Saturday, February 24, 2007

It's About Morality and Culture, Stupid

Daniel Larison sucessfully rips into one of the main pillars of neoconic ideology related to - the notion that Muslim Islamist disdain our freedom.

The “they hate us for our freedoms” line is pure garbage. I don’t know how else to put it. Sayyid Qutb didn’t like how Coloradoans danced in 1949, but he didn’t make it his life’s goal to attack Americans or to urge others to attack Americans and drive us out of the Near East…because we weren’t in the Near East and Muslims around the world had no reason to feel any particular animus towards America.

I discussed Sayyid Qutb in a recent post. It is clear from reading his perspective of the world that his first impression with western freedom was not revulsion at freedom but disgust at the moral state of the west. One must remember his impression was that of 1949-50 America.

Larison was the export of American pop culture to the world in the decades that followed that lit the fuse. In many respects, the export of that culture has triumphed over local resistance (I have strong doubts that this is a desirable thing), but it has generated hostility to the general experience of globalisation and rapid cultural change and those processes are unavoidably associated with the United States because so many of the largest multinationals are associated in the minds of people around the world with this country.

In fact if one really looks at the motivation and goals of Osama Bin Laden (an heir to the thoughts of Sayyid) three things become clear. One, ultimately pan-Islamist wish to reestablish the caliphate. Second, to accomplish the first goal secular and amoral regimes within historic Islamic territory must be replaced. Third, to accomplish this western armies as well as overt and covert Weatern support of secular regimes in the Islamic world must be removed.

It is important to understand motivation. Failure to understand leads to the the acceptance of stupid notions such as the idea that there are people in other parts of the world that want to actually take away our freedom. Perhaps there is a degree of truth to this - they do wish to undermine our freedom to shape the world in our own image, to support regimes of our own choosing in their lands and to deploy our troops to Islamic lands as we please. Perhaps that much is true - but the idea they they actually wish to abridge our own freedom in our own homelands is just false. For right or wrong, these people have a pretty good and solid argument against the stationing of non-Muslim troops in the land of their two holiest sites.

Don't take me wrong, I am not saying that the ideology, based upon a perversion of Islam, held by Bin Laden and crew is correct. I have read the Koran, I do not purport to be an expert on Islamic theology, but none of the Muslims I know support the interpretation of verses and passages toward evil actions used by these people. In that sense they are just as morally degraded as their enemies.

So long as men remain immoral and separated from the rule of natural law these sorts of conflicts will continue. Immorality, faith in human reason above historic understanding are the at the root of evil- I suppose the neocons, communist, socialist, Islamist and secularist of the world will just never really understand that.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Truth and Honor Do Live

I had a discussion recently with Kirkpatrick Sale of the Middlebury Institute related to the attitudes and accusations of some folks in Vermont discussed in a previous post. We talked about principles, the reality that different people ought to be able to have different views and how dangerous it is to allow a few tyrants to shut down all discussion because they use a few unfounded "keywords".

I am exceedingly pleased that the Middlebury Institute will have none of that; they are willing to stand on principles and remain true to their charter.

Below is a statement released today from the Middlebury Institute:


A statement about who are colleagues and allies, what it means to be part of a movement, and how to regard the League of the South.

Concern has arisen in some quarters in recent weeks regarding secessionist organizations that express values—or are charged with expressing values—that others do not like, and questions have been raised about alliances with such groups. The Middlebury Institute would like to establish a basic response to such concerns and questions.

First, the secessionist movement is made up of organizations of many different kinds that are alike in their advocacy of secession—of secession in general and of secession of their particular part of the planet. That is what makes them colleagues and allies—because in this difficult task of making secession and separatism a legitimate political goal they stand shoulder to shoulder with each other.

Second, it is not up to any organization in the movement (or its friends) to judge the attitudes, philosophies, or beliefs of others. While one would hope to have those compatible with one’s own, it must be understood that different people in different places will have different ideas, desires, goals, and strategies—that, after all, is the whole point of secession. A group is for secession precisely because it does not want to be part of a larger entity whose beliefs and actions it does not like, and wishes to live free on its own terms.

Third, the kind of people who insist on telling others how to live and think so as to have one unanimous right-minded uniformity are dangerous people and precisely the kind that establish national governments and pass laws applicable to entire populations. Fascism is one obvious and ugly form of this, but mass industrial democracy is a similar, if often more benign, form. And it is exactly this that secession and separatism are opposed to.

Fourth, as to the League of the South, it is demonstrable that as an organization it is not racist and would not establish a racist state if they were successful in secession. (The official position of the LOS on this matter is added below as an appendix.) The Middlebury Institute has offered to be a co-sponsor with the LOS of the next Secessionist Convention this year squarely because it believes it to be an honorable and legitimate—and non-racist—organization sincerely and intelligently devoted to peaceful secession from the empire.

We accept the fact that there may be people in the LOS who have expressed intemperate and intolerant opinions—but of what group, we ask, could that not be said? (And the scare-mongering charges along these lines by the Southern Poverty Law Center have much more to do with its desire to squeeze money out of people made to be afraid of hobgoblins than by any genuine exposure of misbehavior.] Moreover, even if there are, as individuals, LOS people we could from our point of view deem racist, that would matter not one whit as to whether they were legitimate colleagues in the secessionist movement. It is irrelevant.

People turn to secession because they want their own form of government, on their own terms, and hope to create a state that will live out their beliefs, principles, ideals. It is no more justifiable for one organization to question or criticize or castigate those goals if they work toward a Christian-directed government that outlaws abortion and adultery than if they work for a secular democracy favoring gun-control and same-sex marriages. The beauty of secession is that it looks toward having a world where those and many other kinds of states can exist, free and independent, and not impose its ideas on others or have others’ ideas imposed on it.

Ultimately we in the secessionist movement stand divided, but we stand together. We believe in secession, each of us, and though the ends we work for may be different—and what a thriving, vibrant, multi-variant world that would bring us to—the means we use unites us all.

Kirkpatrick Sale

Director, Middlebury Institute February, 2007

Friday, February 16, 2007

Where Has Truth Gone

I have read with great interest two developments as of late related to certain friends of liberty.

First in Vermont, it seems that certain elements of the radical left have attacked the Second Vermont Republic group for associating with racist. The North American Secessionist Convention in 2006 drew groups from all over the United States and from across the political spectrum. The sole intent of the convention was to discuss ways to place secession on the table as a legitimate option for states and regions.

Obviously if everyone agreed all the time on just how the world ought to work, what role government ought to play and what laws should and should not be enacted there would never bee a need to talk about secession or devolution. The simple fact is, however, the larger a government becomes and the more people that it holds sway over the less influence individuals and small groups have over their government. Disagreements are natural, the desire to have more influence on one’s government is natural – secession and devolution are natural answers to this dilemma.

The problem is not that most people would not agree with the notion that racism is bad; the problem is a common definition of racism. Are there any racist in the League of The South? YES. Are there any racist in the NAACP, SPLC, ADL, Democratic Party, Republican Party, Catholic Church, Church of Scientology, PETA, Habitat for Humanity and Nation of Islam? YES. Racist come in all sizes, shapes and colors.

The LoS is not a racist organization. Many people paint any group that talks about the benefits of preserving culture as racist. This is false and dishonest.

Many use the term racist to stop all dialogue. Label a person such and nothing else they have to say matters, and it does not matter that the claim is baseless and unproven. Racism exists in many areas of our society, often celebrated in the media and courted by politicians. This is never challenged. However, if groups like the LoS believe that they also have a culture worthy of protection and preservation they are labeled racist. There is something terribly wrong with that. There is also something terribly wrong with dismissing the ideas of any group that has any dealings with the LoS based upon the false claim that the LoS is racist. I hope the SVR remains true to the principle of standing by truth.

In my home state of SC Christian Exodus has made several waves in the last two weeks. Two of the local papers published articles about the group filled with half-truths, perversions of the truth and outright lies. I will not address the articles specifically (I have done so here) but rather the bigger issue. I have known and corresponded with the leadership of this group since its inception. I have had long and detailed discussions with local politicians, pastors and regular people – by email and in person when I am available to actually be back home. I full well know the intent and purpose of CE and I know that none of the theocratic intentions that the media has recently painted the group with are true. In fact, what the group stands for is exactly what most South Carolinians that I know stand for. The disconnect between achieving massive support and the lies spewed elsewhere has been solely a function of the group’s inability to get their message out.

It is too easy, it seems, for misinformed or undereducated, editors to print something as truth and then be accepted as authority. This is just the world in which we live I suppose, people do not educate themselves, and they latch onto buzz-words and accusations and make that reality in their minds.

Unless we, as a collective, demand that more truth exists in our world we deserve to become victims of the lies we accept.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

USS Ronald Reagan Headed Where?

Apparently the Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) slipped anchor in what the Navy calls a “surge” deployment. Not sure if this surge talk is just fashionable or part of common Naval lingo (I have never heard it used before, but then again I am not a swabbie).

Some say the carrier is headed to WESTPAC, others say the Persian Gulf. If it is the gulf it might find the waters pretty full there with the John C. Stennis and Dwight D. Eisenhower battle groups already on station. Three carrier battle groups in one little pond…wonder what that could be about?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Southern National Congress

Scotland in recent years was able first to reconvene her parliament and then demand that certain powers be devolved and returned to the Scottish people. Why not the same for the Southern People?
My man Dr. Clyde Wilson believes it to be a good idea.
SNC Committee Executive Council member and noted historian Dr. Clyde Wilson said, “The SNC Committee came together around the proposition that we Southerners are a separate and distinct people, rooted in kinship and place, with a common culture and history. In other words, we are a nation. We respect the rights of other national and ethnic communities to self-preservation and self-determination, and we demand the same for ourselves. But we Southerners won’t restore our rights unless we assert them.”
Dr. Wilson, the country’s leading authority on John C. Calhoun, noted, “The SNC Committee is reclaiming the political legacy of great Southerners like Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and John C. Calhoun. That legacy is individual liberty and a small central government of checks and balances, limited to its enumerated powers; and which is the creation, the servant, and the agent of the sovereign people acting through their respective States. But these principles enacted in the Constitution of 1789 have been irretrievably violated. The Federal Government today is engaged in ‘a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evincing a design to reduce us under absolute Despotism,’ to borrow the words of Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.”
To what end you say. Thomas Moore explains:
The SNC Committee believes the courts and especially Congress have not provided the necessary checks on the growth of the centralized state and the threats to our liberty and prosperity. Thomas Moore said, “Congress no longer represents the people’s interests; it represents the interests of the highest bidder, the big corporations and money power. Through oppression, greed, corruption, incompetence, and imperial folly, the central state is forfeiting its moral authority. The result is increasingly harsh measures against the people as the Regime senses its loss of control.”

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

From Philosophy to Ideology

I am reading a couple books about Sayyid Qutb, I was particularly interested in his view of the moral state of America in 1948-50. He was a an anti-communist and there is a particularly telling passage that compares a statement by Billy Graham to one Qutb made a year prior denouncing communism as replacing one god for another. (This in and of it self means nothing, it is but an interesting comparison.)

Reading Sayyid's thoughts in his early days of transformation (he was 42 but this was his first adventure outside of Egypt) I cannot help but believe that the man was a paleoconservative in the truest sense. Of course he later developed into an ideologue and essentially developed his own dangerous ideology, Qutbism, but that was not the man in 1950.

I did a little Internet search and discovered that Joshua previously wrote about this man:

CORPUS MEUM today links to an article about Sayyid Qutb's stay in 1950s America: A Lesson In Hate. The Egyptian thinker was, of course, in grace error, but this did not prevent him from making a valid point or two along the way, like this one:

    Qutb rejected the idea that “new” was also “improved.” The Enlightenment, the Industrial Age—modernity itself—were not progress. “The true value of every civilization...lies not in the tools man has invented or in how much power he wields,” Qutb wrote. “The value of civilizations lay in what universal truths and worldviews they have attained.” The modern obsession with science and invention was a moral regression to the primitive condition of the first toolmakers.

Such ideas seem to me not so much in keeping with Islamism but with the Traditionalist School of René Guénon.

Joshua may not have called the man a paleoconservative (in 1950 as I stated above) but he was on the right trail. I hate it when I think I have an original idea and then find someone else has beat me to it.

I am about to re-read Huntington's Clash of Civilizations. There is much I agree with in that book, although I believe he does not go far enough in sub-dividing potential cultures and potential clashes.

I am however stumped in my apparent agreement with Huntington in portions of his work and my understanding of Muslims. Huntington asserts that future conflict will not be primarily ideological or economic but based upon culture. I do not see non-ideological Muslims, living mostly in their lands as a threat.

Cultures can co-exist in the community of nations, it is ideology that poisons the mind of man. I could, for instance, have been friends with Sayyid Qutb in 1950, our views would have been the same (had I been alive). This is despite the fact that we come from different cultures and religious beliefs.

I would have been his enemy some years later after his philosophical views turned ideological. I have likely fought and killed people influenced by his ideas in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Iran Installs Centrifuges at Atomic Site

(IOL) Vienna - Iran has installed two cascades of 164 centrifuges each in its underground nuclear plant, laying a basis for full-scale enrichment of uranium and upping the stakes in a standoff with the West, European diplomats said on Monday.