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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, 24, 2006.
Tuesday, 24 October 2006
Tuesday, 24 October 2006
NY Times to run conservative cartoons to shore up flagging circulation

From today's Day by Day cartoon:

"Hard to support the Fourth Estate on Fifth Columns."
Posted on 10/24/2006 5:21 AM by Robert Bove
Tuesday, 24 October 2006
Muslims in America

The Islamist radicalism that inspired young Muslims to attack their own countries - in London, Madrid, and Bali - has not yielded similar incidents in the United States, at least so far. - from this news item

The difference in Muslim behavior in the U.S., as compared to that demonstrated in Western Europe is owed primarily to several factors.

First, and most important, the Muslim population is a much smaller proportion of the American population -- scarcely 1%, and of even that 1%, most of the Muslims are homegrown Black Muslims, whose own easygoing and at times even syncretistic interpretation of Islam in the past caused the orthodox at Al Azhar to refuse to recognize Elijah Mohammad's group as real Islam.

But what if there were not 3 million Muslims (two million of them identified as belonging to the "Black Muslims") but rather 15 million -- that is, 5% of the total population -- or even 30 million, or 10% of the total population, as may already be true in France? Wouldn't local Muslims, already so aggressive and unyielding in the demands of their so-called representative groups (e.g. CAIR), be far more aggressive and even more demanding, even more uncooperative with the authorities on matters of security, even more aggressive in demands to changes in our legal and political institutions, in our schools, in our social understandings and arrangements, in our everything?

Second, the non-Muslim population of the United States contains far more believing Christians, and self-identifying Jews, than anywhere in "post-Christian" Western Europe. They are powerful and self-confident, and will not yield as French and English have yielded. America is a more violent society, and part of that violence includes a willingness, even an eagerness, to have those who threaten that society suppressed -- thank god -- unapologetically.

Third, the pre-existing mental pathologies that have helped Muslims to find allies of sorts in the countries of Western Europe are antisemitism, which remains a permanent presence in the Western world which nothing can eradicate, but which in the United States, for all sorts of reasons (including the identification of so many Americans, including the earliest Puritans, with the Israelites, and the role of the Old Testament in American intellectual and religious history) has been reduced far below its European levels. The second pre-existing mental pathology cleverly exploited by Muslims and their willing collaborators in the countries of Western Europe has been anti-Americanism, strongest in France and England, less strong in Germany and especially, thank god, in Italy

Fourth, Muslims are not provided with as many benefits paid for by Infidel taxpayers, as they are in Western Europe, and so cannot rely on the dole for their every need, nor on fiddling the system to the degree that is now de rigueur in England and France. They need, therefore, the good will of non-Muslim customers and employers, and this may -- for a while, even a long while --inhibit open political activity. After all, if one realizes that one's contribution to CAIR or one's open support for Muslim goals may cause direct economic losses, one may hesitate.

Fifth, in this country there are many more non-Muslim refugees from Muslim lands -- Christians who are descended from those Maronites who arrived between 1880 and 1940, or Jews who left Arab lands but did not go to Israel, or pockets here and there of smaller sects, including Assyrians and Chaldean Christians -- who are able to provide, to those around them, unpleasant monitory truths about Islam and its tenets, its attitudes.

Sixth, there are far more people in this country who have remained in possession of their sense,, and who are quite capable of refusing to accept the party line of the members of MESA Nostra (which google), and to find out for themselves about both the theory, or doctrines, of Islam, and about Islam in practice, as evidenced by 1350 years of Islamic conquest of non-Muslim lands and by the subsequent subjugation, and killing or forced conversion or reduction to the status of dhimmi, of the vanquished non-Muslims.

Seventh, given all that, it is cleverer to wait, to bide one's time. Who knows what will happen in ten years, or twenty? Why make moves too soon, when there is such a danger of imperiling oneself and one's ability to remain in this country, at this point?

But no one should remain sanguine. Look at Mike Hawash in Oregon, that Intel engineer, earning $360,000 a year, with his American wife and Little-League playing children, and the stout stand-by-your-man support of Intel executives, who nonetheless returned to that old-time religion, but that old-time religion turned out, for "Mike" (Mohammad) Hawash, to be Islam, so after 9.11.2001 it was off to western China, in the hopes of reaching Afghanistan, and killing fellow Americans who were, for Mike Hawash and all the Mike Hawashes of Islam, not fellow Infidel citizens of an Infidel nation-state, but enemies to be killed -- because they were Infidels, and because they stood in the way of, represented an obstacle to, the spread and future dominance of Islam. And the would-be murderer in Chapel Hill, gunning his SUV and running over non-Muslim students, was the son of secular Iranians in exile -- but he, too, in a moment of intellectual and vocational confusion, apparently found Islam, and in finding Islam, he became the would-be Jihadist who would kill Infidels who had done nothing to him. Why? Because that was what Allah wanted, that was what Muhammad wanted -- he spelled it all out in long handwritten letters written while in custody. And there are many such -- people who are outwardly fine, until one fine day they are not so fine, and then, whatever the reasons, they have at hand someone to blame, someone to kill -- the Infidel. In Afghanistan, or right here in Chapel Hill, or New York City, or anywhere in the United States, in every village and town, such events can happen, and no one knows when it might happen, and everyone will say as they always do, after the fact, that "he was such a nice man" and "it just doesn't make sense" and no Paul Revere or William Dawes or Joseph Prescott will come riding to warn us ahead of time, and the government appears determined not to instruct or to warn us, or even to learn what it needs to learn for itself, about what Islam teaches, and what, therefore, sooner or later, a large number of Muslims, or their children, or their grandchildren, will almost certainly, for any number of political or personal reasons, come to embrace. With grim consequences for the Infidels and their nation-state. Yet we are expected to do nothing, to cling to Pollyannish assumptions and supposedly comforting findings, as in the article above.

Not comforted. Not one whit.

Posted on 10/24/2006 5:23 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 24 October 2006
Something else Fallaci understood

I'm deep in study of an impressive lecture on the "Wall of separation" metaphor that ate the First Amendment, but in the meantime, here is Richard John Neuhaus on the overlooked target audience of the Pope's Regensburg Lecture:

[...] Regensburg was addressed chiefly to intellectuals in the West, and especially to theologians and philosophers: to theologians who try to pit authentically biblical Christianity against the Greek intellectual inheritance, thus abandoning the great achievement of the Church’s synthesis of faith and reason; and to philosophers, Christian and non-Christian, who have accepted a modern understanding of reason that reduces it to what counts as “science,” with the same result of sundering faith and reason.

A Kantian divorce of reason from religion and morality leaves the intellectual defenders of the West incapable of explaining why, for instance, one should rationally prefer a religion of reasonable persuasion to a religion of violence. There are utilitarian reasons, of course. But who is to say which religion is the more true? If all religion and morality is in the realm of the nonrational or even the irrational and is purely subjective, truth has nothing to do with it. Benedict contrasts this with the great tradition of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. They were intensely concerned with the reasonable exploration of the great questions that Enlightenment rationality dismisses as religious and no part of reasonable discourse.

At Regensburg and elsewhere, Benedict has carefully made the case that modern rationality is itself dependent upon, and inexplicable apart from, the understanding of reason and the rationality of the world produced by Christianity’s appropriation and development of the Hellenic philosophical tradition.
Posted on 10/24/2006 5:49 AM by Robert Bove
Tuesday, 24 October 2006
Re: The Kingdom of Prester John

"If I sound indignant it is because I love my country, and I don't like it when Westerners project their problems on a poor African country such as mine. We are the ones, Christian and Muslim, that will have to live the consequences of your misinformation."
-- from a reader commenting on this post

When you write that "Westerners project their problems on a poor African country" one suspects you do not have in mind the attempt by Westerners to save lives of non-Muslims in southern Sudan and non-Arab Muslims in Darfur. Nor, I suppose, would you have in mind any future attempts to aid the Christians of Nigeria should they, again, attempt to fight for their independence against Muslims -- Muslims aided, in the Biafra War, by Egyptian pilots strafing Christian Ibo villages. No, what you mean is that when Westerners might actually come in to protect Christians from Jihad, conducted by Arabs, that this is what you object to. And even though any Muslim victory would threaten directly non-Muslims everywhere, you seem to think that we in the outside, Infidel world are not permitted to support local Christians who are threatened either militarily (as in the southern Sudan and in southern Nigeria), or through threats (Egypt's threats, for example, against Ethiopian plans to divert the headwaters of the Nile for irrigation projects), or through busy campaigns of Da'wa supported by Wahhabi missionaries and money-men (as in Niger and elsewhere in formerly syncretistic West Africa). Arab slavers devastated much of black Africa. The Arab Muslim slave trade began long before, and continued long after, the Atlantic Slave Trade of the Europeans. It claimed far more victims, especially because the Arabs castrated young black males in the bush, and then marched them, after that cruel surgery, by slave coffle and then, sometimes by dhow, all the way to the slave markets of Jiddah, Baghdad, Damascus, Cairo, Algiers, all the way up to Constantinople and even Smyrna (under the Ottomans). Only 10% of those so captured and castrated survived the journey -- a fantastic mortality rate.

The Arabs have done nothing for black Africa. They have used black Africans as slaves. They have imposed Islam, and then treated black African Muslims with contempt or hatred, and enslaved them anew, or as in Darfur, cruelly killed them.

Why should not the outside world, the more powerful non-Muslims in the West, do what they can to support co-religionists in black Africa, to help them resist the campaigns of Da'wa, and the demographic conquest which is so clearly underway, not least in Ethiopia? To describe such support -- as, say, the support for the Christians and animists of southern Sudan which was a long time in coming, after 1.8 million people had been killed or starved to death -- as merely "projecting your own problems" onto Africa, is ludicrous, and meretricious.

Posted on 10/24/2006 7:10 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 24 October 2006
Goulash Capitalism
Plea from a desperate friend over on the Other Coast:  "Derb—-Do you know of ANY Hungarian restaurants left in NYC?  I'm in town for a friend's opening night this weekend..."

[Derb]  Cluelessly out of date as usual, I only have a 2003 Zagat's to hand, and it lists precisely ONE Hungarian restaurant:  Mocca, up on 2nd Ave. between 82nd and 83rd.  (And this, in a city that—according to Zagat—has FIVE **Irish** restaurants!  How many ways are there to boil potatoes, for crying out loud?) 

No guarantee Mocca's still there.  2003 was about the last time I visited the place, spent a happy afternoon getting wiped out on Bull's Blood.  Wonderful food, of course—even the coffee tasted different. 

Now I'm getting a Hungarophilia rush.  'Scuse me, gotta go sit in a corner & read John Lujacs's Budapest 1900.

Posted on 10/24/2006 8:11 AM by John Derbyshire
Tuesday, 24 October 2006
Snow says question on officers' prison time 'nonsensical'

WND has a man on this case, but Tony Snow deflected the question.

Asking whether two U.S. Border Patrol agents sentenced to prison for shooting a drug-smuggling suspect in the buttocks is "nonsensical," according to a White House spokesman, even if it is something of high interest among WND readers.

Yesterday Les Kinsolving, WND's correspondent at the White House, asked Bush spokesman Tony Snow whether Bush would use his power to pardon to free the agents.

"That's an unanswerable question, Les. The president is the person who is responsible for pardons. You can tell the network, which made you ask that question, that it is nonsensical," Snow said.

The question referenced the terms of 11 years and 12 years handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Cardone in El Paso, Texas, last week. She gave Jose Alonso Compean 12 years in prison and Ignacio Ramos 11 years and one day despite a plea by their attorney for a new trial after three jurors said they were coerced into voting guilty in the case, the Washington Times reported.

Let's contrast that with the 28 months Lynn Stewart received for aiding and abetting terror.

Posted on 10/24/2006 8:17 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 24 October 2006
Interview with Calixta Belaya

FROM THE INTERVIEW with Calixta Belaya:
{the joint interviewers are Alexandre del Valle or ADV and David Reinhard or DR):

"...we are often told that Africa had been destroyed by the Western slave trade and Western colonialism. The truth is that black Africans had already been brought to its knees by the Arabs between the 7th and 16th centuries! Africa had been, so to speak, "finished" by the West, but the slave trade which destroyed her for six centuries was first and foremost the Arab slave trade, which has never been denounced with sufficient force. Alas, the Arab slave-trade and Arab coloniaism are [still] pursued in certain states like Sudan, Saudia Arabia, and Mauritania. The Westerners arrived long after the Arabs. Furthermore, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade was much different than the Arab slave trade, which involved a veritable destruction. The Arabs occupied North Africa and literally forced the blacks constantly toward the South. The slaughters and invasions by the Arabs were extremely destructive. The Arab slavery signalled the beginning of the doom of black culture and civilization. Had the Westerners found a solid Africa, there might well not have been a later slave trade.

"The Arab slave trade has been passed over in silence, but it's necessary now to set the historical record straight, not to judge or avenge, but just to reestablish the historical truth. It continues still today in Mauritania -- in recent days a thousand black stewards were murdered -- and in Sudan. In Arab lands, blacks suffer from a terrible racism and the question of black racism is taboo. In the past as in the present, there is a politics of "ethnic purification" of blacks by the Arabs."

ADV / DR : On sent une tentation antisémite depuis ce qu’il est convenu d’appeler l’ »affaire Dieudonné ». D’où vient, selon vous, ce rêve secret de voir l’affinité élective entre Juifs et Noirs s’inverser ?
CB : Je pense que cela vient d’une méconnaissance de l’Histoire, et de la souffrance des Noirs en France qui ont été, pour certains, manipulés par des groupes n’ayant aucun rapport avec le monde noir.
Cela n’a pas de racines dans notre Histoire, pas d’idéologues non plus, et donc pas de construction intellectuelle autorisant cette inversion. Les référents du monde noir francophone sont des gens comme Aimé Césaire, Senghor ou moi-même qui n’ont jamais tenu des propos antisémites.
Entre Juifs et Noirs, il y a une alliance naturelle. Dans ses diatribes contre l’esclavage et le colonialisme, Aimé Césaire rappelle que les Juifs sont des alliés.

ADV / DR : L’idéologie antisémite et antisioniste gagne, malgré tout, le monde négro-africain. Afin d’opposer un vrai message de résistance, ne suffit-il pas de puiser dans les ressources spirituelles profondes propres à la culture négro-africaine et rappeler l’analogie établie entre le statut des Noirs et celui des Juifs chez Senghor, Baldwin, Martin Luther King ou Nelson Mandela ?
CB : Tout à fait. Mais dans la désespérance, les peuples sont prêts à accepter des faux prophètes. En l’espace de trois ans, il y a eu quelques noirs prêts à suivre ces faux prophètes pour pouvoir expliquer leur mal-être. Aujourd’hui, je peux parler de cette époque au passé. La tendance, aujourd’hui, dans l’univers noir de France, est inverse.

ADV / DR : Les Juifs stigmatisés comme étant d’anciens « négriers reconvertis dans la finance »….
CB : C’est ridicule. De surcroît, on nous dit souvent que l’Afrique a été détruite par la Traite occidentale et la colonisation. La vérité est que les Noirs Africains avaient déjà été mis à genoux par les Arabes entre le VIIe et le XVIe siècle ! L’Afrique a été, si l’on veut, « achevée » par l’Occident, car la traite qui l’a détruite durant six siècles fut d’abord et surtout la traite arabe, laquelle n’a jamais été dénoncée avec force. La traite et la colonisation arabes se poursuivent hélas dans certains Etats comme le Soudan, l’Arabie Saoudite et la Mauritanie. Les Occidentaux sont arrivés bien après les Arabes. La traite transatlantique fut d’ailleurs bien différente de la traite arabe, qui a consisté en une véritable destruction. Les Arabes occupèrent l’Afrique du Nord et littéralement poussèrent les Noirs toujours plus vers le Sud.

ADV / DR : Dans la loi du 10 mai 2001, qui reconnaît la traite esclavagiste comme crime contre l’humanité, faut-il selon vous, mentionner en plus de la traite atlantique, la traite arabe ?
CB : Oui. Toutes les formes de traites doivent être dénoncées. Les tueries et invasions arabes furent extrêmement destructrices. L’esclavage arabe a annoncé le début de la chute réelle de la culture et de la civilisation noire. Si les Occidentaux avaient trouvé une Afrique solide, il n’y aurait pas eu nécessairement la traite négrière. On a passé sous silence la traite arabe mais il faut, à un moment donné, revenir sur l’Histoire non pas pour juger et se venger, mais juste pour rétablir la vérité historique. Cela continue encore aujourd’hui en Mauritanie - on a tué ces derniers jours 1000 officiers noirs-, au Soudan. Dans les pays arabes, les Noirs souffrent d’un racisme foudroyant et la question noire est taboue. Dans le passé comme au présent, il y a une politique de « purification ethnique » des Noirs par les Arabes."

Posted on 10/24/2006 8:35 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 24 October 2006
Eric Newby R.I.P.
One of the best travel books of all time, a great favorite of mine, and I hope required reading for service personnel on their way to Afghanistan, is Eric Newby's A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush.  Not the least remarkable thing about the book is that it was written by a chap whose day job was in fashion design.  Eric Newby died on Friday at the age of 86.
Posted on 10/24/2006 8:48 AM by John Derbyshire
Tuesday, 24 October 2006

"The reaction from Muslims is to recede further and further into a sense of victimhood." -- from this Reuters article, "European Muslims worry about frank new Islam debate"

What nonsense we are told by the Reuters reporter, attempting to mold our reaction. And what nonsense any Muslims who, having been permitted by the millions, and now the tens of millions, to settle deep within the Lands of the Infidels (which most Muslims regard as an undifferentiated mass, characterized mainly by its Infidel character, and the individual nation-state, with its own history, literature, language, mores, political and legal system, does not much matter from what is seen as merely one or another insignificant administrative unit within the Bilad al-kufr), that is deep behind what they are taught to believe are enemy lines, and where they have received every conceivable benefit that the generous welfare states, with their Infidel taxpayers, can offer.

But this is not what they want. They do not want what every other immigrant group -- the Hindus, the Chinese, the Vietnamese, the Caribbean blacks or Christians from Togo or Nigeria or Ethiopia want. No, they want, they deserve, they are entitled to more. They deserve to be supported by the Infidels. They have a right to express their contempt for Infidel authorities. They have a right to demand that the local Infidels shut up about Islam altogether unless they wish to praise it effusively, and have a right to demand changes in the political and legal rights that are the most important defining characteristics of the modern advanced Western democracies. They have a right to disrupt schools and refuse to read texts by authors they deem unfriendly to Islam. They have a right to have their way with the Infidel women, who dress provocatively and in any case, are merely the "women" of the Infidel enemy, and what fun, from Sydney in Australia to the banlieues of Paris, all the way to Manchester and Leeds, to have a Muslim gang-rape of some "Bridget" or other (fill in whatever generic name is used by Muslim rapists for the Infidel women). They have a right to the property of the Infidels -- as much right as Muhammad did when he raided and looted and killed the inoffensive farmers of the Khaybar Oasis. They have a right to be exempt from any discussion or examination, by Infidels, of the texts of Islam, of the meaning of hundreds of passages in the Qur'an, or thousands of stories in the Hadith. They have a right to silence, through threats, and riots, and threats carried out, anyone they deem has spoken ill of Muhammad. They have a right to try to change the foreign policies of the Infidel nation-states in order that nothing is done elsewhere to prevent the spread of Islam, or to oppose, however minimally, the Lesser Jihad against Israel, or India, or even by Muslims within such countries as Sudan, Thailand, the Philippines. They have a right to work their way through the system, taking every advantage, spreading taqiyya-and-tu-quoque everywhere, to work their way into and through the colleges and universities to insure that the teaching of Islam, and of all subjects related to Islam, are safely in the hands of Muslims -- often paid for directly or indirectly -- by Arab governments and individuals, busy endowing chairs, departments, whole "Centers" of Islamic or Arab Studies -- or if not Muslims, than of non-Muslim collaborators and justifiers of Islam. They have a right, a right, a right.

And if anyone would deny them that right, then that person, that group, that government, has made those Muslims into victims. And you know what "victims" have, don't you?

That's right.

They have a right.

Posted on 10/24/2006 8:51 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 24 October 2006
Islamist Holiday Video

Calls for Jihad and Slaughter of "Crusaders"

The Japanese tourist shows his fellow salarymen pictures of himself with a few dozen other tourists standing in front of the Statue of Liberty, or the Duomo in Florence, or at the Place de la Concorde.

The American tourist shows his friends and family pictures of himself sitting in a café, or with his (now former girlfriend) sipping a coke, or standing in an unidentified greensward that he tries to remember, but just can't, if at the time his traveling companion, also backpacked and sneakered, took the picture, they were in St. James Park, or Hyde Park, or possibly that nice garden marked "Fellows Only" that they happened to step into when they were visiting Oxford, or maybe Cambridge, or maybe it is that nice big lawn he innocently bicycled across only to be chased by a man who, when he finally caught up with him, told him in no uncertain terms that he had just carved deep tracks in the soft earth on the carefully maintained cricket grounds of Peterhouse.

And the Muslim tourist? He has pictures to show: of this bridge in San Francisco, this skyscraper in Houston (oh, and here is one of the Sears Tower), and here is another of the Brooklyn Bridge, taken from underneath, at several different points. And this is the Statue of Liberty, and this is Walter Reed Hospital, and here's one of the Library of Congress, and another of the Supreme Court. From every angle, too. Oh, and here's the Naval Base at Norfolk -- I've got dozens of those.

And while the Japanese tourist likes to take pictures of the famous site with himself in a group of others supposedly just like him, and the American boy (or girl) likes to take a picture just of himself or his companion, and they need not be at a famous site -- it is enough just to be there, just to be in Europe or someplace foreign -- the Muslim tourist doesn't need to be in the picture at all.

No, he wants to take a picture of that unscenic skyscraper, the girders that undergird that bridge, the lay of the land around Bartholdi's torch-holding lady about whom so many torch-songs have been sung, the monuments of our civilization, that express or uphold or defend the advanced Western liberal democracy that is America, set on its course -- a course from which some, in their idiocy about "not cutting and running" may, in the continued squandering of resources, and frenetic incoherent efforts at confronting by not confronting the full menace and instruments of Jihad, a central duty of Muslims everywhere, are actually -- cutting and running.

Posted on 10/24/2006 9:04 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 24 October 2006
It just won't be the same without them
Posted on 10/24/2006 9:24 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 24 October 2006
Casey sets 12-18 month timeframe for Iraq
This seems like an obvious October ploy. Stick with the Republicans, we have a plan. The odd thing is, General Casey refered to Iraqi security force casualties as "martyrs." Why?
Posted on 10/24/2006 9:32 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 24 October 2006
Pseudsday Tuesday

Well here I am back in Blighty after my holiday in Ruritania. Ruritania is a very unusual country, and I’m going to be writing about my experiences there for my November article. Meanwhile, having unpacked all my souvenir widgets and splodgets, not to mention the fifty “utils” of happiness that I managed to smuggle through Customs, I looked around for today’s pseud. And I didn’t have to look very far.


Last week’s Spectator has a review by James Delingpole of Clive James’s North Face of Soho: Unreliable Memoirs, Volume IV.  Clive James may be too modest. I haven’t read this IVth Volume of Unreliable Memoirs, but even III Volumes would suggest that his memory is holding up pretty well.


James prides himself on his phrase-making. The problem is that he makes phrases about making phrases. Recalling his funny description of Arnold Schwarzenegger as “a brown condom full of walnuts”, he has this to say about himself:


“As far as I can tell, looking inwards from within, the gift of phrase is the semantic equivalent of something mathematical, but I don’t know whether the mechanism is clever, like the chess master’s ability to see the whole board with all its possible combinations, or stupid, like the idiot savant’s capacity for following the line of prime numbers all the way to eternity…


In other words, as Delingpole comments, James is asking: “Am I a pure genius? Or a demented genius?”


“All I know for sure is that the knack is in my life’s blood, and that if it ever failed me it would be time to turn my face to the wall.”


Something tells me it won’t. We can rely on Clive James to produce My Words on My Words on My Words: Unreliable Memoirs, Volume V, in which he will discuss his half-remembered pleasure in Volume IV’s chess and prime number analogy, and his half memory of imagining losing his knack.

Posted on 10/24/2006 11:01 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 24 October 2006
The power of metaphor

Most literate folk know that the "Wall of separation" metaphor that in our times rules interpretation of the First Amendment originated in a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to Massachusetts Baptists.  Most do not know when and how it began to enter discourse on Constitutional matters.  Hardly anybody knows anything about Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, who used the metaphor with a vengeance. 

From an  “Origins and Dangers of the ‘Wall of Separation’ Between Church and State,” an absolutely edifying lecture deliverd by Daniel L. Dreisbach at Hillsdale College on September 12, 2006 (Dreisbach is Professor of Justice, Law and Society is a professor in the School of Public Affairs at American University in Washington, D.C., as well as the William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and Public Life in the James Madison Program at Princeton University):

 In his recent book, Separation of Church and State, Philip Hamburger amply documents that the rhetoric of separation of church and state became fashionable in the 1830s and 1840s and, again, in the last quarter of the 19th century. Why? It accompanied two substantial waves of Catholic immigrants with their peculiar liturgy and resistance to assimilation into the Protestant establishment: an initial wave of Irish in the first half of the century, and then more Irish along with other European immigrants later in the century. The rhetoric of separation was used by nativist elements, such as the Know-Nothings and later the Ku Klux Klan, to marginalize Catholics and to deny them, often through violence, entrance into the mainstream of public life. By the end of the century, an allegiance to the so-called "American principle" of separation of church and state had been woven into the membership oaths of the Ku Klux Klan. Today we typically think of the Klan strictly in terms of their views on race, and we forget that their hatred of Catholics was equally odious.

Again, in the mid-20th century, the rhetoric of separation was revived and ultimately constitutionalized by anti-Catholic elites, such as Justice Hugo L. Black, and fellow travelers in the ACLU and Protestants and Other Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, who feared the influence and wealth of the Catholic Church and perceived parochial education as a threat to public schools and democratic values. The chief architect of the modern "wall" was Justice Black, whose affinity for church-state separation and the metaphor was rooted in virulent anti-Catholicism. Hamburger has argued that Justice Black, a former Alabama Ku Klux Klansman, was the product of a remarkable "confluence of Protestant, nativist, and progressive anti-Catholic forces . . . . Black’s association with the Klan has been much discussed in connection with his liberal views on race, but, in fact, his membership suggests more about [his] ideals of Americanism," especially his support for separation of church and state. "Black had long before sworn, under the light of flaming crosses, to preserve ‘the sacred constitutional rights’ of ‘free public schools’ and ‘separation of church and state.’" Although he later distanced himself from the Klan on matters of race, "Black’s distaste for Catholicism did not diminish." Black’s admixture of progressive, Klan, and strict separationist views is best understood in terms of anti-Catholicism and, more broadly, a deep hostility to assertions of ecclesiastical authority. Separation of church and state, Black believed, was an American ideal of freedom from oppressive ecclesiastical authority, especially that of the Roman Catholic Church. A regime of separation enabled Americans to assert their individual autonomy and practice democracy, which Black believed was Protestantism in its secular form.

To be clear, diverse strains of political, religious, and intellectual thought have embraced notions of separation (I myself come from a faith tradition that believes church and state should operate in separate institutional spheres), but a particularly dominant strain in 19th-century America was this nativist, bigoted strain. We must confront the uncomfortable fact that the phrases "separation of church and state" and "wall of separation," although not necessarily expressions of intolerance, have often, in the American experience, been closely identified with the ugly impulses of nativism and bigotry.
Posted on 10/24/2006 2:01 PM by Robert Bove
Tuesday, 24 October 2006
Club for Sloth
My "Club for Sloth" posts of a few days ago were meant to be a sooo-funny allusion to the admirable Club for Growth, with which NRO has some connections.  However, a friend advises me that no more than one percent of my readership would get the joke, as the word "sloth" is pronounced differently on the two sides of that darned Atlantic Ocean.

How to clarify the matter?  How else but by verse?  Kiss me, O Muse.

An American man of the cloth
Preached a sermon to warn against sloth.
Said he:  "To be idle
Is soul-suicidal!..."
But at this point he started to froth.

In England there's no Club for Growth.
The natives are too prone to sloth.
From work-habits erratic
Their GDP's static.
To address the problem, they're loath.

Posted on 10/24/2006 3:41 PM by John Derbyshire
Tuesday, 24 October 2006
Margaret Thatcher... Marmite.

You cannot make this stuff up.

Posted on 10/24/2006 4:18 PM by John Derbyshire
Tuesday, 24 October 2006
Dailypundit Offers...
...21 reasons he won't be voting Republican this time around.
Posted on 10/24/2006 4:20 PM by John Derbyshire

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