Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Rape of Lara Logan

Andrew McCarthy writes at NRO that the rape of CBS reporter Lara Logan by a mob of several hundred Egyptians in Cairo is not surprising given the teaching of Islamic clerics on the subject. He cites several Muslim authorities who teach that women who fail to dress in Muslim garb are "asking for it":
Sheikh Qaradawi contends that women bring sexual abuse on themselves if they fail to conform to Islamist conventions of modest dress. Shahid Mehdi, a top Islamic cleric in Denmark, has explained that women who fail to don a headscarf are asking to be raped, an admonition echoed by Sheikh Faiz Mohammed, a prominent Lebanese cleric, during a lecture he delivered in Australia.
McCarthy closes with this:
The Koran pronounces that “Allah has made men superior to women” (Sura 4:34). As documented in “Sharia Law for Non-Muslims,” a study published by the Center for the Study of Political Islam, Mohammed declared that women are inferior to men in both intelligence and religious devotion (Bukhari hadith 1.6.301), and that women will make up most of those condemned to Hell. (Bukahri 7.62.132). Sexual abuse is encouraged not only by hadith but — as I related in discussing the recent case of a teenager flogged to death in Bangladesh — by sharia standards that make rape practically impossible to prove and subject women to a death sentence for adultery or fornication if they come forward with an accusation but cannot prove it.

Islamic scriptures endorse wife-beating (Koran 4:34 again). Female genital mutilation is rampant in the Muslim world and scripturally based.

As Caroline Glick notes, the World Health Organization reports that 97 percent of Egyptian women and girls have been subjected to this form of barbarism.

This despicable treatment is fortified by standards that treat women’s testimony as inferior to men’s, permit men to marry up to four women, and deny women the right to hold many public offices — particularly those that involve the construction of Islamic law and issuance of fatwas.

The unmistakable message at the core of sharia is that women, like non-Muslims, are less than fully human.
There is a fundamental chasm between the Western worldview and that of the Muslim world. It's a difference that cannot be bridged simply by dialogue. Indeed, it's a difference that probably can't be bridged at all inasmuch as Muslims demand that the West compromise its values and adopt theirs, and that until such a capitulation occurs there'll never be peace between the two worlds. In other words, there'll be jihad until the whole world is Islamic and living under a law that looks the other way when Muslim men rape women whose dress is insufficiently decorous.

The Western world, stumbling along on the rapidly diminishing capital of its Christian heritage, still nevertheless places a premium on the values of love, forgiveness, and compassion. The Islamic world, on the other hand, values, or at least too often appears to value, hate, vengeance, and cruel punishment. It's unfortunate but it's hard to imagine how these twain could ever meet.

On a somewhat related note a representative of CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) took the occasion of a recent town hall meeting to challenge newly-elected GOP congressman Allan West (an Iraq war vet) to show where it says in the Koran that Muslims should kill Americans - a claim that West had allegedly made.

The man was posing a specious challenge, obviously, and West made light work of the fellow's pretension, to the great delight of the crowd at the meeting:
It seems that the November 10th election has ushered into political office an entirely new class of politicians, a group of men and women who are not inclined to be deferential to "aggrieved" minorities and who know how to exert leadership.

What's Wrong with Public Employee Unions?

David Brooks has a pretty good piece at the New York Times on the battle going on in Wisconsin between the GOP and the public employees' unions. Brooks notes that public employees and private employees are two disparate species, and their unions are different as well. Brooks writes:
[P]ublic sector unions and private sector unions are very different creatures. Private sector unions push against the interests of shareholders and management; public sector unions push against the interests of taxpayers. Private sector union members know that their employers could go out of business, so they have an incentive to mitigate their demands; public sector union members work for state monopolies and have no such interest.

Private sector unions confront managers who have an incentive to push back against their demands. Public sector unions face managers who have an incentive to give into them for the sake of their own survival. Most important, public sector unions help choose those they negotiate with. Through gigantic campaign contributions and overall clout, they have enormous influence over who gets elected to bargain with them, especially in state and local races.

As a result of these imbalanced incentive structures, states with public sector unions tend to run into fiscal crises. They tend to have workplaces where personnel decisions are made on the basis of seniority, not merit. There is little relationship between excellence and reward, which leads to resentment among taxpayers who don’t have that luxury.
In other words, when public employee unions negotiate with state legislators and governors they're often bargaining with people who owe their careers to the very people sitting across the table. In such an environment the taxpayer doesn't stand a chance. The public employees' unions bankroll the campaigns of Democrats with their contributions and get them elected through their votes. What are the chances that the Democrats are going to care more about the well-being of the taxpayer than of the union to which they owe their livelihood?

The problem is compounded by the fact that the benefits politicians award the unions in return for their support are often long-term goodies like pensions, etc. which won't come due until long after the politicians have retired.

The whole system is a scam on the people who pay taxes, and the ruckus in Wisconsin and elsewhere is due to the fact that Republicans are refusing to play the game any longer. The unions recognize that Wisconsin is simply the nose of the camel, that if they lose their ability to engage in collective bargaining over pensions and working conditions they'll no longer have the power to extort even more benefits from the hapless taxpayer by threatening to withhold services.

This is the problem with a public employee union (I belonged to one myself for a number of years). It's unjust to hold taxpayers hostage to the demands of the union. It's unjust for teachers to hold the education of children hostage. It's unjust for police and fire personnel to hold the safety of citizens hostage, and it's unjust for state workers to hold the checks of the elderly and poor hostage. Workers should have the right to strike against a private corporation, they should not have the right to strike against the taxpayer. Nor should they have the right to negotiate with the very people they elevate to office over how much of the taxpayer's money they're going to be given.

Some in the media are accusing the Wisconsin Republicans of trying to break the union, but if that's what ultimately happens the union bosses will have only their own greed to blame.