Quick Roundup 327

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Must-Read on "Islamist Lawfare"

Via HBL, I learned of this interview in FrontPage Magazine, in which attorney Brooke Goldstein discusses "Islamist Lawfare", a tactic used by more and more Islamic totalitarians to implement sharia through the abuse of Western legal systems.

Islamists with financial means have launched a "legal jihad", filing a series of malicious lawsuits, in American courts and abroad, and against anyone who speaks out against or writes about radical Islam and its sources of financing and support.

This type of lawfare is often predatory, filed without a serious expectation of winning, and undertaken as a means to intimidate, demoralize and bankrupt defendants. The lawsuits are often based on frivolous claims ranging from defamation to workplace harassment to plain Islamophobia, and have resulted in books being banned and pulped, in thousands of dollars worth of fines and in publishing houses and newspapers rejecting important works on counter-terrorism out of fear of being the next target.


Though American courts have proven less friendly to Islamist lawfare and have for the most part ruled to protect the exercise of free speech within this country, notwithstanding that fact, defendants who have been victimized by legal jihad in US courts, even if they end up winning their case, in the end they lose in time and money spent protecting their rights when they could have been doing and accomplishing much more productive things. [bold added]
Read the whole thing, and recall that although this tactic is all but the official government policy of some Moslem states, our own government has failed to make a principled stand against it.

Taking the Long View

In a comment to a post at Myrhaf, Kyle Haight puts forth very succinctly how one should weigh McCain vs. the Democratic candidate in the impending presidential election:
I too will probably pick the lesser of two evils. Where I differ from Mr. Conlon is in my assessment of which outcome is less evil. My political values are already defeated in this political cycle. All choices will launch massive assaults on freedom across a wide spectrum. But a McCain victory has broader ramifications. It isn't a choice between a totally socialist government and a slightly less socialist government. It's a choice between two parties whose orthodoxy is totally statist versus two parties one of which is totally statist and one of which is mixed. [bold added]
This is because McCain, as he said earlier, would "redefine the political landscape" -- in exactly the opposite way we need.

Interesting Historical Note

Last year, I marked the 40th anniversary of the landmark Loving v. Virginia case, in which the Supreme Court overturned laws that forbade interracial marriages. Yesterday, the New York Times published some interesting historical background on the case, noting that, "By the time that Richard and Mildred had begun to date in the 1950s, they had lived their whole lives in a community that had made an art form of evading Jim Crow restrictions on relationships."


I've only read about two-thirds of it, but I have found this essay about the concept of dignity very thought-provoking, and not just because of how conservatives want to misuse it in their quest to impose religious restraints on medical technology.

Call me ... erm ... punctual!

I found a quiz over at Dithyramb this morning, and I took it. Did everything ... come out okay? Let's see....

You Are a Colon

You are very orderly and fact driven. You aren't concerned much with theories or dreams... only what's true or untrue.

You are brilliant and incredibly learned. Anything you know is well researched. You like to make lists and sort through things step by step. You aren't subject to whim or emotions.

Your friends see you as a constant source of knowledge and advice. (But they are a little sick of you being right all of the time!)

You excel in: Leadership positions

You get along best with: The Semi-Colon

Call me what you want, the description is mostly correct -- but let me explain why you should welcome my being right all the time....

-- CAV


Kyle Haight said...

Finding myself quoted in your roundup was vaguely unsettling, but neat. It always weirds me out a bit to discover that somebody else liked something I wrote well enough to pass it on to other people.

McCain just brings out my inner loathing.

Gus Van Horn said...

Heh. If I ever do a page of quotes about myself from other bloggers, I think I'l include this:

"Finding myself quoted in your roundup was vaguely unsettling...." -- Kyle Haight

Anonymous said...

My Haight wrote: "It's a choice between two parties whose orthodoxy is totally statist versus two parties one of which is totally statist and one of which is mixed.

Since the political premises of the Democrat Party are totally statist and those of the Republican party "mixed" (at best), what is the meaning of this sentence with respect to electoral preference?

Gus Van Horn said...

What he means is that McCain will likely finish the job of making the Republican Party totally statist.

I'd rather the Republicans lose this one, do some soul-searching, and perhaps put up a less statist candidate in 2012.

Kyle Haight said...

Yes, that's what I meant. McCain is trying to move the Republican party in a substantially more statist direction. Should he win election, we would find ourselves faced with two thoroughly statist parties in 2012 and beyond. If he doesn't win, there's a chance that the GOP will realize that peddling more statism is a political loser for them.

Think beyond what happens in the next four years. We've been given a really lousy set of candidates to choose from in this election. What can we do to try to get a better choice the next time around? Rewarding the mixed party with political power for giving us such a poor candidate just makes them conclude, correctly, that they don't need to change their ways.

On a different topic, Gus, if you're going to introduce elipses into my quote, why not go with "Finding myself quoted in your roundup...brings out my inner loathing." That's the kind of intellectual integrity that will land you a gig writing at the New York Times!

Anonymous said...

Thank-you for confirming what I suspected was meant by that statement. I will say, however, that your hoped-for, "soul-searching" outcome of a Republican loss this November (and it would be a total loss as Statist Democrats would gain a commanding, opposition-squashing dominance of both Congress and the Presidency) is heavily dependent upon a very large presumption: that the resulting "soul-searching" will be in a proper direction. Will the Republicans continue to carry and heft even higher the banner of an Otto von Bismark or take up, instead, the mantle of a Patrick Henry?

Jim May said...

In the past I have characterized the role of the Left as corroding our cultural institutional defenses, opening up holes in them originally meant for their purposes, which are nefarious enough -- but which work equally as well for their counterparts amongst other enemies of freedom.

This is a demonstration of this process in action. Most (if not all) of the Islamists' legal weapons being used against us find their origins in measures enacted by the Left (and a few by conservatives thinking along the same lines); the Canadian "human rights" tribunals are a particularly egregious and clearcut example.

Gus Van Horn said...


I would agree with Kyle that a loss will not guarantee a move by the GOP into the right direction, but that a win (with McCain being just as bad as a Democrat) will guarantee that that won't happen.


Thanks for backing me up, and for "improving" that quote!


Kyle Haight said...

There are no guarantees, in politics or in life. But the Republican party has been growing steadily more statist for some time. What reason is there to think this trend will reverse itself absent some event that makes clear the need for a new direction?

One of the key tasks that Objectivists should focus on over the next four years, regardless of which statist winds up in the White House, is tying the resulting disasters to statism in contrast with freedom. Our opposition will be trying to impute the disasters caused by their policies to the remnants of freedom. Would their job be made easier or harder with a statist Republican in the White House, trying to cover his policies with a fig-leaf of pseudo-freedom -- as McCain is trying to do right now with his global warming proposals?

Capitalism has suffered far more damage from its putative yet unprincipled friends than it ever has from its overt enemies.

Gus Van Horn said...

Well put.

Anonymous said...

I certainly agree that the U.S. needs a true and viable opposition to the explicit and irreversible statism of the Democrat Party, but I also fail to understand why so many continue to think that the Republican Party and the implicit statism that “informs” it, can ever be reconstituted in any such manner as to fit the true opposition bill. I, for one, abandoned that idea long ago and concluded that endeavors to that effect were not only quite pointless but, when consisting of voting Democrats and their blatantly reprehensible ideas into public offices in order to “send a message” their Republican counterparts, quite destructive insofar as they further cement those ideas, or some aspect of them, into the minds of Americans. Were it not for the fact that the continued adherence to such a policy has contributed greatly to the current detestable political situation in this nation by cloaking the unconscionable in an undeserved respectability, I might be tempted to add amusement to my astonishment at the time and intellectual energy being wasted on this enterprise.

When will it end?

The results of November’s election, irrespective of who triumphs or falls, will do nothing -- absolutely nothing -- to reverse this nation’s descent.

Given the essential errors that form the structural foundations of both the Democrat and Republican Parties and that render them twin political siblings, the only positive political change that will come about in the U.S. must necessarily come from WITHOUT the two major political parties. It is time to abandon the idea that either can ever serve as the vehicle for any future journey: a properly changed Democrat or Republican would no longer BE a Democrat or Republican! Loud, staunch and proud opposition to both the Republican and Democrat Parties and all they represent is the only true and viable kind, and I think it’s time to get on with it.

Gus Van Horn said...

"The results of November's election, irrespective of who triumphs or falls, will do nothing -- absolutely nothing -- to reverse this nation's descent.

"Given the essential errors that form the structural foundations of both the Democrat and Republican Parties and that render them twin political siblings, the only positive political change that will come about in the U.S. must necessarily come from WITHOUT the two major political parties."

Neither am I -- nor, I think I can safely say, is Kyle -- holding that either political party is the key to cultural change. And likewise, neither of us has claimed that change must come from within either party.

The Republicans may or may not change for the better (and likely won't) if they lose in November. But if they win, they will make the cause of cultural activism -- of changing the general intellectual trends that make statist parties more (or less) viable -- far more difficult.

If you think I am pinning my hopes on the GOP reversing its course in the near term (as welcome as a such a development would be), you are wrong.

Having said that, successful cultural change will manifest itself as the more timid politicians of the day, whichever party they belong to, if not chipping away at statism, at least being afraid to enact more statist measures. Better figures will actually make a principled stand for freedom.

History has supplied us with positive examples of profound cultural change AWAY from collectivism (in the form of slavery) taking place (See the abolition movement.) AND with princi[pled politicians (See the American Revolution.)

THAT is "where it will end".

z said...

Re: Interesting Historical Note, did you catch how the author said plantation owners were notorious for fathering children with their slaves "including Thomas Jefferson"?

That idea seems more or less accepted as fact nowadays.

Gus Van Horn said...

Jefferson as father of Sally Hemmings' children is almost "The Other Global Warming Consensus".

And yet, the evidence is inconclusive. Imagine that!

Yes. I'd noticed that when I read it, but had forgotten about it when I posted on it the next day....

Gus Van Horn said...


Sorry to take so long to post your thoughtful comment. It got into the comment queue, but not into Gmail, as it should have.

(And I have no way to cause it to appear in any order other than chronological.)


Gus Van Horn said...

Regarding McCain and his long-term effects, I refer the interested reader to a relevant quote about a past GOP candidate brought to my attention by the Software Nerd in another thread:

"It is impossible for any honest advocate of capitalism to vote for Gov. Rockefeller: he has read us out of the party and out of the nation. It is impossible to sanction him as a champion of individualism and free enterprise. It is precisely in the name of 'party loyalty' that those who are Republicans must oppose him: his nomination would destroy the Republican Party's significance, its role as an opposition party; his election would deliver the country into the power of a single party with two indistinguishable branches." -- Ayn Rand, in March 1964