Ron Paul’s blindness
(Note: Further down in this entry, I reply
to a reader who says that U.S. interventionism is the main cause of Muslim hatred of the West.)
Jonathan L. writes:
I looked up the article containing the quote your correspondent cites as proof of Ron Paul’s supposedly superior policy toward the Palestinians (the link you give is incorrect and should be changed to this at antiwar.com), and found the following:
“The popular press and political world both accept without question the notion that the United States is somehow responsible for resolving any and all conflicts around the globe, but especially in Palestine. And here is some more from the Paul article at Lew Rockwell, which is from a speech he gave in the House of Representatives on January 29, 2003:
“We conveniently forget, however, that American tax dollars militarized the entire region in the first place.”
[LA replies: but Jonathan left out the rest of the paragraph, which makes Paul sound less anti-Israel: “We give Israel about $3 billion each year, but we also give Egypt $2 billion. Most other Middle East countries get money too, some of which ends up in the hands of Palestinian terrorists. Both sides have far more military weapons as a result. Talk about adding fuel to the fire! Our foolish and unconstitutional foreign aid has produced more violence, not less.” ]
“Bin Laden’s claims are straightforward. The U.S. defiles Islam with military bases on holy land in Saudi Arabia, its initiation of war against Iraq, with 12 years of persistent bombing, and its dollars and weapons being used against the Palestinians as the Palestinian territory shrinks and Israel’s occupation expands. There will be no peace in the world for the next 50 years or longer if we refuse to believe why those who are attacking us do it.
Like you I had little interest in Paul up to this point, because during his one televised appearance I caught he struck me pretty much as a standard paleo-libertarian; skimming his two articles has simply wasted time in confirming what I already knew. Paul is against aid to the Palestinians because he is against all foreign aid, and any enemies of America that require a large government response he construes as the necessary products of those same large government programs. The fundamental problem with Paul and all his ilk is that they are not for small government because they love America, they are (or were) for America because they love small government.
“To dismiss terrorism as the result of Muslims hating us because we’re rich and free is one of the greatest foreign-policy frauds ever perpetrated on the American people. Because the propaganda machine, the media, and the government have restated this so many times, the majority now accept it at face value. And the administration gets the political cover it needs to pursue a ‘holy’ war for democracy against the infidels who hate us for our goodness.”
Jonathan’s last point is very well put.
- end of initial entry -
Here is the fatal flaw in Paul’s understanding of the world. While he correctly dismisses Bush’s statement that the Muslims attack us because they “hate freedom,” he thinks the Muslims attack us because of our policy of supposed imperialism. Now it’s true that getting involved in the Mideast brings us more into the sights of the Muslims. But to ignore the nature and program of Islam itself, to describe the whole phenomenon of Islamic aggression and terror as a mere response to supposed U.S. aggression, is the standard view of the anti-American right and the anti-American left.
Paul is an ideologue. His ideology is libertarianism. Libertarians see the state as the source of all evil, in the same way that Communists see private property as the source of all evil, and Nazis see the Jews as the source of all evil. Everywhere a libertarian looks, he finds confirmation of his ideology. So, if Muslim jihadists are attacking America, it must be for the same reason that the libertarian himself dislikes America: the excessive growth of the state. Just as a liberal will explain Islamic aggression as an understandable response to Islamic poverty caused by American greed and indifference, the libertarian explains Islamic aggression as an understandable response to the Muslim disorder caused by American imperialism and statism. Both liberals and libertarians are incapable of grasping Islam as it is, and in any confrontation between Muslims and the U.S., they will take the Muslims’ side or at the very least excuse them.
In a way, both the libertarian and the liberal blindness are patronizing toward Islam. Rather than admit that there could be reasons for Islam’s aggression that stem purely from the Moslem world view, both liberals and libertarians insist that the reasons have to be our reasons. It cannot be that Islam has been commanded to dominate the world, no, no, it must be something that we can understand, such as poverty, intolerance, neo-colonialism, Western bigotry towards Islam, etc.
The liberal/libertarian argument thus reduces Moslems to a childlike, or even automaton-like, state: they do what they do only because of what we do. If we do something different, why, of course they will do something different. It simply could not be possible that Moslems act from their own motivations, and will do so no matter what we do. Oh, no! That doesn’t fit in with the anti-Western, guilt-ridden mindset so common among liberals and libertarians.
I have challenged liberals and a few libertarians with the Barbary war, and pointed out that Islam attacked U.S. flagged vessels for certain reasons. Reasons that were spelled out to U.S. envoys clearly, and that came straight out of the Koran. When I ask “How does the existence of Israel now justify Moslem warmaking when John Adams was President?” they have no answer. But since not one liberal or libertarian I have talked with has ever heard of the Barbary War, despite the words ’ … to the shores of Tripoli … ” in the Marine hymn, it is not a surprise to find them unable to think about it.
Yes. Ron Paul thinks he’s anti-imperialist when it comes to U.S. relations with Muslims. In fact, like virtually all Western intellectuals today, he is a thoroughgoing imperialist, intruding his pet view of the world into the brains of Muslims. Because he thinks U.S. imperialism is the cause of all evils, they must think that too.
Gosh, where is Edward Said when we really need him?
(In his influential book Orientalism Said falsely attacked Western scholars for looking at the Moslem world through Western filters.)
May I suggest that N. should not just make his excellent rhetorical challenge to liberals and then drop the subject when they say nothing. He needs to drive the point home: “If Israel was not the cause of Islamic aggression A, B, and C that took place in the past, then you have no basis for thinking that Israel must be the cause of the Islamic aggression that’s going on now.”
Conservatives too often ask a rhetorical question of liberals and leave it hanging in the air, imagining that that’s enough to win the argument.
Jonathan L. writes:
“Like you I had little interest in Paul up to this point, because during his one televised appearance I caught he struck me pretty much as a standard paleo-libertarian. The fundamental problem with Paul and all his ilk is that they are not for small government because they love America, they are (or were) for America because they love small government.”
By this, I take it that Jonathan does not support a Paul candidacy due primarily to this “fundamental problem.” I dispute the contention that this is a fundamental problem with respect to a Paul candidacy. In order to be a fundamental problem, it must be a problem of great significance. In the context of discussing presidential candidates, that would mean that a voter would have a difficult time supporting the candidate with such a problem. However, is this really such a great problem? Are there other candidates that grasp of the truth of Islam? If not, then how is this a fundamental problem for Paul?
In my view, the primary goal for all traditionalists should be to limit government in whatever way possible to wrest control away from the globalists that seek to destroy America. Thus, does it matter WHY someone is for small government at this late hour? Shouldn’t we get behind a candidate that repudiates big government, racial quotas, egalitarianism, foreign aid, endless wars, and continuing the march toward one world government? These are all agendas that Paul opposes. The other candidates are more than happy to usher this country into oblivion, as their CFR creds should make clear. Thus, if the vehicle for small government and the hope of maintaining American sovereignty is a paleolibertarian that doesn’t fully grasp the Muslim threat (I am not saying this is true of Paul, but it appears to be the prevailing view here and I don’t have any material to refute it), what does it matter?
It may very well be that Paul does not at the present moment appreciate the true essence of the Muslim threat to Christendom, but I do not believe that he couldn’t be persuaded to see it (he is a Christian first and therefore should be able to discern the truth through prayer), and of any candidate running it is unmistakable that he is the only one who isn’t beholden to the globalist agenda and could therefore do something about it (i.e., end all Muslim immigration). It is a fact that Dr. Paul has spoken numerous times about the threat of Mexican immigration, as well as the sovereignty-destroying SPP / NAU, and is therefore already thinking about issues akin to the threat of Muslim immigration. Further, even if he didn’t see it or wasn’t able to do anything about it due to the makeup of Congress, is there another candidate running for president that will?
Accordingly, I do not see this as a fundamental problem vis-a-vis a Ron Paul candidacy.
TWW is making a strong and reasonable case for his candidate, trying to place what some of us see as Paul’s serious flaws in a larger context. I’m not in agreement with TWW’s conclusion, but I respect a good argument.
There is a good case for saying that ever enlarging and centralizing government is THE greatest problem and the source of most other problems. But in my view that is too simple. Ron Paul’s ideological ancestors, and perhaps Paul himself, opposed America’s entrance into World War II because they feared that the war would greatly enlarge the state. On the latter point, they were certainly correct. But was the size of government the biggest issue at the time? No. The biggest issue was the Nazi and Axis threat to civilization and humanity. If fighting and defeating that threat meant an enlargement of government, and even ultimately the ascendancy of liberalism, the alternative was infinitely more horrible. People who opposed fighting Hitler because it would lead to big government or some other negative collateral effect were tragically mistaken, because they lacked a sense of tragedy. Sometimes there are no good choices. Consider how Patrick Buchanan tainted himself in his otherwise worthwhile book, A Republic, Not an Empire, when he said (at p. 269) that rather than get involved in World War II, it would have been in America’s interest to let Hitler dominate Eurasia. Would Ron Paul defend America from Islam? How could he, since he thinks that Islamic aggression is nothing more than a response to OUR evil, i.e., our statism?
My point here is that I have a fundamental problem with ideologues. An ideologue is a person who treats one sector of reality as the whole of reality, and thus blocks out reality as a whole.
If Paul connected his anti-state message with, say, a sense of nationhood and a love of Western civilization, I might feel differently about him, because then I would know that anti-statism was not his be-all and and end-all, but was part of (and subject to) something larger.
Sam Raymond writes:
A fourth reason, and perhaps the most important reason, why Paul is bad:
Peter Brimelow: What is your view on legal immigration?
Ron Paul: I think it depends on our economy. If we have a healthy economy, I think we could be very generous on work programs. People come in, fulfill their role and go back home…. I’m not worried about legal immigration. I think we would even have more if we had a healthy economy.
Mark Jaws writes:
In defense of Ron Paul, to whom I have donated a few dollars, I would say that his very limited government approach would most likely do away with the welfare magnet that has brought hordes of mestizas to our hospitals to give birth to anchor babies, which currently number about four million. Evidently our economy does need some laborers, given the very low birthrates of the native white population and the dearth of capable workers to fill the entry level jobs which need to be done. After all, we all stay at hotels and like to eat out occasionally, so a certain number of mestizos are required to do the work which poor whites and blacks used to do. [LA replies: This is a myth. Hotels and restaurants function just fine in parts of the U.S. with very low immigration.] The key to any work program, however, is workers—and workers only. Esposas, ninos, abuellos, and Tia Marias all stay home. I think limited government libertarians such as Ron Paul understand that government largesse can never be the result of a temporary work program.
Terry Morris writes:
“Paul is an ideologue. His ideology is libertarianism. Libertarians see the state as the source of all evil, in the same way that Communists see private property as the source of all evil, and Nazis see the Jews as the source of all evil. Everywhere a libertarian looks, he finds confirmation of his ideology.”
Good point. I’m reminded of your “Non-Islam theories of Islamic Extremism,” where you speak of the Western-centric conceptual box Westerners keep putting Islam into in order to make it more familiar and assimilable and its problems more solvable. Paul’s own non-Islam theory of Islamic extremism states that American big government is the source of Islamic extremism.
Clark Coleman forwards this e-mail he got from Gary Bauer:
From: Gary Bauer
Campaign for Working Families
Date: Thursday, December 20, 2007
Utter Nonsense From Ron Paul
The Associated Press reports that while campaigning in New Hampshire yesterday, Congressman Ron Paul said that if he is elected president he will end economic sanctions on Iran and withdraw the U.S. Navy from nearby waters.
I am not surprised. On September 25th of this year when the House of Representatives voted 397-to-16 to impose economic sanctions on Iran, Paul was one of the 16 “no” votes.
In July of this year, the House voted 411-to-2 to condemn Iran’s Hitler- clone, “president” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The rare bipartisan vote was in reaction to Ahmadinejad’s denial of the Holocaust, while telling mobs in Iran that they should imagine a world with no Israel and no United States, because, he assured them, that day is coming soon. The two “no” votes were cast by Ron Paul and leftwing nut Dennis Kucinich.
Ron Paul says he believes in the U.S. Constitution and smaller government. Good for him. But those views are cancelled out by his unwillingness to confront the evil of Islamofascism or to even condemn a Holocaust denier. This DISQUALIFIES him to be president of the United States.
For those Ron Paul supporters reading this, who are no doubt furious, so be it. If you want off the e-mail list, so be it. If you never donate another dime, so be it. If, given his record, you still think Ron Paul is a legitimate candidate that morally responsible people can support, you are on the wrong email list anyway.
I only bring one thing to the table with this daily report—my promise to tell you the truth and that is what I will continue to do, even if some of you don’t want to hear it.
Re the letter by Gary Bauer, I don’t understand the relevance to the discussion. He is obviously a fool, in the first instance for using the nonsensical term “Islamofascism,” [LA replies: I wrote Bauer an e-mail about that.] in the second instance for saying that a principled representative who doesn’t agree with wasting time taking meaningless votes of condemnation somehow puts him on par with a “leftwing nut,” in the third instance for using the liberal all-encompassing term “Hitler” as the description for anything deemed eeeeevil, and in the fourth instance for screaming how Paul is disqualified for these trivialities. To finish by asserting that he is merely stating the truth is beyond the pale. I hope he gets his wish and a large number of donors abandon him and his organization.
Bauer’s reference to Hitler was not using Hitler as the all-purpose symbol of evil; or “eeeeevil” as TWW mockingly refers to the concept of evil; Bauer was referring specifically to the Iranian president’s denial of the Holocaust and his stated intention to wipe out Israel. Somehow TWW missed that, which shows that TWW is not bothered by Iran’s open threat to wipe out Israel and has no problem with Holocaust denial, even when it comes from the leader of a country that has been developing nuclear weapons and threatening to use them to destroy the Jewish state. Second, I don’t think it was a meaningless vote of condemnation and I don’t think that’s why Paul opposed it. Paul opposed it because he obviously thinks that Iran is not a threat. Third, there is nothing foolish about thinking that a congressman who does not recognize the threat of Iran is thereby disqualified from the presidency.
TWW has been sending me lots of comments in an effort to get me to support Ron Paul, and they’ve been reasonably argued and I’ve been posting them. But TWW’s reaction to Bauer’s attack on Paul tends to confirm the highly negative views that many people, including Bauer and myself, have of Paul and his supporters. As I’ve been pointing out for years, scratch a person who claims merely to want the U.S. to be neutral and uninvolved vis a vis Israel and her enemies, and 99 times out of a hundred you’ll find something else. And what is amazing is that even when, as in the case of TWW, the person is actively trying to persuade me that he and a candidate he supports for president are not extreme, he cannot refrain from revealing where he’s really coming from.
Jonathan L. writes:
Regarding your correspondent TWW’s case for his candidate, Ron Paul, I agree that many of Ron Paul’s policies have substantive merit, including his argument for a foreign policy that is less moralistic and less prone to getting America involved in more “nation-building” fiascoes like Kosovo or Iraq. The problem is that Paul is a doctrinaire ideologue who ignores or misconstrues any problems that cannot be solved by limited government or the free market. Paul is someone who thinks the Korean War was a mistake. Paul is also someone who opposes using force to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons (as he effectively admitted during his TV interview). Far from being the best candidate in the Republican fold, on foreign policy he is WORSE than the mainstream Democratic candidates. This alone should be enough to disqualify him from the office of the Presidency.
Yet the fundamental problem with Paul is that he loves his ideology more than America, and no one who feels this way is fit to hold the nation’s highest office, no matter how beneficial his policies would be for the country. In his essays Paul’s alienation from big-government America is palpable, and I sense he would be happy if it suffered an overseas catastrophe if that discredited statism and forced a return to limited government. This illustrates another way in which paleolibertarians like Paul are similar to the left-wing ideologues they putatively oppose. Both paleolibertarians and left-wing revolutionaries seem gleefully intent on “heightening the contradictions” of the social systems they despise till they are swept away by disasters supposedly of their own making. (Perhaps there should be an “Auster’s First Law of Citizen-State Relations in a Libertarian Society”—the more inadequate the government’s programs are toward protecting the society from external threats, the more those threats are construed as the result of those government programs.) Paul does not love America as a concrete, organic entity. He rather appreciates it as an incubator for his preferred system of self-government, much in the way a parasite appreciates its host.
Stephen T. writes:
Mark Jaws writes: “I would say that his very limited government approach would most likely do away with the welfare magnet that has brought hordes of mestizas to our hospitals to give birth to anchor babies.”
Welfare access is not a magnet to illegal Mexicans, it’s a fringe benefit. They can have all the babies they want free of charge courtesy of Mexican health care in Mexican hospitals. I wouldn’t want to have brain surgery done there, but they can get the same basics they get in any American emergency room. (Many times, the only formal identification a mestizo caught entering the U.S. illegally will have on his person is in fact a Mexican health care ID card.) The real magnets are employment and satisfying the impulse for territorial occupation. Ron Paul would do nothing about either First, though he and his enthusiasts have steadfastly refused to make a statement about this (apparently believing that in silence the issue will go away,) his own immigration “point man” has admitted that Paul does not favor any sort of employer sanctions against hiring or continuing to employ illegal aliens in any number that the employer sees fit. That magnet would therefore continue unabated. Second, because they can continue to work, prosper, and gain political power, there would be absolutely no incentive to “self deport” and give up their newly acquired claims on American territory, which Mexicans arrive feeling entitled to. Nor need they relinquish their long-cherished dream of “driving out the Anglos” and restoring Mexico’s national manhood. This is a powerful emotional force in mestizo culture—not to mention an enormous chip on their shoulder—not shared by any previous immigrant group.
It’s hard to believe now, but as recently as the late 1980s, most Las Vegas hotel service jobs were performed by American citizens. In fact, in those days the big hotels paid a fair wage and even offered incentive plans to provide tuition assistance to college youth in return for employment as maids, waiters, etc. There was also an outreach to recruit among the huge population of older retired Americans in Vegas. With the arrival of millions of mestizo Mexicans (and the shift to big corporate ownership of Vegas hotels) all of these have gone by the board, of course. It’s rare to find a service employee who even speaks fluent English, so I don’t think many of them are saving up for college. As most of the employees are supplied to hotels by agents who are uniformly Spanish-speaking Mexican nationals who practice—unapologetically—blatant discrimination in favor of their countrymen, it’s highly unlikely any Anglo or black American would find employment there today.
Ask around: Many longtime American visitors to Vegas will tell you that the level of service and overall atmosphere was far more congenial 20+ years ago than today.
Dan M. writes:
Jonathan L’s magnificent case against Paul is that Paul’s dogged and unshakable constitutionalism makes him a “doctrinaire ideologue” who loves his principles more than the country that enshrined them into law. His judgment of Paul is that he would be happy if the U.S. suffered a disaster. What a load of crap. This is just pure center-right judgmentalism. There is nothing in Paul’s writings to suggest that he doesn’t love his country. Indeed, unlike most other politicians, Paul has what it takes to make a fantastic living in areas other than government, and has done so. His military service and 10 terms in congress have not been to serve and enrich himself, or to advance an ideology. So far as I have seen, this is the first time a nominally conservative blog has endorsed the idea that sticking to constitutional principles makes one an ideologue or “fatally blind.” One can only assume that “conservatives” of this stripe are far more comfortable with an interminable flip-flopper like Romney, who believes in and stands for nothing.
Mr. L. notes that Paul’s opposition to foreign adventurism has “substantive merit, immediately before noting disapprovingly that Paul opposed the Korean war. Wow. The Korean war was about the noble cause of anti-communism. But it was also an unconstitutional police-action in the way it was prosecuted, and something that in hindsight might not have been so much in the national interest. What did it gain us? The right to stand there forever guarding Koreans? Will we go to war for them again if our trip-wire is crossed? Conservatives do, after all, ask these kinds of questions.
There are legitimate reasons why a conservative might oppose Paul, but his unshakable constitutionalism isn’t among them. Paul seems to oppose NAFTA, GATT, and the WTO primarily because they undermine U.S. sovereignty (which is a great reason to oppose them), rather than because the freemarket utopian fantasy and stealth back-door globalism underlie them. He also doesn’t seem to have a problem with the cultural transformation caused by masses of non-white legal immigration (not that any other candidate including Tancredo will touch it either). (He also refuses to tell the “truthers” to get lost.)
In the end, a committment to constitutionalism solves alot of problems without having to fight the kind of moral fights that so characterises modern politics in an age when we cannot even agree on what is right and wrong anymore, thanks to the competing and now ascendent moral order of liberalism. It is a shorthand way of winning without going there—much of what conservtives and paleolibs hate is simply illegal under the Constituton. Given that we probably cannot even get back to the Constitution, much less a broader and race conscious morality, much of conservative differences with Paul are moot. I would much rather have a Christian paleolib like Paul, who is an honorable man and loves his country, than any of the other reprehensible candidates. It is to me a fantastic irony that a man like Paul should be accused of not loving his country at a conservative blog, given a presidential candidate field filled with self-serving liars and ambitious climbers who never met a principle they couldn’t subvert.
I don’t agree with Dan M. that Paul loves his country—he certainly doesn’t do so when it comes to America’s Muslim enemies. In that case, Paul justifies, or at least excuses, Islamic terrorism against America as an understandable response to U.S. statism and imperialism—just as every America hater on the anti-war right and the anti-war left has done. That is a clear example of a man putting his ideology over his country, which Paul does both intellectually and in terms of loyalty.
Paul puts his ideology over his country intellectually—because his libertarianism is for him the sole explanatory factor for everything that happens in the world, and therefore he blinds himself to the doctrines and history of our jihadist enemies, which have nothing to do with opposition to American imperialism, but are commanded by Allah and the Koran.
And Paul puts his ideology over his country in terms of loyalty—because he excuses the jihadists, as the supposed victims of America’s statist imperialism, while he condemns America, as the supposed perpetrator of statist imperialism.
And the thinking I’ve just described is at the core of the Lew Rockwell website, where, as I demonstrated years ago, the basic attitude is: if you’re a citizen of a country with a big government, you are subhuman scum and you deserve to be killed by terrrorists.
Paul, a long-time regular columnist at lewrockwell.com, has never dissociated himself from this attitude. Nor has he ever dissociated himself from the hate-Lincoln campaign that has been a central feature of that site.
I’ve been an outspoken opponent of Rockwellism for years, and now people seriously expect me to support a Rockwellite for president?
Dan M. writes:
Thanks for your response to my comment. But now for the sake of my own curiosity, is it your claim that the cause of Islamic terrorism is entirely and exclusively because it is “commanded by Allah and the Koran,” and that it has nothing whatsoever to do with all of the things lumped together under the heading of interventionism or imperialism? For example, do you say that the creation by the Western powers of the modern state of Israel out of Palestine, the support of that state through numerous wars against Arab efforts to overcome it, the presence of our military bases in Saudi Arabia to accomplish that end, the crisis in the Suez, the war for the sake of Kuwait, the war against the Taliban, etc., all have nothing to do with their hatred of the West? Just to be clear, I’d like to know. Perhaps you have a link to an article where you have defended just this point of view?
I don’t think it’s defensible to say against those who trace a kind of causality here, in the cause of Islamic terrorism, that they are anti-American, pro-jihad, or just fantastically naive. It’s not impossible that some who see a link here are just that, but it’s certainly no necessary connection. You are certainly correct that hatred of non-Islamics is inherent in the Islamic faith. But they aren’t in an open war with the entire world in the way that they are with the West, which is not to say that they aren’t now a problem for the entire world—they are. To claim a causal link in Islamic terrorism to Western and US foolishness in foreign policy is not necessarily to hate one’s country, or to justify or excuse jihad, quite the contrary. I also criticize US trade policy, but that doesn’t mean that I secretly love the economic warfare of China and Japan against us.
I think you began reading VFR fairly recently and are not familiar with my writings on Islam. I can’t revisit the whole issue every time I touch on the issue. You also don’t seem to be aware of my idea of separationism, a part of which is that we should have as little interaction with the Muslim world as possible.
Of course various events, such as the creation of Israel, “provoked” the Muslims. But throughout the history of Islam, there have been “provocations” of Muslims, and there have been numerous waxings and wanings of jihad, but there has also been also the steady unchanging mission of Islam, which is to overcome and convert all non-Muslim countries.
Thus, as Joshua London writes, in 1786 Thomas Jefferson and John Adams met with Tripoli’s ambassador to Britain, Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, and
questioned the ambassador as to why his government was so hostile to the new American republic even though America had done nothing to provoke any such animosity. Ambassador Adja answered them, as they reported to the … Congress, “that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.”Isn’t that funny? The state of Israel was 160 years in the future, U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia were 205 years in the future, America’s “war on the Taliban” was 215 years in the future, and the U.S. had never done ANYTHING against Muslims, yet the Muslim state of Tripoli considered itself bound by the laws of the Prophet to wage war on the United States. I entitled that post, “Adams got it, Jefferson got it, Quincy Adams got it. We don’t get it.” And you, Dan, don’t get it.
Also, you make statements that show an anti-U.S. and anti-Israel bias. Thus, amazingly, you write that U.S. troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia in order to protect Israel! Of course U.S. troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia, at the request and with the consent of the Saudi government, at the time of the 1991 Gulf War which the U.S. waged to protect Saudi Arabia from Iraq and drive Iraq back from Kuwait. After the war, a few thousand U.S. troops were left in Saudi Arabia, and have since been removed.
You also amazingly name the Suez crisis as a reason for Muslims to be hostile to America, when in fact in the Suez crisis President Eisenhower took the side of Egypt and the Arabs against Britain, France, and Israel and forced them to withdraw their forces from Egyptian territory, an event which split the West, demoralized our European allies, and moved them in the direction of making accommodations with the Muslims and against Israel.
You also amazingly name the war against the Taliban as a reason for Muslims to hate the West. You somehow have forgotten that the 9/11 attack on America preceded the war against the Taliban.
Your errors of historical fact all follow a pattern of blaming the U.S. and Israel for Arab hostility.
Following your logic, we must not do anything that will “provoke” Muslims. This is a recipe for endless surrender. What you are missing is that the very existence of anyone who doesn’t follow Islam “provokes” the Muslims. Allah says over and over that all men know the truth of Allah, and therefore anyone who does not follow Islam is perversely denying the truth, and therefore is horribly insulting the honor of Allah and deserves the harshest punishments through eternity.
You seem to imagine that if the U.S. stopped being friends with Israel and became indifferent to the prospect of its being destroyed by Muslims, the Muslims would stop hating us. So simple! This is a prime example of ideology blocking out reality. Just as with the liberals, your paleo-libertarian bottom line tells you that something WE are doing is the cause of Muslims’ anger. As a result, whenever THEY get angry, you and the liberals will locate the cause of THEIR anger in OUR behavior and insist that WE do something different that will make THEIR anger go away. The process of accommodation cannot end until we are all subjected under the power of Islam.
Of course we should not do anything that unnecessarily stirs up Muslims. I have written that Bush’s policy of arrogantly saying we are going to democratize the Muslim world certainly provokes the jihadists. So instead of trying to democratize them (or rather, instead of endlessly talking about democratizing them), we should, to the extent practicable, seal them off in their own world where they cannot affect us. I do not want us to be involved in Muslim societies or to try to reform their religion. So in that sense I favor a cessation of the types of behaviors that you regard as provocations of Muslims. However, I do think that it’s necessary for us to roll back Muslims from the West, and then permanently contain, isolate, and disempower the Muslim societies so that they cannot endanger us or have any influence on us at all. And I don’t think that the Muslims would like that. In short, securing our safety and security from Islam will require us to do things that will fundamentally displease Muslims, but it will displease them while removing from them the ability to do anything about it. By contrast, your policy of ceasing all provocations of Muslims is a policy of surrender that will encourage and empower the Muslims to attack us further.
Dan M. has strongly protested my preceding comment, saying that I am misrepresenting his positions and unfairly attacking him personally. However, after we discussed it, he asked me not to post his further comments on the matter but rather to let my comment stand as is, so that readers will see for themselves how unfair I have been.
While I feel that most of Dan’s protests are overblown, I would like to make a couple of clarifications. I did not mean to say that Dan himself is anti-U.S. or anti-Israel; I said that the examples he gave had that drift. Also, I may have been mistaken in attributing to Dan the paleo-libertarian position.
Dan M. writes:
“You are certainly correct that hatred of non-Islamics is inherent in the Islamic faith. But they aren’t in an open war with the entire world in the way that they are with the West … ‘
That would certainly be news to a lot of people: the Buddhist teachers and police officers of southern Thailand who are murdered on a regular basis by Moslem “separatists,” the Hindus in Kashmir who are terrorized by their Moslem neighbors, as well as the non-Moslems of Sudan, of the southern Philippines, of Nigeria, and many other parts of the bloody borders between Islam and everyone else. Because those people could tell that Islam is indeed in an open war with quite a lot of the world, although it doesn’t make the front page of the New York Times, nor apparently does it get much attention at lewrockwell.com for that matter.
Indian Hindus and Thai Buddhists and Sudanese pagans and Indonesian Christians had nothing to do with the creation of Israel, nothing. Yet the Moslem jihad kills them, just as it murdered Dutch filmmakers, blew up Australians on on holiday in Bali and horribly murdered school children in Beslan.
Perhaps Dan M. needs to read a little more about the world news?
A fabulous discussion. Reading through it I was wondering what MSM publication could have such open, high quality discussion? Nothing comes to mind. MSM will either obscure facts to protect their favored groups and ideas or will propagantisticly promote a particular point.
I usually enjoy Mark Jaws’s comments and presume that he is a long time reader of VFR, but his last comment upset me:
“Evidently our economy does need some laborers, given the very low birthrates of the native white population and the dearth of capable workers to fill the entry level jobs which need to be done. After all, we all stay at hotels and like to eat out occasionally, so a certain number of mestizos are required to do the work which poor whites and blacks used to do.”
As any honest non-Marxist economist will tell, shortages exist only if free market is not allowed to adjust prices to balance supply and demand.
This canard was disproved many times in conservative publications, occasionally even in MSM.
This canard is disproved every time one stays in Holiday Inn or eats in McDonald’s in rural south or north west.
I believe this canard was repeatedly disproved at VFR.
And yet, a long time reader Mark Jaws casually states economically illiterate canard as a fact.
Makes me sad. What does it take to spread knowledge of even the most basic facts about immigration?
I just now had the occassion to read your response to my post.
Bauer’s reference to Hitler was not using Hitler as the all-purpose symbol of evil; or “eeeeevil” as TWW mockingly refers to the concept of evil; Bauer was referring specifically to the Iranian president’s denial of the Holocaust and his stated intention to wipe out Israel. Somehow TWW missed that, which shows that TWW is not bothered by Iran’s open threat to wipe out Israel and has no problem with Holocaust denial, even when it comes from the leader of a country that has been developing nuclear weapons and threatening to use them to destroy the Jewish state.
I neither “missed that” nor do I consider Iran’s open threat to be credible. Also, is it really the function of the House of Representatives to condemn all those who are Holocost deniers? [LA replies: I find TWW’s last comment despicable and I am not going to let it pass. Iran has been developing nuclear weapons. iran’s leaders have repeatedly threatened, or rather promised, to launch a nuclear attack on Israel to destroy it, with the supreme Iranian leader Rafsanjani even declaring that Iran could completely wipe out Israel while Israel’s nukes could damage but not destroy Iran, so destroying Israel would be worth it. And the president of Iran has denied the Holocaust, even as he and Iran’s other leaders openly threaten to finish the job Hitler started. Yet TWW—and his candidate Ron Paul—think that this exterminatist behavior by a Muslim country against Israel should be a matter of complete indifference to the United States.] Actually, rather than referring to the concept of evil (which is very real and which I consider to be a separation from God), I was mockingly referring to the concept that there is any possibility of Iran wiping out Israel. As you surely must know, to say that Iran could invade Israel, is “rather like worrying about 19th century India invading England based on the former’s greater population.” See this. [LA replies: What? There is no possibility of Iran wiping out Israel, despite the facts referred to above? The very idea of Iran wiping out Israel is an absurdity? With this comment TWW has discredited himself in my eyes.]
You then write:
Second, I don’t think it was a meaningless vote of condemnation and I don’t think that’s why Paul opposed it. Paul opposed it because he obviously thinks that Iran is not a threat. Third, there is nothing foolish about thinking that a congressman who does not recognize the threat of Iran is thereby disqualified from the presidency.
First of all, Iran isn’t a threat to Israel (see above and note that Israel’s nuclear stockpile is substantial), so whether Paul thinks so or not is irrelevant. As for why Paul opposed this resolution, you can read for yourself:
“Madam Speaker: I rise in strong opposition to this resolution. This resolution is an exercise in propaganda that serves one purpose: to move us closer to initiating a war against Iran … Having already initiated a disastrous war against Iraq citing UN resolutions as justification, this resolution is like déjà vu. Have we forgotten 2003 already? Do we really want to go to war again for UN resolutions? That is where this resolution, and the many others we have passed over the last several years on Iran, is leading us. I hope my colleagues understand that a vote for this bill is a vote to move us closer to war with Iran…. Clearly, language threatening to wipe a nation or a group of people off the map is to be condemned by all civilized people. And I do condemn any such language.”
You then write:
“As I’ve been pointing out for years, scratch a person who claims merely to want the U.S. to be neutral and uninvolved vis a vis Israel and her enemies, and 99 times out of a hundred you’ll find something else. And what is amazing is that even when, as in the case of TWW, the person is actively trying to persuade me that he and a candidate he supports for president are not extreme, he cannot refrain from revealing where he’s really coming from.”
And where is that, precisely? From a position of not wanting to aid Israel? To be neutral and uninvolved? Nothing I said could be reasonably read to conclude this and, in fact, it isn’t true at all. The facts are as follows:
1) Iran is not a threat to Israel;
2) Holocost deniers are not unique;
3) Paul opposed the resolution because he felt it was a step toward war with Iran;
4) I am personally not opposed to helping protect Israel against a true threat.
I stand by my assertion.
The real position TWW is coming from, behind the usual mask of “I think we should just be neutral on Israel,” and notwithstanding his comment about being willing to defend Israel (a comment that contradicts everything he’s said on the subject), is a position of excusing and covering up for Israel’s mortal enemies.
Mark Jaws replies to my earlier reply to him:
Are you claiming that we could function hunky dory without these mestizos workers? Here in Stafford County, Virginia the population has more than tripled in the past 20 years, mostly as a result of the tremendous increase in information tech and government jobs in northern VA and DC. About ten years ago Latinos started moving in to fill needed positions in construction and service industries. The Mestizos do indeed displace some native-born workers, but I am not convinced that in high growth areas we could survive without them. The ultimate solution to a more stable America is to increase the birthrate of the productive, working-class white population.
I think you’d have to look at it city by city and niche by niche.
The one thing that is necessary is to avoid the deterministic fallacy, “Because things have happened a certain way (e.g., we’ve had a successful economy with X number of X type of immigrants), things could have happened in no other way.” Meaning, because we have a functioning economy with Mestizos, we could not have had one without them. In reality, if we had decided not to import lots of Hispanics, we might have done lots of other things differently too, and still can.
Also, please remember that we’re not talking about making all Hispanic workers disappear overnight. The fact that we have lots of them here now doing lots of jobs, doesn’t mean that we have to keep increasing their numbers, which is the the way people always seem to think about this issue. We can see that the present path does not work, and start moving the country in a different direction.
In this connection, here is a passage from my 1997 booklet Huddled Cliches:
“If we didn’t have immigrants doing all kinds of jobs in America today, there would be nobody to do them.”
As Roy Beck demonstrated in his powerful account of American workers displaced by immigration, this widely believed idea is empirically false. It is also based on a false assumption. The assumption is that the American economy could only have developed in one way, with lots immigrants coming here and taking lots of jobs. Therefore, the thinking goes, without the immigrants there would have been no one else to do those jobs and the economy would have been crippled. In fact, most of those jobs only exist because of immigrants. We can illustrate this by means of a thought experiment. Imagine that back in the late nineteenth century there had been no Chinese Exclusion Act, and that large numbers of Chinese had continued to settle in California after 1882. Over the following decades, the Chinese would have filled all kinds of existing jobs in the California economy, and would also have created new types of businesses and employment niches that hadn’t existed before. Let us imagine further that in 1920 Californians began to call for immigration restrictions against the Chinese. The pro-immigration lobby in our fictional 1920 (using the same arguments that the pro-immigration lobby uses today) would have replied: “Without Chinese immigrants here, who would have done all these jobs?” The truth, of course, is that the Chinese in our imaginary 1920 are doing all those jobs only because they had come to America in the first place. Had there been no Chinese immigrants between 1882 and 1920, which was the actual case in the actual 1882-1920 period, California would have done just fine, as it in fact did.
From this we derive a maxim: Large-scale immigration creates the illusion of its own indispensability.
“I find TWW’s last comment despicable and I am not going to let it pass. Iran has been developing nuclear weapons. Iran’s leaders have repeatedly threatened, or rather promised, to launch a nuclear attack on Israel to destroy it, with the supreme Iranian leader Rafsanjani even declaring that Iran could completely wipe out Israel while Israel’s nukes could damage but not destroy Iran, so destroying Israel would be worth it. And the president of Iran has denied the Holocaust, even as he and Iran’s other leaders openly threaten to finish the job Hitler started. Yet TWW—and his candidate Ron Paul—think that this exterminationist behavior by a Muslim country against Israel should be a matter of complete indifference to the United States.” Despicable? If Iran is not a credible threat to Israel, which point you certainly did not refute despite asserting that you had supported your comment by “facts referred to above,” then what does it matter what its leader says? Is it your position that Iran has the military and nuclear capability to wage war with Israel in anything that approaches a successful campaign? Here is a comparison by Steve Sailer of comparative military capability to support my original position: . Is it further your position that the US Congress should pass resolutions of condemnation against each and every Islamic group and nation that states a desire to wipe Israel of the map and denies the Holocaust? They would never get anything else done!
So far from being “despicable,” I am merely stating a defensible position, viz. Iran is not a threat to Israel in any credible form based at least on comparative military capability and, therefore, passing condemnation resolutions against a leader of an Islamic nation based on such puffery appears to be what Ron Paul thinks it is, nothing more than propaganda that serves to further a march toward war with Iran. Accordingly, voting no on such a resolution could not possibly be grounds for disqualification in my view.
You then write:
“The real position TWW is coming from, behind the usual mask of “I think we should just be neutral on Israel,” and notwithstanding his comment about being willing to defend Israel (a comment that contradicts everything he’s said on the subject), is a position of excusing and covering up for Israel’s mortal enemies.” I neither excuse nor wish to cover up for Israel’s mortal enemies. To the contrary, I fully support the protection of God’s chosen people, whom are clearly identified in the Torah:
“For thou [art] an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that [are] upon the face of the earth. The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye [were] the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 7:6-8) As a Christian, I believe it to be my duty to protect God’s chosen people if and when it becomes necessary.
I and others replied to Sailer’s argument in 2006 when he made it. It’s a dishonest argument. As you must realize, the issue is not Iran’s conventional armed strength but the development of Iranian nukes. Your appeal to the openly anti-Israel Sailer on this issue undercuts your claim to be a supporter of the right to exist of the Jewish people.
The above issues are discussed in this VFR entry from August 2006, which I recommend to everyone reading this.
The more I think about it, the more I’m struck by TWW’s audacity. On one hand, he says Gary Bauer is a “fool” for objecting to Ron Paul’s nay vote on the House resolution condemning the Holocaust denial by the leader of a country that has threatened to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons; he dismisses the resolution as meaningless symbolism and a waste of time; he mocks the idea that there is anything bad about the Iranian regime by referring to it as “eeeeevil,” and he says Paul’s nay vote on the resolution is not a legitimate reason for a voter to decide not to support Paul. On the other hand he piously insists that as a Christian he believes in defending the existence of the Jews! And he justifies this contradiction by saying that a major country led by Shi’ite fundamentalists developing nuclear weapons and threatening to use them against Israel while denying the Holocaust is not a “real” threat to Israel, and therefore it’s not worth doing or even saying anything about it.
About Ron Paul: he is not just associated with LewRockwell.com, as if he had an article or two posted, or a picture taken with Rockwell, he is an integral part of it, he has made a serious contribution to the site. Here is his archive. Compare with Lew Rockwell’s archive.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 22, 2007 10:51 AM | Send
LewRockwell.com is almost an adjunct campaign site for Paul.