Anticipating change

One of the primary benefits of studying history is wrestling with the question “how could they not have seen that coming?”  As the saying goes, “hindsight is always 20/20,” but foresight usually falls far short of that.  Most people expect things to continue on as they always have in their experience.  Until suddenly they don’t.

Try to remember that Sarajevo once hosted an Olympics. Remember that Beirut used to be called “The Paris of the Middle East.” Remember that women used to wear lipstick and miniskirts in Tehran.

I believe this inability to visualize the possibility of disastrous change is one of the key vulnerabilities of the United States.  Yes, every generation whines about how things aren’t like they were “in the good old days” — mine included.  But few put these vignettes together into a narrative that might be pointing to a larger journey into disaster.  This blindspot in America is likely caused/enhanced by the fact we haven’t faced disaster as a society in a very, very long time by the world’s standards.  Even though we participated in both World Wars, the chance of either posing an existential threat to the United States was extremely low.  The last time American civilians had to fear soldiers on the march in their homeland was the War Between The States — over 150 years ago.

Any advanced and thriving civilization has large numbers of people – especially at the top of the pile – who are comfortable and safe, and are so for generations. This lack of meaningful threats, from birth onward, causes the amygdalae structures in the brain to not fully develop compared to prior, more stressed, generations because of a lack of stimulation; thus, the ability to recognize actual threats has atrophied. This leads to the society as an aggregate, and the leadership class in particular, taking actions that they do not recognize as dangerous, which result in the collapse of the civilization.

When gun controllers say the 2nd Amendment is outdated, they are reflecting the atrophy described above.  The Holocaust is well-known; the various Communist purges less so, but far too many believe that’s just what happens to “other people.”  It couldn’t happen in America, right?  Some people know better but choose to seek disarmament anyway, the better to advance a political agenda.  But a substantial number simply have no personal frame of reference of an experience where they were in mortal peril, and needed to defend themselves.  Media coverage of the topic emphasizes criminal use of firearms, neglecting the far larger number of cases of defensive use.  This is one reason why veterans and many civilians are separated by a wide gap on the 2nd Amendment.  The handful of veterans who are celebrated for advocating gun control are either those whose work never exposed them to danger, or who know better but desire public acclaim more than common sense.

The same dynamic is at work in the issue of mass migration.  The millions of current Muslim “refugees” (an abused term if there every was one) trigger a much different social memory in Eastern and Central Europe than it does in the West.  The advance of Islam in the Middle Ages was largely stopped at the Battle of Tours, so Western Europe, Scandinavia and England never dealt with the threat on any large scale.  Not so with the East, Islam’s initial momentum culminated in two sieges of Vienna (1529 and 1683), and sectarian violence and discrimination between Muslim, Orthodox and Catholic ensued for generations.  This is the origin of the term “balkanization,” and if you’ve paid attention you’ve heard it applied to modern demographic trends in the U.S.

That is why Polish, Hungarian and Czech attitudes toward the current wave of Muslim migration differ considerably from those of the Germans or French (though the latter two are starting to realize the consequences).

In the United States, immigration has become enshrined as part of the national experience.  The downsides of previous waves of immigrants (ethnic tensions in the cities, cramped living conditions, crime, etc) are rarely examined except to try to place the blame solely at the feet of Anglo-Americans.  That’s why those who oppose mass immigration (especially the illegal variety) today are accused of being “on the wrong side of history.”  Those who know their history, however, realize today’s wave of invaders “immigrants” bear little resemblance to those of Schoolhouse Rock fame.  For starters, immigrants in the late 1800s understood they were leaving most all ties to their homeland to become immersed in a new one, which required adaptation to language and culture.  They were scrutinized carefully by U.S. authorities to screen out political radicals, the diseased and those who would likely become a burden on society.  Today, millions have entered the U.S. without permission or scrutiny (the largest contingent by far being from Mexico and Central America).  In the U.S. they can watch Spanish-language TV, demand translation services for all official business, and largely insulate themselves from adapting to their new home if they so choose.  There is no incentive to assimilate; indeed, many ardently proclaim their greater loyalty to their country of origin.  As one person put it online:

“Too many people are coming to America just to be in America. They aren’t coming here to be Americans. That needs to change.”

In short, immigration today bears only a passing resemblance to the immigration of decades past.  It more closely resembles the settling of the Goths within the Roman Empire.

The point of this post is to emphasize that America is not immune to disaster, despite her long history.  Over the decades, many planks have been removed from the platform our Founders carefully constructed – overturning the prohibition of an income tax, allowing direct election of Senators, and so forth.  Each of these, while debated at the time, were considered incremental in effect.  But decades of such increments eventually add up to something substantial.  Our politics today are not about degrees of policy anymore.  There are irreconcilable differences in the worldviews in play, and a desire to use the machinery of government to enforce an orthodoxy at odds with our traditions.  We are at a tipping point in our history.  Those who would disarm and displace the historical American body politic now hardly disguise their intent.  Those who recognize what is at stake are more energized to resist it than ever before (hence the previously inconceivable election of a man like Donald Trump).

Many Americans assume those who are preparing for possible disaster somehow are looking forward to it.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  They fail to realize the ability to visualize potential futures and make preparations to meet them are the best ways to prevent America from suffering the fate of other nations.

What do YOU see ahead?  What are YOU doing to prepare?  What are YOU willing to do to prevent disaster?

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Molon Labe

 

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What frightens the Left

Today’s recommended read:

Their latest conniption fit has come over two apparently unrelated things. The first, of course, is guns and by extension the right to one’s own personal self-defense in a dangerous and (thanks to the second thing, about which more in a bit) rapidly destabilizing world. …

The Left—which is by turns both malevolent and cowardly, and therefore both tantalized by and fearful of firearms—has never made its hostility toward the Second Amendment a secret, but for decades it was able to keep it under wraps during the half-century or more between the effective closing of the borders to immigration in 1921 and the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, known as the Hart-Celler Act but today chiefly remembered as Ted Kennedy’s lasting gift to the American people. …

Which brings us to the cause of their second recent nervous breakdown: the Trump Administration’s decision to reinstate a question about citizenship on the 2020 census form. The movement against it is being led by former attorney general Eric Holder, the knave who was held in contempt of Congress over the Obama administration’s “Fast and Furious” gun-running program to Mexico, and is an unrepentant radical.

“The addition of a citizenship question to the census questionnaire is a direct attack on our representative democracy,” said Holder, announcing a lawsuit. …

On the contrary, this question goes directly to the substance of our representative democracy by acknowledging the difference between citizens and non-citizens, a crucial distinction the Left is trying mightily to erase—and not just because the Democrats stand to benefit from the addition of millions of new dependent and culturally hostile voters.

No, it goes far deeper than that…

As Glenn Reynolds would say, read the whole thing.

The Constitution of the United States stands athwart the vision of the Left, and for that reason they undermine, vilify, circumvent and ignore it wherever they are permitted.  What they fear is a public fully aware of how that document works, why it’s set up the way it is, and willing to hold officials accountable to it.

Be that public.

Failing to protect the future

As I’ve pointed out before, Leftists — who more often rely on emotional appeals than logical analysis — frequently promote their cause du jour by proclaiming “it’s for the children!” Supposedly if a policy saves “just one life” it’s worth whatever tradeoffs (including essential liberties) are required for it.

Very well, then. Let’s look at how our immigration policies are failing our children, on both sides of the Atlantic:

From New York to Virginia to Texas, schools in areas racked by MS-13 violence are now struggling with a sobering question. What to do when the gang isn’t just in your community, but in your classrooms?

For the past year, the Trump administration has waged a nationwide crackdown on MS-13. Nowhere has this effort been more intense than in Suffolk County, where police say the gang has committed 27 murders since a surge of unaccompanied minors began arriving in 2013…

Starting in 2013, thousands of unaccompanied minors — most from Central America — began entering the United States illegally from Mexico each month, many turning themselves in to authorities. More than 200,000 have been detained, screened and then placed with relatives by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Nearly 5,000 have been sent to Suffolk County…

“The last couple of years, when we had the unaccompanied children coming, that’s when we saw the change,” he said. By providing vulnerable newcomers with a sense of belonging, MS-13 “became a powerhouse.” A deadly one.

The Obama administration tacitly encouraged the “children’s crusade” flood of ‘unaccompanied minors’ (who aren’t always telling the truth about their age). In doing so, they provided a large cohort of disconnected young people who were prime recruits for an organization like MS-13, which provides structure and an alternative form of ‘family.’ If just one in 20 of the new arrivals fell prey to the gang, that’s 10,000 new members — the equivalent of more than two Army Infantry Brigade Combat Teams. I make this comparison because MS-13 is more than a gang — it is an insurgent-type organization that provides an alternative to government for security, services and support… and violently competes with others for allegiance.

In the United Kingdom children are also being “recruited” into a different, but equally devastating subculture:

As many as 1,000 children are feared to have been drugged and abused by perverts in Telford, Shrops, since the 1980s — but their hell went on for decades as authorities repeatedly failed to stamp out a network of paedophiles in the town…

It is also claimed that social workers knew of the abuse in the 1990s but the police took a decade to launch an investigation, council staff viewed victims as “prostitutes”, and authorities failed to keep details of abusers from Asian communities for fear of “racism”.

Here it’s necessary to pause and explain that in the British press, “Asian” usually refers to Pakistanis. Tens of thousands of Pakistani Muslims have migrated to Britain, and as has been the case with minorities elsewhere in the West, have imposed their cultural norms on their surroundings rather than be assimilated to their new country. Just as American troops have been shocked to find pederasty rampant among our nominal Afghan ‘allies,’ so too are the cultural practices in Pakistan frequently incompatible with established Western standards.

Lucy Lowe, 16, was killed in 2000 along with her mother and sister after her 26-year-old abuser Azhar Ali Mehmood set fire to their house. Cabbie Mehmood targeted Lucy in 1997 and she was just 14 when she gave birth to his daughter…

Lucy’s death was used as a warning to other girls, according to victims. One, drugged and gang raped by nine men two years later, said the threats drove her to attempt suicide. She said: “I was scared my family would die like Lucy’s. I thought they’d only be safe if I killed myself.”

The latest revelations in Britain continue a trend that indicates this is a serious and widespread problem. Worse, the government seems more concerned about keeping the public pacified than it does about solving the issue. More than one report has indicated a concern among law enforcement that openly addressing the issue could make them appear “racist.” Voices that point out the clash of cultural values are punished and silenced.

And thus, under the flag of multiculturalism, does barbarism take strong root. The open- borders-moral-equivalency crowd refuses to acknowledge that importing large numbers of people from other parts of the world means importing practices antithetical to Western Civilization. This doesn’t mean they all fail to recognize it — in fact, some of their leaders consider this dilution a feature rather than a flaw.

For that crowd, it’s not really “about the children.” It’s about their power. If concern for the children convinces you to gut the 2nd Amendment, then they’re all about the kids. But if it causes you to question the unchecked influx of brigades of foreigners and their attendant abuses of children, well, that’s a different matter.

May there be a special place in Hell for those bureaucrats who, through their inaction, are allowing these crimes against the youngest and most vulnerable in our society. And may Justice return to our countries so that we may speed their way to that special place.

 

Islam is bondage

As Turkey’s current president pushes the formerly secular state toward embracing Islamist tendencies, it’s clear that Islam itself provides fertile ground for aspiring autocrats:

In an interview Haqqani said Erdogan’s approach was reminiscent of Pakistan’s military dictator between 1978 and 1988, Zia ul-Haq. Like Zia, Erdogan has instituted legal and societal reforms to further Islamize society. In January, for example, he instituted a new plan to pour government money into Islamic schools.

“Erdogan has taken the Pakistani formula of mixing hard-line nationalism with religiosity,” Haqqani said. “Zia imposed Islamic laws by decree, amended the constitution, marginalized secular scholars and leaders, and created institutions for Islamization that have outlasted him. Erdogan is trying to do the same in Turkey.”

And to the extend the West refuses to be vigilant, the millions of Muslims pouring into Europe and the United States will gladly try to follow suit.

Is “diversity” good for America?

At every turn, we are assured by the media, too many politicians, and a whole host of activists that “diversity is our strength.”  Is it?  Some of the Founders would have dismissed such an idea.  John Quincy Adams, son of the second President, had this to say to his father in 1811:

“America is destined to be peopled by one nation, speaking one language, professing one general system of religious and political principles, and accustomed to one general tenor of social usages and customs.”  (emphasis added)

In this he was not falling far from the tree, so to speak.  During and after the American Revolution, the elder Adams strongly advocated English as a common language for the new nation.  George Washington, in his Farewell Address, noted the conditions of the younger Adams’ later observations were already present:

“With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.” (emphasis added)

We’re told that American-style liberty and self-governance is the desire of every human being; that in everyone, there’s an American struggling to break out.  Is that really true?  If so, then why are second-generation immigrants participating in terrorism?  Why are some advocating the adoption of an alien Sharia law system in the U.S.?  Why are there alien enclaves here waving foreign flags (while burning the U.S. one) and looking more like the lands of their ancestors than part of the United States?  Most importantly, who benefits from this conscious policy and why?

Culture is the wellspring from which a nation’s institutions flow.  The culture that created the United States was steeped in the Christian faith, the history of British self-governance and Enlightenment thinking about limited government.  Even today, those are hardly universal foundations for societies.   Around the world there are plenty of examples of what results when any or all of those pillars are missing.  So why would we not demand they continue to predominate here?  

America is now decades into its multicultural fetish.  But there is a tremendous difference between enjoying colorful assortments of dress, dance and cuisine, and acting as if all worldviews produce the same positive results.  They clearly do not.  I couldn’t help but think of the multiculturalists when I recently read about the custom in Madagascar of literally dancing with the corpses of dead family members.  I guarantee there are doctrinaire multiculturalists who would demand we not frown on such a horrific practice; that instead we celebrate what they would emphasize as an expression of love.  The problem is, such things have predictable consequences, such as the spreading of disease.  In most of Latin America (especially Brazil), the annual “Carnival” celebration is a license for utter debauchery.  In much of Islamic Africa, the genitals of young girls are mutilated in an attempt to mute their sexuality, a practice now flourishing in immigrant communities such as Detroit.

So what do we expect to happen when we have “diversity lotteries” for admission to the U.S., resulting in people moving here in large numbers directly from societies with such practices?  Is it not strange we have elected officials more concerned with protecting illegal immigrants than U.S. citizens?  We have forgotten, to our own peril, that the U.S., and more broadly Western Civilization, is unique in human history and that most of the world’s story is a uniform one of various flavors of subservience and misery for the average individual.  Too few Americans have personally experienced how different life outside the “developed world” can be, so they have no idea what’s at stake.

At the rate we’re going, though, many are about to find out.  Western Civilization once had the audacity to proclaim universal truths and standards of right and wrong.  But today it thinks of itself as merely one voice among many, and nothing special worth defending.  I believe the “diversity drive,” coupled with the now-prevalent idea there is no objective truth, will be noted by historians as the fatal acid that ate away the foundations of the United States.  The key question at this point is whether any of the original culture of this country will be preserved in what follows its approaching demise, or whether, as Winston Churchill once warned of the Nazi threat, “the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.” 

Iran

The clerical regime in Tehran is facing perhaps its biggest challenge since the immediate aftermath of the 1979 revolution that put it into power.

This is a very big deal.

For years, Iran has been the world’s biggest state sponsor of international terrorism (in particular the Hezbollah organization).  That’s why it was criminally irresponsible for the Obama administration to weaken sanctions on Tehran, and airlift $1.7 billion in paper currency to them!  This, after essentially ignoring previous unrest in 2009.  In his quixotic quest for a meaningless “nuclear deal” with Iran, Obama spared no opportunity to help the mullahs.  In doing so, he was enabling a regime that exported considerable trouble, including cooperation with other rogue regimes like the one in North Korea.

Many Obama alumni are calling on the current administration to also be silent, saying to speak out risks having Iran’s leaders brand the dissidents as “foreign agents.”  This overlooks the power of moral support.  Trump’s initial statement on the matter — a remarkably statesmanlike missive — was translated into Farsi and quickly passed around among the dissidents before the regime blocked access to social media.  Obama’s team might well be wondering what else will come to light about them, should the mullahs lose power.

America remains the original modern Constitutional republic, however battered that system may be.  The most powerful foreign policy tool available to us is modeling what a free society should look like.  For more than two centuries people in other countries seeking a better way have looked to us for inspiration and example.  We have not always lived up to such scrutiny, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.  Inspiration is far to be preferred over invasion as a means to advance freedom.

“Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she (America) goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.”  – John Quincy Adams, 1821

Let us all offer “prayers and benedictions” that the Iranian people will finally free themselves of the original Islamist gangster regime.  The world could be a much better place if they do.

The winds of change

The end of a year is considered time for reflection; to examine trends and identify needed corrections.  Today’s New Years Eve events seem to point toward one of those trends:

“New Year revellers across Britain will be protected by SAS snipers armed with the world’s most powerful rifle – which is capable of stopping a terrorist vehicle.  Brave special forces soldiers will be deployed on rooftops around the country and will even be surveilling crowds from helicopters.”  (The Sun, United Kingdom)

***

“Organisers of Berlin’s New Year’s Eve celebrations are to set up a “safe zone” for women for the first time.  The new security measures planned for the Brandenburg Gate party come amid concerns about sexual assaults. A large number of assaults and robberies targeting women at Cologne’s New Year’s Eve celebrations two years ago horrified Germany. Hundreds of women reported being attacked by gangs of men with migrant backgrounds.”  (BBC, United Kingdom)

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Police in Sweden have retracted their “unfortunate” advice that women should not go out alone after dark.  Local police in Malmö made a public statement saying women should stay indoors when it gets dark following the rape of a 17-year-old girl.  The incident occurred after midnight as the victim walked through a playground area and is the third attack of its kind in the Swedish city of Malmö in the last few weeks.  (Independent, United Kingdom)

***

Police are promising a bigger security detail than ever before in Times Square for this year’s New Year’s Eve celebration, which will cap off a year that saw a number of deadly attacks on innocent crowds, including a vehicle rampage at the very spot where revelers will ring in 2018.  The extra precautions follow two recent terrorist attacks in the city. A man detonated a bomb in the city’s subway system on December 11, injuring only himself. On Halloween, an Islamic State-inspired attacker drove down a bicycle path, killing eight people before he wrecked his truck and was shot by police. (CNBC, United States)

 

At the end of the 1980s Western Civilization celebrated the end of the Cold War, the final of three chapters of unprecedented, largely intramural violence in the 20th Century.  The rock band The Scorpions sang about “The Wind of Change,” capturing the hope the future would be brighter.

Those winds have changed direction, and the West needs to stop importing large numbers of foreigners.  Now.  We already have enough crazies of our own.  It now appears we traded the Cold War for a return of a much older conflict.  May 2018 see continued success in reviving the West’s slumbering sense of self-preservation.