Tag Archives: George Bush

Lesson from Paris: “Live and Let Live” Has Two Parts

Credit: Jean Jullien

Here we are again, watching a tragedy in Paris.

Again, innocent citizens of a broadly liberal, secular West, die at the hands of those who self-identify as Islamic purists, but are rejected by most of the rest of their faith.

Meanwhile, innocent citizens of other parts of the world – including the Muslim Middle East – die at the hands of those same “purists” – but also under the bombs dropped by that liberal, secular West… bombs dropped so incessantly that Pakistani children, for example, now prefer cloudy skies to blue ones – because America’s drones, or flying death robots, drop their lethal payloads only from clear skies.

How many Westerners who changed updated their Facebook profiles with a Tricolore on Friday updated them with the Lebanese flag the day before, when dozens of Lebanese were killed in Beirut in another Islamo-extremist attack?

If you did the one and not the other, don’t feel bad. You – like they – are victims of the Western media, just as much as of Western foreign policy.

With all the usual (but nevertheless important and true) qualifiers that those who bear all the moral responsibility for the recent deaths in Paris are those who pulled the triggers and detonated their suicide vests, it must be said that we, the West, are collectively doing nothing to help ourselves.

On the contrary, we continue to make it worse – in two main ways. And importantly, the reason we cannot stop doing making it worse, it seems, is that across the West, the political Left are committed to making things worse in one way, and the political Right are committed to making things worse in the other.

What are these two things we are doing to exacerbate the actions of extremists against us?

The first is the one already mentioned – favored by the standard neo-con sensibility (Bush, Hillary Clinton et al.) – to go pound the hell out of (or into) cultures and countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya etc. ) that we don’t control, to affect the dynamics of long-standing conflicts that we don’t understand, in ways that do damage that we cannot contain.

Ron Paul for years was warning us about blowback. It’s a real thing – and, it always has been, throughout history – because human nature is largely constant.

Don’t take my (or Dr Paul’s) word for it: take the word of the United States’ own Department of Defense, which commissioned a study, headed by Robert Pape of the University of Chicago, that collected and analyzed huge amounts of data on suicide terrorism — which is 12 times more dangerous than other forms of terrorism when measured by the number of people killed per act. In this U.S. government study, speakers of the local languages of the families of suicide bombers were sent to speak with family members of the terrorists to gain as much information as possible about the context and the people involved. The database thus obtained on suicide terrorism is, as far as we know, the most comprehensive in the world.

The most astonishing conclusion of this work was as follows; 95 percent of all suicide terrorist attacks — going back to the 1980s — are against countries that the terrorist deems to be occupying (in the sense of a military presence) physical territory that that the terrorist regards as a homeland. The reason this is astonishing is that this 95 percent figure includes all those radical Islamic groups who have attacked Israel and the USA, but it explains why the U.S., for example, has only experienced such attacks (such as 9/11 itself), from citizens of countries in which it has a military presence: that’s why, says the DOD study, we were hit by Saudis on 9-11, but not Iranians, Sudanese or representatives of other countries with a large radical Islamist contingent.

So one way of helping to protect ourselves from extremists might be just to stop with all those self-righteous “Freedom bombs” that kill children in places whose names we cannot even spell.

Of course, one might object that France is hardly intervening globally on the scale that America does, so isn’t the fact that Paris is getting hit more than, say, New York or D.C., evidence against the thesis?

No – because not imposing one’s will on others in their homes is only half the story: it’s only the “Let Live” part of “Live and Let Live”.

In the West, we have also forgotten that “Live and Let Live” has a first part, which is usually overlooked: that is simply “Live”.

The same Western polities that feel perfectly (and illiberally) righteous in intervening with physical force in other countries are paradoxically caught up in a faux progressivism at home that prevents them from defending their own.

It’s an absolute contradiction that goes like this: “we must attack them over there because they are dangerous and evil – but we don’t need to monitor and control those who flow across our borders because to do so would be intolerant, prejudicial and even racist”. In other words, “they” are dangerous enough that we need to kill them where they cannot hurt us, but not so dangerous that we need to stop them coming to hurt us.

Only ideological (or power-driven) politicians could maintain that kind of contradictory nonsense without painful cognitive dissonance.

The first responsibility and primary justification of government is the security of its own citizens – to whom it is accountable. And the first line of the security of a nation is its borders, which must be controlled to prevent the entry of those who wish to do harm. That is a moral good. In contrast, hurting innocents who are nowhere near one’s borders is a moral evil.

Making a real assessment of the risk associated with largely or partially unmonitored immigration – and in particular, making a proper distinction between genuine refugees (from messes that we helped to create) and economic migrants to whom our moral responsibility is clearly different – is not intolerant, prejudiced, or racist. It is reasonable, sensible, and just.

Here’s a thought experiment that doesn’t take much imagination at all.

If you were an ISIS fighter and you wanted to attack the West – and there were thousands of folks who looked like you pouring through the borders of that part of the world you wanted to be in, unseen and undocumented, why would you not enter among them? You’d frankly be stupid not to.

And since I write for an American audience, if you were an ISIS fighter, how would you get in to the US to launch an attack? Of course you’d walk over the Mexican border because you can.

Mark Steyn insightfully observed that

“… multiculturalism is a unicultural phenomenon”.

He might have overstated there, but if we add one word, he is painfully accurate: pathological multiculturalism is a unicultural phenomenon.

So what makes multiculturism pathological? I’ll offer a very precise definition: pathological multiculturalism is the over-accommodation by one culture of others by denigrating or hiding its own values, its own history, its own identity, and its own self-celebration.

Why is it that we in the West are so bad at overtly celebrating our history, our values, and our culture. We don’t even teach any of these in our schools in any serious way in the developed West. I hate to give a cliché as an answer, but it just fits so well – especially in Europe. Our white Liberal guilt has gotten the better of us. Because we did bad things in our history, we don’t celebrate the good things we did. Because we have oppressed people, we don’t point to the thousand-year long march of history that has freed millions. Because cultural minorities in our countries find it harder to get mainstream exposure (inevitable by virtue of their numbers), we stay quiet about our own culture, lest we cause offence.

Live and Let Live is – as it has always been and forever will be – the right motto for our times. But the West, in a kind of vicious cycle of fear, has (at least since 2001) been doing the opposite: “Kill and Let Be Killed”.

For those who prefer concrete political concepts to four-word idioms, the problem and its solution can be framed it in terms of self-determination – a concept right there in Article 1 of Chapter 1 of the United Nations charter.

Self-determination demands that we respect the sovereignty of other self-identified communities, nations and cultures. But it’s the very same self-determination that leaves us with the responsibility of respecting and protecting our own from those who would infiltrate to disrupt our own communities, nations and cultures.

In short, the fundamental question for the West at this time in history seems to be: must our open societies tolerate the intolerance that seeks to destroy our tolerance?

The answer is No – because that is what self-determination means.

When we understand that, we might be able to make two existential changes: the first will be to stop hurting others where they live – which requires us to recognize and end our self-righteousness and arrogance. The second will be to start protecting ourselves where we live– which requires us to recognize our cultural guilt and be able to talk about Western values as something worth proactively, even preemptively, protecting and asserting – but not exporting.

If we in the West must feel so guilty, let’s feel guilty about the children we’ve killed in Muslim lands – rather than about protecting ourselves from “Muslims” – and others – who would kill us in our own.

9/11- The Funeral For Freedom

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -Benjamin Franklin
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -Benjamin Franklin


I remember it as the world remembers it. Mr. McConnell, my middle school principal, made his rounds to each classroom. A stern man of discipline, silver hair and wrinkled skin, the terror quite literally screamed out from his eyes. The school phones rang off the walls. Parents were terrified. The TVs were turned on, and I saw the Statute of Liberty standing before the two smoking towers.

Lady Liberty chocked in smoke and debris. As she wept, the world wept. Our national anthem played at Buckingham Palace, in the streets of Paris and at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. Children in South Korea assembled outside of the American embassy in Seoul. Prayers and cries of support flooded out from a mosque in Cairo.  The Prime Minister of Great Britain came to America to join George Bush in his address to Congress. Moment of silence and mourning were held in Latin America, Africa and Australia. Souls from more than 80 nations died in the September 11th, 2001 attacks. Muslims, Christians, Jews- it didn’t matter. The terror knew no sociopolitical bounds.

A generation of millennials have been shaped by that tragic day. When George Bush addressed Congress he said, “On September the 11th, enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country.” We were told by every news outlet in the country that the newly introduced Al Qaeda hated us because we were free. And so, we are no longer.

Drones now kill American citizens without due process. Through HR 347 our rights to assemble and free speech have been diluted and bureaucratized. American citizens can now be detained and held indefinitely through an NDAA provision. The NSA spies on every aspect of our lives at all times. There is no hiding from them. The IRS probes into your businesses deeper than a gastroenterologist. The Patriot Act, named so in typical propaganda fashion, created a sea of unconstitutional, far-reaching “laws”. The TSA sexually harasses children, men and women every day. All of this in the name of our safety and as result of 9/11.

Those who look to the Supreme Court for salvation will not find it. The SCOTUS has not been in the business of restraining the federal government within the Constitution since judicial review was established with Marbury v. Madison, and when Justice Marshall defined for a nation the Necessary and Proper Clause in  McCullogh v. Maryland, and also when Marshall expanded national powers through interstate commerce in Gibbons v. Ogden. Some states fight with all their might. You’ll also find little help from the legislative and executive branches. Our federal officials now run free. They grow their creature ever faster holding high the Supremacy Clause with complete disregard for the Tenth Amendment.  No worry to reach their brow of a writ of mandamus landing upon their desk. House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget proposal delegated $630 billion to the “Global War on Terrorism” in 2012. Did you know we were involved in a global war that will last until at least 2021? According to Paul Ryan, we are. You see, perhaps there is no plan to actually end the “war”. Perhaps the “war on terrorism” is now little more than a Keynesian, fascist stronghold on the American people.

It’s been twelve years. Children who were in the first grade on 9/11 are now holding guns and boot straps in the military. The question is begged. Do they fight for, or against their country? Do not twist my words to be ones not in support of our armed forces. A soldier is never to blame for where his leaders may send him or her. Only the leadership can be blamed. We now have men and women claiming they did not join the military to support Al Qaeda in Obama’s war against Syria’s Assad. Twelve years later and our President is looking to give the Al Qaeda backed rebels the upper hand in Syria by striking Assad. No matter that the entire world has turned their back on Obama’s conquest. Our trajectory as a country is off course at best.

Approximately 3,000 souls were lost on 9/11. However, if we trade our liberty for the fallacy of security those souls stare down on us in vain. The America we live in today pays no memorial to their lives as free Americans. They, like so many of us found themselves in America because of a singular paradigm that is liberty. Freedom is a word of absolute resolve. There can exist no ambiguity in its root, or it is null. It is time the country realize that the war on terrorism is also a domestic war on the soul of America. She must reach deep within her soul to rediscover the voracious spirit that will allow her to defeat her creature. Where is salvation? It is in revolution, which is at the soul of America, and if we wish to keep our soul then we must fight for it. If they truly hate us because we are free- then hater, hate on.