Monday, July 9, 2007

Lawrence Auster, America’s boldest thinker

We are all so very lucky to have Lawrence Auster ensconced in his Manhattan apartment, devoting his considerable intellect to diagnosing the myriad ills of Western society.

Today, he wrote this:

“Is it a sign of strength in the West that women can vote, hold political office, and be shapers of public opinion on political issues including matters of national security? Or is it a sign -- and a cause -- of a profound, perhaps fatal weakness?

“There is much to be said for the view that affording women political rights... inevitably leads society in the direction of the Nanny State that we see in full bloom in today’s Britain and Europe, leading ultimately to the end of national sovereignty and the onset of global governance. ...

“Women are the natural care-givers and are naturally focused on the home and the family and its protection. But those same priorities, when expressed through the political sphere as distinct from the private sphere, inevitably lead a society in the direction of socialism. Once women have the vote, there is, over time, a growing tendency for women to stop seeing their fathers and husbands as the primary providers of security, and to see the state in that role instead. This tendency encourages -- and in turn is greatly exacerbated by -- the increase in unmarried motherhood.”

You know what? I’ve always had a feeling that that’s exactly when America started to turn to shit: when women got the right to vote. Continue, Mr. Auster, continue.

“... If women’s vote leads a society in the direction of socialist statism, the weakening of marriage and the family, the loss of male responsibility, loss of basic freedoms (which only men are physically and temperamentally suited to defend), loss of national vigor, then does that not suggest that it was a mistake for the West to give women the vote?”

Preach, brother!

“Then there is the direct effect of women in leadership positions. I believe that with rare exceptions such as a Margaret Thatcher or a Golda Meir, women are not well suited for upholding the basic external structure of society. That is preeminently a male, not a female task. To me, the female-dominated politics of the Scandinavian countries do not represent a positive and uplifting direction for the human race.”

Yeah! Fuck them bitches!

“I do not have an agenda to take away women’s political rights, as my views on the subject are not completely formed” – (Wait, don’t go limp on us now, Larry! Don’t lose your vigor!) – “... However, among the other aspects of modern culture and politics that traditionalists freely question, we need to question whether women’s political equality is on balance a good thing for society. There are reasonable grounds for concluding that it is not.”

Damn straight. You know the first thing women did to ruin Western civilization, by applying their tender-hearted sensibilities to the realm of public policy? They agitated against slavery! And we all know what that led to.

(Don’t feel too bad about all those white women being raped by blacks, Mr. Auster. Their presumptuous foremothers brought it upon them.)

Why, just listen to what Frederick Douglass said in 1881 in support of women’s political rights. Douglass was proud to be known as a “woman’s rights man.” (Then again, he was probably a homo.)

Keep doing what you do, Lawrence Auster. There are plenty of us out here paying close attention to whatever you write.

UPDATE (07/09/07): Okay, I had my fun. But the fact is, Auster is not the only right-winger bemoaning the deleterious influence of women (as women) on Western politics and governance lately.

Pat Buchanan, on “The McLaughlin Group” the other night, made the same point about Scandinavian legislatures, equating the rise of women’s political power with runaway socialism.

And economist John Lott, author of the book “Freedomnomics,” said in a recent interview that women’s suffrage in the United States led to the massive growth of government bureaucracies.

“I think that women are generally more risk averse than men are and they see government as one way of providing insurance against life’s vagaries,” Lott said. “I also think that divorced women with kids particularly turn towards government for protection. Simply giving women the right to vote explained at least a third of the growth in government for about 45 years.”

Still, I had no idea that there were intelligent folks out there who believe it was a mistake ever to have allowed women to vote. But check out Lawrence Auster’s online amen corner...

Commenter James M. wrote: “Part of the reason that I am so certain that the wheels will soon come off this country is women’s suffrage. None of the socialist schemes of the left in the 20th century would have passed without it. None of the issues that face the West will be solved politically as long as security-conscious women have the right to vote.”

Even a woman – Rachael S. – voiced agreement: “I have said on more than one occasion that I would happily give up the vote to return to ‘what we had,’ a more traditional society with gender roles, single-income families, women in the home, etc. And you do make a good point about female concerns warping a country’s politics if given too much sway, or any sway at all...”

That’s what I like about this job. You learn stuff.

UPDATE (07/10/07): You guys must check out the discussion percolating on this thread at Auster’s blog. It is... amazing.

Commenter Zachary W.: “[I]f it’s suicidal to give political power to races that are incapable of building higher civilizations themselves, then a similar argument must be made with respect to women, who have historically (and pre-historically) never played an active role in the running, organizing, or defending thereof, and are not designed to do so.”

Mr. Auster also expands (as he is wont to do) on his original arguments: “[A]ssuming for the sake of discussion that we agree that it is better for society that women not have political rights (which is not yet a position I am fully committed to, though I am lean [sic] in that direction), if such a re-traditionalized society were to maintain itself, everyone, men and women, would need to understand the importance of the differentiation of women’s and men’s roles in society.”

I wonder where such a project – the disfranchisement of women – would rank on Larry Auster’s personal wish list? Probably just below banning the Muslim religion. And right above the chemical castration of Negroes.

30 comments:

Mike said...

Auster's got a point.

What with the welfare gravy train from 1964 to 1996, brothers were reduced to sniffing around after them like dogs, begging for a little here and there while they went off with their sugar daddy Uncle Sam and the monthly check he gives them.

Now that Uncle Sam cut off the check, the sisters are starting to treat the brothers with a little more respect. Auster, he's alright. He knows.

susie said...

I would laugh but he seems to be serious, albeit admittedly "unformed".

Anonymous said...

You really don't achieve anything by just cutting and pasting somebody's post and inserting insults between each paragraph. This is stupid and I feel ashamed for even coming here.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ The payoff is the Frederick Douglass/Ossie Davis audio bite. I hope you had a chance to listen to that... it's only 3 1/2 minutes.

RC said...

Well, anonymous, the Auster creations just can't be surpassed by mere mortals like UBM, they, in all their priceless and splendid inanity are being paid homage here, their argentine originality and glorious confusion gracing the lowly neighborhood of UBMdom and allowing it for once to rise above the mundane world of race baiting and TV delirium and to enter the rarified strata of misogyny and downright delusion.
Unless you meant something much more intimate about cutting and pasting someone's, er, post.

Undercover Black Man said...

RC, your eloquence in my defense is much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Why is this worthy of only ridicule? The political "gender gap" is widely acknowledged, so why wouldn't conservatives question the wisdom of women's suffrage? And, OTOH, if we had gotten rid of men's suffrage, President Gore never would have invaded Iraq, would he have?

Maybe we should just leave politics to hermaphrodites.

Off-topic, I surfed here from Auster's blog to see your race and crime post. You sound like Steve Sailer, defending your racist post just because it happens to be true. But since when is that an acceptable reason to be prejudiced?

Of course, as a neanderthal-con I'm totally down with it, but it just doesn't make any sense that you would post such a thing after playing PC police on Horowitz for publishing Auster's column about interracial rape.

c23

S.O.L. said...

The reason Auster should be open to ridicule is because what he says is plain stupid. For him and his ilk to posit that giving women the vote has turned the world into a "nanny state" is laughable.
Up until the last say two decades, women have been but a blip on the radar of western politics. Men have been in charge. White, rich men mostly, if you want to know the truth. Blows Auster's moronic theory out of the water doesn't it?

What is a nanny state anyway but Auster's way of saying that his kind are no longer in power?

And really, the world was such a perfect place BEFORE women got the vote, right?

These people hang on to "traditional values" like they are imprinted on our DNA because it's the only rationalization they have for the changes that have brought them less and less power and influence.

Freedom is what drives humans -- the base instinct to be his or her own person, to pursue happiness and a life without the restraints of someone else's way of doing things. If there is one constant through the history of mankind, it is the unrelenting battle of the oppressed.

Auster doesn't want the modern world and frankly, the modern world doesn't want him. More proof that tradition is just another word for bigotry. At least in Auster's way of thinking.

I'm flabbergasted that anyone could even consider for a moment that taking the vote away from a population based solely on gender is worth even talking about.

Of course Auster should be ridiculed -- anyone who believes this shit should be. There is no intellectual truth to it at all.

And I got news for you fuckers. Not gonna happen. Not in a million years.

SJ said...

How the fuck can anyone defend such kind of reasoning?

This is beyond ridiculous. Instead of blaming the leaders (who are coincidentally rich, white men) you pick on the minorities who have no power?

Anonymous said...

Jeez! I wish Larry would stick to Islam and muslims, a subject on which his pronouncements are of popish infallibility. Everything else he's foolish enough to venture an opinion on make him sound like Crazy's older brother.

And why does he like to make these gratuitous attacks on other minorities when it's public knowledge what his kryptonite is? Here's a respected early C20th political journalist - Charles Whibley - from my neck of the woods (Britain) giving an additional perspective on the issue that Auster and his acolytes have so eagerly raised, viz which unfit minorities should be disenfranchised: 'Now, genius is rarely found among the Jews, who, appreciative of the works of others, and often good executants, are seldom artists or capable of creative work. Above all, they may rarely be trusted with the work of governing. Having no country of their own they seldom comprehend the meaning of the word 'patriotism' and they remain all the world over a dangerous imperium in imperio, finding their friends not in the country of their adoption, but wherever abroad Jewry is most strongly entrenched. For this reason it would be well if by a common rule Jews were excluded from the privilege of government. Their international minds prevent them from loyal service, and the habit of centuries compels them to convert all policies into the terms of money.' Oh, Larry, Larry: will you be forever playing with a double-edged sword?

As hard as it must be for a confirmed misogynist, Larry really must learn to leave the ladies alone, since he's treading on very dangerous ground when he tries to vaunt his anti-PC credentials by making outrageous and nasty statements about women, Blacks, etc. There are others who know how to play that game a lot better than Mr Auster (a skilful demagogue could more easily persuade an electorate to turn on and disenfranchise Jews than to view their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters as 'a dangerous imperium in imperio.' But what am I saying! a skilful demagogue did all this and more long ago).

It's only Auster's very sound take on Islam and Islamics that has prevented me from concluding that he's as mad as a hatter and blogging from an asylum.

VictorK

p.s. - your commentary on his little rant was priceless.

Undercover Black Man said...

Superbly written and reasoned, Victor. Thank you.

I would even give Auster a little more credit than just for his critique of Islam. His focus on how America will change as the white majority dwindles... I think everyone, regardless of political affiliation, regardless of race, should take that question seriously.

I read him daily not to find things to make fun of, or attack him for, but because he's an interesting social critic. But then he lays one out there like this... and I can't hold myself back.

Fascinating quote by Whibley, by the way. I didn't realize there'd been a specific argument (that recently anyway) to disfranchise the Jews. But it already occurred to me to pose the following question to Larry (which I can't do, because he wouldn't welcome correspondence from me):

If you believe that American society would be better and stronger today if women had never been allowed to vote, do you also believe that American society would be better and stronger today if Jews had never been allowed in as immigrants?

If he's true to his traditionalist conservative vision, I think he'd have to agree that America today would be more to his liking if one could erase the cultural influence of all those Jewish leftists. Of course, under that scenario, Auster himself wouldn't be here; his immigrant grandparents would've been locked out. But such is the conundrum. Traditionalist conservatives a century ago were alarmed by the swarms of Polish Jews pouring into New York.

What I wouldn't give to talk this conundrum through with Auster...

Anna Laperle said...

It's not that women got the vote - it's that they got the Pill. That's when the shit got rolling for women. That was real emancipation not this voting stuff. Most Americans don't vote anyway.

S.O.L. said...

While men ruled the world, everything pretty much went to shit. I'd like to have a discussion about disenfranchising the male vote. Anybody?

Dougfp said...

I've always thought there was a strong latent homosexual aspect to Auster-type conservatives. They seem so threatened by women and long for a strong "daddy" to lead them. But of course, men who acknowledge their homosexuality are dangerous too, so they need to be condemned as well.

In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shooting, I read an article that suggested in almost all these cases, the shooter has a threatened sense of masculinity and a deep-seated fear of homosexuality. Now I'm not saying Auster is going to go off and shoot someone, but he seems oblivious to what his anti-female rantings suggest about him. At the very least, they suggest a profoundly uncertain sense of his own masculinity and the need to blame someone else for it.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Now, Doug, explain Mr. Auster's numerous female readers who seem open to this idea of losing their right to vote.

There must be a lot of people out there, men and women, feeling profoundly disconnected from the modern world.

Dougfp said...

^ They're afraid of Giant Negroes?

SJ said...

What people like Auster don't realize is how similar people like him are to Muslim fundamentalists. Conservatives in this country hate Muslims, and as someone who has been on the receiving end from both groups (Muslims and conservative Christians), I see a lot of similarities.

There's the disdain of women in the workplace (just go to Saudi Arabia and see for yourself), the condemnation of homosexuality, the death penalty, belief in one God (and Jesus, Moses, etc.), being "pro-life", etc. etc. Having lived in the Muslim world all my life I have seen this shit before.

And UBM as to your question why Auster has female readers, I have noticed that among Muslim women too. The "traditional" women don't believe that women should work in a man's world, and they are perfectly content with not having the right to vote (I believe Ann Coulter would agree with Auster on this issue too). This view though is rapidly changing among the Muslim world itself, another reason to believe that Auster's reasoning is antiquated. Women who follow Auster are usually beholden to their fathers/husbands/brothers/etc. I think they are often afraid to question their authority.

Undercover Black Man said...

To Doug, a belated Zing!

To SJ, you're spot-on regarding the Muslim irony. Because the presumption seems to be that, if Islam is to evolve, modernize, and mellow itself out... the liberation of women will have something to do with it.

When a society refuses to exploit half of its intellectual and creative capital, how will it ever progress? Of course, "progress" isn't a value to traditionalist Muslims... nor, I guess, is "progress" much of a value to traditionalist conservatives like Auster.

Yet, if the white West had held as tightly to "traditionalism" as the Arab Muslim states do, (I say again) Auster's Ashkenazi ancestors would never have been welcomed into America.

By the way, my personal physician is Persian. She's a woman. And she's Baha'i. Baha'i seems like what an evolution of Islam could lead to. The focus on intellectual development, full rights for women, religious tolerance, global good works...

SJ said...

The focus on intellectual development, full rights for women, religious tolerance, global good works...

Hmmm sounds like "normal" Islam to me. Islam does put a lot of focus on educating oneself (and your children, including women), it gives a lot of respect and rights to women though perhaps not the way the western world does...the mother is supposed to be the most respected person in the family.

Also not many people seem to realize that Muhammad's first wife was his employer and one of the most respected businesswomen in the country. How many women do you think hold such positions in modern Saudi Arabia?

Undercover Black Man said...

^ I would love to talk to you some day about Islam, SJ. The "religious tolerance" issue is the biggie, of course. (The Baha'is were -- or are -- cruelly persecuted in Iran.)

Anonymous said...

SJ wrote of Islam that "it gives a lot of respect and rights to women though perhaps not the way the western world does."

Eh? Almost every muslim society I know of is characterised by significant gender apartheid. The ones that aren't are places like Turkey that have a strong secular tradition (Ataturk basically hated Islam as a primitive Arab cult), or Lebanon, that have a strong non-muslim religious heritage (Christianity, to give credit where its due), or Indonesia where Islam has been heavily diluted by still vital pre-Islamic traditions. Everywhere else Islam is an enemy of womankind. It is little more than fantasy to claim otherwise. In a thread that properly condemns Larry-boy's misogyny we shouldn't be condoning the same thing when it turns up in relatively unfamiliar garb.

To further digress from the main subject, SJ's position reminds me of those Black converts to Islam who rant about slavery in the Christian West. Point out to them that Islam's record of enslaving Africans is older and more brutal than anything that happened in the West and they will argue that slavery in Islam was 'different', that it 'gave a lot of respect and rights' to slaves, who were almost like members of the family, etc. The only reply to such people is 'Zanj Rebellion.' The same is claimed about slavery as an institution amongst Africans themselves (whenever, that is, Africans and African-Americans ever lapse from the mental self-censorship that forbids their acknowledging that the peculiar institution was deeply rooted amongst African societies, too, and not just an outrage to be charged against Americans in general and Southerners in particular).

I think that the motive common to SJ on women and the Black apologists for non-Western slavery, is an unwillingness to admit what we all know to be true in both cases: the superiority of the moral traditions of Western Christendom.

VictorK

Undercover Black Man said...

^ ... that it 'gave a lot of respect and rights' to slaves, who were almost like members of the family, etc. The only reply to such people is 'Zanj Rebellion.'

I thought the only reply to that was "eunuchry."

SJ said...

@VictorK,

First of all, I am not a "Muslim apologist". I have numerous concerns with the Muslim community (having lived in the Muslim world all my life and growing up in a Muslim family) and Islam itself.

And I am well aware of Islam's role in slavery. Many people claim that Islam was supposed to "ease out slavery", since slavery was common throughout that era. I don't agree with that aspect, and needless to say men, when given power, easily abuse such power.

And yes, women are not treated well in most Muslim societies. I mentioned that as well. What I meant was that Islam grants certain rights to women which are not being given to them. (Reminds me of the gang rape of a woman in rural Pakistan...you really think Islam condones such behavior???).

There is a growing movement in Pakistan (in the city of Karachi that I know of) where people are pushing for more rights of women. If you ever visited the city (and I doubt you ever will) you would see that it's more progressive than people in the West think.

Still, my original point stands that Christianity and Islam are more similar than you think. I believe that Christianity has been "watered-down" throughout the centuries and is not really practiced anymore...I mean, how many people actually believe in Leviticus anymore? It clearly advocates slavery and abusing your own daughters by selling them.

Anonymous said...

S.J. - you are entitled to your opinion, however mistaken.

Muhammed was a slave-holder: ipso facto no movement for the abolition of slavery was ever able to develop in the muslim world, since it would have implicitly meant condemning the behaviour of the man upon whose revelation Islam was based. Christ's teachings were the direct source for the abolition of slavery, via the offices of the Catholic Church re slavery in the early centuries of Christianity and serfdom later in European history, or subsequently via the likes of Wilberforce and his largely non-conformist and Anglican supporters. The re-introduction of slavery by the Spanish, English, Portuguese and Dutch was a retrograde step entirely out of keeping with the wider development of Christian precept and practice. Today both the Catholic and Anglican churches have confessed and repented their sin in collaborating with slavery. Has any eminent Islamic scholar ever declared slavery in Islamic lands to have been comparably sinful? For the reason already given, such a statement is impossible without also condemning Muhammed.

The Old Testament is really of little relevance to most Christians: Christ's revelation is the centre of Christian belief and practice. In fact, Jews today also have an understanding of the Old Testament that is far in advance of such ethically simple texts as Leviticus. You should sample some rabbinical writings of the present age and you will see that Jewish theology today has developed a complexity, depth, sophistication, and humanity that make much of the Old Testament an historical curiosity. In fact, much of the moral subtlety of Judaism can be found in later historical documents like Isaiah. Judaism, like Christianity, has evolved spiritually and morally over the centuries.

Islam's disaster is that it is so utterly stark and simple that it lacks what Chesterton described as the 'self-correcting complexity' of Christian (and Jewish) belief. It is, theologically speaking, too basic to be capable of any kind of real spiritual or moral development. Jewish theology is much more than the simplicity and simple-midedness that characterises a work like Leviticus, in the same way that the Book of Revelations is a curiosity but not a fundamental aspect of Christianity. That is why Christians and Jews can hold lightly, or not at all, certain texts in their Holy Books. Islam, on the other hand, is today exactly what it was 1,300 hundred years ago. Those who call for an Islamic reformation fail to grasp this point: Islam cannot be reformed because it cannot be developed, and it cannot be developed because it is too basic a revelation to lend itself to any kind of doctrinal complexity (contrast this with the notion of the Holy Trinity, which 2,000 years on is capable of yielding fresh interpretations of Christian spirituality and the nature ofg God).

C.S. Lewis expressed it best when he stated that there were only two real religions in the world: Hinduism and Christianity. Judaism was essentially a combination of tribal cult and highly developed ethics; Buddhism was an off-shoot of Hinduism; and Islam was a Christian heresy (the main difference between a muslim and a Unitarian is temperament. To an orthodox christian, of course, a Unitarian is as good a Christian as a muslim). To that extent Islam does, as you suggest, have something in common with Christianity, but not quite in the way you imagine. But Christianity has very little in common with Islam.

I'm pleased to hear that there are progressive and enlightened people in places like Karachi (a city that I should also be pleased never to visit). But I'm willing to bet that what's best in their thought and action owes far more to the secular traditions of Western liberalism than they do to Islam. That's why whenever you find such progressive 'muslims' (probably entirely nominal followers) there are usually genuinely orthodox muslims just waiting for an opportunity to kill them as heretics and unbelievers. You are doubtless familiar with Ayaan Hirsi Ali?

'By their fruits shall ye know them': this is the only worthwhile standard to apply in comparing religions, and by this standard the difference between Islam and Christianity is like the difference between night and day. Who did Jesus kill?

VictorK

SJ said...

No doubt I have heard of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Like her I am an atheist myself, but some of the reasons she has been against Islam are not directly related to Islam...in fact they were mostly criticisms of Somalian culture. Her parents wanted to force her into a marriage she didn't want (which is not allowed in Islam) and even mutilated her genitals (NOT an Islamic tradition but in fact an African one).

You are saying that Christianity and Judaism can be "developed" as time goes on while Islam can't. Isn't religion supposed to be the universal, clear truth no matter what? That's why I don't appreciate any of the religions. There was the recent issue of the Pope (the fact that Catholics believe he is infallible is ridiculous itself) saying that Catholicism is the only true form of Christianity...such rifts present in religions (Protestant vs. Catholic, Sh'ia vs Sunni) is just proof of the destructive power of religions. If a Holy book is supposed to be the "truth", there aren't supposed to be any differences in interpretation.

If Jesus never killed anybody, why do Christians advocate the death penalty? "By their fruits ye shall know them" am I right?

Thordaddy said...

Very interesting exchanges... I will say though that such a discussion concerning the efficacy of women's political equality very much illuminates the inherent weaknesses of modern liberal ideology.

First, as is showcased, liberals consider such discussion as verboten. But why...? Is there clear cut evidence that giving women political equality has been a net benefit for the whole of society? One could argue that our progeny haven't fared too well.

The second glaring weakness is that modern liberals are forced to cover up their inabilty to articulate a positive defense of their position (women's political equality has been an indisputable success)and instead must insist that a particular discussion must be buried. This in turn becomes their position. One could hardly argue that this represents a "progressive" or liberal position. Yet, it is the "progressive" and liberal position.

Of course, this leads us to the third flaw in liberal thinking. Because non-discrimination and absolute equality are the guiding principles of the modern liberal, we are increasingly experiencing the practical effects of modern liberalism which is a decline in discussions of great importance.

This means that modern liberalism requires the dumbing-down of our entire society.

Anonymous said...

@ SJ: you have entirely missed the point about Ayaan Ali. She is a progressive, enlightened, liberal, cosmpopolitan ex-muslim who has criticised Islam; and orthodox muslims want her dead because of it. Any serious criticism of Islam, even coming from people who still (unlike Ali) still professed to be muslims, would attract a hostile reaction from orthodox muslims, who rightly see it as heresy. AS an atheist you are yourself a fair target for murder as an apostate. A religion that can't even be criticised can't ever be reformed. Only neo-con fantasists believe otherwise.

I am not arguing that Christianity and Judaism can be 'developed'. That they HAVE developed is a matter of historical fact. There is no reason to suppose that that developement and growth will ever stop. In their respective histories Christianity and Judaism show a blend of stability and continuity in some areas of doctrine, and growth and fresh interpretation in others. Both are living faiths that have been able to meet the challenges of modernity and change. Islam, by contrast, has become a fossil, completely out of its depth in the modern world, which terrifies and intimidates it (hence the endless mantra of 'it is forbidden' from mullahs, and the never-ending muslim rage at the world).

I think it is extremely disingenuous for you to write of 'the destructive power of religions.' Today, in the 21st century, there is only one religion that is an unalterable source of darkness, destruction and death: Islam. It is a common sleight-of-hand of Hitchens-style atheists to apply a criticism that Islam alone deserves to all, even the mildest and most beneficent, religious traditions. The truth about religions was expressed with perfect symbolism when the Taliban (orthodox muslims to a man) destroyed the giant statue of the Buddha (giant negros? giant Buddhas? where will it all end, I ask?), Buddhism being the perfect representation of pacifism in religion. To respond to a barbaric outrage like that by condemning Buddhism as well as Islam is the worst kind of bigoted atheist irrationality.

Though you have identified yourself as an atheist you still retain many Koranic habits of thought. For example, your view that 'if a holy book is supposed to be the 'truth' there aren't supposed to be any differences in interpretation.' It is that starkness and over-simplicity that characterises the Islamic tradition and that inspires muslims to be so much more fanatical and intolerant than anybody else. Ayaan Ali, interestingly, still retains some of this Koranic mind-set, which she's merely transferred to her current belief in secular liberalism (which is absolutely true, true only in one way, and entitled to crush its enemies - especially religion, conservatism and patriotism).

There is rather more to the doctrine of papal infallibility than you seem to think (including the fact that it was believed in for centuries by the Catholic Church before it was formally incorporated as part of official Catholic doctrine). The Holy Father is infallible only when speaking ex cathedra, on matters of faith and morals. Every passing opinion held by the Pope is not infallible, and the pope does not often make infallible pronouncements, and even then only after consulting the college of cardinals and with due reference to the traditions of the Church and in keeping with the teaching of Christ.

When an institution has, like the Church of Rome, endured and flourished for two thousand years, and in the process laid the foundation for the world's greatest civilisation (as chauvinistic as that sounds, it's true), it would be wiser to inquire into the secret of its longevity and seminal influence than to dismiss its practices as 'ridiculous'. The Caliphate as an institution perished centuries ago (the Ottoman Sultans don't really count). This was probably bad for the world, as well as Islam, since now every crazy mullah feels free to venture an opinion and a fatwa on anything and everything that catches his fancy. The Roman Catholic Church, encumbered by 'ridiculous' doctrines like papal infallibility, is by contrast characterised by discipline, order, orthodoxy, obedience clarity and certainty, something that the Islamic world can only dream of.

Your point about the death penalty is bizarre. Punishment for crime (like 'just war') is not unchristian, even when the punishment is death. Christianity is not a pacifist faith or one that holds human life to be sacred and inviolable per se. You appear to have mistaken my meaning when I asked who Jesus had killed. The answer is, of course, nobody; I had meant to imply a contrast with Muhammed, whose life was steeped in blood and violence, and whose orthodox followers today continue to follow his example whether in Bagdhad, London, Islamabad or Madrid.

VictorK

Thordaddy said...

There is an additional contradiction within those liberals that hold the discussion of women's political equality as verboten. Because liberals believe that no culture is inherently superior or inferior to any other culture then it stands to reason that a culture with women's full political equality is no better or no worse than a culture where women enjoy no political rights.

This means that for liberals, women's political equality is neither good or bad for the culture since there is simply no way to make that judgement. But if that's the case, then why is the discussion of women's political equality verboten for liberals?

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Because women's right to vote is the political equivalent of "settled law," Thordaddy, and it is irrational -- I'm talking Don Quixote irrational -- to devote energy to re-opening it as a public policy debate.

It makes about as much sense as trying to re-institute slavery.

Thordaddy said...

Mr. Mills,

I agree that it is "irrational" to question the efficacy of women's political equality, but only if you're a liberal-minded fellow. This is because "political equality" in and of itself is seen as inherently good by ideological liberals because they see themselves as those that gave us this "progress."

Of course, this flies in the face of another core liberal belief which is the "equality" of all cultures.

And so, this belief in "political equality" for women as inherently good suggests that a lack of "political equality" for women is inherently bad. This in turn suggests the superiority and inferiority of different cultures which liberals hotly deny.

I wonder how you square this circle...? Easy, the discussion becomes verboten and we're all required to be a little dumber.

On a side note, I disagreed with Mr. Auster that women's "political equality" represented the core issue, but rather, radical lesbian's "political equality" was the real issue that needed discussion. Of course, radical lesbians are at least nominally "women" in the basest sense.