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A Cheer For Muslim League in Italy


An national Egyptian imam in Rome praises sucide bombers and the Italian Muslim League suspends him. Of course, later a League spokesman refers to the imams rhetoric as a “sin of youth,” which makes you wonder if they really get it.

Is Islam a Western Religion?


Jonah: Well, in the first place, Judaism, Islam and Christianity spring
from common roots, so I think it is fair to group them together when
discussing doctrinal issues like this. From a literary and doctrinal point
of view–even, up to a point, from a cultural point of view–the three big
monotheist faiths have far more in common with each other than any of them
has with Buddhism (an atheist religion) or Hinduism (a polytheist one).
They even share a common racial/linguistic stock: the first Muslims, like
the first Jews and the first Christians, were speakers of Semitic languages.
Islam and Christianity are really just Judaic heresies. It does not follow
that Islam can properly be called “Western,” though, so I think you have a
point. In the European mental universe, the East begins with Anatolia and
the Levant–Muslim territory, for the most part. Islam therefore belongs to
the East, though nothing like as definitively as Buddhism and Hinduism.

Check out Book 3 of Paradise Regained, where the Tempter takes the Savior
up to the top of a high mountain and shows him all the lands of “the
East”–what we would nowadays call Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
(“Assyria and her empire’s ancient bounds, / Araxes and the Caspian lake,
thence on / As far as Indus east, Euphrates west, / And oft beyond; to south
the Persian bay, / And inaccessible the Arabian drouth…” To my mind,
these and the following are among the loveliest lines in all of English
literature.) The Tempter asks the Saviour how, supposing He could get
control of Palestine, his rule could survive “Between two such enclosing
enemies, / Roman and Parthian? Therefore one of these / Thou must make sure
thy own…” Look at the world-view there. In the center, Jerusalem; to the
west, Rome; to the east, what is now the Islamic heartland. That agrees
with your point; and yet, the implication is of civilizational unity at a
deep level. All sprang from the soil of the Fertile Crescent; no
European–certainly not Milton–would have spoken of China, or India, or
sub-Saharan Africa in those terms.


Gay Marriage


Stanley: Speaking personally, a necessary, though not sufficient, condition
for me to support “gay marriage” would be a sure knowledge, based on
reliable statistics, that homosexual unions are not much less stable than
marriages currently are. If homosexual unions are much less stable than
marriages, then I can’t see how it can be denied that including such unions
within the scope of socially-recognized marriage would weaken marriage. Are
there actually any reliable statistics here? Given the difficulty of
defining “union,” and the agendas of everyone involved, it is possible that
there aren’t. If there are, though, I’d very much like to know what they
tell us.

Web Briefing: December 25, 2014

The Marketing of a President’s Wife


Here’s another glimpse into the PR strategy of the Hillary book rollout. The Washington Post story on the political arguments in Hillary’s book is quite interesting. Apparently Senator Clinton believes the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court is a raving zealot and hack. But we haven’t heard about that in all of the interviewsk, and now we kind of know why. According to the Post, Mrs. Clinton “declined to be interviewed about the political content of her book.”

That’s different than saying she declined to be interviewed. Rather, if the Post wanted to ask her about Monica Lewinsky or her “zone of privacy” mumbo-jumbo, Hillary would have said yes.

Isn’t it odd that a feminist standard-bearer and US Senator refuses to discuss the political content of her new book? Maybe that’s because she only wants to discuss her private life and her alleged victimhood. And the reason for that is this whole thing is political theater. One wonders what ground rules she set for other interviews.




I did not post in response to Jonah’s echo check. :-)

Good Stuff


Watch Peter Robinson’s Uncommon Knowledge on PBS (produced by Hoover) in the old Firing Line slot. Good guests, great interviewer, constructive debate. On their site right now there is streaming video and transcript from Peter’s interview with our Victor Davis Hanson here. And read my interview with VDH from earlier in the week, if you missed it, too–and buy the book, worth reading. As if he wasn’t a leader on international issues, domestic too–and the most contentious, too!)







For The Record


I wasn’t really trying to offend or even tweak Derb with the whole Islam-West thing. Rather, I just thought it would be a fun thing to debate, that’s all. It didn’t even occur to me that it might seem otherwise until I read a few emails from readers surprised that I would “go after” Derb that way.

More On Caldwell


I agree with Clyde Wayne Crews Jr. that private-sector approaches to combatting spam should be thoroughly tried before we even talk about federal regulation. But my biggest objection to Caldwell’s piece is his discussion of Internet taxes. Caldwell writes that “it is. . . a social necessity that the principle of taxing the Internet be established soon. This will mean retiring the (in retrospect) absurdly named Internet Tax Freedom Act of 1998, which placed a moratorium on certain Internet taxes, and was extended in 2001 until November of this year.”

He continues, “It was always unfair not to tax business on the Internet, of course. There is no reason that should enjoy a pricing advantage (a de facto government subsidy) over a corner bookstore. But the most damaging part of the moratorium turns out to have been the most innocent-looking: that it banned charges for Internet access. Something like e-mail “postage” will be required if we are going to change the economic incentives that have invited pornographers, snake-oil salesmen, and other social predators into Americans’ living rooms. . .”

The clear implication is that the Internet tax moratorium bars taxes on online sales. It does not. Chris Cox, a Republican congressman from California and a leading sponsor of the moratorium, emphasized this point in a conference call today on his efforts to make the moratorium permanent. (He also expressed some annoyance with Caldwell’s failure to contact him before writing the piece.) The moratorium touches online sales taxes only insofar as it bars “multiple and discriminatory” taxes on online sales. There has to be an offline analogue to any sales tax levied on Internet purchases. (The moratorium also let existing taxes that violate the bill’s principles stand.)

The real issue on Internet taxes has always been whether Congress should authorize the states to work together to tax one another’s citizens. That’s what Walmart (which is the real lobbying muscle behind that “corner bookstore”) wants: An Internet sales-tax cartel of the states, in which Amazon would have to help every state in the union collect sales taxes and in which a Maryland resident could no longer avoid Maryland’s sales-tax rates by shopping somewhere else.

Cox confesses that he cannot makes heads or tails of Caldwell’s tax-against-spam proposal. Nothing in his moratorium would seem to bar an Internet service provider from imposing such a levy if it thought customers would find the trade-off acceptable.

Cox thinks that there is a 90 percent chance that the Internet tax moratorium will be made permanent this year. Limited though the moratorium is, that’s a good thing.

Canada & Gay Marriage


In response to my piece on Canadian gay marriage, Andrew Sullivan argues that the Canadian public actually favors same-sex marriage. I’ve seen different reports on this, some of which describe a slight majority in favor of gay marriage, and some of which say that the Canadian public is evenly split. But the larger point is that judges do not have a right to legislate by poll. The democratic process is the place for that. Were there a chance for a real democratic debate on the gay marriage issue, folks like myself would have a chance to make their case to the public that there are real and legitimate public policy concerns that tell in favor of retaining the current definition of marriage. That’s what democratic debate is all about. But with the media and the courts controlled by those who do not want such a debate to take place, a real decision by the public is rendered impossible. Fortunately, the Federal Marriage Amendment campaign in the United States will give us a chance for a genuine policy debate on this issue, however much the courts attempt to legislate behind the backs of the public.

Commencement Addresses


Thanks for all the kind words about my Hillsdale address — and for all the advice about how to give one. Several people have sent me this address by Conan O’Brien. If you never read it, it’s really great.



Having seen Ramesh Ponnuru on scotch — once or twice, during his bachelor days — he looks a lot different than I would have expected on drugs.

This Is Ramesh Ponnuru On Drugs


Andrew Sullivan


clarifies the evolution of his views on Europe.

Clarification Please


I’m reading Derb’s review of The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism in the lasted NRODT and he writes:

Religion, to which most non-Randian conservatives are at least well disposed, adds another complicating factor, since the sacred texts of all three major Western monotheistic faiths proscribe homosexuality in unambiguous terms.

I assume that Derb means Judaism, Christianity and Islam. So here’s my question: Is Islam a religion of the West? Seriously, I’m just curious. We’ve always referred to the core of the Islamic world as “the Middle East.” Whenever we talk about the “West and the rest” or the Clash of Civilizations etc, we separate the Islamic world and the Western world. Obviously, there are plenty of Muslims living in the West, but that’s a relatively new development. And simply because they’re in the West now, does that make them “Western” in orientation? We’ve got plenty of Budhists here now too and they ain’t “Western.”

Help Still Wanted


A number of readers (particularly desperate college kids) are asking if I’ve filled the position of researcher that I mentioned a while ago. The short answer is I haven’t and if you’re interested you should send info to [email protected] The reason I haven’t filled the position is that I’m looking to get an office somewhere, preferably at a think tank. Between the baby and working wife (and dog) at home and my need for a disciplined regime to write this book amidst all my other committements, I really want some place I can go to do it (that doesn’t charge me rent). So, if I find a place that has room for me, I may need to arrange whatever research assistance I get through that insititution. If I end up working out of the house, then the whole dynamic changes — in terms of how much (or how little I can pay) and whether the person even needs to be in DC. In case you’re wondering, I’m writing this here so I don’t have to write it 100 times to different emailers.

No G-File Today


Technical issues having to do with Monkey Pox. There will be two items from me on Monday. Indeed, Monday should be a pretty exciting day around “here.” Quotations marks are required because this place does not in fact exist in space and time.

Pro-Life Drudge


Matt Drudge talking with Camille Paglia in Radar magazine:

Oh, yeah. I’m a prolife conservative who doesn’t want the government to tax me. There are issues that I’m so frightened of—1.2 million abortions a year scares the hell out of me. Oftentimes when I see these superstorms forming, you know, sometimes—I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t think it was retribution. I also am opposed to big government. Now, you would argue: Well, how could you support a government interfering with the rights of a woman over her own body? But I would argue: No. That all life is sacred. Abortion is the issue that really motivates me.

Father’S Day


We have two pieces from funny guys, Dave Konig and Bruce Stockler. (And we’re all in the family this week, with Susan Konig on racy chick mags yesterday.)


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