“Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free.”
― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Greatest lessons: Winston Churchill

Today marks the death of Winston Spencer Churchill. The words of political philosopher and classicist Leo Strauss are perhaps the best short eulogy:
THE ACHIEVEMENT OF LEO STRAUSS
THE HENRY SALVATORI CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM IN THE MODERN WORLD
January 2000
Appendix B, page 47
Spontaneous Remarks Made by Leo Strauss, on Hearing of the Death of Churchill

The death of Churchill is a healthy reminder to academic students of political science of their limitations, the limitations of their craft.

The tyrant stood at the pinnacle of his power. The contrast between the indomitable and magnanimous statesman and the insane tyrant—this spectacle in its clear simplicity was one of the greatest lessons which men can learn, at any time.

No less enlightening is the lesson conveyed by Churchill’s failure which is too great to be called tragedy. I mean the fact that Churchill’s heroic action on behalf of human freedom against Hitler only contributed, through no fault of Churchill’s, to increase the threat to freedom which is posed by Stalin or his successors. Churchill did the utmost that a man could do to counter that threat—publicly and most visibly in Greece and in Fulton, Missouri. Not a whit less important than his deeds and speeches are his writings, above all his Marlborough—the greatest historical work written in our century, an inexhaustible mine of political wisdom and understanding, which should be required reading for every student of political science.

The death of Churchill reminds us of the limitations of our craft, and therewith of our duty. We have no higher duty, and no more pressing duty, than to remind ourselves and our students, of political greatness, human greatness, of the peaks of human excellence. For we are supposed to train ourselves and others in seeing things as they are, and this means above all in seeing their greatness and their misery, their excellence and their vileness, their nobility and their triumphs, and therefore never to mistake mediocrity, however brilliant, for true greatness.
In class, at the University of Chicago
January 25, 1965
If our president had read this, perhaps he would not have returned the bust of the Prime Minister to Britain. Perhaps he would even have glimpsed a hint of his own limitations and gained a small dash of humility.

It is, alas, just one of the lessons Mr. Obama did not learn in Chicago.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Why did France allow these thugs in the country?

Why did France allow the tabloid to provoke Muslims?
-by Anjem Choudary, may his name be well known.

Mr. Choudary has risen in defense of the murderers in the Charlie Hebdo massacre:
Contrary to popular misconception, Islam does not mean peace but rather means submission to the commands of Allah alone. Therefore, Muslims do not believe in the concept of freedom of expression, as their speech and actions are determined by divine revelation and not based on people's desires.
Anjem Choudary obviously feels quite strongly about the 12 people murdered at Charlie Hebdo. How else to explain defending the murderers by saying Islam sanctions murder via divine inspiration? He portrays Muslims as mind numbed robots, in thrall to an interpretation of the supernatural unchanged since the 7th century, and which can apparently justify any imaginable atrocity.

How can Muslims be expected to behave about a drawing? Well, badly, but that is their duty. And, anyway, it's France's fault.
Although Muslims may not agree about the idea of freedom of expression, even non-Muslims who espouse it say it comes with responsibilities. In an increasingly unstable and insecure world, the potential consequences of insulting the Messenger Muhammad are known to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Although?? As in, “Although Muslims are commanded by their religion to kill those whose speech they dislike, some non-Muslims agree speech you don't like should be limited?” What does this sentence even mean? It's peculiar nonsense as a justification for murder by a farrow of fanatics.

Choudary assures us, as a matter of principle, that Muslims CAN NOT agree that freedom of speech should be tolerated, and your exercise of that freedom is justification for killing you. The responsibility of Muslims is to kill you, sooner rather than later, unless you observe your responsibility to shut up.
Muslims consider the honor of the Prophet Muhammad to be dearer to them than that of their parents or even themselves. To defend it is considered to be an obligation upon them. The strict punishment if found guilty of this crime under sharia (Islamic law) is capital punishment implementable by an Islamic State. This is because the Messenger Muhammad said, "Whoever insults a Prophet kill him.
The religion of psychotic overreaction.
However, because the honor of the Prophet is something which all Muslims want to defend, many will take the law into their own hands, as we often see.
The religion of honor killing.

To what secular law does one hew when commanded by Mohammed to honor him with murder? This is not “taking the law into their own hands.” There is no such law to take into one's hands, and there can be no such penalty prescribed by it.
Within liberal democracies, freedom of expression has curtailments, such as laws against incitement and hatred.
Some liberal democracies don't have such laws, and even those who do have this quaint notion of “justice” to contend with. Those liberal democracies with thought crime laws are reaping what they sowed, both in blood and in giving encouragement to Islamofacist apologists such as Mr. Choudary.
The truth is that Western governments are content to sacrifice liberties and freedoms when being complicit to torture and rendition — or when restricting the freedom of movement of Muslims, under the guise of protecting national security.
Such as the freedom of movement to fly airliners into the Twin Towers? Perhaps Choudary has confused cause and effect.
So why in this case did the French government allow the magazine Charlie Hebdo to continue to provoke Muslims, thereby placing the sanctity of its citizens at risk?
Umm, because the French government, so far, and in spite of your efforts, is not an Islamofascist state? Because they still can't quite believe how unhinged you are?
It is time that the sanctity of a Prophet revered by up to one-quarter of the world's population was protected.
It is time that the murderous thugs who believe in the sanctity of this particular “Prophet” were prevented from committing murder so that one-quarter of the world's population no longer suffers under their yoke. It's time Mr. Choudary realized what he has written is protected by the same principles he would like destroyed.