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Above email address currently deprecated! Use gary underscore farber at yahoodotcom, pliz! Sanely free of McCarthyite calling anyone a traitor since 2001!
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I've a long record in editorial work in book and magazine publishing, starting 1974, a variety of other work experience, but have been, since 2001, recurringly housebound with insanely painful sporadic and unpredictably variable gout and edema, and in the past, other ailments; the future? The Great Unknown: isn't it for all of us?
I'm currently house/cat-sitting, not on any government aid yet (or mostly ever), often in major chronic pain from gout and edema, which variably can leave me unable to walk, including just standing, but sometimes is better, and is freaking unpredictable at present; I also have major chronic depression and anxiety disorders; I'm currently supported mostly by your blog donations/subscriptions; you can help me. I prefer to spread out the load, and lessen it from the few who have been doing more than their fair share for too long.
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"The brain is wider than the sky, For, put them side by side,
The one the other will include With ease, and you beside"
-- Emily Dickinson
"We will pursue peace as if there is no terrorism and fight terrorism as if there is no peace."
-- Yitzhak Rabin
"I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be."
-- Alexander Hamilton
"The stakes are too high for government to be a spectator sport."
-- Barbara Jordan
"Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to
trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule --
and both commonly succeed, and are right."
-- H. L. Mencken
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.
It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
-- William Pitt
"The only completely consistent people are the dead."
-- Aldous Huxley
"I have had my solutions for a long time; but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them."
-- Karl F. Gauss
"Whatever evils either reason or declamation have imputed to extensive empire,
the power of Rome was attended with some beneficial consequences to mankind;
and the same freedom of intercourse which extended the vices, diffused likewise
the improvements of social life."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his
expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were
respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom."
-- Edward Gibbon
"There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify
the evils, of the present times."
-- Edward Gibbon
"Our youth now loves luxuries. They have bad manners, contempt for authority.
They show disrespect for elders and they
love to chatter instead of exercise.
Children are now tyrants, not the servants, of their households. They
no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
chatter before company, gobble up their food, and tyrannize
"Before impugning an opponent's motives, even when they legitimately may be impugned, answer his arguments."
-- Sidney Hook
"Idealism, alas, does not protect one from ignorance, dogmatism, and foolishness."
-- Sidney Hook
"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"We take, and must continue to take, morally hazardous actions to preserve our civilization.
We must exercise our power. But we ought neither to believe that a nation is capable of perfect
disinterestedness in its exercise, nor become complacent about particular degrees of interest
and passion which corrupt the justice by which the exercise of power is legitimized."
-- Reinhold Niebuhr
"Faced with the choice of all the land without a Jewish state or a Jewish state without all the
land, we chose a Jewish state without all the land."
-- David Ben-Gurion
"...the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him
an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this
or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages
to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also
to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing,
with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments, those who will externally profess
and conform to it;[...] that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion
and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty....
-- Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, Thomas Jefferson
"We don't live just by ideas. Ideas are part of the mixture of customs and practices,
intuitions and instincts that make human life a conscious activity susceptible to
improvement or debasement. A radical idea may be healthy as a provocation;
a temperate idea may be stultifying. It depends on the circumstances. One of the most
tiresome arguments against ideas is that their 'tendency' is to some dire condition --
to totalitarianism, or to moral relativism, or to a war of all against all."
-- Louis Menand
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
-- Dante Alighieri
"He too serves a certain purpose who only stands and cheers."
-- Henry B. Adams
"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the
poor to beg in the streets, steal bread, or sleep under a bridge."
-- Anatole France
"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
-- Edmund Burke
"Education does not mean that we have become certified experts in business or mining or botany or journalism or epistemology;
it means that through the absorption of the moral, intellectual, and esthetic inheritance of the race we have come to
understand and control ourselves as well as the external world; that we have chosen the best as our associates both in spirit
and the flesh; that we have learned to add courtesy to culture, wisdom to knowledge, and forgiveness to understanding."
-- Will Durant
"Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is
but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest
winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?"
-- Herman Melville
"The most important political office is that of the private citizen."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
-- Louis D. Brandeis
"It is an error to suppose that books have no influence; it is a slow influence, like flowing water carving out a canyon,
but it tells more and more with every year; and no one can pass an hour a day in the society of sages and heroes without
being lifted up a notch or two by the company he has kept."
-- Will Durant
"When you write, you’re trying to transpose what you’re thinking into something that is less like an annoying drone and more like a piece of music."
-- Louis Menand
"Sex is a continuum."
-- Gore Vidal
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should
make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802.
"The sum of our religion is peace and unanimity, but these can scarcely stand unless we define as little as possible,
and in many things leave one free to follow his own judgment, because there is great obscurity in many matters, and
man suffers from this almost congenital disease that he will not give in when once a controversy is started, and
after he is heated he regards as absolutely true that which he began to sponsor quite casually...."
-- Desiderius Erasmus
"Are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule of what we are to read, and what we must disbelieve?"
-- Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to N. G. Dufief, Philadelphia bookseller, 1814
"We are told that it is only people's objective actions that matter, and their subjective feelings are of no importance. Thus pacifists, by obstructing the war effort,
are 'objectively' aiding the Nazis; and therefore the fact that they may be personally hostile to Fascism is irrelevant. I have been guilty of saying this myself more than once. The same argument is applied to Trotskyism. Trotskyists are often credited, at any rate by Communists, with being active and conscious agents of Hitler; but when you point out the many and obvious reasons why this is unlikely to be true,
the 'objectively' line of talk is brought forward again. To criticize the Soviet Union helps Hitler: therefore 'Trotskyism is Fascism'. And when this has been established, the accusation of conscious treachery is usually repeated.
This is not only dishonest; it also carries a severe penalty with it. If you disregard people's motives, it becomes much harder to foresee their actions."
-- George Orwell, "As I Please," Tribune, 8 December 1944
"Wouldn't this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If 'needy' were a turn-on?"
-- "Aaron Altman," Broadcast News
"The great thing about human language is that it prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand."
-- Lewis Thomas
"To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man's lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times?"
"Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it."
-- Samuel Johnson, Life Of Johnson
"Very well, what did my critics say in attacking my character? I must read out their affidavit, so to speak, as though they were my legal accusers: Socrates is guilty of criminal meddling, in that he inquires into things below the earth and in the sky, and makes the weaker argument defeat the stronger, and teaches others to follow his example."
-- Socrates, via Plato, The Republic
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, represents, in the final analysis, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower
"The term, then, is obviously a relative one; my pedantry is your scholarship, his reasonable accuracy, her irreducible minimum of education, & someone else's ignorance."
-- H. W. Fowler
"Rules exist for good reasons, and in any art form the beginner must learn them and understand what they are for, then follow them for quite a while. A visual artist, pianist, dancer, fiction writer, all beginning artists are in the same boat here: learn the rules, understand them, follow them. It's called an apprenticeship. A mediocre artist never stops following the rules, slavishly follows guidelines, and seldom rises above mediocrity. An accomplished artist internalizes the rules to the point where they don't have to be consciously considered. After you've put in the time it takes to learn to swim, you never stop to think: now I move my arm, kick, raise my head, breathe. You just do it. The accomplished artist knows what the rules mean, how to use them, dodge them, ignore them altogether, or break them. This may be a wholly unconscious process of assimilation, one never articulated, but it has taken place."
-- Kate Wilhelm
"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed."
-- Albert Einstein
"The decisive moment in human evolution is perpetual."
-- Franz Kafka, Aphorisms
"All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
-- Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho
"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you."
-- Nicholas Klein, May, 1919, to the Third Biennial Convention of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (misattributed to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1914 & variants).
"Our credulity is a part of the imperfection of our natures. It is inherent in us to desire to generalize, when we ought, on the contrary, to guard ourselves very carefully from this tendency."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The truth is, men are very hard to know, and yet, not to be deceived, we must judge them by their present actions, but for the present only."
-- Napoleon I of France.
"The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know."
-- On the subject of torture, in a letter to Louis Alexandre Berthier (11 November 1798), published in Correspondance Napoleon edited by Henri Plon (1861), Vol. V, No. 3606, p. 128
"All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible."
-- George Santayana, Dialogues in Limbo (1926)
"If you should put even a little on a little, and should do this often, soon this too would become big."
-- Hesiod, Work And Days
"Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
-- Eugene V. Debs
"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself."
-- Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign
"All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written "al-Qaida," in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies."
-- Osama bin Laden
"Remember, Robin: evil is a pretty bad thing."
Gary Farber is now a licensed Quintuple Super-Sekrit Multi-dimensional Master Pundit.
He does not always refer to himself in the third person.
He is presently single.
The gefilte fish is dead. Donate via the donation button on the top left or I'll shoot this cutepanda. Don't you lovepandas?
Current Total # of Donations Since 2002: 1181
Subscribers to date at $5/month: 100 sign-ups; 91 cancellations; Total= 9
Supporter subscribers to date at $25/month: 16 sign-ups; 10 cancellation; Total= 6
Patron subscribers to date at $50/month: 20 sign-ups; 13 cancellations; Total= 7
...writer[s] I find myself checking out repeatedly when I'm in the mood to play follow-the-links. They're not all people I agree with all the time, or even most of the time, but I've found them all to be thoughtful writers, and that's the important thing, or should be.
-- Tom Tomorrow
I bow before the shrillitudinousness of Gary Farber, who has been blogging like a fiend.
-- Ted Barlow, Crooked Timber
Favorite.... [...] ...all great stuff. [...] Gary Farber should never be without readers.
I usually read you and Patrick several times a day, and I always get something from them. You've got great links, intellectually honest commentary, and a sense of humor. What's not to like?
-- Ted Barlow
One of my issues with many poli-blogs is the dickhead tone so many bloggers affect to express their sense of righteous indignation. Gary Farber's thoughtful leftie takes on the world stand in sharp contrast with the usual rhetorical bullying. Plus, he likes "Pogo," which clearly attests to his unassaultable good taste.
Jaysus. I saw him do something like this before, on a thread about Israel. It was pretty brutal. It's like watching one of those old WWF wrestlers grab an opponent's
face and grind away until the guy starts crying. I mean that in a nice & admiring way, you know.
-- Fontana Labs, Unfogged
We read you Gary Farber! We read you all the time! Its just that we are lazy with our blogroll. We are so very very lazy. We are always the last ones to the party but we always have snazzy bow ties.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber you are a genius of mad scientist proportions. I will bet there are like huge brains growin in jars all over your house.
-- Fafnir, Fafblog!
Gary Farber is the hardest working man in show blog business. He's like a young Gene Hackman blogging with his hair on fire, or something.
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Gary Farber only has two blogging modes: not at all, and 20 billion interesting posts a day [...] someone on the interweb whose opinions I can trust....
-- Belle Waring, John & Belle Have A Blog
Isn't Gary a cracking blogger, apropos of nothing in particular?
-- Alison Scott
Gary Farber takes me to task, in a way befitting the gentleman he is.
-- Stephen Green, Vodkapundit
My friend Gary Farber at Amygdala is the sort of liberal for whom I happily give three cheers. [...] Damned incisive blogging....
-- Midwest Conservative Journal
If I ever start a paper, Clueless writes the foreign affairs column, Layne handles the city beat, Welch has the roving-reporter job, Tom Tomorrow runs the comic section (which carries Treacher, of course). MediaMinded runs the slots - that's the type of editor I want as the last line of defense. InstantMan runs the edit page - and you can forget about your Ivins and Wills and Friedmans and Teepens on the edit page - it's all Blair, VodkaP, C. Johnson, Aspara, Farber, Galt, and a dozen other worthies, with Justin 'I am smoking in such a provocative fashion' Raimondo tossed in for balance and comic relief.
Who wouldn't buy that paper? Who wouldn't want to read it? Who wouldn't climb over their mother to be in it?
-- James Lileks
I do appreciate your role and the role of Amygdala as a pioneering effort in the integration of fanwriters with social conscience into the larger blogosphere of social conscience.
-- Lenny Bailes
Every single post in that part of Amygdala visible on my screen is either funny or bracing or important. Is it always like this? -- Natalie Solent
People I've known and still miss include Isaac Asimov, rich brown, Charles Burbee, F. M. "Buzz" Busby, Terry Carr, A. Vincent Clarke, Bob Doyle, George Alec Effinger, Abi Frost,
Bill & Sherry Fesselmeyer, George Flynn, John Milo "Mike" Ford. John Foyster, Mike Glicksohn, Jay Haldeman, Neith Hammond (Asenath Katrina Hammond)/DominEditrix , Chuch Harris, Mike Hinge, Lee Hoffman, Terry Hughes, Damon Knight, Ross Pavlac, Bruce Pelz, Elmer Perdue, Tom Perry,
Larry Propp, Bill Rotsler, Art Saha, Bob Shaw, Martin Smith, Harry Stubbs, Bob Tucker, Harry Warner, Jr., Jack Williamson, Walter A. Willis, Susan Wood, Kate Worley, and Roger Zelazny.
It's just a start, it only gets longer, many are unintentionally left out.
And She of whom I must write someday.
SOMETHING HAS GONE ROTTEN. Bjørn Stærk, the extraordinarily sensible Norwegian who has been posting since September 11th posted an immensely important post on August 8th.
First he posts a list of reasons "why Islam should be banned in America" that a commenter posted to his blog:
Islam should be banned in America because:
1. Islam is not a religion. It is a political or military organization that is corrupt.
2. It is a corrupt criminal organization subject to the RICO laws...
4. Islam resembles fascist Nazis and totalitarianism - not a religion.
5. Islam is seditious. It advocates the overthrow of the government...
8. The failure of good Muslims to object or organize and stop bad Muslims indicts the whole Islamic movement. ..
11. Islam is always at war...
14. Islam was first at war with America in 1786 (Tripolitan Wars)...
19. The assassin of Robert Kennedy in 1968 read and followed the Quran...
23. Islam is more dangerous and more harmful to Americans than the Mafia, Klu Klux Klan, Arian Nation, or the Nazis...
28. Real religions don't become governments, cause invasions, insurrections, and have under cover operatives world wide.
29. Real religions don't encourage blackmail, hijacking, ransom, extortion, assassination, and wholesale murder...
33. Islam should be banned in America!
This is the kind of writing that is produced when ignorance meets paranoia and anger. I've written before about how belief in an Islamic essence that supercedes the behavior of actual Muslims leads people to making sloppy generalizations about Islam. This process has two steps: First you must believe that this essence exists, and that it is possible to capture it in a few words. Then you go looking for those words. Quotes from the Koran, statements by Islamic thinkers. The research bears fruit, proof is found: Islam is war - or peace, depending on who's looking.
The problem is that you can prove anything this way, and you'll still be no closer to describing the faith of actual Muslims. This kind of work requires nuance and humility in the face of complexity. Yeah I know, it's all supposed to be Good and Evil these days. "Nuance" and "shades of gray" are the words of relativists. But no matter how useful it can be to describe a particular belief or act as Evil, once you leave the area of moral judgments for the descriptive world, nuance is your best friend.
We have to build our moral judgments on a solid foundation. You can't say if terrorism is good or evil without knowing what terrorism is. You can't say if Islam is good or evil without knowing what Islam is. And unfortunately, unlike a political method used by a small number of people, it is very difficult to know what a 1400 year old religion with 1.3 billion believers really "is".
You certainly won't find the answer in a few quotes from the Koran, or in the statements of a few Muslims. To describe something big and complex, you need a big and complex description, supported by a huge number of carefully assembled facts. Impossible? Historians do this all the time. There's an interesting parallel here: Good historians embrace the complexity of their subject. They approach the mountain of evidence they base their work on with humility and a sense of duty towards the truth. And they will be honest with you about the limits of their craft. Bad historians treat the mountain of historical evidence as a catalog they can pick and choose facts from, to back up sensational and simplistic theories.
Conspiracy theories are a subset of bad history. The list above is the religious equivalent of a conspiracy theory. It even uses bad history to back up its claims. Islam, in the form of the Barbary pirates of North Africa, "was first at war with America in 1786". Great Britain was also at war with America in those days. Was that a war with Christianity, or perhaps Europe? Should it guide American foreign policy towards Great Britain today?
The assassin of Robert Kennedy "read and followed the Quran". But Sirhan was a Christian Palestinian.
"Real religions" supposedly don't do a lot of things Christians have done for a long time: "become governments, cause invasions, insurrections". And granted that they've mostly stopped doing it, why should whatever Christians do be the definition of "real religion"?
Okay, I've picked on this guy enough. I don't mean to use him as a straw man. This is Islam criticism gone totally rotten, and he goes further than most others. But he's not alone in wanting to ban Islam, and comparing Islam itself to Nazism. When I wrote about the Progress Party politicians in Kristiansand who wanted to ban Islam, which I thought was pretty shocking, I came over a disturbing thread on Little Green Footballs about the same story. I'm not saying these are the views of Charles Johnson, or of a majority of his readers, but a large number of comments went like this:
A Viking funeral for Islam!
Right on! These Euros have the Viking spirit, are a breed apart.
woah! they can do that?!
Wow. I can't see that going over well with the PC crowd, but the more I read the Koran and about Islam, the more I think we need to do the same.
Excellent news. If true.
Way to go!!! Unfortunately, it'll never happen. I know that Norway has their version of the ACLU, and I am surprised that they haven't responded already!! That place is full of leftists!!
I wish the Norwegians lots of luck. They sure are going to need it.
This takes freakin guts!! It gives me hope in the Western World that we are waking up!!!
Many replies were of the respectful "this is going a bit far but it's good somebody speaks up against Islam" variety. Only a very few came out firmly against the idea of a European country banning an entire religion.
Let's step back a bit here. The majority of LGF readers are probably Americans, vote Republican, and support the war on terror. These are people who - rightfully - admire the American Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Like many on the left, they probably believe that they're the ones who stand between their political enemies and the Constitution. You'll expect few denounciations of the Bill of Rights as "PC" or "leftist" from this camp. And here they go on record asking for Norway to abandon our equivalent of the first amendment, one of the basic rights of any democracy: Freedom of religion.
Yeah, I know, "Islam isn't a religion, it's an ideology". And criticizing the government isn't "speech", it's sedition. Redefining away a right is easy - just don't come here afterwards and pretend it's still the same right.
What has gone wrong when Norwegians, Americans and other Westerners who rever the enlightenment ideals of reason and freedom of thought more than anything, justify restrictions on thought with bad reasoning and paranoia? It's not just LGF readers. You can read similar views (though fewer of them) at FreeRepublic, Dhimmi Watch, and Liberty Post - all in reply to the Kristiansand story.
Again, I'm not saying these views are shared by the owners of these websites, or the majority of their readers. But neither do I see many strong, principled objections. Phil says above that "the failure of good Muslims to object or organize and stop bad Muslims indicts the whole Islamic movement", which doesn't justify a ban on Islam, but is true in a sense. We all have a responsibility to speak up clearly against extremists in our own ranks, whether we are Muslims or peace activists or bloggers who criticize Islam and support the war on Islamist terror.
And so it's time to stand up for the basic values of our democracies and confront those in our own ranks who want to abandon those values. Because if we don't, outsiders will be justified in interpreting this as silent approval or apologism.
Something has gone rotten. We can't blame it on the "left", the "relativists", the "PC crowd" or the "multiculturalists", (and don't anybody dare blame it on the Muslims). It's gone rotten here, among people who on 9/11 woke up to the danger of Islamism. The ban Islam meme and all its relatives (Islam is Islamism, Islam is war) must be confronted here, now, before it spreads.
There are a variety of sites on the Web with idiotarian hate. Here's a random example from one guaranteed site:
Probably is a muzzie though.
If the bastard wasn't a muzzie they would have said so.
We've already had Islamo-spies in Guantanamo, muzzies blowing up their officers in Kuwait... We also have illegal aliens with fake IDs, and assorted non-citizens (since we accept LPRs). There are several thousand throughout the military. Given the ideology they adhere to, suspicions must be raised far higher.
A few months ago I would have been very opposed to condemning all Muslims, but now I am at the point that they are going to have to prove that all Islam is not the problem.
While this is not an incitement to violence, my prediction is we'll see the slims hanging from light poles after the next attack. Their lies aren't going to mean squat to the great unwashed hordes. I'd just be satisfied with covering them with pork chops and putting them in a pit full of rottweillers.
Has anybody ever done any surveys or studies to determine how disloyal your average muzzie is to their new homeland?
Your allah (satan) lied to you, fool.
My grandchildren will wear muslim the fabric without ever being aware there was another definition.
Allah was the name given an idol to HaBa'al, brought from Assyria, and may indeed be the same false god Ba'al from the Bible.
Mohammad raided camel caravans, broke treaties, tortured and killed prisoners of war, and got hard-ons for six year old girls.
They whine about rights? Get rid of em. Inhale oxygen within our borders? That's right. Get rid of em. I'ts a disease. Kill it before it kills us.
And it just goes on and on; that's from only about the top five percent of comments on a single post.
I've long, as a Jew, found a highly useful test for distinguishing legitimate commentary from hate; I take the noun of the statement in question, switch it to "Jew," or the adjective to "Jewish," and see how I think it stands up.
One can also switch out, say, one religious figure for another who did things, in a different religious tradition, we now would call horrible and despicable. Enjoy the game! "If the bastard wasn't a Jew they would have said so." "I'd just be satisfied with covering those Jews with pork chops and putting them in a pit full of rottweillers."
Feel free to use "Christian, " or "atheist," or "Hindu," or whatever works best for yourself. lewy14, I thank you for your efforts, and very much hope you'll keep a sharp eye out for, as well, anti-Islamic hatred, which is a very great danger and quite prevalent in our time, and that you'll call it wherever you find it. It's a moral test for all of us today to distinguish between Islamic terrorism and Islam, between terrorists and Muslims, just as we largely failed, in 1941-2, in the U.S., to distinguish between those who served the Japanese empire, and our own loyal citizens of Japanese ethnicity.
I subsequently had the following exchange:
"Don't worry, Gary, when Jews fly planes into skyscrapers I'll be hunting them too."
Yes, I know.
And then my two last comments:
"And so I prefer to consign such repugnant comments on all blogs to a well deserved obscurity."
This is purely my own opinion, of course -- that should be clear, but I want to make it ultra clear -- my own policy is that I believe blogs are responsible for what they publish. Period. That includes comments. I believe blogs should have prominently posted commenting policy as to what are and are not acceptable comments. I believe that posters should be warned that if they violate the guidelines/rules, their offensive comments will be deleted, and if they continue to offend, they will be banned. I believe blogs need to enforce that policy, and if they do not, they are completely responsible for what is posted on their blog. If enforcing such policies is too much work, they should shut down comments, because they are responsible for what is posted on their blog.
To me, that's a matter of individual responsibility. It's a matter of accepting that responsibility.
I believe that sites that are full of hate for white people, for black people, for red people, for yellow people, for Christians, for Jews, for Moslems, for Hindus, for animists, for atheists, for religious people, for short people, for tall people, for whatever kind of people, are hate sites.
I boycott hate sites, regardless of whatever value might be attached to them. Hey, Krupp built great guns, but I wouldn't have contracted with them in the Forties.
Again, that is purely my own personal policy, and I respect the right of all to have their own policy, of course.
But I do have this question. If we delete three words from your statement, do you still stand by it?
"And so I prefer to consign such repugnant comments to a well deserved obscurity."
If so, why, exactly, are you compiling and posting "Hatewatch"?
If blogs are "obscure," why post to them? If comments are obscure, why make them?
What of "leaving you more informed, more aware, and pretty disgusted every month"?
Are blogs so unimportant that we should not be "more informed" and "more aware" of them?
If so, why are you reading this comment?
It strikes me that if we are "looking hard at the dark places most mainstream media seem determined to look away from," and we, as bloggers want to see blogs achieve large-scale, mainstreamish, success and recognition, that we can't turn a blind eye to hatred in blogs. Better an early start than having to wait until our soles/souls are held to the fire later and inevitably. (And sooner or later we will read mainstream stories about hate in blogs; mark my words; I'd rather we started policing ourselves first.)
Ten thousand words would be far too much. But it occurs to me that, in fact, a reasonably (a thousand or two, words, perhaps; perhaps even less, just a naming of blogs with a couple of sample comments each) sized monthly (or so) round-up of the most significant sites spewing hatred in comments -- whatever the form or target of the hatred -- would be a useful way to point a spotlight at these much-read blogs, and perhaps -- just perhaps -- give them a nudge towards being shamed, and cleaning up their act. (And I include, myself, sites that spew political hatred, as well as ethnic hatred.)
Anti-Muslim hate is hate. And hate in blogs is hate.
Both need to be fought. Neither should be tolerated.
Read The Rest Scale: 0 out of 5.
Readers are encouraged to look up, up, up, at the top of this blog, and act accordingly, if you feel so kind. Thanks.
Gary: Quote as much as you like from my post. And thanks for picking up on this - I was beginning to worry it would be ignored. One thing I've begun to notice is how much easier it is to get links by taking another cheap shot at left-wing idiots than by criticizing people on your own side. (Bush, right-wing bloggers.) Here's another example of an important story many people don't want to hear. This was how much of the left went rotten. It wasn't because they started out with fully rotten ideas, but because they didn't protect those ideas from corruption and didn't work hard enough to keep them alive. Everyone should learn from that, and don't be afraid of taking shots in both directions, wherever we stand.
I think what bothers me most here is seeing all these right-wing Islam critics fall into exactly the same logical fallacies many of us bloggers have been targetting on the far left for three years. A lot of people should ask themselves: Are we for a particular, rational method of thinking, which we'll follow wherever it leads us, or are we for a particular point of view, which we'll use any argument to support? Is it okay to use a bad argument in a good cause, or should the cause follow the good arguments, whatever they are?
I agree with your point about similarities to antisemitism. In the 90's I once debated a neo-nazi at a Norwegian BBS. He could present all this evidence that the Jews were evil and powerful - secret quotes from Jewish scriptures, examples of evil Jews had done. This wasn't a vague fear, it was concrete and detailed, with lots of "evidence" to back it up. The main difference between him and the Islamophobes is that his examples were usually false, (the Islamists actually exist), but there's a similarity in style, in willingness to believe the worst, to overgeneralize, and to think selectively.
Hope more bloggers pick up on this trend. It's early enough to kill it, but it won't happen if everybody gives these people the benefit of the doubt, or tolerate them as over-zealous but harmless and well-intended Islam critics. Not suggesting anyone should moderate away these views, of course, the point is to stop implicitly approving of them by saying nothing.
Thank you, Gary. Fafblog linked to you. I hope that brings this many many readers. You are correct, although the sites we visit express their repugnance, this is still too tolerated. Cause it may get very dangerous, very quickly