Category Archives: Socialism

UPDATED: Contra Marie Barf, Here’s Why ISIS Acts Up, Just A Little (Ms. Barf, ‘Exhibit A’)

Foreign Policy, Islam, Jihad, Middle East, Pseudoscience, Psychiatry, Socialism, Terrorism

What do you get when you combine intellectual inconsequentialness, schoolmarmishess, tartishness and a generous dollop of fem affirmative action? Meet stumblebum Marie Harf, the sibilant spokeswoman at the State Department. It goes without saying that another ingredient in the making of this insufferable specimen is family ties, nepotism of the kind described in “Brian Williams: member of media circle jerk.”.

The weak-minded Barf offered up the root-causes rot as the reason members of ISIS are acting up:

We need in the medium to longer term to go after the root causes that leads [sic] people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs … We can work with countries around the world to help improve their governance. We can help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people…

Barf forgot to include the unscientific, biological reductionism that would attach a medical diagnosis to any and all misbehavior. Personally, my read on Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is Attention Deficit Disorder. A cure all: anger management and medication.

UPDATE: Retired Lieutenant Ralph Peters—he’s no favorite due to his mad militarism—did, however, nail it on Hannity, offering that Marie Barf is exhibit A for the failure of the American education system. Like myself, Lieutenant Peters checked on Barf’s education. She has an MA in Foreign Affairs from University of Virginia.

Promulgated by Barf, the argument upon which “The Root-Causes Racket” rests is refuted analytically in CHAPTER 5 of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa.”

A superb antidote to Barf’s widely shared boorishness is “What ISIS Really Wants,” by Graeme Wood, editor at The Atlantic:

[BEGIN EXCERPT]

“The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.” …

… We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.

The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy, and can help the West know its enemy and predict its behavior. Its rise to power is less like the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (a group whose leaders the Islamic State considers apostates) than like the realization of a dystopian alternate reality in which David Koresh or Jim Jones survived to wield absolute power over not just a few hundred people, but some 8 million.[I disagree with this fatuous analogy, so typical of the liberal mindset.]

… We are misled in a second way, by a well-intentioned but dishonest campaign to deny the Islamic State’s medieval religious nature. …

… In fact, much of what the group does looks nonsensical except in light of a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse. …

… his exhortation to attack crops directly echoed orders from Muhammad to leave well water and crops alone—unless the armies of Islam were in a defensive position, in which case Muslims in the lands of kuffar, or infidels, should be unmerciful, and poison away. …

… The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam. …

… Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail. Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it. We’ll need to get acquainted with the Islamic State’s intellectual genealogy if we are to react in a way that will not strengthen it, but instead help it self-immolate in its own excessive zeal. …

… Denying the holiness of the Koran or the prophecies of Muhammad is straightforward apostasy. But Zarqawi and the state he spawned take the position that many other acts can remove a Muslim from Islam. These include, in certain cases, selling alcohol or drugs, wearing Western clothes or shaving one’s beard, voting in an election—even for a Muslim candidate—and being lax about calling other people apostates. Being a Shiite, as most Iraqi Arabs are, meets the standard as well, because the Islamic State regards Shiism as innovation, and to innovate on the Koran is to deny its initial perfection. (The Islamic State claims that common Shiite practices, such as worship at the graves of imams and public self-flagellation, have no basis in the Koran or in the example of the Prophet.) That means roughly 200 million Shia are marked for death. So too are the heads of state of every Muslim country, who have elevated man-made law above Sharia by running for office or enforcing laws not made by God. …

… Many mainstream Muslim organizations have gone so far as to say the Islamic State is, in fact, un-Islamic. It is, of course, reassuring to know that the vast majority of Muslims have zero interest in replacing Hollywood movies with public executions as evening entertainment. But Muslims who call the Islamic State un-Islamic are typically, as the Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel, the leading expert on the group’s theology, told me, “embarrassed and politically correct, with a cotton-candy view of their own religion” that neglects “what their religion has historically and legally required.” Many denials of the Islamic State’s religious nature, he said, are rooted in an “interfaith-Christian-nonsense tradition.” …

… Every academic I asked about the Islamic State’s ideology sent me to Haykel. Of partial Lebanese descent, Haykel grew up in Lebanon and the United States, and when he talks through his Mephistophelian goatee, there is a hint of an unplaceable foreign accent. …

… The Koran specifies crucifixion as one of the only punishments permitted for enemies of Islam. The tax on Christians finds clear endorsement in the Surah Al-Tawba, the Koran’s ninth chapter, which instructs Muslims to fight Christians and Jews “until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” The Prophet, whom all Muslims consider exemplary, imposed these rules and owned slaves.

Leaders of the Islamic State have taken emulation of Muhammad as strict duty, and have revived traditions that have been dormant for hundreds of years. “What’s striking about them is not just the literalism, but also the seriousness with which they read these texts” …

… “ISIS, by contrast, is really reliving the early period.” Early Muslims were surrounded by non-Muslims, and the Islamic State, because of its takfiri tendencies, considers itself to be in the same situation.

If al-Qaeda wanted to revive slavery, it never said so. And why would it? Silence on slavery probably reflected strategic thinking, with public sympathies in mind: when the Islamic State began enslaving people, even some of its supporters balked. Nonetheless, the caliphate has continued to embrace slavery and crucifixion without apology. “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women,” Adnani, the spokesman, promised …

… Tens of thousands of foreign Muslims are thought to have immigrated to the Islamic State. Recruits hail from France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Australia, Indonesia, the United States, and many other places. Many have come to fight, and many intend to die. …

… Baghdadi spoke at length of the importance of the caliphate in his Mosul sermon. He said that to revive the institution of the caliphate—which had not functioned except in name for about 1,000 years—was a communal obligation. He and his loyalists had “hastened to declare the caliphate and place an imam” at its head, he said. “This is a duty upon the Muslims—a duty that has been lost for centuries … The Muslims sin by losing it, and they must always seek to establish it.” Like bin Laden before him, Baghdadi spoke floridly, with frequent scriptural allusion and command of classical rhetoric. Unlike bin Laden, and unlike those false caliphs of the Ottoman empire, he is Qurayshi. …

… the Muslim who acknowledges one omnipotent god and prays, but who dies without pledging himself to a valid caliph and incurring the obligations of that oath, has failed to live a fully Islamic life. I pointed out that this means the vast majority of Muslims in history, and all who passed away between 1924 and 2014, died a death of disbelief …

… they regard[ed] the caliphate as the only righteous government on Earth, though none would confess having pledged allegiance. …

That whole package [of the Sharia] … would include free housing, food, and clothing for all, though of course anyone who wished to enrich himself with work could do so. …

… The Islamic State may have medieval-style punishments for moral crimes (lashes for boozing or fornication, stoning for adultery), but its social-welfare program is, at least in some aspects, progressive to a degree that would please an MSNBC pundit. Health care … is free. (“Isn’t it free in Britain, too?,” I asked. “Not really,” he said. “Some procedures aren’t covered, such as vision.”) This provision of social welfare was not … a policy choice of the Islamic State, but a policy obligation inherent in God’s law. …

… the state has an obligation to terrorize its enemies—a holy order to scare the shit out of them with beheadings and crucifixions and enslavement of women and children, because doing so hastens victory and avoids prolonged conflict. …

Islamic law permits only temporary peace treaties, lasting no longer than a decade. Similarly, accepting any border is anathema, as stated by the Prophet and echoed in the Islamic State’s propaganda videos. If the caliph consents to a longer-term peace or permanent border, he will be in error. Temporary peace treaties are renewable, but may not be applied to all enemies at once: the caliph must wage jihad at least once a year. He may not rest, or he will fall into a state of sin. …

… One comparison to the Islamic State is the Khmer Rouge, which killed about a third of the population of Cambodia. …

The biggest proponent of an American invasion is the Islamic State itself. The provocative videos, in which a black-hooded executioner addresses President Obama by name, are clearly made to draw America into the fight. An invasion would be a huge propaganda victory for jihadists worldwide: …

… A few “lone wolf” supporters of the Islamic State have attacked Western targets, and more attacks will come. But most of the attackers have been frustrated amateurs, unable to immigrate to the caliphate because of confiscated passports or other problems. Even if the Islamic State cheers these attacks—and it does in its propaganda—it hasn’t yet planned and financed one. (The Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris in January was principally an al?Qaeda operation.) …

… Muslims can say that slavery is not legitimate now, and that crucifixion is wrong at this historical juncture. Many say precisely this. But they cannot condemn slavery or crucifixion outright without contradicting the Koran and the example of the Prophet. “The only principled ground that the Islamic State’s opponents could take is to say that certain core texts and traditional teachings of Islam are no longer valid,” Bernard Haykel says. That really would be an act of apostasy. …

… these men spoke with an academic precision that put me in mind of a good graduate seminar. I even enjoyed their company, and that frightened me as much as anything else. …

… the Islamic State[:] when they get to questions about social upheaval, they sound like Che Guevara.” …

… Western officials would probably do best to refrain from weighing in on matters of Islamic theological debate altogether. Barack Obama himself drifted into takfiri waters when he claimed that the Islamic State was “not Islamic”—the irony being that he, as the non-Muslim son of a Muslim, may himself be classified as an apostate, and yet is now practicing takfir against Muslims. Non-Muslims’ practicing takfir elicits chuckles from jihadists (“Like a pig covered in feces giving hygiene advice to others,” one tweeted). …

… most Muslims aren’t susceptible to joining jihad. The ones who are susceptible will only have had their suspicions confirmed: the United States lies about religion to serve its purposes. …

[SNIP]

MORE of this remarkable essay.


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UPDATED: A Pesky Pussy @ Antiwar.com (Steigerwald, Oy Gevalt!)

Feminism, Gender, libertarianism, Paleolibertarianism, Race, Racism, Reason, Science, Socialism

It used to be that Justin Raimondo was more discerning about the women he welcomed into the Antiwar.com fold. Here is how Mr. Raimondo welcomed this writer:

A major confetti-throwing welcome on the occasion of Ilana Mercer’s first regular column for Antiwar.com. Ilana is a principled longtime libertarian, and literally an international figure: she’s an ex-Israeli, ex-South African, and ex-Canadian, now a permanent resident of the U.S. And it isn’t only her prose that’s beautiful. She’s opinionated, she can write, and she’s a lot of fun. Give her a warm welcome by checking out her column.

“Respect,” as Ali G.—the creation of comedic genius Sacha Baron Cohen—would have said.

I sincerely hope Mr. Raimondo is not losing his grip on this important outfit. For no sooner had contrarian libertarians celebrated the voluntary departure of “regimist” Cathy Reisenwitz from libertarian activism —than one of Raimondo’s new columnists unleashed herself on this writer, rabbiting on about racism. Just like Reisenwitz.

This is ironic, because, Mr. Raimondo—a life-long, creedal libertarian—had smoked Reisenwitz out for libeling Ron Paul, Murray Rothbard, Lew Rockwell and Hans-Hermann Hoppe as racists. I don’t expect Justin to defend me too; he and I have had a fractious relationship (although I was under the impression that some respect for each other’s commitment to liberty accounts for the détente). I do expect Justin to call off his hound-dog. No boot; just Kibbles ‘n Bits (it’s for her own good).

The paper trail of one Lucy Steigerwald is short, the prose turgid, the topics well-trodden, the angle never original. Nevertheless, this second-hander has enough to say about my column (begun in Canada, circa 1998). What It has to say is terribly predictable, tedious, and now time-consuming (opportunity costs mounting).

Long-time readers of this space will have figured out what it is that I’m being fingered for. A bit of hyperbole—literary license, really—has gotten me into hot water. For asserting that “whites don’t riot and loot” (from “Eric Garner 100% Innocent Under Libertarian Law”), I am said to be swimming is very polluted waters. The dodo Steigerwald has diagnosed me as suffering “certain propensities for racist generalizations.” Strictly speaking, I should have anticipated the response of tinny automatons like Steigerwhatshername, and written that “whites are less likely to riot and loot than blacks.” In any event, corrective feedback to that effect would have been appreciated and acted upon. Instead, I find myself fending off a bloodhound scenting for her prey: “Fee-Fi-Fo-Fem, Steigerwald Has Smelt The Blood Of A ‘Racist.'” Oy gevalt! Once started, nothing will stop the “fee-fi-fo-fem’s frenzy” of a Steigerwald (who has twice now maligned me).

Steigerwald’s worldview belongs to a tyrannical, joyless tradition. The hateful habit of policing what people say for political propriety; snidely intimating that they are somehow defective on those grounds alone and deserve to be purged from “polite” company; scrutinizing literature, music, art, television or comedy for signs of so-called sexism, racism, elitism, homophobia, anti-Semitism and meanness—this belongs squarely to the tradition of cultural Marxism. “Political correctness, especially in libertarian circles, is cultural Marxism masquerading in libertarian clothing,” warns Hans-Hermann Hoppe. It is “[a]n intellectual joke, indicating the loss of all common sense and, propagated by self-described libertarians, seriously harmful to the intellectual reputation and further development of libertarianism and libertarian scholarship.”

Indeed, what kind of libertarian polices speech for propriety, and alights on those who violate standards set by the PC set? An excuse for a libertarian! Like left-liberals, “lite libertarians”—they’re the kind that is afflicted with the same spineless conformity; a deformation of the personality euphemized as political correctness—are incapable of appreciating a script or book; a painting or symphony; a stand-up routine, if only because the material and its creator violates the received laws of political correctness. As far as promoting the demonstrably false racism meme—what speech is racist, what slip of the pen (like mine) or tongue deserves outing; which feelings are bigoted; the kind of humor that is off-color; the fears of The Other that are verboten—this kind of left-libertarianism is indistinguishable from left-liberalism on this front.

On the matter of my alleged “propensities for racist generalizations,” here’s my reply, taken almost verbatim from “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa” (pp. 41-42):

My answer to those who’d fault me for daring to make broad statements about aggregate group characteristics, vis-à-vis crime [or rioting], … would be as follows: Generalizations, provided they are substantiated by hard evidence, not hunches, are not incorrect. Science relies on the ability to generalize to the larger population observations drawn from a representative sample. People make prudent decisions in their daily lives based on probabilities and generalities. That one chooses not to live in a particular crime-riddled county or country in no way implies that one considers all residents to be criminals, only that a sensible determination has been made, based on statistically significant data, as to where scarce and precious resources—one’s life and property—are best invested.

For me, the road to freedom lies in beating back the state, so that individuals may regain freedom of association, dominion over property, the absolute right of self-defense; the right to hire, fire, and generally, associate at will. As a paleolibertarian, however, my idea of liberty is never propositional–it is not a deracinated principle, unmoored from the realities of history, hierarchy, biology, tradition, culture, values. The paleolibertarian grasps that liberty has a civilizational dimension, stripped of which the libertarian non-aggression axiom, by which we all must live, cannot endure.

Race is never an organizing principle in my work. You have to be an idiot to say so. I am, however, a bit of a misogynist. And for good reason.

UPDATE (1/14)::

* Cathy Reisenwitz Redux: Steigerwald, Oy Gevalt!

* Target Liberty

* Quarterly Review: “Ilana Mercer reads the riot act.”


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How Frat Feminists ‘Report’ On Rape

Feminism, Journalism, Propaganda, Socialism

In reporting on an alleged rape at the University of Virginia, Rolling Stone Magazine’s Sabrina Rubin Erdely made a pledge not to the facts of the case and the principles of investigative journalism; but to her sorority of feminists. In so doing, this frat feminist followed the propagandizing principles of radical leftist ideology, which is to pursue consciousness-raising on issues they deem important.

Now, an earlier apology over the failure to fact-check the story has been retracted. Instead, editor Will Dana is prepared only to apologize for failing to do her journalistic due diligence. She concedes she was “mistaken in honoring Jackie’s request [the alleged victim] to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account.”

Her equivocating, disgraceful words:

Last month, Rolling Stone published a story entitled A Rape on Campus which described a brutal gang rape of a woman named Jackie during a party at a University of Virginia fraternity house, the University’s failure to respond to this alleged assault – and the school’s troubling history of indifference to many other instances of alleged sexual assaults. The story generated worldwide headlines and much soul-searching at UVA. University president Teresa Sullivan promised a full investigation and also to examine the way the school investigates sexual assault allegations.
Because of the sensitive nature of Jackie’s story, we decided to honor her request not to contact the man who she claimed orchestrated the attack on her nor any of the men who she claimed participated in the attack for fear of retaliation against her. In the months Erdely reported the story, Jackie said or did nothing that made her, or Rolling Stone’s editors and fact-checkers, question her credibility. Jackie’s friends and rape activists on campus strongly supported her account. She had spoken of the assault in campus forums. We reached out to both the local branch and the national leadership of Phi Psi, the fraternity where Jackie said she was attacked. They responded that they couldn’t confirm or deny her story but that they had questions about the evidence.
In the face of new information reported by the Washington Post and other news outlets, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account. The fraternity has issued a formal statement denying the assault and asserting that there was no “date function or formal event” on the night in question. Jackie herself is now unsure if the man she says lured her into the room where the rape occurred, identified in the story, as “Drew,” was a Phi Psi brother. According to the Washington Post, “Drew” actually belongs to a different fraternity and when contacted by the paper, he denied knowing Jackie. Jackie told Rolling Stone that after she was assaulted, she ran into “Drew” at a UVA pool where they both worked as lifeguards. In its statement, the Phi Psi says none of its members worked at the pool in the fall of 2012. A friend of Jackie’s (who we were told would not speak to Rolling Stone) told the Washington Post that he found Jackie that night a mile from the school’s fraternities. She did not appear to be “physically injured at the time” but was shaken. She told him that that she had been forced to have oral sex with a group of men at a fraternity party, but he does not remember her identifying a specific house. Other friends of Jackie’s told the Washington Post that they now have doubts about her narrative, but Jackie told the Washington Post that she firmly stands by the account she gave to Erdely.
We published the article with the firm belief that it was accurate. Given all of these reports, however, we have come to the conclusion that we were mistaken in honoring Jackie’s request to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account. In trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault, we made a judgment – the kind of judgment reporters and editors make every day. We should have not made this agreement with Jackie and we should have worked harder to convince her that the truth would have been better served by getting the other side of the story. These mistakes are on Rolling Stone, not on Jackie. We apologize to anyone who was affected by the story and we will continue to investigate the events of that evening.

Will Dana
Managing Editor

Most journalists these days are activist reporters-cum-celebrities. Prime examples are Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon and Brooke Baldwin, not one of whom deserves to be called a journalist. They do not report on the central events of the day, as journalists of old were obliged to do by definition. Rather, they decide which story should matter to YOU. The activist-journo-celebrity proceeds from the working premise that you don’t care about the right things, and that You, the hick-rube viewer, needs some good old Marxist consciousness-raising.


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China News

China, Environmentalism & Animal Rights, Regulation, Socialism

Yesterday came the news that the Chinese allegedly hacked into the U.S. Postal Service computers, “compromising information about more than 800,000 workers.” Who cares? The real question is why does the dread USPS “employ” 800,000 people? The United States Postal Service should employ one person in charge of … dissolving this bureaucratic blight. No computers; no hacking.

Today we hear that Obama, dressed in Mao garb, has committed Americans ” to “reducing carbon emissions by 26-28 percent,” while agreeing that China will begin to cut back its carbon emissions in … 2030.

Media Matters excoriates conservatives for questioning the deal, but did not appear to question the facts just stated.

MORE:

As part of the new agreement, Obama announced that the U.S. would move much faster in cutting pollution, with a goal to reduce emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025, compared with 2005 levels. Xi, whose country’s emissions are still growing as it builds new coal plants, didn’t commit to cut emissions by a specific amount. Rather, he set a target for China’s emissions to peak by 2030, or earlier if possible.


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UPDATE II: The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (‘The Turkish Problem’)

Feminism, Iraq, Left-Liberalism, libertarianism, Middle East, Socialism

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is often dismissed as Marxist–Leninist, or as “a fusion of revolutionary socialism and Kurdish nationalism.” CNN’s Arwa Damon describes the PKK’s ideology as “an idealistic philosophy, one that combines Kurdish nationalism with certain communist goals, such as equality and communal ownership of property.”

As the movement’s salient ideological features, Wikipedia lists Kurdish nationalism, libertarian socialism, communalism, feminism and democratic confederalism. Still imprisoned by the Turks, PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan is said to have “abandoned Leninism, leading the party to adopt his new political platform of “Democratic Confederalism” (influenced strongly by the libertarian socialist philosophy of communalism).”

Öcalan himself described the PKK’s idea of governance as follows:

The democratic confederalism of Kurdistan is not a State system, it is the democratic system of a people without a State… It takes its power from the people and adopts to reach self sufficiency in every field including economy.

The PKK, it would appear, leans towards a matriarchy.

You have to be a tinny libertarian automaton not to hope this cohesive people is able, one day, to form a peaceful community of their choosing.

UPDATE I: About “the Turkish problem,” Patrick Cockburn writes this:

… US planes attacking Isis forces in Kobani had to fly 1200 miles from their bases in the Gulf because Turkey wouldn’t allow the use of its airbase at Incirlik, just a hundred miles from Kobani. By not preventing reinforcements, weapons and ammunition from reaching Isis in Kobani, Ankara was showing that it would prefer Isis to hold the town: anything was better than the PYD. Turkey’s position had been clear since July 2012, when the Syrian army, under pressure from rebels elsewhere, pulled out of the main Kurdish areas. The Syrian Kurds, long persecuted by Damascus and politically marginal, suddenly won de facto autonomy under increasing PKK authority. Living mostly along the border with Turkey, a strategically important area to Isis, the Kurds unexpectedly became players in the struggle for power in a disintegrating Syria. This was an unwelcome development for the Turks. The dominant political and military organisations of the Syrian Kurds were branches of the PKK and obeyed instructions from Ocalan and the military leadership in Qandil. The PKK insurgents, who had fought for so long for some form of self-rule in Turkey, now ruled a quasi-state in Syria centred on the cities of Qamishli, Kobani and Afrin. Much of the Syrian border region was likely to remain in Kurdish hands, since the Syrian government and its opponents were both too weak to do anything about it. Ankara may not be the master chess player collaborating with Isis to break Kurdish power, as conspiracy theorists believe, but it saw the advantage to itself of allowing Isis to weaken the Syrian Kurds. It was never a very far-sighted policy: if Isis succeeded in taking Kobani, and thus humiliating the US, the Americans’ supposed ally Turkey would be seen as partly responsible, after sealing off the town. In the event, the Turkish change of course was embarrassingly speedy. Within hours of Erdo?an saying that Turkey wouldn’t help the PYD terrorists, permission was being given for Iraqi Kurds to reinforce the PYD fighters at Kobani.

Interesting analysis.

UPDATE II: A column I wrote on 10/19/2007, fingered Bush for betraying the Kurds. While he doesn’t veer into opinion, Cockburn illustrated a similar dynamic, also in 2007:

… There are 100,000 Turkish troops just across the northern Iraqi border preparing to launch an invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan in the hope of eliminating the guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The US has labelled the PKK ‘terrorists’ and the Iraqi government – despite the arguments of its Kurdish members – has told the guerrillas to disarm or leave its territory. Iran has denounced the Iranian wing of the PKK as a pawn of Israel and the US, and intermittently shells its camps in the Kandil mountains. The PKK, which led the failed rebellion of the Turkish Kurds between 1984 and 1999 and had been largely forgotten by the outside world, is suddenly at the centre of a new crisis in Iraq. President Bush is due to talk to the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Washington on 5 November to discuss how to deal with the PKK without a Turkish invasion of Iraq being launched. The US army in Baghdad is worried that its supply lines through northern Iraq will be cut if the Turks declare an economic embargo or launch a military attack. …


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UPDATE IV: Jealous Of The Scots (What Would Lincoln Do? Drop Daisy Cutters)

Britain, Nationhood, Socialism, States' Rights, The State

Envy ought to animate America, as it watches the push for the decentralization of power—radical federalism—across Europe and in Canada. For here in the US, the legacy of Lincoln has prevailed. He carried out a violent constitutional revolution (instead of pursuing peaceful emancipation like every other nation did), a revolution, which, in turn, sired the modern imperialist, interventionist and highly centralized American State, and outlawed peaceful political divorce.

The sweet sounds of of Scottish secession (to shamelessly mix metaphors) have fallen silent. For now. Scotland voted against leaving the United Kingdom and becoming an independent nation. But only just. The “No” campaign won 55.3 percent of the vote. The Scots hardly “rejected independence,” as Fox News put it. The tyranny of democracy has meant that a simple majority won the day.

Afrikaner secessionist Dan Roodt summed up my sentiments, in an email:

The Scottish referendum is a big disappointment to me, as I had hoped that a “Yes” victory could have unleashed a whole series of independence movements, in Europe, but also here in SA. More and more the Zulus control South Africa, with the media waging a futile campaign against Zuma. So ultimately ethnicity has triumphed over all these other clever theories.

Contra broadcaster Mark Levin—who clings for dear life to an anti-secession sentiment, so as to better love the unlovable: war criminal Abe Lincoln—the healthiest and most intuitive response to deep-seated unhappiness—political or personal—is not a constitutional convention, but a divorce; to exit the abusive relationship.

If Americans try what the Scots have have just done, our states and neighborhoods would be invaded by the federal government. People could die.

UPDATE I: To continue the theme of majority makes right, via Butler Shaffer at LRC.COM:

The mainstream media informed us that David Cameron was greatly pleased by the outcome. It is the nature of politics that this statement is true. Political thinking has trained people to believe in the 51% principle: no idea is worthwhile unless 51% of the public believes in it. But imagine a man with nine children, and four of them dislike the father so much that they want to vote to have all siblings leave home. The vote is held and, by a 5 to 4 margin, the pro-big daddy side wins. Would any loving psychologically-healthy man consider this to be a great personal victory?
Opponents of this measure were quick to announce that the question of Scottish independence has been settled, “once and for all,” words that mean “when we get the outcome we want, the issue can never be brought up again.”
All-in-all, the outcome of this vote was a referendum on the ageless choice people must make between individual liberty and collective security.

MORE.

UPDATE II: If “1 in 4 Americans are open to secession, what does it say about this freedom which Lincoln waged war to abolish? It tells you that secession is intuitive to a very many ordinary folks.

Secession, political divorce, peaceful separation: these are the most natural and best ways to solve disputes. Walk away. This tells you just how aberrant was Lincoln’s war against the South.

UPDATE III:

Nikola Dzhilvidzhiev on Facebook:

In the past week, I heard a lot of arguments from neoconservatives that Scottish secession was ‘because they wanted to be even more socialist than the UK’. Maybe I was a bit optimistic but I believed that the sudden leftward surge in Scottish policy and resultant loss of living standard would have shocked the people and policymakers into understanding that capitalism and free markets are the way to prosperity, á la China.
Until the next referendum, at least, you’re all welcome to join me in shouting Alba gu bráth from the rooftops of the world.

To Nikola Dzhilvidzhiev:

Yes, the secessionist would have had to learn whence come their subsidies and, for freedom’s sake, they would have had to cease and desist the country’s march toward complete socialism. Nevertheless, the CORRECT libertarian view is to support the impetus of decentralization. (Reason magazine is left, Beltway libertarianism).

UPDATE IV (9/19): WHAT WOULD LINCOLN DO? Drop Daisy Cutters. That’s what he’d do.

Rafi Farber emails EPJ editor Robert Wenzel:

Before we decide what to think about Scottish independence, let’s consider what our beloved forefather, Abraham Lincoln, Honest Abe, would do if he were head of the UK in the event that the Scots secede from the United Kingdom tomorrow.
Answer: He would make some stupid but eloquent speech about how a House Divided Cannot Stand…and then proceed to bomb the living crap out of Scotland, murdering as many people as possible man woman and child, burning their property and salting the earth. And after he broke their will to fight, he would force them back in the UK and tax the living daylights out of them. Then we would all celebrate him hundreds of years later for saving the country.

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