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May 13th, 2010:

Jupiter loses one of its stripes

Jupiter loses one of its stripes and scientists are stumped as to why

Terror and Liberalism

Back in 2003, Paul Berman wrote a book called Terror and Liberalism, a liberal call to action against Islamic terrorism.

Berman constructs his argument simply: he first establishes the existence of pathological mass movements, using Albert Camus’ The Rebel as a framework for that argument. Berman links the fascists and communists together, claiming that they progress through the stages of rebellion, nihilism, the creation of a movement, and end at Armageddon — where the faithful face the damned in a final confrontation.

Berman then moves to the strongest part of the book: his examination of the works of Sayyid Qutb. Qutb could be described as the father of modern Islamic jihad, and Berman condenses his works into a brisk 52 pages. In the end, though, Berman concludes that

Qutb’s doctrine was wonderfully original and deeply Muslim, looked at from one angle; and, from another angle, merely one more version of the European totalitarian ideal.

The philosophical connection thus established, Berman then moves on to providing examples of Muslim totalitarianism, from Iran and Iraq to the Sudan and beyond. It is a sobering march of depredation, one which good men (and women) should oppose.

Berman then turns to the forces that prevent such opposition, and discovers them unmobilized. They stand inert, or even assisting the totalitarians. Berman chronicles their efforts, starting with the French Socialists of the 1930s, some of whom collaborated with the Nazis in the worst possible ways, and ending with a scathing review of Noam Chomsky, who claimed that Americans caused 9/11. Berman says:

Ultimately, the error was conceptual. […] It was an unwillingness, sometimes an outright refusal, to accept that, from time to time, mass political movements do get drunk on the idea of slaughter. […] It was a belief that the world is, by and large, a rational place.

Berman’s book concludes with the aforementioned call to action, to attack the root of Islamism by reinforcing the liberal ideas for which we fight. (Berman even points out that Bush picked up — and dropped — that ball when he pushed Women’s Rights as one of the reasons for invading Afghanistan.) Seven years on, we can conclude that — apart from an individual here and there — the Western Left has ignored Berman’s call. This is unfortunate, for those who paid attention to the Anbar Awakening can see some of his ideas put into effect by military forces.

Even seven years on, this book is still worth a read, if for no other reason than for its summary of Qutb’s commentaries.

(Paul Berman has a new book out, The Flight of the Intellectuals. He’s also interviewed by Michael J. Totten. An interesting part of the interview is Berman’s admission to being afflicted with “Bush Derangement Syndrome” and his effort to separate Bush’s personality — which drives him nuts — with his actual record.)

Arizona Ain’t Alone

For those of you who’ve been immersed in the whole military thing, you recognize the importance of the words “defense in depth”. In the immigration world, that means interior enforcement: U.S. not cracking down on immigrants with expired visas

Worse, when they do enforce it internally, weird stuff like this happens: Illegal immigrant’s 145G ‘deport gift’

I don’t think our representatives can survive in office much longer if they keep this up. This poll captures the mood: 87% Say English Should Be U.S. Official Language

Finally: AZ Governor Jan Brewer blasts critics, dispels law myths

Greece and You

Rep. Paul Ryan begins: EU contagion will spread to the US

Robert Samuelson asks the question: Depression 2010? His answer is that we’re dependent on China, India, and Brazil moving from export economies to consumption ones. Read the whole thing.

Things are so bad in Greece they’re given the opposite of the advice we got all winter: NYT Tells Greece to Abandon Socialized Medicine?

And if you think Greece is getting off lightly, Anne Applebaum describes the conditions attached to the EU/IMF bailout thusly: “This is the kind of thing a surrendering field marshal signs in a railway car in the forest at the end of a bloody war. ” Read the details: Time for Greece to play by the E.U.’s rules

Finally, there seems to be some troublesome things going on behind the scenes: Rater Haters Finally Find a Reason to Turn On Moody’s, and It’s a Bad Reason