Beheaders Aren’t Britons.


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Have you watched the video of James Foley’s death? I’ve only watched an edited version on YouTube. As in the original, it fades to black when the knife meets his throat. Prior to this Foley offered a (surely forced) verbal self-flagellation, climaxing with a statement of regret for being American. I’m told that in the full version (which I have no intention of viewing), the film ends with a shot of Foley’s decapitated corpse lying flat in the desert, his head resting on the small of his back.

Of course, by-itself, this episode doesn’t teach us anything new about Muslims, or about the motivating power of the Qur’an. Anyone who has even casually browsed the book will have noted a passage like the following:

“Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), strike off their heads; at length; then when you have made wide Slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives: thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens.” – 47:4

Some are calling Mr Foley unwise for having ventured into a desert filled with believers in such a text. I wouldn’t go that far. It is certainly something I would never do, and an intention I would discourage in friends. But there is an undeniably heroic quality to war journalism and – despite what his captors may have intended – Foley’s death has surely further dignified that profession.

This murder isn’t, I’m sad to say, a strictly American matter. While we in Britain had never heard of Foley before the news broke of his execution, we may have been unknowingly familiar with his murderer. In fact (altogether more chillingly), we may have rode the bus with him, sat next to him on the subway; we may have even shook the hand that slit Foley’s throat. His killer, you see, is ‘British’.

I’d like to use this occasion to take issue with something specific. Something broader than this isolated cruelty.

Having a British passport does not make you British. Being born in a Pakistanified hamlet of England does not make you English. To earn these historically illustrious definitions you must be part of the national community, speaks its language and concur with its moral standards. The butcher of Foley, as well as any other Muslim who has departed our shores for Jihad, checked their ‘British’ card at Heathrow.

No line (straight or crooked) can be drawn between these desert savages and Edward Gibbon. Don’t forget that to be called ‘British’ is in no way a small deal. This isn’t Luxembourg. Much of the modern age derives from British innovation. To make the definition of ‘British’ so cheap, to collapse its value to such an extent, betrays in one second a thousand years.


A Coalition to Save the World.


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Islamic State is a grave threat to all humanity and must be killed off before it grows in power and size. To do this requires a re-evaluation of our historic policies in the Middle East and the swift construction of an emergency coalition of partners willing to fight ISIS forces.

In my opinion, the most effective coalition for this project would be a temporary alliance of Assad’s Syria, Kurdistan and the Iranian-backed Shia regions of Iraq.

Learned readers will at once spot that these partners are otherwise opposed to each other tooth and nail. Assad objects to the independence of Kurdish areas of Syria. The aspirations of independent-minded Kurds ordinarily clash with those of Shia Iraqi nationalists and their Iranian patron-regime. Assad’s brand of militant Arab nationalism meanwhile contrasts wildly with the Persian design of Shi’ite collectivism.

All of these points are accurate and all of them are irrelevant. This is a time too desperate for conventional reasoning, and it should not matter to the West whether the solution to ISIS leaves more parochial issues in its wake.

Our only interest is to strangle Islamic State, kill as many of its adherents as possible, and scorch its ideological earth lest it be replicated elsewhere.

The following deal could be offered to Assad:

If you (respecting the non-involvement of Israel and Lebanon) wage war on ISIS and other forms of Islamic militancy, the West will replace or repair the equipment you need to defend a secular state of Syria. By the same token, the existence of your regime will be secured.

The Kurds will need no such bribery and nor should the Shia of Iraq who by now take orders more from Tehran than Baghdad.

Of course, Zionists and supporters of Israel are right to be unnerved by a Western embrace of Assad, who remains a pathological anti-Semite and committed irredentist. But it must be stated to such people that Islamic State is potentially a far greater threat to the Jews of the Middle East than Syria could ever hope to be.

When ISIS disappears furthermore, the regional winners will not be Arab nationalists, but Kurdish secularists and Shia elements loyal to Iran. The Palestinians to all extents and purposes are irrelevant.

In any case, we must realise a moral responsibility to ourselves (in Europe) and to ancient the minorities in the Middle East. To fail to act now will make us villains of history.


Meritocracy: The Social Ideal.


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The majority of posts on this blog are devoted to criticism; that is, they are deployed against things; namely philosophies, political parties/movements and religious behaviours of which I oppose.

But a reader might justly ask “So what are you for politically?”. So let’s address this briefly.

Broadly speaking I support any political movement that abides by the principle of meritocracy.

A meritocracy is a social system in which people are allowed to prove themselves; to be all they can be, with everyone given a fair shot at success. The government does not aid or hinder them. Those who succeed either work harder or are more talented than those who don’t.

Your race doesn’t help you (as it might in an ethno-nationalist society). Your disability or poverty won’t promote you (as they might in an egalitarian welfare state). Your sex won’t aid you (as it might in a feminist or Islamic state). Your class won’t limit you (as it might in a Caste-based social system). Showy virtue, or memorising the Qur’an won’t aid you either (as it might Iran). In a meritocracy, you are not helped or hindered by the point you start from.

In a pure meritocracy, everyone has a chance to make it. And if you blow it. Tough.

Now, clearly we do not yet live in a meritocratic world. In fact, no one country has ever achieved this ideal completely. The nearest approximation the world has seen was perhaps the Thatcher regime in the 1980s.

Margaret Thatcher (motivated by libertarian urges) foisted an ethic of self-reliance on a rickety country, broken by decades of socialism. Despite the economic dynamism unleashed by this initiative, it proved massively unpopular with the population and fuelled a renaissance on the far-left and far-right.

That consensus of seemingly contradictory extremism is telling. Racism and socialism are both reactions to (and are rooted in a fear of) meritocracy. The greater the level of meritocracy in a society, the more the extremes of political thinking will intensify and expose their true anxieties.

A racist imagines a utopia in which his skin colour (not his talent) exalts him above others, thus defying meritocratic laws. A socialist imagines a society where everyone is equally poor, and thus free of meritocracy altogether. Both of these ideologies are designed to cheat in the competition of life. To sneak an edge; to get a head-start; to trip the leaders of the pack…

Meritocracy (without embellishment or compromise) is the only political cause worth pursuing.


Islamic State and the Coming Terror Wave.


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Those who believed Islamic State was a threat exclusive to the Middle East now have occasion to revise their opinions.

Intelligence agencies and government ministries across the West are warning of a direct threat to Europe and America from ISIS operatives. This morning it was also reported that photographs have been published on twitter featuring ISIS sympathisers standing beside American landmarks including the White House. While it is impossible to know whether these images are doctored, the ambition they portray is surely authentic.

An Islamic State is not a bear-trap, its cruelties barbed inward against its own population but leaving the external world at peace. The idea of a new Caliphate is to provide a united Islamic world, strengthened in numbers and wealth in order to project superpower onto those it has long defamed as ‘aggressors'; most notably Israel, the United States and Britain.

ISIS may already have the ability to launch strikes against our civil society. Its position next to the traditional transit route of Turkey gives it a portal to Europe, and its international recruits (and their paperwork) provide easy access to places like Australia and the United States.

Before the images mentioned above were published, David Blair, the Telegraph’s Middle East correspondent wrote the following:

“(With) the inflow of volunteers carrying European passports, including some from Britain, and with his control of territory and almost limitless resources, Baghdadi (The ‘Caliph’ of Islamic State) has a real opportunity to attempt to strike the West. Put simply, his goals are about to become clear. Either he will be content with suffocating his new domain, or he will lash out and seek to damage ours. There is every reason to suspect that he is capable of the latter. All that remains in question is his intent.”

While America therefore has sufficient reason to feel uneasy about ISIS, we in Europe should rightly be terrified. It would take very little planning for ISIS to launch a campaign of violence against this continent, and I strongly believe that is what is going to come about. As our militaries engage more directly against Islamic State targets in Northern Iraq, reprisals are almost certain to come, and quickly.

I don’t mean 9/11 style attacks. I mean something bigger and more professional. Unlike al-Qaeda, ISIS is a modern military with sophisticated lines of communication and countless foreign recruits at its command. There are ISIS contacts from Portsmouth to Paris, Malmo to Madrid. Be prepared for co-ordinated operations in many European capitals. London is particularly vulnerable given the large number of ‘Brits’ departing for Syria every week. Indeed, David Cameron has spoken today of the risk to British streets. Perhaps even our elites are waking up to what is coming.

Note that the initiators of the wave won’t all be Pakistani or Arabic men. There has been talk of black, Malaysian and White Norwegian fighters heading back and forth from the region, as well as countless females. This will be altogether new. Symptomatic of Islamism’s evolution from amateur to pro.

How should we feel then? Part of me dreads the coming terror wave. It will be chaotic and expensive in blood. Another part of me feels strangely excited. This is a time for heroes. We will all need to find the man in us (and yes, feminazi, I said MAN). Let battle be joined. We cannot co-exist with cave-men.


Russell Brand’s Childish Utopianism.


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How far a society has degenerated can be gauged by looking at those it chooses to venerate. The country which in loftier times boasted of John Stuart Mill, Thomas Carlyle and Charles Dickens in its pulpit of social commentary, now has markedly lesser standards, and this descent corresponds necessarily to a decline in popular acuity.

That one of the most popular political thinkers of our day is a comedian should itself communicate the point. More disquieting still is the light load carried by the man in question. 

Once a lowly television presenter, Brand, 39, now communicates daily on his YouTube channel in the manner of an Eastern prophet. He calls this broadcast the ‘Trews’ (a portmanteau of Truth and News). At their peak, episodes can reach an audience of over 500,000 people. The other day I took to watching a few of these myself and so here are some thoughts.

Politically, Brand’s point of orientation seems to be an extreme form of universalism. He repeatedly calls nation-states ‘meaningless concepts’ and ‘arbitrary lines on a map’. All cultures are apparently equal to him, including those which violently condemn this very worldview. Immigration is never a crisis meanwhile, but simply a means the rich use to distract the poor from the imperatives of class warfare.

These are old ideas indeed, many of them soaked in old blood.

From Stalin’s nation-destroying grip on Eastern-Europe, through Mao’s war on China’s ancient diversity, universalism has been roundly discredited by every possible moral measure. ‘Cultural equality’ meanwhile is a plague of illogic directly responsible for the tensions of the modern world.

On economic affairs, Brand’s anti-corporatism is absolute. No enterprise can be successful without simultaneously ‘oppressing’ or ‘keeping down’ other elements. He communicates a kind of ‘socialism without the details’, knocking the system whilst refusing to endorse a specific party or movement and often calling into question the very notion of voting.

Of course, wherever there is Leftism of this potency, one will also find hypocrisy, and Brand provides no exception to this rule. span>

In a video boldly examining the ‘hidden’ agenda behind television commercials, Brand mocks the inclusion of Native Americans in Coca Cola’s notorious multi-lingual Star-Spangled Banner ad. “Don’t take the piss.” he barks “You stole their fucking country.”

But what is that strange word he uses here – ‘country’? It seems to me a euphemism for ‘nation’, something which – as Brand has already informed us – is nothing more than a ‘construct’ of the mind. By the same stroke then, no ill truly befell the Native Americans, and if the notion of a ‘border’ has always been a nefarious restriction on human liberty, Sitting Bull was simply being xenophobic in resisting the path of the Yankees.

Brand repeats the same mistake on the subject of Israel. During the Gaza war, Brand consistently sided with the distinctly un-universalistic claims of Palestinian nationalism; a tendency of thought quite obsessed with ‘borders’ and the ownership of land.

But this freewheeling hypocrisy is part of the warp and weft of utopian thinking. And utopian Brand decidedly is. In the course of his pontifications, he has gone so far as to call for ‘revolution’. He doesn’t explain exactly for what end this rebellion would be, but perhaps he doesn’t need to.  

A more sensible British comic, Robert Webb, bravely took issue with Russell’s childish incitement in the New Statesman. In a letter addressed to Brand, Webb wrote the following:

“I understand your ache for the luminous, for a connection beyond yourself. Russell, we all feel like that. Some find it in music or literature, some in the wonders of science and others in religion. But it isn’t available any more in revolution. We tried that again and again, and we know that it ends in death camps, gulags, repression and murder. In brief, and I say this with the greatest respect, please read some fucking Orwell.”

A drug addict for most of his youth, Brand ascribes his newfound sobriety to the positive influence of Transcendental Meditation – a dippy, new-age excuse for light-headedness that became a hot product in Hollywood during the 1980s.

Perhaps political sobriety is a more difficult concept to master. Give him time.


Atheism is a False Hope (a dialogue).


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Dramatis Personae : A – a fictional interrogator: DTMW – Myself.

A: “Is there a God?”

DTMW: “Possibly.”

A: “The God of conventional religion?”

DTMW: “No.”

A: “So you’re an atheist in that regard?”

DTMW: “Not really. Atheism has become a positive concept. While once it was simply an absence of belief, it is now a very politicised label and suggests a specific worldview built around materialism, liberalism and a forced veneration of science. The New Atheists I find especially dangerous. They do not understand the function religion plays in the maintenance of a civil society, and what would necessarily occur were it removed.”

A: “Which is…”

DTMW: “It protects society from the full consequences of scientific truth. We’ve gotten too used to the idea that the ‘truth will set us free’ – that truth, being a positive value, can only have a positive effect. We forget that it can be beneficial or harmful only depending on its interpretation. Human beings are not naturally good, I’m afraid. Hobbes had this almost correct, except that religion and not government is the most effective Leviathan. Without it, the less evolved among the world population would feel they had no reason to stay within moral boundaries. Without the fear of hellfire, morality becomes a matter of consent. That’s all well and good for intelligent people with their evolved sense of empathy and social nuance. But most people are not intelligent.

And even among the intelligent, atheism allows for an icy, almost mathematical form of ethics that can be used to rationalise just about anything. Abortion, murder in all by name, can very easily be made logical by atheist thinking, but less so by the slightly fuzzy sentimentalism of the religious mind. That fuzzy sentimentalism, even if ridiculed by the petri dish and microscope, protects us from a lot of evil ‘common-sense’. The ‘New Atheists’ are greasing the wheels towards a very cold and dangerous void, the eventual filling of which they shan’t themselves be around to influence.

A: “Richard Dawkins says we can be good without God.”

DTMW: “As well he might. He is the product of a charmed life and first-class education. He belongs the upper-middle class and has never truly experienced hardship of the kind the poor must contend with. Solace of an earthly, material kind was at his side come what may. When the poor are faced with a reality that is horrid in every rational interpretation, they must look beyond reality for comfort. Peace between the classes depends in no small way on this function of religion. The concept of a human ‘equality’ before God; of a levelling after death; of a divine reward measured to match the hardship endured in life – all of these concepts prevent the fires of revolution bursting into life. There is a good reason that Communists went for the churches with as much venom as the banks and corporations.”

A: “What about Islam?”

DTMW: “Not all religions are equal. Some are more moral than others. It’s important to remember that a living religion is more than its foundational text. It is the product of elaborations and philosophies inspired by that text over hundreds of years. This is why Judaism and Christianity evolve and Islam doesn’t. The Qur’an, unlike the Bible, is a book that cannot be re-interpreted without fear of death.

A: “So you’d rather the Arabs and Persians and others converted to Christianity?”

DTMW: “I think that would be transformative. A Christianised Islamic world would solve so many of the worlds anxieties that it is difficult to describe how highly I favour the idea. I also expect the second generation growing up in a forcibly Christianised Pakistan (say) would be thankful to those who dominated and converted their elders. Islam makes life hell. Even Islamists are desperate to escape the fruits of their own labours. They are too proud to admit otherwise of course.”

A: “Are atheists evil?”

DTMW: “No. But many are certainly elitist. Elitism hides behind atheism rather well. You might say ‘No, I don’t hate poor White Americans; I just enjoy ridiculing their belief in Noah’s Ark. It’s got nothing to do with the fact that I went to University and they didn’t.’ I’m not convinced by that sort of thing I’m afraid.

As both Nietzsche and the Nazis understood, Christianity has always opposed elitism and made it politically impossible. This is the case today in America. The anti-intellectual instinct of Southern Baptism for example is something I sympathise with. The elite of America would love nothing more than to re-order society based on IQ or erudition. Christianity demands that other qualities are taken into account; unscientific qualities – like modesty, friendliness and warmth.

On a social level, mass atheism (as opposed to scattered, disorganised disbelief) would open Pandora’s Box. Many sleeping ideologies would awaken and moral values would be re-examined. It isn’t enough to say that ‘reason’ would take the place of religion. Whose reason? Can you not make a reasonable case for unreasonable things?

A: “Do you prefer Catholic or Protestant culture?”

DTMW: “My father is a retired C-of-E minister and so Protestantism is more familiar to me. I don’t like the hierarchicalism of the Catholic church, but I like the aesthetics of Catholic communion. Protestantism is more earthly. The West would fare well with either.

A: “Should children be raised with religion?”

DTMW: “I couldn’t be insincere in that regard, so instead I would make them understand that this is historically a Christian culture and that Islam, Hinduism and the like, are foreign to it. We reserve the right to uphold traditions and to maintain a unifying sense of identity. A religious core strengthens a nation by giving it a point of focus. It is terribly short-sighted to recommend the removal of religion from public life entirely.


Reflections on the Nuclear Option.


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This past week saw the anniversary of America’s demolition of the city of Hiroshima, then a major manufacturing hub of the Imperial Japanese Empire. As we are always reminded, this was the first and as yet only use of nuclear weapons in warfare.

I’ll let it be known where I stand on that episode without hesitation. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the coventrations of Tokyo and Kyoto before them, were not only justified actions (in a strategic sense) but represented an act of profound kindness to the peoples of Asia. Just as Germany had arrogantly sought to enslave the peoples of Europe against their will, so Japan – with its terrifying efficiency – was actively seeking to imprison the whole of East Asia under a Yamato herrenvolk.

Americans should rightly be proud of this stroke of moral and military genius. It saved many more lives than it took.

From their creation, nuclear weapons have always provided a philosophical as well as strategic dilemma for policy-makers. Does anyone really have the right to unleash the forces of hell on another country? Can the death of innocents ever be necessary?

As I’ve already suggested, the answer to both of these questions is ‘yes’.

There are many different kinds of war. It is not always a war between rational actors, or even between states. Sometimes a whole society is mobilised in a shared hysteria and must be dealt with accordingly. Both Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan had thoroughly indoctrinated populations as well as governments. In Germany, the concept of a master-race was believed by judges and street-sweepers, government officials and housewives. Similarly, there is an ocean of evidence to suggest that millions of ordinary Japanese believed in the divinity of Hirohito and were ready to kill and die for him. The nuclear bombing of Japan was thus designed to avoid a lengthy (and bloody) confrontation with a whole nation. A US occupation (without prior surrender) would have been opposed by civilian suicide attacks too numerous to be humanely controlled. One word from the emperor could have mobilised a million men, women and children into crazed violence.

In 2007, the neuroscientist and irreligionist Sam Harris was quoted as having said the following: “Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them”. He was broadly condemned for this (including bizarrely by Theodore Dalrymple), despite it being the active policy of the Western World in regard to armed jihadis in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Harris if correct of course, and Islam (his main concern) is a bigger threat than Japan could have ever mustered. If Islam cannot be dealt with by our conventional forces, we will eventually have to consider the use of a nuclear pacifier.

The objection to the use of nuclear weapons under any circumstance is (whilst moral in origin) energised largely by exaggeration. The use of nuclear weapons on Tehran, Riyadh and Ankara for example (and this would represent the most obvious opening salvo in a Western offensive against Islam) would not for certain lead to a ‘nuclear winter’. The environmental effects of nuclear explosions have been subject to significant pacifist hype. Since the Second World War, there have been over 2000 nuclear bomb blasts in many different environments. None have caused lasting environmental damage. This is considerably more than would be used in the situations we are talking about. And even if the objection is raised against me that nuclear tests do not actually burn structures and therefore don’t emit smoke into the atmosphere, we still have the examples of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to draw from. About these very real test cases, Skeptoid’s Brian Dunning wrote the following:

“Hiroshima developed a firestorm… that peaked two to three hours after the explosion. Six hours after the explosion, nearly everything combustible within a one-and-a-half kilometer radius had been consumed, and the fire was almost completely out, leaving over 8 square kilometers destroyed… Photographs taken of Hiroshima over the next few days do not show any significant evidence of vast amounts of smoke.”

Other examples of nuclear over-hype are given in the article: I shall post the link in the comments section.

Of course, there are some circumstances in which nuclear weapons are too powerful to be safely deployed by a state. Israel for example could not use nuclear weapons on Jordan or Egypt without the threat of environmental risk to its own population. But in general, both Israel the West cannot permanently discount this kind of arsenal as a tool of resistance.

We have the moral right to defend our happiness and to preserve the possibility of happiness for mankind. When you compare our relaxed, macchiato lifestyle against the desert mutilations of Planet Sharia, ask yourself this: Isn’t the preservation of one from the other worth a nuclear explosion or two?

There is only one earth for humans to inhabit. What worth can human life have if freedom is abolished on it? When you’re fighting for reasons as big as that – heaven against hell, light against eternal darkness – all options must remain firmly on the table.


Counter-Jihad Priorities (Part 1).


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What are the priorities of the Counter-Jihad movement? In post-EDL Britain, one might reasonably feel confused about this. What are we fighting for and what are we fighting against. How best might we go about it? This post (the first in a series) will attempt to provide an idea of what are - in my opinion – the rightful priorities in the most vital cultural struggle of our day.

1. Cultural Pushback.

Islamisation in Europe will not occur in the unsubtle fashion of horse-back armies, explosions and beheadings. Countries will first be hypnotised into a state of culturelessness; a confused state of multi-polar ambiguity with no single identity enjoying the dominant poise. This serves to prepare the way for more aggressive Islamisation later.

This condition can be brought about by legal, social and political activism, as well as by the construction of symbols which moisten and dissolve the spirit of the pre-existing culture. Mosques are the most obvious tool in this project. Their spear-like minarets dwarf the spires of churches, and the wailing of the call to prayer extends this emotional effect over a much wider area. Veils are another important element in cultural Jihad. The more veiled women are seen by children and young adults, the more the impression will be entrenched that there is no dominant cultural identity remaining in the country. Other supportive mechanisms include the spread of halal food, and the inclusion of Islam in a fraudulent trinity of Abrahamic theology (with Judaism and Christianity).

Pushing back against this silent offensive is the most immediate and important task for the Counter-Jihad. Methods of resistance here include boycott, static demonstration (outside halal restaurants) and legal campaigns against the construction of mosques.

2. Avoiding Over-Saturation/ Punching Out.

Be honest. Have you ever read a post on this or any other Counter-Jihad blog and thought “Urgh… more of the same arguments against Islam. Misogyny, terrorism, blah blah, blah…”.

I fully understand why you’d feel like this. The Counter-Jihad movement is fast becoming a victim of its own success. We risk delegitimising ourselves by repetition. Who wouldn’t groan upon hearing that the Iraq war was about oil? Even Leftists might cringe. The same applies to our own arguments. Truth remains truth, but we must strive for realism and originality. Humour is key to this.

For far too long, the Left has enjoyed a monopoly on comedy. There is no reason for this to continue. Can we not satirise as well as criticise Islamism? I don’t mean in a low-brow ‘Achmed the Dead Terrorist’ kind of way. I mean a more elevated, relaxed, Graham Linehan /’theatre of the absurd’ pose; an uncomplicated portrayal of the strangeness of our opponents.

3. Exercise the Power of Numbers.

It is important that we criticise Islam whenever we are given the opportunity. That this offends people and encourages threats to our personal safety is less an objection than the objective. We must exercise the power of numbers while we still have it. There are more of us than there are of them, and they cannot kill us all. Our willingness to speak out is a form of solidarity. It distributes the risk so thinly that it becomes inconsequential.

4. Accept Only Apostasy from Muslim Immigrants.

A moderate Muslim is a non-entity. As long as any Muslim self-identifies as Muslim, he is part of the colonising force. Only when he leaves his faith can he become part of the Western definition. We should accept ex-Muslims with a kind spirit and defend them against the revenge of their former co-religionists.

5. Promote Islamic Feminism.

Despite our distaste for feminism in the West, an outbreak of feminism in the Islamic world could be very advantageous to our cause. We should continue to publicise the anti-woman policies of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran, and put pressure on Western feminists to recognise their hypocrisy in this regard. Perhaps a meme stock-character akin to a ‘scumbag liberal feminist’ could be manufactured.

These are very soft-core ideas and many of them belong to common sense. Next week I’ll post some more morally difficult ideas. These require greater justification and so I’ll work on them in the coming days.



Gruesome Ironies.


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As I write, the United States Air Force has commenced bombing ISIS positions in Iraq. I wish them every success in this mission, but at the same time, an irony must be noted. The people currently fleeing US missiles are the same people previously mobilised (surreptitiously) by the US in Syria.

And it seems that Bashar al-Assad, far from the irrational monster portrayed in the Western media, has been quite rationally trying to secure Syria’s civil society from one of the worst incarnations of Islam for over a hundred years.

American foreign policy under Obama has become so hopelessly confused that definitions of ‘enemy’ and ‘friend’ coalesce like seawater and sand; blending and separating, blending and separating…

At this point, those of us who cautioned against the bolstering of Syrian Jihadists could well enjoy a tall, ice-cold glass of ‘I told-you so’. That however would not do justice to the gravity of the situation in Iraq.

ISIS (or whatever they have since rebranded themselves) are the purest evil; the sheerest malevolence. They must be destroyed as quickly as possible. Airstrikes are imperfect but welcome. Ideal would be boots on the ground and mass arrests, but this remains a distant prospect.

I suppose one good thing that could come out of the Islamic State bloodbath is that it may force moral-minded Muslims to question their faith. That’s a never a bad thing. In the meantime, our hearts should be with the Yazidi, and with the USAF pilots boldly securing their survival. Let’s also remember the Christians still under siege by the same demonic force. On this last subject, the telegraph yesterday carried a particularly powerful cartoon. In case you missed it, it’s reproduced below:


D,  LDN.

The Cynical Genius of Hamas.


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Anyone who values civilisation – from its music and museums, to its cinemas and nightclubs – will have been sympathetic to Israel’s plight over the past two weeks. It is being attacked by another century, and cannot respond except by striking (as surgically as possible) one of the most densely populated territories in the world.

Faced with these odds, Israel has inevitably lost. As I said a fortnight ago, the only way Operation Protective Edge could succeed (or be worth the ocean of negative publicity arising from the project) is if Hamas was knocked conclusively out of history. I’m far from alone in holding this view. Many a patriot in Israel has been exasperated by this war and its apparent lack of direction.

Hamas – in contrast to Netanyahu’s ambiguity – is working with a clear and intelligent strategy:

1. Provoke Israel into bombarding Gaza.

2. Fire missiles from hospitals, schools and (for added propaganda effect) UN-affiliated buildings in order to maximise foreign and civilian casualties – human lives being cheaply expendable given the local birth-rate.

3. Mobilise Left-wing and Pro-Palestinian media around the world with photos of dead women and children. Gain as many young and naïve adherents to the Palestinian cause as possible.

4. Allow the war to die down. Re-arm and await next operation.

As you can see, there is little room for failure here. One can also see how Israel’s response has fed directly into it. The intensity of Pro-Palestinian information-flow since the start of the war has been staggering. And it hasn’t been limited to the closed world of the political Left either. Here are some of the hundreds of anti-Zionist comments left on the centre-right Daily Mail website (all of which were given hundreds of ‘green arrows’ by its readership) -

Israel would like nothing more than to destroy all Palestinian settlements. The ‘excuse’ of defending its people is a smokescreen. If this campaign somehow stops they’ll find another excuse to attack and kill thousands of innocent people. Israel are mass murderers.”

Israel is an apartheid state gone wild and it’s unfair to expect their neighbours to sit there defenceless without the weapons and military to defend themselves.”

Israel wants the land for its natural gas, it’s as simple as that. It won’t stop and is behaving in an appalling manner.”

The whole world knows what a terrorist state Israel is-you can sit here all day trying to defend it-it won’t work.”

Elsewhere, the Telegraph (arguably the most reliably pro-Israel news source in the UK) has run numerous reports on the bombings of Hamas targets near schools and hospitals with the (rather important) Hamas element unmentioned anywhere in the text. It used to be the case that only the BBC was capable of this wilful propaganda. This time around, were it not for the middle-ground politeness of the BBC, the Israeli side would have no media voice in the UK outside the Jewish Chronicle.

Its inherent evil aside, Hamas is reaping the crop from a well-thought out and devilishly clever tactic. Now let’s look at what a comparably clear Israeli response would have looked like:

1. Delay retaliation to Gaza rocket fire. Instead make clear to Hamas and international community that living next to a terrorist group has become intolerable (i.e. make the case for the action before the action). Issue final warning to Hamas and make clear that it will be removed if rocket fire continues. The longer the period between the ultimatum and military action, the less the power of criticism will be when the latter is underway.

2. If rocket fire continues, launch air and ground strikes against all known Hamas sites. Occupy Gaza for as long as it takes to arrest or kill Hamas leadership and its supporters. After the occupation, make clear that the same routine will be repeated if any comparable terrorist group emerges there.

By way of conclusion, Protective Edge has been a disaster for Israel, a windfall for the Palestinian cause, and it raises serious questions about Israel’s long term planning. Let’s hope lessons have been learned.



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