Here. Yes, I know, this is an under-19 team and not the full Real Madrid team. And maybe the ground was slippery, too. Still, taking a penalty kick should be easy, and anyone who had been playing awhile would know the ground was slippery and would compensate.
After the murder of Theo van Gogh, many leftists were more worried about a backlash against Muslims than the fact that one of their own had been murdered by a Muslim. Now we are seeing something similar from the NY Times about Rotherham. Recall that the abuse in Rotherham occurred because people who knew about it said nothing because they were worried about being called racist. This column by Katrin Bennhold worries that we will now be so focused on Asian perpetrators that other perpetrators will be ignored. In fact, Ms. Bennhold can never quite bring herself to say that what I just said, that people were worried about being called racist if they were to step forward. Incredible. Instead, she is focused on how there will now be a hurtful Asian-on-white stereotype of sexual abuse.
Look, Ms. Bennhold, the obvious lesson of Rotherham is that we need to scale back on the cries of “racism” whenever someone criticizes Muslims. This is going to take a long time. It is just going to take a long time to reverse the Islamophilia that you and so many other cultural elites instituted that caused these people to fear being called racist. The last thing we need to worry about at this point is stereotypes of Muslims and how harmful they might be. Let’s just try to stop the damage that you and the other liberal and leftist enablers set in motion, ok?
The evidence in the case of the shooting of Michael Brown is piling up in favor of the police officer, Darren Wilson. Various unnamed witnesses, all black, have affirmed the officer’s account, and so does the autopsy. See here. None of this matters, of course, since those who think that an “unarmed” black teenager shot by the police must be innocent and that the police must be guilty will continue to believe this. They are battling against “white supremacy,” after all. That this is supposedly still around is enough to prove (in their minds, anyway) that their narrative is correct. And so they will riot, and the results of that riot will hurt them for decades, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that they have a chance to show how angry they are at the system.
For the rest of us, the fact that the police don’t shoot black doctors and lawyers and only seem to go after blacks who are tainted by criminal tendencies is enough to prove that white supremacy is dead. Too bad about all the businesses that will leave black areas because of the riots, but then those who riot aren’t interested in hearing about that.
Incidentally, that business about being unarmed? It seems that Michael Brown was doing his best to change that.
Also, this is the second time in recent weeks where fears connected with racism has prevented people from talking freely. In Rotherham, it was people who knew about the sexual abuse who were silent because they were afraid of being called racist, and now it’s blacks who are afraid of being seen as traitors to the left’s racial narrative who won’t come forward publicly. These incidents are signs that the left’s anti-racism program has gone too far.
Then there’s this item, which ought to silence most of the race hustlers.
This column by Lee Smith raises some interesting points about Westerners, particularly teenage girls, who run off to join ISIS. Smith notes that there is more approval in Europe for ISIS than there is in the Muslim world, with 27% of French citizens between the ages of 18 to 24 giving their approval. Smith notes that “when teenage girls turn away from One Direction and embrace ISIS, it means the West is losing,” with which I would agree. He also believes that this is because the West no longer offers young people anything meaningful or worth fighting for, while ISIS does both. “Europe is devoid of values worth living—or dying—for.” No doubt this is part of it, but at the same time I would argue that, even if young people in Europe feel a void, they still wouldn’t run off to join ISIS if leftist rhetoric were different. If our society was still heavily Christian, the predominant view would be that it would be sinful to join such a group. If it were Buddhist, it would be that joining such a group would produce bad karma. Under communism with religion regarded as the opiate of the people, it is hard to imagine anyone joining ISIS. A leftism purged of the nonsense of cultural relativism, multiculturalism, and Islamophilia would also be strongly against a group like ISIS. Moreover, with its general support for underdogs, the left would strongly propel people toward helping the Kurds and not ISIS. It is because the left has the particular character it does these days that young people think that joining ISIS is a reasonable thing to do.
Why aren’t more people joining the Kurds to help out? Haven’t we been told that leftists support the Palestinians because they are the underdog? An interesting point is made in this article in Commentary, which points out that while there are Muslims going off to fight for ISIS, no one goes off to fight for the Palestinians. Apparently, there is less support for it in the Muslim world than we have been led to believe. Also, of course, leftists here in the West, no matter how much moral support they might want to give, have no intention of going off to help Hamas fight. That is something they just won’t do, partly because they have no military training and partly because they are generally against war. So, Hamas cannot count on them for anything other than money and moral support. But the Kurds cannot count on them for much, either, despite their being underdogs. It is really too bad that the Kurds cannot, for a day or two, control our media in order to tell everyone in the West how little they think of our leftists.
My liberal friends don’t talk much about politics these days. It’s too depressing, I guess. One of them did let slip the complaint that the ebola business showed how awful big bureaucracies can be. It’s funny that they didn’t take that line when Katrina happened. Nothing less would do than that it was all George Bush’s fault. All I ask is that they be consistent and blame Obama for ebola mess.
See here for a column complaining about the prices for tickets at Arsenal (an English soccer team for those of you who don't follow soccer). I've heard tell that it's cheaper to go to Germany and go to a game there than to go to an Arsenal game. Too bad.
When I first went to games in England in the early 1990s, the games were somewhat expensive, but it was easy to get tickets. I would simply go to the stadium and buy a ticket. By the end of that decade, it seemed that one had to reserve a ticket weeks in advance, plus of course they were expensive. I don’t even try to go to games in England anymore, unless they are at a level below that of the Premiership. I guess all that demand drives up the prices.
Why are young Muslims in the West running off to join ISIS? I have argued that it is because the rhetoric they are likely to hear never suggests that the atrocities ISIS commits are horrible, but Ali Sina, a former Muslim, argues differently (here). He says:
Thousands of young Muslims join Islamic State. The great majority come from moderate Muslim families. It is easy to radicalize them. You ask them whether they believe in the Koran and they respond “yes.” Then you read it to them and show them that God enjoins jihad, that their parents who prefer this world to the next are hypocrites, and the Koran orders true believers to neither associate with the hypocrites nor take them as friends and guardians, even if they are fathers and brothers.
Yet, despite what Sina says, there are plenty of passages one can show to Jews and Christians that would give them a jolt about their religion which at the same time would not encourage them to take up some new lifestyle or engage in acts that we would now condemn.
Let me start with the Jews. Exodus 21 contains a number of verses which entail that slavery is permissible. Leviticus 20:9 says that anyone who curses his parents shall be put to death, verse 27 says that mediums should also be put to death, and verse 21:7 says you can’t marry a divorced woman. Deuteronomy 13:6-9 says that you ought to put your relatives to death if they merely suggest worshipping other gods, verse 21:15 assumes that men can have two wives, while verses 18-21 tell parents that a rebellious son should be stoned to death. There are plenty of others that have all sorts of rules about which today we would be squeamish
And here are some for Christians. Both Matthew 10:34 and Luke 12:51 have Jesus saying he didn’t come to bring peace on earth, but division, and Luke 22:36 has Jesus demanding of his disciples that they have swords; verse 50 tells of one of the disciples actually using his sword. Finally, there is the famous scene shortly after Jesus entered Jerusalem where he made a whip and drove the money-changers out of the temple and overturned their tables.
So, why don’t Jews, when confronted with these passages, decide to adhere to all the rules of Exodus through Deuteronomy? It’s because they have gone through the Enlightenment and have been brought up on enlightened values that forbid slavery, having two wives, etc. And why don’t Christians, when confronted with these passages, decide that Jesus after all was not the Prince of Peace they have been led to believe he was? Why don’t they enter banks with whips (today one would use a gun) and drive all the bankers out and pour their money on the floor? It’s because they will assume that these are outliers, that they must be interpreted in their context, that they are allegorical, etc. But they too are influenced by the Enlightenment and so prefer a peaceful Jesus to a combative Jesus.
Meanwhile, the Muslim world never went through the Enlightenment. (Twenty years ago I went to a talk by a Muslim philosopher who said that the Muslim world could have gone through the Enlightenment, but they decided not to.) When I was young, the West generally thought of itself as superior to other cultures and strongly suggested that they ought to adopt enlightened values, but that ended several decades ago. Today, we no longer issue such suggestions to the rest of the world, and even here in the West, the rhetoric that Muslim immigrants are likely to hear is the left’s perversion of the Enlightenment, which most of us know: the West is evil, while the rest of the world is fine; Muslims shouldn’t have to give up their values by assimilating; there is nothing wrong with them attacking us, etc. There is nothing coming from the left suggesting that Muslims should look for peaceful leaders like Gandhi, or that they should treat all people with respect, or that they should try to reform Islam and make it more enlightened. The left treats Tariq Ramadan as a moderate and has no problems with sticking up for the Iranian theocracy against those protesting against it and for the Muslim Brotherhood against those in Egypt who share their own secular values. The only thing the left has done which would discourage these would-be soldiers of ISIS is to insist that “jihad” means an inner struggle, and I assume that any jihadist can overcome that with ease.
Why, fed a steady diet of this kind of rhetoric, wouldn’t any moderate Muslim simply cave when shown the more vicious parts of the Qur’an? Nothing has prepared them to say to the Islamists, “You are so wrong. It is wrong to do the things you are doing.” Nor have they been prepared to say things like, “You are taking these out of context” or “Those were applicable only during that era of Muhammad’s life” or something else that would negate the force of such verses. As for stories of Muhammad’s wars and atrocities, any history is a simplification, and what we know of Muhammad is sketchy enough that any would-be moderate could easily sweep away any troubling episode by claiming it is not as well supported as people once thought. Or it could be argued that while he was bloodthirsty, he was the least bloodthirsty warrior of his era. There is plenty of room for making Islam into a moderate religion.
As for the left, even with the spectacle of Muslims slaughtering other Muslims, of Muslims selling off women captured during war, of Muslims beheading people they have kidnapped, the leftist rhetoric has remained the same. The U.S. is still more evil than ISIS, it in fact helped bring about ISIS by creating chaos in that part of the world by its 2003 invasion, it is more of a threat to world peace than anyone else, and so on. They still cling to the idea that criticizing Islam is racist.
These are the people who think that society should be open to change, though when their own rhetoric obviously needs to be changed, they can’t do it.
A British group called the National Union of Students thought about condemning the atrocities of ISIS, but a group of black students objected, saying it was Islamophobic and a justification for war, and so the resolution was not passed. See here. It is true that the main person who rejected the resolution was working on her own version, but we will see if she actually comes up with anything substantive. Condemning ISIS is a no-brainer, and everyone in the West who has the slightest interest in human rights should be able to do it, but too often our liberals and leftists are not doing so. This is why I call them pre-Islamists.
Let me clarify that by the term pre-Islamist, I mean any Westerner who is not Muslim who nevertheless deliberately empowers Islamists, who fails to condemn them when they could, who contributes to an atmosphere in which Islamists are empowered, who criticizes the West without offering greater criticism of the Islamists, who promotes Islamic chauvinism (that is, the exaggeration of Islam’s contributions to the world while saying nothing about its stagnation), who dismisses the sufferings of those who have been victimized by the Islamists, who insists on the moral equivalence of some other group (Christians or Westerners in general) with the Islamists, etc. I originally invented this term as a more accurate description of the postmodernists, but it also applies to people (like Noam Chomsky) who are not part of the postmodernist movement. In fact, it applies to most liberals and leftists of our era.
Now let me clarify what I mean by the Islamists. These are the Muslims who generally reject enlightened values. These are the ones who do or at least approve of the following: killing their daughters because their daughters have dishonored their family, subjecting their daughters to genital mutilation, killing apostates from Islam, demanding that non-Muslims pay a special tax (the jizya tax) that Muslims don’t have to pay, mistreating anyone captured during war (including selling them off as slaves), killing homosexuals, harassing or even raping women who are “inappropriately dressed,” demanding that women cover their heads in some fashion, making death threats against anyone who dishonors their religion, banning music, and demanding that Islamic law be the law of the entire world.
Condemning the Islamists is a no-brainer, except for our liberals and leftists.
For some time, I’ve been expressing skepticism about statistics showing how beneficial a college education is because they don’t break down the numbers by class. After all, richer kids are more likely to go to college than poorer kids, and as a result the statistics about the benefits of a college education are really telling us how much it will benefit rich kids and not necessarily much of anything about how, or whether, it will benefit poor kids. I looked for studies that broke things down by class, but found none. But now this has been rectified, in part anyway. This column in the Washington Post refers to a study claiming that poor kids who go to college do about as well as rich kids who drop out of high school. I’m assuming that rich kids who go to college do a lot better. If so, then while college can help poor kids, it’s not as though they will be helped in the ways that rich kids will be helped. Even worse, this study looks at what happens to these kids when they are 40, but that means they are relying on data from a couple decades ago in terms of people going to college. However, today’s poor kids who go to college will be horribly stymied by the enormous levels of debt they have incurred.
By the way, the headline for this story exaggerates things a little. While it is true that the same percentage (16%) of poor kids going to college and rich kids who dropped out of high school ended up in the bottom 20%, it is also true that fully half of the latter group ended up in the bottom 40%, while only about a third of the former group did. So, things aren’t as bad for the poor student who goes to college as this article makes them out to be. But the relevant comparison is with rich kids who went to college, and I’m assuming that the rich kids will have done a lot better than the poor kids.
Incidentally, one of the first commenters complains that Tea Partiers seem to want this situation (that is, the lack of upward mobility) to continue. I’m going to let actual members of the Tea Party answer that, but I would answer it like this:
It’s not as though the left has much interest in upward mobility, either. Why not add class background to affirmative action if you are so interested in upward mobility? In addition, poor blacks with their hatred of doing well in school because it would be “acting white” are shooting themselves in the foot, but the left doesn’t seem to care. Poor people generally are squeezed by higher costs imposed on them by leftists. Environmentalists, for example, want the price of gas and electricity to go up, which hurts the poor. Leftists want all sorts of administrators to be added to our colleges, which raises the cost of college and, these days at least, entails that poor people will be stuck with massive loans that they may never pay off. By imposing more costs on the poor, the left leaves the poor in a weaker position to help their children escape from poverty.