Monday, May 9, 2011

Islam Will Dominate the World

Several hundred Muslims protested in London the other day promising death to America and other tedious banalities as they voiced their outrage at the killing of Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden, it must be remembered, has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans, not just on 9/11 but throughout the 1990s, but according to the perverse logic by which extremist Muslims live America had no right to hold him accountable. Osama was a Muslim and, in their febrile minds, it's an intolerable outrage for infidels to avenge themselves against a Muslim. Thankfully, the majority of London Muslims think that the protesters were "nuts", a trenchant assessment to be sure, but the protest still raises questions nonetheless.

For example, the demonstrators displayed signs saying that "Islam Will Dominate the World" which suggests that the demonstrators see the attack on bin Laden as an attack on Islam. Yet many Muslims have insisted that bin Laden is not a true Muslim, so why do the London Muslims view his death as an affront to Islam? Or do these extremists just believe that anyone who is a terrorist and murders innocent Westerners is a quintessential Muslim hero? Is this what Islam has become, at least for them - a religion for terrorists?

I saw a statistic today that said that the population of U.S. Muslims will double by 2030. It's expected that their demographic will rise from the current .8% of the population to 1.7% of the population within twenty years.

This should be cause for some concern given the experience of other countries around the globe with disaffected Muslim populations, and given that many Muslims tend to hold America and our traditional freedoms in very low esteem.

In a book titled Slavery, Terrorism and Islam: The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat, Dr. Peter Hammond writes that (I'm paraphrasing) Islam in its fullest form is a complete, total, 100% system of life. It has religious, legal, political, economic, social, and military components. The religious component is a beard for all the other components. Islamization begins when there are sufficient Muslims in a country to agitate for their religious privileges. When politically correct, tolerant, and culturally diverse societies agree to Muslim demands for their religious privileges, some of the other components tend to creep in as well.

Hammond goes on to observe that as long as the Muslim share of the population is around 2% they live peacefully in their communities, but as their percentage of the population grows they become increasingly fractious.

When they achieve about 5% of the population they begin to demand that the larger society bend to their will, particularly by allowing them to have their own laws and their own courts based on the Koran.

When Muslims approach 10% of the population, Hammond claims, they tend to increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions. In Paris, we already see car-burnings, riots, and murders. Any insult by a non-Muslim results in violence and threats, such as in Amsterdam where cartoonists have been threatened with death over their depiction of Mohammed in cartoons and Theo Van Gogh was murdered and Ayaan Hirsi Ali had to flee for her life after making a film critical of Islam.

Nations in which the Muslim population reaches 20% have experienced severe social turmoil and conflict with burnings of churches and synagogues, and as the population climbs so does the conflict until bloodletting becomes commonplace.

As Leon Uris has a Muslim character say in The Haj:
"Before I was nine I had learned the basic canon of Arab life. It was me against my brother; me and my brother against our father; my family against my cousins and the clan; the clan against the tribe; and the tribe against the world. And all of us against the infidel."
Frankly, I don't know what Mr. Choudary is talking about when he says that Islam has so much to offer the West. Looking at the nations where Islam has ruled for over a thousand years it's hard to find one that even Muslims want to live in, which is why, I suppose, there's so much emigration from these countries to the West.

Perhaps as Muslims grow in numbers in the U.S. they'll follow the pattern of so many immigrant groups before them and lay aside the ways of the old country and assimilate into their new home, developing as they do a deeper sensitivity to the rights of those who don't share their beliefs and a deeper appreciation for the value of religious, economic and political freedom. The experience of European Muslims does not give much hope that this will be the case, unfortunately, but then America is not Europe.

Satisfaction and the Nanny State

A couple of things about this piece at Science Daily puzzled me. The article discusses a study that purports to show that people living in countries where there are a lot of government social service programs are generally more satisfied with life than those who live in countries where government is less involved in providing such programs:
Dr. Patrick Flavin, assistant professor of political science at Baylor, said the effect of state intervention into the economy equaled or exceeded marriage when it came to satisfaction. The study is published in the spring issue of the journal Politics & Policy.

The study measured government intervention into the economy in four ways: government tax revenue as a percentage of its gross domestic product (GDP), government consumption of GDP, generosity of unemployment benefits and a country's welfare expenditures as a percentage of GDP.

"In many cases, less government intervention can allow for a more efficient economy, but greater economic efficiency doesn't necessarily translate into greater contentment with one's life," Flavin said. "If you get sick and can't work or lose your job and there are few social protections in place, you're more likely to be anxious and less satisfied."
Well, I guess so. People who don't have to worry about making a living are probably going to be a lot more content than those who do. They'll also doubtless be more content than those who are making a living and paying for the contentment of those who aren't.
Flavin said the research is focused only on the link between government intervention and life satisfaction and not whether intervention achieves economic growth or such goals as reducing poverty or violent crime. But "to the extent that it is a primary task of democratic governments to secure the well-being of their citizens, studying what government activities make citizens happier helps inform the 'politics vs. markets' debate,'" he said.
This raises an important question. Is it really the primary task of government to "secure the well-being of its citizens"? I don't think so. The primary task of government is to guarantee that citizens are free to pursue their own well-being. When the well-being of citizens is elevated by the state above the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. we usually wind up with some form of totalitarianism.

That government is best which protects our borders, protects our citizens from crime, and protects the rights of citizens to pursue their own dreams. To the extent that government moves beyond these proper functions it inevitably becomes more oppressive.

In any event, I wonder how significant this study is. Just because one can establish a statistical correlation between two variables it doesn't follow that therefore there's a causal connection between them. In other words, the fact, if it is a fact, that those who happen to live in social welfare states are somewhat more content than those who don't doesn't mean that the social welfare state is what's causing the contentment.