Question of the Week- Nov 18

Nov 17, 2015

The attacks on Paris are blamed in good part on alienated young Muslims born or raised in France and other European countries.How best can societies in Europe and the rest of the West combat these terrorists and the circumstances that helped produce them?

 

Our favorite answer will win a copy of “An Appetite for Wonder” by Richard Dawkins.

 

If you would like to submit a question (Questions only, please!), please send them to Camilla Sorensen at camilla.sorensen@www.richarddawkins.net

126 comments on “Question of the Week- Nov 18

  • It’s two questions in one, I’ll only answer one of them:

    “When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose” – Bob Dylan

    So, the answer (to the “circumstances” part of the question): Give them something to lose.



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  • Get religion out of schools, treat it like tobacco and ban it until their old enough to understand the concept of reality verses myth so they have an educated option to avoid the filthy disease called religion.



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  • Agreed zula, but how can governments be persuaded to enable rational education (and give support to teachers who may be challenged by irrational parents, and effectively police home education) when so many politicians are irrational, at least where religion is concerned?



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  • 4
    maria melo says:

    Religious believe in Paradise and after-life helps, they have something to gain in fact, death is just the price to pay for the ticket, morever for young men that are specially vulnerable to think themselves as brave and think of virgins… so at least they should be educated in their religion too if they happen to be religious? Discrimination helps too to trigger hatred, so should it help if everyone avoided discriminatinon over some groups? The fact is that it is becoming a plague.
    That’s not some solution I came up with, it is being practised in some islamic countries as a matter of fact,
    I am saying nothing new of course, mentioning both suggestions to avoid the problema, which will not completely solve it.



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  • 7
    maria melo says:

    I think it does not have available legends, but I guess the translation would something as: In heaven, women become virgin after intercourse. And a men will have “houris” or women that are created to perfection by Allah only for paradise. There be will also young beautiful boys ready to serve at any time. – This is the paradise that Allah reserves the pious, according to Nader Abu Anas.



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  • You have to first understand the nature of the fanatic. The fanatic, in fact, believes nothing; he is at heart a nihilist. The need to belong trumps his “belief,” whatever belief it happens to be (because he can convert to another extreme quite easily, and probably already has, say from Al Qaeda to ISIS), because he is trying to run away from 1) his loathed self, and 2) the dispised, “corrupt” reality. The fanatic is fantasy-driven.

    Religion is only part of the problem. Religion gives one an instant soap opera in which to be a character, but the main motivation here is to have a “net of certainty over all of reality” (Eric Hoffer). The fanatic, a narcissist, ironically has no commercial or individualistic self-interest as we conceive of it. He wants to lose himself (and his profound sense of guilt) in an anonymous mass of totalitarianist glory. (This is also behind the longing for heaven.)

    Therefore, we must prod more divisions, more infighting, among the warriors already in the military arm, for the fanatic loves self-righteous war and torturous quibbling. We must manipulate ISIS and Boko Haram militarily into fighting within each other by playing on their profound sense of victimhood, perhaps by framing different leaders for “collusion” with the west, and help them become the ultimate Social Justice Warriors with bombs and swords – the ultimate identity politics. 😉

    Back at home, we must look honestly at why so many youth are joining. It seems to be generational, motivated by naive and romantic fantasies but also by a sense of their parents’ corruption. They feel they don’t belong anywhere. They want a “pure” Islam. Despite all the news about beheadings and carnage, they wish to believe that ISIS has created a just and true caliphate. We should talk to them about what that means. People cannot even talk about disturbing passages in the Qur’an or their criticisms of western democracy – it makes liberals queasy and conservatives explode with irrational bigotry.

    I am not saying that their religion or criticisms are legitimate; I am saying that they feel that only ISIS understands them. Also, ISIS gives out a lot of charity; are we creating opportunities for young people here? I say this not to argue (as many do) that ISIS is the product of western imperialism or poverty – it’s not – but these are factors, and we must give all young people, if we wish them to say “no” to dotty ideas, something to say “yes” to.

    We’re not going to persuade the diehard fanatics; we may be able to persuade the more tepid-hearted believers once they see their cause trampled and their powerful leaders, who made them feel less insecure, defeated. Some of them may withdraw, confused by the nuances of “collusion” and “corruption” within their movement. (This happened to some degree in Al Qaeda.) Once the fanatics fall upon each other, we can reach out to the youth, the civilians, and the reasonable clerics, who will have all seen with their own eyes what happened to their “pure” Islamic caliphate, and offer examples of how secular democracy does not impinge upon, but rather guarantees, their right to believe or disbelieve.



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  • It is part of our human condition. The label or brand attribution varies over time, but the actions remain the same. I had years chasing down organized crime. Outlaw Motorcycle gangs exhibit the same behaviour as ISIS. While not literally accurate, I suspect the Lord of the Flies is in us all, and it needs little to let if off the leash. Given permission for any inane reason, there are those among us who will rapidly descend back to tribal stone age warriors. Just under the surface of our evolutionary skin. A few beers and a hit of crystal meth and they’re away on a Saturday night.

    The good burghers of Germany during the second world war. The KKK in early 20th century America. The usual lists of genocidal maniacs since records began who empower and release their followers. The crusades against the Saracens. Pogroms against Jews for centuries. We are a homicidal mob. The killing of beef eating Indians.

    So I wouldn’t get too hung up on the current label / brand for the current lot of barbarians. It might be Islam today, but in America, there are the very same psychologically motivated Christian Taliban, armed to the teeth who will fight their own government if their preachers goad them on. Waco??

    If you can tell the difference between an Episcopalian and the KKK, you can tell the difference between Islam and ISIS.

    Remember, it is the privilege of the extremist, never to doubt.



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  • 10
    maria melo says:

    The fanatic, a narcissist, ironically has no commercial or
    individualistic self-interest as we conceive of it.

    Kristine

    Ummmmm, I am not quite sure.
    Taking into account what I have seen reported about psychological characteristics of delinquente young people, some cannot recognize the suffering of the other they hurt, show no regret, and sometime they are leadrer and can influence a whole group. I see them as narcicists in fact.

    I really love the movie about totalitarism and I trust the inspiration of the artist, dictators are narcisists I bet.
    Religion is totalitarian, particularly islam ? but perhaps we are vulnerable to it as a eusocial species?

    Perhaps you could explain better why they are not narcisists?
    https://www.google.pt/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CAcQjRxqFQoTCP_cmZPQmMkCFQa6GgodXcoH6g&url=http%3A%2F%2Fartichaut-magazine.fr%2Fau-cineclub-roi-loiseau-paul-grimault%2F&psig=AFQjCNEOQhsmL_HH41VNyhAVdxoh8TvfCg&ust=1447889780126812



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  • Remember, it is the privilege of the extremist, never to doubt.

    And another thing.

    The reasoning behind coming to a decision to kill another human being is always flawed. There is never a reason to kill another human being, apart from defense against imminent lethal attack or an event likely to cause serious injuring.

    We are all focusing on the Paris attack and ISIS, but we need to look in the mirror. The extremist neocons of the Bush administration, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolferwitz, concocted a false justification to invade Iraq and kill hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom were innocent civilians. Faluga?? Now apart from a few designated as lunatics in the West who spoke up in criticism, most of us nodded, agreed, and went about our business mowing our lawns. Watched and cheered CNN’s explosions.

    But how was the decision of Bush Et ‘Al, any different from the Paris killers. Both had no justifiable cause. Both new that civilians would die. Both had god on their side. Both had ulterior politically motivated agendas as their ultimate end game. One has already failed and the other will, given time. One might have had a paper trail, but the results are identical

    We are evolutionary primitives. Stone age brains making stone age decisions about stone age tribalism. We need Monsanto to work on a GM gene transplant to overnight, convert humanity to a rational evidenced based homo sapiens. With my tongue out of my cheek, this, Paris, is our human condition. It is basically incurable, while most of the planet live not far above our stone age ancestors. Until everyone is highly educated. Schooled in critical thinking and with a full belly, this will continue, regardless of the brand.



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  • 12
    maria melo says:

    I guess not all of the terrorists are diagnosed as suffering from a kind of psychopathogy if it may be the case that we are tallking about, as far as I remember Dr. Andy Thomson mentioning, so social influences really may have some importance as factor?



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  • Sorry, Christine, but I read about half of your comment and gave up. You’re all over the place. You should strive for precision and clarity. Your definition of the fanatic seems to be composed of arbitrary words (labels) that you simply enjoy using, but they add nothing to one’s understanding of this concept.

    A fanatic does not believe in nothing. If he (or she) did he would not be a fanatic. It may be, however, that what is believed in is not real (although this is not always the case ) but it is still belief, very strong belief. The fanatic may or may not be a narcissist. Narcissism is another rather esoteric Freudian concept which is usually used in the more popular sense, i.e., “extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.” Fanatics need not be narcissistic. Many leaders of fanatics are, presumably, narcissistic.

    We are all fantasy driven. I could go on, but let me just conclude with my own definition of the fanatic (which may not be perfect either): he is someone who claims to have knowledge of that which cannot be known, and is fixated on a purpose based on this belief. Invariably there is an element of uncontrollability, excessive enthusiasm, and in many cases an element of malevolence or aggression.

    The fanatic does not love self-righteous war and torturous quibbling, necessarily. You can have a fanatic who is obsessed with world peace! And let me remind you that many Americans (and I’m American) are profoundly self-righteous war loving fanatics, I might add.

    As for your military strategy, I am not qualified to critique that, but it sounds lovely. Let the killing go on.

    Sorry if I annoyed you, but your comment annoyed me. (Honesty)

    I am a fanatic, by the way, and most definitely a narcissist. (joke)

    Regards, DR

    P.S Fanaticism is always a transgression of the limits of human reason, a metaphysical delirium.



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  • As I am rather narcissistic and obsessive-compulsive I feel the need to make superfluous corrections.

    “I might add” was not needed. I already said “Let me remind you.”

    Part of the last sentence is missing. Not enough time. It should read:

    P.S. Fanaticism is always a transgression of the limits of human reason, a metaphysical delirium, so you’re on to something (I think.) Ahab was a fanatic. I hope terrorism doesn’t become our white whale or we’ll wind up like the Pequod. Have you read Moby Dick?



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  • Islam and secular Western/European values are clearly fundamentally incompatible, as has now been shown once again. So, there obviously are long-term issues that should be addressed, but one immediate action that could be taken is for all of us who believe in secular values to support movements like PEGIDA, who oppose Islamisation of Europe (not directed at individual Muslims), instead of incorrectly branding them as “racists” or “bigots” (as e.g. many prominent European politicians have done).



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  • Education is the only way to teach people how phony these ridiculous religions are. And this education must start in the early grammar school years. Sadly religions begin indoctrinating the kids when they are the most vulnerable and once indoctrinated as kids they usually remain indoctrinated for life.



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  • 18
    NoKiddingMan says:

    The best way to find out without guessing/bias is to administer anonymous survey to the population in question. The questions should also include potential factors thought to be the cause of extremism (poverty, level of education, gender, practice of the religion, location where the person lives etc). And, analyze (statistics) the data after dividing the samples in two groups: Born In Specific Western Country & Not Born In Specific Western Country.

    I feel that education not manipulated by the religion & politics helps prevent the psychological condition.



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  • Absolutely; let’s do away with religion based schools, and teach kids that there are many religions (Dennet) with their pro’s (Can’t think of any) and con’s. Most of these european bred terrorists feel marginalised in society (They are; 50% already have a criminal record at age 18 for thievery, B&E, drug dealing), and this way they have an opportunity to lash out to society. It’s a bit of the chicken and egg conundrum; do they join because they feel rejected, or are they themselves the cause for the rejection. Fact is, that with an arabian name, you’ll have trouble on the job market, ergo buying a house and starting a family becomes very dificult. That’s why the underworld in Holland is almost exclusively in the hands of 2nd and 3rd generation guys of middle east and north african immigrants.
    I don’t think these guys have much in the brains department (Systemic inbreeding will do that to a population) so that they can be persuaded of suicide bombing and subsequent paradise.
    Social injustice is regrettably part and parcel of any society, and the best way to combat that is in the elementary and middle schools. But don’t expect this to go away for at least another generation. By that time some other group will feel maginalised (Christians?) and will want to lash out, etc, etc.



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  • This is two questions. The first concerns what we do about it after a tragedy like Paris happens; the second is how do we prevent it in the first place. Big questions; I will try to partially answer only the second one. The problem is not at base a religious one; considering it only in that way tends to obscure the real issues.

    Since WW2, over and over again the US, the UK, and France have intervened militarily in foreign countries. On the whole, it hasn’t worked. Many people have died. The new element brought in by ISIS and the like has been blowback. This has brought about what to us are tragedies, to those we have attacked, triumphs.

    Factions in the Muslim world have been warring for hundreds of years. Often without regard to Marquis of Queensbury rules. But until recent attempts of massive western military intervention, they have generally not constituted a major problem for others. We poke the hornet nest at our own unnecessary peril.

    As Abraham Maslow said in 1966, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”

    Attributed to Albert Einstein: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

    “When will they ever learn?” -Pete Seeger



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  • By coming down relentlessly and hard on radical Islamists, and standing up strong for Western values. The question is somewhat loaded in that it leaves out the broader implications, i.e., what do we do about Da’esh (or ISIS if you like), the larger context out of which these events unfold.

    Radical Islam is the most recent incarnation of fascism. And it is the worst kind, religious or theocratic fascism. It begins with a few easy victories over weak targets, and quickly adopts a posture of triumphalism–“Oh boy, nothing can stop us now.” They must be smashed with the same finality that the West smashed Nazi Germany and fascist Japan in the 1940’s. They simply would not give up in their determination to sweep across both hemispheres, and so we marshaled our resources, met them with overwhelming force and left them both in ashes.

    Each one of these events brings us closer to the day when we will finally say “Here’s where it stops,” create a coalition and crush radical Islam. The shoe doesn’t pinch hard enough yet, but it will–this crowd is relentless, spurred on as they are by religious fanaticism. We were slow to meet the onslaught of the Japs and the Nazis–with them it was all Bushido! and Blitzkrieg! They had no idea what they were up against, and neither does radical Islam.

    Islam is a moribund culture. It hasn’t contributed a single crumb to the human project for five hundred years. It is coming at us with great fanaticism, but we have something they don’t and that is Brains. It will be a bloody business, and they will continue to strike from behind innocent women and children, but we will pursue them nevertheless, and that will finally be that.

    Islam is a form of religious slavery enforced by brutality and maintained by the threat of death for apostasy. Forcing people to fall on their faces five times a day, and assume the posture of a whipped dog, is a very effective form of control. But one day a few will stand up–it is even now beginning–and when that happens fascist Islamism and its intellectual servitude will be swept into the dustbin of history. Alas for the innocent, but there it is.



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  • To make thing clear I agree education is the way to teach how phony these ridiculous religions are. Thinking did it for me but I had an advantage since my father protected me from indoctrination until I could think for myself. He knew his task was done when I got kicked out of vacation bible school for asking “Why” and making comments like “That doesn’t make sense.”. (One of the proudest moments of my life.) {If you every want to see a Southern Preacher dumbfounded have a nine year old show him that what he believes is garbage.}

    While I am proud that I never had to recover from any religion as I discovered later that I have problems understanding the pride a lot of the believers take in being ignorant. It is summed up in a cartoon I saw once where a daughter is trying to explain some scientific fact to her father and he says, “I don’t care nuthing about that. All the science I want to know is in is in the bible.”

    How does a thinking person combat willful ignorance. Do humans even have time to counter that before some wacko gets a nuclear device and things really hit the fan.



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  • On the question of how a fanatic really “believes” I could recommend the book The True Believer by Eric Hoffer.
    I had no intention to annoy anyone. I’m surprised to get that response.



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  • 24
    NoKiddingMan says:

    I was born in an Islamic country (ex-Muslim/Atheist for decades). It is not just about religion and the way we live in the west (how about Bresil etc.?). It is a combination of political and educational ignorance leading to the only ideology these people have: Religion. Religion/faith is a virus that can also affect highly educated individuals at a very young age. The depth of infection may not let the delusional person no matter how high that person’s education is. His/her education has been combined with religious and political manipulation. This has lead to their wrong political choices and manipulation by their religious leaders. Yelling Allah is great and killing innocent people will never help them succeed in anything (maybe some short term pathological success), because it has nothing to do with reality and reason. The fact is that no one can be forced to believe in anything.

    What we can do? We should use the media and connect with masses of Muslims in their countries. We need to talk reason to them and let them talk to us. By them I mean the majority moderates (ISIS and their active fans are not the majority in the Islamic world). We use reason and reality, which will ultimately lead to success. We will not be able to convince the majority of moderates that there is no God. This probably will be achieved to some extent over generations.



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  • Answering Hal- What a display of triumphalism on your part! Just the sort of thing guaranteed to keep us in a perpetual state of war. The current cycle has lasted 14 years so far, with no end in sight. It is poisoning our social life, our politics, and our economy. In fact, in many ways we are in an even more precarious position than we were on November 11, 2001. We have created many enemies, and may create more before we come to our senses.

    The differences between the brief Axis challenge and the current Islam-extremist challenge are obvious and not worth dwelling upon. The “strategists” of the Paris and similar attacks had no notion of striking a significant military blow, as in Pearl Harbor. Their intention was (and is) to provoke the very outrage that Hal and so many others are feeling. This annihilation fever is meant to drive politicians, governments, and their military to react with considerable power, if not effectiveness. The extremists know this will expand their ranks and further their cause. For those who pay attention, it already has. Hal should know that the extremists (like ISIS and others) are a very small percentage of the Muslim population of 1.6 billion (22% of the world), and that it is to their advantage that the west is seen in a certain way, as the death-dealing opponent of Islam.. Why unwisely play into their hands, give justification for revenge, and build their ranks? There is clearly room for growth.

    As far as Islam not contributing anything to the human project for 500 years, can that be said of any religion, especially Christianity or Judaism? Hal does not differentiate between the religions themselves, all of which actually pride themselves on their ancient lore and their adherence to the outmoded, and the people who claim to believe in them. Hal forgets that outstanding contributions have been made by those of many religious backgrounds or none at all. It may be more difficult for novel thinking to break through under the conditions of poverty or oppression that exist in the Muslim world. In the west we were fortunate to experience the Reformation, which brought about a partial secularization. The parallel task in the Muslim world will have to be done by themselves. Not be force of arms from outside.



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  • Again, let me refer you to Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer:

    “People who see their lives as irremediably spoiled cannot find a worth-while purpose in self-advancement. The prospect of an individual career cannot stir them to a mighty effort, nor can it evoke in them faith and a single-minded dedication. They look on self-interest as on something tainted and evil; something unclean and unlucky. Anything undertaken under the auspices of the self seems to them foredoomed. Nothing that has its roots and reasons in the self can be noble and good. Their innermost craving is for a new life — a rebirth — or, failing this, a chance to acquire new elements of pride, confidence, hope, a sense of purpose and worth by an identification with a holy cause.”— p.21

    In other words, the fanatic wants to escape individual pain and guilt by losing himself in the group, which also offers anonymity and collective action. The fanatic is not reflective, and will (as we have seen in both Al Qaeda and in ISIS) eschew creature comforts, even a prosperous future. Many of them have been educated, and in the west.

    “Mass movements are usually accused of doping their followers with hope of the future while cheating them of the enjoyment of the present. Yet to the frustrated the present is irremediably spoiled. Comforts and pleasures cannot make it whole. No real content or comfort can ever arise in their minds but from hope.” — p.24

    Remember that these movements are attracting doctors (al-Zawahiri), engineers (Atta), and intellectuals (bin Laden, who spoke fus’ha – the dialect of Arabic of the Qur’an – fluently). This is identity politics beyond religion or politics – you’re not going to “persuade” them. It goes to the core of their constructed identity. Moreover, the followers that you could persuade will hang on doggedly until they see a resounding defeat, for it is strength, not intellectual arguments, and confidence, even the arrogance of the leaders of these movements, that attracts them.

    Agree or disagree with it, read Hoffer’s book.



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  • 27
    maria melo says:

    “Islam and secular Western/European values are clearly fundamentally incompatible, as has now been shown once again.”

    Not true. As I´ve wacthed a tv documentary about the re-education of young muslims in some islamic countries, an, young men were taught for instance to think, something like “God´s justice is great, but secular-human justice is too and the one I must follow”. actually the institution for the re-education of young men had women working there, cult women with academic degrees that didn´t wear burqa. As we can guess, to include all cultural diversity in the word Islam that is huge assumption, kind of being prejudiced by cultures you assume all as “islam”equal, Consider this.



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  • What you describe sounds more like sociopathy than narcissism, Maria. Just go get a dictionary of psychological terms and look up the word. Then decide for yourself if you think it fits.
    And by the way, the great Swiss psychologist and writer Erik Erikson wrote very insightfully about group psychology and about why people join these kinds of groups. He refers to the “totalistic split.” Unfortunately, I can’t remember the title. Maybe it’s from his Eight Ages (which is flawed).
    A lot of people have written about this.



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  • 29
    NoKiddingMan says:

    Correction (I apologize for not proof reading, I am very busy):

    –>Religion/faith is a virus that can also infect highly educated individuals at a very young age (we all know this!). The depth of infection (partial intellectual block) may not allow the delusional person, no matter how high his/her education is, to reason. <–



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  • I note the the hacker group Anonymous has begun to target ISIS. In the report I have just read Anonymous have posted the following:-

    “We report that more than 5,500 Twitter accounts of #ISIS are now #down!” the group said in a tweet.

    In the comments section, one wit posted. “ISIS, attacked by 70 virgins.” Chortle, chortle.

    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/technology/anonymous-has-vowed-to-take-down-islamic-state-here-is-how-it-plans-to-do-it/story-fnjwnqyd-1227612663352?utm_content=SocialFlow&utm_campaign=EditorialSF&utm_source=AdelaideAdvertiser&utm_medium=Facebook



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  • Hal should know that the extremists (like ISIS and others) are a very small percentage of the Muslim population of 1.6 billion (22% of the world), and that it is to their advantage that the west is seen in a certain way, as the death-dealing opponent of Islam.. Why unwisely play into their hands, give justification for revenge, and build their ranks? There is clearly room for growth.

    Say, as a response to the recent terror attacks, an international coalition was formed and went into Syria/Iraq and defeated ISIS. What makes you think that any appreciable percentage of that 22% of the world would feel the need to seek revenge? I’ve lost count of the number of times Muslims (and Western leaders) have said ISIS has nothing to do with Islam.

    The local Muslim populations certainly don’t seem to like ISIS. A large number have left their homes – maybe these refugees in Lebanon would support an intervention?

    The Kurds seem to be making progress. Western forces should at least be doing as much as possible to support them against ISIS.



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  • There is no long term solution other than by influencing the hearts and minds of future generations of Moslems. Moslems use the Koran as their primary guide to all aspects of life and its contents are taught to children from birth. The degree to which the rules are visibly applied on a day to day basis is a direct measure of how serious a Moslem is about Islam. Failure to demonstrate this can result in serious sanction and ostracism. The Quran contains numerous imperatives to kill humans under certain circumstances like apostacy, being an infidel etc and it is these imperatives that are being used to justify many of the current atrocities perpetrated by young Moslems.
    Moslems who are moderate, and who claim to be peace loving, choose not to adhere to these imperatives. The frightening aspect to it though, is that it relies on personal discretion. I would submit that the reason why there is not more of a general outcry from Moslems when killings are done in the name of Allah is because they were taught, and inherently believe, that the killings were actually legitimate in terms of the Quran.
    Ideally, for this reason it is absolutely CRITICAL that Moslems are persuaded to reform the Quran to remove this feeling of legitimacy. All references in the book to the compulsory killing and abusing of humans under any circumstances must be removed.

    Realistically, this is unlikely to be achieved. An interim measure that would be enforceable in “Western” societies, would be to make it a criminal offence to use ANY books for teaching, including the Quran, that contain imperatives to kill humans for any reason whatsoever. (in faith schools or otherwise). This would at least weaken the chances that future generations of young Moslems could justify killing of people by literal interpretations of what they were taught at schools and elsewhere.
    It is crazy to teach a child that people who do certain things have to be killed and then to leave the actual decision on whether to act it out to personal discretion.



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  • Marktony- You pose a hypothetical coalition that would go into Syria/Iraq and defeat ISIS. I doubt this is possible in any acceptable time frame. Another 14 years? Or 28 years? Who would be in that coalition? Surely not the Saudis, who have been funding ISIS under the table with hardly a slap on the wrist from the US. And, if the indefinite war is prolonged, there is a chance ISIS will morph into something even worse.

    You might check out https://consortiumnews.com/2015/11/17/falling-into-the-isis-trap/ just to see how complex this situation is.

    You are correct that the majority in the Muslim world reject ISIS and its tactics. But they do not necessarily appreciate outside intervention, especially when innocent people and property are destroyed and often despotic surrogate leaders are propped up with foreign money. That is our behavior ISIS hopes and plans for. They may be small, but they are growing. Why help them?



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  • There is no long term solution other than by influencing the hearts and minds of future generations of Moslems.

    This is the only solution. It is a war of ideas going through a phase where those ideas currently seek expression through violence. This issue cannot be won through force. You cannot impose democracy on anyone. There has to be a mass cultural shift within the population. Indonesia has only just become a stable democracy, 70 years after the end of WW2. Likewise the Philipines. And poor old Thailand is still struggling to become a democracy after years of cyclic attempts being overthrown by coups by the monarchist army. The stupidity of BUSH et al, thinking they could impose a successful democracy on Iraq is immeasurable.

    Sure, if the Coalition of the Willing made a come back performance, they could go in and defeat ISIS in its current format in weeks. They’ve won the battle. There’s silence in Racca. What now.

    Haven’t we learnt anything from Vietnam and more recently, Afghanistan. You cannot beat an insurgency through military action. Who is your enemy. Is it that guy on the corner. The guy driving the truck. Who’s who. There are no uniforms. The moment the C. of W go in, these guys will disappear like smoke and become just another local. There will be a terrorist resistance then. Car bombs. Shootings. Atrocities. How long before the nightly images of coffins containing US soldiers bites deep and the US 24 news media cycle public flick the switch from Revenge Mode to Bring Them Home mode. You leave. ISIS come back. Just like the Afghan Taliban are coming back. Just like the Vietcong came back.

    It is irrational to advocate military solutions no matter how much your primitive stone age evolved brain wants revenge.



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  • How best can societies in Europe and the rest of the West combat these terrorists and the circumstances that helped produce them?

    There are only two things that need to be done: –

    1) Eliminate all religious education from the school curriculum and teach maths, physics, chemistry, biology and geology to all students, making those subjects standard. What is taught is also very important. It must have at least one month in physics/biology on what makes up a human brain. It must emphasize that it is a biologically evolved machine and follows the 4 laws of nature that physics completely understands (is proven beyond any doubt). There is thus no evidence to back up any belief in a soul needs to be mentioned. If we undermine the belief in a soul we effectively undermine a belief in supernatural powers that can help us. We show that the world is mechanistic – it follows pre-determined sets of laws and actions.

    2) We need to replace liberal-democracy with the rule of scientists through a process of meritocratic selection (similar to exams or job interviews). Liberal-democracy is outmoded, built in an 18th century world where any fool as long as he had cash could get elected. Nowadays it has descended into party politics where if you want something you pay for a table to sit next to your candidate, provide his party with more funds to woo the dumb electorate, and he gives it you when he gets into power. e.g. the fracking companies and David Cameron. Such a system is corrupt, skewed and out of touch with people because it no longer fits the scientific age. Most of the leaders in the UK and USA are undergraduates. They are thus (and I am going to offend everyone with a BA or BSc) incapable of ruling a nation. If you want to rule a nation you need a PhD minimum just to enter! The system we have right now allows someone who is unqualified, usually very wealthy (Cameron has £30m and his club used to enjoy a night out amongst the homeless burning £100 in front them and going on about how much they hated ‘poor people’) and needs an advisor who is supposedly qualified. Well, I don’t want to elect a monkey when I could elect the organ grinder! Meritocracy would allow a rule of scientists who could then use their wisdom and learning to pursue long-term survival and sustainability goals within a framework of laws that were set to control their ability to mis-use that power.

    Now I guess you’re wondering why I mentioned the above? Well it’s quite simple really. Democracies pander to the populace. Meritocrats don’t. They can have the democracies at a local level. That’s fine as long as everyone elected is at least an MSc or MA. But at the highest levels of government one needs to upgrade the political system to bring it out of the 18th century and into the 21st. Only by having this new system of government would we be able to put number 1 on my list into practice.



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  • Oh and if I’ve offended anyone who really believes that democracy like some religious beliefs is sacred, then I don’t care. Think about what I am saying and you’ll soon see my point is correct. You never get anything done by committees of greedy ignorance!



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  • Doesn’t this beg the question….If this can be done so easily and the findings are that radicalisation is done through social media then….Why wasn’t it done ages ago?



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  • Franz von Rintelen
    Nov 18, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Democracies pander to the populace. Meritocrats don’t. They can have the democracies at a local level.

    The basic problem with much of politics and UK politics is that the vast majority of people are apathetic and leave it to anyone else who will do it for them.
    They also let themselves be spoon-fed by media who are in the pocket of big business.

    That’s fine as long as everyone elected is at least an MSc or MA.

    It does not follow in my opinion. While a reasonable level of education and intelligence is needed, nobody has a total range of expertise.
    Some of the most ignorant people on the planet, are those who have spent (almost) all their time on some narrow specialism, to the exclusion of everything else! (eg. a political, creationist, evolution-denying, neurosurgeon)

    But at the highest levels of government one needs to upgrade the political system to bring it out of the 18th century and into the 21st.

    What is needed is expert scientific advisers, and politicians who listen to them. The UK system of a permanent civil service, while flawed, goes some way towards this, whereas the US system, where politicians appoint their own yes-men as advisers and staff, immediately after elections, is abysmal!



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  • Why wasn’t it done ages ago?

    I suspect the CIA and GCHQ are very cross with Anonymous. They would have been all over the social media of ISIS. Bugging it. Hacking it. Listening in. Gathering intelligence. Collecting photographs. Time and date stamps. GPS data if the poster was stupid. I suspect that while Anonymous think they are doing a good thing, they are actually messing it up.



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  • Franz von Rintelen
    Nov 18, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Oh and if I’ve offended anyone who really believes that democracy like some religious beliefs is sacred,

    In my experience, views on democracy held like religious beliefs, – (just like religious beliefs) – come in a huge diversity of contradictory forms! – Each asserted to be the “true” democracy by its ideologist followers.



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  • I appreciate you were in this line of work David and will know a lot more than me but I would imagine these accounts would have only been used for radicalisation, as was tried on me a couple of years back, and not any real intelligence worth talking about and more than justify bringing them down? If they are originating from a European country then they could be raided at the same time but surely it would have made more sense to stop the radicalisation in the first place, which is what they are always talking about here.



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  • Have I read Moby Dick? My undergrad was in English Literature, sir. My Master’s is in Library and Information Science. In addition, I am a huge reader of the surrealists (Breton, Aragon, Desnos, Artaud.) In French. In addition I am a writer myself: in scholarly journals, but also Skeptical Inquirer. I will have an article in another prominent atheist publication soon.

    “Annoying” is not a word I am used to hear in response to me. That’s a first.



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  • You pose a hypothetical coalition that would go into Syria/Iraq and defeat ISIS. I doubt this is possible in any acceptable time frame. Another 14 years?

    A few more attacks like Paris and I expect it would be PDQ.

    Surely not the Saudis, who have been funding ISIS under the table with hardly a slap on the wrist from the US.

    Why is it up to the US? What would you suggest the US do? Stop buying oil? Invade SA?

    You are correct that the majority in the Muslim world reject ISIS and its tactics. But they do not necessarily appreciate outside intervention, especially when innocent people and property are destroyed and often despotic surrogate leaders are propped up with foreign money.

    It would not be outside intervention for the majority of Muslims, now would it. It’s clear that innocent people and property are already being destroyed (beheaded) by foreign Jihadists. Don’t you think many of those having to live under ISIS see Baghdadi as a despotic leader propped up by foreign money (or money stolen and extorted)?



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  • Olgun. You are correct to point to the dilemma the agencies face. Do they allow a social media site to continue or should they shut it down. They have to weigh up the value of the intelligence gained, against the possible harm being caused. ISIS are no lightweight IT amateurs. There social media campaigns are high praised for the professionalism of their construction, not the content.

    I suspect that the Twitter accounts Anonymous took down were probably just the run of the mill street ISIS guys chatting with his buddies. This type of chatter will yield a lot of useful intelligence and has little direct or imminent harmful content. Every photo / video posted will be saved. Considerable useful intelligence would be gained by keeping the ISIS Twitter accounts up and running. They will be back online with new Hash Tags soon. Just means the CIA have to relocate them.

    ISIS’ important communications will all be encrypted. Stuff that Anonymous won’t be able to touch. Only the professional agencies with the help of massive computing power will be able to crack this stuff. ISIS are smart IT users. I suspect they will be frequently changing accounts and encryption.

    Try this open source Web Page. It’s an IP address locater. It will tell you where you are on the planet.

    https://www.iplocation.net/



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  • I’m a Canadian who’s been living in Paris for 15 years, and on the corner of Blvd. Voltaire and Rue de Charonne for six years in the 11eme arrondissement. I can testify that this is one of the most cosmopolitain areas of Paris. I also enjoy going to concerts at the Bataclan, which has different concerts and parties every night- it is a melting pot of just about everybody- all social classes, genders, ages, races, religions/ or not, etc. And although I have never had a drink at the Belle Equipe, I pass it almost every day when I go to the dry cleaners, or the butcher. So, I believe you can all imagine my shock on Friday night, and my anger on Saturday morning.

    I’m not sharing this to ask for empathy with what we’ve just lived through last weekend. I believe anyone who reads this site is probably someone that is a kindred spirit and also touched by these barbarous events.

    What I do want to share is that France has a policy of imposing secularism in all public areas. What is weird, is that public spaces are limited to schools and government buildings. Streets, for some strange reason, are not considered “public spaces.” The question is, in essence what happens to a child’s identity when she or he is not allowed to express that identity in school, but then imposed by her/ his parents to do so in REAL public spaces (like streets, or restaurants, or the cinema, etc.)? Most importantly how do children, who are not given the opportunity to perceive this difference in schools (and ask good questions, like “why do you wear that?”) supposed to celebrate difference and tolerance when they don’t see this difference at a young age?

    Imagine a teenager growing up in a strict muslim household where she is forced to wear a headscarf. Then, going to school she is told she is not allowed to wear it. It is she that has to do the jest of removing it every morning when she arrives. When she goes into the street she has to put it on again to avoid being chastised by her parents/ community. The on-looking Catholic (the vast majority in France) child who has no identifying garb to burden her/ himself with doesn’t understand why this is forbidden in school, but normal in the street. It creates difference, and difficulty. The message is, you are not one of us.

    So, for me it easy to understand why second/ third-generation Muslims in France feel angry. They’re second class citizens, in that they have to suffer a restriction that other religions don’t. Couple this with poverty, and lack of a caring and strong social or familial structure and you’ve got disaster. Removing the capacity of a child to understand and accept his or her own identity is exactly how you create nihilists. Not the right strategy. Best strategy: celebrate difference, accept one another as fellow human beings and share the love.

    That’s what the 11th Arrondissement in Paris is all about.



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  • Take the battle to their minds. Advertise that the authorities will, from now on, not return the bodies (or what’s left) of terrorists to their families for honourable burial. Why? … to condemn and curse their religious souls …. so that ‘it’ can never be allowed to enter their “heaven’ … never to get the reward promised. How ? but burying their bodies with an ‘unclean’ animal (goat, pig, cow, etc. as determined by their particular religion). This should scare the pants off any recruit joining up … and deny the clerics of their most powerful enlistment tool. Its a simple case of turning what the clerics think as their strength … into their weakness. How many will join if the whole thing is seen by all as a joke … simple and cheap mass media ridicule can kill ideas better and more permanently than any bullet.



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  • Hi there, Kristine,

    Well then what do you think of my analogy? Ahab thought he was serving his God but was actually serving the interests of “the devil.” That is Melville’s own interpretation. (Letter to Hawthorne.) ISIS needs to be stopped, period. But aren’t we (Americans) like Ahab? First communism and now terrorism. And ISIS makes us feel good about ourselves. (Yes! On some level it does.)These monsters give us more room to forget our own “sins’, our own ugly history, and our culpability, and our internal contradictions, to wit: we are predominantly a Christian nation that loves money and thrives on war.

    We love having enemies, can’t seem to survive without them. It takes us away from ourselves. America is a culture of narcissism. (Forgot who said that.)

    Best Wishes.
    DR

    Edited by moderator to bring back on topic, remove personal comments and generally bring within Terms of Use



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  • With any action, there is a reaction.
    I would’nt want the history of this conflict to record the behavior of the “winner” in this manner.
    There is no easy answer. This is the clashing of dogma and technology. It was bound to happen.



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  • I don’t think anybody with reasonable intelligence will be offended by your viewpoint here.
    I think human weakness and greed is going to be injected in any system.
    Communism is not a bad system until you get greed and corruption involved. Same with “democracy”. (democracy is in question in my country. USA)
    And everything in between including those descriptions need to be defined.



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  • It’s people like you the terrorists rely upon. Why? because your pacifist political correctness attitude only encourages them to more violence. So YES there is consequence / reaction … hopefully a positive one to my answer to the question – How best can societies in Europe and the rest of the West combat these terrorists and the circumstances that helped produce them?
    Who cares what History will say. As long as a single person is saved from a suicide bomber or stops a young person from becoming radicalised … it will be worth it.
    Caring about history is the last thing those ‘gutless and cowardly’ terrorists consider when they blow-up innocent people. All they think about is the ‘heavenly reward’ they’ll be getting seconds later … and how proud of them their families and friends will be at their funeral. My simple solution ‘cancels-out’ both. In regards to History it will show my answer is not new … it was used to great effect for the same reason by colonial powers centuries ago to quell the same religious based terrorism. I do not mind your negative comments … but at least I’ve tried too answer the question in a logical way … not given up and cried in my coffee “it’s all too hard” and inevitable.



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  • If you want to get serious about this you have to desegregate schools, communities, jobs. Muslims have to be French if they’re in France. German in Germany. English in England. This may not be possible. Maybe the only way out long term is to make the Middle East a better place to live for Muslims than Europe.



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  • http://www.increasinglearning.com/warfare-is-ordained-for-you.html

    Islam mandates warfare on infidels in Koran surah 2.216- al Buqarah http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/2/216/

    Please, let us have no more talk of disenfranchised youth, western meddling
    in Islamic countries and other such disingenuous nonsense. None of this is
    relevant, nor is it true- Islam has waged jihad as stipulated for every able-bodied
    Muslim man as part of his FAITH and his duty to Allah.
    Over 14 centuries Islamic sources have boasted of some 270 million murdered in
    its name; nothing but religion is the motivator. All else is rooted in the Islamic
    ideology of supremacy and racist hatred of the ‘najis kuffar’, the filthy unbelievers
    who dare to reject Allah and his holy law, sharia.

    Saudi Arabia with its Wahabbism oil wealth is the prime motivator and financier
    of the modern global jihad. Islam rises when it feels itself powerful and petrodollars
    are the source of that power. Despite all the false, misleading rhetoric of Obama and
    other western ‘leaders’ jihad remains THE central pillar of islamic expansion.

    Read the Koran and wonder at the capacity for Muslims [“peaceful” or otherwise] to
    believe in those ‘absurdities that can make you commit atrocities’.
    http://www.koran-at-a-glance.com/
    Then do likewise with some of the thousands of Hadith- even more absurd. Still
    unconvinced? try “Reliance of the Traveller”–
    “http://www.islamicbulletin.org/free_downloads/resources/reliance2_complete.pdf
    then if still able, http://www.scribd.com/doc/114334237/The-Little-Green-Book-Ayatollah-Khomeini#scribd

    The REAL roots of Islamic terror lie in Islamic scripture and theology, NOT is some bogus
    western apologist or sympathiser’s ignorance and bias. War has been declared and we
    cannot avoid it nor ‘contain’ it. Appeasement is a sign of contemptible weakness to Islam.
    Political dialogue is a joke with those who ‘value death as you value life’.



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  • How best can societies in Europe and the rest of the West combat these
    terrorists and the circumstances that helped produce them?

    The culture itself needs to change much of the dialogue here. I explained elsewhere about the need for a Muslim Reformation, one that does not celebrate the savage and brutal ideas thew terrorists hold in such high regard. The voices of the reasonable must outweigh and be louder than the voices of the extremists.

    The societies around it should accept those Muslims that wish to observe their faith within the confines of societal norms and to allow for the reformation in question, just as the Christian and Jewish cultures had to change to comport with a better understanding of the world. All of the Abrahamic faiths possess some dangerous and horrible ideas that most Jews and Christians don’t proselytize and right now the Muslim extremists are still locked in that ancient mindset both ideologically and culturally.

    That is what needs to change. And society itself can’t be the only ones to change it. It has to come from within the culture and within the religion.



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  • The question is how to persuade/pressurise/force a Moslem reformation. Apparently it is prohibited to amend the Koran in any way but if enough pressure is applied to moderate Moslems who just want a peaceful life, it might be possible to get them to produce a “new” Koran that does not contain any imperatives to kill or maim humans. While you are right that the change has to come form inside, a massive campaign to show the benefits to everyone of changing might make it more acceptable and likely.

    In the short term perhaps the only option is to destroy extremists whenever and whenever they arise while efforts are being made to win over moderates. What has to be avoided, and what extremists strive for, is to provoke moderates to become extremists.



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  • Apparently it is prohibited to amend the Koran in any way but if
    enough pressure is applied to moderate Moslems who just want a
    peaceful life, it might be possible to get them to produce a “new”
    Koran that does not contain any imperatives to kill or maim humans.

    Not exactly what I meant. When I say the other Abrahamic faiths have had to change, I don’t mean the actual text. I mean the literal interpretation of the text and the distancing from the more toxic aspects of those faiths. And it’s entirely possible to do so without changing a word (though ultimately any such text changes have to take place in the faith itself) as it has been done elsewhere.

    Ultimately the issue with ‘destroying’ extremists is that it most often breeds more extremists because it reinforces the rather toxic ideology intrinsic to such people. What needs to weaken is their power over nations, their power over cultures and their amount of influence in their own faith. We need to have less people interested in the very ideas that create them and simply killing them isn’t necessarily going to help that.



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  • 57
    fadeordraw says:

    How to address homegrown terrorists? As an hypothesis, these antagonist are anarchists, dating back to industrialization and city-ization. From 1880 and beyond, young unemployed men have committed acts of community violence (bombing and killings), adhering to the current in vogue ideology of the times. Angry young men; disconnected from future economic or societal affiliation. The good news is that the ebbs and flows of unemployment-associated anarchism is relatively non-threatening, though hundreds or even thousands precious lives lose their existence, though more often it’s only one or two or only the anarchist himself. Relative to wars, such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, to mention the recent, the sad civilian death tow is low. The solution is targeted youth training and enjoyment initiatives, which have worked more often than not.

    That the current vogue ideology for anarchist is extremist Islam is, indeed, a big problem, but well beyond young, alienated anarchists. The current understanding is that the Western, European-based countries, have evolved governance, scientifically and economically into a secular approach whereas, due to many centuries adherence to the Sunnis-Shia schism, it would seem that non-Westerner countries are fixated, without growth, on some very ancient time. The solution: war is not the answer. With Syria, who’s making money (“the masters of war”, again a Dylan quote)? All the refugees seeking futures from the Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and other that Western countries’ military intervention have resulted in unsettled lands. The solution, stop feeding (US, Russia, France, etc) military arms. Use all that money to grow economies. The evidence is that economic growth results in the rule of law, and eventually secularism.



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  • P.S. Henry Miller, my favorite writer and someone who deserves to called a visionary, and who “was writing surrealistically in America before [he] ever heard the word”, was deeply critical of America and he hated war.

    “We must manipulate ISIS and Boko Haram militarily into fighting
    within each other by playing on their profound sense of victimhood…”

    Let them kill each other off? (Sounds like two professional wrestlers.) First of all, terrorism is a multi-headed hydra. Second of all, isn’t there another more creative, imaginative, and more effective way to deal with this problem? Perhaps not! But I am deeply skeptical of the efficacy of military force in most cases, and have always been opposed to war (violence of the state). I believe that individual violence is necessary and even good in some instances, but war…Call me a tree-hugger. —I said your comment was “annoying.” Sorry about that.



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  • Hi OHooligan,

    I agree with you, this is two questions in one. The first is presented as an assertion:

    The attacks on Paris are blamed in good part on alienated young Muslims born or raised in France and other European countries.

    Obviously Muslim parents are raising their children in isolation, strangers to the other citizens around them.

    Muslims flee other countries, very often in fear of their lives, and set up new homes in Europe. So far, so good. However, they then set up their new homes with all the cultural baggage they brought with them. Again, on the face of it, why worry?

    We move now to the second question:

    How best can … [we] … combat these terrorists and the circumstances that helped produce them?

    The problem is that Middle-Eastern refugees insist that they retain the right to all of that cultural baggage – even to the extent that it conflicts with the culture of the Host Nation. When this isn’t instantly and comprehensively granted they react by building their own ghettos and agitating for isolation through separate schools, places of worship, recognition of holidays, recognition of food chain requirements, and other special treatment. Thus isolated from larger society their children find themselves culturally hog-tied and unable to build bridges – as you put it: They have nothing, and therefore nothing to lose.

    We must end this isolation, and integration is the answer.

    Europe needs to rethink its strategy (my apologies to all who see the obvious mistake).

    The first problem is we need to stop intervening when things get so bad that fire-fighting is the only option. Of course many will say that Europeans didn’t start the fires, they were started by the US. But Europe has more than enough clout to persuade the US to help out with recognizing states that are approaching failure, and working on solutions.

    The other problem is stemming the tide of refugees from the fires that are burning so brightly today. The medium term solution, post war, must be the return of refugees to their country of origin.

    I don’t pretend to have all the answers, and the above is clearly little more than headlines, but we obviously have to think about doing things differently – while retaining a humanitarian approach.

    How best can societies in Europe and the rest of the West combat these terrorists and the circumstances that helped produce them?

    Again, OHooligan, you’re on the button here. There have to be some measure of integration. Host nations have the right, the privilege and the terrorists add: the urgent necessity to point out that not integrating into the rest of society creates countries within countries – with an unsustainable expectation of defense of the indefensible, namely: The honoring of failed-state culture within the borders of a successful state.

    The single most urgent task is to unhitch the false connection between racism and cultural integration – based on the false assumption that all cultures are somehow equal. The rise of Middle-East-sponsored terrorism has more than one root. Nevertheless, we can now say – forced to stand nose-to-nose with evidence as we are today – that this is plain wrong. States fail, in part, due to poor cultural development. The forms that religions are allowed to take are clearly a part of that poor cultural development.

    The most obvious canard comes from the Hard Left who are still plotting the Revolution of the Proletariat. They give every appearance of desiring a link between culture, particularly religion, and struggle. Couched in the language of a struggle for equality and escape from oppression, the Left seems determined to throw fuel onto the already blazing barricades of sectarianism. This heroic ability to continue to proselytize in the face of mountains of counter-evidence, such as the attacks on the French way of life that we have seen this year, is holding us back.

    It’s not enough that we in the West can point to our better lives which in many cases, like France, is achieved without the support of natural resources. We need to be reshaping our political landscape to recognise that we’re where we are because we found better ways to build societies and states.

    Apart from imploring the Left we need to resist two other pressures. It’s clear that the Fascist Right is rising again in Europe, and the latest surge is a direct response to decades of lazy political “Yeah, we can take a few more refugees.” and a solution to the terrorism problem needs to be found quickly if we’re to stem this tide. I am not hopeful that this will help us to persuade the Left to drop their dogmatic approach.

    I find myself, reviewing the above, dusting-off the rhetoric of the Cold War – a war my generation fought and thought we had consigned to history. This is extremely depressing.

    Those of us caught in the middle, trying to get politicians to see the wood for the trees and to plan for longer-term solutions, are beginning to run out of political candidates to support – in Britain I’ve already run out of political power in general elections.

    But it seems to me that you have it exactly wrong when you say that the solution is to give those disenfranchised by poor parenting, and obstinate attachment to failed cultural practices, ‘something’ (and I thought I was being vague). No no no. We’re the ones with the most to lose, and we are losing it. Your solution is recipe for: Lets drive society down to the lowest possible functional value so that we can all be equal. That’s obviously a very bad idea.

    We need to find policies that turn them into us – not vice versa. That is the only sure way to a lasting peace.

    Peace.



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  • Stephen of Wimbledon
    Nov 20, 2015 at 5:58 am

    An excellent summation of many issues!

    I would pick up on this point:-

    Apart from imploring the Left we need to resist two other pressures. It’s clear that the Fascist Right is rising again in Europe, and the latest surge is a direct response to decades of lazy political “Yeah, we can take a few more refugees.” and a solution to the terrorism problem needs to be found quickly if we’re to stem this tide. I am not hopeful that this will help us to persuade the Left to drop their dogmatic approach.

    While the far left of “international socialist workers”, pretends it can welcome and embrace all cultures, to form some sort of utopia, the rich elite fascist right, welcomes refugees as an under-class which provide cheap labour, and who will under-cut the the pay, working conditions, businesses and living conditions, of the local population.

    Any cost of social conflict, long-term social damage, criminal activity, or drains on public services and resources, are claimed to be “nothing to do with them” – and are “someone else’s” public and financial responsibility.



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  • Stephen, an excellent observation that needs to be put up on billboards :
    “if you want to come and live here you must be prepared to become like us. Do not expect us to become like you”!!
    The reason you need to flee is because of the culture you come from. We have developed our culture of tolerance, freedom etc after years of pain and suffering so don’t think you can come here and try and drag us back to the culture you are running from! You want to come here because of what we have achieved and established so please realise that and internalise it or stay away!

    It sounds arrogant but it is reasonably indisputable that the human rights culture and freedom that has been developed in Britain and a few others over the centuries is at the forefront of “civilization” and that if the whole world managed its affairs in the same way, the world would be a far more humane and pleasant place to exist. This needs to be defended at all costs, primarily by making others who are less “civilised” realise how they could be living if they emulated it.



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  • 62
    Clayton says:

    Religious education is key to helping people understand each other. Most children, especially the ones raised very fundamentally, don’t know details about any other religion than their own. Educating them about all the religions across the world and how they vary could take away some of the fear of the unknown and maybe even let them question their own beliefs in the process. How many Christian kids could give any details about Islam or vice versa? Once kids (and even some adults) realize they have some common ground with all religions, open conversations about beliefs and more importantly why certain beliefs are held can occur. Being accepting of religious views and at the same time openly sceptical of them along with education would reduce the isolation and hatred of certain religious people.



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  • 63
    Stephen says:

    (I’m sure you’re reply deserves a thoughful response but I just came here to make the disinction, a school is a state-owned and state-run “public space” that everyone must attend by law. This seperates it from “shared spaces” like streets, shopping malls or restaurants.)



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  • 64
    Stephen says:

    How best can societies in Europe and the rest of the West combat these
    terrorists and the circumstances that helped produce them?

    As this is a science themed site, let me put it this way: despite all the suffering cancer causes us, scientists try to examine and understand it and to be creative and open-minded in looking for potential solutions. They know that an aversion to or fear of cancer is not part of the solution. And this is the approach that is sucessful in peace-making.

    Obviously it takes a multi-pronged approach: security services are already preventing many attacks. But most of all I would like to back the Dalai Lama’s request not to JUST ask God to fix the problem, nor to ONLY ask god and our current politicians and institutions to solve the problem, but as citizens, be guided in our actions by a sense that we are all connected and don’t need to be afraid of each other based on aversion.

    An ordinary person if they felt inspired to do so could go to one of these radical lectures, listen politely, and comment quietly to the the person sitting next to them “that preacher seems like a rather cold person, with something quietly aggressive about them… he seems to get angry quickly” …and if there is any scope for questions from the auience at the end, stand up and say: “I feel sorry for the Muslims or any group who feels oppressed, but I hope you guys are smart enough to produce leaders like Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela who strive for peaceful solutions, because they actually work.”

    For proof that treating extremists with respect can work: for Maajid Nawaz, the turning point came when he was locked up (I think in Egypt- please check) for being involved in propoganda for an extremest group advocating violence. He was in prison when he heard that even though Amnesty International did not approve of his group, they were still willing to defend his rights to free speech. This made him gradually question his entire belief that “no-one was on your side and to achieve anything, you have to use violence”. In prison, you have time to think. (Consider also Nelson Mandela.) Nawaz now battles extremesism; you can find his TED talk (or his interview, dated 2013 06 28, on NPR’s TED Radio Hour), or visit the website of his Quilliam Foundation. (An aside: in Ice-T’s hip-hop documentary, one rapper says “I’m often criticized by rap fans for being too cerebral. My audience has always been made up of two groups: college students and people in prison: both groups have the time to think.”)

    It is a relatively new thing for European societies to solve their disputes without international violence, civil wars, and mob violence – so if Islam is a religion of violence, Europe is also “a continent of violence”. And if you want to see what scraping the bottom of the barrel produces: wasn’t Saddam Hussein’s Irak a secular state? — But such discussions are worthless: in today’s world, we are closer to “best practice” than much of the world and our societies and values are rightly admired by many people suffering from bad regimes in Africa or the Middle East. We may well be in a position to lead.

    A multi-pronged approach: there is a lot that governments are well-placed to do. Maybe it is time for an aggressive government campaign called “the truth about ISIS”, so that all young people can see that it is a grotesque death cult, not a resistance movement, – so that even would-be teen Rambo’s would turn away and say “that is not a group of hardened warriors but a group of sick murderers”. I don’t think there is any risk of such a campaign alienating ordinary Muslims; it might feature only Muslims speaking out against ISIS.

    But all the time you need to have the sort of “detachment” that a scientist studying cancer shows – not a “detachment” from the seriousness of the problem, and not forgeting about real-world suffering, but a neutrality that enables you to follow the promising leads and drop the ones that offer no hope of achieving anything.



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  • Kevin

    Imagine a teenager growing up in a strict muslim household where she is forced to wear a headscarf. Then, going to school she is told she is not allowed to wear it.

    I support the ban on religious symbols in French public schools, one of which is the headscarf for Muslim girls. Let children get to know and appreciate each other without tribal affiliation markers prominently placed on their bodies. If they want to participate in religious activities and wear these items of religious loyalty they can do it in their homes and other locations.

    There is nothing in the Koran that requires women to cover their hair. This is a man-made requirement and should be scorned. As you said yourself, girls are being forced to wear it. This is child abuse. Headscarfs represent subjugation of women and they are the outward sign of political Islam.

    It is not true that all Muslim women want to wear one of the various forms of head/face covering. Women have been murdered for refusing to wear these objects. (I will be happy to provide references to reading material on this matter.) When the French government banned them, just in the public schools mind you, this had the effect of protecting the girls and their families from the fanatics in their own domain. For the few hours every day that these girls are in school, they can at least be free of the heavy handed sexism that they are oppressed by when they return to those streets and homes that force them back into their uniforms of domestic and reproductive slavery.



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  • 66
    Stephen says:

    As if that wasn’t long enough… as a follow up: I don’t mean for scientists/engineers to be taken as a complete model for how other problem solvers should behave (or how they should be educated).

    A peacemaker or activist needs to have cultivated a way of being which enables them to operate effectively when immense amounts of hatred are being directed at them, sometimes from all sides. An engineer does not need this skill to the same extent! That capacity needs to go alongside any other kind of intelligence or knowledge they need. It comes through the familiy environment they grew up in or the moral/religious values of their community, and education. – You can read proper academic studies profiling the sort of people who risked their lives to save Jews in WW2 and analysing common traits. Like historians, sociologist etc can speak on these subjects based on evidence.

    In “practical” fields like pedagogy, social care, and psychiatry (…as well as less practical fields like linguistics and anthropology) you get many academics who care more about the popularity of their bonkers theories than anything that happens in the real world. People can study these subjects because their want to promote the sort of knowledge that helps in the real world, or just because they want the prestige and pay that comes with being an expert.



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  • How best can societies in Europe and the rest of the West combat these terrorists and the circumstances that helped produce them?

    Reintroduce lobotomy as a possible therapeutic intervention for any Imam who cheers the death cult on.



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  • Thanks Alan,

    I’m not sure I agree with your classification of Fascists as rich. International capital loves emigration for its -ve effect on the standards of living of incumbent workers, true. But that doesn’t make them automatically racist – it does make them, however, anti-labor.

    Fascism begins and ends with bigotry. This cuts across income strata. Like Communists, Fascists are also in love with hierarchies and nothing helps to build a hierarchy, or pyramid social structure, faster than a large base of the lowly (to be exploited – and even though both Communists and Fascists deny this vigorously, history is inescapable).

    To a lesser extent Fascism also cuts across education barriers – particularly when out of, and vying for, power. In the past this was less of a filter, but after WW2 a tertiary education became one of two new entry points into the de facto aristocracy of the West. This is changing, but to explore it would be to wander too far from the OP focus on Middle Eastern emigration.

    International capital does indeed welcome the increased profits of emigration, while denying the link between taxes and welfare – because to do otherwise would be to take the extra profits with one hand, and hand them back with the other hand.

    I forget which US-led war it was where it was reported that the President had no plan for the post-war period. Refugees are made by lawlessness. Destroying one regime and having no plan – however incomplete, frail and temporary – to replace it is a recipe for lawlessness. Could this have been an unspoken plan? Should Europe be asking searching questions?

    As with TPP/TTIP/TiSA it seems to me that Europeans were dancing to the US tune without really listening to the lyrics. Famously, of course, the French were among the first to question the last Gulf War.

    Difficult though it will be we need to tune out the siren voices of international capital when looking at the immigrants within our borders in Western and Central Europe, and when we consider the best reaction to the emigrants at the gates. The current track record of even the centre-left, like Britain’s Labour Party, is very discouraging on this point.

    Peace.



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  • Moslem indoctrination from birth using the Koran and the ongoing control of that indoctrination by intensive daily ritual for virtually all Moslems is so comprehensive that its effects cannot be understood by those who have not experienced it first hand. I cannot help wondering whether all Moslems don’t have a little (sometimes louder) voice in their heads that actually agrees with what ISIS is doing in spite of their human instincts to abhor it. The atrocities are exactly according to literal interpretations of the Koran …which they all know and have to believe even though they do not choose to act it out. The low levels of condemnation and carefully worded criticisms from Moslem spokesmen, over ISIS behaviour that is extremely anti social and cruel, seems to support this. They could not dare to contradict the Koran and would not want to because of their own indoctrination.
    If this is the reality of the “virus” that is placed in the minds of all Moslems from birth, the only way to stop it in the long term is to stop indoctrination of children which means banning the Koran and Koranic teaching in our schools…an act that would in itself be highly provocative as the way the indoctrination has to be done is probably also an imperative in the Koran.
    Sadly, all the comments about persuading/convincing Moslems that alternative world views are possible are wishful thinking. To try and solve the matter by being kind and nice about it would most likely be interpreted as weakness and be exploited. Perhaps our “western” societies that have managed to achieve a world view that does not involve killing anyone who disagrees with our beliefs, should insist on banning the Koran in schools and leave Moslem countries to their own violent world view but be ruthless in removing anyone who threatens ours. This seems to be the way it is presently playing out?



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  • Thanks Richard,

    I feel I must take you to task on your conclusion:

    This [the human rights culture and freedom] needs to be defended at all costs …

    The problem is that it isn’t being defended. In fact it’s been systematically undermined for at least three decades. As recently as this month a senior politician backed a return to blasphemy law in Britain.

    Habeas Corpus was infamously undermined by successive governments. Before 1984 the Police could only hold a person without charge for 24 hours – note that this covers one of the most active periods of terrorism in Britain – by the IRA. Yet successive Labour governments extended this by degrees to 28 days and since then its only got worse.

    The 700 year old British tradition of open justice has been systematically undermined by successive Acts of Parliament since 1997 which allowed ‘Closed Material Proceedings’.

    TTIP and TiSA will extend the model of the secret court / Star Chamber to disputes between elected government and trans-national corporations, extend copyright (again! for the umpteenth time in just my lifetime) to ensure that the culture becomes a tradeable – and controllable – commodity and sets the stage for the systematic undermining of the standing and standards of professionals.

    Don’t think the Net will save you. Your free speech rights were under attack anyway, and your right to a private life is a fig leaf. Snowden was right, the British Government fessed up in the fog of, Trust Us, to launch the Investigatory Powers Bill – and now they want to make it law! TTIP will mean the return of SOPA, Software Patents, the end of Net Neutrality … you name it.

    Even before that David Cameron, Prime Minister, said:

    “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It’s often meant we have stood neutral between different values, and that’s helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance.”

    Even in the context of his speech (he was talking about stopping extremist proselytizing of those OHooligan calls the ‘disenfranchised’ and I call the Separatists) this statement is frightening for its total lack of reference to free speech. It chills the blood. I never felt truly against the Prime Minister and his party until that statement. It is the most irresponsible, lacking in principle, statement made by a Prime Minister in the last 10 years – which is quite some going after Blair who did more to undermine British Citizens’ human rights than anyone – living or dead.

    US citizens reading this have no reason to feel superior. They have not suffered as badly, but their rights too are being slowly chipped away at.

    … primarily by making others who are less “civilised” realise how they could be living if they emulated it.

    I agree with you, using the word civilized in this context feels wrong. I don’t doubt that the vast majority of people forced into refugee status are civilized. I hate the idea of labelling such a large, and disparate, group uncivilized. The real problem, of course, is that the word civilized has become a Yes/No label. It’s time to dust off our dictionaries and realize that civilized is a long scale of shades.

    But most of all we need to stop patting ourselves on the back for what we’ve achieved. Most of what we’ve achieved has been slowly negotiated away in the recent past by our utterly pathetic politicians.

    Can we really not find a a new Ben Franklin or two, prepared to stand for election:

    Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety
    .
    Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins

    We have to stop the rot – at every turn we’re being asked to adopt the social and economic policies of precisely the failed states that refugees are coming from! It beggars belief!

    THE TERRORISTS ARE WINNING BECAUSE OUR POLITICIANS ARE USELESS.

    Until we find a new Ben, or two, we appear doomed to follow this downward curve where or politicians give in to the Terrorists, time, and time, and time again. We tend not to notice as each time it’s just a little.

    Well not me. For me the line is here. This far and no further. Who will join me?

    Peace.



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  • Stephen of Wimbledon
    Nov 20, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Thanks Alan,

    I’m not sure I agree with your classification of Fascists as rich. International capital loves emigration for its -ve effect on the standards of living of incumbent workers, true. But that doesn’t make them automatically racist – it does make them, however, anti-labor.

    i did stretch the definition of “Fascist” a bit to include the Xtian right, but if we look at fascist regimes once established, there is considerable overlap! Perhaps the right elitist rather than simply racist!



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  • Just a quick note to apologise to all Europeans who are not British. I used Britain as if it were a representative example of Europe as a whole. This is obviously extremely unfair to some countries. Some of the more obvious examples:

    French politicians stood up to George W and Dick Cheney – and now they’re being ‘repaid’ … ? … go figure.

    The Swedes founded the first Pirate Party, and host Wikileaks.

    France and the Netherlands were early identifiers of the problems inherent in ISDS/TTIP.

    Eire continues to struggle to throw off the yoke of centuries of Church suppression and reform blasphemy law.

    The Poles and Germans were notable for their early understanding of, and resistance to, software patents.

    I’m sure there are many other examples that I do not know.

    My own country’s record – including that of its ‘free’ citizens is, by comparison, lamentable.

    Peace.



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  • Me….and…

    We (in these isles) invented childhood, it is said by some historians (and me). We substantially freed them from a parochial tyranny and gave them access to their own talents. Through the eighteenth century with sufficient wealth to start a middling class, education became not just about training the elder boys for carrying on in the father’s stead but a general purpose thing. Spending on children shot up 400%, and children’s toys and books became a thing. The visiting French were appalled at the license we gave to our young, allowing them time to play just as they wanted.

    I suspect it is not unrelated to an astonishingly, playfully creative period inventing technology and businesses that constituted the Industrial Revolution. Europe tumbled enthusiastically after in all these things only a few decades on.

    We need to assert a new determination to ensure the freedom of choice of our children. We once had the courage to turn against simply treating them as property or slaves to fulfill our failed aspirations. The French attitude to laicite in schools is an essential ingredient for me that we must now consider in all seriousness. The state has the opportunity to see that children may meet each other entirely as equals with all the choices ahead of them.

    We cannot beyond the laws of the land prevent all parents treating their children as property, as needing to display gratitude for this gift of their life in this community, like they asked for it…. BUT we can show them through their education a level playing field of choices, and that expectation of a level playing field in those currently privileged groups of children. We must meet, especially when young as little labelled as possible. We’ll love each other.

    We need jobs and all cultural images to reflect the totality of communities. We do need to work at equal access for all groups we may choose to define or who choose to define themselves.

    An essential aspect of this for all of us is a rebuilding of cultural trust and genuine mutuality. I see we have lost the culture I want to share when the government plays harms considerably smaller than the harms of disease or road traffic or smoking or drink or adolescent folly as the grounds for taking away the most graphic symbols of mutual trust.

    Deny politicians this laziest of answers and force them into proper problem solving.



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  • In response to Stephen, I do mean “give them something to lose”. Access to the wider society that we enjoy, a common standard of education, involvement. Giving in this way is not giving away anything that we still have. Well, maybe a bit more on the tax bill for the especially wealthy (and the corporations) among us, a bargain at twice the price I’d say.

    I admire the “melting pot” concept of the USA that (once upon a time) welcomed immigrants and made sure their children were Americans first, and whatever-their-background a distinct second. All that saluting the flag and standing for the anthem stuff that I didn’t understand when I visited as a distinctly foreign student, baseball, mom and apple pie etc, but I now see it worked to make Americans out of the generation whose parents were immigrants.

    Similar has apparently not happened in Belgium, for example.



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  • Thanks for the link. It is very encouraging that British Muslims appear to be taking on British values about humanity. It bodes well for the future and hopefully Islam will start fizzling out in UK like other religions have already done. Hopefully the cost/benefit of being an active Muslim in UK ie the unnecessary lifestyle restrictions imposed by Islam versus the benefits of being free from religion will encourage steady “emancipation”.



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  • Stephen, I concur with your thoughts about politicians. My comments about UK being “civilized” and free are made in a global context. UK personal freedoms are endlessly being challenged, but I would argue that in spite of that the UK is still extremely advanced relative to 95% of other countries/societies on the planet. While politicians who try to abuse their power need to be watched continually, the general governance of the country is remarkably sophisticated. It strives to steadily improve quality of life whereas I would argue that many countries, especially those with strong Sharia influence, try to maintain life and governance unchanged from the past. For that reason the “civilised” versus “primitive” gap between the UK way of thinking and of the those countries is steadily widening. The pressure on UK Muslims is also steadily mounting ….try and live in the past in ghettos and face ostracism and ridicule or adapt to UK values and enjoy life more. Common sense would choose the latter!



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  • 80
    Stephen says:

    A minority of todays young muslims reject the “modern British values” which all their parents were proud to accept. For a long time, Muslims were no problem, and not many people could seperate Sikh, Hindu or Muslim.

    The Salman rushdie “blasphemy” affair arguably showed some rejection of British values by a sizeable number of Muslims. (And, by chance, I saw this article expressing outrage at the manner in which government ended the law which discrimiated against homosexual acts by making the age of consent 18, whereas it is 16 for heterosexual acts. Muslims leaders, like those of other Faiths in Britain, appear behind the times when it comes to gay rights. http://www.mcb.org.uk/mcb-expresses-outrage-at-the-british-government-over-the-sexual-offences-amendment-bill/ .)

    But still, British Muslim parents never thought that some radical preacher could turn some of their children against these values, either becoming terrorists or joining the vile criminal gangs, one of whose activities is the targetting and sexual exploitation of young girls.

    http://www.mcb.org.uk/child-abuse-in-rotherham-we-cannot-let-this-happen-again/



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  • 81
    Stephen says:

    Terrorism is a new problem, not imagined by previous generations of British Muslims. As is grooming: http://www.mcb.org.uk/child-abuse-in-rotherham-we-cannot-let-this-happen-again/

    PS Of course, neither affect more than a minority of todays Muslims.

    And like other religious organisations, Muslim groups may be less liberal when it comes to issues like free speech/blasphemy or progressive causes like gay rights.

    And PPS, from http://www.mcb.org.uk/muslim-council-britain-writes-times-following-incendiary-headline/

    “The important point is this: as well as those who have perpetrated these abuses having defied clear and unequivocal injunctions within Islam, every single one of these abusers – as people of faith or not – have violated the very code of our humanity. Therein lies their most terrible crime.”



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  • 82
    Stephen says:

    Well enitre comments of mine replying to this post are being deleted without an explanation as to what the objection is. So this will be my 3rd and last attempt:

    Radicalisation is a new problem, not one that affected previous generations of British Muslims.



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  • Hi Stephen,

    No, don’t worry, your comments weren’t deleted. As you can imagine, a site like this attracts a lot of spam, so the system automatically puts posts containing multiple links to one side, pending moderator approval. If posting comments with links, you may well find it happens to you again. If so, please just bear with us for a little while – your comments will be approved next time a moderator looks in.

    The mods



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  • 84
    Stephen says:

    (Well, sorry for jumping to conclusions. I only intended for one of my comments to appear since they duplicate each other, but at this stage, it is probably simplest to leave them as they are.)



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  • Stephen
    Nov 21, 2015 at 8:05 am

    Terrorism is a new problem, not imagined by previous generations of British Muslims. As is grooming:

    It is a new problem to certain ideological and religious groups, but welcoming refugees and importing associated terrorism from foreign cultural baggage, goes way-back! –

    http://cromwell-intl.com/travel/usa/new-york-revolutionary/anarchists.html

    For his time period, Trotsky was a relatively calm and quiet revolutionary. Anarchists and labor radicals perpetrated a wave of bombings and assassinations in the U.S. and around the world from the late 1890s through the early 1930s. The anarchist Gaetano Bresci had fatally shot King Umberto I of Italy on June 29, 1900, shocking and motivating the American anarchist movement. The worst of the bombings was a vehicle-borne shrapnel-packed bomb set off on Wall Street at noon on September 16, 1920. It killed 38 people and seriously injured 143 others.

    as does radicalisation of the repressed in their native lands!

    Czolgosz traveled to Buffalo, New York, on August 31, 1901, during the Pan-American Exposition in that city. The U.S. President William McKinley was greeting the public in a receiving line inside the Temple of Music at the Exposition on the afternoon of September 6. Czolgosz advanced through the line and shot McKinley twice in the abdomen. McKinley died eight days later from the infected wound, and Vice-President Teddy Roosevelt advanced to the Presidency. Czolgosz was convicted, sentenced to death, and electrocuted.



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  • As at the present time the media and political propaganda, attributed labels according to their own agendas.

    http://slackbastard.anarchobase.com/?p=12104

    David C. Rapoport has chosen to label the first era of modern terrorism as the “anarchist wave,” a persuasive designation.1 This article will examine the specifically anarchist qualities of the first wave, presenting a short overview of its archetypical era between 1880 and World War I, concentrate on analyzing the little-known efforts to control anarchist terrorism during that period, and conclude with both a sketch of anarchist terrorism after 1914 and a brief comparison between present-day terrorism and its nineteenth-century predecessor. Although the Irish Fenians, the Italian nationalists, and the Russian populists, particularly the Nihilists, all made their contributions to the creation of modern terrorism, it is only after 1880 with the widespread appearance of anarchist terrorism, or “propaganda by the deed,” that terrorism became a European-wide, and then an international, phenomenon. The powerful and frightening symbolism inherent in the idea of anarchy and anarchism, and in the reality of the anarchist bomb thrower and assassin, proved so powerful that it tended to dominate all perceptions of terrorism, at least until the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. Anyone who threw a bomb or assassinated a prominent person tended to be labelled an “anarchist” whether or not he or she subscribed to anarchist ideology.



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  • 87
    Stephen says:

    Islamic extremisms wasn’t imported to Britain through the first waves of migration (of people who generally had great admiration for Britain), it came, for example, through young British Muslims reading about the Saudi Osama ben Laden!

    A generational problem, a global problem.



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  • ISIS will tell you what motivates them. See http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/11/14/ISIS-releases-undated-video-threatening-France.html

    To me it is quite logical. The West committed unspeakable atrocities against Muslim civilians in the Afghan and Iraq wars. They used torture, banned weapons, targeted civilians and killed in ways designed to cause maximal pain.

    The Muslims decided the West were a decadent people who needed complete elimination. They tried to come up with ways of killing that would horrify the jaded west, hence the beheadings and artifact destruction. They needed to attack primarily psychologically. They could not inflict casualties anywhere near those they had endured. The justification for extreme revenge goes back to ancient Islam.

    In their excitement, they have used the fact that the west is generally not Islamic as excuse to kill them. They have convinced themselves this slaughter is the highest virtue. From their point of view, they are opposing a Hitler.

    In summary, they feel justified in attacks like Paris because the west has already attacked them in far more brutal and damaging ways.

    Recruitment is fairly easy. All they have to do is show photos of what the west did to them first.

    I would suggest scrupulous application of the Geneva Conventions to avoid giving them any more ammunition. Odd as it sounds, I would suggest profound public apology for the Afghan and Iraq war atrocities.

    If I were talking to an ISIS recruit, all I could say is a violence spiral is just going to lead to more deaths on both sides. You may be justified in revenge, but you are a fool to take it. You know perfectly well from your history how these revenge spirals drag on for centuries without resolution. All you are doing is dragging out the misery.



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  • Five points – 1. If I were Satan [logic says if you believe there is a god you must believe there is the opposite] I would have ‘invented’ religion. Why? Because belief in religion is the best way to get good-men (and good women) to commit bad deeds. When they do – their souls are mine – not god’s. 2. Killing ‘anything’ different is NATURAL to this planet. It’s been going on since life began. All species – I repeat all species kill what is different. We humans, no matter what elitist lies we tell ourselves are animals native to this planet and no different. 3. More people have been killed in the name of God then Satan’s. 4. War is ecologically good for the planet … for humanity. Why ? To cull our every growing population which one day will be too much for the planet to feed. With no natural predator we therefore must prey on ourselves. If war was eradicated we would soon be extinct. 5. Can anyone see a comparison to the problem we are facing now with the movie Hunger Games? Where there are oppressive Haves and oppressed Have-Nots. The Haves must protect their way of life via enslaving others. The (District) have-Nots – view via TV what they are ‘missing’. Based on the popularity of these movies I guess millions of fans around the world want the ‘rebels’ to win. I have no doubt the terrorists see themselves as the Have-Nots. What do YOU see yourself as?



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  • Hi OHooligan,

    I do mean “give them something to lose”. Access to the wider society that we enjoy, a common standard of education, involvement.

    When I say “integration” this is what I also mean.

    Giving in this way is not giving away anything that we still have. Well, maybe a bit more on the tax bill [bargain!].

    ‘Giving in’ is not required from an ‘integrationist’ perspective. Immigrants are being isolated from the above access by their own ghettoisation. My main message here is that we, the indigent populations in host countries (I.e Western Europe) have looked at this and concluded that we are at fault, that we have not been welcoming enough. The new generation in the ghettos, meanwhile, are stuck between a future in the ghetto built by their parents, with our assistance and with positive motivations on all sides. Or, on the other hand, battling their parents to make compromises in order to grasp the opportunities in wider society.

    How did we ever conclude that such a policy set was welcoming and would offer immigrant families a great future as equal citizens? The whole approach is a mish-mash of short-term ‘fixes’ which demonstrate, as clear as day, a thorough-going absence of intellect in our politicians and government bureaucracies. It is staggering for its rank stupidity.

    If by ‘giving in’ we mean that we have allowed the notion of multi-cultural-ism to generate two (or more) cultures in one geography while the dominant culture believes, falsely as it turns out, that it has retained that dominance then the evidence of Paris in 2015 is that we are deceived. Those who supported multi-cultural-ism are doubly deceived, as they deceived themselves before attempting to deceive the rest of us. I say “attempt” as I did not fall for this obvious fantasy.

    Do not be misled; I take no triumphal stand. I never did ‘tell you so’, and my anguish at my own inaction racks me now.

    I have used the hyphenated multi-cultural-ism many times at this Site, thinking that it speaks for itself. Perhaps now is a good time to break it down.

    Culture is, at best, a slippery concept. At it’s root, culture is a messy human definition for how disparate groups of humans arrange their (group internal) affairs, resolve (group internal) disputes, form a group identity, project and communicate group ideals and shared values, processes and art and relationships (personal, formal, with the shared geography, with other groups, and the balance of social responsibilities and social support). It probably stands for other things too, and if it does the key word will be group, or some synonym of group.

    Multiple cultures, on that definition (my own, which is not a million miles from most definitions), in one geography is an obvious recipe for … friction … thinking as positively as I possibly can. The millennia long history of Europe, with its constantly changing borders – right up to today, is my proof of concept. Lest we forget; the vast majority of those changes occurred only after crossing rivers of blood, and toiling knee deep in the offal of fellow human beings, as the starving, barely surviving, innocents wept under the unyielding gaze of the dogmatic demagogues.

    It is claimed by some – in utter rejection of the above facts of European history (!) – that the idea of multiple cultures within a single geography can be defined as a coherent system – a philosophy and political ideology, an ism. The key notion being: Multi-cultural-ism is possible because we cannot say that one culture is superior to another. In an extraordinary feat of mental sclerosis the anthropological thesis of Cultural Relativism was promoted to Political Imperative in the struggle against racism … without supporting evidence. Aye, read it and weep.

    Cultural Relativism states that ethics may vary from culture to culture, but that all cultural approaches are equally valid because to question the antecedents of a culture can only occur from the perspective of another culture and who was is to say which of the two emerged from the ‘best’ precursors? Therefore, in Multicultural-ism, no one culture is better (however better is defined) than any other.

    This, of course, explains why French refugees are queueing up to leave France and so desire to go to live in Syria that they risk their lives and savings to cross the Mediterranean, packed like sardines in a tin into death traps of boats. It also explains why this has been the case now for several years.

    This does not mean that multiculturalism is just bullshit. Oh no, it is far, far, worse than that.

    Multi-cultural-ism is a toxic, anti-human, murderous, weak-minded, infantile, stupid political ideology directly responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands, and the body count shows every sign of accelerating. And before I move on; the deaths are easy to count. Dead bodies are objective, obvious and give nice simple integers. Yet they are a mere tear, a drop in the fetid ocean of human misery created by multi-cultural-ism.

    Sorry, OHooligan, it’s not your fault but I really felt the need to explore that related issue and get it out of my system.

    What I actually meant by “giving away” was not giving to the immigrant populations of Western Europe. I meant that we are being forced to give away our freedoms in order to manage the above rabble – my humanism will no longer allow me to label it with the more noble policy.

    I couldn’t give a flying fu … fig, for the cash cost.

    I admire the “melting pot” concept of the USA that (once upon a time) welcomed immigrants and made sure their children were Americans first, and whatever-their-background a distinct second.

    Me too. It has, in the longer term, resulted in a rampant nationalism which, in turn, has resulted (as all nationalisms tend to do) in a specious exceptionalism which is epitomised by the phrase: Manifest destiny. I’ve also seen it cited as a major reason for the United States’ tendency to isolationism – so obvious to non US citizens.

    Like any policy then, integration can have extremes. But surely we can learn? Surely we can progress?

    All that saluting the flag and standing for the anthem stuff that I didn’t understand when I visited as a distinctly foreign student, baseball, mom and apple pie etc, but I now see it worked to make Americans out of the generation whose parents were immigrants.

    True, and it was also very clearly designed with that end in mind.

    Similar has apparently not happened in Belgium, for example.

    Many European countries accept immigrants and integrate them without heading down the road to bellicose, fascistic, autocracies.

    The key is to gather evidence of integration and acceptance of Host Nation ideals, and to offer other options. I never understood, for example, why European countries worked so hard to stop their citizens from leaving to join ISIS. My policy would have been: We’ll pay for the flight. The cost to you is (merely) the surrender of your passport, and therefore citizenship, at the airport of departure – and future governments will judge if it is advisable to alter that policy.

    If a citizen from a ghetto decides that they have better prospects elsewhere then I would rather give them the opportunity to take up that prospect than spend even more on security to contain the err, how should we put this, ‘negative effects’ (?) of a foreign culture within our own borders – and give up our own rights to-boot.

    Peace.



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  • Hi Olgun,

    Is all this a consequence of money saving Stephen?

    No.

    I say that with such apparent confidence because the government policies that have led to the current situation are perhaps twenty years old (countries vary). They certainly pre-date the current economic downturn.

    Peace.



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  • Hi Richard01,

    … I would argue that in spite of [the above] the UK is still extremely advanced relative to 95% of other countries/societies on the planet.

    Then you and I are destined to disagree at a fundamental level, for the foreseeable future.

    Given that you do not deny my evidence you’ll forgive me, I’m sure, if I thumb my nose at your, um, heroic platform.

    While politicians who try to abuse their power need to be watched continually, the general governance of the country is remarkably sophisticated.

    Pah!

    Evidence please. You can surely be under no illusion that many in the current set of politicians in Britain demonstrate, on a regular basis, that they are as thick as a traditional London fog. I will be, frankly, astonished if the majority can give you their principles without reference to a political ideology – a dogma. Ask them what they stand for and you’ll get answers like: Conservatism, Socialism, Democracy, Capitalism, Community, Society, liberal values, and so on. Not principles, sound bites as vacuous as their empty heads.

    It [assumed: Britain’s political structure?] strives to steadily improve quality of life …

    Grade: F – evidence: Falling living standards for all except the rich for the third Government in a row (a bit early to judge the current Government, perhaps, but still a fail so far).

    … whereas I would argue that many countries, especially those with strong Sharia influence, try to maintain life and governance unchanged from the past.

    The existence of a terrible example (X) does not prove that the less bad example (Y) is good. But thank you for proving my point. Britain is barely better than a rampantly theocratic middle-eastern potentate’s play-pen. Whoopee.

    For that reason the “civilised” versus “primitive” gap between the UK way of thinking and of the those countries is steadily widening.

    I see no evidence for that thesis. The evidence I provided, above, is that we’re busy driving down our freedoms to nought – we’re devaluing our culture to that of banana theocracy.

    The pressure on UK Muslims is also steadily mounting ….try and live in the past in ghettos and face ostracism and ridicule or adapt to UK values and enjoy life more.

    If true, this is unhealthy. We need more positive action. However, I see no such policy direction, would you please be so kind as to evidence that.

    Common sense would choose the latter!

    Perhaps. If only common sense was actually in play.

    Peace.



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  • 94
    Stephen says:

    The categorisation of people into certain “cultures” or “civilisations” has some validity, but not half as much as some claim. It allows the likes of Samuel Huntingdon a chance to spout a whole load of hot air while more realistic viewpoints get less of an attention.

    ghetto built by their parents, with our assistance and with positive
    motivations on all sides.

    Partially true, partially false.The experience and outcome of migrants has a lot to do with economics, for example.

    But I’ll repeat a point has been in the background of everything I have said, but that I’ll now make more clearly:

    These violent Islamist attacks in London and Paris and the others that are stopped by security services before casuing harm are committed by people, usually but not always from a British/French Muslim background, who have recently convered to the cause of suicide/mass murder in the name of
    1) puritan religion and its promist of personal salvation/paradise
    2) protest against foreign policy
    3) a “tribal” sense of brotherhood
    4) the attraction of a sadistic militaristic playground.

    RECENT CONVERTS TO A NEW IDEOLOGY OF DEATH.



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  • Stephen of Wimbledon
    Nov 22, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Grade: F – evidence: Falling living standards for all except the rich for the third Government in a row (a bit early to judge the current Government, perhaps, but still a fail so far).

    I see while NHS and school budgets are being cut, Cameron and Osborne seem to be able to find lots of money for new fighter aircraft to put on the new aircraft carriers.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-34895694
    Defence Review to boost F35 aircraft carrier jet numbers
    Britain is to speed up the purchase of new fighter jets under plans to be unveiled on Monday, Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed.

    The government’s Strategic Defence and Security Review will include plans to boost the UK’s F35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft to 24 by 2023.

    The RAF’s drone fleet will also be doubled, from 10 to 20.

    “By 2023, we will be able to have these jets – some of the most powerful in the world – the F35, on the decks of these carriers and Britain, second only to the United States, will be able to project power abroad in order to defend ourselves at home.”



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  • Is all this a consequence of money saving Stephen?

    No.

    I say that with such apparent confidence because the government
    policies that have led to the current situation are perhaps twenty
    years old (countries vary). They certainly pre-date the current
    economic downturn.

    I meant gradually Stephen. Each time a government trying to save money according to their policies. Less police means more CCTV. Snooping on the net needs to have a cap on it…etc. Each pass with the wood planer over the edge of the door, leaves less door.



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  • Hi Phil,

    Me….and…

    … my shadow, walking down the Avenue … ?

    We (in these isles) invented childhood …

    I enjoyed your description of the invention of modern childhood. Yes, the children are the key and an end to sectarianism in schools would be a small, and vital, step in the right direction to recapturing that creative childhood model. Religious schools are part of the problem, not part of the answer.

    We need to assert a new determination to ensure the freedom of choice of our children.

    No argument here, and you put it so well.

    We need jobs and all cultural images to reflect the totality of communities.

    I have no idea what that means.

    We do need to work at equal access for all groups we may choose to define or who choose to define themselves.

    I can only disagree. We’ve tried that. It isn’t working. Equal opportunity within a country requires that people identify and define themselves in terms of social cohesion – a single culture.

    An essential aspect of this for all of us is a rebuilding of cultural trust and genuine mutuality.

    It sounds like you may mean: Mutual trust between cultures?

    [Churchill] ” … given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.”

    – Churchill’s remark after Chamberlain returned with the Munich Pact, that he signed with Hitler

    Our politicians can’t even learn from the biggest lessons of the last Century.

    I see we have lost the culture I want to share when the government plays harms considerably smaller than the harms of disease or road traffic or smoking or drink or adolescent folly as the grounds for taking away the most graphic symbols of mutual trust.

    Deny politicians this laziest of answers and force them into proper problem solving.

    On form again Phil.

    Peace.



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  • I can only disagree. We’ve tried that. It isn’t working. Equal
    opportunity within a country requires that people identify and define
    themselves in terms of social cohesion – a single culture.

    What does that mean Stephen “A single culture”. Does that culture stretch across class as well? Before the wars when people knew their place?



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  • Me…..and

    I’m with you and in addition

    We need jobs and all cultural images to reflect the totality of communities.

    I have no idea what that means.

    We do need to work at equal access for all groups we may choose to define or who choose to define themselves.

    I can only disagree. We’ve tried that. It isn’t working. Equal opportunity within a country requires that people identify and define themselves in terms of social cohesion – a single culture.

    If we demand all kids are left alone at least during their education and they get to meet each other just as the individuals they are, then we must pay back to all communities for this “sacrifice” by making our best efforts to ensure fair employment policies and ensuring accurate representation of them by the media employing at least concerted tutting to achieve this.

    You won’t get a single culture and I for one will be glad that adults choose differing lifestyles for themselves. Living in LIverpool and then London I have become addicted to stews. I preach neuro-diversity for a healthier society. I likewise welcome all cultural varieties. I do not welcome the UK multiculturalism of old leaving folk to the mercy of their communities, though.

    Giving everyone a fighting chance to be their own person is all I ask, and I think, all we’ll need to make communities sufficiently porous and congenial. This is the one bit of singular culture that should be our entrance price.

    Elsewhere I have stated that we need to make it clear that communities are not legal entities and community leaders not democratically accountable, discounting themselves as speaking for anyone who doesn’t want to be spoken for.

    State services are a right of everyone and any individual prevented from accessing state services by communities or their leaders should get unequivocal legal support to do so.

    Give kids the chance of a choice for themselves when adults, then respect it.



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  • Hi Olgun (Nov 22, 2015 at 5:23 pm)

    [Olgun] Is all this a consequence of money saving Stephen?

    [SoW] No.

    [Olgun] I meant gradually Stephen. Each time a government trying to save money according to their policies. Less police means more CCTV.

    Many of the policies relevant to the refugee crisis, and fighting the rise of ME terrorism in Europe, have their roots in governments priorities in times of plenty.

    Rather than spending priorities it seems to me that wars in Iraq (among other policies I, some of which I have already detailed in this thread) are the genesis of these problems.

    For the example you cite: Cut spending on police, increase spending on a cheaper option (CCTV) – I don’t remember. We may have been sold a story such as: ‘If you give up a little of your privacy, we can cut overall policing costs.’ That would be consistent with the governments of the time which I think would be the ones repeatedly accused of using spin.

    This would be another example of our current political bankruptcy. They can’t even talk about propaganda without trying to call it something else (spin).

    In Britain, most CCTV was installed in times of plenty.

    CCTV, of course, has been repeatedly proven to give a very poor return on the resources employed – and it invades our privacy. Ooh, a double negative that must = a positive.

    [Olgun] Snooping on the net needs to have a cap on it…etc. Each pass with the wood planer over the edge of the door, leaves less door.

    What we need is to ask: Why do the politicians never respect our human rights when discussing the Net? and Why has Due Process become a non-word in the modern World?

    Sir Tim Berners-Lee called for a Digital Magna Carta. As far as I know his idea got zero exposure in commercial media, which probably tells us something about commercial media’s position on human rights.

    Peace.



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  • Hi Phil (Nov 22, 2015 at 7:37 pm),

    You and I seem destined to misunderstand each other at a semantic level, while being in loud agreement most of the time.

    Thank you for the time you took to elucidate. We should share a stew sometime.

    Cheers.



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  • Hi Olgun (Nov 22, 2015 at 6:52 pm),

    What does that mean Stephen “A single culture”. Does that culture stretch across class as well? Before the wars when people knew their place?

    I’ve given a quite detailed description of what I mean by culture in this thread (Nov 22, 2015 at 3:23 pm, to OHooligan).

    Culture is malleable, cultures inevitably change.

    By accepting immigrants a host country accepts that it’s culture will change and that it will, in part, adopt some cultural mores from those immigrants.

    My message on culture is that the West have been doing the opposite. They have been accepting immigrants and pretending that (a) their own (Host) culture will not change and (b) that the culture of immigrants is both benign, and has no need to change.

    Our experience is that all of these ideas are plain wrong.

    My other message is that: The down-side of getting this wrong is not only the above, the resultant friction is producing terrorism and long-term social disfunction and, most important of all, loss of freedoms and rights.

    Part of that disfuntion is that politicians are fighting the terrorists by adopting their culture (as always happens, we tend to become like our enemy) and they adopt the mores of immigrants associated with the terrorists in order to try to undercut their political base. This also has disastrous long-term implications for social cohesion, our freedoms and rights (because recent immigrants do not share our understanding of freedoms and rights).

    I’m not saying that immigrants are some kind of fifth column, and I accept that other influences are in play. I am saying that I’m thoroughly fed up with European politicians who give every indication of either burying their heads in the sands of dogma or of not understanding that they are being negatively influenced by cultural change.

    The simplest example is the right to free speech versus the right to make a personal choice.

    Many recent immigrants into the West say that their right to choose to be offended must trump the European norm of free speech. They say this because that is a part of their cultural heritage.

    Europeans understand, from their cultural foundations (i.e. political, legal, civil, rhetorical-tradition, progressive, artistic rights, etc. etc.) that the immigrants are wrong.

    Who is right?

    My answer is: Just look at which way the emmigrants are flowing, and have been flowing throughout history. But, more than that, we can look at the development index, income distribution, the corruption index, social services, happiness indices … there is no shortage of evidence that, even before the current difficulties, the West has superior cultural norms.

    I’m not saying that we should impose some form of cultural hegemony on other countries. Nor do I deny that politics is a dirty business and that parts of the Middle East are suffering the after-effects of (to put it politely) some poor decisions by larger powers outside the region.

    But the evidence from Paris is in, and it’s indisputable. The solution is: Ditch the all cultures are equal trope. It’s not only silly, we now have the evidence that it’s dangerous.

    If we don’t fight the terrorists by remaining who we are (or should that even be: Who we were?) then our children’s children will be the ones on the move.

    I hope that helps.

    Peace.



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  • Stephen, I agree that “culture” is a slippery concept and it is obviously linked to values and beliefs (especially religious in the context of this post). I definitely do not agree that all cultures are equally valid. Cultures evolve over time and some have evolved further than others so if “validity” implies “acceptability” in modern human rights terms, then there is no way that one can argue that it is OK to kill someone for what you think they believe whether their culture says its OK or not. At a macro life and death level, I would categorise culture into a spectrum with those that believe it is OK to kill people at one end and those that do not at the other. Everything else falls in between. Islam is at the “kill” end because killing for what you believe is positively taught in the Koran, whether implemented or not. Most Western cultures tend to be near the other end ie the “do not kill” end and the decision to kill others is based more on what others actually DO than what they think. eg someone who commits murder may get executed in US. The mass military killing by Western forces is rationalised by arguing that it is defensive against those who are determined to kill you and who have shown intent to do so.
    I would argue that provided your “culture” has evolved to modern human rights norms (and presumably the United Nations and the ICC provides the best overall guidelines for that) you should be free to enjoy it. (The underlying assumption is of course that the evolution of human rights has generally improved the quality of life of humans.)
    Where culture is still primitive in life and death terms and has not evolved eg like Islam in Saudi Arabia, Syria etc , a massive education/marketing effort needs to be undertaken to demonstrate the benefits of modernising the culture. I would say that the adaption of much of British culture by British Moslems is evidence of how successful this can be. (I don’t intend to sound arrogant about British culture, but in life and death terms, womens rights, childrens rights etc it would be ridiculous to argue that Saudi Arabia is even vaguely comparable)



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  • Hi Stephen,

    The categorisation of people into certain “cultures” or “civilisations” has some validity, but not half as much as some claim.

    It’s good enough a model to prove that I’m right, and that’s good enough for me.

    It [culture as a model and classification of populations?] allows the likes of Samuel Huntingdon a chance to spout a whole load of hot air while more realistic viewpoints get less of an attention.

    I have never heard of Samuel Huntingdon. A search returned no results. Why is Huntingdon important, are his ideas an example of the scientific approach you posted?

    The experience and outcome of migrants has a lot to do with economics, for example.

    I agree. My Wife is a migrant. Her life has been greatly influenced by family economics, and the economics of broader society. Most of that experience is negative. Has her economic experience shaped her ghetto? Probably.

    Stephen, we need to understand each other: Ghettos are, by and large, in the mind. They are limits on people’s thinking just as much – if not more than – absence of opportunity to find education, employment, social services, a way to make friends, … etc.. Ghettos are sustained by cultural influences (as below), and other things like language.

    Popular culture has distorted the meaning of ghetto to mean street names, gang turf, or Church Hall.

    These violent Islamist attacks in London and Paris and the others that are stopped by security services before causing harm …

    At an unacceptable cost, as I have already posted too often on this thread.

    … are committed by people, usually but not always from a British/French Muslim background, who have recently converted to the cause of suicide/mass murder in the name of …

    I’ll summarise my response alongside your assertions:

    1) religion [ghetto]

    2) protest [ghetto]

    3) “tribal” [ghetto]

    4) attraction of a … playground [escape from ghetto]

    RECENT CONVERTS TO A NEW IDEOLOGY OF DEATH [ESCAPE FROM GHETTO]

    Peace.



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  • Hi Alan (Nov 22, 2015 at 5:13 pm),

    I see while NHS and school budgets are being cut, Cameron and Osborne seem to be able to find lots of money for new fighter aircraft to put on the new aircraft carriers.[citation: Defence Review to boost F35 aircraft carrier jet numbers]

    The first imperative of any government is to defend its citizens’ right to self determination. The states that did not understand that no longer exist.

    Britain is to speed up the purchase of new fighter jets …

    Delivery in 8 years. Speedy?

    According to US sources the F35 is still in early development. The latest I heard is that it can’t even fly in the rain! Why the British Government turned its back on the Eurofighter which had a proof of concept Naval version in 2011, and that didn’t require a catapult, is something of a mystery.

    I too am disappointed that school budgets have not been raised. Education is one of the few areas where there is no argument that the Government invests in our future when it invests in education.

    Peace.



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  • Stephen of Wimbledon
    Nov 23, 2015 at 6:20 am

    I see while NHS and school budgets are being cut, Cameron and Osborne seem to be able to find lots of money for new fighter aircraft to put on the new aircraft carriers.[citation: Defence Review to boost F35 aircraft carrier jet numbers]

    The first imperative of any government is to defend its citizens’ right to self determination. The states that did not understand that no longer exist.

    While I agree this is the case, it seems to me that foreign air-strikes against the military of states such as Libya and Iraq look like the cause of many instability and refugee problems.

    When Osborne is considering cutting police budgets, and our border controls are a farce, we should reflect that while French fighter jets may be exacting retrospective revenge, they did nothing to defend Paris against jihadists!



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  • Hi Alan,

    … it seems to me that foreign air-strikes against the military of states such as Libya and Iraq look like the cause of many instability and refugee problems.

    Yes, regime change was a disastrous US policy in which Europe should never have got involved.

    Discussions on Defense and budget priorities seems to me to wander too far from the OP, so I will restrict myself to some very brief observations.

    When Osborne is considering cutting police budgets …

    To be fair, crime is down, a lot. No one knows why, which would suggest to me that a policy of ‘steady-as-she-goes’ might be more appropriate. Sadly we do have an almighty national debt to wrestle.

    … and our border controls are a farce, we should reflect that while French fighter jets may be exacting retrospective revenge, they did nothing to defend Paris against jihadists!

    I agree that fighter jets are a poor – direct – defense against suicide bombers. However, assuming that the jihadists are (as everyone is claiming) funded, trained and exported by ISIS, then a direct attack on ISIS is an indirect attack on future would-be jihadists. This has been Russia’s view all along.

    Does blowing up the former homes of immigrants unsettle them. Will that breed enough fodder for extremism to continue to grow. Does that mean that the next wave of terrorists will not only be home-grown, but home-trained.

    My answer, from the very beginning, has been: Not if integration is our basis for accepting more immigrants.

    I have also said, from the beginning, that attempting to bomb other states ‘back to the stone age’ is unlikely to achieve a positive result.

    Peace.



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  • 108
    Stephen says:

    Sorry for any typo’s here but I lost a long passsage and I’m retyping it.

    Richard01, I can say from experience, students from around the world have described Europe as a paradise. “People trust each other here”. Others have been mixed; one from the middle east (Israel) admired how we are efficent and polite, but found people a bit cold. Either way, we have much to be proud of.

    Stephen, its HuntingTon, with a T. He famously said that the world could be divided into civilizations (Chinese, Muslim, European). I don’t think this is really very effective: Erasmus or the Spanish Inquisition – which represents European mentality at the time? When the Methodists and Puritans were about, was Britain an intolerant culture? There are always competing strands within each culture. It is probabmy a bit like DNA, the differences within any one people are far greater than the differences between peoples.

    Integration and extremism are seperate issues. I guess there is still some good jounamism out there… but my guess is that one would need to be familiar with the work of sociologists and anthropologists, or read the relevant government or “think tank” reports in order to reliably know the backround of extremists, – but some certainly attended universities.

    Integration and Ghetto’s: much is the illusion of outsideres. Is a white working class area characterized by chip shops, bookmakers, pubs, and a few pawn shops a ghetto? Is an mixed Hindu and Muslim area (previously, no-one knew the difference) characterised by an absence of what I listed but a lot of phone shops, a bollywood music shop, mosques, loads of greengrocers and a Muslim bookshop, is that a ghetto? Neither feels like a ghetto to me, and I probably prefer seeing the many women in sari’s about the place to seeing people old men stumbling back from the pub. — But the fact is, many areas have both. Many of these “ghetto’s” only appear as such to outsiders. I’m used to seing “mixed” groups of schoolchildren of all ages talking togethe, walking to and from school. “Gangs” of rowdy children on busses or on the street after school are “mixed”.

    But there are worrying signs of failed integration; The maths tells you, there are going to be as many young British Muslim men as British Muslim women. So it is a worying thing when men decide they would prefer to party for a few years then go to Pakistan and pick up a wife, rather than meet someone (British Asian or not) in this country. And it results in British chilren growing up with mothers who do not know this country or speak it’s language – not ideal.

    More trivial, a TV doc showed a school where “clapping is allowed, but people don’t clap“, because many parents considered that clapping a child who got a cerificate encouaged “pride”, and clapping itself was “the music of the devil”. No British school should bend to minority views.

    That’s where I’ll leave it for now. But I expect that the generation gap within Muslim communities would emerge as a key issue around radicalization; some parents simply have no clue what their childen are up to, whether that is behaviour they don’t appove or like drinking alcohol, petty crime like selling counterfeit clothes, or something far worse like joining a radical group.



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  • Stephen,

    The biggest cultural change since the two wars we can put down to one person, Thatcher. The only thing I can credit her with. She dragged us kicking and screaming into the 21st century but, unfortunately, in line with America and less European. Subsequent governments could only further that mistake being trapped in their own minds to power. Apart from a whole heap go takeaways, I have seen no culture have such an effect on British culture. There are plenty of good things to come out of America but we are fed the worst and that is what started terrorism not a few indian takeaways.



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  • Stephen, with due respect, I think your view of UK life is quite jaundiced. If you consider it in isolation I agree that it leaves a lot to be desired but if you consider it in global terms, it has a standard of living and quality of life that is a lot nearer to the top of what is available on the planet than to the bottom. As someone who has had much experience in Africa for example, you cannot even begin to compare the quality of life of the masses in Africa with those in UK…hence the endless attempts by Africans to migrate to UK and Europe. You also cannot compare the quality of political discourse and understanding of democratic principles let alone the value that is attached to human life. In South Africa, the annual murder rate approaches 20,000 and 99% of those do not even get a mention in the media. In Uk the number is a few hundred every year and virtually every one takes up hours of TV time. The UK is a relative paradise and has evolved to be so from centuries of toil and trouble …. more “primitive” societies could do a lot worse than to try and emulate UK best practices. The young Muslims who are converted to extremism are naïve and easily persuaded that the grass is greener in their fertile and cultivated imaginations.. As it is they are already infected with an extreme religious virus (Islam) so it is a relatively small step to believe in all the after death promises that are made. It would take some incredible effort to persuade Christian youngsters in UK that they’d be better off dead, and an impossible effort to persuade atheist youngsters!



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  • Hi Richard,

    Stephen, with due respect …

    Oh dear, now I’m in trouble.

    … [a] view of UK life … If you consider it in isolation I agree that it leaves a lot to be desired but if you consider it in global terms, it has a standard of living and quality of life that is a lot nearer to the top of what is available on the planet than to the bottom.

    Okay, so your position is that I should be grateful for a country that is in rapid decline because it’s still a middling league table player? You should become a politician – you’d fit right in.

    I have ambitions for my country. You, clearly, do not. Step aside.

    … you cannot even begin to compare … life … in Africa with [Briton’s] … hence the endless attempts by Africans to migrate to UK and Europe.

    We have no argument here.

    You also cannot compare the quality of political discourse and understanding of democratic principles let alone the value that is attached to human life.

    You have a talent for making my points for me Richard – bravo!

    The UK is a relative paradise …

    That is completely beside the point.

    … and has evolved to be so from centuries of toil and trouble …

    This is a good reason for us to give up some of our rights and freedoms? I have to ask you:

    Are you joking? It seems to me that you cannot be being ethically or morally serious on this point.

    How can you possibly promote the idea that Western values such as human rights, no detention without trial, privacy, independent tribunals with representation in public, free speech and equal voting rights are tradable in order to sustain a living standard?

    That is the most abhorrent public political stance I have ever seen at this Site.

    It is true the successive British Governments have either removed the above rights from British citizens wholesale – or have severely limited them, in my lifetime and continue to threaten them further. That does not make the actions of those politicians right. They have been immoral, unethical, dishonest, conniving … evil.

    …. more “primitive” societies could do a lot worse than to try and emulate UK best practices.

    What “best practices”?!

    I know of no British policy from the last 40 years on human rights and citizens’ freedoms that I would encourage any country in the World to follow. This is a fantasy … no, this is the stuff that nightmares are made of.

    I’m sorry, but you and I can have nothing further to discuss. I am appalled.

    Peace.



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  • Stephen, I’m afraid you are losing me? I am talking about life and death stuff and comparisons between countries. What appalls you so badly? Could you give me an example of which freedoms you have lost in UK that are comparable to the life and death freedoms that most Africans, Arabs, Moslems and 70% of the women on earth have never even dreamt of? I’d suggest that the freedoms you are “losing” are being brought about by the very fact that the less fortunate parts of the world are succeeding in dragging the UK back somewhat by their attempts to take what you have? Your attempts to defend your freedoms are the very things that are damaging them. It goes in cycles and if your dismay at losing so many “freedoms” is shared by the majority of Brits, I expect that in due course some of them will be regained.



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  • Stephen, please humour me …what are you talking about..Iraq? are you implying that it was British(among others) colonialism that caused the problems in the first place? I am not a Brit so I’d like a bit more of an explanation if you don’t mind.



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  • Hi Stephen (Nov 23, 2015 at 9:53 am ),

    [ref. Huntington] … said that the world could be divided into civilizations (Chinese, Muslim, European). I don’t think this is really very effective.

    You’re entitled to your opinion.

    Erasmus or the Spanish Inquisition – which represents European mentality at the time?

    The answer seems obvious to me: Both.

    When the Methodists and Puritans were about, was Britain an intolerant culture?

    Yes, particularly when the Puritans were in charge. Once Charles II kicked them out of power, they appear to have suffered some backlash. Then the most obnoxious decided to go and live in America – which may explain quite a lot.

    Integration and extremism are separate issues.

    I can’t argue that point because I’m confused – I don’t know what you mean by extremism. Even if I assume that you’re following my definition of integration this sentence makes no sense to me. Sorry but, there it is.

    I guess there is still some good journalism out there … but my guess is that one would need to be familiar with the work of sociologists and anthropologists, or read the relevant government or “think tank” reports in order to reliably know the background of extremists – but some certainly attended universities.

    I don’t mean to be rude, Stephen, but that could be read in the following way: ‘I have no idea what I’m talking about – moving swiftly on … universities’. Attendance at University may be coincidentally linked to some of the terrorists. What does that tell us?

    To save time I’ll be rude and answer without waiting for your response – I apologize in advance.

    What it tells us is that University attendance probably has nothing to do with the current wave of terrorism. If I were a policeman would I investigate what those terrorists did at their University(ies)? Of course I would, and who they met and what I could learn of their characters, family backgrounds, finances, attendance records, clubs, attachments and much more besides. But, until we have evidence that their University attendance was anything more than a cover for other activities or because they lived double lives, or some similar information, we cannot say anything more.

    Integration and Ghetto’s: much is the illusion of outsiders.

    That is an interesting position. On what grounds do you make that assertion?

    Is a white working class area characterized by chip shops, bookmakers, pubs, and a few pawn shops a ghetto?

    I don’t know. I suspect that, for some of the inhabitants, the answer is yes.

    Is a mixed Hindu and Muslim area … characterized by an absence of what I listed but a lot of ’phone shops, a Bollywood music shop, mosques, loads of greengrocers and a Muslim bookshop, is that a ghetto?

    I don’t know. I suspect that, for some of the inhabitants, the answer is yes.

    Neither feels like a ghetto to me …

    Do you live in those areas? Are you in one of the predominant ethnic groups in those areas? If not, then in what way is your experience useful?

    I live in two ghettos. One is made up of former citizens of the USSR, the other is characterized by a lot of ’phone shops, ethnic music and clothing shops, mosques, lots of ethnic grocers and a Muslim community centre.

    The first ghetto is my Wife’s ghetto. She speaks excellent English, dresses in London styles, drives, understands most laws and government and her main concerns are typical for a Londoner.

    If you were to meet her you would probably say that my Wife has fully integrated into British society. You would be wrong. She lives in a ghetto. She moves from building to building down public streets as if they are corridors without side doors between minute outposts of former Soviet Union citizens – places where she works and places where other people, like her, live. She sometimes spends entire days focussed only on media hosted in countries that are former members of the Soviet Union. She is often surprised to hear about what is happening in the country in which she actually lives. She shops for delicacies at ethnic shops, attends religious ceremonies and churches that remind her of home and speaks her native language daily with friends and with me. The only reason she votes is because I encourage her. I occasionally have difficulty getting her to try new things, new places, even after 20 years.

    The other ghetto is made up of Ahmadis, a Muslim sect that is widely despised by other Muslims. Their large mosque, and other ethnic buildings, are all centred in an area called Morden. If you were to meet some of them, particularly the younger members, you would probably say that they are fully integrated into British society. You would be wrong. Some members of the older generations cannot speak English, and they wear ethnic clothing. These are merely outward signs – there is a lot more resistance to integration going on under the radar, and it holds back the younger generations.

    In both cases appearances are deceptive because the real barriers to integration are in the minds of the migrant generations. This is where you will find the real ghettos.

    I’m used to seeing mixed groups of schoolchildren of all ages talking together, walking to and from school.

    So are many people. It’s what happens when they get home that is the concern here.

    I expect that the generation gap within Muslim communities would emerge as a key issue around radicalization; some parents simply have no clue what their children are up to, whether that is behaviour they don’t approve or like drinking alcohol, petty crime like selling counterfeit clothes, or something far worse like joining a radical group.

    There is a tension between the expectations of the parent’s culture and that of the indigent culture. My Daughter has handled this well, but that is partly due to the fact that she had one indigent parent while the other parent is from an ethnic group that is European – so the expectations of both her parents were not especially different. Nevertheless, tensions remain – particularly over religion.

    My response, I will not allow myself to call it a policy because it needs a lot more thought, is that the children of immigrants need to have the option available of returning to their parent’s former country. Whether that means we should fund them, cut them off on arrival, or whatever … I don’t know. But I do believe that having the option is important.

    The other response is that we need to be nationalistic – we need to rejoice in the freedoms and rights that we have (much curtailed though they have been in recent years), just as the Americans do. This idea will set off some hair triggers in the political establishment, but I believe the evidence of the Paris atrocities is inescapable.

    Peace.



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  • Olgun, Thanks for the clip. Very helpful.. I think the fact that the UK has got to where it is on the back of others is valid …the same can be said for the US and others. Deceit and dishonesty by politicians over weapons, gold, diamonds, oil etc. That seems to be the reality of life that those with power will use it to their advantage. It still doesn’t really change the point though that the standard of living in UK, however it was/is achieved, is relatively very high. I get the point that the past treatment of the middle east by Britain did cause much hatred against it, but do you really think that the modern radical youth are avenging that or simply being attracted by the Islamic radical ideas of the hereafter and of caliphates etc?



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  • Well it does depend what you mean by standard Richard01. If you mean, because of previous actions, I worry about my wife and two sons getting hurt on the tube every morning or whether they will be gunned down at a concert then, give me a few less luxuries any day. It is a bit like South Africa and Israel. Security to balance the threat of wrong doings. A high wall in Israel to hide from reality. It is a false economy being made worse by the present government by destroying the NHS and any other help the poor might get.



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  • Hi Laurie, thanks for the comments.

    To be totally honest, I am not 100% convinced that what I purport is the best answer. I just want to clarify a few things regarding our respective opinions:

    We agree that forcing young women to wear headscarves for religious reasons, against their will, is abuse. I am certain that there are many, many cases of young women who wish to rebel against the tyranny of religious oppression. I would champion them! Let them be free! Let’s also acknowledge that there are many who wish to wear a headscarf, and who don’t understand why it is forbidden. If you can prove me wrong on this point, you win, hands down, and I accept defeat.

    Regarding the lack of references to wearing a headscarf in the Koran (that is not what I was arguing) I agree with you. In fact, it is found in the Old Testament, in Corinthians, where women are ordered to cover their heads, or risk having their heads shaved, and be shamed. Similar nonsense can be found in Leviticus. These ancient and useless rules clearly have no place in our society today (and I question if they ever did). That’s why I like the idea of having those ideas challenged at a young age. If a girl is asked, “why do you wear that,” (as I mentioned in my first comment) she needs to find out for herself. This questioning is important, and it deserves to be asked in a safe and secure environment-, i.e outside of the traditional home and community- like school.

    There are many other more or less subtle ways that other religions subjugate women, and oppress people with a barbarous and outdated system of imposed morals which can’t be addressed easily in schools because they are virtually invisible.

    The question (to paraphrase) is “what should governments do to avoid breeding home-grown terrorists?” What I’m saying is that for a person to arrive at a point of total disrespect for her/ his life (and commit a terrorist act, such as those we witnessed in Paris) means that person has first become a total nihilist. I.e, this person must believe that life itself has no meaning, and that meaning is only found otherworldly. I believe that this occurs when we rob a person of his or her identity (understanding of one’s place in the living world). I believe you’ll agree that the pillars of our identities are strongly based on our experiences during our formative years. The years prior to school, and the figures of “Mother” and “Father” are even more important in our creation of our identities. Today, in France, instead of helping the person along to re-write his/ her own metaphysical narrative (as opposed to the one imposed on him/ her by family and their faith), French schools impose a secular one which can be in direct contradiction (sometimes) with what she/ he has already learned at home. In a way, the two worlds cancel each other out. They create conflict, and a destructive one, and some (not all) can’t reconstruct themselves properly afterwards. We need to help all of them reconstruct themselves, and re-write their metaphysical narratives.

    If a person’s identity is linked to religion, in the way that it is to race, or gender, or sexuality, etc. does that mean that if we find a technology to find a way to make all children the same skin colour when they attend school a good idea? Should we oppress teenagers from expressing homosexuality, if heterosexuality is the norm? Some will say, “well religion is a choice.” In fact, the atheist cause is here because we know for many people, it simply is not. Many of us had to fight against it. It is imposed, and it is also a part of the person’s identity. Individuals need to give it up themselves in their own time, in their own way, and they need to be surrounded by a warm and caring system which wants to help them get there. This will not work by hiding it, and treating it like a dirty secret.

    All that to say, Laurie, is that you and I are on the same page and fighting the same cause. I’m not claiming to have the right answers, but it deserves debate, and I really appreciated your response, and hope you’ll take the time to respond to this one.

    Finally, I hope no-one thought I was being an apologist for these disgusting terrorists who committed these heinous crimes against Paris, my home. I just want to identify the best strategy for making sure we don’t home-grow any more of them.



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  • Some quick thoughts.
    Very well put, Kevin. Very nuanced. These are indeed tough questions. I think I agree that religious symbols should not be banned altogether. And yet I would ban some non-religious symbols. Wearing a shirt that had a “flattering” photo of Hitler or Charles Manson should probably not be allowed.
    But this seems odd. No Manson tee-shirts, and no crucifixes or stars of David? The tee-shirt is far, far worse than a damned cross. What about a drawing of Zeus? Maybe the kid is into Greek Mythology, or maybe he believes in Zeus…and Spiderman. And as to your point, what if a young girl was just being a good girl? Why pit her against her well-meaning but dumb parents?
    I think we should draw the line where the symbol directly and unmistakably represents someone or something that is an incitement to or suggestive of violence. No, that doesn’t work either.
    I guess the French should do what we do hear in the US in most states. They should lift the ban. No prayer in school, of course; that is clearly destructive. And the French equivalent of the Pledge of Allegiance, if there is one, should be banned. Those alienate the other students. The scarves and crosses, however, are on the person’s body and are therefore not being imposed on others, irritating as they are. They are not alienating, just annoying and disturbing. But that is life. And If a kid is wearing a Manson shirt, then he should be sent to the principal’s office or wherever they send kids these days, and dealt with. Take each situation as it comes individually.
    You’re not going to get a solution to this that pleases everyone. Some degree of arbitrariness and common sense will have to be employed. Can’t please everyone. The secularists will survive. And the little prick who wears a Charles Manson tee-shirt will have to be sent home and his parents will have to live with it. Again, that’s life.
    I must confess, I was not aware that France had any such laws, although I do remember hearing something about that.



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  • 121
    petermetric says:

    It maybe ok to be wrong but there is never a problem with being right

    At root, isn’t all religion about dealing with death? In its most benign form religion offers comfort to the dying :your lives carry on in some nice place. This dubious idea has morphed very naturally into the more dangerous form: your ego lives on in a far far nicer place, in fact, why bother waiting? There will likely always be tribally motivated and violent people in the world but what makes these acts particularly dangerous and difficult is that the possibility of their own death in their violent endeavours seems positively welcomed by themselves. It is my observation that a belief in an after life is most attractive to the biggest egos: surely I am too important to disappear after a few decades. To tackle this with mere words (which is what this question is asking us to do) it would be useful to plant doubt into this pervasive idea whenever encountered, and in its place to plant its antithesis: only a useful life has significance.



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  • Brian
    Nov 22, 2015 at 12:14 am

    With no natural predator we therefore must prey on ourselves.

    The greedy profiteers, who are feeding 80% of antibiotic production into feed for healthy animals, are busy correcting that lack of human predators!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34871422
    Antibiotic resistance: Experts warn of ‘post-antibiotic era’

    Bacteria are becoming resistant to the last group of antibiotics that can still fight superbugs, medical experts have warned.

    Scientists have identified bacteria able to shrug off the drug of last resort – colistin – in patients and livestock in China.

    They are warning that the world is on the cusp of a “post-antibiotic era”, where resistance would spread around the world and create untreatable infections.



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  • Brian

    (Point number) 4. War is ecologically good for the planet … for humanity. Why ? To cull our every growing population which one day will be too much for the planet to feed. With no natural predator we therefore must prey on ourselves. If war was eradicated we would soon be extinct.

    I can’t decide if you are presenting these points as statements of truth or if the statements are examples of how “terrorists” rationalize their own behavior. I hope it’s the latter and not the former.

    The word “cull” makes me sick no matter what the species is but culling of humans is beyond the pale. If you really think that culling humans is good and natural and that there is no other way to deal with our population issues then please be informed that there are real solutions out there that would solve the problem in a very positive way for everyone involved.

    Point number 1 – no argument

    Point number 2 – All species kill? I don’t think that will hold true.

    Point number 3 – no argument.

    Point number 5 –

    I have no doubt the terrorists see themselves as the Have-Nots.

    I think it’s more about politics and religion than material possessions but I see the point you’re trying to make.

    There are many aspects of human behavior that are undoubtedly “natural” but that with the civilizing processes such as ethics and humanism we are actively blocking in our individual and collective behavioral repertoires. Assuming that you are a male of our species, are you devoted to the idea of impregnating every female that you can get your hands on whether or not they care to cooperate with your goal? Why not? It’s natural!



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  • “I can’t decide if you are presenting these points as statements of truth or if the statements are examples of how ‘terrorists’ rationalize their own behavior.”

    Laurie, unless he explains why he would make such comments, and to your satisfaction, I would suggest simply not engaging with him, or those like him.

    Dawkins, by the way, advises people who are opposed to Darwinism on what they think are moral grounds, that we should not use such processes as natural selection (as beautiful as it is in itself, from a scientific standpoint) as a model to construct civil societies. On the contrary, we should go the other way; Social Darwinism (for example) is a cruel and loathsome political philosophy.



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  • we should not use such processes as natural selection (as beautiful as it is in itself, from a scientific standpoint) as a model to construct civil societies.

    Yes Dan, that’s exactly what was in my mind when I wrote that. It’s an important point.

    Culling as a merciful and natural solution-I can’t let that stand.

    Someone once said to me that food aid and other forms of foreign aid were just prolonging the victims misery since they were doomed to die anyway. The cruel shithead.



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  • Bad choice of winner- his presumption that academic qualification is paramount is utterly wrong. Modern universities are turning out mindless, indoctrinated ‘progressive’ liberals who abhor freedom of expression that disagrees with their views; how many have banned speakers who are critical of Islam, for example? Their avowed conviction that jihad is motivated by poverty, exclusion, joblessness, etc is not only absurd but also proves they know nothing of Islamic theocracy nor of its teaching of Muslim supremacy and desire for world domination by force.



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