The West and the Rest

Suggested by Kung Fu Zu • An analysis of Western and Islamic mindsets, motivations, and goals — from political “liberal New York” to creed-based Tehran. A major thesis is how modern Western democracies differ from other types of societies, in general, and the Islamic world, in particular.
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40 Responses to The West and the Rest

  1. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    While there is much talk about the West as opposed to other parts of the world, there is much confusion and disagreement as to what the West is.

    In this book, Scruton attempts to “explore the vision of society and political order that lies at the heart of ‘Western Civilization.’” Scruton makes clear that his attempt at this is not “historical” rather “conceptual.” As he writes at the end of his preface, it is intent “to understand the kinds of order and disorder that emerge when the resources and techniques of modern life are severed from the political process that might otherwise control them-the political process that defines what is known as the “West.”

    I find this an important undertaking. Given the lack of education which passes for education today, I am glad to find a serious attempt to put together a cogent and reasoned argument which lays out how the West got where it is, how it is different from other “civilizations”, why this is important and how to maintain it.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    Western civilization has many progenitors, as we’ve discussed here before, and was a long time in the making. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to transplant it into non-Western cultures, though there has been some success in parts of Asia. Not the Muslim area, though. Islam as a political cult is incompatible with Western civilization. Of course, so is totalitarian leftism, which does a good job of masquerading but really doesn’t fit.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    In an article that eventually wimps out (“Oh…I don’t hate all Muslims”), Larry Taunton has an interesting article titled Did Islam Have Anything to Do With It?

    “Do you think his [or their] religion had anything to do with the attack?”

    With the exception of the New York firemen, London taxi drivers (who don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of their opinions), and the Nigerian Christians, the answers were always the same as Lily’s. Islam, they have been told again and again, is a religion of peace, and they were simply unwilling — or unable — to acknowledge the obvious.

    To put this in some perspective, were I to ask any educated person what inspired kamikazes, the suicide bombers of the previous century, to fly their planes into American ships during the Second World War, they would undoubtedly say Emperor worship and the militarism of Imperial Japan. So why the inability to make the connection between terrorism and Islam?

    In post-Christian Europe, where Rousseau’s view of human nature (i.e., we are born good) has replaced the biblical view (i.e., we are born corrupt); evil is understood to be merely a religious construct; and secularism is not only the de facto paradigm but an entrenched ideology, few Europeans have the intellectual framework to understand an absolutist religion like Islam. In the secular mindset this life is all you get, and almost nothing is worth dying for, certainly not religion. Consequently, those answering my question either responded with puzzled looks as if the question itself had no meaning, or they dismissed the attacks as the irrational acts of the mentally disturbed. That they might have been inspired by an ideology deeply at odds with traditional Western ideals and rooted in a belief in eternity simply didn’t enter into the discussion. The terrorists just had to be crazy or poor or disenfranchised. The things they did were somehow our fault, provoked by our racism or imperialism or failure to assimilate them. Better dialogue and mutual understanding will overcome.

    I thought it was an interesting point that Europeans don’t have the intellectual framework to understand this stuff. My instinct is to understand these Progressive robots as just fully programmed drones, evangelized and radicalized. And to a large extent, this is true. And this doesn’t conflict with another core belief which is that it’s not what Progressives believe, per se, that is the problem. It’s that their ability to think and reason has been so mucked with that they cannot now find solutions to their problems.

    And I think Taunton speaks to this.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Scruton develops a very interesting thesis on how and why the West is different from the rest of the world and why it is extremely difficult for Muslims to adapt and give loyalty to non-Muslim countries. I will lay this out in a series of posts.

      these Progressive robots as just fully programmed drones, evangelized and radicalized

      I recently watched a video interview of David Horowitz and he was asked why he thought Jews were so numerous in and had such an outsized influence on the left. He basically said that one reason was that the Jews have always been involved with religions in a big way and that leftism, progressivism or whatever one wants to call it is Marxism, which is a religion.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Incidentally, I would say an additional cultural factor enabling the kamikazes was Japanese cultural obedience to authority, which also helped lead to the suicide cliffs of Saipan. Oddly enough, some of the most militaristic Japanese were also staunch practitioners of gekokujo, a form of civil disobedience manifested in coup attempts. Of course, they were mostly targeting politicians, not military leaders or the Emperor.

      I think another aspect of the secular leftist inability to understand Islam is their multiculturalism. This makes them reluctant to think negatively of any other (i.e., non-western) culture, especially a primitive one. I wonder which side they’d be on if they were confronting the British efforts in India to suppress both the suttee and the thuggees. Some even try to defend clitoridectomy.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Monty Don quotes his vet, Noel, in his book, Nigel [No, I haven’t put this in the wrong place.]:

    Look, the only things that matter are love and health. That’s it! There is nothing else.

    I’m not dissing on Monty here. I really like the fellow and think we could use as many Montys as we can get. But a more thoughtful fellow might connect the dots and see how the killing of infants (inside or outside the womb) is justified as “women’s health.” For, after all, nothing is more important than health.

    And love. (But some parts get edited to make it all work.) And I have no idea if this hard-working and particularly highly-skilled vet supports abortion. But this is the U.K. Take a guess.

    Throughout time, it would have been the silliest of things to say “the only things that matter are love and health.” People then, and now, are motivated by all kinds of reasons. And love and health can be first on the chopping blocks in pursuit of those goals. To save a drowning child, the last thing most good people think of is their health. When firemen rush into a building to save people, the last thing they think of is their health. People defend their country or their neighborhood from predators, and always at the risk of not just their health but their life.

    One could posit that love and health are worthy things to live for. Certainly it’s better to be in good health than not. But “love” is a very open-ended concept. Islamists love their fascist ideology, for example. People “love” all kinds of things that can be highly destructive.

    But I garner that “love” in this context (my words, not the vet’s) means: Love of nature, love of homosexuals, and love of The Party. That is what “love” means to the burgeoning swaths of “Progressive” drones.

    Love of God? That’s not included in the equation. Love of country? Nyet. Love of family? No. In fact, doctrinally, families are to be despised unless they are of a “fundamentally transformed” type. (And, yes, in one of the Monty series, not one but two homosexual couples are featured in “Big Dreams, Small Spaces.”)

    The “Progressive” has fundamentally transformed his entire mind (at least for purposes of public relations….human nature still resides underneath the bubbly language). The Moonies had a technique called a “Love Bomb” whereby you would overwhelm someone with good cheer and apparently sincere caring.

    That is how “Progressives” think they can handle the world. Perhaps they will be proven right. But the question is, will Chinese, Russian, North Korean, and/or Islamic yutes join in, join hands, and all sing “We are the world” instead of doing what humans have always done when their passions were either unbound or wrapped in nonsense: Kill each other.

    The “Progressive” dogma doesn’t even allow for enemies other than conservatives (who can be dealt with as harshly as they can get away with). All other conflicts are due to misunderstandings or a lack of empathy.

    I was just reading a gardening magazine whereby a woman noted that she wasn’t afraid to admit that she cried when she saw that a hummingbird in her back yard had built not one, but two, nests. (One with active chicks she was feeding, the other with hopefully another batch of eggs. That is, indeed, a lot of work.) I consider myself the height of sensitivity and tender feelings. But crying over a bird’s nest? And admitting it and thinking it’s praiseworthy?

    But this is the plan. If we will all become basically cry-babies, we will lay down our arms and Kumbaya with everyone, building large gardens, open spaces, and saving the entire planet along the way from British Petroleium. And, who knows, it might actually work out like that. Stranger things have happened.

    But history is a long time. It’s worth noting that walnuts have that thick shell for a reason. And even gardeners understand the basic concept of “hardening-up” a plant that has been grown indoors before planting it outside. One can reach for a target short of Sparta to understand that this is something that males, in particular, need. We must be hardened up to some extent before being planted outside. But, good god, now all men are being turned into women.

    And perhaps that will all work out if the premise is true that women are superior to men and thus will never involve themselves in useless conflicts. However, given the slow-motion destruction we see in Europe (particularly fostered by female leaders) due to simple Islamic demographics, it’s easy to see that these “tender” attitudes that predominate have a very very dark side to them.

    All sheep need sheepdogs. There’s no use pretending otherwise. Islam and the Chinese will be eating our lunch because we’ve become addicted to our lazy, hazy, feel-good attitudes.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I can easily imagine the Russians, Chinese, and North Koreans singing “kumbaya” to please a naive leftist ruler. What I can’t imagine is that they would ever actually mean it — or that the leftist would press them to show that they really mean it.

  5. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Look, the only things that matter are love and health. That’s it! There is nothing else.

    What they mean is self-love and self-health. There is the bonus of fooling people who believe that someone who says “love is all that matters” must be good.

    This is a philosophy for uber-egotistical, narcissistic idiots. (A large percentage/most (?) of mankind-I include females in the generic term) The inner-party, as Tim calls it, knows very well that life is vastly more complicated than that, but understand simpletons need catchy slogans to keep them occupied, delusional and happy.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      What they mean is self-love and self-health. There is the bonus of fooling people who believe that someone who says “love is all that matters” must be good.

      I think many of the things Progressives are involved in are commendable. I was just watching an episode of Gardeners’ World which was about creating green corridors along the canals of a city (Birmingham, I think). This has a good effect as explained in the show. A diversity and profusion of flowers, shrubs, and trees along the banks brings insects and birds. Insects, in particular, bring fish to the canals. Fish bring seals and so on.

      The segment opened with a little speech from Monty where he said something like “Increasingly, cities are barren of wildlife.” And I thought, “D’oh! That’s why they’re called ‘cities’ not ‘out in the country.’”

      But I find nothing wrong with bringing some of the country to what are often bleak, barren, concrete-covered cities. I’m for that. But do we have to pretend that cities weren’t built with a particular purpose in the first place? And it wasn’t to raise cows.

      And I thought while watching this, “They would never allow those lovely canals to be dug these days.” And the presenter and others were just gushing over how nice the canals were. But try digging a new one today. And let’s, again, remember what they were for: cheaply moving goods from one place to another. Aka “commerce.”

      None of these nitwits (sorry…that’s a little harsh) seems to have any awareness of a hard outer and practical world beyond their fluffy imaginings. Again, I’m all for planting flowers in the city and what not. But the general effect is the blind leading the blind. At some point while these guys obsess over the artsty-fartsy, they’re all going to be replaced by robots.

      Monty is so right. Gardening really gets you down to the realities of life.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I recall looking out on Bloomington from on high, I think in the dorm my friend attended at Indiana University. There were a LOT of trees, and indeed they were most of the view. Of course, this isn’t exactly downtown Seattle we’re talking about. But there’s a reason cities have so many parks. (In Louisville, they’re mostly named after Indian tribes, such as Iroquois, Cherokee, and Seneca Parks.)

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I give Monty a hard time. (And deservedly so….he’s really big on the whole ‘climate change’ fraud.) But in the March issue of Gardeners’ Worldmagazine, he wrote something that I think pertains to the subject at hand. He’s talking about the benefits of gardening that extend past the beauty of flowers or the utility of eating what you plant (he may even sound a tad like Mr. Kung):

          When you plant something, you invest in a beautiful future amidst a stressful, chaotic and, at times, downright appalling world. Everything is a mess. Many things end badly. Modern life is, for most people, cut off from reality, sealed away from weather, food, seasons, entertainment — almost everything. Our lives are the product of somebody else’s creation, from what we wear, eat, listen to, move around in, to anything you can think of.

          But gardens are real. They are not a version of themselves served up via a corporate process. A garden — your little plot — is nature that is simultaneously ‘red in tooth and claw’ and deeply healing. A garden is the yardstick from which the rest of life can be measured.”

          Nothing in the above would surprise anyone who lives in the country, especially on a farm. The world of city life is increasingly plastic, unreal, highly-marketed, and artificial. And we see once again that liberals are aware of some of the problems. The problem comes in regarding their proposed solutions. (And reducing CO2 levels ain’t going to do it, Monty.)

          But the man has given some superb analysis that shows a keenly intuitive mind. In his own way, he is rediscovering a part of old Britain that has been chucked aside. He notes elsewhere that garden “allotments” are making a strong comeback. This was a foreign notion to me. We Americans tend to have all the land we need in our front, back, or side yards. The idea of an “allotment” was new to me.

          But, particularly during the war, Britons were encouraged to grow all that they could in order that vital shipping could be freed for other wartime essentials. Allotments increase the space available for doing so. But after the war was over (and when rationing finally was halted around 1954 or so), the allotments fell out of favor, especially with the egghead types in the town councils who saw them as regressive — anchors from the past — and thus sold off vast quantities of them.

          But thanks, in no small part to pop gardening gurus such as Monty, Britons are connecting again with what the West (or at least their island) once was. It’s unlikely this process will create any kind of a truly conservative movement. But it could produce something a little less destructive than what is predominant now.

  6. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    He’s talking about the benefits of gardening that extend past the beauty of flowers or the utility of eating what you plant

    I agree with him but Monty might not realize that he is on to grounds for throwing out the left. Lest we forget, farmers are generally conservative for a reason.

    Scruton touches upon this tangentially, when he mentions how the Bauhaus and Le Corbusier;

    “envisaged their new style of architecture as both the symbol and instrument of a radical break with the past. This architecture was conceived in the spirit of detachment from place and history and home. It was “the international style,” a gesture against the nation-state and the homeland, an attempt to remake the surface of the earth as a single uniform habitat from which differences and boundaries would finally disappear.

    And as to how America has handled this, he writes;

    Americans have been careless of their cities , with the result that no one wants to live in them. But their suburbs radiate homeliness and comfort, and the country itself lies somewhere out there along the interstate, a still wild, open frontier that belongs to all of us, and we to it. Against the odds America has retained the aspect and the atmosphere of home.

    Like most lefties, Monty is mixing up cause and effect. The Soviet Union only allowed home gardens when their nationalized agriculture failed.

    Pull your head out of your ass, Monty. People are trying to get garden allotments because they feel disconnected from natural life in cities, which are generally leftist havens. The larger the city, the more left it generally is.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Some of this sounds like a bit of wisdom I vaguely recall, that a wise, far-seeing farmer would plant a pecan tree for his progeny. A more selfish one would plant something yielding results a lot sooner. I think this may even have been Texan, and I guess the idea was leaving a sort of legacy behind.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        There are a lot of pecan trees in Texas, so I guess there have been a large number of wise farmers in the area.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I got real kick out of this one black British lady (she seemed sincere and sweet) who wanted to turn her front garden into a public garden. (Shades of what I’ve tried to do here at ST.)

        She got Monty Don’s advice on how to best set up her front garden to grow the most vegetables. She wanted to get her neighbors to think of it as their garden as well….even to the point of coming in and picking what they wanted.

        I’m watching this and thinking “Plymouth Colony and the Mayflower.” Early-on, Miles Standish found out that socialism didn’t work. This episode ended in such a way that it seemed the lady was going to be able to pull this off. But I remain skeptical. I think her intent was sincere. But I also think she’s naive. “Free stuff” will bring out freeloaders. I hope they can go back a year later and see how it’s working.

        Granted, if you’re surrounded with perfectly polite, honest, and reasonable people, this could work. But most people don’t rate that so any kind of situation like this is primed for self-destruction, abuse, misunderstanding, and just plain bad feelings. This is where the free market (voluntary exchange of goods) comes in to purify and rationalize this process. I don’t have to guess about what’s fair. I either will pay $1.00 per tomato or make a deal for less.

        Still, maybe it could work in this one case by force of this lady’s personality alone. She was figuratively planting a pecan tree for all to pull from. Monty was skeptical, but not from the socialism-will-always-fail standpoint. Such a thought, of course, was never even brought up. He thought the problem would be that people would be way too shy to use another neighbor’s property as their own. (A good instinct, if you ask me….one that probably shouldn’t be dissolved.)

        Still, at the end of the day, it is her property and if she would like to share with her neighbors, fine. She might even make that work. But you watch these shows and they are so thick with Kumbaya and rarely have an ounce of common sense or due skepticism for this stuff.

        Still, part of the point of this lady’s garden was to show others what was possible. And one can only commend the educational aspects of this, if not quite the economic ones. Teaching others to plant a pecan tree is a very good thing. Hopefully her own tree won’t be stripped bear and then that’s that.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          I also wonder how this will work out for that lady.

          Never forget the old saying, “An Englishman’s home is his castle.” I suppose this is still lodging in the back of many English minds and people will react accordingly.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            I will gladly concede (simply because it seems so obviously true) that the evolution of Western Culture has been handed over to (taken by) the Progressives. We might see several counter-revolutions spinning within the general framework. We might see a lady trying to use a socialistic ethic to prompt people to get out of their chairs and plant their own gardens.

            John Fund has an article titled Liberals Begin to Revolt against ‘Rock Stupid’ Homelessness Policies. As cultural observers, we know to take such things with a grain of salt. Apparently Denver voters rejected a proposal to legalize vagrancy (“camping”) in parks and vehicles on city streets, including in front of homes and businesses. But that is hardly a parting of the Red Sea. We know how easily such folk will back-slide into further social insanity because of the basic tenets they’ve already swallowed down.

            As one adroit commenter noted: Just legalize some more psychedelic drugs, Denver. It won’t solve your homeless problem, but you’ll care about it less. And that is surely what they will at least metaphorically do at some point. But, for now, even minor rejections of social insanity can be considered a sign of hopeful progress.

            One reason David French and NRO are not conservative is because there is no oxygen in the room left for conservatism (other than as a superficial identity) when government is so large and intrusive. It’s become ridiculous to me that we have these little social battles (on Facebook and such), vociferously supporting one side or the other — red hats or blue hats — when both sides are ballooning the size and scope of government. Choose your poison. (I choose Trump poison, by the way.)

            So we are all operating with that as a backdrop. And within that monster backdrop there are eddies and currents in which the social fabric is pliable enough to try some new things. But gardening in the back yard will never end up in pulling out the big weed of Big Government. But it might help one live more healthily and joyfully within the constraints.

            In some respects, it’s not liberal vs. conservative (everyone is a liberal if only by how much we depend upon government). It’s indoor vs. outdoor culture. Gardening is part of the outdoor culture. But there is a huge indoor culture (left or right) of sitting indoors and either watching TV or playing video games. In some respect, I have more in common with a left wing black chick’s socialist gardening habits than I do with some pot-smoking white yute playing video games for eight hours a day with second amendment stickers all over the back of his pickup truck.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Like most lefties, Monty is mixing up cause and effect. The Soviet Union only allowed home gardens when their nationalized agriculture failed.

      Monty was talking about his own Great Britain, not Russia.

      What we can know with certainty is that Leftism produces anger and alienation in people. And I think one of the attractions of Monty Don is his Mr.-Rogers-like soft-spokenness. And if he stopped there, he’d be little better than a Deepak Choprah dispensing comforting nothings.

      But he doesn’t stop there. He gives people not only practical advice on gardening (which is hardly in short supply) but inspiration on why to do so. The discontented, disconnected masses can either be drawn to the next Hitler or they can be drawn to people with a practical, peaceful, and useful philosophy: Get your hands dirty, and go improve your lot in life.

      People are not going to stop living in cities, particularly in Europe. It’s difficult to know where anything is headed. But without constructive avenues of change, people will just habitually repeat the same old ways. Imagine if there was a black Monty Don with a fabulously-popular TV show teaching blacks the value of an education (by hands-on example and instruction), that it wasn’t “acting white” to want to escape the concrete jungle that Democrats have handed them.

      I’ll cut Monty a lot of slack, if only because the guiding lights of the right (David French comes to mind) are so unhelpful. If a few skillful and moderate people of The Party can show people a way to improve their lives without government help or blaming it on capitalism, that’s a good start. But, goodness gracious, I sure wish he’d drop this ‘climate change’ nonsense.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        I can understand the attraction of Monty. My wife, my son and I like to watch Bob Ross every now and then, mainly because of his demeanor. But old Bob never got into politics or political philosophy, as far as I have seen.

        So while Monty may have a number of positive attributes, I think the moment he gets into offering us political advice, he gets off the garden path. (I couldn’t help myself)

        And while I don’t expect people stop living in cities, I do like to try and shed a little light on some of the effects city living might have.

        I suppose we can hope that Monty’s example will help some people figure out that man is not simply an economic animal and that if one expects more out of life, one must put more into it. Sometimes doing something for the joy of it, or beauty of it, or just to try and achieve excellence is more important that doing it for monetary or masticatory reasons. No need to mix politics into it.

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Continuing with the “Everything relates to gardening theme,” in the “Gardeners’ World” episode I’m watching now on BritBox, there is a segment with HRH Prince Charles. I’ve seen only the teaser for it (and will watch the entire segment soon). But the theme of the segment is HRH inveighing against the dangers of invasive foreign plants.

    I hope I just saw or heard face-plants from several regulars here. Something like “You mean the guy and his entire class of cultural traitors who have allowed Islam to slowly invade their land and has done nothing but facilitate this is decrying the dangers of invasive plants?”

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Progressives are profoundly illogical and as a result, dishonest.

      Charles is also very big on maintaining traditional architecture. I wonder why he bothers considering the fact that foreign barbarians are overrunning his country and they despise English culture and traditions.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        The dynamics of this are Kungian in their complexity. A certain amount of this is simply going along to get along. The prevailing view is Islam is a “religion of peace” and anyone who says different is so obviously a mean person.

        Freud might have a field day with these fellows. Does their perfidy regarding being cultural traitors in the most significant way that matters leak out in their insistence that we hold the border against plants? Perhaps. There’s also the issue of the Progressive Indulgence. By hyping Progressive causes it excuses one from a fountain of sins.

        Charles also strikes me as not being the brightest bulb on the porch.

        The illogic certainly abounds. We know that those on the Left thoroughly believe in Darwinism. Given this, who are we humans to decide where plants are meant to be? Survival of the fittest. If some new species thrives and pushes out some other ones, well, that’s just the way it’s always been.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Maybe he’s just unhappy that he’s still not king. Who knows, Elizabeth II might outlive him the way she’s going.

      • Steve Lancaster says:

        Don’t forget Charles is a son of a foreign barbarian, ok Greek. But technically a first generation immigrant. And, I believe, the result of an arranged marriage.

        On another note. I find it fascinating that the most energetic royal followers are progressives. Could it be similar appeal to nobles oblige and Devine rights?

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          I find it fascinating that the most energetic royal followers are progressives. Could it be similar appeal to nobles oblige and Devine rights?

          As I noted almost 50 years ago, we are reverting to the normal state of things in which the elite (1-2%) rule over the rest of us plebs. Neither the elites nor the plebs like the middle class, which has been the great impetus behind the expansion of freedom, scientific and material progress in history. It has also reduced the power of the elites of every era throughout the ages. Unfortunately, the disrupters too often become the new nobility.

          When the robber barons of feudal times gained power, they were willing to do just about anything to maintain their hold on it. Today’s robber barons, such as the Kennedys, have the same philosophy, but they have learned to be somewhat less direct in their means. Their motto is “I’ve got mine, so let’s keep the rest down through socialism.”

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Orwell had Goldstein’s book (actually written by people in Minitrue, but by all indications an honest book) argue that traditionally the upper class wants to maintain power, the middle class wants to supplant the upper class, and the lower class wants to get rid of class differences. Maybe this was true in Europe, or maybe this is simply another reminder that Orwell remained a democratic socialist to the end.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          We Americans have our royalty in movies stars and such. We may be worse than the British in this regard — that is until the Brits doubled-down on stupid and have finally and irrevocably mixed their royalty with the entertainment culture with Meghan. Whatever the faults of our demeaning and ridiculous entertainment culture here at home, at least we’re not them. Yet.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Maybe someone could point out to him that many of these foreigners have been planted here. Indeed, initially I thought that was what it was about. Invasive species of plants and animals are indeed a problem, often a serious one (rats and cats and pigs, between them, have eliminated more than one bird species that had no experience with them). But so are foreign invaders.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        The British oaks and elms have taken a walloping. My perspective is that quarantining of agricultural products makes sense. One can at least slow things down a bit.

        The basic problem with the approach that seeks stasis is that this has never been a natural fact of life. Stuff has surely crossed over all the time. But we only ever view the short-term effects. Will oaks develop immunity to some of these bugs given time? Surely things such as this have happened in the past and are ongoing with species everywhere. The idea of a “balance of nature” is about as stupid a view of the world as you can get. Nature is chock full of invading barbarians looking toward a scorched-earth policy if they can get it. And it’s the survivors who set the new normal for what should be protected.

        Granted, there are many symbiotic relationships in nature. Not everything is a battle nor could life ever exist beyond single-celled life if it was. Cooperation could be considered the norm.

        HRS Prince Charles did note in the program (that I just finished watching) that there have been hordes of invaders from the far East. I immediately wondered if that was a reference to vagabond Muslims bringing all kinds of unclean things into the UK. But for purposes of political correctness, he put the entire onus on nurseries to better quarantine things before they sell them on.

        If they really wanted to set things right in the UK, they’d all commit suicide and let the island return to the vast forests it once had.

  8. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    In “The West and The Rest” Scruton lays out a reasoned, step-by-step explanation as to why “The West” is different from other places.

    He explains that religion is:

    a strong social-binding force, but not the only one. Politics, is to his mind as important. The one is “a static condition; politics a dynamic process.”

    While Scruton gives due respect to our Greek heritage, he believes even more important for the development of our heritage was:

    Roman law, conceived as a universal jurisdiction, and Christianity, conceived as a universal church. St. Paul, who transformed the ascetic and self-denying religion of Christ into an organized form of worship, was a Roman citizen, versed in the law, who shaped the early church through the legal idea of the universitas or corporation. The Pauline church was designed, not as a sovereign body, but as a universal citizen, entitled to the protection of the secular and imperial powers but with no claim to displace those powers as the source of legal order. “

    This is taken further by Marsilius who maintained that:

    ..it is the state and not the church that guarantees the civil peace, and reason not revelation, to which appeal must be made in all matters of temporal jurisdiction.

    Scruton writes:

    “..throughout the course of Christian civilization we find a recognition that conflicts must be resolved and social order maintained by political rather than religious jurisdiction. The separation of church and state was from the beginning an accepted doctrine of the church. Indeed, this separation created the church, which emerged from the Dark Ages as a legal subject, with rights, privileges, and a domestic jurisdiction of its own. And it was through his theory of conciliar government that Nicholas of Cusa, in 1433, introduced the modern understanding of corporate personality, and made it fundamental to our understanding of the church.”

    Scruton then points ou:”

    No similar institution exists in Islamic countries. There is no legal entity called “The Mosque” to set beside the various Western churches. Nor is there any human institution whose role it is to confer “holy orders” on its members. Those Muslims who have religious authority-the “ulama” (“those with knowledge”)-possess it directly from God. …..Islam has never incorporated itself as a legal person or a subject institution, a fact that has had enormous political repercussions. Like the Communist Party in its Leninist construction, Islam aims to control the state without being a subject of the state.”

    That is a profound statement and is something few in the West seem to understand.

    I will leave things there for the moment, however let me say that this book, may be small and relatively short, but almost every line is important and thought out. It is not filled with a lot of extraneous words, rather is a tightly presented thesis, which needs to be studied by our leaders. We/they may already know explicitly or implicitly some of what Scruton is saying, but I am sure less than 1% of us (I am being generous) have come close to putting together for ourselves or our fellows such a well founded and clear expression of this subject.

    I have only brought the reader through page 6 and my head is already spinning.

  9. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Given the latest news on the recent tensions with Iran, I thought the following quote from Khomeini (which I had never read before) will give readers an idea of the true nature of what the USA is dealing with when it comes to Iran:

    If one allows the infidels to continue playing their role of corrupters on Earth, their eventual moral punishment will be all the stronger. Thus, if we kill the infidels in order to put a stop their (corrupting) activities, we have indeed done them a service. For their eventual punishment will be less. To allow the infidels to stay alive means to let them do more corrupting. (To kill them) is a surgical operation commanded by Allah the Creator…Those who follow the rules of the Koran are aware that we have to apply the laws of qissas (retribution) and that we have to kill…War is a blessing for the world and for every nation. It is Allah himself who commands men to wage war and kill.”

    To this Scruton writes:

    The element of insanity in those words should not blind us to the fact that they adequately convey a mood, a legacy, and a goal that inspire young people all over the Islamic world. ….there is no doubt that Khomeini’s interpretation of the Prophet’s message is capable of textual support, and that it reflects the very confiscation of the political that has been the principle feature of Islamic revolutions in the modern world.

    That co-opting of the political by the religious is a significant problem for non-theocratic governments when trying to deal with countries such as Iran.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Replace “kill” with the word “marginalize and socially and politically defeat,” I think Khomeini captures a good attitude to have about the left. They are playing the role of corruptors on earth.

      And I read something at Townhall yesterday. Basically a guy said he starts a speech with “Who agrees that the left would kill us or imprison us if they had the chance?” He finds a great number of raised hands and it is then he finds out who the real conservatives are.

      This has been the main problem with the Republican Party. They either don’t know they are in such a battle or just don’t care.

      But I have to disagree with Scruton. I don’t find Khomeini’s comments to be insane. They are quite logical if you take as a given the tenets of Islam. Boy, he drops the ball there. To dismiss these guys as “insane” or “extremists” is to miss the point that the essence of the problem are the ideas inherent and central to Islam.

      Khomeini’s fault is that he is an orthodox Moslem, and very much so. And I don’t buy the weak argument of “confiscation of the political by the religious.” That is to, again, miss the fundament essence of what Islam is. It’s a totalitarian system (as is Leftism) that has a religious, political, social, and legal sides. It covers all aspects of life. Nothing falls outside it. (Same with Leftism.)

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I read that article, which was by Kurt Schlichter. It very much reflects his views.

        Yes, both leftism and Islamism are totalitarian, and anti-Western. That’s why they have such an affinity for each other, best personified perhaps by the jihadettes in Congress.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        And I don’t buy the weak argument of “confiscation of the political by the religious.” That is to, again, miss the fundament essence of what Islam is. It’s a totalitarian system (as is Leftism) that has a religious, political, social, and legal sides. It covers all aspects of life. Nothing falls outside it. (Same with Leftism.)

        Scruton does not disagree with you. In fact, he builds up a very convincing argument (and this is very important rather than just asserting it) showing that Islam is an all encompassing system and the problem it presents to the West. And I find his wording regarding the “element of insanity” flexible enough to include all of Islam. He even mentions that there is “textural support for it.”

        But let’s assume for a moment, that the goal of Islam is to save humanity by converting all people to Islam. That is the claim of all the imams and mullahs.

        If that is the case, then Khomeini’s formulation is exactly like a doctor saying, “we have to kill the patient to cure him.” Surely, that is a little insane. Not to mention illogical.

        Although I am fairly well read on the subject, I had never read the Khomeini quote before and I am thankful that Scruton included it in his book. I believe his including it in his book is an attempt to get the truth out there, not to soft-pedal it. In the pages from which this quote is taken, Scruton also shows how Khomeini is basically no different from Al-Qaeda, i.e. the craziness runs through both schools of Islam.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          It’s hard to counter the Iranian nutjob’s idea to kill humanity in order to save it with the backdrop of Noah and the ark. Maybe there was a power struggle in heaven and one side followed the Jesus faction while another made an idol of the god of wrath.

          The thing is, look at any rainbow pride parade of freaks and then try to explain that the ayatollah is wrong about our corruption. We’re stuck with the fact of a bad messenger with a method that is too extreme, but one who has a point.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      This is one of the problems of Demagogue governance. They seek to impose leftist libertinism on everyone else, and some cultures really don’t like that.

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