Gosh, Maybe They Have a Point?

A short while ago I “throwed” (as we say in the country) up a post on PEGIDA (or “Pegida,” as it’s commonly, but incorrectly, rendered), the “Patriotic Europeans Against Islamization of the Occident” movement which started in Dresden and now has a good deal of the hand-wringing class in Germany up in arms.

Since then there has been quite a bit of turmoil within the ranks, to the extent they can be said to have ranks.  The fellow who was the founder of the outfit, Lutz Bachmann, was forced to bail out when it became widely known that he had put up a picture of himself on Facebook wearing a Hitler moustache and with the famous ill-combed hair hanging off the side of his head.  He also expressed some opinions about immigrants and asylum-seekers that were fairly pointed and crude.  In truth he does in that picture bear something of a resemblance to Hitler, perhaps not as eerie as the fellow who played him in Downfall.  Bachmann’s not giving the Hitlergruß in the picture, which is good for him, because that’s a criminal offense in Germany, nor are there any Nazi symbols, uniforms, tracts, etc. to see.  But still, no matter where you go in the world there’s Shit You Don’t Kid Around About, and in Germany that’s one of them.  So he had to go.  By the way, the effort by mainstream politicians to tie him formally to AfD, Alternative für Deutschland, the rising fourth party in the country, hasn’t worked.

More seriously, Bachmann’s efforts, notwithstanding his resignation from the leadership slot, to pull the levers and control the movement, has lead another four members of the leadership to resign, among them Kathrin Oertel, their public speaker.  They were unwilling to continue onwards with Bachmann’s interference, and also, it seems, not with him associated with the movement at all, given his public statements.  They took a stand on principle, in other words.  You can oppose unlimited mass immigration from places that are irredeemably hostile to Western culture without sliming the actual individuals themselves.  They were willing to do the former but not the latter.  Good for them, I suppose.

Of course, this makes the question of who’s calling the shots all the more important.  PEGIDA wouldn’t be the first mass movement to have its original leadership effectively purged, whether quasi-voluntarily or not, and then be taken over by people a helluva lot less scrupulous than they were.

Be all that as it may, among the “concerned” rhetoric of the hand-wringing classes is the insistent question of just what does “Islamization” mean.  Asking the question that way is of course supposed to highlight that all these PEGIDA trolls don’t even know or understand what it is they’re protesting against.  I mean, unless you can “define” Islamization you can’t be against it, can you?  And by “define” we mean write something down which is internally coherent, comprehensive, not over-inclusive, and easy to hold up to any given set of facts to see if it fits in the frame.

I’d observe that this insistence of being able concretely to define “Islamization” is not at all dissimilar to the insistence that unless you can define “obscenity” you can’t be against that, either.  I forget which of the Supreme Court justices it was who, in an unfamiliar outburst of common sense, pointed out that whatever “obscenity” might or might not be in the abstract, he knew it when he saw it.  By like token, you can tell Islamization when you see it.

Like this story from this morning’s Frankfurter Allgemeine ZeitungA 19-year-old girl was found dead in Darmstadt, in a park.  No missing person report was filed, no attempt made to hide the corpse’s identity.  Turns out the perps were her parents.  Her parents.  Both parents.  Her father strangled her, then he and her mother carried her body to a park and dumped it.  Dumped out in the leaves and dirt the little girl she bounced on her knee, whom she taught her first words, her colors.  Whom she tickled as she bathed, and with whom she laughed at all the silly things tiny children say.

The reason:  She wanted to marry a boy they didn’t approve of.

Parents, daughter, and boyfriend are all described as “Germans of Pakistani origin.”  Bullshit.  They’re Pakistanis who happen to living in Germany.

And this, all you hand-wringers, is Islamization of the Occident.  Now, in 2015, it is acceptable in that culture to slaughter your own child because you don’t like whom she fell in love with.  Let’s put this in perspective:  Not even in the Dark Ages, in the time of the Merovingians, did ordinary European parents kill their daughters for loving out of bounds.  I can’t even recall reading on any instances in which nobility or royalty, for whom these decisions had peace-versus-war implications, killed their children, male or female.  Might have locked them up in a convent or monastery, sure; but I’m going to take a lot of convincing before I consider that as being in the same league as taking your own hands and choking off the breath of life in your 19-year-old daughter’s throat.

Someone remind me again why it’s a wicked thing to question whether the continued uncontrolled introduction of people from cultures where such things are not only done, but the done thing, is a good idea for Western Civilization.

This is What it was Supposedly About?

Last night I watched The Interview, the movie the forthcoming release of which was allegedly the impetus behind a massive hack of Sony.  Almost immediately responsibility for the hack was ascribed to North Korea.  I understand that those much more knowledgeable on the subject have since cast earnest doubt on whether that was in fact the case.  On two occasions since someone has shut down North Korea’s internet access with various forms of attack.

And so forth, in other words.

We are told that North Korea was moved to hack Sony, which made the movie, by anger at the movie’s portrayal not only of their shitty little country, but also by the pretty graphic depiction of Kim Jong Un’s assassination at the hands of two — well, “unprepossessing” is about the most charitable expression — American pop-culture television clowns.

Don’t get me wrong.  This little snot who’s running North Korea is perfectly capable of not taking a joke, and reacting in ways that are massively beyond any reason.  Among his earlier noteworthy killings was of a general whom he thought insufficiently enthusiastic about his accession upon Kim’s pappy’s death.  He had the officer tied to a stake which had been sunk into the ground at a point on which multiple artillery pieces had been painstakingly registered.  Then they blew him to shreds.  Later on he had an uncle arrested and not only had him killed but apparently his entire family as well, including spouses and youngest descendants, small children.  I saw reports — can’t say whether they were ever confirmed — that he had uncle killed by setting a pack of dogs on him that had been starved for an extended period.  So they ate him alive.

But this movie?  It’s neither very funny nor very insightful.  “Sophomoric” gives it a bit more credit than it’s due.  I’d put it at somewhere around seventh-grade level, because that’s about the oldest that you can reliably expect children to be intrigued by the clumsy sight gags (most involving gratuitous fake blood and suchlike).  Every character in it — including the two leads — is pasteboard.  Yes, I understand:  It’s a comedy, and in a comedy you don’t go looking for development, depth, irony, contradiction, or really much of the rest of what makes humans interesting to observe.  I’m judging it by the standards of other funny movies, and these characters are still pasteboard.

The closest it gets to a serious moment is when one of the leads strolls into a storefront — implausibly left unlocked — and discovers that what he thought was a bustling, well-stock corner grocery is actually fake fruits and vegetables in bins set out in front of photo panels of packed shelves and gleaming aisles.  He stomps on a few pieces of the fake stuff, grabs a couple, steps back out onto the sidewalk and screams, “Liar!” at the top of his lungs at one of the ubiquitous enormous pictures of Li’l Kim that confront the viewer everywhere in that country.  A close second comes in the actual interview itself when the same character asks Kim if he doesn’t think his people deserve some sort of reward for having endured all the decades of assault and hostility from the entire rest of the world.  Kim of course agrees, and then interviewer asks him, “So why don’t you feed them?”

That’s it.  Two minutes, tops, out of the entire movie.

The Sony hack involved the release of e-mails in which their senior executives make the mistake of being entirely honest about some of their products and performers.  I’ll confess to no small glee when I read of Angelina Jolie being described as a minimally-talented, spoiled brat of an actress, or something like that.  Whatever else she may be, she is emphatically not, as she is characterized on the cover of a recent pop-culture rag, “intriguing” in any degree, either in herself or in relation to anyone or anything else.  Nice figure and all, at least to the extent it’s actually hers and not the product of a surgeon’s knife, but I’ve never seen her in any performance, or read or heard any pronouncement by her, that suggests she’s any more intriguing than the squeegee man who smears your windshield as you wait for the light to change.  But dear ol’ Angie makes a raft-load of money for Sony, and so it savors of delightful malice to have the bigwigs call her out.  “Very awkward, by God!” as the Duke of Wellington observed about William IV’s public rant at the Duchess of Kent (which scene is accurately portrayed in The Young Victoria, by the way, but sadly without working in the Iron Duke’s comment).

So were it not for the release of those inconvenient e-mails I’d suspect the hack of being a false-flag operation by Sony to drum up interest in an entirely forgettable movie.  As it is, this movie will pull in vastly more money than it ever deserves, and more of a fuss will be made about it than it could possibly merit.  If it was North Korea who cracked open the seal at Sony, all they’ve done is learn something about the Streisand Effect.

Don’t Reckon That’d Happen Around Here

Once upon a time, many years ago, when I’d just got back here after law skool in the Great Big City, our firm’s bookkeeper answered the phone and then went tearing out the door.  I asked what was up.  The answer was that their cows were wandering around the town where they live.

I observed, to no one in particular, “I bet my friends who went to Skadden don’t have this sort of thing happen very often around the office.”

From my dear ol’ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung we have a report from Klein Behnitz, which from the perspective of Google Earth appears to be a wide spot in the road in Brandenburg.

A 70-year-old farmer was “apparently” unable to deal with his 30 cows.  He was semi-retired, it seems, and only kept the cows . . . well, for the same reasons a lot of farmers keep livestock well past the time that they’re physically able to meet the full demands of farming.  As Solzhenitsyn pointed out, the connection between the peasant and his animals was among the lesser-recognized cultural tragedies of Stalin’s collectivization policies.  These people and their ancestors for centuries had lived cheek-by-jowl with their horses, cows, pigs, sheep, geese, ducks, chickens, and so forth.  And in a flash it was all taken away from them and they were shipped hundreds or thousands of miles away, to the depths of the taiga, to chop down trees.  Or just to starve or freeze to death.

Anyone want to bet that this 70-year-old was desperately hanging on to his life as “farmer,” and these cows were all he had left to do that?  The article mentions that his property, in the middle of the village, it seems, had up until recently always been “exemplary.”  But now it had “got above his head.”  And — heaven forfend! — he failed to watch over his cows sometimes, and — o! the horror of it all — in recent times his cows were “even running in the street.”  God save the mark.

So the government came to take his livestock from him.

They arrived this morning with their cattle trailers and he shot one of them with his shotgun, killing him.

I wasn’t there.  I’ve never been there.  So I don’t know what kind of a place Klein Behnitz is, other than from the perspective of however many miles in space Google takes pictures from.  But I’ve been in a lot of places like it.  And I have to ask myself where were this fellow’s neighbors?  If he can’t take care of his cows on his own, wasn’t there anyone at all in his village who could have pitched in, just a little?  Couldn’t they have taken turns?  Around here your cows get out in the road and, while you’re expected to come get them yourself, it’s also expected that your neighbors will help out if they can.

Maybe Klein Behnitz just got tired of an old man who wasn’t up to it any more.  I dunno.  But the government came to destroy a man’s very identity, and now another man is dead.

Someone explain to me how this demonstrates that “government is just another name for what we all do together.”

PEGIDA and the Projection of the Leftists

Once upon a time I used CNN’s web site as my internet start page.  As Inspector Clouseau would say, not any more.  Ever since 2006, when CNN joyfully enlisted itself in Al Qaeda’s effort to throw the mid-term elections by releasing a propaganda film showing American troops being shot by terrorists, by broadcasting and re-broadcasting the short film, I have used the web site of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung as my start page.  It’s a convenient way to keep my language skills from completely atrophying, and it can provide some extremely interesting cross-fixes on issues that concern not only Germany and Europe, but the entire world.  Without going into the subject too deeply, each society has its baggage, baggage which prevents certain topics from being discussed as honestly as in places which don’t have that specific baggage to carry.  Just by way of example, here in the U.S. it’s the legacy of chattel slavery; in Germany it’s the legacy of the Holocaust; in Britain it’s the legacy of the Empire; in Russia it’s the omerta which still hangs over a world full of collaborators in the most murderous ideology every to have plagued the Western world.

All of which is a very roundabout way of saying I’ve been, not exactly monitoring, but paying some degree of attention to a group that has coalesced in Germany in recent months and which calls itself Patriotische Europäer Gegen Islamisierung des Abendlandes, or PEGIDA.  Translated that works out in round numbers to Patriotic Europeans Against Islamization of the Occident.  I say “coalesced” because it’s not really terribly plain what sort of organizational structure, if any, they have.  In this respect they bear a more than passing resemblance to the Tea Party movement here.  It does not appear to be an astroturf movement, like MoveOn.org, or the Pew Foundation, or a front group for operations who dare not present themselves in daylight, as was the case for the communist/anarchist/terrorist backers of the “Occupy” groups.  It appears to be a more or less genuinely grassroots outfit, for the time being.  That’s neither speaking good or ill of it, only that the demonstrators are — at least at the moment — by and large unguided.  Again, that could bode well or ill, depending on how things develop.  They’re not being used, which is good, but then they’re ripe for being used, which is bad.

The center of gravity of PEGIDA seems to be in Dresden, although demonstrations have occurred elsewhere, most prominently in Cologne, where the cathedral doyens took it upon themselves to cut the lights off at the cathedral so that it couldn’t be used as a photo-backdrop.  Whatever.  Every Monday in Dresden they turn out by the thousand to march for, or against, whatever it is they think they’re doing it for.  Their first such march of 2015 drew something like 18,000 participants.  It’s been claimed that Dresden being the focal point is curious because there are so many fewer Muslims there than elsewhere in Germany.  I’m not sure that’s all that inexplicable; it’s why, after all, you find firefighting equipment and conduct fire drills in buildings that aren’t already burning.

But what’s this all about?  The PEGIDA movement is universally described as “right-wing” and “anti-immigrant”:  Publications from the predictable to those which ought to know better join in.  A few samplings:

The Guardian tells us, “German anti-immigrant groups have been quick to respond to the murderous attacks in Paris saying they are proof of the significant threat posed by Islamists[.]  Pegida, or Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the Western World, a right-wing populist group which has been gaining support in weekly demonstrations since October, said in a statement that the attacks confirmed their views.”

From National Review, we have:  “it does seem that the rise of Pegida is yet another example of the truth of Mark Steyn’s maxim that I will quote yet again:  ‘If the political culture forbids respectable politicians from raising certain topics, then the electorate will turn to unrespectable ones.'”  In the author’s defense, he does observe that at least some of the participants in this movement have . . . ummmmmm . . . other affiliations which are partially or wholly objectionable.  On the other hand, he ought to know better than to tar with a single brush a movement which is (again, thus far) so unstructured.  Just because the Democrat Party here enjoys and in fact solicits support from numerous groups whose objectives and methods are abhorrent to the interests of the United States, do we paste single labels on it and its candidates?  How about the NAACP?  Of course not.

EurActiv.com shares with us:  “Pegida defames Islam in general.  At Pegida demonstrations, speakers not only took aim at radical Muslims but at Islam as a whole. Muslim burial rites were criticised, for example.”  The same article also mentions one of the problems with trying to get a grip on who and what PEGIDA is actually about:  “Up until recently, Pegida’s organisers had turned down requests to hold talks with political parties, claiming it desired to remain nonpartisan. Interview requests from German media are also usually rejected by the alliance.”  Gee whiz; level accusations, however thickly padded with code-words (and sometimes not even that veiled), of being a quasi-Nazi resurgence movement, and the people you’re accusing get reluctant to talk with you.  Who could have seen that coming?  And I’ll note that you cannot “defame” an idea; you can disparage it, hold it up to ridicule, even savagely attack it.  But “defamation” is something that is peculiar to people and their reputations (even “trade disparagement” is, at bottom, tied to people’s business reputations).

Newsweek (yeah, it’s still out there, not that anyone cares) labels it an “anti-immigrant movement.”  In a subtle elision of their news section with their reviews of current fiction, they bring us this quotation from the present German Interior Minister:  “German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the attack in Paris had nothing to do with Islam.  ‘Islamic extremists and Islamic terror are something entirely different from Islam,’ he said. ‘It is immensely important to underscore that difference on a day like today.'”  No.  Seriously.  He really said that.  Gunmen shoot up a newspaper office, shouting that Allah is great! and The Prophet is avenged, and that has “nothing” to do with Islam.

The Beeb goes for the click-bait headline:  Anti-Islam Pegida March in City of Dresden, but then goes on to flirt with heresy to its resolutely leftish agenda:  “What has startled politicians, though, is that many in the crowds at Dresden are not extremists or neo-Nazis. As conservative politician Wolfgang Bosbach puts it, these are concerned mothers and pensioners.”

Slate tells us, “Xenophobia is Going Mainstream in Germany“.  Here we’ve got a good example of the calling-them-Nazis-but-not-using-the-word.  “So far, PEGIDA has been smarter. They are taking the same ideas that traditionally were only voiced by scary guys with shaved heads and armbands—the anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiments—and packaging them in a way that normal middle-class Germans can embrace.”  And what are the “same ideas” shared by “scary guys with shaved heads and armbands”?  Why, those are neo-Nazi outfits.  And sacre bleu! we’ve got folks who explicitly deny being xenophobic and who’ll quote MLK at you “packaging” Nazi ideas so as to dupe regular folks.  But hist!  What’s this:  “PEGIDA’s opponents so far have been trying to dismiss it as part and parcel of a movement that includes people who wave swastikas and try to burn down mosques. “They are clearly Nazis,” one observer in Dresden commented to the New York Times. But to a lot of Germans, that’s not so clear.  PEGIDA has appeal beyond the traditional far-right fringe, and it would be a mistake for German leaders and the media to simply dismiss it.”  Maybe something that 34% of your population thinks has a point isn’t all that far out after all (or maybe it is; recall that Hitler polled over 40% in his last election).

For an article that eschews the customary why-bother-looking labels (although the author can’t resist the frisson-of-fear “shadowy”), we have at BuzzFeed someone who actually seems to have taken a look at at least a few of the actual people involved.

“In an interview at a hotel bar in Dresden’s historic center, [Kathrin] Oertel, the PEGIDA organizer, said that she and a dozen friends felt they had had enough after the Kurdish rebel group PKK and their German supporters held a rally in central Dresden in early October. ‘We don’t want them to carry out their quarrels on our streets,’ she said. ‘This isn’t any of our business.’  * * *  Oertel, 36, a business consultant and mother of three, said that the ‘Islamification’ of her home state of Saxony, where less than 3% of the population are foreigners, may not seem like a problem. ‘The Muslims are making it a problem,’ said Oertel, who has long blonde hair and was dressed all in black. She said it started in her children’s school, where Muslim girls wear headscarves and don’t take part in swimming lessons. ‘I don’t have anything against Christians or Buddhists or Jews,’ Oertel, an atheist, said. ‘They don’t bother me and don’t demand I observe certain rules so as not to offend them.’”

All of the above are other people’s take on it.  Does PEGIDA have anything to say for itself?  Turns out, it does, or rather might, assuming this document is legitimate:  A position paper of what PEGIDA is for, and what it is against:  Among the things they say (editorial aside: they fall prey to the annoying habit of ending every sentence with an exclamation!):

1.    They claim to be for the acceptance of war refugees and the religiously persecuted.

2.    They claim to be for the right and duty of integration into German society (contrast, for example, the official Nazi position that a Jew could never be a German).

3.    They claim to be for a reduction in the case load of social workers attending to asylum seekers’ needs.  They claim it is presently 200:1, which they point out — correctly, I suggest — is the equivalent of no help at all.

4.    In asylum applications, they claim to be for a process similar to Holland’s or Switzerland’s, and an increase in resources to “massively” sink the processing and decision time.

5.    They claim to be for “resistance” to a misogynist, violence-focused political ideology (Islamization is plainly meant) but deny being against resident “integrated” Muslims.

6.    They claim to be for an immigration policy after the models of Canada, South Africa, Switzerland, and Australia.  I’ll mark this one with a “huh?” since I know bugger all about how those places do it.

7.    They claim to be for “sexual self-determination.”  Whatever; I’ll observe that this position alone makes it incompatible with Islam.

8.    They claim to be for the preservation and protection of “our Judeo-Christian” “geprägte” culture.  That last word is significant.  “Prägen” is a verb which means “stamp,” as in to stamp a coin, or to stamp something with characteristics by influence.  It doesn’t imply identity.  This is important, because only a liar or a fool would deny that in fact Western civilization is profoundly stamped by Judeo-Christian ideas, and only a liar could deny that Islam wants nothing at all to do with large swathes of that.

9.    They claim to be for the introduction of plebiscites along the Swiss model.

10.    They claim to be against permitting “parallel societies” to arise, with specific reference to their structuring along the lines of sharia.  This is scarcely a newly-discovered issue in Germany.  The FAZ itself has repeatedly in recent times run articles and even series of articles on the subject.  I wrote at some length about one such here.

11.    They claim to be against radicalism, whether political or religious, and against preachers of hate, of whatever religion.

So that’s what they say about themselves.  They might be lying.  They might be using anodyne phrasing to mask something a very great deal more sinister.  Remember the Nazis came out with a 25-point agenda in 1920, not a single point of which mentioned  or even came close to implying the slaughter of every Jew in every corner of Europe they could lay hands on.  Said nothing about invading Eastern Europe and starving to death every Slav whom they didn’t work to death.  On the other hand, before concluding that whoever put this PEGIDA position paper together really means something different, I’m going to need a great deal more convincing than self-serving statements from mainstream politicians whose fear is transparently one of lost votes and money.  Angela Merkel may huff and puff that these folks are just self-evidently radical right-wingers who shove their little Nazi party pins inside their shirt pockets on the way to the rally, but how much of that is trying to drive a wedge between on the one hand a movement that 34% of her population expresses some degree of sympathy with, and on the other AfD, a nascent fourth party which has put down roots to the right of the CDU/CSU tired-out, anything-to-remain-power coalition?  A couple of years ago The Economist ran a pretty lengthy article on Merkel, and observed that her principal trait was a willingness to embrace the opposition’s position, to under-sell it, so to speak.  That’s just a very polite way of pointing out that you’ll do or say anything just to stay in office.  Nowadays, when the lamestream media no longer controls the discussion, eventually voters will figure you out.  It’s why RINOs in America are so contemptuous of the Tea Party:  These people actually stand for something and are willing to act on their convictions.

Of course, the inability to show that PEGIDA actually means something different from what its says doesn’t stop the professional hand-wringing class from claiming exactly that.  Case in point:  An article in today’s FAZ, “What the Demonstrators of PEGIDA Actually Want“.  Well.  Jolly good thing we’ve got this author to explain it all to us; we might have been fool enough to read PEGIDA’s position paper.  And what do they “actually want”?

“Obviously” they “fear foreigners whom they scarcely know.”  Funny, I’ve not heard that PEGIDA is campaigning against immigration from China, or South America, or even Eastern Europe; as near as I can tell they’re against further infiltration by specifically Islamic foreigners, and against further expansion of the power of Islamic residents over the coduct of society in Germany.  The common element is not place of origin, but rather a specific, aggressive, violent religion (kind of like they say in their position paper, you know).  “Islamization” means they’re afraid that the “culture could so alter itself, that one would feel as if he lived in an Islamic state.”  And then, in what American readers of, e.g., the NYT, will readily recognize as opinion-masquerading-as-reportage, we have the “many think” sleight-of-hand.  “Many think,” this author tells us, that the PEGIDA demonstrators fear “many other things,” and not just Islamization.  Like “losing their job” (the hoary stand-by of the left: you don’t have principles; you’re just in it for the money), or “that one day their pension will be too low” (ditto), or that their money will evaporate and their savings won’t be enough (gee, wonder why in Germany of all places the fear of inflation finds resonance; otherwise: ditto (the link, by the way, is to a picture of a five-billion Mark — RM5,000,000,000 — . . . postage stamp)).  The people in the former DDR have already experienced how, with the collapse of their worker’s and peasant’s paradise, their “conditions of life” can be “completely altered”; “perhaps” they’re just “scared of further change.”

Scared of further change:  The ultimate weasel accusation.  Sort of like Britain was “scared of further change” when it guaranteed Poland’s borders against . . . well . . . against the Germans.  Or like the abolitionists after 1850 were “scared of further change,” like the “change” that the new fugitive slave law was actually going to be enforced, and the slave power was actually entering an aggressively expansionist phase.  Or that the American colonists in the early 1770s were “scared of further change” that the king and Parliament were going to reduce them to vassalage after 150-odd years of letting them by and large run themselves.

But what “further change” might the PEGIDA folks be “scared of”?  Well, like getting your ass shot up by someone shouting Allahu akhbar! because he didn’t like a joke you told.  Or entire suburbs of your national capital being places where it’s just not safe for your own police and firefighters to go, because they’re attacked by Islamic thugs.  Or gangs of Pakistani men gang-raping over 1,400 little girls over the course of 18 or so years.  Or soldiers of your own country being slaughtered in broad daylight because . . . well, because Allah is great (or at least real swell).  Or “honor killings” where teenage girls have their throats slit because daddy doesn’t approve of their boyfriend.  Or entire segments of the population checking out of the law, establishing their own religious courts to mete out sharia justice.  Or competing groups of religiously-motivated thugs fighting it out on the streets of your own cities.  Or having to wonder, every time you get on a train, whether someone’s going to blow it sky-high for the greater glory of a 7th Century pederast.  And so forth.

That fat-headed German Interior Minister deserves to be on the next train that gets blown up.  What happened in Paris this past week has everything, every-damned-thing in the world, to do with Islam as such.  As that el-Sisi boy in Egypt said in exactly so many words (words which the Western press is studiously ignoring):

“Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live? Impossible! . . . All this that I am telling you, you cannot feel it if you remain trapped within this mindset. You need to step outside of yourselves to be able to observe it and reflect on it from a more enlightened perspective.  I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move… because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.”

I’m certainly not going to put myself out there as carrying the water for PEGIDA or anyone else.  They may turn out to be dupes or worse.  But to point out that Islamization of the Western world is an aggressively pursued policy that has absolutely nothing — nothing at all — good to offer us, and that open-door immigration from those areas of the world whose societies are not merely not-“geprägt” by Judeo-Christian values, but actively and violently opposed to them, is nothing that can end well?  Until someone can show me that the imams to whom el-Sisi was speaking actually get out there and demonstrate, by book, chapter, and verse, that all these criminals in Islamized Europe in fact have it wrong . . . well, until then I think PEGIDA’s got the better argument.

Layers of Fact Checkers

Part of the knock of the Legacy Media on the blogosphere is its supposed inaccuracy, nay irresponsibility.  The just-say-anything-to-draw-the-clicks ethos of the bloggers stands in marked contrast, we are told, to the flaying gauntlet of editors and fact-checkers which even the slightest statement by A Journalist must endure before it sees the light of day.

Thus, we can all assume that everything we see or hear that comes from the Legacy Media is holy writ.  This especially applies to statements which characterize large numbers of people, in large areas, and over prolonged periods.  Because, of course, it would be the height of unethical behavior to make some inflammatory statement about an extremely sensitive topic (irrespective of to whom sensitive), and because it would be unethical we can rest assured that it does not happen.  Not with the Legacy Media.  No sirree.

Then, of course, we have this from CBS News (the same folks who brought you “fake-but-true” with their flagship 60 Minutes show in 2004, when they tried to throw a U.S. presidential election).  It’s a piece about a documentary which re-examines a killing in a small Florida town in 1952.  A black woman walked into a white doctor’s office and shot him dead.  At her trial a very sordid story came out, involving a prolonged sexual liaison between the doctor and the woman, and drugs either taken by or inflicted upon the woman and supplied by the doctor, the effect of which were, either separately or together, sufficiently mind-altering that the woman eventually beat the death penalty with an insanity plea at a retrial.  She’d been sentenced to death at her first trial.  The Florida Supreme Court in State v. McCollum, 74 So.2d 74 (Fla. 1954), reversed and awarded a new trial.  Apparently at that time it was within the court’s discretion to order that the jury physically view the location of a homicide.  The trial court so ordered, but then the judge voluntarily blew off the viewing, such that a portion of the trial proceedings necessarily occurred outside the judge’s supervision.  This was reversible error.

I’ll note, by the way, that this was small-town South in 1952, at the very beginnings of what became the final push in the civil rights movement.  A time during which whites all over the South (and north as well . . . recall that Brown v. Board of Education’s full style continued: “. . . of Topeka, Kansas”) were at general quarters to defend the system of legalized oppression which we all know now as Jim Crow.  At the risk of understatement, were I a defense lawyer I sure wouldn’t want to have to save my black client’s neck with an insanity defense in that place at that time.  Too hard to prove; too laden with visceral antipathy (I mean, think about it: that plea has never had good press, not with any defendant and not at any time).  And yet this defendant, while convicted, was spared the death penalty on that basis.  So maybe the racial dynamics of the place and time weren’t quite as simplistic as the CBS News article implies.  I can’t say for sure, although the two data points, viz. hang-’em-high all-white jury (interestingly the article gives the all-white racial make-up of the first jury, but says nothing about the second . . . you’d think that any high school newspaper reporter would ask — and answer — that question) and successful insanity plea, don’t inhabit the same logical space very well.

What I object to in the CBS News article, however, is this statement:   “The slaying stirred racial tensions in Jim Crow-era Suwannee County, when robed Ku Klux Klansmen regularly marched through Main Street in a show of force and lynchings were common in the Deep South.”  Were they in fact “common”?  Does anyone know?

Someone does know, and it only takes five seconds to type in the Google search term to find out.  The Tuskegee Institute (scarcely an errand boy of the Klan, we can safely assume) began keeping records of lynchings, everywhere in the United States, beginning in 1882.  They tracked it by year and by race of victim.  Here’s a summary of their data.  The last year in their database is 1968, so they covered 86 years total.  From 1882 through 1968 they show 4,742 total lynchings, almost 73% of the victims of which are given as black (I’m surprised the proportion is that small; I would’ve figured somewhere north of 95%).  So we can test whether “lynchings were common in the Deep South” during the years around 1952.  Mathematics and all, dontcha know.  For the twenty-one years centered on 1952 (ten before and ten after, plus the year itself, or 24.4% of the entire period for which the Institute keeps the data), the Tuskegee Institute shows, nationally, 32 lynchings, or not quite two-thirds of one percent of the total, with three of the victims shown as white.  To put it in perspective, almost a full quarter of the years covered accounts for less than two-thirds of one percent.  For the period 1952 through 1968 inclusive the Institute shows ten lynchings.  Suprisingly, three of those victims were white.  That was something that really surprised me when I first looked at their data.

To borrow an expression that’s become pretty commonplace in recent months about the supposed “epidemic” of rape on college campuses, “Even one is too many.”  That’s certainly true of rape, and it’s equally true of lynchings.  On the other hand, you cannot look at the data and come to any conclusion other than that by 1952, lynchings were very nearly if not absolutely a thing of the past, all but vanished from the American landscape.  Inclusive of the year that Ruby McCollum whacked either her rapist or her paramour (depending on whose story you believe), there remained a further ten to record, just over two-tenths of one percent of the total lynchings since 1882.  I defy anyone to make an argument that they were therefore “common” anywhere in the United States in 1952, or even terribly frequent during the twenty-one years including and surrounding that year.

But hey, who cares about mere numbers, when you’ve got a narrative to get out there?

Layers of fact-checkers my left foot.