Friday, January 8, 2016

Europeans Studiously Ignore Muslim Mobs. By John O’Sullivan.

Mayor of Cologne Henriette Reker arrives for a press conference on January 5, 2016. (Oliver Berg/AFP/Getty Images)

Europeans Studiously Ignore Muslim MobsBy John O’Sullivan. National Review Online, January 8, 2016.


To avoid inciting anti-Muslim sentiment, the press and government overlook repeated, vicious riots targeting women.

Many years ago I read a thought-provoking science-fiction short story about a sociologist who specialized in the important field of bureaucratic expansionism. I can’t recall the story’s title, and I haven’t found the story on the Web, but a colleague better schooled in sci-fi can probably identify it.

Through my hazy memories, however, it goes something like this. The sociologist is excited because he thinks he has gone farther than anyone else in discovering the sociological laws of organizational success. But how can he be sure? Inspired by a blend of scientific curiosity and a sense of fun, he makes friends with his mother’s sewing circle and persuades its members to reorganize it along his scientific lines.

At the close of the story the sewing circle has got three Senate seats, 55 House seats, and a credible contender for the presidency.

Which brings me not to Donald Trump but to the New Year’s riots in Cologne and two other German cities, in which one woman was raped, about 90 others grossly assaulted sexually, and New Year revelers of both sexes jostled, attacked, robbed, and threatened by an estimated 1,000 men of North African and Middle Eastern appearance in “organized” criminal gangs.

Whatever Mohammed’s virtues or defects as a prophet, he was one helluva practical sociologist.

Not that the riots and sexual assaults in Cologne stemmed from the Koran or Islamic doctrine, any more than the sewing circle’s rise stemmed from its favored technique of knitting. But the founder of Islam imbued his new religion with a number of rules and practices that made it the formidable militaristic force that conquered an empire from Spain to India in its first 100 years and that is advancing in Africa and Asia today.

If we exclude divine favor as an explanation of this long advance, as Christians and post-Christian secularists presumably should, the rules that explain it include capital punishment for leaving Islam (a.k.a. apostasy), which is presumably a disincentive to doing so; strict rules for regular public prayer, which strengthen group solidarity; a privileged position for men over women, amounting in practice to ownership of them as either wives or concubines; a hierarchical structure within Islamic society that places Muslims in a position above non-Muslims in law, government, and social life; and a religious orthodoxy that endows Muslims with a general superiority (and sense of superiority) over others in non-Islamic societies.

Taken together, these rules help to shape a Muslim community that is cohesive, conscious of its separation from the rest of society, resistant to influences likely to undermine its cohesion, self-policing through its male members, and — because its sense of superiority is not reflected in its actual status either locally or globally — prey to resentment and hostility toward those whom it blames for its unjust subordination.

To be sure, a hundred qualifications should be added to this picture. Other religions also have rules to keep their adherents from drifting away or being corrupted into apostasy, but in recent centuries none so brutally — or so effectively. In practice, Muslim-majority societies of the past have sometimes shown tolerance to minorities and even allowed non-Muslims to hold high military and political positions, as under the Ottomans. And the majority of ordinary, decent Muslims, especially in non-Muslim Western societies, are far more interested in getting good jobs, raising happy families, and getting on with their neighbors than in martyrdom or advancing the interests of the umma or the local mosque. And much else.

That said, the minority that supports aggressive jihadism (or is simply contemptuous of non-Muslim society) is not just larger but, as opinion polls show, far larger than similar tendencies in other religions and ideologies. That minority seeks to impose its rules both on fellow Muslims and on the wider society. And it has had remarkable success in areas where Muslims predominate locally, making U.K. state schools conform to Islamic teaching and practices, including the separation of the sexes; establishing “no-go areas” of European cities where police go only by agreement and where in their absence Muslim rules on alcohol and modest female dress are enforced by violence; and turning local governments into reliable Muslim fiefdoms through levels of voter fraud not known in England since the mid-19th century.

But the most disturbing effects occur when the Muslim sense of superiority over non-Muslims combines with the Muslim males’ sense of superiority over women. Last year that combination produced the scandal in Rotherham, in which no fewer than 1,400 young women, most of them white, working-class “Christian” girls, were raped, tortured, beaten, abused, prostituted, passed from hand to hand, and abused in almost every conceivable way by gangs of Muslim men of Pakistani background who despised their victims as sluts and “worthless.” Their story, which is heart-rending, is told here. But the same basic narrative, varying only in the details, was replayed in Oxford, Birmingham, Oldham, and about 20 more medium-size English provincial towns in the last decade.

The shame of such widespread sexual abuse is not confined to its Muslim male perpetrators. It is shared by the police, by local councilors, by social workers who were supposedly caring for some of the victims, by MPs who didn’t want to know what was happening, by the negligent media, and by local Muslim leaders. These different “facilitators,” however, were driven by different motives. The police, the local authorities, the child-protection agencies, and the media turned blind eyes to the scandal (even when distressed girls directly sought their help) from fear of being accused of racism and Islamophobia; local Muslim leaders employed that fear to deter investigations and to protect the good name of their community.

As for the perpetrators, they were driven not solely by lust but also by communal politics and a particular contempt for non-Muslim girls. It was not derived from Islamic doctrines, which they were too uneducated to know. As the distinguished Welsh sociologist Christie Davies has pointed out, however:
What they did know is that under Islam women are inferior beings who should be denied autonomy — particularly over their own bodies — sexual property, the property of their male relatives. If Muslim women step out of line, they are liable to be the victims of an honour killing. If they suffer a sexual assault, they are forced to say nothing, lest disgrace fall on their families, even when they themselves are entirely innocent.

For Muslims, non-Muslims are in every way inferior and the freedom enjoyed by their womenfolk is the worst aspect of that inferiority. In consequence non-Muslim women may be attacked and exploited without compunction. There is a direct link between the insistence on the wearing of a hijab for those within the fold and the raping of those outside, between an obsession with modesty for those women who are family property and the utter disregard for the rights of those women who are free.
What happened this week to the women in Cologne differs in important ways from the abuse of the young girls in Rotherham. But it proceeds from the same Muslim group loyalty and sense of superiorities inherent in Islam. What the rioters in Cologne demonstrated in the crudest possible way was that among the things they wanted to take were “our” women. Our own society finds such logic hard to follow: In what sense are modern independent women anyone else’s property? But by the logic of the societies and religion from which the rioters and most migrants come, women are either behind the veil, and thus the property of the family, or on the street, and thus the property of anyone. And the rioters were imposing their logic, values, and identity on us on the significant date of New Year’s Day.

Nor did the initial reaction of the German authorities differ very much from that of various Rotherham officials. The police did little at the time; no one was arrested. Indeed, they announced that the night had been a peaceful one. The media made no mention of the event. All told, the story was suppressed for three days by the media, the police, the Cologne authorities, and the federal government until it began to seep out through social media. When it could no longer be denied, the local (female) mayor warned women to travel in groups in future, and federal ministers were concerned mainly to warn that these crimes should not be linked to the “welcome policy” that Chancellor Merkel had extended to migrants. It would be, said one minister, an abuse of debate to do so.

I don’t think German officials have quite thought this one through. Either the misogynistic rioters included a significant number of recently arrived migrants or they did not. If they did, then the migration fed directly into the riots; if they did not, then the rioters were people of “North African and Arab appearance” who had previously been law-abiding but who now felt able and entitled to assault local women in public without much fear of the consequences. What changed them? What gave them that confidence? The obvious answer is that those rioters who had been living in Germany for some years, maybe even having been born there, have been emboldened by the arrival of many others of similar origin, faith, or “appearance,” and the potential arrival of many more. They sense that the German authorities are restrained from halting immigration or imposing Western values on the migrants, or even preventing them from imposing their values on the locals. And as the feminists say, they feel “empowered” as a result.

Policy in Germany, the U.K., France, and the U.S. since the late 20th century has been one of killing the Muslim sense of superiority with kindness and expecting Muslim migrants to gradually surrender to the lures of Western liberal-democratic capitalism. It’s not an unreasonable policy; it was adopted in part from sympathy for ordinary, respectable Muslim families, some of whom did adapt; and I can understand why governments pursued it. But it simply hasn’t worked. And it will fail more and more as more and more migrants arrive to strengthen Muslim solidarity and to weaken pressures for assimilation. Germany is today in a state of shock; France on the verge of serious communal conflict, even perhaps a low-level civil war; the European Union dithering, with no idea of how to cope with the expected future levels of mass migration; the Brits wondering how they can regain control of their border whether they are in or out of the EU.

Which brings me finally to Donald Trump. His policy of simply halting Muslim immigration has been denounced all around. It is, of course, discriminatory and thus a mortal sin in today’s politics. Fine. Let’s rule it out. But if his critics don’t want a blanket moratorium on all immigration — which I assume they don’t — and if they don’t want to repeat the experiences of France and Germany in 30 years’ time — which I also assume they don’t — shouldn’t they tell us what they will do?

And, for once, that’s not a rhetorical question.

[P.S. My thanks to Fred Schwarz for tracking down the title of the sci-fi story. It’s “The Snowball Effect,” by Katherine MacLean, published in 1952. And I’m going to go back and read it.]

Mass Muslim Immigration Will Bring Islam’s Problems Here. By David French.

Muslims pray for murdered aid worker Alan Henning in Manchester Central Mosque, England on October 4, 2014. (Oli Scarff/AFP/ Getty Images)

Mass Muslim Immigration Will Bring Islam’s Problems Here. By David French. National Review Online, January 8, 2016.


To hear the Left tell it, the debate over mass Muslim immigration — especially from conflict zones — is a simple contest between compassionate tolerance and cowardly xenophobia. They claim their opponents are cowards because the percentage of refugees or immigrants who are terrorists is very small (your bathtub is more dangerous than a Muslim immigrant), and they’re xenophobes because they have no understanding or appreciation for the blessings and benefits of diversity. Conservatives are all fear and no heart.

According to the rules of this debate, there are but two kinds of Muslim immigrants — the tiny few terrorists and the overwhelmingly deserving, suffering majority. Question this narrative, or call attention to the vast cultural gaps between the refugees and the Western nations they’re fleeing to, and you’re a racist. After all, our cultural elite understands the Muslim world better than you do. They went to Harvard with Muslims, and the Muslims they know have great accents, cool customs, and — most importantly — tales of imperialist oppression that turn the leftist heart to mush. What’s not to love?

The recent events in Cologne and other German and Austrian cities represent a necessary, reality-based corrective to this absurd binary thinking. On New Year’s Eve, German women faced attacks from roaming gangs of North African and Middle Eastern immigrants, including asylum-seekers. According to German officials, “sexual crimes took place on a huge scale.” More than 100 women were victimized in a single evening, with up to 1,000 attackers involved.

As my colleague Ian Tuttle notes, this sexual violence is part of a “disturbing trend” in European countries with large Muslim-immigrant populations. Sweden now has the “third-highest rate of rape per capita in the world.” Britain’s horrifying Rotherham rape scandal — where 1,400 children were systematically raped and abused over a period of 16 years while authorities turned a blind eye — still shocks the conscience.

But the challenges go well beyond terrorism and sexual violence. Immigrants and refugees are pouring into the West from regions overrun with anti-Semitism and featuring vast numbers of people who support the imposition of sharia law. For example, 99 percent of Afghans want sharia to be the “official law of the land” in their home country, along with 91 percent of Iraqis, 89 percent of Palestinians, 84 percent of Pakistanis, and 83 percent of Moroccans.

This means that substantial majorities of these populations believe, among other things, in the death penalty for leaving Islam and stoning as the punishment for adultery. Moreover, vast numbers believe that sharia should apply to both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Further, as I’ve discussed before, Western soldiers are coming home from conflict zones describing cultures that feature systematic child rape in Afghanistan, brutal treatment of women in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and a shocking level of fatalism and disregard for human life.

Simply put, there are powerful cultural reasons why many of the nations of North Africa and the Middle East are miserable places to live — and those reasons go well beyond terrorism. And while it’s true that some immigrants are intentionally fleeing that culture and hoping to embrace more humane Western values, bitter experience in Britain, France, and elsewhere teaches us that a substantial number hope to enjoy the material blessings of the West while maintaining and defending many of the worst beliefs and practices of their home nations.

The worst actions — terrorist violence and sexual assaults — are symptoms of a much larger disease. Even when the Left tries to minimize Muslim violence, it often refutes its own case. After the San Bernardino shootings, the New York Times shared this chart, showing the relative terror death tolls in the U.S. since 9/11 split between “Islamic extremists” and “non-Islamic extremists”:

Yet with Muslims representing a mere 1 percent of the American population, this chart demonstrates that 1 percent of the population is responsible for an almost identical number of terror deaths as the remaining 99 percent combined. And this chart doesn’t even include 9/11, with its staggering death toll at the hands of Muslim visa-holders.

Let’s be honest: When someone advocates for large-scale Muslim immigration from the world’s worst conflict zones, they are arguing that the West should open its borders to people who are overwhelmingly anti-Semitic, disproportionately religiously intolerant, and harboring disturbing numbers of men who have no moral reservations about sexual assault.

Culture matters, and cultural differences exist for a reason. The miserable cultures of much of North Africa and the Middle East exist in part because of the very people who now wish to migrate to Western shores. I would be proud to welcome those who’ve demonstrated they’re committed to American ideals — and we do have allies who’ve bled with us on the battlefield who should be given safe passage to the West — but the burden of proof is on the immigrant, and proper vetting for terrorists is but the beginning of the challenge.

America’s Political Parties Are Just Tribes Now. By Matt Lewis.

America’s Political Parties Are Just Tribes Now. By Matt Lewis. The Daily Beast, January 2, 2016.


In 2015, once high-minded disagreements over policy and ideology descended into something much more primitive.

When it comes to politics, in 2015 we witnessed nothing less than a paradigm shift. The old rules are out the window. Technology and changing mores have conspired to lower barriers of entry—and acceptability. Gatekeepers no longer exist. What we have right now is closer to direct democracy than we’ve ever seen, and our civilization is regressing as a result.

One party (the Democrats) already represents the liberal half of the nation. The other half seems to consist of modern, Buckleyite conservatives, but also an increasingly large horde of populist, nationalist, individualistic Americans—who now have a megaphone and a vessel in the form of Donald Trump.

Times change, and political parties adapt or are replaced. And make no mistake; if the Party of Lincoln becomes the Party of Trump, it would essentially redefine what it means to be a Republican. Conservatism, a coherent political philosophy, looks as if it’s being replaced by messy right-wing populism.

Just as the political parties sorted themselves out so that there are no more “conservative Democrats” or “liberal Republicans,” I fear we may be entering a new stage where there are essentially two distinct political tribes: One tribe consists of minorities and educated elites, while the other tribe increasingly consists of working-class whites.

The trends that brought us this situation have been in existence for decades, but 2015 may be remembered as the year when we broke apart, and political differences became primary cultural signifiers. Disagreements about ideological principles, or even policy preferences, seem to be taking a back seat to identity politics. It doesn’t matter what you believe in so much as what grouping you belong to, and how willing you are to fight for the sliver of America you represent. 2015 was the year of tribalism. Our politics are less high-minded than ever.

If tribes strike you as primitive, it’s not just you. Tribes tend to assign leadership, not based on experience or wisdom, but based on strength. Much of what we are witnessing today is very base (no pun intended) and essentially comes down to machismo: The other guys are out to get us so we need our toughest guy to get them first. This is the major rationale for Trump supporters, who see him as an “alpha” in a sea of wishy-washy Beltway insiders.

Conservatives once hated identity politics and victimhood—but then again, we once supported free trade, too. Perhaps our disdain for tribalism was always a high-minded, yet doomed, effort to suppress the natural, carnal state of a fallen humanity. You and I may view politics as being about ideas and human flourishing, but a lot of people believe it’s really about power—about making sure scarce resources are allocated to “our” people.

Although I didn’t see the Trump phenomenon coming, I think I sensed the populist zeitgeist that led both to him and to this larger breakdown into tribes. Here’s something I wrote back in April for the Beast—long before Trump was in the race:
…I think there is a huge underserved constituency in the GOP—and that constituency is what might best be termed populist conservatives. These folks tend to be white and working-class and who feel they’ve been left behind in America. They are culturally conservative—but they also want to keep government out of their Medicare.

Mitt Romney was arguably the worst candidate Republicans could have ever nominated to appeal to this constituency. But while candidates like Huckabee and Rick Santorum flirted with going full populist, something always seemed to keep them from really doubling down on it.

… The last time someone really tried this was when “Pitchfork” Pat Buchanan, and then Ross Perot, ran in 1992. It resonated then, but that was before the “giant sucking sound” really kicked in. Whether it’s globalization or immigration—or whatever “-ation” might have taken your job—it stands to reason that the same grassroots phenomenon that helped Buchanan and Perot tap into an underserved constituency might be even more potent today.
I still think there’s a decent chance that this fever—which has been aided by an economic downturn, Obama’s election, and the rise of ISIS—will break. And I think that the rules governing the way the GOP allocates delegates will probably benefit someone who is a more mainstream and thoughtful conservative, like Marco Rubio.

It’s easy to see how a Rubio presidency could help reorder things in a different way—in a way that I believe would be healthier both for America and in terms of making sure conservatism can survive and thrive in the 21st century. A Rubio presidency would have the potential to grow the conservative movement by modernizing (not moderating) it—to make it more appealing to Hispanics, urbanites, and millennials. If conservatism is about ideas like freedom and entrepreneurship, not merely cultural signaling (the stereotype being that the definition of a conservative is a white guy with a gun rack), then there’s no reason the guy who orders an Uber shouldn’t be a conservative.

But this only works if the conservatives want to actually grow their numbers by choosing a modernizer. The last CNN/ORC poll I saw suggested that if you add Trump’s supporters together with those of Ted Cruz and Ben Carson, you were at about two-thirds of the national GOP primary voters. The rejection of candidates favored by the GOP establishment this past year has been unprecedented. The Republican base, at least right now, is rallying to the candidates who embrace this new tribalism.

Earlier, I said the rules have changed. And, indeed, they have. Conservatives used to care about electing men and women who have wisdom, experience or expertise, and will comport themselves in an appropriate or “statesmanlike” manner, and who have a conservative temperament. They were deeply invested in defending abstract concepts like a culture of life, the rule of law, and religious liberty, while also worrying about things like unintentional consequences. They wanted to unleash the power of a free market (of products and ideas) to encourage human flourishing.

These are the hallmarks of conservative philosophy, consistency, and a coherent worldview—something that looks increasingly passé to Republican voters.

In some cases, much of today’s GOP base is skeptical or even hostile to these conservative values. For example, they believe a conservative temperament is an antiquated concept guaranteed to produce weak leaders who won’t fight, and that conservatism as a temperament was essentially designed to fail. How else can you explain the near-triumph of contemporary liberalism, and the fact that the GOP has only won the popular vote in a presidential election once since the end of the Reagan era?

It’s hard to summon people to their better angels when those people feel aggrieved. It’s hard to advise those people to “keep your head when all about you are losing theirs”—when there are literal beheadings taking place around the globe. The problem is that people like me are calling for civilized behavior and for modernization at a time when Republican voters want to get medieval. 2015 belonged to Donald Trump. But the real question is this: Who will own 2016?

Trump’s Nomination Would Rip the Heart Out of the Republican Party. By Michael Gerson.

Trump’s nomination would rip the heart out of the Republican Party. By Michael Gerson. Washington Post, January 7, 2016.


Every Republican of the type concerned with winning in November has been asking the question (at least internally): “What if the worst happens?”

The worst does not mean the nomination of Ted Cruz, in spite of justified fears of political disaster. Cruz is an ideologue with a message perfectly tuned for a relatively small minority of the electorate. Uniquely in American politics, the senator from Texas has made his reputation by being roundly hated by his colleagues — apparently a prerequisite for a certain kind of anti-establishment conservative, but unpromising for an image makeover at his convention.

Cruz’s nomination would represent the victory of the hard right — religious right and tea party factions — within the Republican coalition. After he loses, the ideological struggles within the GOP would go on.

No, the worst outcome for the party would be the nomination of Donald Trump. It is impossible to predict where the political contest between Trump and Hillary Clinton would end up. Clinton has manifestly poor political skills, and Trump possesses a serious talent for the low blow. But Trump’s nomination would not be the temporary victory of one of the GOP’s ideological factions. It would involve the replacement of the humane ideal at the center of the party and its history. If Trump were the nominee, the GOP would cease to be.

Whatever your view of Republican politicians, the aspiration, the self-conception, of the party was set by Abraham Lincoln: human dignity, honored by human freedom and undergirded by certain moral commitments, including compassion and tolerance. Lincoln described the “promise that in due time the weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance.”

It is this universality that Trump attacks. All of his angry resentment against invading Hispanics and Muslims adds up to a kind of ethno-nationalism — an assertion that the United States is being weakened and adulterated by the other. This is consistent with European, right-wing, anti-immigrant populism. It is not consistent with conservatism, which, at the very least, involves respect for institutions and commitment to reasoned, incremental change. And Trumpism is certainly not consistent with the Republicanism of Lincoln, who admitted no exceptions to the promises of the Declaration of Independence and was nominated, in part, because he could appeal to anti-slavery German immigrants.

Liberals who claim that Trumpism is the natural outgrowth, or logical conclusion, of conservatism or Republicanism are simply wrong. Edmund Burke is not the grandfather of Nigel Farage. Lincoln is not even the distant relative of Trump.

Trump, in some ways, is an odd carrier of ethno-nationalist beliefs. He held few of them, as far as I can tell, just four years ago. But as a demagogue, he has followed some of America’s worst instincts wherever they have led, and fed ethnic and religious prejudice in the process. All presidential nominees, to some extent, shape their parties into their own image. Trump would deface the GOP beyond recognition.

Trump is disqualified for the presidency by his erratic temperament, his ignorance about public affairs and his scary sympathy for authoritarianism. But for me, and I suspect for many, the largest problem is that Trump would make the GOP the party of racial and religious exclusion.

American political parties are durable constructions. But they have been broken before by powerful, roiling issues such as immigration and racial prejudice. Many Republicans could not vote for Trump but would have a horribly difficult time voting for Clinton. The humane values of Republicanism would need to find a temporary home, which would necessitate the creation of a third party. This might help elect Clinton, but it would preserve something of conservatism, held in trust, in the hope of better days.

Ultimately, these political matters are quite personal. I have spent 25 years in the company of compassionate conservatives, reform conservatives, Sam’s Club conservatives or whatever they want to call themselves, trying to advance an agenda of social justice in America’s center-right party. We have shared a belief that sound public policy — promoting opportunity, along with the skills and values necessary to grasp it — can improve the lives of our fellow citizens and thus make politics an honorable adventure.

The nomination of Trump would reduce Republican politics — at the presidential level — to an enterprise of squalid prejudice. And many Republicans could not follow, precisely because they are Republicans. By seizing the GOP, Trump would break it to pieces.

Letter from John Adams to Mordecai M. Noah on Zionism, March 15, 1819.

From John Adams to Mordecai M. Noah, 15 March 1819. Founders Online. National Archives. Early Access Document. The University of Virginia Press, Rotunda Early Access Document.

March 15th. 1819

Dear Sir

I have to thank you for another valuable publication your travels in “Europe & Africa” which though I cannot see well enough to read I can hear as well ever & accordingly have heard read two thirds of it & shall in course hear all the rest—It is a magazine of ancient & modern learning of judicious observations & ingenious reflections I have been so pleased with it that I wish you had continued your travels into Syria Judea & Jerusalem. I should attend more to your <interesting> remarks upon those interesting countries than to those of any traveller I have yet read—If I were to let my <[. . .]> imagination loose I Should wish you had been a member of Napoleons Institute at Cairo nay farther I could find it in my heart to wish that you had been at the head of a hundred thousand Israelites indeed as well disciplin’d as a French army—& marching with them into Judea & making a conquest of that country & restoring your nation to the dominion of it—For I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation For as I believe the most enlighten’d men of it have participated in the ameliorations of the philosophy of the age, once restored to an independent government & no longer persecuted they would soon wear away some of the asperities & peculiarities of their character possibly in time become liberal Unitarian Christians for your Jehovah is our Jehovah & your God of Abraham Isaac & Jacob is our God I am Sir with respect & esteem / your obliged humble servant

John Adams