Sorry again for being late. My mom would call these apologies of mine “excuses of chronic late payer” and she’d have a point, only I hope now that we won’t be spending our weekends trying to keep two houses clean and two gardens in shape, that I can write my posts on Sunday.
You already know the vacation was a bust. Two deaths (one of commenter Matt Landry, one of extended in-law family) a work emergency and then the highway getting closed for four or five hours pretty much put paid to any relaxation. Then there is the fact our cell phone service decided not to let our phones call outside the country with no warning, and that my mother has been trying to call here while we were gone. She sounds like something bad happened, which made for some very “fun” nightmares.
Which is why I ended up, yesterday, falling asleep right after dinner (just before seven pm) and sleeping 12 hours. And no writing happened, but that’s okay, I can do that now.
When I woke up this morning we were snowed in, and we still are. Which makes me feel like I should crawl back between the covers.
This is too bad, because I need to speak to several things that are alien to native-born Americans. These include how the rest of the world works, how a religious mono-culture works, that yes, most Muslims are not actually insane terrorists BUT that doesn’t mean they don’t support the insane terrorists even as they recoil from the things they do and in the cool light of day think they are farkin insane.
It is important to explain this, because the US is so large and has been in peace and prosperity so long that the arguments that broke up all over facebook were like watching two people discuss whether the greatest danger to the Titanic was bad soup or a measles epidemic, even while the iceberg tore the ship apart.
So, let’s start with: most Muslims are not insane terrorists. Most who come here want exactly what the rest of us want: to have a peaceful life, do well at our chosen avocation and raise fat babies who grow up to be prosperous and happy adults, who raise fat babies.
The people yelling all over facebook that they have Muslim friends and that their friends aren’t terrorists must think the rest of us live in walled compounds in Nevada.
Yes, Muslims are still a tiny minority here, but we all have or have had Muslim friends and acquaintances. One of my son’s best friends/play girlfriends in elementary school was the daughter of the Arab Restaurant owner. (Last I saw her, now almost five years ago, she was performing belly dance at the restaurant and was disappointed son hadn’t come with us, because she’d like to perform for him. I relayed the message. He hasn’t gone near the restaurant since. I think he’s chicken.)
This girl was friendly, smart as a whip, and her parents were obviously not crazy Islamic fundamentalists, since they encouraged their daughters to attend school. I can no more imagine her strapping a bomb on than I can imagine myself doing that. (But there are reasons for that, and we’ll go into it later.)
THAT is not the point under discussion for anyone with a modicum of sanity.
And yet the other side keeps bringing up the fact that the Muslims who dare protest against this sort of thing are few and far between. The specter of death, beatings, etc, is brought in to justify why the great silent, non-terrorist majority does not protest.
This is wrong.
Or rather, this is more complicated than that. The death, beatings, etc. does not explain WHY we keep finding out that a lot of the silent majority materially supports the crazies they — and I want this to be very clear — rationally disapprove of.
If I understand — and please remember I didn’t grow up here — Irish-American culture, Irishmen should get this. I knew sane, even conservative people who supported terrorists in Ireland. Though that’s a little different, since it was support for terrorism OVER THERE and not among their friends and neighbors.
OTOH it had a basic thing in common. It was tribal. If you were an Irishman, this is what you did, or at least this is what you did when someone of your own community approached you and assumed of course you’d support it.
Which brings us to the basis for the great peaceful Muslim silence if not acquiescence in these things.
They want to belong. They want to belong with their tribe. They want to belong with the one-true-religion (and more on that later.) Their fear of being cast out of those can at times overwhelm their human decency.
I sort of understand it, because I grew up in a religious mono-culture. And the religion (old style Catholicism) was everywhere. My mom carefully avoided (my family was weird, okay?) putting me in with the spinster-teacher who dragged the kids to mass every weekday before starting school. This meant I entered school a year late. (Well, not exactly. Being born in November means that they could have argued for me to enter a year early, which is not the same thing. But they’d done it for the other kids in the family.) However, my teacher, the sensible one, still had us keep a “sacrifice book.” You were supposed to offer sacrifices for established categories every week, a minimum of 4 a week (I never did more than the minimum): Prisoners; the sick, your own sins, etc.
These sacrifices could mean going without dessert, or they could be crazier things, like tying a knotted rope around your middle so it hurt and wearing it for a day. No, none of them involved strapping bombs on.
BUT these exercises in piety were listened to and gossiped about by everyone, and yours truly attempts to weasel her way through it were often fodder for village talk.
It wasn’t till Preparatory School, (grade five or six) when I started talking back with actual theology that my dad got tired of getting called to the school and signed the mountain of papers required to remove me from mandatory religion. And I’ll confess what finally pushed him was that what I was being taught was the guns-to-South-America brand of liberation theology.
Now, being Americans you’re imagining me being sullen about the sacrifice book. And to an extent you’d be right, of course. I was so sickly and spent so much of my life in dire discomfort that inflicting more on myself for some spiritual benefit seemed stupid.
BUT the problem with these things, started very very early and pushed on you, is that they stick. You catch yourself in your middle years reading about someone who wore an hairshirt till his skin was raw (I can achieve that with normal clothes. YAY eczema) and feeling vaguely guilty you’ve never done that.
In the same way, I know I had to give up speaking/reading Portuguese so I COULD get as close to native as possible in English, but that doesn’t stop the gut-feeling that I should have taught the kids Portuguese; that we should be observing the traditions of Portugal, that–
Now the customs of my place and tribe by and large don’t injure anyone. They do to some extent injure the Portuguese, but that’s their look out.
(Portuguese society like most Latin societies disdains hard work. So you can’t be seen to work hard on penalty of losing face. It also comes fraught with the corruption of every society since Rome. Things work by “gloves” (bribery) and “Godfathers” (Patronage.) Ie “He who doesn’t have a godfather dies in jail” is an actual proverb. Portuguese tend to thrive best when on their own abroad, or in a community small enough that the values of the greater society weigh in.)
I can completely imagine being a peaceful Muslim who would no more kill others than he’d fly unassisted, and who yet feels guilty he doesn’t, and gives “respect” and reverence to those who are pious enough to do it. It is possible to at the same time think “these are madmen” and “But they’re doing what I should be doing.”
It’s the coils of tribe/culture/religion that most Americans don’t get. Most of you, with the exceptions of some regional mono-cultures, wouldn’t even get disowned for changing religions.
And Islam is… special. No, I don’t want to hear it. Yes, Christianity went militant and took to the sword, partly in response to the Islamic invasions, but there is no requirement in Christianity that you take to the sword or slay infidels. Judaism has its blood-soaked episodes, but they’re so far in the past that arguing them would be crazy. Those were also in a very limited context, not relating to the world in general, but to one region, one people.
When I was young and seeking, I read all holy books (pretty much) and some I couldn’t make heads or tails of, and some I found a lot of wisdom in. The Quran was the only one that horrified me.
Again, remember, tribe. Arab culture is intensely tribal, and their holy book promises world dominion to their tribe. Worse, if you’re not already dominating the whole world, it’s because you didn’t trust enough to control the world in fire and blood.
This is sort of the equivalent of raising kids with “high self esteem.” When reality fails to perform to order, they feel they’re being robbed. There is this in almost every Muslim’s heart. Because their holy book promises temporal (not spiritual) control of the world, they feel cheated at some level. They might understand perfectly well why the world is as it is, but the stuff learned with mother’s milk makes them feel they’ve been cheated of their rightful “Lord of the world” position.
And this is how you get perfectly reasonable and rational Muslims, conservative in American terms, even, and then you mention anything even vaguely related to religion or supernatural or tribe, and they get this crazy gleam in their eyes and start saying crazy stuff. It’s why a Muslim who feels guilty over something serious — adultery, homosexuality, whatever — can suddenly go from sane and moderate to strapping on a bomb. (I still think not most of them, and it would have roots in their childhood.)
Culture, particularly when entangled with tribe and religion, has a heft and a weight of its own, and a hold in the sanest of minds.
So, what can be done? D*mned if I know. Look, taquya and the injunction to stop attacking until you have the upper hand are a key. Yeah, they’re sort of lying when they say they don’t want to conquer you. But if they’re decent people (and most of them are) they’re sort of telling the truth too. It gives them an excuse to give up on the crazy stuff, to quell the crazies. “We’re not strong enough. We don’t do this YET” and this gives us a window to let them integrate with the west, and to actually bring about that “reformation” we’ve all longed for, where jihad REALLY is internal struggle.
The problem is… multi-culturalism. You see, when you go weak at the knees and approve madrasas and sharia law? You take away the sane Muslims’ excuse that “now is not yet the time.”
Their culture doesn’t understand not exerting strength if you have it. This is why they keep mistaking our restraint for weakness. And you’re “respecting their culture” which means not giving the sane ones ANY excuse to change or exert pressure on the crazies to change.
What you’re doing in fact is reinforcing that whole “the imam of my childhood was right, and we are supposed to rule the world, and why aren’t I–”
The “solutions” are unpalatable, but not impossible. They involve stuff like massive, public punishment for terrorists (yes, they’re ready to die, but not to be killed in an humiliating way, with pig-lard covered bullets) and their supporters; they involve not letting Muslim communities abroad become closed shop and little self-contained principalities: refusal of sharia, refusal of Islamic divorce, more than full punishment of the law for female circumcision and honor killings; they involve confidence in our own culture and emphasis on assimilation.
Which means all of those are impossible with the current political-and-entertainment-and-education establishment we have.
Same for Europe. Which is why we’re careening to the other solution, the bad one.
I have in the past here explained that the reason the Zulus (and the Amerindians) were defeated was not because they were peaceful and the white man was extra evil. It wasn’t even the superiority of weapons, which weren’t all that superior when they first met.
It was that the Zulus/various aboriginals of conquered lands were working with outdated head hardware.
This was particularly obvious with the Zulus, who were working from tribal principles (Amerindians too, but that varies to tribe, etc) and therefore when they first got European colonists they did what they’d always done: Perform a horrible massacre to warn the intruding tribe off.
They didn’t understand that Europeans weren’t really a tribe, and that the massacre would provide fuel for every European out there to decide they weren’t human and should be exterminated.
This is sort of where Muslims are. Their history and their holy book has prepared them very badly to deal with the global village. Oh, sure, they met Europeans in their “oh, I feel so guilty for colonialism” phase. But Europeans have always gone through these phases, a dichotomy between Christian principles and bellicose nature.
This one is more marked, but it’s also skin-deep. Or elite-deep, if you prefer. Our elites might be incapable of fighting. They’re opium smokers (the opium being Marxist multiculti) unable to see beyond the clouds to reality.
But they’re also a minority. As are, as yet, Muslims abroad.
Yes, there’s a level of atrocity where they commit it, and the world awakes and exterminates them. In fact that is almost the only guaranteed outcome.
Taking a firm stance now would prevent that, but we might not be able, due to the corruption of our educational institutions and media to take that firm stance.
Which leaves us careening towards a future where, as a southern friend once said about someone who annoyed her “I’d be in jail, but he’d be in hell” (if he kept pushing.)
This is sort of that “the threat of Islamic insanity would be gone; but we’d not be western society as we’ve known it these last thousand years. What emerges from that could be worse than Fascism or Communism.”
It is important to understand this now. It is important to eschew multi culti now. It is important to emphasize assimilation to OUR values now.
The culture wars might sound crazy and small, compared to what happened in Paris, but they’re our ONLY chance to stop this runaway train before it kills everything we love. And yeah, I know, it might already be too little too late.
But at this time, in this place, in the face of odds I’d rather not face, it is the only thing we have left. Before the worst comes.