The Ayaan Hirsi Ali Monument at Brandeis

[The Death Throes of Western Civilization, Part 98]

By now, most of you (unless you get your news from PBS or CBS, who seem to have missed it) will have heard of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the courageous battler for women’s rights who was “disinvited” by ultra-liberal Brandeis University as its 2014 commencement speaker.

Her story is an amazing story of courage in the face of oppression, brutality, murder, cowardice and hypocrisy.  Brandeis’ shunning of her in deference to Islamist pressure is the most shameful chapter in the history of this Jewish institution founded as a place of post-Holocaust tolerance.

After fleeing her Somali homeland for refuge in Holland, she became a feminist leader and was elected to the Dutch parliament. She wrote the script for a movie critical of Islamic repression of women (Submission); the filmmaker (Theo Van Gogh) was brutally murdered by an Islamist assassin, and a note threatening Ali was pinned to the dead man’s chest – with a knife. You can read the note here. (Scroll down for the English translation, which begins “Open letter to Hirshi Ali: In the name of Allah – the Beneficent – the Merciful…”.  I guess it really IS a religion of peace!)

The Dutch government – of which she was a member -  encouraged her to resign from parliament and to flee to the US. The late Christopher Hitchens wrote about her here.

She is a black woman, a battling feminist, and an atheist. You would think she would be the toast of Brandeis.  But Brandeis president Frederick Lawrence explained that some of her statements about Islamic treatment of women were “inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.” (Past honorees and speakers include retired terrorist Bill Ayers and Israel-hater Tony Kushner.)

So know we know what Brandeis’ “core values” consist of: “Speak no evil of Islam.” Is this from pro-Islamism, or from sheer cowardice in the face of Islamist violence?  Does it really matter which?

Here, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal, is the speech that she would have delivered to the Brandeis commencement, if she had not been silenced by the Islamist/PC thought police.  You ought to read it. School children ought to be reciting it (if such things were still done in schools).

In fact…

A Proposal: On a location as close as possible to the Brandeis campus (perhaps within sight of the Brandeis/Roberts MBTA station on South Street in Waltham, Mass.), a monument should be erected to this great, brave lady.  On the base, her speech should be inscribed in full.  Along with that statement about Brandeis’ “core values”.

If somebody is already working on it, I will contribute my retiree’s mite.  And I’ll serve on the fund-raising committee.

 

“Blind, pitiless indifference”

[My friend Ben Finiti's latest bit of soul-searching. Read more of this sort of thing at benfiniti.com.]

As I have written below, I have spent many years trying to find God.  I have found much Judeo-Christian theology coherent, consistent with reality, and therefore highly plausible.

But I still cannot convince myself that the other coherent, consistent worldview, atheistic materialism, is not also plausible.

Many authors have helped me along; I will list and discuss them sometime.  But nothing so far has been quite so compelling as this quote from atheist guru Richard Dawkins:

“The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.”

This chilling statement, offered in support of Dawkins’ atheism, is from his book Rivers of Eden, which I found quoted in Francis Collins’ The Language of God.  (I recommend Collins’ book highly.  He was the director of the Human Genome Project as well as a Christian.)

I expect to be contemplating this for a long time.

Abe Foxman: See no Jihad…

Mark Steyn, perhaps the most potent combination of searing intellect and savage wit writing today, has posted an excellent  piece on the distorted worldview of the Anti-Defamation League’s longtime leader and public face, Abe Foxman. He skewers Foxman for his “bold stand” against the rising tide of worldwide antisemitism, which Abe ascribes entirely to…right-wingers and anti-government types!   Foxman, like many American liberal Jews, cannot see the massive (and rising) wave of Muslim Jew-hatred because he is still busy scouring the land for leftover American Nazis just waiting for the call from George Lincoln Rockwell.

I recommend Steyn’s post (here), as well as one from an interesting blogger (endofyourarm.com) named Molly Rosen, who also pulls no punches. 

“Shame on you, Abraham Foxman. Shame on you…It’s so cozy to be a professional Jew, fighting the ghosts of WW2 over and over and never facing the real threats to the Jewish people.  How fortunate for them, how convenient for their denial that there is an Israel now and an IDF to fight the real battles on behalf of the Jews.”

“See no jihad, hear no jihad, speak no jihad!    This disgraceful denial is, not coincidentally, coupled with abject sucking-up to, and fawning over President Obama, who is inarguably the worst and most hostile President in American history toward the Jews and Israel.”

Give ‘em hell, Molly!

Really, you should read both of these. After you do, leave a comment with your opinion.

Napoleonic Appeasement

It is not easy to fathom the mindset that believes Obama has found a path to peace in our times. We call it appeasement because that is what Neville Chamberlain, its best-known advocate, proudly called it.  Appeasers believe that every opponent is a reasonable person suffering only from an inferiority complex, in need of friendly outreach and professional counseling.  It is a twin error with isolationism, which is the belief that we have enemies only because we have friends.

We tend to frame appeasement in 1930′s Hitlerite terms.  Since the reductio ad hitlerum is properly suspect (one only needs to counter that “Iran is not Hitler”), it may be useful to look for other examples.

In the early years of the 19th century, European leaders were perplexed by the problem of an aggressively revolutionary France.  The Chamberlains and Obamas of the day thought that they could cut deals with Napoleon.

Here are some prescient words from a 1954 doctoral thesis on the subject.

The defenders of the status quo therefore tend to begin by treating the revolutionary power as if its protestations were merely tactical; as if it really accepted the existing legitimacy but overstated its case for bargaining purposes; as if it were motivated by specific grievances to be assuaged by limited concessions.  Those who warn against the danger in time are considered alarmists; those who counsel adaptation to circumstance are considered balanced and sane… 

“Appeasement”… is the result of an inability to come to grips with a policy of unlimited objectives. But it is the essence of a revolutionary power that it possesses the courage of its convictions, that it is willing, indeed eager, to push its principles to their ultimate conclusion.

It does not take much vision to see in these words the thinking of the Islamic Republic of Iran:  “a revolutionary power that it possesses the courage of its convictions, that it is willing, indeed eager, to push its principles to their ultimate conclusion.”

Think about today’s leaders in the West (including Mr. Obama), “…treating the revolutionary power as if its protestations were merely tactical...” As if “Death to America!” and “Erase Israel from the Map” were just political sloganeering!

“…as if it really accepted the existing legitimacy but overstated its case for bargaining purposes…”  As if Iran really wanted to live in peace with its neighbors, or anyone else (except other Shiite Muslim theocracies, of which there are thankfully none yet)!

“…as if it were motivated by specific grievances to be assuaged by limited concessions…”  As if the Mullahs really wanted only to build nuclear power plants, so they could end their reliance on foreign oil!  (Has any diplomat ever asked Iran why it wants or needs ANY nuclear capacity?)

“Those who warn against the danger in time are considered alarmists”, as Mister Netanyahu, Joe Lieberman, and other voices in the Wilderness know only too well.  Someday (heaven forfend), their names may be listed on a tragic honor roll along with that of Winston Churchill.

As for the wishful optimists, the “balanced and sane” folks who counsel “adaptation to circumstance”, well, you know who they are.

[If you are interested in the name of the doctoral student who wrote the above analysis, it is Henry Kissinger, in A World Restored; Europe After Napoleon: The Politics of Conservatism in a Revolutionary Age.  It is well worth a read.]
As always, I’d be interested in your reaction.  Just click the “Leave a comment” button up top, and have at it.

The Death Throes of Western Civilization, Part 97

My friend Ben Finiti alerts me to a great essay on the intellectual implosion that is modern academia.

____________________________________

If you are concerned about the dreadful direction taken by the modern university liberal arts, humanities, and social sciences, I urge your consideration of an excellent article, “The Humanities and Us”, by Heather Mac Donald in City Journal.

Continue reading ‘The Death Throes of Western Civilization, Part 97′

Iran’s View of the Agreement

[My friend David Smith has written a letter to his local newspaper, succinctly (under 200 words) summarizing the Iranian view of the new Agreement, in contrast to our own president's.  He rightly calls for support of the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act, already sponsored by 59 senators!  (When legislation is sponsored by a bipartisan majority like that, the objecters ought to be called upon to explain their reasons for dissent.)

Here is his letter.]

_____________________________________________

President Obama has crafted what he considers a breakthrough agreement with Iran, to stop Iran’s illegal program of uranium enrichment for nuclear weapons.

Here is the United Nations position (Resolution no. 1696):

“The UN demands that Iran shall suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development, to be verified by the IAEA.”

Here is what Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s chief negotiator, said about Obama’s Geneva Agreement:

“No facility will be closed; enrichment will continue, and qualitative and nuclear research will be expanded. All research into a new generation of centrifuges will continue.”

Here is Iranian President Rouhani’s victory tweet:

“In the Geneva agreement world powers surrendered to Iranian nation’s will.”

And here is what President Obama says:

What we want to do is …give peace a chance.

We may each draw our own conclusions about the likelihood of Iran actually complying. But the Senate should immediately shore up our position in the very likely event that Iran violates the agreement. For that reason, Senators Tester and Baucus should support the bipartisan “Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013.” Currently co-sponsored by 59 senators, this act would strengthen sanctions unless the president verifies that Iran is verifiably complying with agreements.

–David Smith

Iranian Moderates, Then and Now

We are hearing much these days about negotiations with the new “moderate” Iranian leadership. What is an “Iranian moderate”?

Let’s take a walk down memory lane.

December of 2001, shorty after the 9/11 attacks, Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, 4th President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, spoke at Teheran University.

“RAFSANJANI SAYS MUSLIMS SHOULD USE NUCLEAR WEAPON AGAINST ISRAEL”

Nuclear Weapons Can Solve the Israel Problem

Rafsanjani said that Muslims must surround colonialism and force them [the colonialists] to see whether Israel is beneficial to them or not. If one day, he said, the world of Islam comes to possess the weapons currently in Israel’s possession [meaning nuclear weapons] – on that day this method of global arrogance would come to a dead end. This, he said, is because the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam.  [MEMRI.org, citing three Iranian newspapers] Continue reading ‘Iranian Moderates, Then and Now’


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