“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

On the Homefront

Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College, September 2006 carries a digest of a Bernard Lewis lecture given in July. Lewis discusses the modern history of the Middle East, the Nazi and Soviet influences leading to the Baath Party and the 1920’s rise of the oil-rich, Wahhabist Saudis first with the capture of Islam’s holy cities then:

The other important thing that happened—also in the mid-20s—was the discovery of oil. With that, this extremist sect found itself not only in possession of Mecca and Medina, but also of wealth beyond the dreams of avarice. As a result, what would otherwise have been a lunatic fringe in a marginal country became a major force in the world of Islam. And it has continued as a major force to the present day, operating through the Saudi government and through a whole series of non-governmental organizations. What is worse, its influence spreads far beyond the region. When Muslims living in Chicago or Los Angeles or Birmingham or Hamburg want to give their children some grounding in their faith and culture—a very natural, very normal thing—they turn to the traditional resources for such purposes: evening classes, weekend schools, holiday camps and the like. The problem is that these are now overwhelmingly funded and therefore controlled by the Wahhabis, and the version of Islam that they teach is the Wahhabi version, which has thus become a major force in Muslim immigrant communities.
Lewis goes on to discuss the possibilities for democratic change in the Islamic world:
So there is a good deal of pro-Western and even specifically pro-American feeling. But the anti-American feeling is strongest in those countries that are ruled by what we are pleased to call “friendly governments.” And it is those, of course, that are the most tyrannical and the most resented by their own people. The outlook at the moment is, I would say, very mixed. I think that the cause of developing free institutions—along their lines, not ours—is possible. One can see signs of its beginning in some countries.
At the same time, the forces working against it are very powerful and well entrenched. And one of the greatest dangers is that on their side, they are firm and convinced and resolute. Whereas on our side, we are weak and undecided and irresolute. And in such a combat, it is not difficult to see which side will prevail.
I think that the effort is difficult and the outcome uncertain, but I think the effort must be made. Either we bring them freedom, or they destroy us.
Most readers of the EB already know of the Wahhabist influence on mosques around the world and we know that the Saudis have financed virtually every mosque built in America. As Lewis’ words, “…we are weak and undecided and irresolute” ring in our ears let us consider today’s warning from Chuck Colson, What's hidden in the shadows
Radical Islam and U.S. prisons

I don’t usually make predictions, but here’s one I’ll venture: If, God forbid, an attack by home-grown Islamist radicals occurs on American soil, many, if not most, of the perpetrators will have converted to Islam while in prison.
I am hardly going out on a limb here. I said this first in 2001. The spread of an especially virulent form of Islam within American prisons is obvious to those of us who have spent time in these prisons. It’s the rest of American society that is in denial. Now, thanks to a new study, ignorance is no longer an option.
The study, titled “Out of the Shadows,” concluded that “the U.S. . . is at risk of facing the sort of homegrown terrorism currently plaguing other countries.” The source of that risk, according to researchers from George Washington University and the University of Virginia, is “[America’s] large prison population.”
“Radicalized prisoners” within this population “are a potential pool of recruits by terrorist groups,” the study says. The sources of radicalization are incarcerated Islamic extremists and outside organizations that support them. The report notes that the absence of “monitoring by authoritative Islamic chaplains” permits “materials that advocate violence [to infiltrate] the prison system undetected.”

Colson reports that Christian groups like his Prison Fellowship Ministries which have been shown as effective counter measures to radical Islam are being hampered by lawsuits while the Islamist cancer grows. Colson doesn’t say it, but it’s a good bet, that the radical influence is Wahhabist. So far to my knowledge, we are undecided how to combat radical Islam in US prisons. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about our decades-old war on Christianity.
As long as we allow people like “the reverend” Barry Lynn and groups like the ACLU to dictate the meaning of the first sentence of the First Amendment, we will be, as Lewis said “… weak and undecided and irresolute.”


  1. I have been receiving Imprimus from Hillsdale College for fifteen is free and I highly recommend it. Hillsdale does not take any government money for their school. The publications are usually 3-5 pages with usually one guest writer

  2. "...U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pratt, chief judge of the US District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, handed Colson's operation a setback. Judge Pratt ruled in favor of a suit filed by Americans United for Separation of Church and State (Americans United) which claimed that IFI's operation at Iowa's Newton Correctional Facility violated the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution.

    Judge Pratt ordered an end to the program within 60 days, and also ordered InnerChange to reimburse more than $1.5 million to the state of Iowa."

  3. Harry Smith:
    President Clinton basically laid the blame at the feet of the CIA and the FBI for not being able to certify or verify that bin Laden was responsible for a number of different attacks. Does that ring true with you, Michael Scheuer?"

    SCHEUER: No, sir, I don't think so. Former president seems to be able to deny facts with impunity.

    Bin Laden is alive today because Mr. Clinton, Mr. Sandy Berger and Mr. Richard Clarke refused to kill him. That's the bottom line. And every time he says what he said to Chris Wallace on Fox, he defames the CIA especially, and the men who risked their lives to give his administration repeated chances to kill bin Laden.

    Harry Smith: "Is the Bush administration any less responsible for not finishing the job in Tora Bora?"

    SCHEUER: There's plenty of blame to go around, sir, but the fact of the matter is the Bush administration had one chance that they botched, and the Clinton administration had eight to ten chances that they refused to try. At least at Tora Bora our forces were on the ground. We didn't push the point.

    But it's just -- it's an incredible kind of situation for the American people over the weekend to hear their former president mislead them.

  4. Another group of converts that could pose a problem are Hispanic woman. They tend to be woman who are unhappy and upon conversion are shunned by their families. It is this type of woman that is targetted for suicide bombers. Everywhere you turn around this so called religion, this cult, is a nightmare. It needs to be banned and at the right time will be. Permanently.

  5. As Chuck Colson resently pointed out they'll be no shortage of home grwn Islamofascists once AQ attcks one of our prisons and releases the thousands of converts in them.

    Then will have hard core islamic killers go'in back to the hood to bone up on bombs and terror.

  6. 2164..did you make everyone vanish?

  7. there's an echo tonight tonight tonight..
    restful sleep all

  8. “We’re gonna hunt you down like a mad dog hound…
    We’re all through talking and a messing around
    And now it’s time to rock and roll…”

    --Charlie Daniels “This Ain’t No Rag, It’s a Flag”

  9. prison islam as a problem is as old as the good ole Louis and the Nation of Islam.

    Lewis's idea that the modern baathist ideal comes from the vichy french and it's famous winning phrase "i surrender" is so true, also after ww2 the arabs never had to surrendar like the germans, italians & japanese had too sets the lack of accountablity we see today in the arab world.

    look at the lebanese, treated by the would as victims, not as the helpers of arab nazis..

    look at the palestinians, treated by the world as victims, when they in fact support, harbor, feed and clothes terrorists...

    germany's hitler is now a crazed islamic nutcase, thinking that the perfect race is really "islamic human race", all colors are welcome, as long as you can SUBMIT to allah.

  10. The Two Worlds of Oil:

    In the long run price depends on the balance between demand and the amount of oil in the ground and the cost of getting it out. My guess about flat average oil prices--lower than now, but higher than average prices over the past 70 years--is based on another guess: that consumption will grow by a couple of percentage points a year until about 2025, when autos that burn hydrogen made from natural gas will begin to significantly reduce oil consumption for transportation.

    Demand growth will then slow, and gradually stop. Beginning around the middle of this century, world population will begin slowly declining.

    2 Worlds of Oil

  11. If I gather several people presenting with Tourette's symptoms and have them read from the Quran and record video of it, does that desecrate Islam or just exploit the disabled in vain?

    Is it better to have the Quran read in a dialect of gay lisp? Is that the height of sensitivity, having a tender culturally-astute acerbic fellar readin them pirate's words like he was laudin Mary Kay for them thar Pink Cadillacs? Will that make us more certain and resolved, once we realize how ridiculous our opponent is once stripped of leftist aplomb?

    Any idear where how a fellar gets qurans in bulk without arousin the supicious of the fuzzy Borg?

  12. Traditionally, prisons are places that insurgencies make big gains. One of the main recruiting centers the FLN used against the French was in fact French jails. Similarly, so did the NLF when our detainees overran South Vietnamese jails.

    If in any situation we ever capture large numbers of Al Qaeda or Islamic radicals, the first we should do is build their own jails. This is one of the bonuses of Guatanamo Bay. If they'd been convicted of crimes and released into the system they'd have been picking up recruits in prison for the previous how many years. Don't know if the Bush Administration planned that one, but it is a nice side effect.

  13. I found this site when I was asking jeeves about "Clinton Froth."

    But it seems while there is alot of froth here, I have to wonder what is being made to bubble to create it:

    "Bin Laden is alive today because Mr. Clinton, Mr. Sandy Berger and Mr. Richard Clarke refused to kill him."

    Flush me already, because I'm flabbergasted at that statement.

    Our Former Commander and Chief loved the presidency and loved his country, as did Dr. Berger and Richard Clarke, who Paul Krugman proved was characer assassinated by those in power who did not like his version of events.

    When Clinton lead the nation into the 21st Century, he never shied away from visions as bold as an Arkansas thunderstorm and as unstoppable and undeterred as a Little Rock twister, barreling down on the congress that thought it could lasso him with their impeachment inquisition.

    He knew what he was going, and wanted to draw the moralists and religionists out into the light, where they would be hoppin mad at the Ol' Arkie Twister, and he'd let them make their case to the American people, even letting them steal their money.

    But it all had a point, and we coulda seen it if Gore, Twister's stalwart comrade, was able to continue the legacy and carry on the dream with his own touches of redwood-esque turgid commitment to betterment of the entire planet.

    Twister and the young redwood had themselves a changing world, and they changed what they could. Economies were failing and they FIXED them. Whether it was Russia, Malaysia, Indonesia or Japan, when the Moralists tried to lasso Twister, Bubba would just spin em round until their authority was ground up like a hairball under a drill bit.

    I understand why some might be so traumatized by his brutal brinksmanship, as it seemed he miscalculated how quickly Gore could get to the executive branch and keep America gusty with humid intellectual weather, thick and sticky with appreciations of complexity (very needed in todays world) and a refusal to fall for the the easy traps.

    Berger, Clarke and Clinton just wanted to avoid those easy traps. How can you reasonably expect anyone to accomplish ANYTHING if they decide to splash around in Iranian, Iraqi and North Korean puddles?

    The answer is I don't think you can, quite frankly.

  14. If they did plan it that way, it would be one of those mildly important little details that the grown ups need to worry about, while the kids (Europeans and Democrats) shit all over the floor.

  15. Course, if it was true, then I'd just think they were probably stupid for not saying so to explain themselves.

  16. "shit all over the floor"

    Oh please

    How quickly you forget that it was only a shortwhile ago when William the Articulate had republicans running for the porcelain with their fat-cat pin stripes jingling around their pasty ankles.

    All it takes is articulateness to invalidate fascism. But it takes the devotion, passion and energy of Gore to win hearts and minds.

    Gitmo wasn't needed when Clinton was in office. He was trying to make peace all the time and he was a savior to Muslims all over the world. Muslims sold t-shirts with him on it. When Bush came to office, Muslims lost hope, just how Americans did, and so they started to wear OBL tshirts. They were smart enough to know Clinton's bridge was halted indefinitly, maybe permanently, and they were mad.

    Maybe Hilary can help set a few morem trestles in a few years, but I think the damage has been done.

  17. "Gitmo wasn't needed when Clinton was in office. He was trying to make peace all the time and he was a savior to Muslims all over the world"
    Which is why they Blew up the WTC in 93, Drug our Warriors around the streets of Somalia, Blew up the Khobar Towers, Blew Up the Cole, etc.
    Bill was not known as "Blow Job" for nuthin.

  18. And now candor from the New York Times' Linda Greenhouse (hat tip to J-Pod):

    In June, Linda Greenhouse returned to Cambridge, Mass., to be honored at Harvard. Greenhouse, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who covers the Supreme Court for The New York Times, reminisced a bit about the 1960s idealism that defined her college years, and told an audience of 800 she had wept at a Simon and Garfunkel concert when she was struck by the unfulfilled promise of her own generation.

    Greenhouse went on to charge that since then, the U.S. government had "turned its energy and attention away from upholding the rule of law and toward creating law-free zones at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Haditha and other places around the world -- [such as] the U.S. Congress."

    She also observed a "sustained assault on women's reproductive freedom and the hijacking of public policy by religious fundamentalism. To say that these last few years have been dispiriting is an understatement."
    - Hewitt

  19. Comments are STILL FUCKED on the next thread!!!


  21. I'm sure 2164th wants to have a tidy blog here, but if posts must be approved before they appear (see above thread), it's not going to be long before most people just vote with their feet.

  22. Thank you for the indulgence during the almost TKO at the Elephant. All better now.