The return of Darius the Great

Iran ‘number one world power’: Ahmadinejad:

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared on Thursday that Iran was the world’s “number one” power, as he launched a bitter new assault on domestic critics he accused of siding with the enemy.

“Everybody has understood that Iran is the number one power in the world,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech to families who lost loved ones in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

“Today the name of Iran means a firm punch in the teeth of the powerful and it puts them in their place,” he added in the address broadcast live on state television.

Mark Steyn, satirist

Mark Steyn, the Canadian conservative, brings together insightful punditry and devastating humor. That is to say, he is a true satirist. For a sample of what a good writer he is, consider his description in a piece on fall of the house of Clintonof Bill Clinton’s famous televised walk to the stage to receive his party’s nomination:

Bill Clinton understood a crude rule of show business — that, if you behave like a star, there are plenty of people who’ll treat you like one. The apotheosis of this theory was his interminable ambulatory entrance down mile after mile of corridor at the 2000 Democratic convention in Los Angeles, when Slick Willie finally out-Elvised Elvis — or, more accurately, out-Smarted the opening sequence of Get Smart. Apparently, no-one had thought to tell him to try to get within four miles of the stage before the introductory video ended. He was, by my calculations, outside the men’s room on Corridor G27, Sub-Basement Level 6 of the Staples Center. As he began the long, long, lo-oo-oo-oong televised walk to the podium the crowd watching the monitors cheered — and, 20 minutes later, after he’d strolled down the first three or four windowless tunnels of attractive luminous drywall, hung a left by the water cooler, taken the emergency stairs, cut across the stationery closet, moved smoothly through the boiler room and had still only reached the Coke machine on Sous-Mezzanine Level 4 and there was at least a mile and a half between him and the stage, and the Democratic activists out in the hall were beginning to figure they could get dinner and a movie and still be back in time for the last third of his walk-on, they were nevertheless still cheering. In effect, President Clinton dared them not to cheer. Tom Jones wouldn’t have risked it. Engelbert Humperdinck would have balked. But, after eight years of talking the talk, Bill walked the walk. In the hall, the delegates’ hands were raw, bleeding stumps, but the Slicker knew that if he started his entrance in Idaho those Dems would cheer him every step of the way.

But Steyn has turned his satire on Muslims, and so he is being dragged before Canada’s human rights courts. Read this account of his case and mourn the way Western civilization, in the name of its own invention of multi-culturalism, is repudiating its liberties, persecuting its defenders, and committing cultural suicide.

Soft Jihad

Roger Kimball notes that Muslims are waging a traditional jihad, but are finding much greater success with a soft jihad:

That’s the new mantra, you know: “for fear of offending Muslims.” We don’t give away piggy banks (to say nothing of other “pig related items”) “for fear of offending Muslims.” We don’t draw cartoons of Mohammad “for fear of offending Muslims.” We mustn’t publish articles pointing out the demographic disparity between the Muslims of Canada and Europe and other parts of the population “for fear of offending Muslims.” We mustn’t even publish books saying critical things about “Saudis and terrorists” “for fear of offending Muslims.”

It’s all part of the campaign of soft jihad. Traditional jihad is waged with scimitars and their contemporary equivalents, e.g., stolen Boeing 767s, which make handy instruments of mass homicide. Soft jihad is a quieter affair: it uses and abuses the language and the principles of democratic liberalism not to secure the institutions and attitudes that make freedom possible but, on the contrary, to undermine that freedom and pave the way for self-righteous, theocratic intolerance. Soft jihad is patient. It can add and multiply as well as Mark Steyn can (and here). It, too, sees the demographic writing on the wall and is content to wait a few years to occupy the West’s real estate—it’s so much easier, when you come right down to it, than blowing the stuff up and then finding yourself with a massive clean-up and rebuilding bill. Just sit tight and watch the infidels tie themselves into knots making excuses for you while, elsewhere in their lives, they embrace barrenness as an “environmentally friendly” alternative to Genesis 1:28.

The Christian Ramadan, Koran, & mosque

James Kushiner, of the indispensable  Touchstone Magazine,in that publication’s blog, points out something I was going to comment upon, but he takes it even further: 

In Holland, some have rebranded Lent as a “Christian Ramadan.” Because Ramadan is more familiar to the youth, you see. And who’s fault is that? While we’re it, isn’t canon law simply “Christian sharia”? And a church building a “Christian mosque”? The Bible a “Christian Koran”?


The Crusades were the Christian jihad, which is why Luther so vehemently opposed them.  Is the pantsuit the Christian burqa?  The point, though, is to notice how the paradigm, at least in Holland, is shifting, so that Islam, rather than Christianity has become the religious frame of reference.


Death penalty for terrorists?

The government is set to try–finally!–the worst of the terrorists in Guantanamo and will seek the death penalty for six individuals, including the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. See

I’d like to hear whether Senators Clinton and Obama will seek the death penalty against these guys.

Do you really think they will be executed? Or will these trials by military tribunal end up putting America on trial before the world for Guantanamo, the war in Iraq, waterboarding, etc., etc.?

Canterbury Tale, revisited

Back to the controversy over the Archbishop of Canterbury saying that England should accept at least a limited jurisdiction of Islamic law (sharia). . . . Some of you said that the Archbishop’s statement was misinterpreted and taken out of context, that it was more nuanced than the reports indicated and that it was not so bad.  We should read what he actually said.  Well,  Anne Applebaum did, and here is her conclusion:

Arguing that his remarks were misunderstood, misinterpreted and taken out of context, his office even took the trouble to publish them, in lecture form and the radio interview version, on his official Web site. I highly recommend a closer look. Reading them, it instantly becomes clear that every syllable of the harshest tabloid criticism is more than well deserved. The archbishop’s language is mild-mannered, legalistic, jargon-riddled; the sentiments behind them are profoundly dangerous.   

What one British writer called the ” jurisprudential kernel” of his thoughts is as follows: In the modern world, we must avoid the “inflexible or over-restrictive applications of traditional law” and must be wary of our “universalist Enlightenment system,” which risks “ghettoizing” a minority. Instead, we must embrace the notion of “plural jurisdiction.” This, in other words, was no pleasant fluff about tolerance for foreigners: This was a call for the evisceration of the British legal system as we know it.

I understand, of course, that sharia courts vary from country to country, that not every Muslim country stones adulterers and that some British Muslims volunteer to let unofficial sharia courts monitor their domestic disputes, which is not much different from choosing to work things out with the help of a marriage counselor. But the archbishop’s speech actually touched on something far more fundamental: the question of whether all aspects of the British legal system necessarily apply to all the inhabitants of Britain.

This is no merely theoretical issue, since conflicts between sharia law and British law arise ever more frequently. . . .Police in Wales are dealing with an epidemic of forced marriages, honor killings remain a perennial problem, and British law has already been altered to accommodate “sharia” mortgages. The archbishop is absolutely right in his belief that a universalist Enlightenment system — one in which the legitimacy of the law derives from democratic procedures, not divine edicts, and in which the same rules apply to everyone living in the same society — cannot easily accommodate all of these different practices.

I enjoy seeing liberal folk get hoisted on their own petard (virtual contest:  explain that figure of speech), so I especially appreciated Applebaum’s accusing the politically-correct archbishop of racial intolerance: 

His beliefs are merely an elaborate, intellectualized version of a commonly held, and deeply offensive, Western prejudice: Alone among all of the world’s many religious groups, Muslims living in Western countries cannot be expected to conform to Western law — or perhaps do not deserve to be treated as legal equals of their non-Muslim neighbors.  

Every time police shrug their shoulders when a Muslim woman complains that she has been forced to marry against her will, every time a Western doctor tries not to notice the female circumcisions being carried out in his hospital, they are acting in the spirit of the archbishop of Canterbury. So is the social worker who dismisses the plight of an illiterate, house-bound woman, removed from her village and sent across the world to marry a man she has never met, on the grounds that her religion prohibits interference. That’s why — if there is to be war between the British tabloids [calling for his resignation] and the archbishop — I’m on the side of the Sun.