What’s Wrong with the World

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.


What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

A Miscellany of Aggravation

While touring the blogosphere rather aimlessly this morning, it seemed as though everything I read was destined to occasion aggravation. The first three articles I happened upon left me 0-for-3 in the reader-satisfaction department. At a suitable level of abstraction, there may even exist a common thread, perhaps something like, 'obliviousness to the obvious.'

The first item, Bradford Plumer's endorsement of a Sentencing Project critique of sentencing guidelines, contained this nugget of incomprehension:

The second striking bit comes when Mauer compares U.S. sentences with those abroad. Burglars now serve an average of 16.2 months in prison in the United States, compared with 5.3 months in Canada and 6.8 months in England.

Yes, it would seem mathematically obvious that had sentencing guidelines not mandated lengthier sentences beginning in the early 90s, there would be fewer convicts in the penitentiary system. And I'm in favour of, at a minimum, discussing the prudence of lengthy sentences for, oh, kids caught with dimebags and suchlike. But... burglars? Burglary, unlike certain trivial drug offenses, is a crime with an inherent potential to escalate, particularly if a homeowner returns home while the burglary is in progress. I wonder whether people who would cite average sentence durations for burglars, in this context, actually know any burglars. I've known people who, in the interval of time between a misspent youth and the present, have engaged in a little B & E - and I wouldn't want them released after 5-6 months of easy time. And I'm not the least bit sorry for that sentiment, either.

The second item was this report on the 'findings' of some Canadian climatologists, who argue that only the complete elimination of industrial emissions will prevent a greater-than-2-degrees-centigrade rise in temperatures, which they obviously believe will hasten the apocalypse, or something. Now, I've no essential problem with climate science, though, given the radically incomplete state of the relevant knowledge, I'm not comfortable with any statement firmer than, "Human-generated emissions contribute somehow." But, seriously - the elimination of all industrial emissions, which has to entail, oh, the rollback of civilization to the Seventeenth century, not to mention the rollback of the population of the planet to, oh, the levels of that century in the ensuing mass die-off. I'm scarcely a fundamentalist, in any respect, but if the choice is one between obscurantist fundamentalism and this sort of "applied science", laden with misanthropy, I proclaim without reservation, "Bring on the dark ages, baby!"

The third irksome item was a Justin Raimondo piece on the loons advising Guiliani on foreign affairs, which ought to have been like shooting ducks in a barrel, given the sheer unhinged lunacy of his proposal for the expansion of NATO to encompass any democratic state. Instead, I found the following critique of Daniel Pipes:

Daniel Pipes, who believes all Muslims, including in America, are out to establish a World Caliphate that will impose Sharia law. He believes the goal of Muslim organizations, like the moderate Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), is to establish a theocracy in America. How does he know this? Well, you see, he just kind of intuits it:

"Now, they don't say that in black and white in their writings. I can't prove that to you. I can tell you that there are all sorts of intimations of it. I can tell you I can sense it. I can make this case, but I can't make it specifically for CAIR. But you asked me, do I think that's what they want? Yes."

It is doubtful that Pipes seriously believes American Muslims could ban pork, "do away with the equality of the sexes," and criminalize adultery, for chrissakes. His appeal is based on calculated demagogy, which is why he fits in so well with the Giuliani campaign.

Except, as we now know, on the basis of documents admitted as evidence in the Holy Land Foundation trial, that this is, more or less, the incrementalist strategy of American Islam. It may seem farfetched and credulity-defying, but it is hardly inconceivable, given the European precedent and the dogmatism of the American establishment in maintaining that Islam is a Religion of Peace, and a military strategy which presupposes that we must convert them to our way of life because, by all that is unholy, we are going to have more of them living among us. Are Americans somehow immune to the European temptation to compel their own native populations to acculturate themselves to Islam? Is there some super-secret essence of America which will preclude such treachery? Or would it simply not matter?

As I indicated: 0-for-3. Indifference to the victims of crime. Indifference to the survival of more than half of the human race. Insouciance regarding the announced intentions of Islam in America. Is there something in the atmosphere here in America?

Comments (8)

At a suitable level of abstraction, there may even exist a common thread, perhaps something like, 'obliviousness to the obvious.'

Or maybe "incapacity to attend to the objective referents of what is actually being said, even by onesself." In our rebuilt Tower of Babel 99% of modern talk is syncophantic noisemaking.

It's Justin Raimondo. From what I've heard (Auster ...mentioned him), what does one expect?

And if his brain cells were in gear, he'd know a heck of a lot more than he (obviously) does about how we're already going in the direction of acculturating ourselves to Islam. Don't even _try_ putting a pork steak on a cafeteria table with a bunch of Somalis sitting at it. The hate police will be called in. The lawsuits in prisons over the possibility of pork traces in the jelly for Ramadan peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. The restaurant/bar out at UCLA (I think it is, some CA university) that just got all its chicken and beef pronounced halal. (But they still serve liquor, so the Muslim students are still mad.) The mini-mosques in secular (and nominally Christian) colleges all across the country, labeled "meditation rooms." In one of these a Catholic guy treated it like a "free for anyone" meditation room, settled down to say the rosary, and was escorted out by several no-nonsense Muslims. And on and on.

I like this miscellany of aggravation, Jeff. We're agreed. People are nuts.

On the question of sentencing policies, it pretty much seems to be the case that the longer one spends behind bars, the nastier an individual he has become by the time of his release. Damned if you do, and damned if you don't, keep them in longer.
On the issue of global warming, both extremes seem idiotic to me. To blame it all on the sun and do nothing does not seem prudent. But neither does destroying the economy and starving off a large percentage of the world population. Is there some practical middle ground? Or is it all just right-left politics?
On the issue of Islam, I guess that when we deport all the illegal Mexicans, it should be with the requirement that they go back across the border with a Muslim under each arm?

"Incapacity to attend..." That would be to suggest that people literally do not understand the implications of what they are saying, perhaps even what they are saying, taken in itself - which, though I might well be inclined to accept it, is a terrifying thought.

Well... Raimondo. The aggravating aspect of his piece was not merely the disbelief in Muslim aspirations for the gradual imposition of sharia - something Muslims themselves proclaim - but the fact that this disbelief was combined with two truthful claims, namely, that Guiliani's foreign-policy advisors are either unserious or utterly bonkers, and that war with Iran would be a Bad Idea. One needn't however, believe that Islam is benign in order to believe that neoconservatives, generally speaking, have ill-advised the political establishment: an erroneous solution does not prove the nonexistence of a problem.

I have to agree with Lawrence Auster's summing up of Dennis "Justin" Raimondo: "He is a hate-filled, poison-spewing ranter who will attack his chosen enemies for any reason, veering from one personal attack to another that contradicts the first, his only rule being to keep attacking."

His assault on Martin Kramer is every bit as dishonest and disgusting as what he says about Daniel Pipes.

I must admit that I am not conversant with all of Pipes' foreign-policy prescriptions; Auster has criticized Pipes at length for an implicitly nominalist view of Islamic tradition, a critique that, in my opinion, carries some bite. Neither am I familiar with Kramer's work, though I tend to believe that some conservatives have gone too far in devaluing the expertise of the Near-Eastern Studies establishment; whatever their other failings or vices, most members of that establishment at least predicted, correctly, that Iraq part II would be a Mesopotamian quagmire.

When I read a title or subject header that refers to nutty neoconservatives advising a presidential candidate, I expect something substantial, like references to Frum's and Podhoretz's advisory roles in the Guiliani campaign. The entire "end of evil", "further wars of liberation" schtick is an everlasting pinata, which makes the criticism of Pipes so infuriating: Pipes is correct. Having read that far, I didn't see the point in pushing through to the conclusion.

Golly, Steve, I saw a _different_ set of choice words from Auster on Raimondo. He must have several. :-)

As I understand it, Auster's criticism of Pipes is that he's too optimistic about the possibilities for moderate Islam. Which, I must admit, is a way smarter and better informed take on Pipes than anything the clownish Raimondo has to say.

As for Martin Kramer - his criticisms of "the near-Eastern Studies establishment" have been measured and scholarly. Unlike Raimondo's attack on him.

Post a comment

Bold Italic Underline Quote

Note: In order to limit duplicate comments, please submit a comment only once. A comment may take a few minutes to appear beneath the article.

Although this site does not actively hold comments for moderation, some comments are automatically held by the blog system. For best results, limit the number of links (including links in your signature line to your own website) to under 3 per comment as all comments with a large number of links will be automatically held. If your comment is held for any reason, please be patient and an author or administrator will approve it. Do not resubmit the same comment as subsequent submissions of the same comment will be held as well.