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The Rise of Right Wing Extremism: A New War

If the recent elections in the Middle East have held our attention hostage, let us then turn our worries towards elections which have sparked a new kind of radicalism.

Right here, at home.

From the election of Barack Obama as the first African-American President of the United States to the recent European Parliament elections, there has been a rise within right wing extremism. Within Europe, this shift has been political, with centre-Right parties become the more popular choice amongst already apathetic voters. In the United States, however, the radicalism has lost politically. Instead, American Right wing radicalism is taking on a more grassroots route, one which has proven to be violent and fueled by a bitter conservative media.

The Rise of the Radical Right in Europe: Muslims a Demographic Threat?

The British National Party (BNP), infamous for its white nationalist platform, has made a significant gain in the United Kingdom and Europe. The party stands against mass migration and the UK’s “surrender to the European Union.” It claims to represent the ‘indigenous people’ of the UK, wishing to bring glory back the thousand year old culture. While not (yet) a part of the UK Parliament, the party recently won seats within local county council elections as well as two seats in the European Parliament, representing North West England and Yorkshire and the Humber. While this comes as a shock to Britons and non-Britons alike, the BNP’s win and increased support falls within a seemingly growing trend of political and social radicalism in Europe.

The recent European Parliament elections, taking place from June 4th till June 7th, witnessed an unsettling sway towards the Right. In the Netherlands, the Christian Democratic Appeal, a centre-Right party, came out on top winning  five seats out of a possible twenty-five. Geert Wilder’s Party for Freedom came in second for the Netherlands, winning four seats. In Italy, tough-on-immigration-soft-on-topless-women Silvio Berlusconi’s The People of Freedom Right wing party also emerged as the biggest winner, while in Austria the conservative Christian democratic Austrian People’s Party won six seats and the nationalist conservative Freedom Party of Austria won two out of a possible seventeen. In Denmark, the centre-Right Venstre came in second winning three seats out of 13, with the leading Social Democrats winning four. The Czech Republic saw for the first time two newly created Right wing parties participate in the elections and while neither of the groups won seats, there is a possibility for these parties to be recipients of government subsidies given “a combination of broad public apathy towards European elections combined with a get-out-the-vote drive by the extremists.” In total, centre-Right parties have taken around 263 seats and centre-Left have around 163, out of a possible 736 seats in the European Parliament. italianpm

The growth of support for both centre-Right parties and extreme-Right parties has not manifested itself without cause and certainly not overnight. Mass migration has been a popular form of population growth and labour for the past few decades amongst receiving European governments. Yet such immigration policies have created disenchantment amongst native citizens of various European states. Mainstream political parties, which have veered betweens variants of the Left, are thus becoming relatively less popular. In place of them, the centre-Right has begun gaining ground over the past fie years, starting with the election of Andrea Merkel as Germany’s Chancellor. Since then Denmark, Sweden, Italy, France, Austria, and the Czech Republic, amongst several others, have also experienced this shift to the Right. Yet while national governments evolve into centre-Right governments, there has also been an increase in support for populist Right wing parties, which unapologetically run on anti-immigrant, conservative nationalist platforms.

Economic frustration, increased minority visibility and continuous consciousness of the alleged threat of global and homegrown terrorism have created political dissatisfaction amongst many Europeans which has made the extreme conservative rhetoric, spreading throughout Europe, appealing.

While economic and political aggravations lace such increasing support for the right –both centrist and extreme- Europe’s quickly evolving demographics lie at the heart of the fear which is permitting Europeans to turn towards these groups which have rigid and racist stances on immigration, assimilation and policies of citizenship.

Europe is home to over 70 million immigrants, the largest immigrant population in the world. Muslims, the primary group at the receiving end of the populist Right’s demonization, is estimated to be around 55 million throughout Europe, with almost 20 million living in European Union countries. As the presence of Muslims increases, ranging from Pakistanis to North Africans, so does the visibility of their lifestyles. More and more Mosques are being propped up; Islamic schools are being created, religious Rights and courts are being demanded, cultural symbols are colouring the streets, and women in scarves and men with beards are flooding local grocery stores.

This visibility and assertion of presence has created a fear of the “Islamic colonization” of Europe into “Eurabia,” a mythical land, coined by Edward Said’s target Bernard Lewis, in the future in which Islam will overtake Europe economically and culturally. This fear has been impelled by declining birth rates amongst Europeans, which is lower than the point of population replacement, which stands at 2.1; a number required for the maintenance of a population and culture. According to a Medical News Today article, France led European states with a 1.8 birthrate in 2006. But even that was with the help from incentives.

High birth rates amongst immigrants have also not been a cause for comfort for increasing fears of being overtaken. Thus as Europe’s workforce will soon begin to age, become dependent on the government, and slowly pass on baby-making immigrants will undoubtedly fill in the labour void. Such fears have also been partnered with the rise of neo-Nazism in Eastern Europe, especially within Russia.

The Rise of the Violent Right in The United States: Right Wing Punditry, Gun Violence, White Supremacy and The 9/12 Project

Yet the rise of the radical Right is not isolated within European borders. Here in North America, in both the United States and Canada, the past eight years have seen the radicalization of conservatism. And in the wake of the Obama presidency, this radicalism has become violent, with the recent stream of apparently politically-driven homicides and bizarre right wing punditry.

A relationship between the aforementioned two has been noted by the liberal blogsphere and pundits, who have cited the hatred and fear-laden propaganda espoused on conservative radio and television shows as the cause for several hate driven crimes within the past while. While such a relationship does require more investigation, outside this writer’s current parameters, it is without a doubt that some of the most recent heinous crimes prove that there is a homegrown radicalism on the rise within the United States, coming from anyone but the usual suspects. Even the Department of Homeland Security has noted that the current urgent domestic threat facing the U.S is that of domestic extremist violence. Yet what is more relevant, yet certainly not surprising, is that this extremism is coming from the growing White Supremacist neo-Nazi movement within the United States.

Some of the noted crimes during the past few months include:

  • James von Brunn recently entered the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C, shooting security guard Steven Tyrone James before being shot by the guard himself. The security guard later died at a local hospital. Von Brunn is 88 years old and a self-acclaimed White Supremacist, charging that the ‘Jews had brought in Obama.’
  • The recent assassination of Dr. George Tiller, a Kansas doctor infamous for performing late-term abortions. The suspect is a man by the name of Scott Roeder, who has had a “history of anti-abortion, anti-government philosophy and protest.”
  • Three Pittsburgh cops were killed in early April by 23 year-old Richard Poplawski, who was recently unemployed and afraid that Obama was going to take away his guns. Poplawski was a White Supremacist.
  • To date at least two known assassination plots against President Obama have been foiled, one of which was during his acceptance speech. The other was uncovered when the perpetrators wife shot him in an unrelated incident. Both were led by White Supremacists.

Regardless of its own claims of victimization, the conservative media has done its part to wreak havoc against the new administration. The biggest culprit – hold your hearts – has been Fox News, led by the Neo-Conservative Owner of the Media Rupert Murdoch. A network which gleefully wallowed in the disastrous past eight years, supporting its every illegal and immoral move, has now become one for the people, demanding transparency and accountability. The network has also spread false information, often for purposes of fueling the flames of controversy against Barack Obama. In addition to their slander, several Fox News anchors and hosts have also made alarming allusions to violence, both towards the President and liberals. Liz Trotta, a Fox contributor, wished the assassination of Obama, having meant Osama and then laughed saying, “Well…both, if we could!”

Yet while popular conservatives such as Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity get much of the blame, it is in fact Glenn Beck, a fraudulent manifestation of an independent and a television host on Fox News, who is at the head of the conservative ‘fear-mongering.’

He is also extremely terrifying.

Since Obama’s inauguration, Beck’s show has become somewhat of a paranoid anti-government fear-fest.  He claims that allegations of his commentary – because he is not a journalist and thus not responsible for checking facts –having a negative and violent effect on viewers is completely ill-founded and offensive. And yet it was Beck who erroneously quipped before the glenn beckPoplawski shooting that “slowly but surely [Obama will] take away your gun or take away your ability to shoot a gun, carry a gun.” He has supported the idea of secession from the United States. And he has even implied Obama’s recent economic policies are akin government-led violence inflicted upon each American citizen, likening the policies to if the President had thrown gas upon each individual American.

And then lit a match.

Yet the most the terrifying of Beck’s actions, aside from his incessant and exploitative crying, has been his 9/12 Project which seems to be at the heart of the new face of Fox News. According to Beck, the day after 9/11 Americans knew exactly what to do; they had shed partisan politics and united in an attempt to bring the country back onto its feet. Interestingly enough, Beck only came to the realization of the importance of transparency and government accountability after the end of the Bush administration.

The 9/12 also stands for 9 values and 12 principles to unite Americans upon once again. They speak for themselves. But while they seem largely harmless, and perhaps even hokey, it is the widespread support that this project is receiving which should be catching the attention of the concerned American citizen. The forums on the 9/12 Project are filled with angry Americans-around almost one million supporters online-convinced that their rights and liberties will be stolen away by the new government in an attempt to turn the country into a Socialist haven. The racism is also extremely apparent, be it against Blacks, Arabs or illegal aliens i.e. Mexicans. Obama has come to make White Slaves out of the largest American demographic. Obama is friends with the Arabs who want to kill us. Mexicans are stealing our jobs.

But the real reason why the 9/12 Project should be a cause for concern for Americans is that it does not offer action to its viewer, but rather direction. Beck and his associates do not tell their supporters what actions to take, but rather provide them with a framework and some direction. They encourage small meetings amongst neighbours and friends, at local homes, pubs and sports arenas. At these meetings, Beck encourages that supporters discuss what it is that is aching them, to share their anguish and to use the meetings as a sort of catharsis. From these, they should organize themselves. They should create campaigns and sub-projects to protest against the injustices created by the government against its own citizenry. By providing direction and not action, the 9/12 Project becomes a grassroots initiative which spreads quickly, in an attempt to give the power back to the people.

The 9/12 Project seeks to empower and this empowerment is what is a great cause for concern because it based on false conceptions of empowerment. The 9/12 Project does exactly what Beck says – it takes the American citizenry into their post-9/11 mode as a population which succumbed its rights, freedoms and rationality to fear and manipulation.

This is the new radicalism. This will be the new war.

[Tarboush tip: Jillian]

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Discussion

83 Responses to “The Rise of Right Wing Extremism: A New War”

  1. the new war is that many of today's conservatives and liberals find common cause in the belief that politicians should largely control our life.

    Posted by Moataz | June 13, 2009, 1:04 pm
  2. Moatz – the belief that politicians should largely control our lives is a liberal idea. Conservatives want smaller government, lower taxes, and more freedom.

    Sana – American mainstream media is liberal controlled, the President is liberal, and there is a liberal majority in the House and Senate. Obama has created an incredible amount of debt for a so-called stimulus which actually hardly stimulates anything except the power of government. Obama has been pushing a liberal agenda and now he is preparing for the big move: he wants government controlled healthcare, which they will try to implement in stages.

    Europe has been leftist for a long time. They are slowly starting to realize their mistakes. France elected a right wing President Sarkozy (not an extremist) and Germany elected Merkel who is right-wing (and hardly an extremist).

    What you fail to realize is that America is a center-right country. The majority of people who live here are center-right, meaning they have family values, and favor conservative fiscal policies. There are slightly more who favor liberal social policies such as abortion or gay marriage. But the fact remains that the majority are center right.

    Obviously Obama won the last election, people voted for him. But now that he is pushing this liberal agenda so hard, Americans are starting to wake up and smell the coffee. You are seeing an awakening of conservative values.

    I feel sad that as this is happening, you perceive that some sort of crazy rise in "right wing extremism" is happening – and I think the reason, probably, is that you are mostly influenced by leftists who want to polarize you. Keep your eyes open and always seek the truth.

    Posted by eagle007blogger | June 13, 2009, 4:26 pm
  3. By the way, the so-called "White Supremists" are mostly a bunch of retards and inbred-type morons. They have a lot in common with people around this site in that they hate Jews.

    White Supremists have nothing to do with Conservatism.

    And what "false information" has FOX News spread? Can you back up your claims?

    By the way: Number 1 for 7 years!

    You are trying to stir up some sort of "war" against Conservatism, trying to represent this as good for Anmerica, but remember you associate with and are influenced by those who are pro-Hamas, pro-Islamist, and who are vehemently against America's ally, Israel. The angle you come from is not the most patriotic, you know.

    Posted by eagle007blogger | June 13, 2009, 5:07 pm
    • By the way, the so-called "White Supremists" are mostly a bunch of retards and inbred-type morons. They have a lot in common with people around this site in that they hate Jews.

      The BNP is what I'd call a 'White Supremacist' party and they're doing quite a lot to attract the Jewish vote. They even have one Jewish local councillor. Jews in most parts of Europe and North America have been accepted into the 'White Community'. The new enemy are the Muslims.

      And what "false information" has FOX News spread? Can you back up your claims?

      Just last week, Sean Hannity deliberately misinterpreted Obama's speech on Cairo, showing only the first half of a sentence, which showed him allegedly giving voice to those justifying 9/11 (when in fact, if you listen to the whole sentence, he's doing the exact opposite).

      This is the most recent example. Other examples include FOX alleging that Obama's a Muslim, his wife has a special terrorist handshake, and that closing Guantanamo would mean that all the prisoners would be let loose in the US. Most if not all of the innocent are being sent back to their home countries (or any other willing to take them if their home countries are safe) and the one's that are real terrorists are being tried in federal courts.

      FOX News is an embarrassment to real journalism.

      Posted by Shafiq | June 13, 2009, 7:48 pm
  4. I fully support conservative small-government in the US (it works well where you live but not in places like Europe), but please don't try to claim that the Republicans hold the mantle of small-government (the last 8 years tell you that they're anything but). Both major US parties are supporters of big government with the exception of a few (very few) Republican congressman and senators.

    And if FOX News is the number one News channel, you can't go on to claim that the mainstream media is liberal controlled – FOX News IS mainstream media and its owner Rupert Murdoch owns a whole load of other news outlets in the US and the rest of the world (including a lot of the big ones).

    Plus, the last time I checked, Obama had an approval rating of 67%, quite high for you to claim Americans are waking up and smelling the coffee. You made up your mind on him before he won the election and your peddling the same crap about him you were a couple of months ago.

    And when you talk about Europe, you've got it wrong (even Sana has here). The centre-right parties of Europe are more lefty than the Democrat party of the US. France may have elected the centre-right party into the European election but France is still very much a left-leaning state. The same goes for the rest of Europe. If having universal healthcare is a mistake, I'm happy to make this mistake again and again. (NOTE: Dan Hannan the British MEP who was recently on FOX talking about our National Health Service was talking utter bullshit. The vast majority of Brits would have this system over the American one any day)

    There is rising right-wing extremism but not as bad as Sana claims. The extremist right parties are still on the fringes of politics and they only got a couple of seats in the European parliament (and even those were as a result of a low voter turnout). The BNP's two seats were flukes, brought on by an unfortunate set of circumstances. If democracy works properly, then they should lose their seats at the next European election (seeing as most of the BNP members seem to be inept at carrying out office duties)

    Posted by Shafiq | June 13, 2009, 8:06 pm
    • Clarification – agreed that the centre-right parties of Europe are more left than the American Democrats, but the shift is still notable in the European context. I don't expect these fringe parties to overtake the EU anytime soon. My only concern that I was trying to articulate was the increased support of parties which are thoroughly nationalistic and anti-immigration, which surmounts to racism, unfortunately.
      The discussed extremism, just like any other brand of extremism, is always going to be a minority phenomenon but that does take away from its seriousness.

      Posted by SanaKF | June 13, 2009, 8:45 pm
  5. Yaman – I never said the Project is mundane or harmless; I state that it is the most terrifying of Glenn Beck's contribution and at the heart of Fake News' new pro-government-transparency-and-accountability personality.

    What I said was that the principles and values may seem to appear to be hokey and harmless, but the reality is completely the opposite. The values and principles support an overall extremely harmful project.

    I discuss some, not all, of the very dangerous aspects of the project throughout the last few paragraphs.

    Beck is indeed crazy as hell.

    Posted by SanaKF | June 14, 2009, 12:09 am
    • Sana I did not agree with your interpretation of the 912 project, and all that about action versus direction.

      You shouldn't fear the empowerment of the American people. There are no "false conceptions" about the empowerment of the people, it's what made this nation the greatest nation in the world. Remember, the Constitution of this country is designed to protect us from tyranny and a government becoming too powerful.

      By the way Sana, Barack Obama is influenced by Saul Alinsky You should read about him. It's where all that stuff about "change" came from, and about how to USE the middle class to affect change. See, Obama is progressive – keep that in mind.

      Saul Alinsky on Wikipedia

      Posted by eagle007blogger | June 15, 2009, 3:03 am
  6. The last time I checked, Mexico was part of North America. Also, if you are going to say North America, kindly illustrate such cases right wing extremism in Canada and Mexico. If not, focus on the States then okay?

    Posted by Fed up | June 14, 2009, 4:19 am
  7. Wow, Glenn Beck no longer thinks that questioning the government is unpatriotic? How the tides change.

    Sana, I disagree that Glenn Beck's 9/12 project is mundane or harmless. It's coded racism/supremacism. It claims to be a list of principles that unify all Americans along non-partisan lines, but it asserts principles as universal that certainly not all Americans agree with. It also clouts itself in authenticity by citing the founding figures of the country out of context. In particular:

    (1) America is Good.

    How is this a meaningful principle? America is its people and government. The government is not always good. The people are not always good. Both have made horrendous mistakes, sometimes unwittingly but often intentionally. There is no point it whitewashing history: what America did to the African slaves and Native Americans should never be justified or forgotten. That's just what America has done to the people on its own land–never mind its actions overseas. Notice that this principle is meant to forestall all criticism of America, even as later principles claim to justify questioning authority. "You don't agree that America is good? You must hate America!" It's not about hate or love. It's about evaluating America's actions on a moral basis and not a partisan one. The exclusionary character of Glenn's principles begin with the very first declaration.

    (2) I believe in God and He is the center of my life.

    What? That's not a principle that unifies all Americans. Here is the second principle that excludes a large swath of Americans: those who believe in God, and those who do but do not hold him as the center of their lives. Besides, what does it mean for God to be the center of one's life? I am pretty sure this is a coded appeal to right-wing evangelists, to make them feel that they are the only legitimate Americans.

    (4) The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.

    What? This is such a Christian sentiment it's not even funny anymore that Glenn claims this is anything but right-wing demagoguery. So far the only Americans that Glenn's principles unify are those who: believe the abstract and illogical claim that "America is good;" those who believe in God's centrality to their lives; and those who are specifically Christian. What about everyone else? Not "real" Americans? Hmm.

    The rest of the principles reflect such an awkward cognitive dissonance. It is both patriotic to refuse to pay charity, even when it's the law, and yet law-breakers must be punished. America is good, yet it's still okay to question the government (why would you need to question the government if it was good? Is the government no longer part of America?). The government works for me, but it should not force me to pay charity. Who is "me" here? Rich people who don't need charity? It's just an incoherent bunch of nonsense that resonates incompletely with only a particular set of people, and it encourages them all to believe they represent all Americans and everyone who disagrees with those principles is not a real American. Crazy.

    Posted by yaman | June 13, 2009, 10:51 pm
    • yaman: so you disagree with the statement that America is good. That says it all, you do not believe America is good, you think it is bad.

      Belief in God speaks to the concept that people are endowed with rights by their creator, and that the government is supposed to protect those rights. The government is not the entity that gives us our rights. And we must be protected from tyranny that would take away our God given rights.

      You seem to be confused and unable to comprehend these things, mostly because you are bitter and hateful and looking to disagree with patriotism, and because you are anti-American.

      Posted by eagle007blogger | June 15, 2009, 2:51 am
      • Eagle, as a patriotic Christian, I have to agree with Yaman that "America is good" is a meaningless statement. A country is only good if its people and its government keep it good, morally sound, and just; and even these strivings toward justice can never be fully realized. I doubt very much that Glen Beck thinks that legalized abortion is covered by the "America is good" doctrine. A country can never be totally "good," and to make that claim is wishful thinking.

        Posted by Suddha | June 15, 2009, 6:46 pm
      • Thank you for so easily proving my point. Beck's list of principles are nothing more but an oversimplified platform meant to pigeonhole people into unsophisticated categories where they can be smeared by stupid claims like "You don't agree that America is good? That means you must think it's BAD!"

        The reality is more complicated, and that is what I'm more interested in. America is neither good nor bad. Only isolated acts can be good or bad. Was slavery good? No. Is universal health care good? Yes. Which one is America? Neither.

        Posted by yaman | June 16, 2009, 2:49 am
  8. Interesting post, Sana. The current immigration trends in Europe, specifically in Denmark and the Netherlands, and reactionary right-wing responses to those trends are of particular interest to me from a political analyst's perspective.

    Point of reference: Rachelle Shannon was the woman convicted of attempting to murder Dr. Tiller in 1993 (convicted in 1994). Scott Roeder is the man currently suspected of assassinating him.

    Posted by Nth_Republic | June 14, 2009, 5:26 am
  9. Interesting post, Sana. The current immigration trends in Europe, specifically in Denmark and the Netherlands, and reactionary right-wing responses to those trends are of particular interest to me from a political analyst's perspective.

    Point of information: Rachelle Shannon was the woman convicted of attempting to murder Dr. Tiller in 1993 (convicted in 1994). Scott Roeder is the man currently suspected of assassinating him.

    Posted by Nth_Republic | June 14, 2009, 5:26 am
  10. Jillian, I'm a fiscal/social conservative who doesn't watch Glen Beck nor get my news from Fox. I am quite disturbed that my views now make me suspect to the DHS. The views I read after Tiller's assassination about people with my opinions, I felt I understood a little more what Arabs feel like in the US. Except that I am from the US.

    I wonder if you are also doing a bit of fear-mongering here?

    Sort-of on topic, I hope you can pick up a copy of Rana Husseini's "Murder in the Name of Honour". Not only does it cover so-called honor killings in the Arab world, but the astounding phenomenon among immigrant populations in Europe.

    My European friends, none of whom are extremists, are not concerned about seeing hijabis and mosques. What they are concerned about are traditional customs being brought to their country and undermining secular freedoms and peace.

    Between the extremes, there is much to be concerned about.

    Thanks for the work you put into this piece.

    Posted by kinzi | June 14, 2009, 7:53 pm
    • Not only does it cover so-called honor killings in the Arab world, but the astounding phenomenon among immigrant populations in Europe.

      In my experience this is very rare and quite a lot of the time (especially in the UK) these honour killings aren't carried out by Muslims (and it's even rarer amongst Arab immigrant communities). There are laws in place to protect women in Europe and the vast majority of the immigrant community knows that such actions are wrong.

      I have to say that immigrant communities in Europe aren't very well integrated, which is something that has contributed towards the mutual suspicion.

      I don't know whether it's scaremongering but I have been getting the same extremist vibe even before Sana wrote this article.

      Posted by Shafiq | June 15, 2009, 11:36 am
      • Shafiq, I recommend you read Rana's book. The stats are all there, and I think you will be surprised. I was, and I have studied this subject and lived through it with friend at several levels. I'll be blogging about it if you can't get a copy.

        As you say, it is not primarily Arabs, but Pakistanis in the UK, Turks and Kurds in Germany/Holland/Scandanavia. All of the perpetrators were Muslims, most family member, so I wonder where you are saying they were not carried out by Muslims? I'm not pointing a finger at Islam here, but at traditions brought with immigrants. You are right they know it is wrong according to the law of teh country, but the fight to keep tradition/identity at times overrides law.

        Law enforcement is just beginning to catch on that what they are dealing with is more than run-of-the-mill domestic violence.

        You are also right about integration. When I lived in Austria and the UK, no one seemed to want to integrate much, nor help immigrants become a part of the community.

        Posted by kinzi | June 16, 2009, 7:24 am
        • I'll try and get the book.

          In my experience, in the UK, it's perpetrated by members of all three faiths that are prevalent on the Indian subcontinent – Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism.

          I would like to add that there are many countries in the Middle East that are waking up to the reality of honour killings. Turkey, where it is quite prevalent, is a notable example where it has been denounce by several high-profile people including the Prime Minister and the laws tightened.

          Posted by Shafiq | June 16, 2009, 11:35 am
    • Rana's Jordanian, right, a country that AFAIK has something like about 20 "honour" killings a year.
      Meanwhile in the US over a thousand women are killed by their spouse or boyfriend a year(with roughly 50x Jordan's population you can do the math.)
      I don't know the stats for Europe but I don't see why this should be framed as solely a Muslim issue. Other than it's a convenient way to get liberals on your side for tightening immigration laws and such that might not be otherwise (which has been a trend in Europe well before 9/11 anyways.)

      Posted by Nadia | June 16, 2009, 2:05 am
      • Nadia, the difference is that the legal system and cultural framework support 'honor-killings', where the US/UK have laws in place and a cultural framework against it. It's not about numbers, it's about human rights. Women's rights to live.

        It's not framed as a solely Muslim issue, although the majority of HK are perpetrated by Muslims. For this reason, the solution needs to come from within, not from outside. As with the Catholic priest paedophilia issue, the problem had to be addressed within and safeguards in place to eradicate it. My church has taken those steps to protect chlidren as a result.

        To say it is just a tool of conservatives to tighten immigration laws is a huge disservice to women who live in fear of bearing the brunt of male honor.

        Please read Rana's book. A team of Jordanian women will soon be starting a pictoral petition where you can add your voice and face. I hope you will join us.

        Posted by kinzi | June 16, 2009, 7:33 am
        • Yeah, I agree completely that the difference is the law between the countries, but YOU argued it was a reason to be concerned about immigration in Europe, which as far as I know immigrants don't have the power to unilaterally rewrite the law of their host countries so I don't see how that's a reasonable concern.
          And even if they did, last I saw 99% of Muslims polled in the UK, Germany and France are against honour killings. A lot of "honour killings" in MENA aren't even that, they were just regular murders for other reasons that get reported as such because the perpetrator is counselled to say it was an 'honour killing' so they can get a lesser sentence. Hence, I agree that the problem is the law in many countries, but it's definitely not what I would consider to be some deeply entrenched cultural belief.

          So if it primarily is a matter of the legal environment, how is that a rational fear re: immigrants coming to a country where that is not the law?

          To say it is just a tool of conservatives to tighten immigration laws is a huge disservice to women who live in fear of bearing the brunt of male honor.

          Well actually that IS what conservative parties in Europe are largely prescribing as solutions to this problem, I didn't invent it, okay? How is it a "service" to anyone to portray violence against women as solely a Muslim thing, ignore the fact that this is a problem for all women? Why is it better or at least somehow not worth our attention that a woman get killed by her boyfriend cause she cheated on him than to get killed by her family because she isn't marrying the guy they want?

          A large number of people that "aren't extremists" think that Muslims are coming to Europe to "undermine" the mainstream's secular freedoms, despite evidence to the contrary and I'm not supposed to find that disturbing?

          Posted by Nadia | June 16, 2009, 12:39 pm
    • Rana's Jordanian, right, a country that AFAIK has something like about 20 "honour" killings a year.
      Meanwhile in the US over a thousand women are killed by their spouse or boyfriend a year(with roughly 50x Jordan's population you can do the math.)
      I don't know the stats for Europe but I don't see why this should be framed as solely a Muslim issue. Other than it's a convenient way to get liberals on your side for tightening immigration laws and such that might not be otherwise (which has been a trend in Europe well before 9/11 anyways.)

      Posted by Nadia | June 16, 2009, 2:05 am
  11. please don't try to claim that the Republicans hold the mantle of small-government (the last 8 years tell you that they're anything but)

    That is the problem, Republicans have forgotten conservative values and drifted left. We are currently seeing an awakening of Conservative values (and meanwhile Sana is declaring war on conservatism lol)

    George Bush did a good job of protecting America and leading the war on terror, but yes, he spent too much. He did show strong leadership after 911 – his policies quickly sent the economy into recovery after the initial downturn. The economy survived Katrina and two wars. Now we have a President who thinks he can tax and spend his way to prosperity. Before you say he inherited a deficit, consider that he quadrupled the deficit in just 100 days. By the way, have you ever wondered where the FINANCIAL CRISIS came from?

    The majority of news outlets in America, including network TV News, newspapers, and news magazines are liberal. It's just a fact. FOX News is not liberal, and it is number 1. Conservative talk radio also does very well – liberals tried to break into the talk radio market with "Air America" but it fails miserably. But the fact remains the mainstream media in America is liberal, even the liberals admit this, and to argue otherwise just makes it seem like you don't know what you're talking about.

    Keep in mind: Conservatism is about what's right and the truth. Liberalism is about intellectual dishonesty and hiding the truth. The only way liberals win national elections is by pretending they're not liberals. Liberals attempt through judicial activism what they cannot win at the ballot box.

    Obama is still getting good approval numbers. The liberal media helps with that, just as they helped get him elected… and there is a cult of personality surrounding Obama.

    Europe has been very leftist for a long time. As far as Univeral Healthare is concerned – quality of care always goes down, why do you think people in countries that have Universal Healthcare come to America for treatment (the ones who can)? Why do you think that Daniel Hannan of England is warning the U.S. about government-run healthcare?

    America has the best healthcare system in the world. Obama is already taking over banks and car companies, and you think he should take over healthcare? The government has already done so well with everything else they run, right? Why not healthcare too, then America can be like Canada or the UK, right? Except people from those places come to the U.S., if they can.

    Right-wing extremists are just what you say: fringe groups. Why point out these fringe groups and try to tie them to Conservatism (the way the liberal media tried to tie the Holocaust Museum shooter to Conservatism until it came out that he hated conservatives too). Why try to make connections that do not exist. And why are you so scared of Glenn Beck?

    Posted by eagle007blogger | June 14, 2009, 8:46 pm
    • We are currently seeing an awakening of Conservative values

      I'm still seeing the same Republican party now with hypocritical fiscal conservatism. I have many libertarian friends in the US and although their voices are getting heard more often now, the Republican party is still not heading in this direction.

      George Bush did a good job of protecting America and leading the war on terror, but yes, he spent too much.

      Leading the War on Terror? He managed to squander all the worldwide goodwill he had after 9/11 and become the most hated President ever – that take's some reckoning. He managed to go from having the moral high ground to losing all sense of morality. People worldwide stood with the US after 9/11 but in two years, they were gone. He had a tough job, I admit, but he went in completely the wrong direction, alienating his allies. The wars and Katrina were never going to destroy the economy, no matter what President you had.

      Before you say he inherited a deficit, consider that he quadrupled the deficit in just 100 days. By the way, have you ever wondered where the FINANCIAL CRISIS came from?

      Every country in the world has had to increase spending by a lot. Obama inherited the biggest financial crisis the world has ever seen. True, the budget was full of pork, but individual Democrat Representatives are responsible for most of that rather than the President. And please don't like me to your own blog. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were only part of the Jigsaw, the de-regulation that occurred during Reagan's era (and Thatcher's era in Britain) did a lot more to cause this current crisis than anything else. Highly-regulated banks in other countries have been pretty safe. Banks have to be protected from themselves (as history tells us).

      The majority of news outlets in America, including network TV News, newspapers, and news magazines are liberal.

      You say this and then go on to contradict yourself by telling us the stronghold that Conservatives have on Radio channels and FOX being No. 1. Check the numbers for yourself, you just sound ridiculous by claiming a 'liberal conspiracy' controlling the media.

      Keep in mind: Conservatism is about what's right and the truth. Liberalism is about intellectual dishonesty and hiding the truth. The only way liberals win national elections is by pretending they're not liberals.

      What does that even mean? And just so you know, the centre-right in Europe won the recent elections on a platform of limiting Capitalism and social welfare. If liberalism is so bad, why is it so popular?

      Europe has been very leftist for a long time. As far as Univeral Healthare is concerned – quality of care always goes down, why do you think people in countries that have Universal Healthcare come to America for treatment (the ones who can)? Why do you think that Daniel Hannan of England is warning the U.S. about government-run healthcare?

      America has the best healthcare system in the world. Obama is already taking over banks and car companies, and you think he should take over healthcare? The government has already done so well with everything else they run, right? Why not healthcare too, then America can be like Canada or the UK, right? Except people from those places come to the U.S., if they can.

      Are you seriously claiming the US has the best healthcare system in the world? The US spends more per-person on healthcare than any other developed country and still gets shitty healthcare. France has in fact the best healthcare system in the world closely followed by Singapore. Both have universal healthcare systems and both spend less per person than the US. And people don't go to the US to have healthcare, people in the US go to other countries, quite a few even go to Cuba.

      Studies have shown that doctors in Europe spend more time looking at a person than doctors in the US and many US doctors often give their patients expensive and unnecessary tests to ramp up the bill.

      Right-wing extremists are just what you say: fringe groups. Why point out these fringe groups and try to tie them to Conservatism (the way the liberal media tried to tie the Holocaust Museum shooter to Conservatism until it came out that he hated conservatives too). Why try to make connections that do not exist. And why are you so scared of Glenn Beck?

      To answer your question, we have to ask was Hitler right-wing? If Hitler was right-wing, then this guy who's views closely resemble Hitler's is also right wing. He's probably right-wing but not conservative if you understand what I mean.

      Posted by Shafiq | June 15, 2009, 12:31 pm
      • Hitler lead a dictatorship, and the system was National Socialism (not that it has anything to do with the price of eggs in China). Have you ever heard that old saying, that you automatically lose a debate when you resort to bringing up Hitler? lol

        It figures that you, who argues that America is not good, would also argue against its healthcare system or anything else for that matter.

        The fact is that patients come from countries like Canada and European countries where they have government healthcare to seek treatment in the U.S. they couldn't get at home, or they had to wait for.

        There is no conspiracy about the fact that the mainstream media in the U.S. is liberal. It's pretty funny for you to argue that its not. Just so you know: mainstream American media is liberal, and you are completely wrong saying its not. lol

        Posted by eagle007blogger | June 15, 2009, 9:00 pm
        • Hitler lead a dictatorship, and the system was National Socialism (not that it has anything to do with the price of eggs in China). Have you ever heard that old saying, that you automatically lose a debate when you resort to bringing up Hitler? lol

          I am familiar with Godwin's Law, but it doesn't apply in this case seeing as I didn't call you a Nazi. What I did say, was that Hitler and Von Brumm had similar views and if Hitler is described as right-wing (emphasis on if) then von Brumm is also right wing.

          It figures that you, who argues that America is not good, would also argue against its healthcare system or anything else for that matter.

          I don't claim the US is not good. I DO claim that it's foreign policy is not good, but that's a different matter. I do argue against the US Healthcare system because I study economics and I've compared various healthcare systems – the US system is pretty much always deemed the worst. Patients simply don't come from Canada and Europe to the US for healthcare. The vice-versa is much more likely and much more common. You have waiting lists in the US too and in most cases (with the notable exception of the British NHS), US waiting lists are longer than their European and Canadian counterparts. US hospitals do have all the latest machines, but 99% of the time, these machines do not considerably improve health and are not value for money (which is why they're not adopted by other hospitals). If you don't believe my research, look at WHO rankings.

          Posted by Shafiq | June 17, 2009, 6:06 pm
        • I am familiar with Godwin's Law but it doesn't apply in this case seeing as I didn't call you a Nazi or Hitler. I simply made the statement that IF Hitler is deemed right-wing, than by extension von Brumm is right wing too seeing as both have similar views.

          And I don't argue America is not good. First of all, because America is not a country, the USA is and secondly, because no country is not good – every country is full of good people and bad people. I argue against the US healthcare system because it's one of the worst in the developed world (contrary to what many Republican Senators like to claim). Every piece of research that I've come across ends up at that conclusion and if you don't believe me, look at the WHO rankings yourself.

          Patients simply don't come from Canada and Europe to the US for healthcare. If anything, it's the other way round. Waiting lists exist in all states, but with the exception of the UK, US waiting lists are longer than those of European states.

          And I don't think you understand the concept of mainstream media if you claim it's liberal. But then again, I'm not surprised seeing as you think anything left of Fox is liberal and bordering on Communism.

          Posted by Shafiq | June 19, 2009, 11:08 am
      • Hi Frankie,Don’t take that mother’s words seusroily. She’s so selfish and impolite!You have many fans to support you. Wish you all the best in the New Year Shirley

        Posted by Adam | September 1, 2013, 3:17 pm
  12. The beauty of the American system is that it is government by the people, for the people. It is representative government.

    The Constitution limits the power of government, to protect us. The "progressives" do not like this idea, and they want to change it.

    We are endowed with rights by our creator. The government is supposed to protect our rights, the government does not give us our rights, it protects them.

    The progressives believe that the government gives us our rights, that the government solves all problems and needs to be more powerful.

    Posted by eagle007blogger | June 14, 2009, 9:04 pm
  13. Hey Kinzi – I actually wrote the piece, and thanked Jillian (tarboush – hat..so I tipped my hat at her, ho ho ho!) for some of the subject matter.

    I suppose I should have stressed the importance of understanding that this is on the fringes – it's spreading, but still on the fringes. The point of the piece is not to say that anyone who adheres to conservative principles – because I do on some topics – is a threat. I think it's ridiculous to paint all pro-lifers, for instance, with the same brush especially in wake of Tiller's assassination. The point is to point out that there is a fringe extremism rising, within the Right, which is most unfortunate. Intelligent conservatives can decipher Beck's idiocy – but that's not his audience. His audience is one which is vulnerable and looking for scapegoats for their problems and are being made to believe everyone is against them, from the world to their own government.

    I agree with you about the concern several Europeans, for instance, have about honour killings – a topic I am well acquainted with – however I find that too often this cultural practice becomes conflated with Islam and with whatever culture it is being associated with. This conflation then leads to a bias within the majority against the minorities, which upsets any sort of social harmony and potential integration which is vital for these societies. These fears, in Europe, are heightened by opportunistic racist parties. I am well aware of this phenomena given that where I live (Quebec), this has been a major issue. Muslims and Arabs are well established within a city such as Montreal, yet are consistently pushed to the margins because of the fears which have been erroneously ingrained into the French majority's head. This is a whole other topic, but have you heard about the Reasonable Accommodation commission? Check it out – two of the most tense years I've experienced in my life, since all of Quebec was up in arms about the issue of immigrant/minority populations, and felt "something" had to be done. The report which came out towards the end of commission did a good job (could have been a lot better) of assessing the disconnect between the majority and minority populations. Check out Charles Taylor's work on minorities and multiculturalism.

    You mentioned your European friends are not concerned about seeing hijabis and mosques – would they not consider both of those to be traditional? And are they completely accepting of both? Personal experience accounts for little as we can find experiences which testify to both of our different points – my experiences with Europeans have been greatly different from yours (with obvious exceptions), especially as a young woman who wears the headscarf.

    And in regards to my piece as fear-mongering – I have a tendency for the dramatics ; )

    Posted by SanaKF | June 15, 2009, 1:06 am
  14. (Part II) Can America be said to be "good" when we are a nation shackled with massive encarceration rates, black, white, and Hispanic racism, falling educational standards, and high abortion rates (things that people on the left and right can agree are bad, I think)? No. We can, individually, make America "better" – more moral, more just. And we can say that we, as Americans, have the right to do so in a way that is in line with the best parts of our traditions and the "better angels of our nature." But every other country in the world can say the same thing to some extent, and in fooling ourselves with "America is good" rhetoric we are blind to the natural imperfection of ALL human institutions, and of all humans for that matter.

    Posted by Suddha | June 15, 2009, 6:47 pm
    • So you too are making the case for America not being good. Interesting.

      No one says "America is perfect" – the basic idea is that America is good, which you obviously disagree with, so now we see where you stand. There are some people http://www.angelfire.com/zine2/memorex/kb.htm who agree with you.

      Posted by eagle007blogger | June 15, 2009, 8:45 pm
    • So you too are making the case for America not being good. Interesting.

      No one says "America is perfect" – the basic idea is that America is good, which you obviously disagree with, so now we see where you stand. There are some people who agree with you.

      Posted by eagle007blogger | June 15, 2009, 8:46 pm
      • You misunderstand or misrepresent me. My argument is that no human institution is inherently good, but depends on the actions of its citizens and government. I am not arguing that America is NOT good any more than I would argue that it IS good – on a moral continuum, we're probably "better" than a lot of places (let's use Russia – crumbling, belligerently nationalistic, and unfortunately stricken with violent homophobia and neo-Nazism – as an easy contrast. But simply saying that America is "good" carries no particular truth-value.

        Posted by Suddha | June 15, 2009, 9:20 pm
        • I have no problem saying that the idea of America – embodied in its founding principles, its Constitution, its traditions – is good. But sometimes we (who are America, if you agree with the idea of representative democracy, which you probably do) fall short of that idea, both as individuals and as a polity. The only polity that is "good" is a city made of gold, and it's not to be found in this world. It is upon such occasions that simply saying "America is good" pitches us into moral blindness. Mr. Beck makes such a simple statement though, and does not distinguish between the ideal and the actuality, and this is one of my principal problems with him.

          Posted by Suddha | June 15, 2009, 9:30 pm
          • And by the way: your ad hominems are a bit out of line. To essentially call me anti-American, and to lump me with "some people" on the basis of a handful of posts, is uncalled for and uncivil. In the link you directed me to, you called for us to work together to rebuild this country. I love my country enough to want to make it the best that it can be in a flawed world, and I care enough about the process to discuss, civilly, my views on that subject. Perhaps you can muster the discipline to follow suit and make some stab at rational discussion, sans verbal assaults on Will, Yaman, and now, apparently, me. God bless, brother.

            Posted by Suddha | June 15, 2009, 9:41 pm
          • There was no ad-hominem, but stick around, you'll see a lot of that on this blog.

            The question is why you have such a problem with "America is good" and go to such great lengths to quantify, add caveats, and make excuses for saying America is bad. It's a simple idea. Many political persuasions, including leftism, operate on an idea that America is a bad place. Michelle Obama said that America is a "downright mean country." Remember that?

            Some people believe that in this chaotic world, America is good, standing for whats right. Others, say America is evil, the great satan, which needs to be destroyed or taught a lesson.

            The fact that you had a problem with "America is good" says a lot about you, and that is not ad-hominem.

            Posted by big-e | June 16, 2009, 12:04 am
          • I at no point say that America is bad, and that is not something that I believe. To repeat: I love this country, the land of my birth and my cultural formation. The problem with saying that America is good, though, is that it's not a static monolithic quality. America is wonderful when it grants a wide spectrum of political rights, and when its citizens rally around each other in times of trouble. America is not so good when its various governments act in discriminatory ways, or when its citizens don't stop to give someone a jump off with jumper cables. EACH INDIVIDUAL ACTION, together with the actions of a polity as a whole, makes a country a moral or immoral place. That's a pretty conservative idea; the actions of the citizens of Sodom could have saved that city, for example.

            Posted by Suddha | June 16, 2009, 12:16 am
          • "Some people believe that in this chaotic world, America is good, standing for whats right. Others, say America is evil, the great satan, which needs to be destroyed or taught a lesson."

            And some people, myself included, say that there is no truly righteous state, just as there is no truly righteous man. Just as all have sinned and all have fallen short of the glory of God, all states fall short of the City of God (St. Augustine). Just as men commit sins, states commit sins; all men have sinned, and all nations as well.

            If you don't agree with this logic because you don't follow this line of reasoning, which is based on a fairly conservative reading of the Bible and the Church Fathers, then that's fine. But you, and Eagle, can both at least concede my sincerity in loving this country, since I take without question your inter alia assertions that you do. When you do not, and imply that I am not a patriot and do not love my country, that is, indeed, verging on ad hominem.

            Posted by Suddha | June 16, 2009, 12:22 am
          • (Michelle Obama also said during the campaign that this was the first time in her adult life that she was proud of her country! Remember that?)

            Posted by big-e | June 16, 2009, 12:17 am
          • Sure I remember it, and I suppose that I am now being equated with the first lady's comment. Carry on if you want to do that, but if that's supposed to be relevant to me it's simply inappropriate. I am consistently proud of my country and my countrymen, because they frequently do the right thing, from the writing of the US Constitution right on through today's numberless acts of charity. Making a sound argument, deeply rooted in this country's founding Judeo-Christian traditions, for the impossibility of any state being virtuous enough to call "good," as a matter of principle, does not diminish that pride, nor does it detract from the deep love that I feel for this country. At any rate, Michelle Obama is at best peripheral to any discussion of political philosophy.

            Posted by Suddha | June 16, 2009, 2:14 am
          • No, the point is that if you reduce our expectation of citizen engagement to something as emotional and unproductive as "believing" in "America's goodness" (which is completely undefined) leads to the death of democracy– no exaggeration there, seriously. Political engagement and belonging should not work in the same way as religious faith. I don't have to "believe" anything about America to have rights and political representation.

            Posted by yaman | June 16, 2009, 2:54 am
  15. Sana, this may be a dead-ish thread, but I must admit to thinking that this sort of dramatic rhetoric – specifically "This will be the new war" might be playing nto the hands of those who believe this sort of thing? From South of your border (I like Montreal very much, by the way, and hope you enjoy it there as well) it looks to me like the thing to do to defang even the most virulent of the rightist fringe element is not to ramp up the rhetoric that they're throwing around, but to calm it down. It's not that I'm not worried – it's that I don't think it's terribly productive to give such people any more grist for their mill. For there not to be a war, we need to keep telling those folks that there isn't going to be a war, and that there doesn't need to be one – ideologically speaking, or otherwise.

    Posted by Suddha | June 15, 2009, 9:50 pm
  16. Sana, this may be a dead-ish thread, but I must admit to thinking that this sort of dramatic rhetoric – specifically "This will be the new war" might be playing into the hands of those who believe this sort of thing? From South of your border (I like Montreal very much, by the way, and hope you enjoy it there as well) it looks to me like the thing to do to defang even the most virulent of the rightist fringe element is not to ramp up the rhetoric that they're throwing around, but to calm it down. It's not that I'm not worried – it's that I don't think it's terribly productive to give such people any more grist for their mill. For there not to be a war, we need to keep telling those folks that there isn't going to be a war, and that there doesn't need to be one – ideologically speaking, or otherwise.

    Posted by Suddha | June 15, 2009, 9:50 pm
  17. I agree with Suddha, the few fringe elements are best ignored, like they've always been. The neo-Nazi, skinhead, white supremacist types are usually poor, uneducated, disadvantaged people who basically have no real power. They can be troublemakers, and when they are caught breaking the law, they are arrested. Otherwise they just hang out giving each other Nazi salutes and yelling about who they hate.

    It's a mistake to try to paint regular conservative Americans with the same brush – and truthfully, to do so just makes a person seem irrelevant.

    Love him or hate him, Glen Beck is not an extremist. To "conflate" (a word you like) Beck with actual extremists is an inacurracy and just sort of makes a person seem a little confused.

    This post almost seems a little diversionary, because while right-wing extremists are a small minority that are no real threat, there are a different type of extremist which are a real threat – they are getting arrested all the time both in America and in other countries – Islamic extremists.

    Just one example:

    WASHINGTON – Carlos Bledsoe's transformation from Tennessee youth to an American-born Islamic extremist charged in a bloody rampage outside an Arkansas military recruiting station may signal an ominous new wave of violent homegrown jihadists, counterterror officials say.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090615/ap_on_go_ca_s

    Posted by big-e | June 15, 2009, 10:08 pm
  18. Point noted.

    I'm not saying there should be one – but these recent events and subsequent commentaries regarding right-wing extremism have been discussed decades before, by political trend analysts. I do unfortunately think a social war is inevitable. I pray otherwise..

    Also, extremely interesting op-ed: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/14/opinion/14rich….

    And Montreal is absolutely lovely. Best move of my life thus far.

    Posted by SanaKF | June 15, 2009, 10:11 pm
    • These recent shooting events are tied to the ideology of Glen Beck, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity?

      Connecting the criminal acts of these crazy people to normal conservatism, the way you have, is very offensive to a lot of people…

      “Conservatives” Are Single-Largest Ideological Group
      June 15, 2009
      http://www.gallup.com/poll/120857/Conservatives-S

      Also, did you know that the New York Times are a bastion of liberalism in the U.S.? They smeared Bush through his terms and continue to, and they praise Obama, the annointed one, the messiah.

      The NYT are one of, if not the, most liberal newspapers in the U.S.

      Posted by big-e | June 15, 2009, 11:19 pm
  19. I personally don't like ignoring a few fringe elements when they legitimately threaten the security of where I live(d), however minute, and the security of the Head of State. And no one is trying to paint all conservatives with the same brush stroke – a lot of conservatives have come out against this right wing extremism. I think it's ludicrous to discredit an entire population based on the acts of a minority – but that minority cannot be ignored.

    Posted by SanaKF | June 15, 2009, 11:09 pm
    • To clarify, I don't think that right-wing extremists, especially if they are rapidly multiplying, should be ignored. These are our fellow Americans, and civil political discourse is central to the American ideal.

      As for Islamic extremists: our responsibilities are the same towards them as they are to other Americans who may hold problematic political views: engagement, not consignment to the echo chamber. This is one reason why the US has much less of a problem with violent Islamism than Europe: Americans usually engage and help them assimilate better.

      I don't think that Beck is directly the problem all the time, but he does display a worrisome affinity for conspiracy theories, which gets problematic when it's coupled with him crying b/c he loves America so much. For example, his handwringing over domestic prison camps (1:55 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuPttI8uRyM ). (He finally dropped it.) What's next? Saving America from Black Helicopters manned by al-Qaeda? He riles people up with this garbage, and it's a bit of a problem.

      Posted by Suddha | June 15, 2009, 11:58 pm
      • As for Islamic extremists: our responsibilities are the same towards them as they are to other Americans who may hold problematic political views: engagement

        WRONG. The only engagement for these terrorists is to capture or kill them. You cannot reason with them.

        Perhaps you meant that the Islamic community as a whole needs to be angaged, because it does. But – there are some very troubling assumptions http://www.rightsidenews.com/200906065041/editori… being put foward.

        Posted by eagle007blogger | June 17, 2009, 6:09 pm
        • I meant people who are prone to radicalization or are becoming radicalized, not those who have committed criminal acts or war crimes; I think we can all agree that (war) criminals generally have to be prosecuted or neutralized, and I'd thought that distinction was clear from context. I also think that the vast majority of people dancing in the streets of Stockholm, etc, after 9/11 would never consider carrying out an attack themselves, but were still elated that "The Great Satan" got hit. There's a key distinction there; the crucial step is curbing the radicalization of the folks we live with before they commit acts of violence, and I think that's a responsibility for all citizens. So thanks for the emphatic "wrong," but what I was saying was quite right.

          Posted by Suddha | June 18, 2009, 6:32 am
        • As to the Sobiesky piece: yes and no. I would tend to agree with certain points, principally that there is an obfuscation of what "moderate" and "radical" Islam might be. This is a point that has been made rather more cogently by Daniel Pipes (and Lawrence Auster, for that matter). But there are also some things wrong in there. MS misstates what taqiyya is for most Muslims, for example: it's traditionally meant to cover lying about your religion in cases of mortal danger (this is apparently construed more loosely in Shia Islam, but not much more so). I'd say that Sobiesky's piece is muddled enough that the troubling assumptions put forward are largely his.

          Posted by Suddha | June 18, 2009, 6:37 am
          • Taqiyya is the religiously-sanctioned doctrine of deliberate deception about Islamic matters that may be used to protect and further the cause of political Islam (i.e., "Islam means peace," when it truly means "submission"/"to submit.")

            Posted by eagle007blogger | June 18, 2009, 7:24 pm
          • No it's not. This opinion of taqiyya is simply not, to my knowledge, held by any reputable scholars of Islam – even the Orientalist Bernard Lewis and the hawkish Daniel Pipes, who I've quoted before. One does have evidence of marginal heretics using taqiyya, but not the entire Muslim population, as Sobiesky seems to imply!

            Posted by Suddha | June 18, 2009, 8:22 pm
      • As for Islamic extremists: our responsibilities are the same towards them as they are to other Americans who may hold problematic political views: engagement

        WRONG. The only engagement for these terrorists is to capture or kill them. You cannot reason with them.

        Perhaps you meant that the Islamic community as a whole needs to be angaged, because it does. But – there are some very troubling assumptions being put foward.

        Posted by eagle007blogger | June 17, 2009, 6:09 pm
  20. I think that there may be two distinct dynamics in play here. One is the ravings of the truly loony fringe, who would be dangerous either way. von Bunn, a lifetime committed neo-Nazi, is a great example of this. The Southern Poverty Law Center apparently estimates the numbers of these folks at between 100,000 and 200,000, although I haven't been able to trace that directly, and it may be an old figure. The membership at Stormfront, a White Nationalist/Supremacist site, apparently jumped from 100,000 to 140,000 between 2007-2008, which points to somewhat higher numbers most likely. They are sometimes dangerous. Still, this is a small group relative to the whole population of the US, and they shouldn't be used as shorthand for any small-government conservative who's irked with Obama.

    Posted by Suddha | June 15, 2009, 11:29 pm
  21. Sana, I do agree with most of what you're saying – I guess it's just a hard line to walk between trying to bridge the gap between two sides of the American political spectrum, while still being realistic about political trends. I am aware of the gulf you discuss, unfortunately. But. More discussion of that below. I'm glad to have one more set of prayers for a modicum of peace in this deceptively unruffled, internally riven country of mine…

    And thanks for the op-ed – it does a very good and interesting job of synthesizing a few different trends/incidents that I've been trying to keep an eye. Moreover, although I read the NYTimes I would have missed that piece entirely had you not shown it to me, as I've been camping in the middle of nowhere for Bonnaroo for the past four days. :)

    Posted by Suddha | June 16, 2009, 12:08 am
  22. I'm going to chime in here. Neither liberalism nor conservatism (in the broad sense) stand for individual rights anymore. Both are oppressive on the economic and social level and both have and will continue to expand the scope of government. To say one is better than the other is foolish.

    Regarding the financial crisis, over-regulation not de-regulation is the root of the problem. There is a lot of blame being pointed at the “free markets” for this but we are over-looking government policies. Both the Bush and Clinton administrations played a role. They all suck as far as I'm concerned.

    As for Europe,with the exception of Ireland, they are almost all in a worse boat than the US. Two out of the top 5 UK banks have now effectively been nationalised, Italy is issuing Euro bonds at different rates to Germany & France and the EU is in the process of attempting to add some economic control aspects on top of those already in the Lisbon treaty which will have the effect of normalising some aspects of economic performance between countries.

    Posted by Moataz | June 16, 2009, 10:12 am
    • The UK banks operated in a similar fashion to the American ones, which led them into being in the same situation as US banks. Britain is generally more capitalistic than her continental counterparts.

      Regarding the financial crisis, regulation stopped us having a financial crisis from the great depression until now. The banks that were most highly regulated i.e. those in Spain, India amongst others are the ones that are doing best. I am a free-marketeer, just not when banking is concerned.

      And Ireland is in a worse position than most other European countries. Out of all the the industrialised nations, France has been affected the least. Italy has different rates of Euro bonds because it's economy is weaker, it has a higher debt to GDP ratio and it's economy was weaker before going into the recession. All of this is expected.

      Posted by Shafiq | June 16, 2009, 11:47 am
    • Maybe you should examine what caused the crisis http://eagle007.blogspot.com/2009/06/financial.ht… to begin with.

      Take the time to read it all, it is factual.

      Posted by eagle007blogger | June 17, 2009, 6:13 pm
    • Maybe you should examine what caused the crisis to begin with.

      Take the time to read it all, it is factual.

      Posted by eagle007blogger | June 17, 2009, 6:13 pm
  23. This post is trying to make a connection between a few random acts of violence and Conservative political ideology and the conservative media. This is a dishonest post. We are used to the dishonesty of the left, it is nothing new.

    This is the new radicalism. This will be the new war. -This statement almost seems like a desperate attempt to turn the spotlight away from the real war against radicalism that the whole world is fighting right now – the war against radical islam.

    It seems peculiar for someone to do this – someone who presumably would not like the entire Arab community stigmatized by the acts of the terrorists – and yet the attempt is made to dishonestly attack a political ideology simply because it is disagreed with. Truly very disappointing to see this.

    Posted by eagle007blogger | June 17, 2009, 6:15 pm
    • I've already responded to this allegation – of brushing Conservatism with a single stroke. Please refer to my comments to Kinzi for clarification.

      Posted by SanaKF | June 17, 2009, 9:02 pm
      • Hi Sana – not trying to beat a dead horse here, but….

        The "allegation" is that this post dishonestly attacks political conservatism by attempting to connect criminal acts by crazy people – done simply because certain aspects of political conservatism are not agreed with.

        I think if you examined conservatism with an open mind you would find it more reasonable than left-wing ideology. I think some people get tied up with left-wing ideology because it seems, on the face of it, to be opposed to war against insurgents, jihadists, Al Qaida, Taliban, ect. (But left-wing ideology is intellectually dishonest and a lot of people are becoming disillusioned now that the messiah is President and we are still at war.)

        The other "allegation" is that this post, for whatever reason, seeks to distract from the actual war against extremism (which does exist and is being fought all over the world) by creating or encouraging a different war against extremism which doesn't really exist.

        "for whatever reason" – what is the reason? I would like to know the purpose of this post, and the purpose of attacking Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity (and yes Glen "google-eyes" Beck). Are there reasons for this dishonest smear (trying to attach the violent acts) other than that you simply disagree with them?

        Posted by eagle007blogger | June 18, 2009, 7:48 pm
        • Well, I don't adhere to a particular liberal or leftist ideology – so you're underlying assumption of my lack of familiarity with conservatism is fallacious. I am well acquainted with both ends of spectrum, and believe that extremism is possible for both – just as there are right wing nuts there are left wing nuts. I am not a big enough of a fool to believe there are no intelligent Leftists or Right Wings.
          You are also painting Leftist ideology (ies) with a single brushstroke yourself – what you are accusing me of doing with conservatism.
          My problem is not nor ever was with conservatism, it is with what this new brand of new-conservatism has created for the already crazy and extreme. I believe that FoxNews, and in particular Rupert Murdoch, have been at the forefront of fueling the flames. All the blame, of course, cannot be put upon them – but they surely act as catalysts.
          The post is also not trying to diverge from any other existent forms of political extremism – that is an absurd allegation. It is merely pointing out that we mustn't be so naive to think that it is only the "other" who is capable of extremism and violence against us. It is a plague to which all are vulnerable.

          Posted by SanaKF | June 19, 2009, 12:44 am
          • Rupert Murdoch and FOX News are not catalysts for anything! They report news and provide commentary. That's it.

            There is no war against right wing extremism, it does not exist!

            We mustn't be so naive to think that it is only the "other" who is capable of extremism and violence against us? There is certainly no solidified, politically identifiable movement of right-wing extremism that represents a threat to citizens… these examples you have given are random acts of violence – there are hundreds, thousands of violent acts occurring and you could try to group certain acts together and try to interpret the "political motivations' and come up with just about anything you wanted.

            So what is making you want to attack and insult political Conservatism?

            Posted by eagle007blogger | August 17, 2009, 8:12 pm
  24. This link uses solid, stolid sources for its initial definition, if you check the first 3 citations: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taqiyya
    This one is a Muslim rebuttal, so feel free to take it with a grain of salt; but note that it also uses a ton of textual references to make its point: http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features
    Here's a history of taqiyya, from a fairly rightist perspective: http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286
    What comes out in the last link is that a broad construction of taqiyya is linked to Islamic heresy. Takfir ideology (the guiding ideology of al-Qaeda, for example) is heretical, and is currently being rejected in such previous hotbeds as Egypt. I'm not saying that we don't have to worry about extremists practicing taqiyya, but it is not used by many Muslims (especially Sunnis), and certainly not by any large sector of Muslim civilians, which is what Sobiesky seems to suggest.
    Of course, all information on taqiyya may be flawed because those who provide the information may all be secret Muslim radicals – but this brings us to an empirical dead-end.

    Posted by Suddha | June 18, 2009, 8:22 pm
    • Taqiyya was used by Ismailis during the 10th century (and beyond, but less so today than before) in fear of persecution as Ismailis were considered heretics. It is the hiding of one's religious views for safety reasons, and is still practiced by Ismailis in certain respects such as the secrecy around worship and jamaat-khannas.

      Posted by SanaKF | June 19, 2009, 12:49 am
  25. (Part II (anyone know how I can post more than 8-10 lines?) The other dynamic, which concerns me far more, is a polarization of more mainstream opinions in the US. This book: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Big-Sort-Clustering-Like-Mi…” target=”_blank”>http://www.amazon.com/Big-Sort-Clustering-Like-Mi… points to the increasing ideological segregation of Americans, which leads to extremism and an inability to resolve differences through dialogue. If neighbors and friends of opposite political opinions can talk calmly about the good reasons that Obama's not a Muslim and isn't going to nationalize white women, it goes a long way toward calming down public sentiment. But the reverse dynamic, operating more and more now, reminds me uncomfortably of the polarization in the leadup to the Spanish Civil War. Toxic political sentiments intesify in echo chambers, unfortunately. That's why I feel that nonconfrontational dialogue, even with folks who are becoming radicalized, is incredibly important.

    Posted by Suddha | June 18, 2009, 8:51 pm

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