Mittwoch, Dezember 19, 2007
It's one of the more embarrassing articles I've ever seen: Pete du Pont is usually much better than this.
The gist of the article is that the developing world wants the industrialized world to grow slower so that the developing world gets a larger share of world growth, and is using Bali and the worthless pieces of paper signed there to force slower growth in the industrialized countries.
This is so obviously wrong that it is embarrassing.
First of all, growth is not a zero-sum game: world growth is NOT distributed automagically by the gnomes in Zürich, aided by the Bilderberg Secretariat and the Masons. It's simply the value added in production, in economic activities, and how it changes from year to year.
Second, what are the major markets for goods from the developing world?
That's right, the industrialized countries. They are, after all, the ones with the money.
So according to Pete, the developing countries want the industrialized countries to grow slower so that the developing countries can have a bigger slice of the pie, but that would mean that the developing countries would see demand from their key markets slow, making it harder for them to grow. Wait a second, how does that work...
This is embarrassing. Pete, what were you thinking???
The only reason that the conference in Bali led to the result it did is that it is the environmental movement and its hysteria that wants growth in the industrialized countries to slow. But this is first and foremost not a question of whether there is too much growth, but more fundamentally a question of control.
If the environmentalists gain control over investment decisions, over allocation decisions, over decisions that are best made in the market, they will gain control, indirectly, over the means of production, achieving via deception what communists and other leftists have been trying to do for the last 90 years.
The irony of this is that the environmentalists are truly, truly clueless when it comes to choosing the optimum for dealing with scarce resources. This is the field of economics, not environmentalists: placing an absolute value on "the fate of mother earth" means nothing less than subjugating all human activities to that goal, starting with economics, but scarcely ceasing there.
This is where the environmentalists simply do not understand what is meant by consumption, nor do they understand the role of innovation and technological development. Consumption doesn't destroy natural resources: it transforms them. Consumption is the purchase of goods and services by consumers: it is not the destruction of raw materials. Industrial metals are already heavily recycled, because it makes eminent economic sense to do so: when you buy copper pipes, the chance that these are made of virgin copper is small. Moreover, the copper isn't destroyed when it is transformed from scrap copper to copper pipes, but rather transformed: when they are replaced, they will also be recycled.
Faced with scarcity, humans have always found ways around a lack of raw materials, a lack of space, a lack of skills. Japan has virtually no raw materials, but is an industrialized society because its people were forced, as it were, to do more with less. Forbidding this, by making it impossible to innovate to meet consumer demands, is a path to stagnation. Stagnation, economically, is a catastrophe, as it is only by adding value that you can create capital. Stagnant economies are poor economies, with little chance for improvement.
The environmentalists want to keep you poor, under control and there are not a few who don't want to see you even live.
Sonntag, Dezember 16, 2007
One of the persons who drove me to blog no longer does. Steve den Beste was, nomen est omen, one of the best out there, and here's a link to his best.
Most of his writing has to do with international politics until 2004, when he stopped blogging for health reasons.
To put it simply, the watermelons of our time (green on the outside, red on the inside) are trying, once again, desperately, to bind and control. As in my last post, I said I would talk of the GWB, Global Warming Business, but let me use this post to lead to that one.
Let's remember what "international law" actually means: it is in and of itself a chimera, it means exactly what the sayer intends it to mean, since there is in and of itself no such thing.
To repeat: "international law" is a crock. If there is anything even remotely approaching international law, it is the set of treaties that state that the signatories agree to behave in the way and manner described, with a set of conditions for entering, following and leaving said treaties. This isn't my definition alone: see here for more.
That is, bluntly, the entire meaning of "international law". Nothing is written in stone, nothing beyond what is stated in those treaties means anything.
Why is this?
Because there is no international law. International law doesn't imply international courts - that's the other way around - but rather international law implies international law-givers, those that make the laws.
The UN is not that body. There is a World Court attached to the UN, but it deals with UN-specific questions and problems and derives its authority from the UN: only states agreeing to bind themselves to the decisions of the court are subject to the authority of that court. The US withdrew its agreement to be bound in 1986 in the wake of increasing politicization of the court's decisions. The World Court is weak: it can only make judgements based on political willingness to obey the court's decisions. This doesn't happen much: the US, for instance, tried to use the court to condemn Iran for illegally seizing US diplomats in 1980, but this failed; the court is and remains, fundamentally, political, as it needs the UN Security Council to back up its decisions.
The EU is also not that body. Really, there is no body, no political group out there that has the mandate to be the international law-givers, the ones who develop and codify the laws.
What is law anyway?
According to Merriam-Webster Online, law is a binding custom or practice of a community, a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority .
That is the key word: controlling authority.
Let's go back, then to Kyoto. Kyoto has meaning only for those who signed up for it.
The follow-on, Bali, led to a non-binding commitment to reduce greenhouse gases, non-binding in the sense that there were no set goals to be met. Almost anything qualifies, which means that the agreement is nothing but smoke and mirrors.
My point right now is that within the realm of international law there is no controlling authority, no law-givers, no court system in place that has any sort of utility, legitimation or weight of law that has any existence beyond the voluntary agreement of all parties involved, and that the latter, the voluntary agreement, is only good as long as those involved actually live up to their agreements.
Let's simply not forget this as we talk about the GWB. It's critical to understanding how truly absurd the rhetoric is, how toothless the agreements are, and how other countries simply ignore what doesn't work, ignoring the spirit and letter of "international law" for their own national benefit.
Mittwoch, Dezember 12, 2007
First of all we have this: a senior reviewer of the IPCC points out how the process of "peer" review at the IPCC has become fundamentally corrupt and is driven by politics, and that it should be abolished in disgrace.
Next we have this: the IPCC reverses the usual peer-review method (criticisms must be answered before publication) by rejecting criticisms, rejecting between 10% and over 58% of the criticisms of individual sections, averaging 25% for the IPCC as a whole. The peer-review process was reduced to a travesty, resulting not in true peer-review - challenging the basic assumptions, methodology and results - but rather in a white-wash, allowing criticisms of style and prose, but not any challenges to the fundamental opinions that drove the report. That is not peer-review, that is political misuse of the peer-review process. Again, to make it clear: the peer-review of the IPCC served no other purpose than to create an illusion of scientific review. It did not allow any - repeat, any - criticism of the data, methods or conclusions of the IPCC.
Adding to at least my dismay, we also have this : the deliberate vilification of anyone in the climate sciences area that dares to challenge the dogma of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). This goes beyond the usual name-calling of academia to the use of "climate change deniers" in the same sense as one refers to "holocaust deniers" as part of a concerted attempt to suppress critics, as well as calls for treating critics as traitors and even criminals for daring to hold a different opinion. Add to that the official censoring not of the proponents of AGW - Hansen has never been censored, despite his claims - but of their critics, and a disturbing picture emerges.
The IPCC is an outright scientific fraud, put together by the GWB in order for them to gain as much control over decision-making as possible on a global basis.
According to this, the warming stopped eight years ago in contradiction to all expectations. The data is fundamentally in question (see here for many articles on the problems that face the data, not the least of which is the deliberate falsifications of Mann et al to create the hockey stick). The methodology is also fundamentally in question (as can be seen here), and the results are driven by a political agenda, as can be seen by the IPCC process.
Now, what is that political agenda?
First of all, it's all about politics. Kyoto has been and continues to be a farce: as you can see here, even those governments claiming to be meeting their Kyoto goals are lying about it. As the writer of that post puts it: carbon emissions are a proxy measure for economic growth.
So what is the political agenda: it is one of control.
Control of growth, which necessarily means the control of the means of production. Sound familiar? I thought so.
What we're looking at is a concerted effort to create a world government, not by popular vote or by acceding to some sort of world federation, but rather by achieving control over the world's economies through the creation of a global boogeyman called global warming.
More on the GWB to follow...
Mittwoch, Dezember 05, 2007
He says a good number of right and proper things in that column, not the least of which is this:
In short, if they are to tolerate radical change in energy use, people must first be frightened and then they must be offered a good way out.
This is the key to understanding the whole Global Warming Business, of GWB. Now, isn't that an ironic acronym?
I'd just change that thought a tad:
In short, if they are to tolerate radical change in the way they live, people must first be frightened and then they must be offered our way out.
Not that it's necessarily Wolf's way: by "our" I mean those in the Global Warming Business or GWB.
It's one thing to understand that there is climate change and that human activity may contribute to it: duh.
It's a completely different thing to understand that this has been hijacked by vested interests that have no compunctions about lying about the basic science and lying about the basic data.
Don't think they do?
Lying about basic science: Mann's hockey stick, based on statistical methods that leads to the results regardless of what numbers are input.
Lying about basic data: that none of the long-term models are based on actual data, but rather on proxies, and that the proxies used for temperature changes are inappropriate because they reflect not temperature change, but rather changes in rain patterns (tree-rings).
My real, real problem with the entire GWB is that it is designed to take the maximum amount of money out of your pockets and put in the pockets of those selling snake oil.
And don't think for a moment that there is anything we can do to stop climate change: people are talking of spending billions, if not trillions, of dollars to achive changes that lie within the statistical variance.
That, my readers, coming from someone with 20 years of forecasting experience, is a waste in effort.
But first, let's frighten everyone so that they start obeying us.
That alone is the core of the entire driving force behind the GWB.
Oh, and as a postscript: Germany reaches its goal because of an accident of history: by choosing the base year of 1990, Germany get the benefit of including the output of inefficient, polluting East German industries in its base. By simply closing those down, it cannot but help be the once country with the greatest reductions. And they were closed down not for ecological reasons, but for strictly commercial reasons.
Sonntag, Dezember 02, 2007
Here's the key quote:
The French official described the meeting as "a disaster," adding "Jalili essentially said, 'Everything that Larijani has proposed is a dead letter and we have to start from zero.'"
The official also said that Mr. Jalili had declared, "There is no longer an Iranian nuclear problem," and had added that the only interlocutor recognized by Iran from now on would be the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The hard-line position from the Iranian side was clear confirmation that Iran would not compromise on this issue, the French official said, adding, "We have in front of us the real Iran."
We have in front of us the real Iran. Indeed. This is a classic way of buying time in political discussions: just when it appears that talks would actually start, stop them by starting over again by assigning someone new. We can only hope that the West recognizes this for what it is: a blatant attempt to buy time on the part of the Iranians in order to get the time they need. They now say that they will only talk with the IAEA, which is a shrewd move: calling the Iranian's bluff would mean that the UN will have to grow a pair, and that has been successfully bred out of the UN.
So, here's the problem: I think it is reasonable to believe that Iran is building the infrastructure for nuclear weapons. It is also reasonable to believe that Iran will behave as its leaders say, that Iran intends to eliminate Israel from the world map. It is also reasonable to believe that Israel knows this. What do you do?
There are only three choices: you change Iran's drive to acquire nuclear weapons, you change Iran's intentions or you change Israel's existence.
There are diplomatic and military options. There is the option of genocide.
The diplomatic options are running out: we see as per ut supra that Iran has no intention of discussing their acquisition plans, nor have they shown any interest in changing their intentions.
That will leave military options. That will leave the option of genocide. To destroy Iran as a functioning country, all you need is between 14 and 20 20 kt warheads, which would reduce the nation of Iran from its current population of 71mn down to around 10mn. It would destroy all major cities in Iran, destroy the infrastructure of the country, and Iran after the strike would resemble Afghanistan after the Soviets withdrew.
Of course, if Iran were to use but one warhead against Israel, that destroy the Israeli state as well: a 15kt warhead exploded on the ground in Tel Aviv would rip the heart out of Gush Dan, the major population and administrative center of Israel, killing hundreds of thousands, and if accompanied by a major Iran-proxy attack from Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon, could seriously place the existence of Israel as a functioning state in question.
This is not speculation: this is reality. The Israelis can destroy Iran; Iran, when it gets the bomb, can destroy Israel. Only irrational people commit genocide.
But remember that Masada wasn't a Jewish victory. It was a bitter defeat by an enemy who made defense virtually impossible by using Jewish slaves to build a rampart up to the gates of the city, making it impossible for the devoutly religious defenders to kill them. Realizing that they would fall, they chose death instead.
The Middle East is being remade before our eyes: we have, fundamentally, won in Iraq, bringing hope to the downtrodden Arab masses. Will this be destroyed by Iran? If the spasm comes - and can anyone really think at this point that it isn't? - what will happen?
Obviously, oil prices will explode, since Iran will disappear as an oil supplier. It will be the end of the age of oil. Those countries with strong nuclear infrastructures - France, Russia - will do well. Those with moderate alternatives will not. It won't mean megadeath in the West - of millions dying of starvation - but it will mean impoverishment and the virtual collapse of world trade. The world lives on oil, it is the lubrication that keeps the machinery of the world working.
The real problem is that the Iranians don't care about that. They are deeply and fundamentally irresponsible and irrational, and for hat reason alone should have their hands kept off the nuclear option.
Will the West get its shit together and really do the last possible diplomatic move, of extreme sanctions and blockade of Iran? That could destroy the government of the mullahs and make it possible to defuse the situation. But it means extreme sacrifice of the public, as refusing to buy Iranian oil means that oil prices will boom even further, and the public will bear the burden. That is the greatest weakness of the West, that public opinion drives policy.
Will the public accept high oil prices, inflation, economic dislocation to prevent Iran from nuking Israel? Which opportunistic group of politicians would quickly kowtow to Iran to break the blockade?
Around and around and around we go...
Samstag, Dezember 01, 2007
Well, taking a moment here off from reality - which intrudes a lot lately - to cover something in a recent OpEd in the FAZ. It can be found here. Of course, that's in German, so it won't help a lot of y'all.
Who is Muhabbet? He's the son of Turkish immigrants into Germany who was born in Cologne but now lives in Berlin. He's a musician. He basically does what passes for Rap in Germany. I'm no expert on this genre...
Well, first a bit of background.
The leading parties in Germany are desperately in search of something called "multi-culti" or multicultural society, which in Germany means one where immigrants and Germans live alongside each other in tolerance and acceptance.
Nice work if you can get it: it doesn't work, despite the at times desperate attempts to pay off the immigrant communities and try and get them out of their ghettos. There is an official Germany and an unofficial Germany. The former has everyone living in peace and harmony, the latter has extremely high levels of crime and ghettoed communities where immigrants, unable to "become" Germans, are now living in their 3rd generation, either working menial jobs or living off the dole. Usually the latter, as many have the attitude that they deserve high-paying jobs because they're a minority, rather than doing it the "German" way by schooling, education and hard work. While Germany itself is a largely homogeneous, well-off society, the fact that they've imported an increasing minority which is anything but homogeneous or well-off is something that has been an active lie in German politics for the last 4 decades.
Esther Schapira, who wrote the article in the FAZ, found that Muhabbet, after Theo van Gogh was murdered, said that he'd have done the same and would've tortured van Gogh if he had had the chance: two other witnesses corroborate the story.
Muhabbet recorded a song with the foreign ministers of Germany and France against violence, etc. Steinmeier, the German foreign minister - well, not for long, as he's becoming vice chancellor - has not disavowed him after this became public, but has instead dismissed this, pointing to Muhabbet's "good works" since then, largely centered on Muhabbet playing the role of token minority, singing and dancing to quiet the natives.
That sounds harsh, but that is exactly what he does: his role is to placate immigrant minorities so that the German political parties won't have to deal with the massive problem that Germany has with immigrant minorities. Nothing more, nothing less. His reward is publicity, record contracts, "making it" in German society.
Well, that last is probably not much of a real reward, perhaps more of a curse. But you get there general idea.
So, what does Esther Shapira write now?
Natürlich darf ein Politiker singen. Auch mit einem Rapper im Tonstudio. Warum das aber ein Beitrag zur sozialen Integration junger Deutscher sein soll, verstehe ich nicht. Entweder sind die Zuhörer so integriert, dass sie wissen, wer Herr Steinmeier ist: Dann brauchen sie diese Gesangsübung aber nicht, um sich als vollwertiges Mitglied der deutschen Gesellschaft zu fühlen. Oder das Land, in das einst ihre Eltern einwanderten und in dem sie geboren wurden, ist ihnen nie zur Heimat geworden: Dann aber werden sie sich eher ausgegrenzt fühlen, wenn der Außen- und eben nicht der Innenminister ihnen versichert, dass sie dazugehören. Jene aber, die vom Märtyrertod träumen, sind mit solchen Späßen ohnehin nicht zu erreichen.
Of course a politician may sing. Even with a rapper in a recording studio. I just don't understand how this can be part of socially integrating young Germans. Either the listeners are integrated and know who Steinmeier is, but then they don't need these vocal exercises in order to feel that they are a full member of German society. Or, alternatively, the country that their parents emigrated to and where they were born has never been their home. If that's the case, then they will feel even more alienated, since it should be the interior minister, and not the foriegn minister, telling them that they belong here. Anyone, however, who dreams of a martyr's death, can't be reached by such silliness in any case.
This is, of course, absolutely correct: the show being put on has nothing to do with integrating the children of immigrants, it has everything to do with whitewashing the failure of German politics to come to terms with the monster that their forefathers created by allowing immigration with absolutely no concept of integration. You can't integrate people into society by saying "Hi, welcome aboard, here's your job": that creates workers, but not citizens.
Wie groß die heimliche Armee dieser „heiligen Krieger" ist und wie viele unheimliche Sympathisanten es gibt, die das Grundgesetz durch die Scharia ersetzen möchten, weiß keiner. Vielleicht gehört der junge Mann dazu, der mir vor kurzem in Frankfurt begegnete: kurze Haare, kurzgeschnittener Vollbart. An der Hand hielt er seine Frau. Er musste sie durch das Gedränge führen, denn ihr selbst war unter der Burka die Sicht nahezu versperrt. Gern hätte ich sie gefragt, wie freiwillig sie ihr Gewand trug, aber da waren die beiden auch schon in der Menge verschwunden. Frankfurt am Main ist die multikulturellste Stadt Deutschlands. Vierzig Prozent ihrer Einwohner und sogar siebzig Prozent der Neugeborenen im vergangenen Jahr haben einen Migrationshintergrund. Die liberale Tradition meiner Heimatstadt will ich mir von Anhängern totalitärer Ideologien nicht kaputtmachen lassen - und mag weder den Anblick rechter Skins in Springerstiefeln wortlos hinnehmen noch den von Frauen, die im Stoffkäfig durch die Stadt geführt werden.
How large is this secret Army of "holy warriors, and how many disturbing supporters are there, those that want to replace the German Basic Law with the Sharia? No one knows. Maybe the young man who I saw in Frankfurt recently belongs to them: short hair, trimmed full beard. He was holding his wife by the hand. He had to, since he had to navigate through the crowd, while she was covered by a burka and couldn't see where to go. I wanted to ask her, was she wearing that of her own free will, but both had disappeared in the crowd. Frankfurt am Main is the multi-cultural capital of Germany. whith 40% of the population and no less than 70% of new births in the last year coming from an immigrant background. I will not let the liberal tradition of my home town be destroyed by devotees of a totalitarian ideology, and dislike the sight of right-wing skinheads in jump boots as little as I like the sight of women led around town in fabric cages by their captors.
Now, I don't live directly in Frankfurt, but not far, and Frankfurt is indeed a melting pot. Or rather, it could have been one, it should have been one. Instead, Frankfurt is a stratified society, with money living in the "good neighborhoods" and the unwanted masses living in substandard, run-down housing - apartments that haven't been redone since the 1950s - and whose daily lives are spent dodging the bullets of criminality, hopelessness and resignation. The average immigrant isn't the rapper that Steinmeier et al are playing with, but rather someone who works the shit jobs that Germans don't want to do. The Germans don't want to integrate these folks into their society: they want them to do the dirty work and stay invisible.
I say that as someone who is an immigrant into Germany. I've been in Germany as a foreign resident for almost 25 years now, and in two years will have spent half of my life here - something I never saw coming - and while I have the enormous fortune of not doing the dirty work, I know that my role is to stay invisible. I can live with that: I'm a guest here.
Es mangelt mir zunehmend an jener Gelassenheit, die der Außenminister einfordert, wenn er verlangt, „unaufgeregt" damit umzugehen, dass sein Gesangspartner Muhabbet den brutalen Mord am niederländischen Filmemacher Theo van Gogh gebilligt hat. Ich rege mich auf. Ich werde die Bilder dieser hinterhältigen Schlachtung einfach nicht los. Theo van Gogh wurde am helllichten Tag auf offener Straße massakriert. Er radelte ahnungslos in sein Büro, als der Täter aus nächster Nähe auf ihn schoss, ihm dann mit einer Machete die Kehle durchschnitt und ihm am Ende mit einem Filetiermesser einen Brief in die Brust rammte: eine Kriegserklärung an den Westen, den Geist der Aufklärung, an uns alle.What I can't abide any more is the calm that the foreign minister demands when he insists that we don't get upset that his singing partner Muhabbet approved of the brutal murder of the Dutch Filmmaker Theo van Gogh. I'm upset. I can't forget the pictures of the ambush and the slaughter. Theo van Gogh was massacred in public in the middle of the day, in the middle of a street. He was just riding his bike to his office, as the murderer shot him at close range, then cut his throat with a machete and then used a filet knife to pin a note into his breast, ramming it to the hilt: that was a declaration of war, a declaration against the spirit of enlightenment, against all of us.
Amen. The call for calm is the desperate call to deny that the problems exist, to deny that there are problems that need to be resolved: you can't put problems off forever, as much as that appeals to the German character.
Ich nehme diese Kriegserklärung ernst. Ich rege mich auf über notorische Verharmloser, für die nicht wahr ist, was nicht wahr sein soll. Auch mir fällt es schwer einzugestehen, wie viel Intoleranz und welches Gewaltpotential sich aus vermeintlicher Toleranz munter entwickeln konnte. Politiker aber müssen sich der Realität stellen, nicht sie verleugnen. Ich rege mich auf, wenn Frauen und Schwule von muslimischen Machos bedroht werden, wenn Kritiker des politisch-militanten Islams Polizeischutz brauchen und einem unterwürfigen Leisetreterdialog das Wort geredet wird.
I take this declaration of war seriously. I am angry about those who routinely, notoriously, claim that it's all hamless, for whom nothing can be that shouldn't be. I find it hard to admit, how much intolerance and potential for violence apparently develops from supposed tolerance. Politicians have to face reality and not deny it. I am angry, when women and gays are threatened by macho muslims, when critics of politically militant Islam need police protection and when everyone talks of stepping lightly as a form of dialog.
Amen to that: there are far too many people in Germany who deny reality. They deny that Socialism doesn't work, can't work, will never work; they deny that the German schools are designed for the needs of the teachers, rather than the students; they deny that Germany is a stratified class society. They deny that anything can be wrong with inviting millions of people to come live and work in Germany, yet fail to integrate them in any meaningful way, and they deny that Germany continually and repeatedly fails to live up to its obligations in the international community. Germany could be a source of great positive force in world politics, but fails to do so because that would be taking risks...
Der Außenminister mahnte, keine Ursache dafür zu geben, „dass diejenigen Schaden nehmen, die sich eine Zusammenarbeit mit uns vorstellen können". Seither frage ich mich: Müssen wir dankbar sein, dass mit uns geredet wird, und wer bitte sind „die", und wer ist „uns"? Theo van Goghs Mörder war ein Niederländer: Mohammed Bouyeri, geboren und aufgewachsen in Amsterdam, Sohn marokkanischer Einwanderer, sechsundzwanzig Jahre alt. Auf welche Seite also gehört Bouyeri? „Sie" oder „wir"? Gehören er und Muhabbet demselben Kollektiv an? Muhabbet ist kein Extremist. Er ist Mainstream.
The foreign minister warns against assigning causes, which might lead to damaging those, who can imagine cooperating with us. Since hearing that, I ask: must we be thankful that anyone talks to us, and please, who is "anyone" and who is "us"? Theo van Goghs murderer was a Dutchman: Mohammed Bouyeri, born and raised in Amsterdam, the son of Moroccan immigrants, 26 years old. Which side did he belong to? "Them" or "us"? Does he and Muhabbet belong to the same collective? Muhabbet is not an extremist. He is the mainstream.
Die klare Trennung zwischen Integrierten und Islamisten gibt es nicht. Unverbunden stehen bei vielen widersprüchliche Gefühle lange Zeit nebeneinander. Acht Jahre dauerte etwa die Entwicklung Mohammed Bouyeris von einem sympathischen Jugendlichen zum islamistischen Killer. Acht Jahre, in denen er sich nicht versteckte. Die Jeans ersetzte er durch eine Djellaba, trug Kopfbedeckung und einen Vollbart. Und seine Überzeugung schleuderte er seiner Umwelt immer wütender entgegen. Doch keiner nahm davon Notiz.
A clear differentiation between integrated and islamist muslim does not exist. A lack of distinction means that many contradictory feelings can exist next to each other for a long time. It took eight years for the development of Mohammed Bouyeris from a friendly kid to an islamist killer. Eight years during which he did not hide. He replaced his jeans with the djellaba, covered his head, grew a full beard. And he threw his conviction, his beliefs with increasing anger against his environment. Nobody noticed.
Here again she is completely right: I've also seen the transition from a peaceful, quite philosophy student to an intolerant, arrogant macho who despised anyone who did not convert to Islam. It's not something that is hidden, but it's just as insidious as the transformation of someone into a racist.
Auch deshalb halte ich es für falsch, Muhabbets Äußerungen als privates Tischgespräch zu verharmlosen. Der junge Mann weiß, was er sagt. Er ist volljährig und hat ein Anrecht darauf, ernst genommen zu werden. Alles andere ist Rassismus. Es gibt keinen Kulturbonus für Intoleranz und auch keine mildernden Umstände für leicht kränkbare Machos. Auch ich bin ständig mit Äußerungen konfrontiert, die ich unerträglich finde als Frau, als Demokratin - darunter übrigens auch Songtexte von Muhabbet und ignorante Ministeräußerungen.
This is another reason I think it is wrong to discount what Muhabbet has said as some sort of private discussion. The young man knew exactly what he said. He is an adult and has a right to be taken seriously. Anything else is racist. There is no cultural bonus for intolerance and no special circumstances for easily angered machos. I am also confronted with speech that I find intolerable as a woman - among other things, the song texts from Muhabbet and the sayings of ignorant government ministers.
Bingo! This is a classic denial syndrome, that someone's statements, someone's political posturing simply can't be, that the political other can't be taken seriously. That is insulting and demeaning, and is counter-productive.
Appeasement ist gefährliche Überheblichkeit. Weil es die Wut derer, auf die pädagogisch herablassend geschaut wird, nur steigert. Ängstliches Wegducken wird als Toleranz ausgegeben. Das ist nicht nur feige und unmoralisch, weil es unsolidarisch gegenüber mutigen Kritikern wie Ayaan Hirsi Ali ist, die die Errungenschaften der Aufklärung unter Lebensgefahr verteidigen - sondern auch dumm. Der radikale Islam nämlich bezieht seine Stärke aus unserer Schwäche. So wie jeder Amokläufer sich genüsslich ausmalt, selbst Richter über Leben und Tod zu werden, so berauschen sich junge muslimische Männer an der Vorstellung, wie die „Feinde des Islams" ihnen ausgeliefert sind, wie etwa Theo van Gogh im eigenen Keller gefoltert worden wäre vor seiner Ermordung. Nicht der Tod, die Erniedrigung steht im Vordergrund.Appeasement is dangerous pride, hubris. Because it aggravates the anger of those who are looked down upon by the appeaser. Frightened ducking is sold as being tolerant. That is not only cowardly and amoral, because it lacks solidarity with courageous critics like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who defend the achievements of the Enlightenment under life-threatening circumstances, it is plain and simply dzumb. Radical islam draws its strength from our weakness. Just as anyone running amok takes pleasure in being the judge of life and death, young muslim men take pleasure in the fantasy that the "enemies of Islam" are delivered to them for judgement, such as the fantasy of torturing Theo van Gogh in his own basement before his murder. It is not death, but debasement that is of prime importance.
Again, bingo. Appeasement is a uniquely liberal attitude, a mixture of denial and refusal to believe that one can be confonted with such absurdity. Appeasement, of tossing things to the ravenous wolves in a pathetic attemt to make them happy, only increases appetites and feeds anger and resentment. It achieves the exact opposite of what the appeaser tries to achieve, and I am firmly convinced that appeasers are directly responsible for the deaths of millions in WW2. Pacificism in the face of fascism and aggression leads to slavery and death.
Der Weg von derartigen, äußerst populären Größenphantasien zur Mitgliedschaft im Terrornetzwerk der Al Qaida ist lang, aber am Anfang steht modisch kokettierendes Posing mit den Parolen und Insignien des radikalen Islams. Dessen Diktion ist eine befremdliche Mischung aus pathetischem Herrschaftsanspruch und Gemeinschaftsgedanke, also die Betonung der Überlegenheit des Islams als einzig wahrer Religion und der Solidarität der „Umma", der Gemeinschaft aller gläubigen Muslime. Wanderprediger reisen durch Europa und halten Ausschau nach jungen Muslimen, die sich für den Dschihad rekrutieren lassen. Die Kriegserklärung der Islamfaschisten richtet sich gegen uns alle. Die Front in diesem Krieg verläuft zwischen den Gegnern der Aufklärung und ihren Verteidigern - nicht zwischen dem Islam und dem Westen. Das definiert die Grenze zwischen „ihnen" und „uns".
The path from such extremely popular fantasies about ascendence and greatness to membership in the terror network of al Qaida is a long one, but the first step is the fashionable, playful posing with the solgans and insignia of radical Islam. That is an alienating mixture of pathetic demands for power and communal thinking, with the emphasis on the superiority of Islam as the one true religion and the solidarity of the "Umma", the community of all believing muslims. Wandering preachers travel through Europe and are on the look for young muslims that can be recruited for Johad. The declaration of war by the Islamofascists is against us all. The front in this war runs between the opponents of the enlightenment and its defenders, not between Islam and the West. That defines the border between "them" and "us".
It is dangerous for fashion designers and purveyors of popular culture to make the trappings of fascism and totalitarianism "fashionable", acceptable and even popular. It makes those things that represent evil to be harmless, and the perception of evil as something harmless is exactly what evil wants and needs in order to survive and flourish...
Wir dürfen kein Terrain preisgeben. Die Frage, ob jemand gekränkt wird, ob also eine Veröffentlichung den Straftatbestand der Beleidigung erfüllt, können getrost Gerichte klären. Die Angst vor der Gewalt eines aufgepeitschten Mobs darf jedenfalls kein Argument sein. Nur wenn wir unsere Freiheit verteidigen, werden wir andere dafür begeistern können. Nicht durch ängstliches Zurückweichen. Für die Errungenschaften der Aufklärung sind Menschen auf den Scheiterhaufen der Inquisition verbrannt worden. Doch warum sollte, was dem Christentum möglich war - die Aussöhnung von Glauben und Vernunft -, nicht auch dem Islam gelingen? Aufklärung aber muss erkämpft werden: durch heftige Debatten, mit zäher Geduld, mit Mut. Und jene, die bereit sind, diesen Kampf zu führen, brauchen zumindest ein Umfeld, das sie unterstützt und ihnen größtmöglichen Schutz gewährt. Mit Appeasement, mit einer Politik der Beschwichtigung und der Verdrängung dagegen stärken wir die Gegner unserer Freiheit.
We cannot afford to give up any terrain. The question whether someone is insulted, whether someone in their speech meets the legal definition of insult, is something that courts can easily deal with. The fear of the violence of a infuriated mob cannot be an argument. Only when we defend our freedom can we convince others for the same, and this cannot be done by slinking away, afraid. People were burned at the stake achieving the enlightenment. If the key developmen can be achieved by Christianity - the reconciliation between belief and reason - what can this not be reached by Islam? Enlightenment must be fought for: by intensive debate, by extreme patience, with courage. And each and every one, who is prepared to fight this fight, needs at the very least an environment which supports them and provides the best possible protection. With appeasement, with a policy of discounting and denial, we only strengthen the enemies of our freedom.
GIven the European commitment to enlightenment and true tolerance, the demand that Islam also make that commitment is legitimate and necessary. Denying the protection of the law to those who are standing up to fascism and its supporters is tantamount to the state saying that it does not care. That is the most dangerous of developments.
Wir haben schon lange nicht mehr die Wahl, ob wir diesen Kampf führen wollen oder nicht, denn wir sind mittendrin. Deutschland ist ein Einwanderungsland, und ein erheblicher Teil der Einwanderer waren und sind Muslime. Ihre Kinder sind Deutsche, deutsche Muslime. Sie werden nicht gnädig geduldet, sie gehören dazu. Mit allen Rechten und Pflichten. Aber wer zu Recht ernst genommen werden will, der kann sich aus dieser Debatte nicht heraushalten. Die Muslime in Europa müssen Stellung beziehen. Sie müssen klären, wer den Koran richtig zitiert, die Dschihadisten oder jene, die beteuern, Islam heiße Frieden.
It's no longer the case of choosing whether we want to fight this fight, that's been long decided. We are in the middle of the fight. Germany is a land of immigrants, and a significant number of immigrants are muslims. Their children are Germans, German muslims. They are not someone who has to be tolerated, they are a part of our society. With all rights and duties. However, if anyone wants to be taken serously, they cannot avoid this debate. The muslims in Europe have to show their true colors. They must make it clear who is quoting the Q'uran correctly: the jihadists or those who claim that Islam means peace.
That is a key point: people have to make the decision which side they are on. But that is not the key point here.
What is key is that most Germans deny that Germany has become a land of immigrants. And that their children are German. My children were born in Germany, but they are not German: for that to be the case, I would have to be married to a German, which I am not. That is the legal situation: the law, in this case, serves to perpetuate the mythology that Germany isn't a land of immigrants.
Germany is. People born here are effectively Germans. German politicians deny this, the law denies this, but this is reality. Germany has been a country of immigrants from the very beginning, importing Polish workers during industrialization, Italians and Yugoslavs during rebuilding, Turks and Eastern Europeans during the Wirtschaftswunder years, and today desperately trying to attract highly qualified workers to meet the shortfall in Germans. This is the reality of the situation, but Germans and Germany as a whole doesn't see itself as a land of immigrants.
And while some go out of their way to make immigrants comfortable, the vast majority can't abide the thought that Gemany not only is country that needs immigrants, but more importantly can't abide the thought that Germany can't operate without them. So they deny it, hide it, pretend that it isn't a problem.
Which, of course, makes the problem even worse. Ignoring problems, denying them, doesn't solve them. Never will.
In den nächsten Jahren werden die Kontroversen heftiger werden. Sowohl mit den Vertretern des Islams als auch innerhalb der Gemeinden selbst. Wenn es den europäischen Muslimen gelingt, Islam und Demokratie zu versöhnen, also die Aufklärung des Islams durchzusetzen, dann wird das gravierende Folgen für die gesamte islamische Welt haben. Nur eine Unterstützung der Befreiungsbewegungen gegen die totalitäre Unterjochung wird die Welt zu einem friedlicheren Ort machen. Wir haben hier in Europa eine enorme historische Chance. Wir müssen sie wahrnehmen.In the coming years the controversy will get worse, not merely with the representatives of Islam, but within that community. If and when european Muslims can reconcile Islam and democracy, when Islam has its enlightenment, that will also have major repercussions with Islam world-wide. Only by supporting the liberation movements against the totalitarians attempting to subjugate can the world become more peaceful. We in Europe have an enormous historical chance. We have to see it.
This is my major problem with Germany: the failure of the German governments of the last decade to be a strong, positive force for good. Instead, German governments have done everything in their power to avoid having to take any position: they want to keep their options open to see which way the wind blows.
Germany is very, very poorly served by its political parties and its politicians. Germany deserves better and while German industry might lose a sale or two, Germany could grow up and take its place in the world by ceasing to be a fence-sitter.
It's about time. But there is no one in sight that is willing to make this an issue. Denial is simply too attractive an alternative.