Today’s the big day for “Brexit” – the referendum on the UK’s exit from the European Union.

We’ll come back to that.

25 years ago, the Soviet Union collapsed (for a while).   The media was confused and befuddled; most of them had bet on the wrong team during the Cold War.

Now, whenever a huge, all-encompassing, not to mention totalitarian, system completely collapses, there will be a certain amount of chaos, as people, not to mention nations, economies and political systems, try to find their feet after a generation or two under a completely different system.   Turning from “Totalitarian Gangster State” to “Social Democracy” – forget “Free Market” for now – isn’t something nations and societies can do with easy grace, any more than Tom Brokaw can do an Olympic Gymnastics routine.

But our mainstream media apparently didn’t know or believe that.  In 1994 – barely two years after the collapse of the Iron Curtain – Poland was in a recession.  Tom Brokaw, on the NBC Evening News, echoing the sentiments of many MSM chin-strokers, gravely intoned “It appears that Poland’s experiment with free markets has failed”.

Two whole years after the Wall fell.

It was wishful thinking from a mainstream media that missed having a constant crisis to cover (not to mention an “enemy” with whom they were so sympathetic).   Poland went on to become one of Europe’s economic success stories. Eastern Europe has had ups and downs – but other than a few crypto-authoritarian splinter states (shut up about Belarus), none of them are pining for a return to Communism.    Quite the opposite.

Statue of Ronald Reagan in Warsaw, Poland – one of many monuments to the greatest leader of the second half of the 20th century that dot the lands he played a pivotal role in freeing.

Anyway, point being this:

  1. American mainstream media and the establishment whose PR firm they largely are forecast gloom and doom with the breakup of the USSR, since it was uncertain, and they had little faith in freedom or the market.
  2. Eastern Europe largely, imperfectly, and with inevitable struggle, succeeded.
  3. Mainstream media ignored the success.

Thus endeth the history lesson.

Today the American mainstream media is predicting various degrees of disaster should the UK pull out of the big, arthritic bureaucratic pseudo-state that is the EU.

Maybe they’re right.

But their record in betting against freedom, autonomy and the market isn’t all that good, unless by “good” you mean “consistent”.

The Army Of Davids. Or Abus.

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Everybody knows David slew Goliath, and that it was an amazing feat because David was a kid and Goliath a giant.  He won using a sling – a child’s weapon. 

 Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, says America needs an army of Davids, ordinary people with ordinary skills to take on extraordinary tasks using their own particular skills. 

 Suppose a fundamentalist Christian preacher in America were to embrace the concept?  Suppose he preached to his congregation: “God has turned His back on America because we have embraced Satan.  The only thing we can do is start over, just like Sodom and Gomorrah.  But we don’t have to wait for God to act, the Lord helps those who help themselves.  Every one of you can play a role in bringing God’s justice to this land, just like David slew Goliath, you can be an Army of Davids.  Do you work for the power company?  Search for a way to disrupt the grid.  Do you work in for the water department?  Search for a way to poison everyone in the city after you massacre the staff at the Christmas party.  Do you have knowledge of firearms?  Kill all the gays in a nightclub. You don’t need to travel overseas to kill sinners, they’re all around you.  You don’t need specialized training, you don’t need financial backing, you don’t need have your plans approved or coordinate your action with anyone else; just do it. The Lord will approve.”

 Suppose impressionable young men and women took him up on it and began to commit random acts of terrorism.  Do you think the Obama administration would find a way to restrict his preaching, limit membership in his church, seize his pamphlets, block his radio transmissions, deny him internet access?

 What if the preacher were a Muslim

 Joe Doakes

It’s simple:  If he’s Christian (and not explicitly “progressive”), he’s the “tip of the iceberg”.

If he’s Muslim, he’s a perverse aberration that reflects nothing

A Matter Of Trust. And Lack Of It.

Representative government requires trust – above all, trust that everyone, king and commoner alike, is equal in the eyes of the law and “the system” – and everyone follows more or less the same rules.

But we’re not doing that anymore.  Marc Rich scammed people, and got pardoned for being a Democrat bigwig; Bill Clinton did things that would have gotten a dozen Republicans like Bob Packwood thrown out of Congress; Hillary’s email server issue alone is vastly bigger than the transgression that destroyed David Petraeus’ career (to say nothing of the passive-aggressive institutional arrogance protecting her).   And Obama?  From nominating a budget chief who owed enough taxes to get a dozen mere middle class mortals jailed, to an Obamacare consultant that tittered like a pajamaboy about lying to the rubes about the costs of the program, to changing the rules and running around the Legislative Branch when Obamacare went up on the rocks, to the lies about the Iran deal, Obama has trampled the rules in a way no citizen ever could ream about.

And as Glenn Reynolds notes in one of his most scathing commentaries ever, that’s a problem, if we care about the kind of society we plan to have:

Being law-abiding for its own sake is a traditional part of bourgeois culture, and our ruling class has lately treated the bourgeoisie with contempt as well. Which raises the risk that this contempt will be returned.

Back in the midst of the financial crisis, Gonzalo Lira looked at how people were responding to the mortgage meltdown and warned of a coming middle-class anarchy. He wrote:

“A terrible sentence, when a law-abiding citizen speaks it: Everybody else is doing it — so why don’t we? … What’s really important is that law-abiding middle-class citizens are deciding that playing by the rules is nothing but a sucker’s game.”

America has been — and, for the moment, remains — a high-trust society. In high-trust societies, people extend trust to strangers and follow rules for the most part even when nobody is watching. In low-trust societies, trust seldom extends beyond close family, and everybody cheats if they can get away with it.

Try life in Romania, Somalia or the Congo if you don’t believe it.  Get back to us on that.

High-trust societies are much nicer places to live than low-trust ones. But a fish rots from the head and the head of our society is looking pretty rotten. As Lira says, “I’m likeWayne Gretsky: I don’t concern myself with where the puck has been — I look for where the puck is going to be.” Where will our society be in a decade if these trends continue? And what can we do to ensure that they don’t?

How long can a society stay free without trust?  It’s not like trust goes underground or anything…

All About The Kids

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

This guy will use any stick to beat his favorite horses so I’m not endorsing his analysis.  The rise in births to unmarried mothers could be due to some other factor – unpopularity of shotgun marriages, for instance.

 But his claims that mixed race children grow up without fathers, and without paternal support, are interesting as they tie to other factors.  Children raised by single mothers are more likely to live in poverty.  Boys having no positive male role model more easily slip into violence and crime.

 It’s worth asking if the rise in illegitimacy might be related to the present furor over Black incarceration rates, police shootings protested by Black Lives Matter, 1,000 people shot (so far) in predominantly Black neighborhoods in Chicago, and Democrats’ collective fantasy that passing more gun laws will solve society’s problems.  Maybe traditional sexual morality restrained more than it appeared; maybe knocking down those barriers let loose more than we anticipated. 

 Oddly, why did unwed childbearing rates drop across the board in the 1990’s?  Newt Gingrich pushed through welfare reform and Clinton signed it in 1996, but the rate took a dive before the effects of the law could have been felt.  Why did women stop having babies out of wedlock, and why did they start up, again?

 Anyway, the charts are interesting. 

 Joe Doakes

The link between unwed parents and poverty is pretty iron-clad.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

European wacko, far-right, fringe party . . . wins 36% of the vote.  The mainstream, sensible, traditional parties couldn’t scrape together enough to get into the runoff election.

 The media keeps using that word: “fringe.”  I don’t think it means what they think it means. 

 This election result is not an accident, this is the beginning of Europeans taking back their governments because of the immigrant crisis.  Next will come fences and deportations.  

 Meanwhile, America frets about bathrooms.

 Joe Doakes

For now, anyway.

For now.

Happy Easter. You’re Dead.

Read this piece, from MPR, about the bombings in Lahore, Pakistan.

Horrific?  Yep.

What’s missing?

The fairly pivotal fact that the the Pakistani Taliban targeted the park because it was a major center for Pakistani Christians celebrating Easter.

To do so would interfere with the narrative that we’re not involved in a battle to the death with a millennarian, eliminationist death cult (and no, I’m not referring to every Muslim, or even a majority).

Show me a charity that seeks to train, and ideally arm, Christians around the world – especially in Nigeria, ISIS territory, and Pakistan – to resist genocide, and I will hold a fund-raiser.

UPDATE:  Let’s put a hotfoot on that charity providing arms and training to Christians in harm’s way.  And, if we can swing it, tanks and jets and napalm.


(Hat tip to Kel in the comment section)


If nothing else, Europe’s Jews have learned that when your ship strikes an iceberg, you don’t wait for a future round of lifeboats:

The European Jewish Congress has publicized a shocking poll: “A third of the European Jews think of emigrating”. That is 700,000 people.

“The Jews of Europe are at a crossroads”, tells me Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress based in Brussels. “If the authorities continue to add only defensive measures, building taller walls and thicker doors, then the Jews will not want to live this imprisoned life and will leave Europe in large numbers”.

Before the attack in Copenhagen, a year ago, there were 23 children in the Jewish kindergarten in Malmö [Sweden]: today there are only 5 left. The armed guards in front of the school triggered panic and parents prefer to enroll their children in public school. It is the end of Jewish identity. Some people whispered that the synagogue of the city will soon be turned into a museum. From 2010 to today, the synagogue lost a third of the faithful. The rabbi, Shneur Kesselman, is constantly attacked in the streets: almost 200 episodes of anti-Semitism in ten years.

Wonder where this round of refugees is going to settle?

No Rape Please; We’re European

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Remember this photo?
Boko Harum, a band of Muslim terrorists, kidnapped 300 Christian girls and sold them into sexual slavery, citing as justification an interpretation of the Koran that permits sexual relations with captured infidel women.  The kidnappers were not ashamed because they believed their actions were morally justified.  Mrs. Obama’s sign is an indicator of her abject cluelessness about the cause of the problem and the solution to prevent it in the future.
On New Year’s Eve, there were hundreds of groping incidents in European cities, some outright rapes, all reportedly committed by recent immigrants from North Africa/Middle East, men who are overwhelmingly Muslim and who believe infidel Nordic women who fail to cover their bodies are acting like whores just asking for sex.  So they got it.  What’s the problem?
Naturally, European women are outraged that Muslim men behave like Muslim men.  But what led Europe to this level of cluelessness?  People like this woman, protesting after New Year.

Wishful thinking, lady.  There won’t be any hard-body Arabs in your future, they’re after your daughter and granddaughter and there won’t be anything respectful about it.
But hey, they have a government to protect women from sexual assault, right?  So what’s the government recommend?  The Mayor of Koln tells women to stay arms’-length away from men you don’t know, travel in groups, and don’t drink to excess.  In other words, it’s not the rapists’ fault, ladies, it’s your own fault: you were acting like whores just asking for sex and you got it.
Okay, good to know.
Joe Doakes

The best single article you’ll read about Rape Jihad, anywhere, end of sentence, is Andrew McCarthy’s piece on the Cologne rape attacks on New Years, fittingly titled “Unassimilable Muslim Migrants Crash Europe’s Fantasy Islam“.

We’ll be coming back to this article, later in the week, in re the “fantasy Islam” bit – a fantasy shared by Mark Dayton, Betsy Hodges, and a whole lot of otherwise well-meaining Minnesotans.



Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Larry Correia writes the Monster Hunter series, which are pretty good SF.  He’s also a Gun Guy, truly one of us.  His column about Paris:

I like this line, talking about the Obama administration failures in the Middle East:

“. . . the western world was literally cheering Putin getting involved. How badly do you have to f**k up that your allies are happy the Russians moved in instead?”

Joe Doakes

Correia’s a sharp guy.

And the answer to the rhetorical question is “Badly.  Very badly.”

A Lesson From Paris

In the Charlie Hebdo attack, Muslim terrorists slaughtered some deeply unsympathetic characters; “journalists” whose entire milieu involved whizzing in other peoples Wheaties.

And they attacked a kosher market – in other words, Jews.

So if you’re not a smug confrontational “journalist” or a Jew, you may have felt you were safe.

And their targets in the US, so far, have been similar; military installations of various types, full of unarmed servicepeople and dependents, for the most part.

Last Friday’s attacks “targeted” nobody; they were completely indiscriminate.

But the casualties were disproportionally younger people in the hipster parts of the 11th Arondissement of Paris; patrons at bars and sidewalk cafes, heavy metal fans at Baclaban, and soccer fans.

In other words – not only pretty much anyone, but especially at the four different attacks on bars and shopping areas, disproportionately people who, it seems likely, were likely than average to support aggressive, anti-ISIS policies.  I’m going to speculate, not without good reason, that many of the victims would have been actively hostile to hardline politics.

In any case, certainly none of the victims were within spitting distance of the French power structure.  Being neutral, or even opposed to the French counterterror policy, was no protection; any random passerby it was a bone to be chewed.

Moderation Is No Virtue:  If you read about the Middle East in any depth, you know that the single most dangerous thing to be is a “moderate Muslim”; it is they that the radicals kill off first, before the Americans, before the Brits, before even the Israelis.

That is pretty standard behavior among radicals; the Bolsheviks killed the Mensheviks; the Nazis muscled out lesser fascists; the Obama people turned the rhetorical long knives on Hillary.

But it is, literally, a matter of religious doctrine for ISIS; not only is failing to follow the Koran a crime, but failure to exact punishment by Koranic standards is punishable under Koranic law.  That includes the leadership; the Caliph must wage war on apostate Muslims (Shi’ites, and secular Muslim governments, to say nothing of secular government of any type), or be subject to penalty under a strict reading of Islamic law.  Don’t take my word for it; read this.

Your own moral neutrality on the subject is no defense.

Doakes Sunday: The Straw

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails about a rather aggressive-sounding statement from a hitherto-pacifistic churchman:

But surely there is only one logical conclusion to be drawn? He sighs, and answers slowly. “You are asking me how we can deal radically with Isis. The only answer is to radically destroy them. I don’t think we can do it by dropping bombs. We have got to bring about real change. It is a terrible thing to say as a priest.
“You’re probably thinking, ‘So you’re telling me there should be war?’ Yes!”
I am shocked by his answer, because this is a man who has risked his life many times to bring peace.
“It really hurts. I have tried so hard. I will do anything to save life and bring about tranquillity, and here I am forced by death and destruction to say there should be war.”


The minister finally has reached the same place where Urban II stood in 1095, when he preached the First Crusade, and where Ann Coulter stood in response to the Twin Towers, when she wrote her column:

joe doakes

War, like self-defense, is the second-worst possible outcome to any given situation.

And ISIS is leaving an awful lot of people at the brink of the first-worst outcome.

Veterans Day

Our country has chosen this, the anniversary of the end of World War I, to commemorate our veterans.

I’m terrible at finding words to express that kind of thanks, naturally; I took my best stab at it a couple of years ago, and I’m kind of proud of it – but seriously, how do you thank someone for spending the best years of their life fighting for this country?

It feels somehow mawkish and inadequate to say “thank you for your service”; while it’s sincere enough, it almost feels programmed.

But what else to say?  So thanks, veterans, for all you did; for spending the best years of your lives doing jobs daunting in their danger…

…and grindingly mundane…

…and for doing the impossible…

…and for making it impossible for the bad guys to wreak any of their havoc…

…thanks to you all.

(By the way – I suppose one way to observe Veterans Day is to politicize it, as my “representative”, Betty McCollum, does on her Facebook page.  I’ll demur, thanks).

Wages Of Charity

A couple of elderly Holocaust survivors assaulted in a genuine hate crime in the Netherlands:

Samuel (87) and Diana (86) Blug, two elderly Holocaust survivors, fell victim to a vicious and violent anti-Semitic attack at their home in Holland a month ago.

According to a Yedioth Ahronoth report on Sunday, the couple were only able to come forward now and recount what happened to them.

The Blugs say two men, who looked to be of Moroccan descent, knocked on the door to their apartment, claiming to be the police and demanding entrance.

As soon as Samuel opened the door, the nightmare began. Two men dressed in black barged into the apartment and started severely beating the couple.

The assailants threw the couple on the floor, kicked them repeatedly and shouted: “Dirty Jews – from now on your property is ours.”

After tying up the badly injured couple, the thieves ripped Diana’s jewelry off her body. At gunpoint, they forced the couple to tell them where the rest of the valuables in the apartment were located.

Samuel was blinded in the assault and suffered a broken femur. Both he and Diana, who were living independently before the attack, are now confined to wheelchairs at a rehabilitation center in Amsterdam.

“Those bastards have destroyed our lives,” Samuel said in tears to Yedioth Ahronoth. “I have severe pain. I’m completely broken inside,” Diana added.

Emmanuel, the couple’s son, has offered a prize of ten thousand euros to anyone who can provide information that will lead to the arrest of the assailants.

He also circulated pictures of the beaten Diana and Samuel, urging “the world to see what they did to my parents.”

Americans are a nation of migrants and, in many cases, refugees.  We tend to be the most generous nation on earth.  Most of us – and I include myself – would love to be able to help the refugees.

But the stories coming from Eastern and Central Europe are in all too many cases not the stories of people coming to free lands for fresh starts.

And before anyone says it – yep.  American natives have said the same thing about pretty much every wave of immigration i American history.  And they’ve been right, to an extent; each wave of immigration changed this country.

And it’s not as if every wave of immigrants came here with clean hands and no grudges; Scots and Irish came here with bones to pick with the Brits; French and Germans came here fresh from innumerable European battlefields; Russians, Poles and Jews – the pogrom thrower and the pogrom victim – all came here, as did the Armenians and the Turks.  And somehow, after a generation or two, most of them pretty well fit in as Americans, and buried their squalid ancestral squabbles and hatreds, and got down to work.

The difference is, every previous wave of immigrants has, inside a generation of two, assimilated to American life.

But at the same time as our government has officially switched from emphasizing assimilation in favor of integration – they’re very different things – we are faced with a wave of refugees that, as their numbers crept well out of the 1-2% range in Europe, have shown no desire to assimilate, and who seek integration on their own terms, making their neighborhoods in London and Stockholm and Paris and Hamburg effectively off-limits to the rest of society.

All of them?  Certainly not.  But enough of them to where “assimilation” looks like a dim prospect, ever.

And with that in mind, I think it’d be just an outstanding idea if Minnesota’s congressional delegation slowly stepped back and thought for a moment; are they being compassionate, or giving into irrational, PC exuberance?



Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A pair of graduate students from the U of M came to the office to learn about Minnesota’s system of land title records.  Seems they’re hoping to institute a new system in Kenya where land records are not reliable, making investment risky which discourages entrepreneurship and that leaves people in poverty, dependent on government hand-outs.  The students propose a computerized system (which will reveal changes and who made them) based on GPS coordinates (that can be re-established in the field by any hand-held GPS receiver).

The students are cargo cultists.  They propose a technological solution to a cultural problem.  I’m skeptical.

Kenya left the British Empire in 1963 and for the last half-century: “the use of land as an object of patronage to engender support and consolidate power has been exacerbated by corruption, forced eviction, government backtracking, and lack of redress for those who have lost land through violence.”

Suppose the computer gives me absolute iron-clad proof that the land records clerk altered the records to give my land to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s friend.  Suppose when I show up in court, the President’s friend arrives with a thick envelope of “last-minute evidence” for the judge, then glances meaningfully at his Reece Squad escorts and says “So, judge, how are the wife and kids?  Be a shame if anything happened to them.”  What are my chances of getting my land back?

Technology can’t solve that problem.  It takes a culture of incorruptibility, of self-less devotion to the Rule of Law, and that culture takes hundreds of years to grow.  Kenya threw that away when it kicked out the British.  Americans are letting our own Kenyan throw it away today.

Joe Doakes

Barack Obama’s worst facet?  He’s bringing the worst facets of Third World/Chicago governance to a national stage.

I’m going to say that before the IRS shuts me down.


Much Ado About Ado

The left, in its tireless search for crises not to waste, is going – some of them, anyway – back to that old warhorse, the Metric System.

Charles CW Cooke:

Examined in a vacuum, there is nothing obviously virtuous about the imperial system of measurement. If the United States were starting from scratch, à la Thomas Paine, its people would almost certainly elect to conform to the global standard, if only because it would make it easier for scientists who work on collaborative projects. But this is rather beside the point, for we do not live in a vacuum, and the United States is not to be started anew. Instead, we are discussing the future of a well-established and extraordinarily successful country that is full of living, breathing, habit-forming people. Were Americans to follow Lincoln Chafee’s counsel and, in a “bold embrace of internationalism” agree to “join the rest of the world and go metric,” it would almost certainly make Germany and Lithuania and San Marino feel a little better about themselves. It may help things on the International Space Station, too. But it would not, pace Chafee’s blasé claim, represent an “easy” transition. Au contraire: To pull the roots out at this late stage in the game would be extremely tough. The imperial system developed as it did for a reason — to wit, it makes intuitive sense. To push people out of their intuitions is a hard task indeed.


I’m going to disagree with both sides.

For starters, as the old saw says, there are two types of countries; ones that use metric, and ones that’ve been to the moon.  We clearly don’t suffer much from using metric.

And beyond that?  Every American that needs to use metric – scientists, doctors, soldiers – already does.

And seriously – is it really that hard to switch between the two?  A meter is about a yard.  There are three kilometers to two miles.  A kilo is 2.2 pounds.  A liter is a quart with a little change.  There are about 2.5 hectares to an acre, not that anyone in n a country that is actually self-sufficient for food measures land in hectares (except maybe Australian and Argentina).  9 millimeter is the same as .38, .357 and .380 ACP.



Even if the United States were not being led by the pusillanimous and incompetent Obama administration, it would be high time for Middle Eastern and NATO countries to start picking up some of the burden of dealing, financially and militarily, with the terrorist threat they face.

And time will tell whether this story checks out, or is more than a token effort.

It’s worth noting that the Reggimento San Marco is the Italian version of the Marine Corps.

Never Again Not For A While

Remember last summer’s stunt, where a smokin’ hot babe filmed herself walking for hours through Manhattan, and the response she got from men along the streets?

A Jewish journo- member of a a minority that could teach American academic feminists a thing or two about what real oppression is – did the same thing through the streets of Paris.

And the results are…

…well, pretty demoralizing, for those who’d like to think the human race has learned anything over the past 70 years.


Everything You Know About ISIS Is Probably Wrong

And me, too.

This piece – “What Isis Really Wants“, by Graeme Wood, in that noted conservative tool The Atlantic – explains ISIS in political, social and theological terms better than any single thing I’ve ever read.

It’s a long read, but a valuable, even vital one.

The entire piece is essential, it was almost pointless to pull out a quote.  But in a nation that is tired of war, with significant antiwar political movements on the left and right, and with people from all political perspectives engaging in much wishful thinking about ISIS, I thought this was the essential bit:

We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.

One can neither reason with nor rationally deter an inbound kamikaze pilot.

I try to avoid the old blogger’s crutch “read the whole thing” – so when I say it, I mean it.  By all means do.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Lawyers are required to take Continuing Legal Education. I’m thinking of giving a class on the subject of “Making Minnesota Muslim-Friendly.”

The auditorium would be broken into sections marked by signs: in front, Men; behind them, Women; back row, Menstruating Women; and one small area of standing room right by the door, GLBT.

In the aisle entering the room would be a table with a cardboard box of scarves and another filled with rocks.

As everyone enters the auditorium, I’d tell them “This seminar involves inter-active role playing. Please take a rock from the box. Women should also cover their heads with a scarf.”

To start the lecture, I’d ask people to move to their assigned sections. Nobody would move to the Menstruating Women section, of course, it’d be too humiliating. And probably no GLBT. So I’ll ask for volunteers “just for role-playing purposes” and if I get none, I’ll assign some.

Next, all good Muslims must understand that homosexuality is not only a sin, but a crime. That’s what the rocks are for. Everyone pick up your rocks, turn toward the GLBT section and prepare to throw. Except you Menstruating Women, you’re unclean, you don’t participate, you can sit back down.

I anticipate some vocal objections will arise. Those of you objecting, you’re out of line. God has laws, given to us by his Prophet. I have applied the laws to this classroom, you’re breaking the law. That makes you a heretic. If you don’t fall back into line, you’ll have to join the other sinful criminals in the stoning area to be put to death for your crimes against God.

Not True Islam? Tell me, what is True Islam? Islam isn’t like Catholic, where one guy decides what we all believe. Islam is like Protestant, where every group decides what it believes, all beginning from the same sacred text but spinning off into groups as diverse as Wisconsin Synod Lutheran, Old Order Amish, Shakers, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Methodists and the Salvation Army. There is no more “True Islam” than there is “True Christian” and attempting to discredit my flavor only proves how evil you are, and justifies my religious obligation to kill you lest you corrupt others with your wicked words.

If you don’t want to stone gays, fine, you can come up here in front with me. We’re going on a field trip after class, swing by my house for some guns and off to Temple Beth Israel to kill the Jews. You can help with that.

At that point, I can announce the end of role-playing. Take off your scarves, drop your rocks, sit where you like, take a deep breath and let it out slowly. That was just role-playing. This is still Minnesota.

But remember this: what you experienced for a few minutes in play life, millions of people live in real life under Sharia rule as it’s actually practiced around the world, and not even the strictest form, as I didn’t insist on women wearing shapeless clothing and hiding their faces so they wouldn’t distract the men by their lustful ways, or having a male relative accompany them. In predominantly Muslim countries, women are subservient to men. Gays are killed. Freedom of speech does not exist. Freedom of worship does not exist. And we’re not even going to discuss female genital mutilation, honor killings or gang-rape as punishment for adultery.

There is a massive conflict between Islam and Minnesota that multiculturalism and respect for diversity simply cannot bridge. Either we become like them – which it should now be apparent you would hate – or we drop the pretense of diversity and insist they become like us.

So . . . how much should I charge for the class?

Joe Doakes

Are you kidding? They’re lawyers. $250 an hour plus expenses.

Shelf Life

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

President Obama says Muslims are ignorant, medieval racists.

Well, not in so many words. But the point of drawing a moral equivalency between Muslims, the Inquisition and slavery in the Old South is that all three examples are equally bad so we shouldn’t single out Muslims for disapproval.

Agreed. Except Christians abandoned the Inquisition and abolished slavery in the Old South, and thereby made the world a better place. Only one bad thing left for Christians to rid the world of, Mr. President. When should we expect you to get started on that?

Joe Doakes.

Western Civilization, Christendom and America fought through immense internal upheaval to deal with the latter two.

Happy Reagan’s Birthday!

The jelly beans are on my desk, to greet passersby.

I’ve got a pot of stew in the crock pot, ready for the traditional family dinner, when I tell my kids how unlikely it is they’d have been born but for today’s birthday boy, and why.

It’s time for the official Shot In The Dark holiday.  Today would be Ronald Reagan’s 114th birthday.

I’ve been writing about Reagan – who, along with PJ O’Rourke, Solzhenitzyn, Dostoevskii and Paul Johnson is the reason I’m a conservative today – as long as this blog has been in existence.  His eight years were not perfect, and I don’t beatify my presidents, even if they’ve been out of office for twenty years (to say nothing of in their first month of service).  His last term wasn’t as stellar as his first, and his last two years were very difficult.

Still and all, he was the greatest president of the second half of the 20th Century.

But in these difficult times, when a President is promoting fear and malaise in the guise of “change” and “doing something”, it’s worth remembering Reagan’s example; when times seemed at their most dire, Reagan walked onto the scene with a smile and a vision, and a backbone of steel, and cleaned up the mess lefty by his failed predecessor – something our next president will need even more of in 2016.

And the most important part? He did it by unleashing something that many, then as now, thought was dead – the inner, optimistic, take-charge greatness of the American spirit.

Oh, there are those who say “today’s GOP wouldn’t nominate Reagan!” – to which I respond with a contemptuous sign, before telling the critic to listen to “A Time for Choosing”, and tell me who is more resembles; Arne Carlson, or Scott Walker?

Reagan’s gone. But that spirit, the one he understood, almost alone among American politicans of his era, lives on in the American people. Most of it, anyway.

So Happy Reagan’s Birthday, everyone!

NOTE: While this blog encourages a raucous debate, this post is a hagiography zone. All comments deemed critical of Reagan will be expunged without ceremony. You’ve been warned.

You have the whole rest of the media to play about in; this post is gonna be gloriously one-note.

Regime Change

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

New York Times now says regime change is bad?

US interventionism in WW II made things worse for a short time, especially in Germany. So we shouldn’t have sought to change Hitler’s regime? Washington and Jefferson were right all along about entangling alliances in European affairs? Is that what we’re saying?

Wouldn’t really bother me that much.

The European Union is about to collapse because Germany won’t subsidize Greece and the Russians can’t pay their bills because the Saudis are winning the oil price war while a bunch of vicious Middle East tyrants may be replaced with different vicious Middle East tyrants. Nothing I can do about any of it and for damned sure, Obama won’t. Boehner and McConnell don’t seem to have a clue between them, so I don’t count on the Republican Establishment for anything, either.

The “radical shift in American foreign policy” sought by the Times requires a courageous leader: Winston Churchill, fighting on the sands and beaches; Harry Truman, ending the war by dropping the bomb; Ronald Reagan, growing our military so fast the Russians collapsed their economy trying to keep up; Margaret Thatcher sending England’s baby flat-tops halfway around the world to kick Argentine ass over some tiny islands nobody really wanted but damn it, they’re ours.

No such American leader in sight.

Joe Doakes

Oh, I think there are. In 2016. If we deserve them.

Western Civilization’s Finest Hour

It was fifty years ago today that Winston Churchill died.

There’s a strong case to be made that Churchill was the greatest person of the past 100 years; that without him, Western Civilization might be a very different thing today.

He was a great political thinker, a great statesman, and – especially in the darkest hours of World War 2 in Europe – one of the most epochal leaders of all time.

And one of the great orators; I’m as unemotional a person as you’ll ever meet, but it’s hard not to feel something stirring at Churchill’s greatest speech, his “Dunkirk” speech:

He rallied a people whose backs were worse than “up against the wall” – and a civilization that’d just taken a massive beating after one of the bleakest quarter-centuries in history.

The Mountaintop

One of the great tragedies of our age is that “Oratory” is nearly a lost art.

It’s an age when Barack Obama is considered a “great speaker”.

But Martin Luther King was one of the great orators of modern times; to listen to his great speeches is to hear one of the summits of what was once one of the great western traditions.

And he gave few speeches better than “I Have Seen The Mountaintop”.