Boston Marathon Bombing

“The worst lies,” declared the French writer Georges Bernanos, “are problems wrongly stated.“ How applicable that observation is to so many concerns at present, not least the tragic events that took place in Boston.

The chatter that fills the airwaves with speculation about the ideology that motivated two young men to detonate bombs on a crowded street is misplaced. People mean well, of course. They want to know why anyone would commit such an enormity, but their thinking is flawed. As a consequence, they misstate the problem and obscure understanding, beguiled by superficial appearances and a relapse into outmoded ways of thought.

It does not matter what ideological madness prompted this action, for evil does not inhere in any particular system of political ideas or religious beliefs. The battle is not against the symptoms of the current upheaval, not even against the temporary forms that tyranny and injustice have assumed. The problem lies in the nature of modernity itself. The bombers’ ideology, and ours, arises from the conceit that human beings can fashion their own social, political, and moral order without reference to anything outside of, or beyond, themselves. In this fundamental sense, it does not matter whether we use the pulpit, the school house, the army, the ministry of propaganda, or the concentration camp to impose our will and maintain our strength.  The purpose of such a system is not merely to control men and women. It is, rather, the utter and irrevocable transformation of human nature itself, whether by words and images or bullets and bombs.  Although the methods differ, the results are the same: the obliteration of the person. “The abolition of man,” as C. S. Lewis called it, was to be man’s final triumph.

The age that began with the promise and accomplishments of the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the scientific, industrial, and French revolutions is ending in futility and violence. The vision of universal human progress has given way to the reality of persistent human failure. The expansion of power over nature and humanity has forced upon us a recognition of the equally vast abuse of that power. This chastened and humble acknowledgement of our errors, sins, and limitations is salutary, and represents the evolution of our consciousness, especially since the great intellectual and political movements of the past contained more than their share of the arrogance, pride, lust, ignorance, and stupidity that have always guided human behavior and defined the human condition. Yet, the outrages and the horrors of the twenty-first century (to say nothing of its predecessor) have emerged precisely from our continued efforts to fit reality into the parameters of one or another intellectual and political system. It is a Procrustean enterprise.

We may sensibly have abandoned the material determinism of Karl Marx, the famous dictum that “circumstances determine consciousness.” At the same time, we fail to identify the determinism that has edged its way into our own thinking. All objections notwithstanding, we still dream of boundless, inexhaustible power used to benefit humanity—power directed toward “the relief of man’s estate,” in the words of Francis Bacon. The Tsarnaev brothers, I submit, were motivated by a similar impulse. However different our ideals, neither we nor they imagine or seek a future of universal human misery. Like us, they believed their deeds would change the constitution of being and rid the world of evil, and, again like us, confident in their essential goodness, they never considered the terrible costs of the progress they were trying to effect. No wonder that even so ardent a socialist as George Orwell could lament that among the greatest catastrophes ever to befall Western civilization was the loss of faith in the immortality of the soul. That conviction not only reminded men that a part of them lived forever, and they had an eternity to suffer for their crimes. It also demanded that they accept the humanity they shared with their victims.

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33 replies to this post
  1. Well, if indeed the Tarnov brothers were afflicted by the ills of modernity, it was an affliction contracted from the American political system which appears to have failed in the boys’ education and assimilation. These were not Dostoievski’s Shmerdikovs who knew no better, they were students, they were Turgeniev’s Bazarov albeit shorn not only of intellectual humanism (to say nothing about religion), but shorn of humanistic habits as well.

    American schools bring up children in “value-free” environments, and American universities rationalize amorality. This has produced a generation of potential psychopaths.

    What is truly shocking and tragically telling about the younger Tarnov is that he behaved “like a typical American sophmore” following his evil deed: he went to a party. This was representative of what he has learned in America. This was his “American impulse”.

    These boys, like many young immigrant kids, come from violent and inhuman environments. If the American immigration system bothered to be serious about their assimilation and if American schools bothered to teach civic virtues, they may well have turned out differently.

    • Mr. Rieth: “American schools bring up children in “value-free” environments, and American universities rationalize amorality. This has produced a generation of potential psychopaths.”

      I think you may have painted with too broad a brush. I’d ask you to prove any of those three assertions, but I’m afraid you’d go ahead and try, and I’d rather not have us get into the inevitably testy exchange that would follow.

      I can tell you this: all of my friends, my neighbors, my children and my grandchildren are all products of American schools, and many of them are also products of American universities. Not one of them is a “potential psychopath” except in the meaningless sense that every human being on the face of the planet has the “potential” to become psychopathic.

      I believe you may have mistaken what is meant by the “American impulse”. The “typical American sophomore” indeed goes to parties, but not typically after planting bombs or committing similar “evil deeds”. Evil deeds are a human impulse, not specifically American and not specifically the province of either college sophomores or Islamic radicals. Your shock at the juxtaposition of murder and partying seems naive at best–rumor has it that Hitler loved dogs and that concentration camp guards attended parties too. That’s part of what makes evil so insidious: it comes with a human face and cloaked in human, all-too human packages.

      Finally, I can tell you that there is no such thing as a “value-free environment”; conservatives make that case all the time, so I won’t bother remaking it here. You’re free to question the values inculcated by American schools, families, society, the media, etc.; I question many of them myself. But the same society that produced, let us say, the Columbine killers (talk about “psychopaths”!) also produced the heroes and the “first responders” who come to people’s rescue in times of danger. It also produced the millions of ordinary, hard-working, responsible, un-heroic Americans (except in the very real sense that everyday life requires everyday heroism) who I am proud to call my neighbors, my friends, my family, and my fellow citizens–even when they don’t agree with me on politics. On their behalf, I protest your false characterization of a generation and of a nation.

      • Rather than lapse into praising the existence of virtuous Americans, of whom there are no doubt many, I would like to underscore that it seems to me that there are a frighteningly large amount who are acting to destroy the lives of their fellows, and that a shockingly large amount have been students and young people. This tragic, systematic plague is unique to America. Either we stare the crisis in the face, or we pretend that since so many of us are good, then no crisis at the national level exists. To me – Holmes, Newtown, Boston… .one after the other with no end in sight. I grew up in Cambridge and Watertown, and never in a million years would I have imagined something like this. People came to America to escape this kind of stuff.

        • Mr. Rieth: If “People came to America to escape this kind of stuff,” they were misinformed. This has always been a violent country, perhaps more violent even than most (I’m not making the claim, just raising the possibility). In just over two hundred years, we’ve had a revolution, a Civil War, near-genocide of indigenous peoples, violent labor unrest, lynchings, bombings, assassinations, riots, our fair share of wars, a higher crime rate than almost anywhere else on earth, and more serial killers than Hollywood can crank out stories about–including the Boston Strangler, oddly charming when played by Tony Curtis, who killed more people than the Tsarnaevs and launched his own reign of terror. Sacco and Vanzetti, as I recall, were residents of Massachusetts, and the crime they either did or didn’t commit took place in the Commonwealth. America is many things, and I’m proud of my country, but I’ve never deluded myself that it has escaped the taint of what some call Original Sin and what others just call Human Nature.

          My praise for my fellow citizens was not a lapse; I hope that your condemnation of an entire generation of Americans as “potential psychopaths” was, however.

  2. Yes, the loss of faith in ‘non-existent’ reality, as Voegelin might say. And, the following loss of the order of the soul, reason/reality, truth, and beauty. From his “New Science of Politics,” he writes: “A restoration of political science to its principles implies that the restorative work is necessary because the consciousness of principle is lost.” Perhaps, like Sisyphus, man is condemned, following those tragic events in Eden, to constantly be about the work of recapturing order, reality, and truth. The business of seeking immortality.

  3. I wonder, I really do. If as Chechens they were motivated by a radical and heretical misinterpretation of Islam (as opposed to any other reason), they would still not have believed in the perfectibility of Man or the possibility of eradicating Evil. No serious Muslim, however misguided he may be on everything else, would make such a mistake. That is a mistake of rootless Westerners deprived as Orwell explained and as you cite. They may have seen their hideous act as justifiable retribution, acts of war, defense of their (twisted take on their) faith, a means to call attention to the plight of Chechens in Chechnya or Muslims somewhere else, or a way to rally others to their cause.

  4. The Tsarnaevs and the rest of their cell are not a symptom of modernity but a reaction to it. Modernity is what undermines our ability to defeat Islamism. The Tsarnaevs like all Islamists, certainly believe in principles and powers beyond themselves. Those principles, however, are in opposition to those our nation was founded on. They do not believe all humans are God’s children, or that each is endowed with an unalienable God-given right to be a kafir infidel or even an apostate. Modernism is our failure. Theirs is a different failure.

    • Yes, John has this right. Islam is a totalizing meta-narrative and has a quite detailed philosophical anthropology that instructs humans how civilization should be ordered. Islam most certainly does not allow for individuals to construct their own narratives of ‘the good life’. In this, Islam is superior to Modernity, in my opinion.

      Also, the author is wrong in his comment about the perfectibility of man in relation to Islam. In Islam, there is no original sin, just (like the fools of the Enlightenment supposed) Original Innocence. What could be more destructive?

      Anyway, I do agree with John. Also, why do people here assume ab initio that acts of terrorism are ipso facto not genuine acts of divinely sanctioned violence ordained by Allah to instantiate his benevolent rule over Creation (aka, jihad)? You folks really believe those talking heads on CNN and the BBC who quote to you verses from the Qur’an about not killing people–verses which any Qur’anic scholar knows were abrogated by later verses revealed to the Prophet which permitted him or commanded him to kill them.

      Western civilization has become so sloppy in its thinking. I cannot be sad to see it disintegrating before our very eyes.

      • It’s less a question of whether or not such edicts exist, but rather how they get translated into going to college parties and the mall one day and stabbing people for honor / blowing up runners another day. If we do believe in what are supposed to be our beliefs, particularly our core principles, we would see Islam as sharply deviating not just from our own custom, but from reality itself.

        It is obvious that they have a different set of values, but those values have become insane. We could pretend to be agnostic of this in the service of ditching our slice of tradition for a cosmopolitan conscience, or we could admit that the implementation of ‘kill the unbelievers when you see them’ in our circumstance is more than just read-and-obey.

        • I’m glad I did not have to say it. Plato made his “unwritten doctrine”, unwritten for a reason. You blame the enlightenment but your Islam makes the exact same mistake, they wrote down what good was. Islam, by definition, demands “submission” to this concrete form, which is illogical as a form is abstract (our “concrete” numbers are only representations of their form, in reality 2+2 never really equals 4, unless you are using the physical number “2”, an abstract understanding, two things are never identical – in the same way a perfect triangle never exists, even if we precieve it does). In the same way Christianity “forgives” those who didn’t follow its form. In this I see Judaism as the first main personification, monotheism, of the unwritten doctrine, a similar mistake that has been warped. Even pre or paralleling Plato, “pagan” religions made mistakes of defining “good” but most of them lived along side nature, which is closer to the “good” Plato may have spoken of.

          This is not to say the intent is not good, but intent does not matter. Most religions spawn of an understanding that in order to explain the Unwritten Doctrine type ideals to a people, the easiest way is to make the forms into representative God(s). Even seen in Greek mythology that developed alone side philosophy. What really matters is the results of defining the ultimate “form”, which can be reasoned to an overarching stability – proven time and again by observation: big bang – original “spawning” of stable possibilities that fractals outward with more complexity and new stable forms. Life itselfs exists in the universes best attempt at stability (and possible others), where quite literally all spectrum of possibilities converge on their most stable bell curve – light, temperature, atmosphere density -> water, variable but cyclic and balanced weather patterns -> lightning, seasons, other life sustaining cycles and pulses). Only in this representation of stability was life started, and it too fractals outwards in evolution, testing every crack of possibilities. Humans are evolutions best attempt at producing the a stable form, which is why some religions say Man was made in God’s image – we inherited this fractal possibility testing nature of the universe in conscious thought, lending us adaption.

          To admit, as any religion does, that a “good” form exists, and then say that yours is the truth is absolutely absurd, it may be closer or further from the abstract form but it is not THE form, it cannot be, religion is based on drawing a perfect triangle and claiming that the rest of the attempts must conform to it. This is not to say the humanity does not need something to believe in. It may well be God but it certainly is not the written definitions. Prophets, sages, ect were the visionaries that could closely imagine the good form. And their teachings are all very good representations and a people who believe them are likely to create a society the represents good in the same matter. But what was neglected was human nature, it will always attempt to break its mold no matter what. So make the mold abstract. Believe in God if you truly understand the basic implications of the meaning, but do not attempt to convert. If the individual does not come upon the understanding of the abstract good form naturally, they are subject to be a bastardization of ideals, a Frankenstein of volatile confusion and misdirection.

          The success of the West can be attributed to Platos ideals, lets not forget Islam started in the “west” as well, but its failure, like many other societies outside of Abrahamic religion or the west, comes when it defines what good is and/or allows others to define it for them. Political correctness is just another religion where the ultimate good has been defined again, and coincidentally allows for the meta universal religion of Islam to spread through equality in unison, instead of separation and preservation. Segregation failed in the United States because the boundaries where so interweaved, and inequalities could be perceived stronger than the will to build up ones society higher than the other, in this light no one stopped them from replacing the water fountain with a nicer one, no one stopped them from declining white admittance, and no one stopped them from advancing. Nothing but their own perceived inequalities acting as writers block to adaption. It certainly was not my fault for these perceptions, and it wasn’t theirs either, it is their cultures.

          If I had to pick, which is don’t in the west thank goodness, I would choose Christianity because it allows forgiveness which is necessary for true growth of the mind and understanding of good in balance and stability through separation and conservation. But I do not as it still sets its laws, its “Mortal” sins being basic morals of “good” that can be easily derived with reason (murder ect.).

          It fails for the simple reason that it defines good. However good the intent it’s result is always failure. As a law only sets a boundary for those who wish to break them, human nature will find loopholes in any definition of good, and exploit them. Our society is broken because a person who eats junk food and throws the rapper on the ground broke common sense “good” and the created law but the cops did not see. The person who’s lawn it is may play the slave to the fool and pick it up hoping the law catches up to him or confront him accusing him of breaking this definition of good – the law, to which the person will get offensive and may even lie as you cannot prove it. All within bounds of written law. In a world closer to a good form, first junk food wouldn’t exist or have been created, and second the offender would be instantly called out for tossing a inorganic product into nature, as in no way could that be imagined as good.

          The abstract good form is easily identified but cannot be defined, simple as that. Do not do evil encompasses Murder as well any definition, law or religion since. And the creation of the law only leaves you to make a law against mugging, and then stealing. All of which are encompassed by the abstract “do no evil”, but who’s definitions have allowed for scrutiny and a justice system that allows for loopholes and cracks to be figured by liars. And it does not take a stretch of the imagination to determine Islam does not result in a society that represents good, the culmination of ideals that resulted in the west was close, but was ruined by the enlightenment and subsequent revolutions leading us to an old world vs new type mentality where the crusades were a pissing contest for number of likes on facebook.

          The real east is usually partnered with good, but in this, the fundamentally flawed ideals of communism had cultivated, and when mixed in Russia with western ideals created another violent piece to the puzzle. The giant crown of the east that means to control the strings of the eastern countries and unite them in a front, possibly under Islam now/previously, for its own domination. But is itself a bastardization of two forms creating an even more complex illogical, and was our first post enlightenment, post colonization, post modern fight against an spread of “evil” disguised in good intent, in communism. Which destroyed, rapidly, each country it touched, and the ideals results were quickly denied by humanity. So much so that the good intent of communism has been forgotten, even to some history and definition.

          At the vary least, then we could unite as were fighting against results. Today we fight against intent, and Islam, unarguable has the best.

          • Well, I think you have misconstrued my position, but let me offer a defense on the behalf of Islam:

            1) Allah is indeed forgiving. Perhaps not in the same way as in Christianity, but he certainly is.

            2) Defining the Good? Islam does no such thing. The Good is the essence of God, and in Islamic orthodoxy the essence of God is completely unknowable, unlike in Christianity or the idolatries of Modernity. In Islam The place of the human being is obedience, not friendship or equality with God, as you propose.

    • And yet, their way of dealing with modernity is itself shockingly ‘modern’. Their reaction is ineffectual precisely because while it wounds the system, it cannot disassemble it because it uses a version of it to attack it. This is an inversion of Sun Tzu’s ‘swordlessness’, which is akin to getting a man to fall on his own sword. Instead, their way was as if Luddites invented automated battle robots to destroy mills.

      So if they succeeded, they would simply replace the monster with its cousin, who happens to not only have all the same vices, but a number of extra ones plus a devotion to an extreme ideological code that he cannot live up to.

      Looking at many of these extreme Muslim situations – take the Salafists – they are marring Mecca with skyscrapers. Why? Because they are modernists whose ideology is Islam. In order to save Islam from being consumed by modernity, they have fused Islam with the ideologies of vanguard leftism: thoroughly modern and what Orwell himself barely survived to write 1984.

      They may believe in the immortal soul, but they have contorted this belief to fit their political ends: That murder-suicide is witness and the path to immortality. But after the murders and some suicides, the rest go and drink some beers and mix at a college party, maybe get a hook-up.

      Modern Islam sets up young men for extreme cognitive dissonance, I think.

      • Hi River,

        I would disagree with you that they are modernists with a Muslim guise, I would say there Muslims who co-opt many tools and methods of modernity. The idea, say, of the political, revolutionary vanguard which can through spectacular acts of violence cause a revolution, was Seyyid Qutb’s appropriation of European ideas.

        Still though, they are not trying to form humanity in their own image a la workers paradise or what have you (at least in their own minds), which indeed would make them modern. Rather, they are trying to force the world to submit to God’s will, and that my friend is not a modernist concept at all. Moreover their sense of how the world should be ordered does not come from their own philosophy or ideas, but (again, in their minds) outside of humanity. Again, not modern at all.

        • And yet in practice, they are moderns. I would assert this is because Islam has fused with the modern or post-modern – it creates cognitive dissonance which creates the anger necessary to strike out against the non-Islamic society.

          It desires a struggle and a war and therefore embraces contradictions in the same way a Christian embraces ascesis. To argue whether they are ‘Moderns in a Muslim Guise’ or ‘Muslims in a Modern Guise’ I believe is more words about words – words whose definitions have lost usefulness at this point. It is a situation of ‘both-and’. If we then need to forge some new words to prevent confusion, then let it be done.

  5. Well, that would make sense except for the fact that all things being equal, these two men were extremely privilaged. Foremost, they made it to America with most of their family in tact – something rare for many Chechens who have not only been displacee by the war, but also have had their families torn apart. Secondly, at least one of them was made a citizen and both at least had green cards to they could work and study like regular Americans. They did so.

    Compared to most Chechens, these guys were rich and privileged. If they really had any empathy for Chechenia, they would have worked toward peaceful resolution of the problems there, or in an aid group. If they were truly devout Muslims, they could have found a charity and sent clothes, toys and a whole mess of stuff from their wealthy adopted home to their war ravaged motherland.

    As such, all they did was lend support to the Russian claim that anyone who opposes Moscow in Grozny is a terorist. Those two idiots have set back the cause of Chechen independence by decades, if not permanently.

    The problem is spoiled idiot kids who resent their benefactors, and succumb to a form of nihilism that is sadly omnipresent in American society. It seems that the system failed to make decent humams of them. In the end, it’s as much a mystery as James Holmes. And it seems to be happening more and more often, which suggests to me it is the statistical probability of more psychopaths in a culture that refuses to teach right and wrong.

    • Peter, “If they were truly devout Muslims…’

      Where do you get this stuff? Why do you think that true devotion and the use of violence is incompatible. Just go read the Life of the Prophet. Now there was some serious devotion-and-violence going hand in hand, and quite successful as well.

  6. These brutal terror incidents strike me as a kind of pre-modern fanatical traditionalism blended with a heavy dose of post-modern violent nihilism. This is a nasty cocktail of abdication- the abdication of critical intelligence AND spiritual discernment.

  7. I can’t see much to fault in Mr. Malvasi’s essay, or even in most of the assumptions that lie behind it. In fact, I think it is a fine statement of what keen minds in the West have been saying for many years. I am troubled by what is here not his central point, and referred to eloquently by Steve Masty. The current form of Muslim jihad is certainly a violent reaction against modernity as Malvasi defines it. Steve says that this is a “radical and heretical” form of Islam, but I’m not so sure, especially given the deeds of its founder and so much of the content of its holy book. If Christianity is true, then Islam cannot be, and this opens it up to forms of evil that even radical and heretical Christians are rarely tempted by.

    • I agree with John here–the Islam they practice is not heretical precisely because it is radical, in the most etymological sense of that word–going to the roots. And the genuine and authentic Islam of these two men does indeed extend to the roots of their poltic/faith by emulating the ideal man–Muhammad.

      Lots of Muslims around the world are proud of these men.

  8. Careful John Willson, careful, lest you be trampling the ground of ‘intolerance.’

    The truth is, Islam has been at war with us for a very long time. I don’t think, given the regime, we can react like men with chests.

    • “….Islam has been at war with us for a very long time.”

      Is that war more about the physical or the metaphysical? That is, is Islamic extremism more about power and the result of the clash of civilizations? Or is it fundamentally a pre-modern reaction to the scientism, hedonism, and relativism of the postmodern West?

      • Good point, Cassi! I think the latter though the gnostic component, that I don’t believe Voegelin commented upon, is so intermingled with an apocalyptic tension that it is quite confusing to me as an interpretation of world history and the coming transcendent final realm of world history. It is rather obvious that the United States may not even offer resistance to this demonic impulse given its capture by ‘multiculturalism, diversity, and the dread of being labelled intolerant.’

      • Cassiodorus, it is about three things: a mixture of shame and jealousy for the collapse of the great Islamic civilisations compared to the dominance of the West, the intensive and arrogant meddling of the West in even the minutia of their own affairs, and Western culture’s corruptive influences (sexual decadence, materialism, etc). Few readers on this website would disagree with any of these three matters (especially as they affect US military and diplomatic adventurism, and US domestic problems from a decadent media). The Islamists represent a change from the past by wanting to create, not a real version of Islam’s past, but a hybrid heavily influenced by 19th/early 20th C nationalism and, signally, European fascism. There is a vast repository of good history available online; you could start with anything on Qutb and other early (20th C) Islamist radicals. Effectively these guys owe more to Hitler than to their Prophet.

        Still, Muslims live not in a vacuum. Most admire the best of modernity. When Ms Bhutto first ran for office in the 1980s, vast numbers of (Islamic-inspired, opposition) Muslim Leaguers voted for her because, as many told me at the time, she was an Oxford/Harvard educated female (!) who could modernise Pakistan. Much of those dreams remain in Tahrir Square and elsewhere.

    • About a dozen years ago, a British Member of Parliament suggested that the best defense against radical Islamism is that we become wiser and better Christians!

      • s masty,

        I tend to agree with your analysis. I recently locked horns with a liberal friend of mine who argued that jihadism is simply a particularly violent strain of reaction. He went on to say that reactionaries of all stripes naturally embrace their prospective traditional religions in a desperate bid to hold back the irresistible fact of modernism and change. “Some forms of reaction”, he claimed, “are just more violent than others”. The implicatons of his remark were clear. Saying this to me, a defender of Tradition, was antagonistic to say the least.

  9. This topic naturally evokes emotion and analysis. That is good, because as a nation and a planet all of us have to find some way to put a stop to “Islamic” terrorism. That said, a few remarks:

    1. After 9/11, one of my friends who was still at Hillsdale said that he and a small group of students approached one of our wise professors and asked “what should we think? What should we do?” They probably expected a lecture on what Lincoln would have done or Xenophon said. Instead, the professor replied: “This is your generation’s war. You have to figure it out.” He is right. Historical and philosophical analogies only carry so much weight. We have to see the enemy as he is and think for ourselves about how to stop him. No easy analogies here.

    2. Mr. Schifflet; I will try to be clearer: I hold the American education system to a higher standard than that of the Waffen SS. I don’t care that NAZIs partied too. I don’t care that crime has a long history in American life. Members of an American student body are not perfect and have vices like everyone else. However, if Doctors were killing, not saving, or Lifegaurds drowning people – we would say there is a systemic fault in the profession. The education system is now producing killers: this is the crisis conservatives have warned about. Take God, history, ethics, national heritage out of the schools and the immigration system and we get James Holmes and the Boston terrorists.

    3. Dr. Willson, I tend to agree, however my fiance has told me of her impressions of the plight of muslims in Israel from her time there during a pilgrimage, and it seems clear that the Israelis have to find some way to remedy this situation if there is to be a chance of lasting peace. I know this is wishful thinking, but the alternative is worse. A Palestinian state, recognized by the United States and Israel is the ideal. I refuse to believe that all muslims hate jews and want them exterminated wholesale. Our problem is that rather than resolve to bring peace to the region we have become associated with one side. It’s a natural temptation not only because Israelis are democratic, but because they are so American too. Still, for their sake something needs to be done to bring peace. I freely and depressingly admit I don’t know what.

    • Mr. Rieth: “I don’t care that crime has a long history in American life. ”

      But shouldn’t you care, given your claim that “this is the crisis conservatives have warned about”? If violent crime has been endemic in America all along, then how is this latest crime evidence of some new “crisis” caused by the deterioration of educational standards? Merely dismissing my reminders that American political violence is nothing new with “I don’t care” isn’t much of an argument.

      “if Doctors were killing, not saving, or Lifegaurds drowning people – we would say there is a systemic fault in the profession.”

      Doctors have killed, Mr. Rieth, and so have nurses (I can’t speak to the record of lifeguards.) It’s a question of numbers: that some few medical professionals (out of many thousands) commit crimes does not discredit an entire profession, nor should it. Now, if many doctors were regularly killing patients, and hospitals were knowingly reassigning those doctors elsewhere and not notifying the authorities: then we’d have a systemic problem.

      “The education system is now producing killers: this is the crisis conservatives have warned about. Take God, history, ethics, national heritage out of the schools and the immigration system and we get James Holmes and the Boston terrorists.”

      I await your proof that “the education system is now producing killers”. I assume you have statistical data to show that killers are more likely to have attended colleges, or that the murder rate increases with the amount of education an individual receives. I assume you will control for other influences and factors in people’s lives–family, friends, religious upbringing, political ideologies, mental and emotional problems, etc.–in order to be certain that it’s the “education system” that’s producing these fiends. And of course I also await your proof that “God, history, ethics, [and] national heritage” have been removed from the schools; since the assertion is absurd on its face, I can only assume you mean that your particular notions of “God, history, ethics, [and] national heritage” are not being taught.

  10. With regard to Abu Daoud’s point:

    “Peter, “If they were truly devout Muslims…’

    Where do you get this stuff? Why do you think that true devotion and the use of violence is incompatible. Just go read the Life of the Prophet. Now there was some serious devotion-and-violence going hand in hand, and quite successful as well.”

    Answer: I get “this stuff” from here:

    Granted, the original is in various non-English languages, and Benedict XVI’s sermon is in French, with all of it dubbed over in Polish, but I have yet to find anything in the pedophile obsessed western press about the mighty work Pope Benedict XVI did to bring peace to the Middle East.

    During this trip, he said that religious fundamentalism was a sin because the true mark of religion was its openness to the Otherhood of the human person. He called for Islam and Christianity to practice self-cleansing. Notice all those Muslims in the audience, not to mention the fact that there’s a Mosque next to where he was.

    None of this makes it into the Western press, much less Youtube where it’s hard for me to find any english version of this and other portions of Benedict’s trip to Lebanon that stretches for more than a few minutes…

    • Hi Peter, thanks for your remarks. I actually agree with BXVI on this point. But his concept of genuine religion and devotion is, obviously, Christian. For Muslims, and according to Islamic sources, there is nothing that indicates that devotion and violence should be separated. Quite the opposite, in fact. Why would you think that Muslims should evaluate their own religion and piety according to the standards of a kaafir like BXVI?

  11. Abu Daoud, if the West were to actually intend on thwarting rising Islam, what would be their best strategy?

    • Well, now you’re talking my game Robert! An excellent question, and a topic which I have devoted a lot of my time and energy to. Western modernity, as such, is not strong enough to stop Islam. Christianity is. My recommendation would be to evangelize Muslims. Unprecedented numbers of Muslims are disillusioned with their politic-religion and are leaving it. Let us make this work better.

      In relation to Western nation states, they need to come to terms that Islam is not simply a religion, but also a politic. And they need to understand that it is a politic that is frankly irreconcilable with the values of humanism quite often. So before someone is given a visa to come over much less citizenship, they should need to explicitly claim that they support the right of Muslims to leave Islam for another religion or no religion at all, and that they explicitly support that a woman’s testimony is and should be of the same value as a man’s in court, and so on.

      Countries that do no permit conversion from Islam (Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Saudi, Algeria, etc…) should be pressured, one by one, carefully, until they are forced to allow for apostasy and will protect the apostates.

      A speedy and efficient mechanism for stripping citizenship of naturalized Muslims in the West must be developed. If a Muslim makes a claim after naturalization that contradicts the constitution, then they were lying when they pledged to uphold it. They should be stripped of citizenship and deported right away.

      Asylum should never be given to Muslims. There are many Muslim countries in the ME and Africa and Asia, let them take care of their own.

      These are just some ideas…check out my blog and read some of my articles on apostates of Islam and the growth of Iranian Christianity, for instance.

      • We are in total agreement with your comments.
        Please send link to your website.
        You have more brains and guts than the current regime and a large portion of the derailed American public.

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