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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Shark Jumped

Since the election, the NYT seems to have gone off its meds, and gone on a bender. My browser is getting swamped with staggering inanities that pass for journalism at that once august, and now expiring, institution.

Yet even that standard, such as it is, is nothing compared to its latest revel in blinkered foolishness: A Cruel Test for Germany, and Europe:

The populist right has wasted no time waiting for facts to emerge about the identity of the attacker in Berlin or a motive to slam Chancellor Angela Merkel for her humane asylum policy and to push its xenophobic agenda. This dangerous — if predictable — reaction plays directly into the hands of the Islamic State, which would like nothing better than to start a war between Christians and Muslims in Europe.

Shortly after the attack on Monday, Marcus Pretzell, a member of the far-right Alternative for Germany party, viciously tweeted, “These are Merkel’s dead!” On Tuesday, Geert Wilders, the leader of the Netherlands’ Party for Freedom, tweeted an image of Ms. Merkel spattered with blood; Nigel Farage, of Britain’s U.K. Independence Party, tweeted that such events “will be the Merkel legacy”; and Marine Le Pen, the French nationalist, issued a statement on the “Islamist” attack in Berlin and called for reinforcing Europe’s national borders there.

It is worth remembering that the NYT has in the past wasted no time waiting for facts. While that comes with a nose-wrinkling stench of hypocrisy, that was then. This is now.

Without bothering to make any affirmative argument, it simply jumps to more vocabulary abuse. Pro-tip, thinking that essentially unrestricted Muslim immigration might not, after all, be a very good idea isn't a "phobia" of any kind. Resorting to "xenophobic" is, just like its nasty relations "homophobic", "islamophobic" and "racist", is nothing more than demonization en route to ostracism: shut-up, the NYT explained.

The problem lurks within the loaded term "humane". As a first order effect, letting in nearly a million Muslim immigrants is humane; after all, it is near as certain that many would have died had they been forced to remain in Syria and Libya. But the reason they would have died is the second order effect. Among the refugees are bound to be a number who deeply hope to wreak as much havoc in Europe as they can possibly manage.

This is the argument that the NYT -- evincing what is thoroughly rotten about progressivism -- avoids by resorting to language abuse instead. Let's take it as read that many refugees are alive that wouldn't have been otherwise. How many refugee lives saved balance the European dead, maimed, and traumatized? Having not offered that bargain up to its citizens, or that argument to its readers, Merkel and the NYT are claiming a moral superiority they haven't demonstrated, or earned.

There is a joke with the punchline "I know what you are; now we are haggling over the price." That applies just as well here. The NYT considers Pretzell's tweet vicious. Perhaps, but it can hardly be considered fake, can it? Letting in 800,000+ refugees is humane; to oppose it xenophobic. I have heard that conditions in Mosul are quite bad, and lots of people there will die as a result.

So why doesn't Merkel let the remaining 5,000 or so Mosulians in to Germany? Why doesn't the NYT advocate doing so? Because to do so, by haggling over price, would reveal the rottenness at their core.

Beyond this is a broader question. Western civilization is built, in large part, upon freedom of conscience, which is another way of saying putting up with others' patently ridiculous notions, particularly in the realm of religion. But that raises a conundrum: tolerating the intolerant. At some point, failing to return the favor cancels any obligation to offer it. Islam is epically intolerant, and absolutist. What obligation do we in the West have to people who won't disavow Islam? If it is greater than that owed to communists a generation ago, it seems an explanation of why would be in order.

Interestingly, the comments section, ordinarily an echo chamber for leftist shibboleths, largely excoriates the NYT for their vapid nonsense. Perhaps this might serve as a lesson, as if the election wasn't already lesson enough, that relying on insults in place of an argument is a danger sign the argument itself is bankrupt.

As something of a postscript, it seems that waiting for the self evident would indeed have been a waste of time, ignoring for the moment that reality is even worse:

Amri [the name of the suspect], who is variously reported to be 23 or 24, arrived in Germany in July 2015 as an asylum-seeker. He was able to remain because of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s suicidal open-door policy for refugees from the Muslim Middle East and North Africa. Prosecutors in Berlin attempted to deport Amri back in June, after learning three months earlier that he was planning “a serious act of violent subversion.” He is reportedly a follower of Abu Walaa, an Iraqi sharia-supremacist firebrand who was recently arrested on suspicion of being a top ISIS leader and recruiter in Germany.

His terrorist activities aside, Amri has also been involved in narcotics trafficking, theft, and the torching of a school. That last felony occurred in Italy, where the “refugee” was sentenced to five years [of which he served 17 months] in prison before being welcomed into Deutschland. All that baggage, and still the Germans allowed him to remain. Reportedly, officials felt they could not deport him because he did not have a passport and the Tunisian government would not acknowledge him (despite the fact that the Tunisian government had convicted him in absentia of a violent robbery). That might explain a brief delay in repatriating him; it does not explain a legal system that permits a suspect with a lengthy, violent criminal record to remain at liberty while he is suspected of plotting mass-murder attacks.

Also, I seem to remember some brou ha ha over assertions there are "no-go" zones in Europe: only deplorables think such deplorable things.

Considering where I live, reading that isn't exactly heartwarming entertainment.

So, NYT editorial board, any chance you will rethink that whole xenophobia thing?


Bret said...

From the Post: "But that raises a conundrum: tolerating the intolerant."

There's an interesting recent article about how the intolerant always have huge influence on society. (I'll probably do a post on this article in the next few days).

BTW, are you okay?

Harry Eagar said...

'essentially unrestricted'

You made that up, right?

Harry Eagar said...

You haven't been bothered by unrestricted access to firearms in the US, resulting in 30,000 deaths per year.

Possibly you need to work on risk assessment

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] You haven't been bothered by unrestricted access to firearms in the US, resulting in 30,000 deaths per year.

Possibly you need to work on risk assessment

You have flogged that tired nag before.

And since you couldn't be fussed to provide anything like an argument before -- no surprise, since galloping innumeracy and childish reasoning is so very hard to defend -- and you won't now, then I'm perfectly happy to accept that comment in the spirit it deserves: pure piffle.

Harry Eagar said...

30,000 dead is 30,000 dead. The innumeracy is yours, having fallen for the absurd claims of the gun nuts about how many instances of crime prevention can be attribute to armed nuts.

Bret said...


Hey Skipper's claim is that of the "30,000 deaths per year" that use guns as the killing instrument, is that at least some of the gun suicides (more than half of the annual total) and at least some of the murders would be achieved by other means. Therefore, unrestricted access to firearms do NOT "result" in 30,000 deaths per year.

I personally don't believe you're innumerate, but rather you enjoy spouting forth fake news (statistics) that align with important beliefs to you. I don't have a problem with that, but it's not really useful to debate about risk assessments when fake news is used as an argument.

Hey Skipper said...


Exactly. To be a little more precise, one of my claims is that eliminating guns would leave the suicide rate absolutely unchanged. The evidence is clear: that is what happened when countries (UK, Australia) significantly restricted access to guns; and countries with hardly any guns at all have much higher suicide rates than does the US. Suicide is correlated with culture and gender; it is not correlated at all with availability of guns.

Therefore, every time Harry trots this tired old nag out, 2/3 of his "argument" proves him either irremediably ignorant. Or insane, the definition of which is doing the same thing repeatedly, and each time expecting a different result.

And the rest of it isn't any better. The majority of the remaining gun deaths are correlated with race; but unless guns themselves are racist, then either Harry is, or these deaths are due to something other than guns, and Harry is ranting about a symptom, while ignoring the disease.

Finally, there is this: The innumeracy is yours, having fallen for the absurd claims of the gun nuts about how many instances of crime prevention can be attribute to armed nuts.

First, Harry, here's another pro-tip you will undoubtedly ignore. Insults doth not an argument make. In that link I provided you with several serious arguments about why you are either demonstrably wrong, or are making assertions about which you (and, to be fair, no one else) can know nothing. You don't know how many crimes didn't happen -- not frustrated, but didn't happen -- because guns change the risk-reward ratio for potential perps.

All of which leads to this question: Why do you keep making "arguments" (scare quotes because that is what you almost never do) that are so transparently stupid? Who are you fooling? Yourself, perhaps; certainly no one here. Similarly, I doubt anyone who thinks the 2A means what it says would be fooled for a second.

So that must leave as your only real audience those who are wholly innumerate, and analytically bereft.

Which pretty much describes you, and all other progressives.

Hey Skipper said...

Which is a long way of saying your 30,000 deaths comments are pure piffle.

Harry Eagar said...

Since other advanced countries that do not have mass gun circulation do not have similar murder or suicide rates, but much lower, it is appropriate to attribute the slaughter in the US to the presence of firearms.

Hey Skipper said...

Harry, that is simply not true.

I pointed out on your very own blog that in Australia, after guns were confiscated, people simply substituted other means to commit suicide. If your assertion was true, the suicide rate should have plummeted after confiscation. It didn't, not even a little bit. Moreover, for you to make that assertion in the first place amounts to trivializing suicide, strongly suggesting you would rather subsume suicides' suffering to your zealotry.

But wait, there's more. How about comparing, say, the Scandinavian-American murder rate to that in the Scandinavian countries. Or English-American to England. I could go on, but you should be able to figure out the pattern. Unless you are a racist -- given all your fulminations it seems you just might be protesting too loudly -- then perhaps there is something else going on besides guns.

Since you haven't provided a speck of evidence to the contrary, it is not appropriate, and certainly not sensible, "to attribute the slaughter in the US to firearms."

Which is a long way of repeating what I had been saying: your 30,000 deaths comments are pure piffle. The fact vacuum that is your comment doesn't change that in the least.

Harry Eagar said...

Europeans are, culturally, very violent people. History tells us that. But recently they have stopped murdering each other at anything like their habitual rates.

It's a puzzle, isn't it?

What could have changed?

Hey Skipper said...

Read Stephen Pinker's Better Angels of our Nature.

Oh, and how about not changing the subject; instead, at least make a non-pathetic attempt to defend your 30,000 deaths number.

Harry Eagar said...

I've read Pinker,thanks. Europeans are very violent people.

I don't have to defend the 30,000 deaths. It's a fact. Facts speak for themselves

Hey Skipper said...

I don't have to defend the 30,000 deaths. It's a fact. Facts speak for themselves

The facts that speak for themselves is that you are innumerate, immune to evidence, and incapable of reason.

Just like any other zealot.