We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
It is difficult not to dwell on the meaning of 9-11 this week. As a guy who works in NYC (but was in Maine on that date), it hit very close to home. Here are some of my current thoughts, in corporate, bullet-point form:
1. Islam is a dangerous religion to non-Moslems. Unlike Christianity, which is commanded to spread the good news via example and preaching, Islam is commanded to spread their word via submission or death. Westernized Moslems reject that notion, but many no more wish to be Westernized than I wish to be, or my nation to be, Moslemized. "Tolerance of differences" is not in their lexicon.
2. America is only one of many targets of world-wide jihad. When we try to understand it in terms of America and the West, we miss the point. That view is too self-centered. They have many other targets, all around the Moslem perimeter.
3. Traditional Islamic culture is not compatible with Western, democratic, Judeo-Christian culture. Oil and water. Either one, or the other, must compromise its culture to live in the same place.
4. The world bears the US little good will. Not because of what we do, but because of what we are. There is envy, condescension, schadenfreude, and some fear. But they are wrong about us. We are decent, and we will leave you alone if you leave us alone. We can't help it if we're lucky, ambitious, free-thinking, and hard-working, and we need not apologize for that.
5. The Moslem migrational invasion of Europe is a catastrophe for Europe, politically, demographically, and culturally. It seems that when they enter a nation in large enough numbers, they demand that their generous host adjust to them, rather than vice versa. There is no visible gratitude - only demands and threats. So why do they leave home? Why?
6. Traditional Islam feels threatened by Western ideas, ideals, behavior, and freedoms. The less isolated and insulated they are, the more they realize that they are a cultural island, stuck in an ancient past. The world is shrinking, and the more they encounter of the West, the more they freak out, and want to strike out. No doubt they love their traditions and their ways as much as we love ours. Fine, if you don't mind living in the 13th century. But you may not impose them on us.
7. The Bush administration over-estimates the dangerousness of Jihad. However, he, or any President, must do that, politically, because the next 200 or 3000 or 100,000 Americans who are killed by Jihadists will be the responsibility of whoever is in charge. Protection is the first job of the federal government, and bringing the fight to our attackers is not a bad plan.
8. The Left wishes to minimize the danger. Not all of us Dems, but some Dems, and the Lefty fringe. Why? Because they do not love their country and its traditions. Simple.
9. The anti-war folks are not anti-war. They do not mind others waging war, only the US. They are therefore simply part of #8, above: so secure in their comforts and safety that they refuse to take danger seriously - or maybe even welcome some, to mess things up.
10. Of course the Jihadists hate the Western liberation of Iraq from a barbaric tyranny. Political freedom poses a serious threat, and the collapse of Saddam was a humiliating blow. Political freedom in the heart of the middle-east is probably something even the Saudis find discouraging. It is alien, and threatening to the old ways. Another intrusion of "modern" ideas, just like all of the satellite dishes in Iran that Ahmadinejad has been destroying. I suspect that the people of such nations as Iraq and Iran are far ahead of their "leaders."
11. Israel is a scapegoat. Islamist politicians and mullahs get some mileage out of being anti-semitic, but the problem is that tiny Israel with its tiny population is an affront to them - economically, religiously, and politically. However, if you gave Israel to the Palestinians today, in six months it would be a dump like they made of Gaza.