Category Archive 'Multiculturalism'
15 May 2013
Bruce Bawer responds to the arrested development that results in liberalism.
If I’m curious about the psychology of [members of the commentariat of the left who, after events like the Benghazi Embassy attack or the Boston bombing, hurry to defend Islam]. it’s reflexive. It’s mainstream. Among urban types who view themselves as liberal-minded and sophisticated, it’s considered de rigueur to think this way about things like this. Certainly you’re obliged to think this way if you want to count on getting published in major establishment newspapers and at websites like Salon.
It’s necessary to fight jihad. But it’s equally necessary to fight this weed that has grown up among us – this decadent, despicable readiness to deny the reality of jihad, to relativize it, to make excuses for it, to blame it on us, on America.
These decadent characters take these positions, of course, because they’ve been marinated in multiculturalism and, in particular, have absorbed the all-important lesson that the great danger of our time is not Islam but the criticism thereof. Yet what made multiculturalism attractive to these people in the first place is that it’s tailor-made for spoiled, narcissistic grown children who don’t want to have adult enemies – that is, the kind of enemies who represent a real danger to them or that they might ever really have to fight. It’s tailor-made for people who cherish the notion of themselves as sensitive and understanding toward “The Other,” and whose enemies of choice are, basically, parental substitutes – people who draw clear moral distinctions, who talk about the need for security, and who make unequivocal assertions about the superiority of American freedom to Islamic tyranny.
Fighting the mental affliction – the terminal puerility – of the O’Hehirs may be even harder than fighting jihad itself. How do you repair a culture in which mature moral judgment and adult civic responsibility have systematically been replaced by childish, self-aggrandizing displays of “sensitivity”? How do you install a moral compass in a fully grown adult?
For that’s the problem, in essence: these people are missing certain working parts that are essential components of the civilized adult. First of all, they lack the imaginative capacity, and the sense of identification with their own country, to understand that the bombing in Boston wasn’t just an attack on the three people who died and the dozens others who were wounded, but was, in fact, an attack on them – and on their families and friends, their very lives, their children’s future. For all their mockery of America’s idea of itself as a “protected zone,” their supposed empathy for the jihadists is a luxury in which they’re able to indulge precisely because they think of themselves, consciously or not, as living in a “protected zone.” Like any baby in a crib, they feel safe, cocooned, impregnable – yet they don’t realize that the reason for this feeling of safety is that they’ve spent their lives in a country where the cops and the military have protected them from, well, people like the Tsarnaev brothers.
Like any child, they accept this protection as their due, their right. They take it for granted. But they don’t think of themselves as having any responsibility that accompanies this right – for example, a responsibility as citizens to the safety and well-being of the American people as a whole. No, as far as they can see, their only responsibility is to themselves. Indeed, if they can’t wrap their minds around the reality of the murderers’ dedication to the idea of jihad, and thus (in many cases) reject the possibility that it was indeed jihad that drove the Tsarnaevs to commit their heinous acts, it’s because they themselves don’t know what it means to be dedicated to anything outside of themselves – and to the preservation of their own self-image as sensitive, caring people who are too evolved to hate.
Yes, evolved. Yet of course, in reality, they’re the ones who are unevolved. Their relationship to adult moral responsibility is, again, that of small children.
Read the whole thing.
20 Feb 2013
Theodore Dalrymple/Zadie Smith
Old fogey, white male Theodore Dalrymple reviewing hip, young black chick Zadie Smith’s new novel, NW (as in North West London, specifically, apparently, NW6, Kilburn, once a working-class Irish neighborhood, now a lower-class varied multicultural district) promises an entertaining clash of values and perspectives.
According to Dalrymple, the celebration of the glorious diversity of it all—
Sweet stink of the hookah, couscous, kebab, exhaust fumes of a bus deadlock. . . . Polish paper, Turkish paper, Arabic, Irish, French, Russian, Spanish, News of the World. Unlock your (stolen) phone, buy a battery pack, a lighter pack, a perfume pack, sunglasses, three for a fiver, a life-size porcelain tiger, gold taps. . . . TV cable, computer cable, audiovisual cables, I give you good price, good price. Leaflets, call abroad 4 less, learn English, eyebrow wax, Falun Gong, have you accepted Jesus as your personal call plan? . . . A hundred and one ways to take cover: the complete black tent, the facial grid, back of the head, Louis Vuitton–stamped, Gucci-stamped, yellow lace, attached to sunglasses, hardly on at all, striped, candy pink; paired with tracksuits, skin-tight jeans, summer dresses, blouses, vests, gypsy skirts, flares. . . . Security lights, security gates, security walls, security trees, Tudor, Modernist, postwar, prewar, stone pineapples, stone lions, stone eagles. Face east and dream of Regent’s Park, of St. John’s Wood. The Arabs, the Israelis, the Russians, the Americans: here united by the furnished penthouse, the private clinic. If we pay enough, if we squint, Kilburn need not exist. Free meals. English as a second language. Here is the school where they stabbed the headmaster. Here is the Islamic Center of England opposite the Queen’s Arms. Walk down the middle of this, you referee, you!
—is tempered by the story of two black sisters, Keisha and Cheryl Blake. The former studies hard and becomes a wealthy and successful lawyer, the latter becomes an unwed mother living on the dole.
Keisha (who’s changed her name to Natalie) is unhappy, finding she has traded her life for a career and living only to work, while worrying about having relinquished her identity, her “authenticity.” Her sister Cheryl rejects her offers of assistance (and implicitly her familial connection and authority) preferring “independence” based upon state support.
All of which understandably lights Dalrymple’s fuse.
Natalie may not feel authentic, but this [fictional situation] certainly does. It illustrates how completely the state has smashed up family solidarity. Cheryl and the rest of Natalie’s impoverished family neither look for nor need Natalie’s help, though she is becoming a wealthy woman; they look to the state to provide. At one point, when Natalie criticizes the public housing where Cheryl lives, her sister responds, “If I wanted to get out of here I’d get another place off the council before I come to you.” For Cheryl, independence means being independent of people close to her and dependent on a bureaucratic apparatus. Nothing could be more socially atomizing, more promotional of the raging egotism exemplified in the [1995 murder of a Roman Catholic headmaster who tried to stop an interracial gang beating].
Dalrymple also has a few harsh words to say about Natalie’s class neuroses.
Natalie’s unease about her authenticity, with its undertow of guilt about her success, seems to me plausibly and truly delineated. The fact that she should feel this guilt means that she has thoroughly absorbed an egalitarian ideology, for there can be only one reason why to rise in a meritocratic society by your own efforts should occasion guilt. That reason is that one feels that everyone ought to be equal—equal in outcome—whatever one does or does not do. Though she has risen by her own merits, though what sixties radicals called “the system” has put no formal obstacles in her path, though her sister’s manacles are all mind-forg’d, Natalie cannot believe that she deserves her good fortune or that her newfound wealth is evidence of social justice rather than its opposite.
Dalrymple considers the kind of multiculturalism that Zadie Smith reflexively tries to celebrate as a social and cultural disaster featuring little mutual benefit, but rather the addle-pated surrender of Western civilization to barbarism on the basis of left-wing sentimentality and bad ideas. According to Dalrymple, Zadie Smith’s NW really offers
a bleak assessment of multicultural society, which ends not in cross-fertilization, as in fusion cooking, but in paranoia as a way of life, mutual incomprehension, egotism, and solipsism. A day-to-day tolerance of one another’s existence is an insufficient basis for an attractive or even a productive society. Something more is needed.
Interestingly, Dalrymple compares Smith’s community of fashion perspective to that of Catholic, anti-modernist French author Richard Millet, who recently published Éloge littéraire d’Anders Breivik [A Literary Elegy on Anders Breivik], who killed 77 promising young leftists at a Labor summer camp, as a kind of personal protest against the multicultural remodeling of Norway. Millet said that, though he did not approve of Breivik’s crimes, his opinion was that “Norway got what it deserved.”
I am quite interested in reading that essay, which is available, I find, only in French (via Amazon UK) in a collection of three essays titled Langue Fantôme. I have ordered a copy.
Hat tip to Bird Dog.
27 Nov 2012
The religious-symbol-neutered version previously scheduled for production.
After strong objections by the Catholic Church which were taken up in the national parliament of Slovakia by the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) and some representatives of the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) caucus to the elimination of halos from the heads of Sts. Cyril and Methodius and the removal of the image of the cross from the saints’ vestments, the Board of Directors of the National Bank of Slovakia has announced that the halos and crosses will be restored on the 2-Euro coins scheduled to be released in 2013 to commemorate the 1150th Anniversary of the Mission of Cyril and Methodius to the Slavs.
Slovak Spectator reported, however, that restoring those halos might preclude the Slovakian €2 coin being released throughout the European Union.
The NBS [National Bank of Slovakia, country’s central bank – ed. note] Bank Council approved the original proposal of the design, even though it realises that the new approval process may lead to frustrating the original goal of releasing the commemorative coin throughout the 17-nation eurozone,” said spokesperson for the bank Petra Pauerová, as quoted by TASR.
The European Commission earlier stated that the commemorative coin cannot contain crosses and halos in order to observe the principle of religious neutrality in the European Union. Later it was revealed that it was not the EC as such, but certain eurozone members that objected to releasing the coin with religious symbols.
The same paper
separately identified the countries who had a problem with Christian saints being depicted with such particularist Christian symbols as halos and crosses/
It was certain eurozone member states that expressed disagreement with the original artistic proposal for a Slovak commemorative coin depicting Saints Cyril and Methodius with crosses and halos set to be released in 2013, Andrej Králik from the Representation of the EU Commission in Slovakia said on Thursday, November 22.
The commission subsequently asked Slovakia to submit a modified proposal, which was later approved by the EU Council, Králik told the TASR newswire. He rejected statements by certain Slovak politicians who said that the case involved a ‘dictate of Brussels’ and ‘high-handedness of officials from the EU Commission’, describing these assertions as untrue and deceptive.
The commission stated that the removal of the religious symbols was due to the need to observe religious neutrality, as set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. German MEP Martin Kastler earlier on Thursday revealed that the countries that had raised objections to the original Slovak proposal were France and Greece
19 Nov 2012
Translated from Polish Catholic DEON.pl news item:
A Two-Euro coin design by Miroslav Hric to be released into circulation in May of next year by the National Bank of Slovakia (NSB) in commemoration of the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of the two saints in Moravia was changed.
Currently, there is the image of the two saints, and between them a double cross representing the national emblem of Slovakia. However, the symbol of the cross was removed from the saints’ vestments, and halos were removed from around their head. NSB spokeswoman Petra Pauerova told the Slovak newspaper “Pravda” that “the European Commission, assenting to the ‘request of some Commonwealth countries’ prescribed the removal of these attributes from the original coin design.” Since the coin will be released into circulation in all euro area countries, the project should respect the principle of “religious neutrality,” explained Pauerova.
The removal of those features from the Slovakian coins was announced on Sunday on public television and radio stations in Slovakia.
The Slovakian Bishops’ Conference in a statement did not hesitate to use the word “disgrace”. “The resignation of the key attributes associated conceptually with Saints Cyril and Methodius demonstrates the lack of respect for the Christian tradition of Europe.” indignantly remarked Church spokesman Rev. Jozef Kovaczik. He added the Church only learned that the two symbols would not appear on the Two-Euro coin via the media.
“In 1988, before the Velvet Revolution, the faithful in Slovakia risked their lives, preaching the doctrine of the two saints. Do we really live in a nation of law, or in a totalitarian system, which dictates to us what attributes we may use?” asked Rev. Kovaczik, noting that Slovakia is a Catholic country.
St. Cyril (926-869) and St. Methodius (815-885) were the first missionaries to the Slavs. It was to their mission that the Slavic portions of Europe owe the adoption of the Christian faith and their own roots in the culture of Europe.
These saints in both the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church are called the Apostles of the Slavs, and came from Byzantium to the Moravian state in 862 A.D. at the request of the local ruler Rostislav. They knew both the language and customs of the Slavs, having dealt previously with Christianized Southern Slavs living in the area around the Byzantine Thessalonica. Both had already made a translation of the Bible into Slavonic, having for purposes of translation created a special 40-letter alphabet, the Glagolitic script.
Cyril and Methodius’ students continued their mission to the Eastern and Southern Slavs. The complicated Glagolitic script ultimately replaced in liturgical writings by the simpler Cyrillic alphabet, modeled upon the Greek alphabet.
Pope John Paul II gave Sts. Cyril and Methodius the title of patron saints of Europe.
In church iconography the saints are depicted dressed in pontifical garb as Greek or Latin bishops. Their attributes are a cross, a book and an unrolled scroll displaying the Slavic alphabet.
The NBS web-site. announcing the winning design, says blandly:
The original competition design was modified in line with recommendations made within the notification and approval procedure conducted pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No 975/98 on denominations and technical specifications of euro coins intended for circulation, as amended.
29 Sep 2012
02 Nov 2011
On the same subject, Fjordman marvels at Western political leaders actively supporting Islamic revolutionaries in the Middle East. It was Qaddafi versus Al Qaeda after all, and we supported al Qaeda.
Many ordinary citizens, when witnessing our so-called leaders supporting our enemies, wonder whether Western political elites have lost their grip on reality. What are they trying to achieve with such stupid and suicidal policies? Why do they want to export democracy to Islamic countries, even if this brings radical organizations with hostile agendas to power, at the same time as the democratic system is being de facto abolished in Europe by the European Union?
My personal view is that the cultural, economic and especially immigration policies currently promoted by the ruling elites throughout virtually the entire Western world are harmful to the long-term interests of the European peoples who created this civilization. One fundamental question that has been hotly debated on the Internet by dissident writers is whether this trend is entirely accidental, and exclusively reflects the purely impersonal forces of technological globalization, or whether there is also a purpose and a plan behind some of these changes. ...
Today the ruling ideology is an absolute egalitarianism that if you analyze it closely actually amounts to saying that all cultures have an equal right to exist, except the European one which is evil.
Read the whole thing.
09 Sep 2010
Eric Erickson wonders what the elites would do if radical Muslims started demanding prayer in US schools.
09 Sep 2010
Andrew McCarthy expresses the view, which I share, that the American people have gotten tired of hearing about how much deference we need to pay to the sensibilities of Muslims.
A tectonic shift is in motion: How fitting that its focal point is Ground Zero, the inevitable fault line between Islam and the West.
Only the blink of an eye ago, uttering the unpleasant truth that in terms of doctrine there is no such thing as “moderate Islam” resulted in one’s banishment from what our opinion elites like to call the “mainstream,” by which they mean the narrow-minded, viciously defended circle of their own pieties and fictions. You could say it, but your skin had better have an extra coat or two of thick: You were in for a fusillade of rage, the likes of which our candor-phobic elites would never dream of unleashing at our Islamist enemies — no matter how clearly those enemies announced their intention to destroy us.
The fusillade still comes, but now its blows only glance. The elites and their mainstream have been exposed as frauds: Being on the wrong side of enough 70-30 issues will do that to you.
Read the whole thing.
13 Aug 2010
Mayor Bloomberg and reputable members of the establishment in general view people objecting to the erection of mosque and Islamic cultural center in the vicinity of the fallen World Trade Center towers as bigots and yahoos, who irrationally insist on blaming the overwhelmingly larger body of moderate Muslims for the crimes committed by a small number of unrepresentative extremists.
The Muslim religious leader behind the Ground Zero Mosque project is Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. The defense of the Ground Zero Mosque project is intimately associated with
the identification of Abdul Rauf as a moderate Muslim, a reasonable representative of a different religious denomination who is not our enemy and who does not deserve to bear any sort of guilt for Islamic extremism or acts of terrorism.
Yet, Imam Abdul Rauf has made a number of somewhat controversial public statements.
On September 29, 2001, a mere nineteen days after the attacks, when asked by CBS if the U.S. deserved the attacks, Rauf answered: “I wouldn’t say that the United States deserved what happened. But the United States’ policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.”
The interviewer inquired how the US was “an accessory,” and Abdul Rauf replied, “Because we have been accessory to a lot of innocent lives dying in the world. In fact, in the most direct sense, Osama bin Laden is made in the USA.”
In a June interview this year with WABC radio in New York, Abdul Rauf evaded answering whether he agreed with the U.S. State Department’s designation of Hamas as a terrorist organization. “I’m not a politician. I try to avoid the issues. The issue of terrorism is a very complex question.”
Clifford D. May offers this completely devastating rejoinder.
No, actually, it’s quite simple: Whatever your grievances, you do not express them by murdering other people’s children. Not accepting that proposition does not make you a terrorist. But it disqualifies you as an anti-terrorist and identifies you as an anti-anti-terrorist.
A thought experiment: I am grieved by Saudi policies — for example, Saudi religious discrimination, oppression of women, and persecution of homosexuals. If I were to express these grievances by blowing up a Saudi kindergarten, do you think Imam Feisal would say (1) the Saudi Royal family must share responsibility for the carnage, and (2) whether or not I had committed an act of terrorism is a “very complex question”?
How can well-educated, sophisticated people apply such a preposterous double-standard in their thinking that they will perform gymnastic contortions to defend and apologize for a Muslim community leader with all sorts of unsavory personal connections and instantly exclude from legitimate discussion anyone who would criticize the symbolism of the Ground Zero Mosque project or question the bona fides of its organizer?
[M]ulticulturalism and moral relativism, doctrines devoutly embraced by the intellectual classes, render “everything the equal of everything else.” As a consequence, some very smart people have “lost the ability to make the most elementary distinctions.” Except one: They reflexively regard those from the Third World as virtuous and those from the West as steeped in blame, shame, and guilt.
So if Imam Feisal says he’s a moderate, he must be a moderate. Why read his books or inquire into what he preaches in his mosque or with whom he associates on his frequent trips to Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and other exotic locales? Would we ask such questions of a Baptist minister building a church near Ground Zero?
25 Jul 2010
Eugene Volokh quotes a New Jersey case in which a Judge Payne of the Superior Court, in the course of rejecting a restraining order against a Moroccan husband, adopted the interesting viewpoint that the husband’s cultural opinions immunized him from the laws of the state of New Jersey, allowing him to inflict non-consensual sex upon his wife.
While recognizing that defendant had engaged in sexual relations with plaintiff against her expressed wishes in November 2008 and on the night of January 15 to 16, 2009, the judge did not find sexual assault or criminal sexual conduct to have been proven. He stated:
This court does not feel that, under the circumstances, that this defendant had a criminal desire to or intent to sexually assault or to sexually contact the plaintiff when he did. The court believes that he was operating under his belief that it is, as the husband, his desire to have sex when and whether he wanted to, was something that was consistent with his practices and it was something that was not prohibited.
After acknowledging that this was a case in which religious custom clashed with the law, and that under the law, plaintiff had a right to refuse defendant’s advances, the judge found that defendant did not act with a criminal intent when he repeatedly insisted upon intercourse, despite plaintiff’s contrary wishes.
Happily, the Appellate Court reversed, but this judicial incident is undoubtedly only the first of what will become a trend of multicultural rulings from American benches.
The correct legal precedent, IMHO, is that expressed by General Charles Napier in connection with the custom of suttee in India. Napier told the Hindoos:
You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.
15 Jun 2010
Japan’s Keisuke Honda (2nd R) scores against Cameroon yesterday
Liberal David Zirin says that the American Far Right, e.g. Glenn Beck and G. Gordon Liddy, don’t like soccer because it is a game popular abroad and they are racists and nativists.
Among adults, the sport is also growing because people from Latin America, Africa, and the West Indies have brought their love of the beautiful game to an increasingly multicultural United States. As sports journalist Simon Kuper wrote very adroitly in his book Soccer Against the Enemy, “When we say Americans don’t play soccer we are thinking of the big white people who live in the suburbs. Tens of millions of Hispanic Americans [and other nationalities] do play, and watch and read about soccer.” In other words, Beck rejects soccer because his idealized “real America” – in all its monochromatic glory – rejects it as well. To be clear, I know a lot of folks who can’t stand soccer. It’s simply a matter of taste. But for Beck it’s a lot more than, “Gee. It’s kind of boring.” Instead it’s, “Look out whitey! Felipe Melo’s gonna get your mama!”
Ace responds with a far superior analysis. Americans don’t follow soccer because:
It is a low scoring game. (And we Americans are into fast and frequent gratification).
Our best athletes play football, baseball, and basketball. Who wants to watch low quality performers?
It requires an investment in time and attention to understand the point of any sport, and Americans are already otherwise fully invested.
And, leftie fashionistas like soccer, so we don’t.
I watched small portions of some World Cup matches recently. I would add:
Soccer just looks strange. It really is foot ball. Watching people chasing a ball around, using only their feet, is a lot like watching a ball game played by some other species which unfortunately lacks hands and arms. I get an “I’m watching some kind of Special Olympics ballgame” feeling and start looking around for a cup to place my donation in.
Compared to American football, soccer is an exercise in pacifism. They just don’t tackle people. Americans like our own football because we like violence. We like to see people deliberately running into other people, hitting them, and knocking them down. We also like really big muscular guys. Americans would rather watch a bunch of 300+ lb. linemen crushing people than watch a bunch of slender fellows in short pants and high stockings running lithely over the grass.
Ace is right that soccer is also burdened with politics and symbolism. Americans know that our Obama-voting suburban elite deliberately has replaced American-style football in its own schools with multicultural, politically correct, non-violent soccer. The replacement of football by soccer is a metonymy for the community of fashion’s rejection of “hard, isolate, stoic” traditional American culture in favor of a less decidedly masculine internationalist alternative. New Canaan and Brookline are saying to the rest of America: “We don’t want to be provincial ruffians like you. We want to be Italian or Brazilian.”
Finally, soccer games are accompanied by what Dan Nosowitz aptly describes as the “grating, stab-your-ears-with-a-pencil drone of the vuvuzela,” an obnoxious plastic horn which was apparently first adopted by the Zulus of South Africa to replace their dreaded iklwa.
12 Aug 2009
Burns is the dumb-looking one in the middle
When NYM published the first blog coverage last week on the Murder Hollow Basset raid by the PSPCA, fellow field sports blogger Pat Burns of Terrierman’s Daily Dose, went into investigative mode, took Amy Worden’s essentially PSPCA-dictated damage control press release in the Inquirer as gospel, and proceeded to dismiss me as a paranoid rightwing blogger and Murder Hollow’s Master Wendy Willard as a “nutter” and a dog abuser. Burns’s publicly-performed Snoopy dance of triumph on this one was sufficient to make readers think he had the Pulitzer Prize in the bag.
He certainly made points with the PETA crowd, who happily began quoting Burns as the party line on the story.
I was personally disappointed because I actually read Burns’s blog regularly, but I merely noted in my response that Burns was relying on a single, obviously partisan source, repeating the PSPCA version of circumstances and events. I also identified some reasons why I think PSPCA’s word is not to be trusted.
Naturally, since I had received so much attention in Burn’s blog, I tried forwarding a link to my own posting in response. I had to go through a major log-in procedure to try posting a comment, and in the end my comment was merely forwarded to Burns for approval.
Several days later, it had not gotten into TDD’s comments, and I was rather displeased at what seemed to be a policy of censoring rejoinders at TDD, so I sent Burns a short email commenting negatively.
He responded, claiming to be “away from keyboard,” answering via cellphone, and he and I wound up arguing about all this by email much of the day on Sunday.
I didn’t publish our email correspondence myself, but Burns took a really stupid point of argument which no rational response could persuade him to relinquish as the occasion for another blog article.
I have challenged Mr Zincavage and the 11 “staff members” of the Murder Hollow Bassets to pay for three or four years worth of private (and legal) kenneling for those seized Philadelphia dogs.
There are many commercial kennels in Pennsylvania, and I am sure the the SPCA will have no objection to the dogs being placed in a good private kennel provided that three or four years worth of kennel fees are paid up in full and in advance, plus any veterinary bills accrued.
No, not a month. No, not four months. Three or four years.
After all, these dogs deserve continuity of care, and with 12 people to shoulder the cost of kenneling, it shouldn’t be too big a deal for everyone to pony up the price.
Talk is cheap.
But, of course, so too are most people—a point missed by many conservatives.
They will tell you they are against taxation, preferring instead that everything be done by some mysterious thing called “a Thousand Points of Light.”
Fine. Here’s a chance for Mr. Zincavage and the Murder Hollow “staff” to be a Point of Light. Pay for the veterinary costs plus three or four years of private kenneling for Wendy Willard’s basset hounds. She will still own them—the donors will simply be making a charitable gift to make sure things are done right by the dogs.
As I explained in our emails, nobody wants to lock up 11 hunting bassets away from their home, their owner, their pack, and the out-of-doors in a commercial kennel operated by strangers for three or four years. (How long does Burns think hounds live, do you suppose?) No rational reason or necessity proposes such a course.
Ms. Willard, her ten staff members, and the dozens of residents of the greater Philadelphia area who hunt with Murder Hollow Bassets are perfectly able to provide for those hounds, and if some imaginary tragic circumstance arrived to eliminate from the world every person affiliated with Murder Hollow, that hound pack is part of a national organization of affiliated packs. There are plenty of packs and individual basset hunters out there who could and would give all of Murder Hollow’s hounds new homes.
There is no need to do what Mr. Burns insists on proposing as his own subjective test of bona fides. No one wants such an arrangement. The PSPCA wouldn’t agree to it. And it would not, in the least, be in the interest of the hounds.
One really wonders, reading this kind of idiocy, what kind of understanding of hunting dogs, or dogs in general, the Terrierman possesses. Burns seems to look upon dogs purely as a cost center, a kind of tool requiring fixed costs that anyone can cheerfully stuff away in a warehouse setting for 3-4 years in order to prove a point.
But there is no point. The Murder Hollow Bassets have been an organized hunting pack chasing quarry in the field since 1986, and participating and competing in hound shows and pack trials since at least 1994. If they didn’t meet all the costs Mr. Burns’s fantasy is intended to project, they would hardly still be in operating existence, nor would they be accepted as a recognized basset pack by a knowledgeable community of hound lovers and keen sportsmen or be permitted to be part of the national organization.
26 Mar 2009
Detain of Gigantomachy from the Great Altar at Pergamon, 2nd Century BC, Pergamon Museum, Berlin
The Pergamon Altar Piece’s Gigantomachy, a battle between the Olympian gods and the powerful, but savage, giants, celebrated the military triumph of the Greek city in Asia Minor over the barbarians by alluding to the mythical triumph of the divine forces of Reason and Order over the earth-bound powers of Cthonic Nature.
Roger Sandall marvels as contemporary political correctness brings an exhibition championing Greece’s barbarian enemy into the Pergamon Museum itself.
For too long had Hellenism been uncritically exalted in the West. Now it was time for the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome to stand aside so that we could gaze upon the je ne sais quoi that was Mesopotamia. But what exactly was Babylon? Imperial majesty? Architectural folly? A voluptuary paradise? Oriental despotism incarnate? To try to answer these questions the combined museological might of the British Museum, the Musée du Louvre, and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin had assembled a display of things Babylonian under the title Babylon: Myth and Reality....
That distinguished and venerable classicist Peter Green apologised for having been too keen for freedom in his 1970 book Xerxes at Salamis. Revising it in 1996 under the new title The Greco-Persian Wars, he regretted embracing so enthusiastically “the fundamental Herodotean concept of freedom-under-law (eleutheria, isonomia) making its great and impassioned stand against Oriental Despotism.” What he called “the insistent lessons of multiculturalism” had forced all classical scholars “to take a long hard look at Greek ‘anti-barbarian’ propaganda, beginning with Aeschylus’s Persians and the whole thrust of Herodotus’s Histories.”
The Oxford University Press author of the 2003 The Greek Wars, George Cawkwell, told us in a short preface that he was proud to be part of a scholarly movement that aims “to rid ourselves of a Hellenocentric view of the Persian world.” Much of the first three pages of his introduction then proceeded to ridicule and discredit Herodotus, who showed “an astounding misapprehension” concerning the Persians, whose stories were sometimes delightful but were certainly absurd, and who, he wrote, “had no real understanding of the Persian Empire.”
But if Herodotus didn’t get it right, who exactly did? Obviously, some nameless Persian equivalent to Herodotus might have had “a real understanding of the Persian Empire,” but who was he and where is his narrative? What book by which contemporary Persian historian provides an alternative account of Achaemenid manners and customs, institutions and political thought, imperial policy and administration and ideals?
For much of the past 30 years admirers of classical Greece have been on the defensive, while easternizing admirers of Mesopotamia have been on the attack.
The courts of Cyrus the Great, Darius the Great, not to mention Xerxes, King of Kings, employed armies of chroniclers recording royal achievements and military victories. Is it conceivable that whole decades of the recent research invoked by Peter Green and Tom Holland (author of the 2005 book Persian Fire) reveal no Persian literary endeavors to compare with the achievements of the Greeks?
Alas, that seems to be the case. Even the Oxford don so jeeringly hostile to Herodotus admits that though the evidence of past Persian glories “is ample and various, one thing is lacking. Apart from the Behistun Inscription which gives an account of the opening of the reign of Darius I, there are no literary accounts of Achaemenid history other than those written by Greeks.” Moreover, he admits, such literacy as existed in the Persian Empire was largely Greek; and such writing as took place was mainly done by Greeks.
14 Feb 2009
Roger Scruton argues for the superiority of Western Civilization on the basis of its possession of the faculties of irony and forgiveness, but warns that the arid landscape of multicultural liberalism can never fulfill the spirtual and emotional needs of humanity.
This culture of repudiation has transmitted itself, through the media and the schools, across the spiritual terrain of Western civilization, leaving behind it a sense of emptiness and defeat, a sense that nothing is left to believe in or endorse, save only the freedom to believe. And a belief in the freedom to believe is neither a belief nor a freedom. It encourages hesitation in the place of conviction and timidity in the place of choice. It is hardly surprising that so many Muslims in our cities today regard the civilization surrounding them as doomed, even if it is a civilization that has granted them something that they may be unable to find where their own religion triumphs, which is a free, tolerant, and secular rule of law. For they were brought up in a world of certainties; around them, they encounter only doubts.
If repudiation of its past and its identity is all that Western civilization can offer, it cannot survive.
Liberalism additionally fundamentally misunderstands our current Islamic adversaries, Scrutin argues, erroneously trying to fit their motivations into a simplistic Marxist schema of economic motivation and animosity.
The vague or utopian character of the cause is therefore an important part of terrorism’s appeal, for it means that the cause does not define or limit the action. It is waiting to be filled with meaning by the terrorist, who is searching to change not the world but himself. To kill someone who has neither offended you nor given just cause for punishment, you have to believe yourself wrapped in some kind of angelic cloak of justification. You then come to see the killing as showing that you are indeed an angel. Your existence receives its final ontological proof.
Terrorists pursue a moral exultation, a sense of being beyond the reach of ordinary human judgment, radiated by a self-assumed permission of the kind enjoyed by God. Terrorism of this kind, in other words, is a search for meaning—the very meaning that citizenship, conceived in abstract terms, cannot provide. Even in its most secularized form, terrorism involves a kind of religious hunger. ...
Islamist terrorists are animated, at some level, by the same troubled search for meaning and the same need to stand above their victims in a posture of transcendental exculpation. Ideas of liberty, equality, or historical right have no influence on their thinking, and they are not interested in possessing the powers and privileges that their targets enjoy. The things of this world have no real value for them, and if they sometimes seem to aim at power, it is only because power would enable them to establish the kingdom of God—an aim that they, like the rest of us, know to be impossible and therefore endlessly renewable in the wake of failure. Their carelessness about others’ lives is matched by their carelessness about their own. Life has no particular value for them; death beckons constantly from the near horizon of their vision. And in death, they perceive the only meaning that matters: the final transcendence of this world and of the accountability to others that this world demands of us.
Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.
26 Jan 2007
Pascal Bruckner has harsh words for the multiculturalism of elites.
After Heidegger, a whole run of thinkers from Gadamer to Derrida have contested the claims of the Enlightenment to embody a new age of self-conscious history. On the contrary, they say, all the evils of our epoch were spawned by this philosophical and literary episode: capitalism, colonialism, totalitarianism. For them, criticism of prejudices is nothing but a prejudice itself, proving that humanity is incapable of self-reflection. For them, the chimeras of certain men of letters who were keen to make a clean slate of God and revelation, were responsible for plunging Europe into darkness. In an abominable dialectic, the dawn of reason gave birth to nothing but monsters (Horkheimer, Adorno)...
The Enlightenment belongs to the entire human race, not just to a few privileged individuals in Europe or North America who have taken it upon themselves to kick it to bits like spoiled brats, to prevent others from having a go…
It is astonishing that 62 years after the fall of the Third Reich and 16 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, an important segment Europe’s intelligentsia is engaged in slandering the friends of democracy. They maintain it is best to cede and retreat, and pay mere lip-service to the ideals of the Enlightenment. Yet we are a long way off the dramatic circumstances of the 1930s, when the best minds threw themselves into the arms of Berlin or Moscow in the name of race, class or the Revolution. Today the threat is more diffuse and fragmented. There is nothing that resembles the formidable peril of the Third Reich. Even the government of Mullahs in Tehran is a paper tiger that could be brought to its knees with a minimum dose of rigour. Nevertheless the preachers of panic abound. Kant defined the Enlightenment with the motto: Sapere aude – dare to know. A culture of courage is perhaps what is most lacking among today’s directors of conscience. They are the symptoms of a fatigued, self-doubting Europe, one that is only too ready to acquiesce at the slightest alarm. Yet their good-willed rhetorical molasses covers a different tune: that of capitulation!
Read the whole thing.
Hat tip to Karen Myers.
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