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L. Neil Smith's

Number 836, August 30, 2015

There Ain't No Such Thing As Social Justice

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Calling a Halt to Jihad
by L. Neil Smith

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

A few years ago, former congressman and conservative activist Tom Tancredo, the most interesting man in Colorado politics, especially Republican politics, made a suggestion about dealing with radical Islam. Another attack, he warned, like the one on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, and the Air Force should reduce the city of Mecca, to which every devout Moslem is supposed to make a pilgrimage at least once in his life, to a radioactive glass parking lot.

People in that part of the world could even be warned in advance to evacuate (we could have done that in Japan, as well), minimizing any killing involved. Those who still wanted to be martyrs could be martyrs.

Needless to say, the politically limp-wristed class were horrified, which was half the fun of it. As attractive as it may be, there are indeed more than a few ethical problems involved with this idea, not the least of which is that it's fully as collectivistic—a common failing of Tancredo's, as well as of conservatives in general—as the enemy we're fighting. (Remember what Bob LeFevre used to say about right-wing socialism?) There are about a billion Muslims in the world, at least 999 million of whom are perfectly decent individuals. To deny them their Haj, their sacred pilgrimage, would be downright evil.

Above and beyond everything else, understand that the enemy facing us today is a criminal gang of thugs claiming a religious motivation. It's as if the Jesse James gang made all their raids singing "Shall We Gather At The River" I don't care how often or loud those like Robert Spencer chant otherwise—if you want to know what a right-wing Southern Poverty Law Center would look like, look at Spencer's "Jihad Watch"—most Moslems are ordinary people who want a better life for themselves and their children. They have no desire to blow up or shoot anybody.

However Tancredo's nuclear threat does represent a rare attempt to deal with trouble before it happens. Everything else that the West has done so far in this bizarre conflict has been reactive and essentially useless. Why? Because "radical Islam" is an idea, not a people or a country; it can only be fought with another idea. A better idea—you won't get one from the multiculturalists currently running things.

Yes, it will have to be a better idea.

To the extent that religion, and not simple thuggery moves them, Islam, as I said, is a religious faith, and, to judge from the behavior of its most violent proponents, it is not a very firmly held one. If their belief were stronger, more secure, they would be content to allow others to believe and act as they will, in peace. But the constant presence of non-believers and the irresistible temptations that they represent (it is said that the consumption by ISIS of pornography is prodigious) is pure torture to them, and they feel compelled to end it any way they can, with gunfire and explosives, if necessary.

Don't bother looking for an understandable motive for whatever jihadists do. Inspired by their deity, they do whatever it strikes them at the moment to do. Based on faith, rather than reason, all religions are irrational this way, and they don't need reasons for what they do. Consider the slaughter of the Hugonots, the murder of the Knights Templar, or the Salem witch trials. What was all that about?

As a result, the jihadist's greatest enemy is not necessarily a better soldier, or a better gun, it's simple doubt and there are plenty of Western individuals in a good position to instill it in them. In the early days of the libertarian movement, for example, I remember seeing ads in the back of Reason magazine and similiar publications offering to list "101 Biblical Contradictions". What might a close look at the Koran yield? If Salmon Rushdie's Satanic Verses could rattle them so, worldwide, what could a full analysis do?

Social anthropology provides a clue.

My wife once played host to Arab delegates of some kind, visiting a privileged student at the university when her boss was out of the office. She was unaware that Moslem men are sometimes reluctant to touch a woman they don't know, as they don't know what time of month it is for her, and a menstruating woman is unclean. Cathy unwittingly chased them all around the office, just trying to shake hands with them.

The fact is, the reported behavior of jihadists toward women, kidnapping and raping them, keeping them concealed under wraps, forbidding them to vote, or drive, or have a job, an opinion, or even be seen outside alone, betrays a tremendous fear of women on their part. Whatever they're afraid of is serious enough to justify, in their twisted minds, the unspeakably barbaric practice of "honor killings".

This attitude confers a serious disadvantage on such societies. Over millions of years, men and women have evolved to see the world from slightly different angles, which, when combined, allows our species to see situations in greater depth, and increases its chances of survival. Lack of feminine perspective deprives the jihadist of one eye, in effect, in a world dangerous and complicated enough for the two-eyed.

Be advised, however, that instilling doubt in faith is a two-edged sword. Christianity and Judaism are both faith-based belief systems, no more rational at their bases than Islam. If you find faith-questioning uncomfortable, you'll be better off seeking another tactic.

One such tactic deals with symptoms only, but it deals with them swiftly and effectively. When two would-be mass-assassins were quickly dispatched at a Pam Gellar cartoon art show, the gunfire that killed them were the shots heard 'round the world. At no time have we ever been able to see mre clearly that "gun control" is truly victim disarmament, and that in, the words of the Second Amendment, it represents a danger to "the security of a free state". The kind of terrorism Europeans and Americans face from jihadists today is a diffuse problem, and it's best solved with a diffuse solution: arm everybody. Jihadis are like any other criminal bully: they want a sure thing. If their intended victims can fight back, it isn't fun any more.

Even better, how about arming Muslim women?

The Editor notes some useful reading about war and conflict:

The Transformation of War: The Most Radical Reinterpretation of Armed Conflict Since Clausewitz
Buy at

On War: The Collected Columns of William S. Lind 2003-2009
Buy at

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