Monday, August 11, 2008

Vivat Libertas!

Underfoot


     It was a fun week, boys and girls. Stocks went up. Stocks went down. Stocks went up again. Oil just went down. The Barry & John show droned on, both of them sniping at each other. Congress took a long-deserved break -- we're the ones who deserve it, not they -- from doing nothing to go home and . . . well, do nothing. A different John got caught with his pants down. Something major's going on in Peking, but I really couldn't be bothered to pay much attention. And some people said some stuff about things, but I didn't pay too terrible much attention to that, either. While I wasn't paying attention to all this I was paying attention to the slow, backwards slide of liberty in various parts of the globe. A couple of stories caught my eye, and I'd like to share them with you.

O Canada!

AmericaAlone     It didn't happen last week, but I just happened to be reading about it. As a matter of fact, the "trial" ended a while ago, and now all we can do is sit and wait. Will they fine him? Will they censure him? Will he be forced to apologize? Who is he, you ask? He's Mark Steyn, noted Canadian and author. What was his crime? He wrote a book. That's right, that stupid and insensitive bastard had the balls to further his career as a writer and pundit by actually writing and publishing a book. Specifically, the book was about unfettered immigration of Muslims from the Islamic world to the west and how this would result in a fundamental change in western culture . . . and not for the better, mind you. The book, in and of itself, wasn't the problem. It was only when Steyn had an article published in Maclean's, Canada's leading news weekly, in October of 2006 that more than a year later he ran afoul of the tender sensibilities of the Canadian Islamic Congress, Canada's leading organization of whiny cry-babies. In December of 2007 the CIC filed complaints with three of Canada's provincial Human Rights Commissions, and while two of them dismissed the complaints the HRC in British Columbia was brave enough to accept; you can read all about this particular judicial farce on Andrew Coyne's blog (day one, parts one & two; day two; day three; day four; and day five). The idiocy and asininity of a tribunal where anybody can bring a charge of discrimination, no matter its validity, was the first thing that caught my eye. But it was the absurdity of political correctness run amok, and my total disgust with it, which made me pay attention: PC-ness, in general, and the the attitudes of Muslim immigrants in the West, in particular.

     It is that attitude which exposes the bankruptcy of the ethos of political correctness. The PC code demands that we accept anyone and everyone into our societies, no matter how vastly divergent their own moral or political ethos may be. Therefore we are presented with the hypocrisy of Muslims who emmigrate to the West in order to enjoy the wealth and prosperity we've built over the past few centuries and yet refuse to accept anything else about our society or culture. We live in a land literally flowing with milk and honey, and our streets might as well be paved with gold. But all this prosperity is the result of the western concept of freedom, and part of that freedom is a) the right to speak one's mind, and b) the responsibility to accept criticism. Muslims are the worst offenders, in this regard. In filing their conplaints, the CIC simply proved Steyn's point: criticize or otherwise disagree Islam and Muslims will use the organs and power of the state to shut you up. That's hardly what I would call tolerance. The hypocrisy is all the more egregious when you consider the existence of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The OIC consists of fifty-seven Muslim-majority member states devoted to, among other things, the preservation and promotion of Islamic ideals. Now, if you wanted to live in an Islamic society you have fifty-seven choices, all thoroughly vetted and approved by the OIC. That's twenty-six more choices that Baskin-Robbins used to offer, and that was only for ice cream. But the Muslim world never invented anything as successful as Baskin-Robbins, or Dunkin' Donuts, or McDonald's, or even cheap, industrially-produced steel. And therein lies the rub: Muslims must leave their own societies in order to enjoy the prosperity those very soceties have failed to provide, and when the get here they demand that we remake our society to suit their tastes. Never you mind the fact that it was western ideals which made such prosperity possible in the first place, and don't you dare mention it out loud or somebody might get upset and have the government come down on you like a ton of bricks.

The best laid plans of mice and bureaucrats . . .

Ireland     Thanks to Hibernia Girl, I was alerted to an article by one Gene Kerrigan, published in Dublin's Sunday Independent, detailing some of the trials and tribulations involved in passing the European Union's constitution. You may remember the EU's initial failure at ratification in mid-2005 after the French and Dutch rejected the thing and the UK, Ireland, Poland, and Portugal cencelled their scheduled referenda altogether; it was a pretty humiliating defeat. Undaunted, however, the bureaucracy in Brussels ginned up a new version, popularly known as the Lisbon Treaty, and promptly set about ramming their latest concoction down the throats of the peoples of Europe, insisting that the treaty be ratified by parlimentary vote only. Showing blatant disregard for the dictatorial process, however, the Irish decided instead to follow their own sovereign law and hold a public referendum anyway, seeing as how the Lisbon Treaty's provisions stood in sufficient and stark enough contrast to those of their constitution. Just about everyone in government urged the people to vote "yes"; on June 12th they voted "no". For those of you keeping score, that's Sovereign Statehood 2, Supranational Socialism 0. Now Kerrigan reports that, in an article published in the Irish Times by Stephen Collins, the government in Dublin has considered disregarding the people and implementing the more important provisions of the Lisbon Treaty piecemeal, wholly without the people's consent. Collins swears that this must be done in order to save Ireland from again becomming a "client state of Britain." The Redcoats are coming, you see, and the government must save the people from themselves by any means necessary.

     This is a blatant and weaselly usurpation of power by a small elite. EU bureaucrats have never bothered to explain what the EU is about or why it's really necessary; all they ever do is make vague statements about co-operation and European unity, as if these things were ends in-and-of themselves, rather than merely the means. They haven't even bothered to state a compelling unifying principle, something which would bind the people of Europe together, something which would give Europeans reason enough to cede power and authority to what is already an overbearing government. Here in the US we have the Declaration of Independence, self-evident truths and the "unalienable Rights . . . [of] Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." In Brussels they can't even come up with democracy. With the Lisbon Treaty, it should be apparent to anyone with both the IQ and common sense God gave a turnip that all they care about in Brussels is the usurptation and consolidation of power into a supranational mega-state, and to hell with anyone who stands in their way. The government in Dublin has gotten the message, loud-and-clear and five-by-five. I thank God that the Irish have not.

Meanwhile, Back in the USSR . . .

Putin's Birthday     Soviet Union, redux? Sure looks that way. You should have by now heard that Russian forces have invaded the small republic of Georgia. This problem has been a long-time brewing, and while Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili’s attempt to take back South Ossetia by force was certainly ill-timed and unwise, it seems that most of the blame here lise upon Russian shoulders. Moscow has been supporting thre Ossetian government and armed forces for years, including issuing full Russian passports to Abkhazians and South Ossetians. When asked, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev justified the incursion on the grounds that the Russian constitution requires him to protect "the life and dignity" of his citizens, no matter where they be. This apparently includes all those seperatists holding Russian passports. That reminds me of that fellow in Germany in the 1930s and his concept of the Volksdeutsche and how they needed to be protected. We all know how that turned out.

     One the one hand, I like seeing somebody make a bold power grab through semi-naked aggression, as opposed to the weasel-way of legal chicanery. On the other, more important, hand, this is a bald-faced attempt to force Tbilisi to march to the beat of the Kremlin's drum. There's no way in hell the Georgian Army could have stood up against Russia's, and everybody knows it. And while it's not apparent that Moscow's goal is a full invasion, try telling that to Czechoslovakia. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin -- the man behind the throne, so-to-speak -- has accused the Georgians of "complete genocide" and has said that they have "lost the right to rule." Nevermind the fact that Moscow never gave a damn about the Chechyns' right to self-rule, or the Kosovars'; now they're the champions of the horribly oppressed Ossetians. "Defending" their "citizens" also apparently entailed bombing the airport in Tbilisi which, incidentally, isn't located in South Ossetia, and taking a shot at knocking out the Baku-Supsa oil pipeline terminal, also not located in South Ossetia. I'll be waiting for the loud and indignant condemnations against Russia for launching a war for oil: if they manage to shut down that terminal, a full one percent of the world's oil supply will be blocked and prices will rise, benefitting Russia's now-nationalized oil industry. What happens in Georiga also affects the world at large. Georgia has been a stalwart ally of the US, and if we fail to support her we run the risk of alienating all our other allies. And if Georgia falls, the Ukraine and the Batlic states know all too well that they're next on Moscow's hit list. Long live freedom!