Friday, February 24, 2006

Progress, in Little Steps

Almost twelve years ago, when Charles Murray and Richard Hernstein published The Bell Curve, their thesis that intelligence was largely heritable, measurable and differed not only between individuals, but (on average) between groups, set off a firestorm. The book, the authors (one already deceased by the time of publication), the subject of IQ, IQ tests and racial differences were vociferously denounced by the left and then by the cowed right. As usual, the mainstream media reflexively took the left’s point of view as if desperately chanting Stephen J. Gould’s Marxist maxim "human equality is a contingent fact of history" over and over it made it true. But over the last dozen years, things have changed. The scientific study of genetics has made stunning advances, including the sequencing of the human genome. The mountain of evidence produced by gemomics labs has begun to seep out into the popular media and mindset. Books like Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate, which gleefully eviscerate the entrenched never-in-the-genes mindset, no longer set off firestorms and while Charles Murray remains a lightning rod for the left’s bitter wrath, the basic ideas championed in The Bell Curve are increasingly becoming commonplace. Thus one now can read, on the Discovery Channel web site, the matter-of-fact reference that intelligence, among other traits, is indeed heritable.

Professional dancers are born with at least two special genes that give them a leg up on the rest of us, according to a new study.

Recent research also has suggested that intelligence, athletic ability and musical talent are linked to our genes and brain hard-wiring.

With dancing added to the list, the evidence indicates that certain individuals are born with a predisposition to specific behaviors and talents, and that at least some of these qualities may represent evolved attributes.

Of course, outright discussions of IQ are still largely impermissible outside carefully observed scientific boundaries, and differences between groups is beyond the pale. But even there, the door is opening. The situation has shifted enough that Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending could release a paper recently arguing that not only do Ashkenzi Jews have a higher average IQ than other European groups, but advance a genetic explanation for that difference and receive a fairly respectful hearing. Progress, in small steps.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Surprised by Dubai? Why?

The Bush administration clears a deal to permit an United Arab Emirates (UAE) government owned company to acquire the British firm that manages six important US ports. The administration does this under the usual cover of public disinterest and journalistic laziness that permits so many deals like this to go unnoticed, hoping that it will slide under the radar. Unfortunately for the White House, talk radio hosts and bloggers pick up on the story. Radio audiences can’t believe their ears – not five years after 9/11, and after constant terror alerts, threats and two wars, the administration couldn’t seriously have put Arabs in control of such important assets?

The disbelief is short-lived. The administration sends out its flacks to defend the deal on the Sunday talk shows. When this only inflames Congressional outrage – spawned, doubtless, by tens of thousands of angry emails and phone calls from voters – the President himself comes out and not only defends the deal, but arrogantly insists that his authority places the deal beyond any public inspection or remedy. His veto – which he has wielded not once in five years to stem out-of-control public spending – will kill any attempt by Congress to stay the deal, he asserts, with all the finality of a monarch issuing an edit.

The President’s political faux pas catches his party by surprise, even as it delights his perennially hapless opposition (which consistently manages to squander any opportunity handed to it). Political strategists shake their heads in dismay. Conservative commentators express surprise, indignation and bewilderment.

But why, exactly, is anyone surprised by this? The Bush administration has, for five years, championed the "outsourcing" of every American industry that could possibly be shipped overseas. It has not merely refrained from defending US borders, but actively hampered border enforcement efforts and cheerleads for granting legitimacy for millions of illegal immigrants who have swarmed across the collapsing border during its tenure. The President has turned a blind eye to the dangerous rise of violent Central and South American gangs in US cities and the crime wave caused by millions of illegals in even rural areas. The President has shown no interest in the damage caused to American culture by the settlement of millions of foreigners who evince not the slightest interest in learning our language or culture, but are steadily forming a permanent underclass whose alien culture is quite hostile to the country in which they reside (rather like Muslims in Europe a quarter century ago). Nor has the allegedly compassionate president indicated any concern for the millions of lower class Americans whose salaries have been plummeted, or whose jobs have been lost to the millions of illegal aliens willing to work for almost nothing.

Are we surprised because President Bush as sold himself as "tough on national security?" How tough can one be on national security when you allow millions of foreigners, whose intentions and provenance are unknown, easy access to your country? President Bush remains president only because the Democrats have so discredited themselves on security and military issues that anyone looks better in comparison.

If conservatives need any additional measure of just how much damage President Bush has done to conservatism, they need only reflect on the remark he made yesterday challenging those opposed to the deal:

And I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a Great British [sic] company.

This was said with a straight face. It was not intended as sarcasm or humor. It was meant to be taken as a serious argument. This is what passes for "tough on national security" in this administration. Subsequently, the administration and its few allies on the issue – including the illegal-immigration-is-wonderful-for-America crowd at the Wall Street Journal – have been accusing anyone who opposes the deal as being, well, racist. This is a page lifted directly from the Left’s playbook. That a conservative administration is now using this ploy lends legitimacy to the tactic and undermines every argument conservatives have made in favor of commonsense for the last fifty years. Not convinced? Consider this: Jimmy Carter couldn’t get in front of a reporter to defend the deal and make the same argument fast enough.

For the record, Mr. President, when was the last time United Kingdom, or group of Britons attacked the United States? By contrast, when was the last time an Arab country or group of Arabs attacked the United States? There’s the answer.

It is simple common sense that nations which exhibit any semblance of self-preservation do not allow their strategic assets to fall under the control of foreigners with a recent track record of hostility and violence against them. This is true whether one faces a traditional military (China) or a terrorist (Islamic nations) threat. The public instinctively understands this. Apparently, the Bush administration and its globalist, neoconservative ideological backers do not. If Iraq, the exploding federal budget and the catastrophe of unchecked illegal immigration weren’t enough to convince conservatives that they’ve been had, this should.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Tony Blair's Dangerous Delusion

In a recent entry, I made the case that Tony Blair is a very bad prime minister for the UK, and that to the extent that he weakens America’s staunchest ally Britain, he is very bad for the US. Americans, especially right-of-center Americans, have largely turned a blind eye to the seriously flawed domestic policies of Mr. Blair because of his willingness to stand behind George Bush both in Afghanistan and Iraq, the latter much to the dismay of his own voters. Blair’s greatest flaw is his unswerving devotion to multiculturalism, which seems to stem from his inadequate acquaintance with the philosophical underpinnings of Western civilization, whose core tenets he seems only too happy to sacrifice on the alter of politically correctness. This shocking disregard to basic Western values was most recently displayed when Blair and his New Labor party tried to ram through Parliament a bill that would have made it a criminal offense to offend anyone’s religion. Offend being defined as anything that an adherent of that religion decided was offensive, which in practice would squelch humor, and ultimately any form of criticism, not matter how scholar - what could be more offensive that reading someone argue that your religion is false?

Though no specific religion was cited in the bill, Islam would have been the law’s main beneficiary, legally insulated from any critique. Muslim activists and clerics were all but unanimous in their support of the bill. Fortunately, a last minute maneuver killed the most draconian part of the legislation. But the fact that the British prime minister would have attempted such a severe bit of legislative legerdemain should serve as ample warning of his true ideological inclinations and his fawning appeasement of the Muslim minority that is slowly subverting Britain.

According to Patrick Sookhdeo, director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity, a respected British scholar and former Muslim, the Blair’s pandering to Muslims, and his embrace of multiculturalism are premised on a complete misunderstanding of Islam and the danger it poses for Britain.

The Prime Minister's ignorance of Islam, Dr Sookhdeo contends, is of a piece with his unsuccessful attempts to conciliate it. And it does indeed seem as if the Government's policy towards radical Islam is based on the hope that if it makes concessions to its leaders, they will reciprocate and relations between fundamentalist Muslims and Tony Blair's Government will then turn into something resembling an ecumenical prayer meeting.

Dr Sookhdeo nods in vigorous agreement with that. "Yes - and it is a very big mistake. Look at what happened in the 1990s. The security services knew about Abu Hamza and the preachers like him. They knew that London was becoming the centre for Islamic terrorists. The police knew. The Government knew. Yet nothing was done.

"The whole approach towards Muslim militants was based on appeasement. 7/7 proved that that approach does not work - yet it is still being followed. For example, there is a book, The Noble Koran: a New Rendering of its Meaning in English, which is openly available in Muslim bookshops.

"It calls for the killing of Jews and Christians, and it sets out a strategy for killing the infidels and for warfare against them. The Government has done nothing whatever to interfere with the sale of that book.

"Why not? Government ministers have promised to punish religious hatred, to criminalise the glorification of terrorism, yet they do nothing about this book, which blatantly does both."

Perhaps the explanation is just that they do not take it seriously. "I fear that is exactly the problem," says Dr Sookhdeo. "The trouble is that Tony Blair and other ministers see Islam through the prism of their own secular outlook.

Dr. Sookhdeo warns that radical Muslim clerics have long understood the West’s weakness – its own self-loathing and guilt over its colonialist past – and know exactly how to exploit it.

"For example, one of the fundamental notions of a secular society is the moral importance of freedom, of individual choice. But in Islam, choice is not allowable: there cannot be free choice about whether to choose or reject any of the fundamental aspects of the religion, because they are all divinely ordained. God has laid down the law, and man must obey.

'Islamic clerics do not believe in a society in which Islam is one religion among others in a society ruled by basically non-religious laws. They believe it must be the dominant religion - and it is their aim to achieve this.

"That is why they do not believe in integration. In 1980, the Islamic Council of Europe laid out their strategy for the future - and the fundamental rule was never dilute your presence. That is to say, do not integrate.

"Rather, concentrate Muslim presence in a particular area until you are a majority in that area, so that the institutions of the local community come to reflect Islamic structures. The education system will be Islamic, the shops will serve only halal food, there will be no advertisements showing naked or semi-naked women, and so on."

That plan, says Dr Sookhdeo, is being followed in Britain. "That is why you are seeing areas which are now almost totally Muslim. The next step will be pushing the Government to recognise sharia law for Muslim communities - which will be backed up by the claim that it is "racist" or "Islamophobic" or "violating the rights of Muslims" to deny them sharia law.

"There's already a Sharia Law Council for the UK. The Government has already started making concessions: it has changed the law so that there are sharia-compliant mortgages and sharia pensions.

"Some Muslims are now pressing to be allowed four wives: they say it is part of their religion. They claim that not being allowed four wives is a denial of their religious liberty. There are Muslim men in Britain who marry and divorce three women, then marry a fourth time - and stay married, in sharia law, to all four.

"The more fundamentalist clerics think that it is only a matter of time before they will persuade the Government to concede on the issue of sharia law. Given the Government's record of capitulating, you can see why they believe that."

The policy of cultural subversion of incremental and subtle, but each success emboldens the Islamic agitators and convinces them that their ultimate goals are attainable. This, Dr. Sookhdeo, says explains the worldwide Muslim temper tantrum over the Danish cartoons. Muslim clerics and leaders have realized that a show of violence and outrage, backed by accusations of racism, can thoroughly rattle Western leaders, causing the to cringe and offer appeasement. It’s a strategy that has proven so remarkably successful, that Muslims are increasingly willing to employ it even over particularly trite issues. Why? Because they have learned that the west always conceeds. Whether the issue is terrorism, the rights of women, the murder of homosexuals (Iran), freedom of speech within Western nations, immigration or foreign policy, the West will always kowtow to an angry mob. If an Arab mob had burned a European embassy in 1920, the reprisal would have been quick and bloody. Today, there is no reprisal: the European country apologizes for offending the Muslim mob. The demonstrations continue, Dr. Sookhdeo, says, because Muslims see the West bending over backwards appease Muslim anger. He surveyed Muslim clerics in Britain with regard to their reaction to the cartoon controversy and saw his worst fears confirmed.

"They think they have won the debate," he says with a sigh. "They believe that the British Government has capitulated to them, because it feared the consequences if it did not.

"The cartoons, you see, have not been published in this country, and the Government has been very critical of those countries in which they were published. To many of the Islamic clerics, that's a clear victory.

"It's confirmation of what they believe to be a familiar pattern: if spokesmen for British Muslims threaten what they call 'adverse consequences' - violence to the rest of us - then the British Government will cave in. I think it is a very dangerous precedent."

Dr Sookhdeo adds that he believes that "in a decade, you will see parts of English cities which are controlled by Muslim clerics and which follow, not the common law, but aspects of Muslim sharia law.

"It is already starting to happen - and unless the Government changes the way it treats the so-called leaders of the Islamic community, it will continue."

Dr Sookhdeo calls for the reversal of multiculturalism in Britain and a re-affirmation of British culture. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen in the absence of even more violence on British soil. The self-hatred encouraged by multiculturalism – and the leftists who have birth to it – was become deeply engrained in the British and European mindset. It will take a severe shock to the system to excise it. The July 7 bombings and their failed copycat echo, I fear, unnerved Britons, but did not wake them. iSadly, it will likely take much worse to purge them of the intellectual poison they’ve been fed.

But ultimately, simply abandoning multiculturalism won’t be enough. Muslims will always be strongly attached to their religious culture, a culture whose values are sufficiently alien to Western civilization as to permanently isolate them if their communities within the West are allowed to become large enough. It is an inherent rule of human behavior that, on average, people like to associate with those like themselves – culturally, religiously, racially. Where significant numbers of like-charactered individuals exist they can form communities resistant to the outside, dominant culture. If the minority culture is hostile to the dominant culture, and prone to violence, clashes and bloodshed are inevitable. If the minority culture is growing in number, while the dominant culture’s numbers are static or declining, then the conflict will only escalate. Britain – and Europe in general – needs not merely to end Muslim (and all other non-Western) immigration to its shores, but to find a way to repatriate a substantial number of those Muslims who have already immigrated. Steve Sailer has proposed a system of monetary payments to induce immigrants and their families to leave Europe. But the political will isn’t there yet – and even the suggestion would provoke feverish cries of "racism!" (Which would send the politicians scrambling for cover.) But as the dire nature of Britain’s (and Europe’s) situation vis a vis its Muslim minority grows clear – and bloodier – it is possible that desperation may wipe the multiculturalist fog from European eyes and prod them toward a common-sense based response.