Monday, June 26, 2006

Deluded America

I can see it now, I think. It is on the right-hand page of a book by or about Winston Churchill, and it is a quotation by Churchill on the subject of war. Specifically, what happens to a civilized society when it goes to war with a barbarous one. I can't find it (yet), but what I remember as being the main point was that if the civilized society is to prevail over the barbarous one, it will necessarily and tragically be degraded by the experience as a vital cost of victory. Partly, this is because civilized war tactics are apt to fail against barbarous war tactics, thus requiring civilized society to break the "rules" if it is to survive a true death struggle. It is also because the clash itself — the act of engaging with the barbarous society — forces civilization to confront, repel and also internalize previously unimagined depredations. This is degrading, too.

In Churchill's era, the more civilized world of the Allies was necessarily degraded to some intangible extent by what it took to achieve victory over barbarous Nazism. For example, bombing cities, even rail transportation hubs, lay beyond civilized conventions, but these were tactics the Allies used to defeat Hitler. However justifiable, civilization crossed a previously unimagined and uncivilized line to save, well,civilization. Thentherewas Hitler's Holocaust — an act of genocide of previously unthinkable scale and horror. Who in the civilized world before Hitler had ever imagined killing 6 million people? And who in the civilized world retained the same purity of mind afterward? Civilization itself was forever dimmed.

The question is, did bombing Dresden to defeat Hitler or dropping two nuclear bombs to force Japan to stop fighting make the Allies into barbarians? I think most people would still say of course not and argue that such destructive measures were necessary to save civilization itself — and certainly thousands of mainly American and Allied lives. But if this argument continues to carry the day, it's because we still view that historic period from its own perspective. We view it from a perspective in which Allied lives — our fathers, husbands, brothers and sons — counted for more than Axis lives, even those of women and children. How quaint. That is, this is not at all how we think anymore. If we still valued our own men more than the enemy and the "civilians" they hide among — and now I'm talking about the war in Iraq — our tactics would be totally different, and, not incidentally, infinitely more successful. We would drop bombs on city blocks, for example, and not waste men in dangerous house-to-house searches. We would destroy enemy sanctuaries in Syria and Iran and not disarm "insurgents" at perilous checkpoints in hostile Iraqi strongholds.

In the 21st century, however, there is something that our society values more than our own lives — and more than the survival of civilization itself. That something may be described as the kind of moral superiority that comes from a good wallow in Abu Ghraib, Haditha, CIA interrogations or Guantanamo Bay. Morally superior people — Western elites — never "humiliate" prisoners, never kill civilians, never torture or incarcerate jihadists. Indeed, they would like to kill, I mean, prosecute, or at least tie the hands of, anyone who does. This, of course, only enhances their own moral superiority. But it doesn't win wars. And it won't save civilization. Why not? Because such smugness masks a massive moral paralysis. The morally superior (read: paralyzed) don't really take sides, don't really believe one culture is qualitatively better or worse than the other. They don't even believe one culture is just plain different from the other. Only in this atmosphere of politically correct and perpetually adolescent non-judgmentalism could anyone believe, for example, that compelling, forcing or torturing a jihadist terrorist to get information to save a city undermines our "values" in any way. It undermines nothing — except the jihad.

Do such tactics diminish our inviolate sanctimony? You bet. But so what? The alternative is to follow our precious rules and hope the barbarians will leave us alone, or, perhaps, not deal with us too harshly. Fond hope. Consider the 21st-century return of (I still can't quite believe it) beheadings. The first French Republic aside, who on God's modern green earth ever imagined a head being hacked off the human body before we were confronted with Islamic jihad? Civilization itself is forever dimmed — again.



A torrent of polarized commentary fell after I discussed motorcycle helmet laws on Sunday. (I favor free choice.) Most of those opposed to free choice focused not on the merits of helmet laws, but on my characterization of helmet activists as ''safety nazis.'' That indelicate appellation, said Barbara Richardson of Lehigh Township, ''should only be used for the most evil of entities.'' John de Planque of Kutztown accused me of ''inflammatory oratory.''

I am loath to hurt anyone's feelings, but I'm at a loss to come up with a better term. What should we call people who seek to abridge the rights and freedoms of others? Please note that most car crash fatalities involve head injuries. There are more fatalities in cars than on motorcycles, so the safety nazis should also insist that people in cars be forced to wear helmets. Will they do that? Not on your life , because nazis always want to restrict the freedom of people other than themselves.

There also were supportive letters, from as far away as Lahore, Pakistan, where Lehigh Valley native and American Consulate official Michael Eagan yearns to get back home to ride his Harley Davidson - in a climate of freedom. Rick Loomis of the Lehigh Valley chapter of ABATE (the outfit that lobbied for free helmet choice) thanked me ''for being a voice of reason.''



Do gang rapes boost GDP? Was that an offensive question, you say? Well, according to Sweden's finance minister P„r Nuder, more immigrants should be allowed into Sweden in order to safeguard the welfare system. However, in reality estimates indicate that immigration costs Sweden at least 40 to 50 billion Swedish kroner every year, probably several hundred billions, and has greatly contributed to bringing the Swedish welfare state to the brink of bankruptcy. An estimated cost of immigration of 225 billion Swedish kroner in 2004, which is not unlikely, would equal 17.5% of Sweden's tax income that year, a heavy burden in a country which already has some of the highest levels of taxation in the world.

At the same time, the number of rape charges in Sweden has quadrupled in just above twenty years. Rape cases involving children under the age of 15 are six times as common today as they were a generation ago. Resident aliens from Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia dominate the group of rape suspects. Lawyer Ann Christine Hjelm, who has investigated violent crimes in one court, found that 85 per cent of the convicted rapists were born on foreign soil or by foreign parents. Swedish politicians want to continue Muslim immigration because it boosts the economy, yet the evidence so far indicates that it mainly boosts the number of gang rapes. Meanwhile, research shows that fear of honor killings is a very real issue for many immigrant girls in Sweden. 100.000 young Swedish girls live as virtual prisoners of their own families.

An ever growing group of non-western immigrants in Norway is dependent on welfare. This was the conclusion of a study by Tyra Ekhaugen of the Frisch Centre for Economic Research and the University of Oslo. Ekhaugen's research contradicted the often heard assertion that Norway's labor market depends increasingly on immigrants. The study indicated quite the reverse. If the present evolution continues, immigration will increase the pressure on the welfare state rather than relieving it because many immigrants do not join the tax-paying part of the population. "Non-Western immigrants" in Norway are recipients of social security benefits ten times as frequently as native Norwegians. If we remember that "non-Western immigrants" include Chinese, Indians and other non-Muslims who are known for (and statistically proven to be) hard working, this speaks volumes of the heavy burden Muslims constitute on the welfare state.

Journalist Halvor Tjonn from newspaper Aftenposten, one of the few genuinely critical journalists in the country, in June 2006 cited a report from NHO, the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise. NHO stated that the current immigration policies were a serious threat to the country's economy. Norway is the planet's third largest exporter of oil, next to Saudi Arabia and Russia. Yet according to NHO, there is a risk that much of the profit Norway earns from oil could be spent on paying welfare for a rapidly growing immigrant population. The most profitable immigration would be high-skilled workers who stay for period of limited duration, but at the same time not too brief. A Danish think tank has estimated that the net cost of immigration was up to 50 billion kroner every year, and those were cautious estimates. Denmark could thus save huge sums by stopping immigration from less developed countries. A study found that every other immigrant from the Third World -- especially from Muslim countries -- lacked the qualifications for even the most menial jobs on the organized Danish labor market.

Professor Kjetil Storesletten at the University of Oslo said that the net contribution of immigrants to the economy was probably negative in Norway, too. "Admitting immigrants with low levels of education leads nowhere. We cannot continue the immigration policies we have followed until now," said Storesletten. In Norway, social benefits and salaries for low-skilled workers are among the highest in the world. At the same time, the salaries for highly skilled workers are comparatively lower and the taxes are high. This compressed salary structure is the result of decades of Socialist policies in Scandinavia. It leads to attracting people with lower skills and little education, but also makes the countries less attractive for researchers and scientists. Still, the agency that handles immigration to Norway, UDI, in 2005 thought that the country must make it more attractive for both skilled and unskilled workers to move to Norway. "We need more immigrants," claimed UDI chief Trygve Nordby. "Too few dare to say that we have a large need for non-professional workers as well," he said. UDI, in turn, should be able to have more flexibility in deciding cases, and process cases more quickly and efficiently.

As it turned out later, the bureaucrats of UDI were in fact so "flexible" that they had been running their own, private immigration policies, and that the agency's liberal interpretation of asylum rules had "stretched the boundaries" of the law. UDI violated both the law and political directives when it granted residency permits to nearly 200 Iraqi Kurds in the fall of 2005. A commission that probed the controversial permits blasted the former head of UDI, Trygve Nordby, and his successor resigned. More than half of the social security benefits in the city of Oslo are spent of non-Western immigrants, a portion that has grown tremendously over the years. City council leader Erling Lae warns against prejudice and states that without immigrants, there would be "complete chaos" in Oslo. Meanwhile, Norwegian newspapers are worried that online debates are "flooded with racist comments" about Muslims. One of the racist comments they mentioned was this one: "A large number of Muslims out of their own, free will choose to live in parallel societies where they speak their mother tongue, watch foreign TV, despise the society they have moved to and pick spouses from their original homelands. The only contact they have with the natives is in the social security office."

"The debate is often colored by ignorance. It is not a human right to be heard at any given time. It requires a certain minimum of social intelligence to be allowed to participate in the public debate," says Esten O. Saether, online editor of the Leftist, pro-Multicultural newspaper Dagbladet. S‘ther warns that the newspapers may have to impose stricter censorship on their online discussion forums and the comments to online articles. However, Dagbladet seems to have little understanding of why so many people are fed up with Muslims and their demands. Neither have they admitted that they were wrong in their one-sided praise of the positive effects of Muslim immigration for decades, nor apologized for demonizing the right-wing Progress Party and its leader Carl I. Hagen throughout the 90s for their "racism" for questioning the real costs of this immigration.

On the contrary, although information about the costs of Muslim immigration has been available for several years, this was a non-issue in Norwegian media prior to the national elections in 2005. Instead, they were focusing on "poverty" in Norway and the need for increased welfare spending. This in a country that is among the wealthiest in the world and which provides its citizens with the highest social security benefits in Europe. Norway's media coverage of the national elections revealed a desire for a Leftist government, said Election expert Aarebrot, a professor at the Institute for Comparative Politics at the University of Bergen. He argued that, with few exceptions, most of Norway's media leans to the left politically. "Most newspapers are what I would call politically correct. By politically correct in Norway today I mean slightly radical, urban and liberal," Aarebrot said. Nearly 70 percent of journalists vote Labor (Ap), Socialist Left (SV) or Red Electoral Alliance (RV) according to a poll, and this is reflected in the press, Aarebrot said.

Oslo will have a non-Western majority in a few decades, if the current trends continue. There are now several researchers who predict that in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, the native population and their descendants will become a minority in their own country within this century. The only question is when. Since the Islamic Jihad usually enters a much more aggressive and physical phase once the Muslim population reaches 10 - 20% of the total in any given area, this does not bode well for the future of the urban regions in Scandinavia. Will they turn out different from similar regions in Thailand, the Philippines or Nigeria?

Admittedly, part of the problem lies with the Western European welfare state system itself and cannot be blamed on the immigrants alone. Iranian Nima Sanandaji tells of his family's meeting with the Swedish system: "In Sweden my family encountered a political system that seemed very strange. The interpreter told us that Sweden is a country where the government will put a check into your mailbox each month if you don't work. She explained that there was no reason to get a job." "Although my mother got several jobs, we concluded that this really didn't improve our family's economy. During the sixteen years we have been in Sweden, my mother has in total worked less than one year."

However, part of the problem is also due to the mentality of some of the Muslims who move there, yet display no loyalty to their new countries. Immigrant men who divorce their wives according to secular law, but stay married to them according to sharia, Islamic law, represent an increasing problem in the city of Odense, Denmark, according to Erik Simonsen, deputy major in charge of administration. The result is a large number of "single" women who receive welfare support. From other countries, it is known that some Muslim men to do this trick with several women at the same time. Some observers blamed the Muslim riots in France in 2005, accurately described by writer Mark Steyn as the "first welfare funded Jihad in history," on polygamy practiced by Muslim men, paid for by French taxpayers. But also immigrants who are financially independent are cheating, says Simonsen. "80 percent of the immigrant economy in Odense is a black market economy. That's a lot, and it cannot be tolerated, because the law is equal for all."

As one Muslim in Norway stated: "I worked in a Pakistani shop, but all of the work there is 'unofficial.' Neither the boss nor I pay taxes to Norwegian authorities. In addition to this, I receive 100% disability benefits and welfare. I have to be cunning to make as much money as possible, since this is my only objective with being in Norway." Undoubtedly, many Muslims view welfare money from the infidels as Jizya, the poll-tax non-Muslims according to the Koran are supposed to pay to Muslims as tribute and a sign of their inferior status and submission to Islamic rule. In Britain, one member of an Islamic group warned an undercover reporter against getting a job because it would be contributing to the kuffar (non-Muslim) system.

One of the reasons for the low participation in the work force among Muslims is a very high drop out rate from schools, especially for boys. Although Muslims themselves blame this on "poor integration efforts" and "marginalization," some of them are actively obstructing their kids' education, lest they become too much like the infidels. Thousands of Muslim children with Scandinavian citizenship are sent to Koran schools in Pakistan and other countries, to prevent them from becoming "too Westernized." When this practice was documented and criticized by the Norwegian organization Human Rights Service, Pakistanis in Norway had the galls to ask for a school for their children in Pakistan, funded by Norwegian taxpayers. They will probably get it.

According to the Copenhagen Post, in Denmark when the country's schools open their doors again after the summer holidays, not every student is there to enter. Some schools report one in every five students missing from the schoolrooms. Daily newspaper Berlingske Tidende reported that some children had not returned from vacation in their homelands with their parents. 'When students are kept away from school start, it's a big problem for their integration and can affect the children's educational level,' said Integration Minister Rikke Hvilshoj. She said a committee would discuss methods to get parents to send their children to school from day one. 'These are children who have problems beforehand following what's going on at school,' Hvilshoj said. 'Not being there when the school year starts won't make it any easier. We need to make parents understand that if their children are to get a good chance in Denmark, they need to make sure that they are there when school starts.' Author and journalist Rushy Rahsid said she had often gone on long vacations to Pakistan with her parents as a child. 'Families go on such long trips to give their children a healthy dose of religion, culture, traditions, and family,' she said. 'If you buy a very expensive ticket, you want to take full advantage of the trip and meet the entire family.'

Not that the problems always disappear when they actually attend school, either. Going to school is no child's game for many children in Copenhagen, where beatings, kicks, robberies, and threats have everyday occurrences. The perpetrators are normally their own age. Violence and threats pose such a big problem in high schools in Malmo, Sweden, that the local school board wants to install surveillance cameras and security guards in the buildings. The city's education director Matz Nilsson said unruly and aggressive students had become a more common sight in the high schools of Malmo, the home of some of Scandinavia's biggest and roughest slums.

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