Bobbi X Has a Bee

IN HER BONNET about a [debate|argument|food fight] that’s been going on in her comments and at Og’s Blog (and maybe elsewhere I haven’t yet been) over the question… Resolved: Islam is evil and Muslims can’t be trusted to live civilly in a civil society.

Or something like that.

In her most recent post, she makes it sound as though she doesn’t really want the debate to drag on in her comments. Me, if certain comments bugged me that much, I’d delete ’em, but different strokes and all that. Her house, her rules, and as I bear the lady some small affection and mondo respect, I’ll refrain from mouthing off on her dime on this subject.

BUT… (You knew there was a “but…”, dincha?)

But, of course, Dolly. Or, perhaps, of course, but…

I think I detect the distinct pong of the straw man in some arguments. Perhaps not intended that way, but motives are sometimes hard to discern, and the argument seems to me to be … mis-focused.

Ms X accuses those who don’t toe her party line of being “…amateur fascists or hobby socialists” “…junior Mussolinis or junior Stalins.” In an earlier posts, she asserts, “…[T]here are too damn many people out there who would happily volunteer to work the guard towers if Congress decided Monday to lock up all the Muslims in the U.S. behind barbed wire.”

For myself, having publicly made statements more-or-less in agreement with the resolved above, I must demur. While I do think that Islam presents a problem for our times, I am not at all comfortable with the “solutions”
thus far presented — in a continuum from unrestrained live-and-let-live (mistakenly assuming reciprocation) to orders given to the troops to shoot on sight on the streets of Dearborn any person spotted wearing Muslim
mufti.* For me, the point of the debate is not the resolution above, but WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT? Given, as I say, that the solutions thus far proposed are unsatisfactory.

I would also disagree with Bobbi’s argument:

No bunch of ignorant goat-herders and tactical illiterates can destroy this country. I’m not sure why some people on the Right and Left think this nation is so weak, so decadent that unAmerican measures are necessary to prop up some horrible star-spangled shell of what we used to be but I am not playing along with it and I won’t pretend it’s okay.

First off, Demonization of The Other aside, we are not fighting ignorant goat-herders and tactical illiterates. We are fighting STATE-SPONSORED proxy guerilla armies, well-trained and equipped, students of assymetrical warfare par excellence who, while their view of our weaknesses and points of instability may be prejudiced by a poor understanding of the nature of America, are not a negligible threat.

Unless you think that the trillions of dollars in wealth just … gone — poof! — in the aftermath of 9/11 is negligible.

Second, America is not their sole target. There are myriad places around the world that are also under the threat from the jihad, many of which are nowhere near as resilient as America, many of which are the homes of our trading partners. if you think that Europe, Southeast Asia, Central America, and the Caribean are well-enough innoculated to fight the forces of jihad and win, you have greater faith in the structural integrity of societies than I have. If you think we can pull in the drawbridges and isolate ourselves from the rest of the world without consequence, well… hit the snooze button and dream that one again. For me, it is on this one point that I do consider party-line libertarians to be “batshit crazy.”

Nor do I see small-l libertarianism as another name for anarchy. Libertarianism acknowledges and accepts those conditions necessary for the preservation of liberty. And, in this real world, here and now, isolationism is not conducive with the maintenance of a free state.

Despite our strength and resilience, America is not invulnerable. Nor do I consider it sane to allow the country to degrade in strength or resilience, or to allow its citizens to have their wealth — indeed their sustenance — destroyed by mad dog nihilists.

If I were on a ship and encountered a man preparing to drill a hole in the bottom of the hull, surrounded by a small group of armed thugs and a larger group of putative non-combatants, seven of ten of whom are hostile to me and the other three willing shields, if not actively complicit in the crime, am I supposed to refrain from lethal force in the prevention of this atrocity on the grounds that it hasn’t yet done any measurable damage to the hull, and that — anyway — it will only be a small hole — only killing one or two of my fellow passenger at a time — and this is a mighty ship that surely can sustain such small injury?

In what way is this sane?

Jefferson disregarded his constitutional doubts, signed the proposed treaty [The Louisiana Purchase –mpa], and sent it to the Senate for ratification. In justifying his actions, he later wrote: “[a] strict observance of the written law is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to the written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the ends to the means.”

Wikipedia

The Constitution is not a suicide pact.

Or, as Winston Churchill put it when confronted with the witless assertion that it’s better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, I prefer to be a live lion.

Which still does not make me ready to permit, countenance, or advocate breaches of the Bill of Rights in solution of this problem. I understand all too well that prior restraint and guilt by association are not done in civilized societies.

And yet…

The agreement to accept immigrants to any society is predicated on the immigrant’s accession to assimilation. All first generations have resisted this — more out of a human discomfort with change than for any particular ideological reason. And all second generations have adopted American ways, while simultaneously imprinting their mother cultures on America.

But previous waves of immigration have not seen daughters murdered out of hand for assimilating. Previous waves of immigration have not nearly universally preached sedition and treason from the pulpits of their churches, or send charitable contributions to foreign terrorists arming against America. Yes, the Irish famously supported Sinn Fein. But, in the words of the 1960s-era shaggy dog joke, not so damned shaggy. And even as it was going on, there were congregants in the churches and customers in the pubs — and priests in the parishes — who spoke out against the practice and moved to stamp it out. They didn’t (for the most part) dance in the streets when their Boyos struck a blow against the Sassenach.

And they didn’t conspire, collude, or acquiesce in treason against America.

No. Prior generations may have chaffered in the streets and the workshops and kept to themselves in ethnic eneclaves (say rather, clung together for mutual support), but not any more. I’m here to represent, as some one baptised in Boston’s Old North Church and raised in one Calvinist tradition or another, and who fell in love in his youth with a number of Catholic girls and a couple of Jewish girls, and married one of the latter — and everyone involved (including the older generation) was pretty much, “M’eh!” on the subject of what church I attended, when I did. They were far more interested in the length of my hair and the music I listened to than my religion. That’s what America does. We’re the most religious country in the world, but we tolerate each other’s faith.

Except the followers of Mohammed.

What are we supposed to do about that?

*Yes, I know that is a misnomer. It works; sue me.

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