The Haunting
Sunday Night Journal — April 15, 2012

How Did Things Get To This Point?

My wife sent this to me a day or two ago with the note "Watch the video even if you don't read the article," and I would say the same. It's a blog post by Mark Shea containing a video in which a somewhat dim-seeming young English woman attempts to challenge a group of England-hating Muslim fanatics for their "judgmentalism" etc. Her appeals to tolerance and "I respect you why don't you respect me?" relativism could not produce fewer misgivings in a stone wall. I tend to find Shea's manner tiresome, but he makes some good points about the inability of "watery post-Christian secularism, " as represented by the young woman, to comprehend or respond meaningfully to people who simply play by a different set of rules and do not acknowledge any obligation to respect other beliefs.

It's not only the militancy of the fanatics openly intent on destroying the culture that is playing host to them that's disturbing. If you follow the video to YouTube and read some of the comments, you'll see ominous signs of a reaction which is not at all pretty, and is probably festering beneath the official multicultural pieties. As I said in another, but not completely unrelated, context recently: sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.


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Shortly before I read this, I watched a nice little movie called Arranged. It was the story of two young women who taught in the same school in New York. One was Jewish, and the other Muslim. They became friends because they were so different from the other women. They were religious, dressed modestly, etc. Also, they were both in the process of having their marriages arranged. I see things like this and I see that protest in England, and I can see how both things could be true, but it's hard to figure out how all that plays out in my contact with Muslims I meet.


Yes, I see the occasional Muslim woman or women around in their modest clothing (not burqas!) and scarves, and think how attractive they are. I don't mean in a carnal way at all but just pleasant to see. I don't think we have a big presence of the fanatics in this country, as compared with England, but I don't really know.

What do you mean by "how that all plays out"? how you should think of them? or what you should think of Muslims in general?

Hi, relatively new reader here.

Very interesting. I too am often turned off by the manner/tone of Shea's blog, but this is a good one (though the tone is still a bit too spiteful and combative for me).

On the question of the size of the presence of fanatics in the U.S., ever since I saw this video ( I've often wondered about it. You may have already seen it, it was pretty popular, esp in the conservative media, when it first happened.

I definitely don't think we should be paranoid, and/or should necessarily dismiss the claim that Islam is a "religion of peace" as many conservatives do, but what do we know? I sure don't know much about it myself.

(I was turned on to Horowitz btw through this blog. I ended up reading "Radical Son," which I found thoroughly engaging, thoughtful, etc. And I too was a bit surprised, based on what I saw of his public persona.)

Anyway, thanks for the post. I enjoy the blog.


"Well I don't judge you, because I'm above that!"

You couldn't make it up.

It would do for a satirical skit, wouldn't it? I can imagine a Monty Python extension, in which she continues to insist on her lame pieties as they stone her.

It does seem almost like a Monty Python sketch. Or the black chap who interviews people - I saw a very funny one with him interviwing Newt Gingrich.
I wouldn't be entirely shocked if it was made up, with actors, but that is probably wishful thinking.

Yes, people are just brought up moronically to repeat that it is wrong to judge. They simply cannot imagine anyone judging them!

I have some trouble in adapting to life outside Blighty, and it is good to be reminded that it would be horrible to go back there. English culture is irretrievably doomed.

Welcome, Noah. That video is indeed interesting. Up until she said "for it" I was sympathetic to her, because I think it can be an unfair tactic to insist on a yes or no answer to some questions. But she pretty much removed the doubt, didn't she? Wow.

My own stance re Islam in the contemporary is to keep in mind that the great majority of Muslims are not terrorist sympathizers, much less terrorists (or in general of a mind to forcibly impose Islam on the rest of us) but not forget that the number who are is not insignificant. I reviewed a book here a year or so ago that seemed very balanced:

Glad you like Radical Son.

Cross-posted with ex-pat. I am slightly, or maybe more than slightly, surprised to hear you say that English culture is irretrievably doomed. I didn't think you were quite that pessimistic. I regularly encounter conservative English doomsayers like Anthony Daniels but have hoped that maybe things are not quite as bad as all that. It really is a sick parody of tolerance that supports the right of people within a country to work openly for its destruction. I hear the fanatics are often living on the dole.

It's the unreflective irony of, in effect, saying "My non-judgmentalism is superior to your judgmentalism" that really has me chortling.

Yes, except I don't find that aspect of it very amusing anymore. I've heard so much of it from people who have the power to suppress the unwelcome ("inappropriate") view. At this point the rather black humor lies for me in this incident's resemblance to the prison reforms in Decline and Fall.

In other news...

She makes a number of points that cannot be classified as 'watery post-Christian' and her demeanor is not in the least watery.

1. A proprietary argument: "this is MY home town"

2. An argument for positive law: "doesn't Islam teach you have to respect the law of the country you are in?". (That would be the Latter-day Saints she is referring to, I think).


A hypothesis:

1. Elements of the educated classes (elites and bourgeois alike) side with aliens against domestic subcultures they despise.

2. Apart from that, the decision-making element often are hopelessly addled and lacking in self-confidence (except when dealing with subcultures they frankly despise).

Hence, you have this situation where occidental countries are unwilling to rigorously enforce immigration laws; allow the entrance and maintenance of aliens who then go on the dole, as if immigration were unconnected to building and maintaining national vigour and the whole country were just a charity dump; are unwilling to use the tools of immigration law and its administration to screen out and deport obstreperous jerks; are unwilling to enforce laws against sedition; and are unwilling to allow individuals, landlords, employers, and the like the freedom to associate or refuse to associate with characters like these.

On the other hand, the principal opposition party in Belgium was banned by court order, the opposition leader in the Netherlands was put on trial for forbidden utterances at the behest of that country's judiciary and against the better judgment of prosecutors, and Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant were subject to ruinously expensive litigation in front of administrative Star Chambers.

How did we get where we are? The blame belongs with the commanding heights of the bar and the educational apparat. Put these social elements in their place and we might regain some ground.

I agree with Art that the lady in the video is not simply 'non-judgmental' in a vacuous way. She is trying to say, 'look, we try to be tolerant of you so why don't you try to be tolerant of us': in itself, that is not a really imbecilic remark.

Yes, but she is being judgmental. She is looking at their behaviour and judging it to be wrong, otherwise, she wouldn't be trying to change it.


"In other news..."

This news appears to be inaccurate; Lord Ahmed denies having offered such a bounty. (I suspect he's telling the truth - offering a bounty that large requires preparation and publicity; it's not something you just back down from instantly as soon as anyone objects.) Slightly disappointing, but it's probably better this way; the American government would complain and I'm unsure how much it would accomplish, although Pakistanis annoyed at drone atrocities would doubtless be pleased.


I'd comment on the video but my internet connection sucks in ways that make playing videos a nightmare.

...ok, I got some of it to load. Very depressing. My sympathies are with the poor Luton girl and I respect her for going out and arguing with people whose only argument is aggression and assertion; but I must admit I laughed quite a bit at "No, I said, I am judging you" - said so politely, as well...

I am terribly shocked to think that there could have been a false report in a Pakistani newspaper.

I don't think the young lady is so much imbecilic as clueless. She seems to have little grasp of what she believes, in the sense of having any real foundation for it, and none at all of what they believe. In principle there was nothing wrong with the prison warden in Decline and Fall wanting to help prisoners pursue a useful trade, but it was terminally clueless (though the warden himself was not the one terminated) to provide a homicidal maniac with woodworking tools.

I'm going to have to cancel my subscription.


Replying to Art: it's her principles that are watery, I would say, not her demeanor. Of course we don't really know what they are, but she sounds fairly representative of common-run opinion. Your argument #1 is her most elemental and also her best: "This is our country." One wonders if she would have the nerve to maintain it in the face of the charges of xenophobia islamophobia racism etc etc etc that usually greet any such sentiment.

"How did we get where we are? The blame belongs with the commanding heights of the bar and the educational apparat. Put these social elements in their place and we might regain some ground."

Certainly, although I think journalism belongs in that group. Putting them in their place however is considerably easier said than done. Sometimes I think a bit of progress has been made, sometimes not.

She seems to have little grasp of what she believes, in the sense of having any real foundation for it, and none at all of what they believe.

Discourse on normative questions is difficult.

There's clearly a major effort on the part of the left to get any criticism of their favored groups classified as "hate." It's scary that they are succeeding in actually getting that tactic into the law books. The weird sometime-alliance of the secular left (i.e. the people who write and enforce the laws in situations like this) and radical Muslims is...well, weird. But since the left's ultimate enemy is Christianity, it makes a kind of sense.

The 'this is our country' ties in with the 'non-judgmentalism'. For a long time, English people have prided themselves on their tolerance. The girl is trying to say, if you live in England, you have to practice tolerance.

That makes sense. Tied to any other idea or not, though, "this is our country" carries a certain weight in itself, or ought to. Clearly it doesn't with these Muslims.

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