Monday, December 04, 2006
No Substitute for Reading It All
I typically ignore the material posted on the web in advance of the print issue of The Objective Standard, preferring to save all my good reading for later. But Friday, I decided to go ahead and read "'No Substitute for Victory': The Defeat of Islamic Totalitarianism", John Lewis's outstanding essay systematically comparing the current war with our fight against the Shinto-inspired Japanese during World War II.
The whole thing is solid from beginning to end, but the thing that struck me the most about it was just how similar the two wars are with respect to the underlying motivation of our foes -- and how victory will require us to take this similarity into account:
Given this understanding of the issue, how should we begin to confront Totalitarian Islam? Again, there is precedent in history. The basic principles of a rational policy towards Islamic Totalitarianism -- with clear strategic implications -- were revealed in a striking telegram sent by the U.S. Secretary of State James Byrnes to General Douglas MacArthur, the American commander in Japan, in October, 1945. The telegram established the basic U.S. policy goals towards Shintoism, and laid out, for MacArthur and his subordinates, the basic principles by which those goals were to be achieved:The similarities between these conflicts also permit us to understand why today's conflict has been so far drawn out by comparison to that with the Japanese. Despite an enormous military advantage held by the West over its essentially parasitic foe (versus our much weaker starting position against Japan), we seem to be getting nowhere. Lewis explains very clearly why this is the case: We aren't fighting to win and never really have.Shintoism, insofar as it is a religion of individual Japanese, is not to be interfered with. Shintoism, however, insofar as it is directed by the Japanese government, and as a measure enforced from above by the government, is to be done away with. People would not be taxed to support National Shinto and there will be no place for Shintoism in the schools. Shintoism as a state religion -- National Shinto, that is -- will go . . . Our policy on this goes beyond Shinto . . . The dissemination of Japanese militaristic and ultra-nationalistic ideology in any form will be completely suppressed. And the Japanese Government will be required to cease financial and other support of Shinto establishments.The telegram is clear about the need for separation between religion and state -- between an individual's right to follow Shinto and the government's power to enforce it. This requirement applies to Islam today (and to Christianity and Judaism) as strongly as it did to Shinto. In regard to Japan, the job involved breaking the link between Shinto and state; in regard to Islamic Totalitarianism the task involves breaking the link between Islam and state. This is the central political issue we face: the complete lack of any conceptual or institutional separation between church and state in Islam, both historically and in the totalitarian movement today. [bold added]
Given that the timid prosecution of this war is giving the idea of "fighting back" a bad name, John Lewis's essay provides a much-needed antidote to the notion that we cannot defeat Islamofascism militarily. I would rank his arguments among the most important I have read on the subject.
The piece is long, so set aside some time and plan to read it carefully.
It looks like my wife and I saw the new James Bond movie around the same time that Myrhaf did, and I pretty much agree with his review. I enjoyed this one from start to finish and highly recommend it.
And I, too, liked the Bond Girl.
Force vs. Violence
Jason Hoskin makes a very important point in an article over at Capitalism Magazine about the tendency of Islamofasicsts to use (a la the left) allegations that they are being "victimized" in order to advance their agenda.
The criticism of UCPD officers is the result of what Ayn Rand identified as a "fraudulent distinction" between force and violence. The student and his supporters are operating under the implicit assumption that force is an appropriate means of dealing with others, so long as direct physical contact is not made. When police retaliate by removing the student from the premises, this is somehow reprehensible, since it involves physical coercion. This conception serves to obliterate the rights of citizens to engage in self-defense through the agency of law enforcement. The behavior of this student is in principle no different from a thug breaking into one's home, sitting on the floor and refusing to leave. Though he may not have initiated direct physical contact with the home owner, he has violated the homeowner's right to property and to be secure in his home. In such a situation, the homeowner has the right to defend his home by throwing out the thug bodily, or calling upon the police to do so.This false distinction was not only employed by Moslems in the recent case of the six imams who disrupted a flight in Minnesota (which Hoskin also discusses), it also lies at the crux of a tasering controversy here in Houston.
The use of greater force by the UCPD was absolutely appropriate. Tabatabainejad demonstrated a complete lack of respect for the rights and safety of others. He behaved in a manner that suggested he was under the influence of mind-altering drugs and ought to have been considered a threat. The mere fact that UCPD officers have chosen a dangerous career does not mean they should be made the sacrificial fodder to every hoodlum with a penchant for anarchy. The UCPD officers should not be expected to risk sustaining one scratch for the sake of those who initiate the use of force. [bold added]
Fantasy at the Point of a Gun
Via Myrhaf, George Reisman nails down the problem with a new rule being considered by New York City. According to the New York Times:
Separating anatomy from what it means to be a man or a woman, New York City is moving forward with a plan to let people alter the sex on their birth certificate even if they have not had sex-change surgery.To which Reisman says:
The meaning of these statements is that if you're a man and want badly enough to be a woman, or if you're a woman and want badly enough to be a man, in New York City you soon will be able to be so. In New York City, at least according to the city's government, wishing to possess a different gender will actually make it so.Reisman has lots more. Myrhaf is right about, "Yesterday's absurdities ... becoming today's laws in New York City."
What is present in the rule being considered by New York City's Board of Health is an attempt to forcibly impose the fantasy of some people on everyone else. It is an attempt to elevate fantasy to the level of actual reality and to compel everyone else to accept it as though it were reality.
You can now find Reisman's blog in the sidebar.
12-5-06: Added missing link to Lewis article.