Pered Zerkalom," a poem by the Russian poet Vladislav Felitsianovich Khodasevich, who died in June, 1939, in Paris. That poem contains these lines:

"V tragicheskikh razgovorakh
Nauchilsya molchat' i shutit'."

These, two of my favorite lines in world literature, can be translated thus:

"In tragic conversations
I learned to be silent, I learned to joke."

The conversations do not  have to be  "tragic" (really tragic, or melodramatically "tragic")  for that advice to be given, or to be taken. Learning when to be silent, and when to joke or not to joke (and unless the joke is apposite, and very clever, it may annoy those upon whom it is inflicted)  is a skill that many people never master. Some refuse to understand why they should try.  

Posted on 10/02/2007 4:21 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
Re: wise words

There's wisdom and there's reading the mind of someone arrogant and whimsical. There's cleverness and there's appalling, breathtaking bad manners.

It's hard to know the difference.

Posted on 10/02/2007 4:34 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
Thousands of protesters and monks missing in secret gulag of the generals
According to Western diplomats and at least one Burmese government official, the former Government Technology Institute has become a temporary concentration camp for 1,700 of the victims of last week’s brutal suppression of the democracy uprising. It provides a partial answer to one of the lingering questions about the Burmese junta’s crackdown: where are the monks, democracy activists and journalists who have been rounded up and spirited away over the past six weeks?
Despite the international attention given to the quashing of the anti-Government marches, the crackdown remains undocumented. Apart from admitting that 13 people have died, a figure regarded by most observers as an underestimate, the authorities have given no details of the numbers of those arrested and detained.
Most people have vanished without trace, many of them the Buddhist monks who formed the backbone of the tens of thousands of people who turned out last week in Rangoon and Mandalay. “We think that at least 30 have been killed, about 1,400 people have been arrested,” Alexander Downer, the Australian Foreign Minister said. “This is a brutal regime and we’ve seen it at work over the last few days.”
One international organisation based in Rangoon has made a provisional reckoning of 40 dead, based on reports from hospitals, 1,000 monks arrested and 3,000 secular detainees. The only thing of which one can be sure is that somewhere in the country large numbers of people are being held in an invisible prison camp, without charge, without legal recourse and without the ability to communicate.
The news agency Agence France Presses quoted an unnamed government official who confirmed what foreign diplomats have suspected for days — that about 1,700 people have been held at the Government Technology Institute campus, including 200 women and one monastic novice, aged 10.
Even on the ground it is difficult to confirm such stories, but something is going on at the campus. Armed police and soldiers can be glimpsed through the barbed wire and trees all along its perimeter fence, and guarding its main gate. Many buildings are derelict, but one of the biggest — a blue and green striped warehouse-like structure with a high roof and no windows — has a concentration of soldiers outside. According to AFP it is in a building like this that the prisoners are being detained. Many of the monks have been forcibly deprived of their monastic robes; some have gone on hunger strike, a continuation of the policy of refusing alms from members of the regime as a token of resistance.
The streets of Rangoon continued to be quiet yesterday as the United Nations special envoy on Burma, Ibrahim Gambari, flew out after a four-day visit.
Just as it was quiet after the Boxing Day tsunami. The coast of Thailand devastated, severe floods in Bangladesh and all anybody heard about Burma in between was that there was “some damage to five coastal villages”
This is London has photographs of some of the dead and beaten here after the initial comments of Sylvester Stallone and his crew who witnessed some of it while filming Rambo 57.
Posted on 10/02/2007 4:58 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
The Calculus Of Learned Hand
"These defendants wanted to wage jihad against the United States, and they tell us so in unequivocal detail," Gregorie told jurors. "They say 'the war has to be fought here. And it can't be just a bombing. It's got to be chaos.'" -- from this news article

The development of First Amendment jurisprudence during the 20th century begins during and just after World War I, with the dissents of Holmes and Brandeis in Gitlow, and Abrams, and the application of the famous "clear and present danger" test, as enunciated by the sober Holmes. in Schenck. In Dennis, that test gave way to a balancing, and since Dennis other tests have taken over, notably that of the majority opinion in Brandenburg, in which it was decided that there had to be a "threat of imminent lawless violence" from speech for it to be banned. Since Brandenberg there have been still other modifications. But it is clear that whatever threat to the American polity might have been represented by that handful of anti-war socialists throwing a few pamphlets out of a tenement window in Abrams, or by the organized Communist Party of California in Whitney, that threat was nothing -- the Communists never had a chance of "overthrowing the government" -- the threat from the ideology of Islam is more widespread, durable, and persistent (it will last as long as Islam lasts), and the way in which that "overthrow of the government" is meant to be achieved is not through some kind of violent revolution, with those Muslim masses marching on Washington, but rather through a slow but systematic challenge to every single aspect of the legal and political institutions, and even social understandings, of the Infidel nation-state, until little by little, guttatim, those institutions surrender by degrees to conform better to the demands of Islam.

In Islam, the duty of Jihad to spread Islam is not one that need be fulfilled only, or even mainly, through violence. Where Muslims are as yet too weak, and violence would undoubtedly fail, then other means, where available, are to be employed. The Money Weapon, campaigns of Da'wa, and demographic conquest can, those who take the long view (not that long, by the way), believe that they can steadily remove all the obstacles to Islam, so that it will inevitably take over. Are we so sure it cannot happen? Many intelligent observers, noting that there were, for example, 15,000 Muslims in the Netherlands in 1970 and now there are one million, and in the Netherlands the most popular political figure, Pim Fortuyn, was assassinated as was a well-known public figure bearing one of the most famous Dutch names, and today it is members of the Dutch Parliament who must be protected from Muslims, and so must many of those who speak out forcefully against Islam, all over Western Europe. And there are all kinds of indications -- including the recent banning of a march "against the islamization of Europe" in Brussels, and the statements of various leaders in individual countries, and among the highest levels of the E.U. bureaucracy, who apparently believe that demography is destiny, that there is no way for the people of the West to preserve their own civilization, and no good reason to do so, and that mere head-counting will have to decide the fate of Europe, without those Europeans taking any measures, including halting Muslim immigration and then reversing it, and making their countries as unwelcoming to the practice of Islam as they can, not to mention other measures deemed perfectly appropriate when used by the government of the advanced and tolerant state of Czechoslovakia, back in 1946 -- all this is not discussed, all this is held to be beyond the pale. It makes no sense in Europe, and it makes no sense here, in the United States, with our fates, too, tied to those of the civilization and people of Western Europe.

In the Dennis case, the Supreme Court referred to an opinion of that great American jurist Learned Hand, of the Second Circuit. Learned Hand, dealing with free-speech cases in which the relevant test to be applied was that of "clear and present danger," offered his own calculus.

From the majority opinion in Dennis:

'Chief Judge Learned Hand, writing for the majority below, interpreted the phrase as follows: 'In each case [courts] must ask whether the gravity of the 'evil,' discounted by its improbability, justifies such invasion of free speech as is necessary to avoid the danger.' 183 F.2d at 212. We adopt this statement of the rule. As articulated by Chief Judge Hand, it is as succinct and inclusive as any other we might devise at this time. It takes into consideration those factors which we deem relevant, and relates their significances. More we cannot expect from words.'

Constitutional jurisprudence has gone beyond Dennis, of course, and the "clear and present danger" test no longer exists, having been superseded by, inter alia, Brandenburg, and by later decisions.

But the new domestic threats, which are linked to constant replenishment from abroad of the coffers, and the personnel, of those who would use violence against the indigenous Infidels of this country, and linked as well to that steady stillicide of demands and threats meant to wear away the resolve of Infidels to preserve their own institutions, and to employ against them their own solicitousness for individual liberties and for pluralism, by those who believe in neither but would do away, if they ever came to dominate, with both, will necessarily lead to the making of new law in the area of free speech.

What form will it take? It is hard to guess. But the calculus of Learned Hand is not a bad place to start to re-think the matter. Instead of is the threat "imminent" (as in Brandenburg) what should be focussed on is the magnitude of the threat, multiplied by its likelihood. And in judging the likelihood, the judges will have a right and a duty to look at history, even recent history, to see what has happened elsewhere where Muslims have steadily gained the demographic upper hand, and the kinds of changes that they have managed to make as a result.

So remember that formula by bushy-eyebrowed Learned Hand: 'In each case [courts] must ask whether the gravity of the 'evil,' discounted by its improbability, justifies such invasion of free speech as is necessary to avoid the danger.'

The gravity of the evil, discounted by its improbability.

What is the "gravity of the evil" in this case?

And what is the "improbability" of that "evil" coming to pass?

First-Amendment jurisprudence, especially in the area of free speech, is likely to be full of exciting developments in the next decade -- alas.

Posted on 10/02/2007 4:53 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
Joking

Joking is not strained. It happens spontaneously. Sometimes a joke's a hit. Sometimes it gives rise to a lot of banter, and a good time is had by all. And sometimes it falls flat. But you have to take a risk

Who would take such a risk if, just on a whim, with no explanation, no consideration of feelings and no attempt at even basic courtesy, their effort was to be rebuffed? And not by some demi-god of humour or wisdom, but by someone who also makes mistakes, whose jokes are sometimes wonderful and sometimes not so wonderful? Nobody would take that risk.

Short of reading someone's mind - not just their mind but their mood - how are you to know? So when people make jokes on my threads, even if they are not Oscar Wilde, I cut them some slack. I encourage them so they get better. And a good time is often had - at least by some.

Unless I can be spontaneous, and be cut some slack, then I can't joke at all. Perhaps my jokes are so bad that they won't be missed. But perhaps they will.

And if I can't joke, then I can't post, because my mind makes puns all the time, some good and some bad.

I can't be limited, and forced to walk on eggshells, and yet be natural and funny. It's all or nothing.

Posted on 10/02/2007 5:14 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
A Little More On Learned Hand

Learned Hand of the Second Circuit is, in the history of American law, and in the minds of Americans, more important than many, even most, of those who have sat on the Supreme Court. His most famous case had nothing to do with free speech, but  did have to do with another sort of calculus: the calculus of whether one should spend more to avoid a tort than would be the cost to repair the commission of that tort. Sound familiar? This developed into what is called the "law-and-economics" school, associated with that nonstop writer (and harnesser of law clerks), Judge Richard Posner. Posner has hits, when he sticks to his last, but also misses, among which is his " Law and Literature" with the book-of-the-month-club view expressed surprisingly, and disappointingly, therein, for Posner appears to think that the value of a work of literary art is reducible to its "message" -- what King Lear "tells us,"  what Hamlet "is saying." The much better educated Learned Hand would never have thought, or written, that.

Here are a few of the most famous of Hand's sententiae:

  • "Heretics have been hated from the beginning of recorded time; they have been ostracized, exiled, tortured, maimed, and butchered; but it has generally proved impossible to smother them; and when it has not, the society that has succeeded has always declined."
  • "In the end it is worse to suppress dissent than to run the risk of heresy."
  • "How long shall we blunder along without the aid of unpartisan and authoritative scientific assistance in the administration of justice, no one knows; but all fair persons not conventionalized by provincial legal habits of mind ought, I should think, unite to effect some change."
  • "There is no surer way to misread any document than to read it literally. ... As nearly as we can, we must put ourselves in the place of those who uttered the words, and try to divine how they would have dealt with the unforeseen situation; and, although their words are by far the most decisive evidence of what they would have done, they are by no means final."
  • "If the prosecution of crime is to be conducted with so little regard for that protection which centuries of English law have given to the individual, we are indeed at the dawn of a new era; and much that we have deemed vital to our liberties, is a delusion."
  • "It is of course true that any kind of judicial legislation is objectionable on the score of the limited interests which a Court can represent, yet there are wrongs which in fact legislatures cannot be brought to take an interest in, at least not until the Courts have acted.
  • "Political agitation, by the passions it arouses or the convictions it engenders, may in fact stimulate men to the violation of the law. Detestation of existing policies is easily transformed into forcible resistance of the authority which puts them in execution, and it would be folly to disregard the causal relation between the two. Yet to assimilate agitation, legitimate as such, with direct incitement to violent resistance, is to disregard the tolerance of all methods of political agitation which in normal times is a safeguard of free government."
  • "It is still in the lap of the gods whether a society can succeed which is based on 'civil liberties and human rights' conceived as I have tried to describe them; but of one thing at least we may be sure: the alternatives that have so far appeared have been immeasurably worse."
  • "A self-made man may prefer a self-made name."
  • "For myself it would be most irksome to be ruled by a bevy of Platonic Guardians, even if I knew how to choose them, which I assuredly do not."
  • "The hand that rules the press, the radio, the screen and the far-spread magazine, rules the country."

    Hand used to summer in Cornish, New Hampshire, whose most famous resident is J. D. Salinger. Apparently they got along swimmingly. It's a famous, because at first glance a most unlikely, friendship. On second glance, it seems just right, practically inevitable. On the list of  the conversations one might have wished to eavesdrop on, those between Learned Hand and J. D. Salinger, in Cornish and thereabouts, stand high.

    Learned Hand  addressed a New York crowd with a speech in 1944. It was called "The Spirit of Liberty." That speech deserves to be reprinted, and impressed on all kinds of brains. Printed, impressed, but not invoked the way today's A.C.L.U. would invoke it, to protect those methodically pursuing the goal of removing all obstacles to the spread and ultimate dominance of Islam world-wide. Learned Hand, like most sensible people, in his lifetime had no need to pay attention to Islam, and so, like everyone else in the Western world, he paid Islam no never mind. But if he were alive today? He'd be on the right side. He, along with Holmes and Brandeis, and Tocqueville,  and Churchill, and John Quincy Adams, and Hume, and Spinoza, and all the best people among Keats' two categories: the Noble Living and the Noble Dead. Just like today. Where all the best people are on the right side, and the better they are, the more fervent they are in being on that side. Yes, Learned Hand would be on the right side. And he would have a better idea of how to conduct a campaign in this ideological war against the forces of Jihad, than those who now presume to protect us, but whose sole idea of "war" is Boots On The Ground, and Bombs Away.

  • Posted on 10/02/2007 5:37 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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