Emboldening and Empowering Islamic Fundamentalists

Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American political scientist and scholar, is president of the International American Council and serves on the board of the Harvard International Review at Harvard University. Rafizadeh is also a former senior fellow at the Nonviolence International Organization based in Washington, DC and is a member of the Gulf project at Columbia University. He can be reached at rafizadeh@fas.harvard.edu. Follow Rafizadeh at @majidrafizadeh.


1371416420044127700-e1373642361951In the last few months, the Obama administration has removed some non-economic sanctions on Iran, has stopped its efforts to push for more pressure on Iran’s nuclear defiance and clandestine uranium enrichments, has described the Islamist government of Iran (which holds the top rank on the list of nations with the highest human rights abuses and the support of terrorism) as a rational actor, and has characterized the recent nuclear talks with the Islamist government and fundamentalist theocratic regime of Iran as “positive” and “constructive.”

However, beyond all these political and diplomatic benefits given to the Islamic Republic of Iran and its Ayatollahs, Western countries including France and the United States indicated this week that they are considering including Iran in the next Geneva II conference on the Syrian civil war and violence. The Western nations pointed out that Iran could be included in a Geneva II conference to negotiate an end to Syria’s bloody conflict.

Besides the permission given to the Islamists in Iran to continue uranium enrichment, which can soon turn into a nuclear breakthrough capacity according to nuclear experts, the West is basically sending a signal to the Islamists in Iran that they are legitimizing the Iranian government’s support of Assad’s Alawite and police state, Hezbollah’s interference in Syria (and every other geopolitical and strategic issue in the region), and Hamas activities.

First of all, by bringing the Islamist state of Iran into the Geneva II conference and by giving a seat to these Iranian radical leaders, the international community— particularly the West— will be implicitly accepting all the military, financial, intelligence, advisory, and terrorist assistance that the Islamic leaders of Iran and its radical Revolutionary Guard Corps have been giving to the brutal Assad regime and his apparatuses.

Secondly, through all these recent strategies of appeasement from the West and the Obama administration toward the Ayatollahs and clerics in Iran, the United States and the West are keeping other nations, ordinary people, and regional countries (particularly Israel) at a complete disadvantage. They are tipping the balance of power totally towards the Islamists in Iran.

The Iranian regime’s human rights abuses, its discrimination against religious minorities, its executions of political and human rights activists, it use of stoning for punishment of adultery (akin to the Middle Ages, or to the thousands of years ago in era of Muhammad), Tehran’s financial and military support for Hamas and Hezbollah, and the Iranian leaders’ involvement in Syria in the slaughtering and killing of children and women, are somehow all being legitimized. Iranian Ayatollahs are gaining credibility and legitimacy.

Iran’s state media has recently told its people, or its non-states actors, that the reasons behind the West’s softening tone and actions towards Iran is that the West— particularly the United Sates and Israel— are desperate; Washington and Tel Aviv have lost their power and have failed, while other countries are leaving their alliances with the US, the West, and Israel, instead joining the Islamists in Iran.

When the Islamist state of Iran comes to the Geneva II conference it will tip the balance of power in favor of the Assad regime. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the new government of Hassan Rouhani have been very clear about their position toward the dictatorship in Syria; Ayatollahs view Bashar Al-Assad’s government as the legitimate governing force representative of its people. The Iranian clerics will do whatever they can (financially, advisory, intelligence, and militarily) to ensure that Assad will stay in power; Hamas and Hezbollah will keep provoking Israel, continuing to launch missiles into the country. The Ayatollahs’ position on Syria is in complete contrast with the rules of the Geneva Communiqué, which will be the foundation of the next Geneva II conference.

More and more concrete evidence, including documents, videos, and official statements from Iranian authorities have come out showing that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, its intelligence and militia groups, such as the Basij, are deeply involved in the killings of people in Syria, supporting Assad alongside Russia, and training the Syrian government’s forces. In addition, Iran continues to buttress the government of Assad by extending its millions of dollars of credit to the Assad government, attempting to keep the Syrian economy and government’s military expenditure going.

When Assad sees that the Islamist leaders are with him in the Geneva II conference, this will be a source of empowerment; he will interpret this as the weakness of the West and the United States. Furthermore, Assad will see no reason to step aside while his staunchest ally, Iran, is being treated as a legitimate power by the West and the United States.

Moreover, this move towards appeasement will send a signal to the Iranian leaders that the West, particularly the Obama administration, does not actually have the power the stop Tehran from enriching uranium. According to many experts and the Institute for Science and International Security (a nonproliferation monitoring group based in Washington, DC) Tehran’s current nuclear pace can theoretically create adequate bomb-grade uranium by the middle of 2014. Through all these signals of appeasement from the West and the Obama administration, Iranian Islamists and Ayatollahs are contently and joyfully assured that they can buy some more time— only less than a year— to make the “breakout capacity.”

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  • Muhammad

    It would be intriguing to see the Islamists with nuclear program. They are more considerate than Westerners,

    • kikorikid

      You really mean “Nuclear Weapons” don’t you,Taqiyyahead.
      You are so blinded by your Islamist ideology, a true believer,
      that you aren’t thinking it out at all. Re: Islamist get nuclear
      weapons,they are compelled by their ideology to use them,
      The Islamist are wiped from the pages of History.
      Personally I am ready for your stupidity to lead you to
      commit a suicidal act. Mushrooms over Mecca and Medina.

      • Muhammad

        What about US launching war and the use of chemical weapons…is that without ideology?

        • N. Wasse

          And how about your so called Allah telling your likes to terrorize kuffar (Q8:60) and that your Allah and his so called prophet Mo will keep 1/5 of the loot as it says in the Qur’an Mr terrorists supporter and Arab wannabe?

        • objectivefactsmatter

          “What about US launching war…”

          We don’t’ start wars. We end them. Some times with too little resolve to accomplish our goals. That’s another story.

          “…and the use of chemical weapons…”

          Which?

          • Muhammad

            You did luanch wars. Oh …. So was it an alien in Iraq,Vietnam, Philipine , etc? I can name hundreds.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “You did luanch wars. Oh …. So was it an alien in Iraq,Vietnam, Philipine , etc? I can name hundreds.”

            All defensive wars. Call them anything you want. You won’t be the first liar to come along, that’s for sure. Enemies characterize the wars as starting when we make our first move. You’re an enemy.

            We’re used to this game.

          • hiernonymous

            An interesting perspective. How do you characterize the Philippines as a defensive war?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            It was not defensive against local Filipinos but against Spanish colonialism. It’s certainly debatable. Some people consider it an American war of conquest but I don’t. There’s a lot of room for debate.

            I guess if you want to say that we wanted to conquer or colonize the Philippines regardless of larger objectives, that’s fair. But the underlying motives of the USA were not to rule over other people for the sake of conquest. Not that it helps locals who were killed. But it is the reality of the global wars of empires.

            If you use that line of thinking, then I guess Truman was a huge imperial tyrant too. Some people actually believe that.

            As long as you don’t lie, or use facts only selectively to make your arguments with deception through omission, I have no problem with disagreements.

          • hiernonymous

            The problem lies in trying to categorically state that all U.S. wars are defensive in nature, when they clearly were and are not. That’s not to imply the opposite, either, but we have clearly embarked on wars of conquest. The Mexican-American War stands out, as does the Philippine Insurrection. The Indian Wars were largely wars of conquest; one can find occasional defensive campaigns, but by and large, they were wars of conquest.

            One might make a case that the Spanish-American War had been a ‘defensive’ war against Spanish colonialism, had we then uniformly liberated the territories we had seized, instead of adding most of them to our own empire. Aguinaldo’s army had been fighting for independence against the Spanish, and was sorely disappointed when the U.S., instead of liberating the Philippines, decided to crush its national army and establish American colonial rule in lieu of Spanish.

            I don’t see the parallel with the Philippines being Truman so much as Iraq.

            “As long as you don’t lie, or use facts only selectively to make your arguments with deception through omission, I have no problem with disagreements.”

            Huh?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “The problem lies in trying to categorically state that all U.S. wars are defensive in nature, when they clearly were and are not.”

            Here’s the quote:

            “However you also miss the point that we are using our power to reduce arms. We’re not using it to take over territory and unjustly attack anyone. Your standards of justice might be different, so stay out of the way then.”

            “I think it’s also funny how you will say that the US “launches” wars when others just sort of sit there and wait for us to decide who to attack unjustly? So who started the war in Afghanistan? Who started the war in Iraq? It wasn’t us. We just made it bigger in order to end it, and 5th columnists rose up and caused a big mess. But the root causes were jihad and regional belligerence.”

            Back to your comment:

            “That’s not to imply the opposite, either, but we have clearly embarked on wars of conquest. The Mexican-American War stands out, as does the Philippine Insurrection. The Indian Wars were largely wars of conquest; one can find occasional defensive campaigns, but by and large, they were wars of conquest.”

            Is Hawaii a colony of the USA? Just asking. I need to calibrate what you consider “conquest.” I’d like to hear some examples of the people we conquered.

            We defended our interests and people were always welcomed to join us as equals first. That’s not a war of conquest unless you hate American sovereignty. Which I acknowledged as an alternative perspective already when I said, “Your standards of justice might be different, so stay out of the way then.”

          • hiernonymous

            The quotes I had in mind were “We don’t’ start wars. We end them.”, followed by “All defensive wars.” In the latter comment, you were responding to a post that cited 3 specific cases as examples of many; in light of the previous post, I understood your comment to be a blanket comment on all U.S. wars, though you might have been limiting yourself to the 3 specific cases.

            Hawaii won’t help you calibrate what I mean by a war of conquest, as it wasn’t taken in a war. You’d need to explain exactly what you mean by “colony” before I could say whether Hawaii is one. I’d certainly say that Hawaii’s annexation by the U.S. was unjust. We know from the Ku’e Petitions that the great majority of Hawaiians vehemently opposed being annexed.

            “We defended our interests and people were always welcomed to join us as equals first. That’s not a war of conquest unless you hate American sovereignty.”

            I’m not sure I follow your logic here. There are a few aspects that bear comment. First, what one means by ‘interests’ can be remarkably varied, and not all imply the right to violate the rights of others in their pursuit. One would have to identify the specific interest and establish that the means used to pursue it were just and commensurate.

            Second, when one says that “people were always welcomed to join us as equals first,” that seems to imply that others have no right of refusal – that is, the choice is between “joining us as equals” or “joining us as subjects.” That’s an approach redolent of the Athenian approach to the Melians in Thucydides.

            Finally, sovereignty involves the right to make decisions for one’s self, not the right to extend one’s decision-making authority to others. One may be deeply patriotic and love American sovereignty and be firmly opposed to imperialism.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Hawaii won’t help you calibrate what I mean by a war of conquest, as it wasn’t taken in a war. You’d need to explain exactly what you mean by “colony” before I could say whether Hawaii is one. I’d certainly say that Hawaii’s annexation by the U.S. was unjust. We know from the Ku’e Petitions that the great majority of Hawaiians vehemently opposed being annexed.”

            It helps ME because I can see that I guessed correctly that you’d consider Hawaii was treated unjustly.

            “I’m not sure I follow your logic here. There are a few aspects that bear comment. First, what one means by ‘interests’ can be remarkably varied, and not all imply the right to violate the rights of others in their pursuit.”

            We “violate the rights of others” and then protect them with our constitution. When we want to steal their gold. Right?

            “Second, when one says that “people were always welcomed to join us as equals first,” that seems to imply that others have no right of refusal – that is, the choice is between “joining us as equals” or “joining us as subjects.””

            No, it doesn’t. If you can’t sustain sovereignty on your own without threatening us, then we must react. So of course people have a “right of self-determination,” but that assumes they have the capability as well. What that right means is the right to make an attempt to put together your own state. We aren’t responsible for propping anyone up. Even though we often do.

            So of course they have choices. But we can’t create a world for them that doesn’t exist. That’s why the fake Palestinian national movement is illegitimate. The people who wanted a nation lost the argument among the factions. The jihadis controlled it the entire time. That movement is about Islamic colonialism, and reconquest of previously held colonial territory.

            If we start out with delusional leftist ideas about how the would could be under communism or how the world would be if it were perfect, we can say that the USA interferes with that perfection simply by existing imperfectly.

            But our constitution demands that we consider justice for all. Even though we end up executing imperfectly, there still is no superior system of government and pursuit of justice, imperfect as it is.

            If you have an incompatible worldview, you’re going to disagree about that. I acknowledge that.

            “Finally, sovereignty involves the right to make decisions for one’s self, not the right to extend one’s decision-making authority to others.”

            Not everyone is capable of achieving sovereignty. That’s what deluded leftists don’t understand. In this day and age we can only tolerate a certain amount of lawlessness in any given part of the world. Each march forward in weapons technologies take us to a place where we can’t afford as much tolerance as we could have in the past.

            “One may be deeply patriotic and love American sovereignty and be firmly opposed to imperialism.”

            Whatever. I feel bad about some of the stupid decisions that were made historically. I don’t feel bad at all about our objectives. Why do you think so many people work so hard to get here and to live here? I guess we can call it “benign imperialism” if you want to redefine what imperialism means. And I say that realizing that indeed crypto-communists certainly do play a lot of word games like that.

            http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=imperialism

            Except:

            imperialism (n.) 1826, “advocacy of empire,” originally in a Napoleonic context, also of Rome and of British foreign policy, from imperial + -ism. At times in British usage (and briefly in U.S.) with a neutral or positive sense relating to national interests or the spread of the benefits of Western civilization, but from the beginning usually more or less a term of reproach. General sense of “one country’s rule over another,” first recorded 1878. Picked up disparagingly in Communist jargon by 1918.

          • hiernonymous

            “It helps ME because I can see that I guessed correctly that you’d consider Hawaii was treated unjustly.”

            Perhaps you guessed correctly that I’d consider Hawaii was treated unjustly, but what you said you wanted to do was “I need to calibrate what you consider “conquest.” Asking about Hawaii’s status as a colony doesn’t accomplish that.

            “We “violate the rights of others” and then protect them with our constitution. When we want to steal their gold. Right?”

            I can’t make enough sense of this comment to say “right” or “wrong.” Or “right” or “left,” if that’s what you were driving at. Our interests are all over the map; they include defending our territorial integrity, spreading democracy, making profits, obtaining natural resources, etc, etc, etc. Some of the actions we undertake in pursuit of our interests are justifiable; some are not. The point I was making was that an action does not become right or ethical simply by virtue of being undertaken in pursuit of “our interests.”

            “No, it doesn’t. If you can’t sustain sovereignty on your own without threatening us, then we must react.”

            That’s well and good when acting in self-defense, but does nothing to explain the cases in which we act aggressively. You asked about Hawaii; it’s hard to see what sort of threat the Hawaiians posed to the United States. Other examples aren’t hard to find: the invasion of the Dominican Republic, the overthrow of Mossadegh, the Philippine Insurrection we opened the discussion with – in none of those cases was the U.S. threatened.

            “If we start out with delusional leftist ideas about how the would could be under communism or how the world would be if it were perfect, we can say that the USA interferes with that perfection simply by existing imperfectly.”

            I can’t speak to what “leftists” think, but as a rule, when faced with imperfection, one can try to improve, or one can rationalize. The U.S. is a great country, with some wonderful values underlying its constitution and its way of life, but the greatest respect we can pay those values is in examining our own actions critically, and making sure that they live up to our standards.

            “Whatever. I feel bad about some of the stupid decisions that were made historically.”

            Well and good. If you actually mean that, then you should want to avoid making the same sorts of decisions going forward.

            In that vein, I recommend to you Orwell’s “Notes on Nationalism.” An excerpt, in turn:

            By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’(1).
            But secondly — and this is much more important — I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognising no other duty than that of advancing its interests. Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By
            ‘patriotism’ I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.

            http://orwell.ru/library/essays/nationalism/english/e_nat

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Asking about Hawaii’s status as a colony doesn’t accomplish that.”

            Again you think you read minds. It helps me understand your definitions of justice. Any imperfection in the pursuit of justice or a just solution can be characterized as “unjust.”

            Get over it. I accomplished what I wanted to do. I’m narrowing down which particular dogmas you preach.

            “Presumably Hawaii’s status holds some sort of personal significance to you, but conversationally, it appears so far as something of a blind alley.”

            It’s actually a lot more salient than many of the things you mention. For example, have been better to allow Hawaii to become a colony of Japan or Russia? Is that a higher accomplishment for the USA because at that point we could point to the other guy as villain?

            Justice is rarely perfect. A guy steals a dollar from your hand and then is caught a few minutes later and compelled to return it to you. Is that perfect justice? Maybe, maybe not. But at least you can move on (I hope). Most scenarios are vastly more complicated, especially when dealing with sovereigns and the encroachment of enemies due to various circumstances.

            The ultimate point is that I never claimed anyone was perfect. I implied that we have the highest standards of justice. I can support that objectively by listing all of the rights we extend to people and by listing all of the means for lobbying government and appealing decisions we disagree with. It’s unmatched in scope and breadth. We even opened up this computer network thingy that let’s people publish their appeals for justice and tell the entire world their views. Who else has done that?

            We have partners, but that leads to the question; If we’re an empire, why didn’t we colonize Japan, Germany and France? Why not colonize Great Britain? Why do we accept these puny weaklings as our equals more or less? They have their own sovereignty and we rarely coerce them to do anything against the wishes of the sovereigns of those respective nations. We could have easily justified making other arrangement for a host of reasons.

            But we believe the world is better when sovereigns rule more or less the way that America is ruled. We don’t want to be an empire. If we do something that reminds others of empires from the past, it’s because they’re only looking at some superficial aspect. We don’t set out to rule others. We set out to ensure our brand of liberty in an imperfect world.

            “Some of the actions we undertake in pursuit of our interests are justifiable; some are not.”

            Give me an example of something we set out to do that was obviously wrong when we set off to do it.

            “The U.S. is a great country, with some wonderful values underlying its constitution and its way of life, but the greatest respect we can pay those values is in examining our own actions critically, and making sure that they live up to our standards.”

            Yes, objective criticism. Not agenda-driven criticism. I welcome criticism. We need it. It drives all of our improvements. But I’ll participate if I think it’s destructive and deceptive criticism. And I might add my own views. That’s part of the process.

            “Well and good. If you actually mean that, then you should want to avoid making the same sorts of decisions going forward.”

            Of course we learn almost everything from experience. That’s why it’s so crucial to strive for objectivity and balanced narratives that help us focus on the most salient and truthful lessons to be had.

            “In that vein, I recommend to you Orwell’s “Notes on Nationalism.” An excerpt, in turn:”

            That’s interesting. I’m not unfamiliar with these sentiments. I’m not a collectivist. Nationalism is not de facto collectivism. “Nationalism” can be justified some times and at other times it can not be.

            I’m not going to apologize for being a patriotic American nationalist, that’s for sure. Although I might apologize to certain people about certain presidential administrations and foreign policy f-ups. That’s not at all the same thing as calling for transformation of our values and so forth, or going around feeding unbalanced grievance claims that people use to manipulate us.

          • hiernonymous

            “Again you think you read minds.”

            Not at all – I don’t pretend to know what goes on in your mind. I work purely from what you write.

            “Any imperfection in the pursuit of justice or a just solution can be characterized as ‘unjust.’”

            You see? That has nothing to do with your stated purpose, and, for that matter, is an incorrect conclusion concerning my concepts of justice. This is one of the problems of trying to use a favored example as a litmus test for categorizing others’ thoughts.

            “Get over it. I accomplished what I wanted to do. I’m narrowing down which particular dogmas you preach.”

            And, again, you demonstrate that my comment was correct: you were not accomplishing your stated goal, you were pursuing another purpose entirely. We are in no disagreement.

            “For example, have been better to allow Hawaii to become a colony of Japan or Russia? Is that a higher accomplishment for the USA because at that point we could point to the other guy as villain?”

            Your honor, I did that man a favor by mugging him. If I hadn’t done it, you should’ve seen what Smitty the next alley over was gonna do to him!

            “Give me an example of something we set out to do that was obviously wrong when we set off to do it.”

            Besides colonizing the Philippines? Sure. Invading the Dominican Republic. Overthrowing Mossadegh. The Mexican-American War. Inciting the Panamanian revolt against Colombia in order to get better terms for the Canal. Condoning slavery in the Constitution.

            “That’s why it’s so crucial to strive for objectivity and balanced narratives that help us focus on the most salient and truthful lessons to be had.”

            That’s an admirable sentiment. A key to succeeding in its practice is avoiding the knee-jerk labeling of dissenting opinions as “agenda-driven,” assuming that one’s own position is ‘objectively’ correct, or that “salient” is synonymous with “highlights the bits of the argument I want to highlight. It’s all too common for individuals to assume that their own biases are “objective.”

            They key element of Orwell’s piece is to be suspicious of anyone whose narrative suggests that there exists any actor – individual or collective – who is above criticism.

            “I’m not going to apologize for being a patriotic American nationalist, that’s for sure.”

            And I’m not going to let Orwellian nationalists imply that others are any less patriotic than they.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “That’s an admirable sentiment. A key to succeeding in its practice is avoiding the knee-jerk labeling of dissenting opinions as “agenda-driven,” assuming that one’s own position is ‘objectively’ correct, or that “salient” is synonymous with “highlights the bits of the argument I want to highlight.” It’s all too common for individuals to assume that their own biases are “objective.””

            In another forum I might be able to lay out the extensive evidence, but here I’m only really able to mention my own conclusions and hope that people are inspired to search objectively to find the truth on their own, hopefully striving for objectivity.

            “They key element of Orwell’s piece is to be suspicious of anyone whose narrative suggests that there exists any actor – individual or collective – who is above criticism.”

            Nobody in America is above criticism. If you want it to be productive it has to be authentic at the very least, and not with an agenda to say, make someone feel bad about wanting to preserve the constitution and our traditions of law and order, that sort of thing. Traditions of allowing people to be successful without demonizing that success, and not apologizing for establishing a secure and just sovereignty where no secure sovereignty existed before. Mugging someone has nothing to do with sovereignty unless you want to demonize certain policies or events.

            “And I’m not going to let Orwellian nationalists imply that others are any less patriotic than they.”

            It’s interesting that you think Orwell was the guy to go to for objectivity. I think he’s primarily talking about toxic nationalism of his era. You think all nationalism is toxic.

            That’s your agenda. How can you then feel patriotic about the USA as a nation when it’s the premier bully of the world, the super-nationalist organization of all history? If you hate nationalism you must hate America.

            But you love America because it has the potential to be transformed in to a socialist paradise with minimal internal bloodshed. These are the sentiments of a communist dupe. Orwell was anti-Soviet but at the same time he was a dupe of Marxist ideology. That’s why he was so conflicted.

            But these threads do drift off-topic. I don’t have any solutions for a better forum for these kinds of ever-expanding discussions except to build an entirely new one where debates can be organized by a moderator without necessarily editing what is said.

          • hiernonymous

            “It’s interesting that you think Orwell was the guy to go to for objectivity. ”

            It’s even more interesting that you read that into my post. I thought Orwell had some excellent thoughts to consider on nationalism.

            “I think he’s primarily talking about toxic nationalism of his era. ”

            Has it been fundamentally altered in the ensuing years? The Balkan experience suggests otherwise.

            “But you love America because it has the potential to be transformed in to a socialist paradise with minimal internal bloodshed. ”

            Really? That’s why I love America? Did the voices in your head reveal this to you, have you concluded that the only alternative to jingoism is socialism, or is there some other explanation for this comment?

            “If you hate nationalism you must hate America.”

            You are equating America with the sort of nationalism about which I expressed distaste? You believe that jingoism is the sine qua non of the American identity? That’s a curious view of our country, and one I don’t share.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “I thought Orwell had some excellent thoughts to consider on nationalism.”

            In the right context it is interesting. In terms of our discussion it’s just a distraction and your use here implies that you don’t think America is exceptional as a nation. But elsewhere you argue that you’re a patriot.

            “Has it been fundamentally altered in the ensuing years?”

            You and I were talking about American nationalism. I guess we’re just like those bad pre WWII Germans.

            “Really? That’s why I love America? Did the voices in your head reveal this to you, have you concluded that the only alternative to jingoism is socialism, or is there some other explanation for this comment?”

            That’s my best guess since we can’t infer that you love anything, and yet you say that you do.

            “You believe that jingoism is the sine qua non of the American identity? That’s a curious view of our country, and one I don’t share.”

            I think that you have a simple view of the world that is typical product of the modern Western university system.

            But really you showed your hand too early by trying to paint legitimate criticism of Islam as xenophobia and similar leftist dogmas.

          • hiernonymous

            “…your use here implies that you don’t think America is exceptional as a nation. But elsewhere you argue that you’re a patriot.”

            There’s no contradiction. And is there any need to point out the sheer banality of questioning the other fellow’s patriotism in discussions of the appropriate behavior or course of action of a state?

            “You and I were talking about American nationalism. I guess we’re just like those bad pre WWII Germans.”

            I can’t account for what you guess, but your comment seems to imply that you believe that we are a different species from the Germans, and therefore not susceptible to the same sorts of emotions and weaknesses that led to their downfall. A better summary of my attitude toward nationalism is that, having observed its destructive effects on so many fine nations, I hope to draw lessons that will permit us to avoid the same pitfalls.

            “That’s my best guess since we can’t infer that you love anything, and yet you say that you do.”

            We once again express our amusement at the resort to the first person plural to lend dignity to the vapid.

            “I think that you have a simple view of the world that is typical product of the modern Western university system.”

            Hmm. So many possible responses. Just out of curiosity, what university system and subsequent profession has colored your view? And what university do you assume I attended? Or, failing that, what sort of university do you assume has left its imprint? Your comment seems a bit broad as it stands.

            “But really you showed your hand too early by trying to paint legitimate
            criticism of Islam as xenophobia and similar leftist dogmas.”

            Sheer paranoia. Criticizing faulty logic and overgeneralized bigotry is hardly the sole province of “the left.” As for “showed your hand too early,” are you under the impression you’re a character in a le Carré novel?

            Interesting that noting that the Philippine war was hardly defensive has led you to questioning my patriotism, accusing me of lack of love, and apparently of having blown some sort of cloak-and-dagger cover. Isn’t that a bit much silliness for one post?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “There’s no contradiction.”

            Well on the surface there is. Unless of course we accept the leftists concepts that words only mean what leftists say they mean and that you can’t challenge leftist preachers.

            “And is there any need to point out the sheer banality of questioning the other fellow’s patriotism in discussions of the appropriate behavior or course of action of a state?”

            We are not discussing theory, we’re discussing many specific examples of major events in the history of the USA and its relationship with other nations and peoples, and your focus is purely on victim narratives. That absolute call in to question your ideological biases.

            It’s not that victim narratives are never important, but if we look at the body of your comments, there is definitely cause for questioning your biases and loyalties. I think that you are patriotic to leftists ideals about what the USA could be or should be. You’re as patriotic as Howard Zinn or Oliver Stone. If they are patriots, then so are you.

            I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you are “patriotic,” but I’d also like to hear more about what that means to you. But it’s really your choice if you want to go there.

          • hiernonymous

            “…and your focus is purely on victim narratives.”

            Nonsense. You offered a categorical claim that America had never started a war, and that its wars were invariably defensive. Presented with examples to the contrary, you cry that they are “victim narratives.” That’s not an argument, it’s a deflection.

            “I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you are “patriotic,””

            Why? Your opinion of my patriotism is of no interest to me; what your comments on my patriotism reveal about your thought processes is another matter.

            “…but I’d also like to hear more about what that means to you.”

            No doubt. Tell me a bit about yourself and I’ll consider that line of conversation. What profession do you follow? How has your work contributed to the well-being of our country? How do you live your patriotism?

            “It’s not that victim narratives are never important, but if we look at the body of your comments, there is definitely cause for questioning your biases and loyalties.”

            Ah, an internet McCarthy-lite. You fancy that you’re an arbiter of loyalties, do you? I’ll give you this – for sheer effrontery, you’d be hard to top.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Nonsense. You offered a categorical claim that America had never started a war, and that its wars were invariably defensive. Presented with examples to the contrary, you cry that they are “victim narratives.”

            Anyone can read my comments and see what I wrote. If that’s how you understood my comments as absolutely without room for debate, that’s your problem. But rather than seek clarification you want to argue and then present nothing but victim narratives, which does not actually rebut what I said.

            We don’t set out to conquer people. People do get hurt in war, and there will always be people who can debate the justice of any war. But what you can’t say is that the USA is imperial or colonial unless you’ve redefined what those words mean (which you have).

            And I don’t mind you mentioning victims, but your entire unhinged focus is on “proving” my statement is essentially wrong rather than adding clarity. Maybe you do believe these things and you do believe that we’re essentially unjust. I allowed for the possibility (if you read the entire thread again) that people will disagree.

            It’s not entirely clear what your objectives are here. But it seems to me that you’re making it clear your “for” seeing all nations as equal regardless of ideology and that the USA is no better nor worse than any other nation. You’re entitled to those views, but people will draw conclusions when you articulate and defend them. America is “great” according to you, but why? I can only infer that our greatness is our power. And our use of that power through history, on balance, makes us something less than great.

            But it’s not really necessary that I prove my points about you, to you, to your satisfaction. It seems like there’s more to your motives than trying to teach or rectify lack of understanding.

            I’ll leave it up to you if you want to explain your fixations. If not, people will draw their own conclusions or perhaps they just don’t care.

            You need to get over it. If I think you’re typical of a lot of people I know, that’s my own conclusion and I’ve cited a few reasons. It shouldn’t matter that much to you. You’re free to make suggestions about me. See how much I care.

            “That’s not an argument, it’s a deflection.”

            I’d agree. I just don’t think that your argument was worth spending more time on. You start talking about Hawaii as a mugging victim and I can see it would probably be a waste of time. I also have past discussions with you to consider. Some times I will deflect because it just isn’t that important to chase down every argument. I made my point to MY satisfaction. You won, we’re unjust.

            We have no business telling Iran what to do with nuclear weapons. It’s better to let everyone have nuclear weapons because then we’ll all be equal and we can get over these absurd notions that some nations might be more trustworthy than others.

            It’s just interesting to see where you spend your time here. You are some kind of patriot.

          • hiernonymous

            “Anyone can read my comments and see what I wrote.”

            Yes. Someone pointed out that the U.S. had also started wars and acted aggressively, and you strenuously insisted that the U.S. never starts wars – it finishes them! – and that the examples cited were all defensive. They were no such thing, of course, and you appear to now be complaining that in responding to your actual comments (and in answering your odd question on Hawaii), my sin lies not in getting my facts wrong, but in failing to anticipate that you might have been prepared to moderate your comments. You’ve subsequently (and probably wisely) abandoned your original line of commentary on the defensive nature of our wars, and chosen instead to retreat into a tawdry and intellectually bankrupt series of personal attacks. Each comment on lack of loyalty, patriotism, brainwashing, etc, is an indicator that even you understand your earlier and immoderate claims to be unsupportable. If you can’t answer a criticism, you can label it “leftist,” state that you’ve heard the argument before, etc, etc – none of which is a response to either underlying fact or analysis. The United States has engaged in conquest; it has engaged in aggressive wars; its motives are not always pure; and retreating into “so we have to be perfect to be good is an adolescent’s defense.

            Do I think America is great? You betcha. I think it’s great because it was founded on a set of great principles, and because I believe Wilson captured some great principles of international behavior. Since that time, U.S. foreign policy has represented a struggle between the Wilsonian and the realist points of view, and I think our greatness lies in those cases where the Wilsonian won out. Those who believe that American “interests” are in themselves moral justification for any sort of unjust behavior, far from being the true patriots, are the people who debase our great country while also putting it at risk.

            “You are some kind of patriot.”

            That’s true – it’s interesting that you write it without understanding how, or why. Perhaps, since you’re so ready to demand that people explain themselves, you explain how it might be true of you.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Yes. Someone pointed out that the U.S. had also started wars and acted aggressively, and you strenuously insisted that the U.S. never starts wars – it finishes them! – and that the examples cited were all defensive.”

            Correct.

            “They were no such thing, of course…”

            From the simple myopic views of the victims of course we can’t see them as defensive. They weren’t necessarily defending our sovereignty against the unfortunate people who happened to be directly on the front lines or salients of the war of empires. The world is slightly more complicated than chess or checkers. But focus entirely on the unfortunate pawns that were sacrificed and we can say that all wars are unjust and that the world is just unfair. Therefore whoever happens to have the most power must also be the most unjust.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “They were no such thing, of course, and you appear to now be complaining that in responding to your actual comments (and in answering your odd question on Hawaii), my sin lies not in getting my facts wrong, but in failing to anticipate that you might have been prepared to moderate your comments.”

            You’re not a sinner because you present falsified data. You’re not even a sinner because you’re myopic. You’re just not arguing or even understanding the points I’m making and you don’t want to. I recognize that and I’m OK with that.

            I also agree that these victim narratives are important, but I simply noted that they are not necessarily the chief considerations when it comes to how world powers decide what to do about threats to their sovereignty. You insist on the myopic view and that’s not necessarily a sin.

            The biggest “sin” if you want to call it that is that you’re a bit of a baby. But then again this is common today and you have popular support for your views. Not that I wonder why…but I also think it’s funny that you take the anti-American view that dominates our educational institutions and present it as some kind of patriotic dissent. “We must see these perspectives too.” Yes we must, but “we” have been harping exclusively on those views for decades now. It’s a little beyond healthy dissent.

            Unpatriotic? It’s debatable because I don’t have a very extensive catalog of your views. But I don’t have any comments with you showing that you believe America has any greatness beyond its own power. Therefore maybe POTUS is right and we should shrink that power and pursue Marxist social justice for the globe as a whole.

            That’s pro-American. To some people. It’s useful to know where people are coming from when they claim to be patriotic.

            Of course you must above all else avoid hurting anyone’s feelings. Obviously this is the key to civilization’s march forward.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “You’ve subsequently (and probably wisely) abandoned your original line of commentary on the defensive nature of our wars, and chosen instead to retreat into a tawdry and intellectually bankrupt series of personal attacks. Each comment on lack of loyalty, patriotism, brainwashing, etc, is an indicator that even you understand your earlier and immoderate claims to be unsupportable. If you can’t answer a criticism, you can label it “leftist,” state that you’ve heard the argument before, etc, etc – none of which is a response to either underlying fact or analysis.”

            This site does not exist to serve your expectations. You can’t insist on dominating the discourse and getting any conversation of your choice bogged down in whether or not victim narratives have their place or arguing to the death whether Islam is a religion of peace. The people that believe that BS will not change their views. That’s an example.

            I’m not always speaking directly and exclusively to you. Some times I try to let you know that I’m willing to concede on certain ideas that you present and then choose to spend my time elsewhere.

            I think your expectations are a little delusional. It’s enough for me and my goals to concede to minor points and move on, and if someone responds with an interesting line, I might pick it up then.

            There is no finite end to any of these conversations. It’s just a comments section for crying out loud. I don’t have to meet your expectations. I don’t expect to convince you of anything. But your comments do provide opportunities for future conversations that might be useful. It might help if you displayed some ability to consider ideas that you came up with outside of the dogmas you learned from others.

            I told you that I’m an optimist and I wasn’t really joking. But please try to have a more mature approach to the venue.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Do I think America is great? You betcha. I think it’s great because it was founded on a set of great principles, and because I believe Wilson captured some great principles of international behavior. Since that time, U.S. foreign policy has represented a struggle between the Wilsonian and the realist points of view, and I think our greatness lies in those cases where the Wilsonian won out.”

            Great ideas but not great because of “tolerance” of slavery. So it was great for one president. We blew it before and after, but we could be great.

            It sounds like you’ve conceded to my point perhaps without realizing it.

            “American “interests” are in themselves moral justification for any sort of unjust behavior, far from being the true patriots, are the people who debase our great country while also putting it at risk.”

            You misunderstand because you’re not here to listen. I don’t know how old you are, but you should never stop challenging yourself to learn about your topics in ever greater depth and breadth, including global implications. You think you already have that approach because you’ve been indoctrinated to think that you are the open-minded one because you’re open to dissent. You’re not open to dissent regarding your views, you’re only open to dissent related to American patriotic views or Western civilization.

            You’re a patriotic internationalist because you’re a dupe. That’s a definition of patriotism today.

          • hiernonymous

            “It sounds like you’ve conceded to my point perhaps without realizing it.”

            Well, no, not unless “your point” has retroactively morphed once again into something quite different from what you originally posted.

            “I don’t know how old you are, but you should never stop challenging yourself to learn about your topics in ever greater depth and breadth, including global implications.”

            Perhaps someday you’ll have the opportunity to appreciate the humor and irony in this comment.

            “You’re a patriotic internationalist because you’re a dupe.”

            And you know I’m a dupe because I’m allegedly an “internationalist!” What a wonderful slurry of circular logic, ad hominem, and paranoid poppycock.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “That’s true – it’s interesting that you write it without understanding how, or why.”

            I don’t write directly to comments sections every thought that I have.

            “Perhaps, since you’re so ready to demand that people explain themselves…”

            It wasn’t a demand. I have no right to demand anything from you. It was a suggestion that since you spend so much time and energy worrying about victims with reasons to hate America, like those oppressed Hawaiians, it seems reasonable to me that someone might wonder what it is that you actually respect about America other than the greatness of its power.

            “…you explain how it might be true of you.”

            I might, or I might not. Maybe I’m just a power hungry unprincipled zealot. I hate people and therefore all I care about is my own power. That’s why I go around the world manipulating people to make myself even richer and more powerful. I’m a neo-colonist. I’m colonizing the world by teaching them how to think like a Westerner.

            They’re like putty in my hands. They’re using Western technology and ideas every day. I’m going to rule the world some day soon. It will all be mine. They’re like my slaves.

            And I’m getting away with it!

          • hiernonymous

            “I don’t write directly to comments sections every thought that I have”

            Leaving an undernourished orphan of an innuendo to go begging on its lonely own. Oh, well.

            “I might, or I might not.”

            Nicely ducked. Hopefully, we’ll be hearing no more about patriotism.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Hopefully, we’ll be hearing no more about patriotism.”

            Some subjects are so sensitive. We shouldn’t even talk about them. We should stick to the approved discourse.

          • hiernonymous

            Whoooosh.

            Allow me to clarify: Hopefully, we won’t be hearing any more gasbaggery from you questioning others’ patriotism when you are so averse to discussion your own.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            I still don’t get it. Can you explain please?

            I thought we already agreed that I’m not patriotic because I oppress poor dissenters like you.

            It’s all so confusing. It’s not like we have miles of comments that anyone could read.

            I guess I’ll remain confused. I’ll stick to the approved discourse so that we don’t have to live through so many crying sessions.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Leaving an undernourished orphan of an innuendo to go begging on its lonely own. Oh, well.”

            That’s even worse than real orphans starving.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Ah, an internet McCarthy-lite. You fancy that you’re an arbiter of loyalties, do you? I’ll give you this – for sheer effrontery, you’d be hard to top.”

            Excuse me, I need to grab some tissues.

          • hiernonymous

            Good call – a little cleanup is in order.

          • defcon 4

            Your spew would require the use of shovels, or maybe bulldozers.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Sheer paranoia. Criticizing faulty logic and overgeneralized bigotry is hardly the sole province of “the left.” As for “showed your hand too early,” are you under the impression you’re a character in a le Carré novel? ”

            I gave you explanations for the legitimate criticism of Islam. You only offered superficial analysis that didn’t even begin to refute what I explained, but then concluded that I was xenophobic. It became the center piece of your argument. It doesn’t take a counter intelligence officer to conclude that you can’t even follow the discourse but rather you are stuck on preaching dogmas that were created by leftist theorists.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Hmm. So many possible responses. Just out of curiosity, what university system and subsequent profession has colored your view?”

            I work with many universities around the world. I’m not beholden to anyone or any institution.

            “And what university do you assume I attended? Or, failing that, what sort of university do you assume has left its imprint? Your comment seems a bit broad as it stands.”

            I “assume” you are Western educated and indoctrinated by those that think Ed Said and other fakes have useful things to say.

            It’s not much of an assumption since you already told me that yourself.

            http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/martinkramer/files/IvoryTowers.pdf

          • hiernonymous

            “I “assume” you are Western educated and indoctrinated by those that think Ed Said and other fakes have useful things to say.”

            That would be a bizarre assumption. Said is studied as one of many scholars on the topic, and his biases are well understood and considered when reading his work. You’re taking intellectually lazy shortcuts and committing a logical fallacy by trying to undercut an opponent by insisting he is tainted by a vague and countrywide institutional bias (particularly interesting since you don’t know that the institutions in play were).

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Said is studied as one of many scholars on the topic, and his biases are well understood and considered when reading his work.”

            That’s interesting, but it doesn’t show.

            “You’re taking intellectually lazy shortcuts…”

            Time might continue infinitely, but my time is not infinite. And I’ll just note for now that all of your dogmas are Said compliant. It would be hard for me to guess that you had any criticism at all for Saint Said. But I’ll just take your word for it.

            “(particularly interesting since you don’t know that the institutions in play were).”

            Because we see so much tolerance for diversity of views in Middle Eastern Studies.

          • hiernonymous

            “And I’ll just note for now that all of your dogmas are Said compliant.”

            “You’re an acolyte of ___________” is just another face of ad hominem by association, and it’s still vacuous.

            “But I’ll just take your word for it.”

            This sort of comment betrays a misapprehension on your part. It doesn’t matter what you accept or don’t accept; your opinions are of no interest. It’s the arguments you can support that matter, and nullities such as “you must explain yourself” and “I’ll just take your word for it” are posturing, not analysis and not argument.

            “Because we see so much tolerance for diversity of views in Middle Eastern Studies.”

            In Middle Eastern Studies where? Again, you’re jabbering about a vague, nation-wide paucity of thought, without having the vaguest notion what institutions are actually in play here. Attempting to discredit someone by firing a shotgun at every institution of higher learning in a country the size of the United States smacks of desperation, not analysis. Bottom line: your response to a challenge on your own Middle Eastern biases is to attempt to pronounce anyone educated in a “Western” institution to be a ‘product’ of a flawed education, simultaneously absolving yourself of the need to address their arguments and assuming for your own positions a spurious mantle of objectivity. What utter twaddle.

            Your time is not infinite – that’s true. That suggests that the amount of it you spend on this empty posturing could be put to better use.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “You’re an acolyte of ___________” is just another face of ad hominem by association, and it’s still vacuous.”

            Attacking you by attacking your dogmas. Whatever. Use a little Latin and someone might feel sorry for you.

            My entire argument is that none of your views are distinct or new, nor are they outside of the broadest mainstream of thought in Western universities but you occasionally characterize yourself as an oppressed dissenter. Prove me wrong. Show why anyone should care about your comments and consider that they add value to any conversation.

            These things are useful to know. It doesn’t mean that everything you say is entirely useless. It just means people might spend their time elsewhere knowing they can always go to the library and look for politically correct authors and hear about the same ideas.

          • hiernonymous

            “My entire argument is that none of your views are distinct or new…”

            That’s your entire argument, is it?

            “Show why anyone should care about your comments and consider that they add value to any conversation.”

            I’m not sure what, exactly, you’re looking for here. Do this for your own comments, and I’ll have an idea of what you want.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “That’s your entire argument, is it?”

            No, not literally.

            “Do this for your own comments, and I’ll have an idea of what you want.”

            I’m talking to you, but not entirely focused on you. You are a troll and are treated accordingly. I don’t care about you personally.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Interesting that noting that the Philippine war was hardly defensive has led you to questioning my patriotism.”

            Uh, no. Fail. I already explained. Dissent is fine. Out-of-balance fixation on leftist theories about “victimology” and labeling legitimate criticism of Islam as xenophobic, along with virtually every other position you take…that’s a strong trend that is easy to draw conclusions from.

            But don’t worry. The world has not ended. You can always explain yourself later if you choose. Or not.

            I’m not sure how much I care. But you might surprise me.

          • hiernonymous

            “Uh, no. Fail.”

            Not really your call, but thanks for your opinion. Here’s a translation of your post: “Your positions differ from mine; mine represent the patriotic position; therefore, yours are unpatriotic.” It’s a well-trod path, and one it should embarrass you to walk.

            “Labeling legitimate criticism of Islam as xenophobic” rather begs the question – did that really need pointing out to you?

            “But don’t worry. The world has not ended. You can always explain yourself later if you choose. Or not.

            I’m not sure how much I care. But you might surprise me.”

            That’s a keeper.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Not really your call, but thanks for your opinion. Here’s a translation of your post: “Your positions differ from mine; mine represent the patriotic position; therefore, yours are unpatriotic.” It’s a well-trod path, and one it should embarrass you to walk.”

            You’re not able to glean much from the discourse. You’re all talk with no ability to understand what is said, unless it conforms to your worldview.

            I understand your worldview. I am pretty sure you never even once mentioned an argument I haven’t heard before. That doesn’t mean that you’re wrong. But it makes me wonder how much time I should spend when you display so little ability to accurately process and affirm your comprehension of what is said to you before explaining your disagreement.

            It might be a waste of time. But then again others might come along and ask interesting questions at some future date. That happens some times. I’m an optimist at heart.

            Here’s hoping someone will get something of value out of the time invested here.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “I can’t account for what you guess, but your comment seems to imply that you believe that we are a different species from the Germans, and therefore not susceptible to the same sorts of emotions and weaknesses that led to their downfall.”

            The constant themes in articles on this site are about the effects of ideology on human behavior. Conflating that with racism is typical of some people.

            “A better summary of my attitude toward nationalism is that, having observed its destructive effects on so many fine nations, I hope to draw lessons that will permit us to avoid the same pitfalls.”

            I’m sure your efforts have their useful place. You seem to be a little confused about when and where to apply your theories and furthermore you ought to be a little more critical of a broader selection of cultures and ideas rather than thinking that “Orwellian nationalism” is the root cause of all conflict.

            The reason the German National Socialists behaved differently than us is due almost entirely to ideology. Then again, I’m not sure how different you think they were. It seems like you think you’re the only one from keeping us from taking over the world and enslaving more people.

          • hiernonymous

            “Conflating that with racism is typical of some people.”

            Of which people? Anyone connected to this conversation? In what context has “racism” been invoked?

            “The reason the German National Socialists behaved differently than us is due almost entirely to ideology.”

            That’s an interesting take. It’s not one supported by most of the scholars with whom I’m familiar, but it’s interesting. Perhaps this is another topic on which the leftists have infiltrated the academy and twisted the narrative away from what you just know to be true?

            “Then again, I’m not sure how different you think they were.”

            I think that they and we are all human, and that it is a very serious mistake to become so complacent as to assume that what happened in Germany couldn’t happen in the United States.

            “It seems like you think you’re the only one from keeping us from taking over the world and enslaving more people.”

            How curious.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Of which people? Anyone connected to this conversation? In what context has “racism” been invoked?”

            If I’m a xenophobic nationalist that thinks of others as insects, what do you call that? Do you ever think about the implications of your statements? No wonder you’re always confused.

            Me: “The reason the German National Socialists behaved differently than us is due almost entirely to ideology.”

            You: “That’s an interesting take. It’s not one supported by most of the scholars with whom I’m familiar, but it’s interesting.”

            It’s shocking that anyone could deny it. It’s racism in my view to deny it. What drives “irrational” human behavior? Whacky hormones? Must you leftists always try to find purely materialistic reasons for everything? You think these explanations are “anti-racist” because you think you’re replacing the “old racism” that led to slavery with something superior, but it’s just another bogus theory about race and racial distinctions that don’t exist. It’s about distinctions in ideas and cultures. Cultures are bound by ideology more than anything else. The other aspects are simply to preserve the culture, not to create it. Though one can question that whole chicken and egg aspect but we don’t need to go there.

            But worst is that by denying the crucial role of ideology and philosophy you leave people either looking for other bogus explanations or looking away completely. We lose opportunities for TRUE progress, and instead are asked to consider socialist “progress.” Because in the end, all of your ideas lead to socialism. You just might not have enough self awareness or global awareness (global in an ideological sense) to realize that. You’re stuck on the views fed to you by the approved institutions.

          • hiernonymous

            “If I’m a xenophobic nationalist that thinks of others as insects, what do you call that?”

            “Xenophobic” and “nationalist” are not synonyms for “racist.”

            “It’s shocking that anyone could deny it. It’s racism in my view to deny it.”

            That says more about the value of your view than anything else, then. A more common understanding of the rise of the Nazis involves understanding the emotional responses of the German people to the successive calamities of the war, the imposed peace, the collapse of the economy and the abject humiliation during the French invasion of the Ruhr, and the despair at the collapse of what little economic order was carved out of the post-Ruhr period with the advent of the Great Depression. In such a view, the ideology was not the cause of Germany’s spin into ultra-nationalism and madness, but a symptom. The Germans were desperate for someone who could address their fears. It’s important to understand that, because is implies that anyone – including us – can behave irresponsibly and even reprehensibly if they are frightened and humiliated enough. There’s a parallel there with Islamism that I’ll leave you to follow or not as you wish.

            “… but it’s just another bogus theory about race and racial distinctions that don’t exist.”

            You appear to be imagining another argument that hasn’t been offered. At least, not by me.

            “Cultures are bound by ideology more than anything else.”

            Is this a personal theory of yours? Because it’s certainly not any sort of academic orthodoxy.

            “But worst is that by denying the crucial role of ideology and philosophy you leave people either looking for other bogus explanations …”

            You’re begging the question. You assert that it will cause people to look for “other bogus explanations,” but you haven’t established that the other explanations are bogus. That’s your assumption, not an – ahem – objective fact.

            “We lose opportunities for TRUE progress, and instead are asked to consider socialist “progress.” ”

            Whoa! Where did “socialist” come from? You constantly seem to inject “socialist” as an adjective for any approach that criticizes your own pet viewpoint. You seem to use the term quite loosely.

            “Because in the end, all of your ideas lead to socialism.”

            What an absolutely bizarre statement.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Xenophobic” and “nationalist” are not synonyms for “racist.”

            Nationalism is driven by a form of racism according to Orwell, who you chose to define the term for you.

          • hiernonymous

            Perhaps you should elaborate on what “a form of racism” actually means?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            Racism is an ideology that depends on any false theories of racial distinctions among humans.

            There are many false ideas about racial distinctions and they don’t necessarily harmonize. Therefore there are many forms of racism.

          • hiernonymous

            Perhaps I wasn’t sufficiently clear – I meant to invite you to explain the “form of racism” that you assert Orwell had equated with nationalism.

            I ask, because the salient characteristics that Orwell ascribed to nationalism were obsession, instability, and indifference to reality. He certainly noted a racialist tinge to some specific nationalisms (and I would fully agree that many nationalists tend toward racism as well), but I thought we should explore this idea of nationalism being synonymous with racism by looking at which of Orwell’s comments you were invoking, and seeing what this “form of racism” actually means.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “…the salient characteristics that Orwell ascribed to nationalism were obsession, instability, and indifference to reality.”

            According to Orwell, one of those realities that “nationalists” are “indifferent to” is that we are all human. Nationalists treat others like insects. Nationalists dehumanize their threats.

          • hiernonymous

            I’d agree with that. “Dehumanizing” and “racism” are not synonyms. Racism is just one of many forms of dehumanizing people.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “I’d agree with that. “Dehumanizing” and “racism” are not synonyms.”

            No, they’re not synonyms but they can be closely related. If you’re not human and I am, there’s an implication that somehow, some form of racism is required to get there.

            One can use dehumanizing language to achieve the exact same effect as using explicit racist theories. And racist politicians do that all of the time.

          • hiernonymous

            That’s well and good, but you embarked on this excursion as a way of insisting that I’d accused you of racism, and when I called you on it, your argument was that since I called you a nationalist, and that Orwell defined nationalism as racism, I’d indirectly called you a racist. But Orwell didn’t define nationalism as racism. Bottom line: I find plenty to object to in your commments, but you’re better off sticking to the objections I’ve actually offered, not the one’s you’re imagining.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “That’s well and good, but you embarked on this excursion as a way of insisting that I’d accused you of racism, and when I called you on it, your argument was that since I called you a nationalist, and that Orwell defined nationalism as racism, I’d indirectly called you a racist.”

            Jackass, I’m not bound by leftist restrictions on vocabulary. You don’t even realize how tainted or corrupted you are by socialist ideology where you try to demonize people as “nationalist” when it means – as defined by you – functionally the exact same thing as “racist” except with a different justification for the label. I’m not a domestic American slave driver, I’m a nationalist imperialist that wants to enslave insects.

            If you disagree, that’s fine but I explained my position clearly enough.

          • hiernonymous

            “Jackass”

            Wait, is that dehumanizing or affectionate? It’s getting hard to keep track.

            “…functionally the exact same thing as “racist” except with a different justification for the label.”

            It’s not a “different justification for the label,” it’s a different motivation for the dehumanizing behavior. You quite correctly note that there are certain similarities between xenophobes and racists; you quite incorrectly dismiss the differences as inconsequential.

            “I’m not bound by leftist restrictions on vocabulary.”

            “‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.’”

            “If you disagree, that’s fine but I explained my position clearly enough.”

            You have – but it still involves equating words that are not equivalent – neither in the “leftist vocabulary” nor in the regular English one.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “It’s not a “different justification for the label,” it’s a different motivation for the dehumanizing behavior.”

            I already explained that there are multitudes of bogus theories on race. They’re all considered racist. If you have a theory that depends on some humans being “another race” or even “another species” then you are a racist.

            Calling someone an insect, or referring to “bigots” that “classify others like insects” is a vague reference to racism.

            You must deny this because you must defend your positions rather than concede. You don’t know how to concede as far as I can tell.

            Just like Sharon “incited” people to throw rocks and murder people, and in the end the victims are the rock throwing murderers in your mind.

            “You have – but it still involves equating words that are not equivalent – neither in the “leftist vocabulary” nor in the regular English one.”

            I didn’t equate, I showed relationships. Those suggestions go beyond your dogmas and you must robotically reject them.

          • hiernonymous

            “Calling someone an insect, or referring to “bigots” that “classify others like insects” is a vague reference to racism.”

            No, it’s a reference to devaluing them as human. Absolutely integral to racism is the racial component – the idea that one is selecting the object of one’s dehumanizing impulses on the basis of race. If you are selecting the objects of your dehumanization based on other characteristics – such as their religion, their gender, or some other characteristic you dislike – you are engaging in objectionable behavior, but it’s not racism.

            “You don’t know how to concede as far as I can tell.”

            Irony.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Absolutely integral to racism is the racial component …”

            Agreed.

            “…the idea that one is selecting the object of one’s dehumanizing impulses on the basis of race.”

            So far so good. The controversy is whether all humans are of one race, or many. Making false distinctions about race, leading to the conclusion that we’re not all one race, requires some form of racism, which we defined already as any theory that leads to a requirement that there are racial distinctions or “more than 1″ race of humans.

            “If you are selecting the objects of your dehumanization based on other characteristics – such as their religion, their gender, or some other characteristic you dislike – you are engaging in objectionable behavior, but it’s not racism.”

            Agreed. One can be fully human and choose another religion. One can be fully human of the solitary human race and either be a male or female.

            “…or some other characteristic you dislike…”

            Like skin color? Anyway, let’s move on and I’ll stipulate that I think I agree with you but with obvious limitations and unlike you, I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to the author because I think I understand you and I agree.

            Now. Please explain how a human can be from the same race that I am a member of, but somehow these “others” are then classified like insects? Aren’t insects classified in to species and other groupings? The person who believes they can or should classify others like insects is obviously a racist or worse. It’s generous to assume they’re only racist rather than something worse.

          • hiernonymous

            “Please explain how a human can be from the same race that I am a member of, but somehow these “others” are then classified like insects?”

            If there is a particular statement you are seeking clarification for, quote it directly.

            Meanwhile, I’ll note that noting that someone treats other humans like insects would indicate that that individual was dehumanizing his targets. There’s no racial implication in that.

            “Aren’t insects classified in to species and other groupings?”

            They also have six legs and exoskeletons.

            “The person who believes they can or should classify others like insects is obviously a racist or worse.”

            Since we’ve already agreed that there are bases for classifying others other than race, it’s hard to see what even your logical underpinning is for this comment. Perhaps if you laid it out in a syllogism, we could examine the premises and find out where the disagreement really lies.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “If there is a particular statement you are seeking clarification for, quote it directly. ”

            The implications of your statements include the idea that one can support the belief that all humans are of one race yet at the same time be “classified like insects” and furthermore you stated that this is dehumanizing” without requiring any theory that humans are of more than a single race.

            Clear that up without waffling.

            Do you mean to say that nationalists classify other humans as literal insects, or simply other “dehumanized” species of life? They dehumanize them to the extent that they have nothing in common with humanity therefore as a nationalist I’m not a racist because I consider them, these other “dehumanized humans,” to be 100% distinct from humanity?

            Can you harmonize that?

            “Since we’ve already agreed that there are bases for classifying others other than race, it’s hard to see what even your logical underpinning is for this comment.”

            It goes back to the idea that nationalists can be partisan and loyal to their nation because of culture and ideas, not because they dehumanize people who want to destroy their nation. Nationalism can and often is identical to patriotism. Because the nation can also be the patria.

            There are legitimate motives for nationalism.

            That’s the point. You want to delegitimize all nationalism or patriotism to one’s nation.

          • hiernonymous

            If you want to know what I meant by a particular statement, quote the statement, in full, and I’ll clarify. I’m not going to get into the game of trying to defend comments you put into my mouth.

            “You want to delegitimize all nationalism or patriotism to one’s nation.”

            You need to revisit the Orwell piece – you clearly didn’t understand it.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “A more common understanding of the rise of the Nazis involves understanding the emotional responses of the German people to the successive calamities of the war, the imposed peace, the collapse of the economy and the abject humiliation during the French invasion of the Ruhr, and the despair at the collapse of what little economic order was carved out of the post-Ruhr period with the advent of the Great Depression. In such a view, the ideology was not the cause of Germany’s spin into ultra-nationalism and madness, but a symptom. The Germans were desperate for someone who could address their fears. It’s important to understand that, because is implies that anyone – including us – can behave irresponsibly and even reprehensibly if they are frightened and humiliated enough. There’s a parallel there with Islamism that I’ll leave you to follow or not as you wish.”

            Your paradigm is not adequate for explaining why various people react in diverse ways to obstacles. All humans have emotions. Humans react to those emotions in varying ways driven by the ideas in their heads.

          • hiernonymous

            “Your paradigm is not adequate for explaining why various people react in diverse ways to obstacles.”

            The obvious problem with your thought process is that the ‘obstacles,’ as you put it, are rarely identical, and the circumstances are rarely identical, so the reactions are not going to be identical, either – but there are sufficient similarities to be useful in trying to generalize.

            In many ways, young Arabs today face very similar pressures to those faced by Weimar Germans – impotence and humiliation at the hands of their enemies; poor economic prospects; political leadership that is perceived as ineffectual and corrupt. It leads to the same widespread resentments, the same sorts of conspiracy theories, the same conviction that their condition is the result of collaboration among enemies known and suspected – it’s no surprise in either case that unemployed or underemployed young men with no hope in the status quo then reach out to an extremist ideology that holds out the promise of playing a personally meaningful role, as well as the promise of restoring the humiliated people to a position of respect and self-determination. It’s almost irrelevant what that extremist ideology is – Fascism, Nazism, Communism, Islamism – the basic fact is that if you got rid of that particular ideology, you would notrid yourself of the underlying problem – that resentful population would just turn to another ideology, just as the Arabs are turning from pan-Arabism to Islamism. Ideology simply is not the root issue.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “…It’s almost irrelevant what that extremist ideology is…”

            That’s one of the most insane ideas of all time.

            “…the basic fact is that if you got rid of that particular ideology, you would notrid yourself of the underlying problem…”

            You want to draw conclusions long before you’ve fully identified the underlying problems. As I said, your paradigm is inadequate. Which is why I object to your efforts to shut down conversations here because you deem them “xenophobic” or “nationalistic” or whatever, because you don’t understand them, you assume these ideas must be false and you are therefore obligated to replace them with your dogmas, or else the USA might become “just like Germany” and the poor jihadis will be today’s Jews. Like I haven’t heard that one before.

            Your failure to understand the diverse ideologies among the “Abrahamic traditions” alone makes you dangerous to any discussion that might bear fruit on these issues.

          • hiernonymous

            “Your failure to understand…”

            This is a formula you repeatedly employ when your actual meaning is “you don’t agree with my interpretation.”

            As for the inadequacy of my ‘paradigm,’ you’ve asserted that, not demonstrated it.

            “…and the poor jihadis will be today’s Jews…”

            Care to support that characterization of my comments?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “As for the inadequacy of my ‘paradigm,’ you’ve asserted that, not demonstrated it. ”

            Obviously that’s your view.

            “Care to support that characterization of my comments?”

            I’ll reserve the right to. Maybe later. It’s clearly implied by your statements, but your lack of awareness is understandable.

            But I’m the xenophobe, and those nationalists that think like me are also xenophobic. Right? Who are we picking on? Who do you defend as victims of American neo-imperialism? This is how you explain jihadis, as nationalist freedom fighters like Yasser Arafat.

            And look at me, criticizing noble people like members of CAIR or the MB. It’s practically the same as those guys in Germany a few decades ago. Without guys like you to bring sense to the conversations it will be just like what happened. That’s your fear. It could happen you say. Well, if it could happen, that is by far the most logical scenario. The xenophobes will round up and “go nationalist” on the jihadis.

          • hiernonymous

            “This is how you explain jihadis, as nationalist freedom fighters like Yasser Arafat.”

            Where? (Particularly since I don’t consider Yasser Arafat to be a “jihadi.” He certainly was a terrorist.)

            “The xenophobes will round up and “go nationalist” on the jihadis.”

            Actually, the most logical scenario is that you will advocate “going nationalist,” not on the ‘jihadis,’ but on all Muslims.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Actually, the most logical scenario is that you will advocate “going nationalist,” not on the ‘jihadis,’ but on all Muslims.”

            Right. While falsely accusing them of being jihadi. That’s what I suggested. I should have used scare quotes for you. But then again even that’s not always enough for you.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Where? (Particularly since I don’t consider Yasser Arafat to be a “jihadi.” He certainly was a terrorist.)”

            Hint:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yIlszDfp94

            There’s more of that if you care enough to look.

          • hiernonymous

            I asked you where I had explained jihadis; I don’t post on youtube.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “I asked you where I had explained jihadis”

            Arafat is a jihadi that you explain away as a nationalist.

            It’s also clearly an answer to your statement:

            You: “Particularly since I don’t consider Yasser Arafat to be a “jihadi.””

            What is wrong with you? Part of your way of “explaining jihad” is denial. Whether you have more remains to be seen. I’m open to future developments.

            “I don’t post on youtube.”

            Noted. No need.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “You’re begging the question. You assert that it will cause people to look for “other bogus explanations,” but you haven’t established that the other explanations are bogus. That’s your assumption, not an – ahem – objective fact.”

            Your explanations are bogus because they are inadequate while being presented as comprehensive or at least sufficient for the exercise. You act like you’ve solved problems that you have not solved. You can’t account for Islamic colonialism and the desire for reconquest so you try to fit their behaviors in to your simple model about people getting upset about grievances.

          • hiernonymous

            “…while being presented as comprehensive…”

            What in God’s Green Hell motivated you to pen that line? I spent years writing and presenting extensive assessments on the Middle East, and I didn’t consider those ‘comprehensive’ – how likely is it that I’d make such a representation of sound-bite level exchanges on a fringe website?

            At any rate, you’re deflecting again. Your objection was that people would look for “other bogus explanations,” not “the explanations Hiernonymous offered in the comments section,” and you’ve hardly demonstrated that those broad approaches are anything like bogus. Sorry, your comment was still begging the question.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Whoa! Where did “socialist” come from? You constantly seem to inject “socialist” as an adjective for any approach that criticizes your own pet viewpoint. You seem to use the term quite loosely.”

            All of your ideas are bound by the limits of thought imposed by communist and socialist ideologies. If you are not aware of this (and I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt) we can conclude that you are a dupe.

          • hiernonymous

            “…we can conclude that you are a dupe.”

            It’s the royal “we” again, is it? At any rate, you may ‘conclude’ anything you wish; that’s won’t make an ad hominem by association any less a fallacy.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “It’s the royal “we” again, is it?”

            You’re a lot more typical than you realize. But a very nice guy.

            “…that’s won’t make an ad hominem by association any less a fallacy”

            Good thing my arguments don’t actually depend on each and every remark I make.

          • hiernonymous

            “Good thing my arguments don’t actually depend on each and every remark I make.”

            Ah – it’s whack-a-mole, is it?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            It’s conversation and informal debate.

            Here’s what you’ve been looking for:

            http://www.amazon.com/Hasbro-40509-Whac-A-Mole-Game/dp/B0001GDP00

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “What an absolutely bizarre statement.”

            It’s a real shame that you’re so confused.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Is this a personal theory of yours? Because it’s certainly not any sort of academic orthodoxy.”

            What binds a culture?

            What is culture?

            Essentially you’re talking about people and how they react instinctively to circumstances (before they think) and I’m saying that what distinguishes one culture from the next is what they think about in reaction to those circumstances and then what they’re thinking, what they’re cultivation, leads them to do.

            I can’t see how you can argue with that merely because nobody spelled it out for your before.

            Cultures create the things they are noted for. They are not created by those things. At best those icons are “containers” for ideas, for passing them along. Cultures are groups that have been cultivated not by making soil fine and upgrading irrigation but by the ideas that people follow that they share.

            How else could you possibly describe culture? Random groups of people and predestined circumstances?

            That’s just too simple and you’re overlooking important opportunities to understand what for example makes a human being think that 72 virgins will be waiting for him after he kills the people who “stole” his land? And by the way, where did he get the idea that the land was stolen? Oops. Where he get the “impulse” to solve his circumstantial problems in that manner?

          • hiernonymous

            “I can’t see how you can argue with that merely because nobody spelled it out for your before.”

            Of course you couldn’t see that, because it’s not there. I don’t question your approach because “nobody spelled it out before;” I question it because the question has been so thoroughly and extensively explored and was surpassed nearly 20 years ago by Fukayama’s analysis of the four levels of democratic consolidation, in which he identified four levels at which societies function, change, and resist change. These four levels were those of culture, civil society, institutions, and ideology, and he demonstrated rather convincingly that ideology was the most superficial and easily changed.

            This analysis not only undermines your much more superficial “ideology is paramount” assertion (you haven’t provided the evidence and support to call it an argument yet), it actually shows that treating Islam as an ideology is to underestimate the difficulties involved in changing aspects of Muslim culture. If Islam were, in fact, an ideology, it could be altered or discarded with relative ease.

            Of course, that’s just Fukayama. The realists and neo-realists simply dismiss the driving role of ideology out of hand – and these aren’t some fringe academic element, they’re arguably the most influential drivers of international relations theory over the past century.

            Yet you think you’ve stumbled on an inexplicably overlooked paradigm, and that disagreement with your flash of inspiration must be rooted in the failure of anyone to spell it out?

            “…after he kills the people who “stole” his land?”

            Are you talking about the Crusader trying to recover Jerusalem? The Zealot trying to recover, well, Jerusalem? The Provo trying to drive the Brit out of Ireland? The Serb trying to recover Bosnia? The Palestinian trying to recover Palestine? The Pakistani trying to recover Kashmir? The Tibetan trying to recover his land for the Chinese? Yes, the willingness to kill and to die in order to right the perceived wrongful taking of land is truly an ideological construct.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “I question it because the question has been so thoroughly and extensively explored and was surpassed nearly 20 years ago by Fukayama’s analysis of the four levels of democratic consolidation, in which he identified four levels at which societies function, change, and resist change.”

            Otherwise known as “Fukuyama’s Laws of Culture.”

            “These four levels were those of culture, civil society, institutions, and ideology, and he demonstrated rather convincingly that ideology was the most superficial and easily changed.”

            OK then:

            Fukayama’s analysis of the four levels of democratic consolidation

            1) culture

            2) civil society

            3) institutions

            4) ideology

            Interesting, because ideology drives culture, civil society and institutions. I wonder if ideology has any impact on ideology?

            Nice try.

            This is your answer to the earlier “controversy?”

            Me: “The reason the German National Socialists behaved differently than us is due almost entirely to ideology.”

            You: “That’s an interesting take. It’s not one supported by most of the scholars with whom I’m familiar, but it’s interesting.”

            It is ideology that leads to diverse behaviors caused by similar conditions. I shiver because I’m cold. I might first build a fire in reaction to that if that’s what my father taught me to do, or I might first think to put more clothes on if that’s what my mother inspired me to do first. It works at that level and for more complex problems as well. It’s not to deny individualism or accountability, but the salients in what drives behavior outside of the level of the individual all boils down to culture, which is built on ideas more than circumstance. It’s the nature vs. nurture argument dummy. Not your silly leftist theories that attempt to make people fungible. It’s odd that you don’t understand where your own arguments lead.

            Maybe you understood the statement as “political ideology” or something like that. It’s hard to know precisely what you’re thinking when you go off on your contrarian tears.

          • hiernonymous

            “Interesting, because ideology drives culture, civil society and institutions.”

            Is this another of your special insights? Ideology drives culture?

            “Maybe you understood the statement as “political ideology” or something like that.”

            It would be difficult to read an allusion to the National Socialists in any other way. That said, you seem to be badly misusing your other use of the term. “Ideology” is not synonymous with “ideas” – it deals with systems of ideas, generally with public impact – political or economic. Your mother putting more clothes on you when you got home was not an ideology.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            See 2b

            ide·ol·o·gy noun ˌī-dē-ˈä-lə-jē, ˌi-
            : the set of ideas and beliefs of a group or political party
            plural ide·ol·o·gies

            Full Definition of IDEOLOGY

            1
            : visionary theorizing
            2
            a : a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture
            b : a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture
            c : the integrated assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program

          • hiernonymous

            Note: systematic body of concepts.

            2b is certainly inconsistent with every use you’ve made until now. The National Socialist, for example, fit 2c, and arguably 2a, but not 2b. It’s best if you don’t call folks ‘dummies’ when you can’t manage to keep your own comments consistent.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Note: systematic body of concepts.”

            Systematic can still be subconscious or not overtly defined. It’s not limited to “defined systematically.” Our solar system was a system long before we defined it.

            “The National Socialist, for example, fit 2c, and arguably 2a, but not 2b.”

            The German NatSocs had a political ideology and a cultural context driving their behavior. The political ideology did not replace their culture. Culture is about ideas. An ideology can be any nexus of ideas.

            You simply misunderstood again and want to blame everyone but yourself. If you want to remain in your institutional box, that’s fine but stop trying to coerce others to follow you,

            We could have had a deeper discussion about the Germans in that context but instead you want to defend yourself and your rigid ideas about what words mean.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “You can’t say that the Bible describes an immaculate conception for Jesus because that phrase is reserved for his mother Mary.”

            No, it’s not. It’s just more common.

          • hiernonymous

            Who are you quoting in that post?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “2b is certainly inconsistent with every use you’ve made until now.”

            Words aren’t as rigid as you think they are. There are certainly limits but if one is to learn new ideas one must be open to them. Something being new to you doesn’t make it wrong.

            “It’s best if you don’t call folks ‘dummies’ when you can’t manage to keep your own comments consistent.”

            To be consistent with your standards I must stick to leftist dogmas. I already told you that my thinking does exceed those rigid standards. We’ve been through this before.

            My comments are not “consistent’ in that I don’t merely repeat talking points. My comments do harmonize. That’s what you should look for unless you see yourself as a member of the thought police.

          • hiernonymous

            “To be consistent with your standards I must stick to leftist dogmas.”

            Precision in language and consistency of thought is not a characteristic of a particular political perspective.

            Nor is there anything particularly ‘leftist’ in my point of view; you’ve apparently begun to believe your own informal fallacies.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Precision in language and consistency of thought is not a characteristic of a particular political perspective.”

            I agree with the above quote. The problem is that your pretext or justification of imposing “precision” is really about imposing dogmas. And some times perhaps it’s about defending your own personal narrow-mindedness, but it’s not always easy to tell which from here.

            “Nor is there anything particularly ‘leftist’ in my point of view; you’ve apparently begun to believe your own informal fallacies.”

            Your blindness to your own biases doesn’t falsify my suggestions.

          • hiernonymous

            “Your blindness to your own biases doesn’t falsify my suggestions.”

            Correct – it is the unsound logic and questionable underlying facts that falsify your assumptions.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Correct – it is the unsound logic and questionable underlying facts that falsify your assumptions.”

            That’s your theory.

            Maybe it’s worth exploring, maybe not. Knowing how sensitive you are, I’ll just see if you volunteer any suggestions on your own that might convince an objective reader why anyone would believe that someone constantly publishing leftist dogmas would be viewed as objective and unbiased.

            It’s your call.

          • hiernonymous

            Actually, if you make an accusation or characterization, it’s yours to support.

            So far, your argument appears to be that some people you have identified as ‘leftists’ have made arguments you contend are similar to mine, therefore my posts comprise ‘leftist dogma.’ Among the truck-sized gaps in this logic are your unsupported assumptions that the individuals in question are, in fact, ‘leftist;’ that the arguments in question are integral to and characteristic of their ‘leftists’ ideology, rather than being independent or unrelated opinions. If Karl Marx noted that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, that does not thereby become ‘leftist dogma.’ Note also that pointing out flaws in a ‘rightist’ position is not inherently ‘leftist,’ much less dogma; it’s merely sound criticism. Finally, you’ve asserted, not demonstrated, that there is substantive underlying congruence between my worldview and that of these ‘leftists.’

            As for my alleged ‘sensitivity,’ it’s a fairly typical human defense mechanism to accuse another of being overly sensitive when one has committed a gaffe, It’s a great deal easier and more face-saving than simply owning up to one’s error in judgment, taking responsibility, and moving on. I didn’t expect that of you; you didn’t disappoint; you may considered yourself relieved of the need to further rationalize.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Actually, if you make an accusation or characterization, it’s yours to support.”

            Are you asking to be taken seriously?

          • hiernonymous

            No, there was no request in my post. Regards.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Your mother putting more clothes on you when you got home was not an ideology.”

            It was an idea. Ideology would be her set of ideas that led to that choice. For example, “fires are dangerous” and “children are safer when protected by clothing.”

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “It would be difficult to read an allusion to the National Socialists in any other way.”

            Of course their political ideology was a key factor, but not the only ideological factor. Political ideologies are ALWAYS influenced by cultural context. And culture is fundamentally about ideas and ideology.

            That’s why we don’t have a lot of Christian suicide bombers, as one obvious example.

          • kikorikid

            Islam is a Totalitarian-Supremacist ideology. As such,
            it controls ALL levels of Social Intercourse thru its
            rule books: Shariah Law and the Quran. You’ve
            forgotten your Marx. He said “theory and practice”,
            Praxis. Your last paragraph is pure obfuscation with
            no equivalency evident.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “I think that they and we are all human, and that it is a very serious mistake to become so complacent as to assume that what happened in Germany couldn’t happen in the United States.”

            I can’t think of any way you would infer from what I said that what happened in Germany could never happen here. But the risks that I see are far different than the ones you define. My ideas take us away from the GNS fallacies. They ideas that drove that regime are in polar opposition to mine. The one common denominator that you falsely, ridiculously fixate on is that they were “nationalist” which is true, but their nationalism was centered on ideas about racial superiority. That doesn’t mean by any stretch that nationalism is therefore always, or usually based on anything racial at all.

            Nationalism simply means that you’ve got a sovereign you believe is worthy of preservation. That’s it. To oversimplify this is to take people away from potential lessons about distinctions in ideology that are in fact behind most of the wars we’ve experienced since the industrial revolution began. The industrial revolution led to paranoia and wars of ideas between nations and empires.

            Those ideological wars are unfortunately not over. By arguing these ideas now, we have a chance to reduce some of those pressures and build consensus about ideal solutions. By obscuring and distracting from those conversations, people like you who consider themselves benign and “non-aggressive” are actually serving the aggressors that want to attack YOUR way of life.

            You might feel like a patriot, but you’re not effectively defending your patria.

          • hiernonymous

            “…but their nationalism was centered on ideas about racial superiority.”

            Actually, the common factor is that their nationalist ideas focused on scapegoating. The Nazis used race as their method of scapegoating, but other methods work just as well.

            “That doesn’t mean by any stretch that nationalism is therefore always, or usually based on anything racial at all.”

            Nor has that been suggested. What has been suggested is that nationalism leads to skewed ethical thinking in which significant double standards are applied, and the idea that “my country can do no wrong” begins to take hold, eroding the ability of the people to recognize and reject immoral behavior.

            “You might feel like a patriot, but you’re not effectively defending your patria.”

            Actually, I physically defended my “patria” for well over two decades, and will remain subject to recall for the rest of my life. You’ll understand that I’m a bit underwhelmed by an internet gasbag whose inflated sense of self-importance has led him to accuse those who do not align with his views of lacking “patriotism.”

            What is it you do for a living, by the way?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Nor has that been suggested. What has been suggested is that nationalism leads to skewed ethical thinking…”

            YOUR definition of nationalism.

            “Actually, I physically defended my “patria” for well over two decades, and will remain subject to recall for the rest of my life.”

            That’s very interesting. But that’s about as compelling as being told that our current POTUS is defending our “patria.” He is CIC after all.

            “What is it you do for a living, by the way?”

            I’m a consultant with far too many offers to worry about letting my income needs influence my ideology. Is that what you’re interested in?

            I guess you actually want to be asked about yourself. So you served in the military and we all want to know “what is it you do for a living.” Please tell us.

          • hiernonymous

            “I guess you actually want to be asked about yourself.”

            Why, no – I don’t play that sort of game. If I think you need to know something, I’ll tell you. In this case, you now know enough to understand how thoroughly underwhelmed I am by being offered lessons in patriotism and ‘defending the patria’ by a consultant who likes to advocate tough international policy in online comment sections. Keep up the good fight, Mr. Mitty.

            “…and we all want to know…”

            Have you been elected spokesman for an organization I’m not aware of, or do you simply reflexively multiply yourself?

            “He is CIC after all.”

            That’s CINC, actually. If you’re going for those manly military acronyms, you might as well get them right.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “…advocate tough international policy in online comment sections…”

            That’s the forum. If you don’t like it, why are you here?

            “That’s CINC, actually.”

            Thank you. In any case, I hope you got my point. If you think that 0′Bama is defending the American way of life, you’re insanely deluded. But then again…it’s not surprising at this point.

            WE can read all of your comments so WE can draw conclusions from them. You can do the same for most others that comment here.

          • hiernonymous

            “That’s the forum. If you don’t like it, why are you here?”

            It has nothing to do with what I like or dislike, and everything to do with your characterization of adopting particular lines of argument as “patriotic” or “unpatriotic.” If you confine yourself to making your arguments, there’s no issue. You simply overstepped yourself with that comment. An apology would be in order, but, as you said, I can read your other comments, and expect nothing of the sort.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            I think you’re a little oversensitive. It gets you bogged down. I don’t expect you to apologize for anything unless you feel moved to.

          • hiernonymous

            That response contained all of the integrity I expected. No worries.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            If we take out Iranian nuclear facilities “kinetically,” that will be just another grievance to add to the list, yet another example of American tyranny.

            Right? Poor poor Iran. Another victim of American imperialism.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By
            ‘patriotism’ I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.”

            Dummy, how can you defend your way of life without defending your nation? No border? No nation. No sovereignty? No nation.

            You’re a patriot alright. You’re just also delusional about nationalism.

          • hiernonymous

            “Dummy, how can you defend your way of life without defending your nation?”

            Nothing in Orwell’s formulation, or my own posts, suggests that we should not defend our country: “Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally.”

            “No border? No nation. No sovereignty? No nation.”

            ‘No border’ and ‘no sovereignty’ have been proposed nowhere but your imagination.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Nothing in Orwell’s formulation, or my own posts, suggests that we should not defend our country: “Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally.””

            In your vision you are consistent. Because you don’t understand the complexities of sovereignty. The world is not static. The world is changing constantly because encroachment caused by technology advances. Enemies have ever greater reach. Our reach must also increase or we lose. Get it?

            “‘No border’ and ‘no sovereignty’ have been proposed nowhere but your imagination.”

            I’m not objecting to your explicit proposal but to the implications of your ideas. Borders don’t do their jobs organically without coercion. Sovereignty can be even more tricky.

            The point is that you don’t account for those needs. Not that you explicitly proposed anything that disfavors those needs. You seem like a nice guy. I don’t object to your ideology until you expect others to think it’s sufficient for leading our nation. Worse is that you think you’ve accounted for everything and therefore anyone who is more “aggressive” is simply malicious. Xenophobic. Racist.

            Your worldview is that of a nice person who has experienced comprehensive indoctrination. You’ve mastered that indoctrination very well. You should feel good about that.

          • defcon 4

            Tell it to the Cypriots renob, or the natives of Papua West New Guinea.

          • hiernonymous

            Tell what to them, and why? And what is a “Cypriots renob?”

          • defcon 4

            Because islam0tard the natives of Papua West New Guinea are being ethnically cleansed by your fellow islam0nazi brethren from Indonesia in the here and now. Cyprus is already a done deal — the Turkish islam0nazis have already ethnically cleansed the undesirable najjis kaffir from the 40% of Cyprus they invaded and annexed in the 1970′s. Happy Eternal Nakba!

          • hiernonymous

            You didn’t answer either of my questions. “Tell them what?” “Because…” See? It doesn’t fit.

            You also seem to be misdirecting your hatred of Muslims at me. I’m not Muslim. Don’t get me wrong – you seem the sort of fellow whose contempt would be a badge of honor – but you should probably rant for sensible reasons.

            “the undesirable najjis kaffir” “Happy Eternal Nakba!”

            Hal tafham al kalima nakba? Hal tafham ai kalimat al lugha al ‘arabiya? Just curious.

          • defcon 4

            You’re not a muslime. I find your disingenuous defense of islam0nazism to be indicative that you’re lying.

          • hiernonymous

            Bad will and worse logic will lead you to find all sorts of things that aren’t there. Put your last post into the form of a syllogism that will withstand scrutiny, if you can.

          • defcon 4

            Urbane sophistry is your stock in trade. But once the Gordian Knot of your sophistry is cut, it all falls apart.

          • kikorikid

            He sounds like a Master of Taqiyya to me.

          • kikorikid

            Yes! East Irian Jaya, aka “Papua West New Guinea”,
            The indigenous population is being systematically
            eliminated by the Muslim central govt. Indonesia
            is not our friend.

          • defcon 4

            Thank you for making that more clear for me.

            I looked it up and guess what wikipedia indicates:

            Papua, Indonesia

          • kikorikid

            I lived in Papua New Guinea for two years. One night in Kikori, I had a nightmare that a Irian Jayan gunboat
            was coming upriver and was already lobbing small
            cannon shells at my abode. I woke up and chain smoked
            for about an hour.
            Across Torres Strait from Australia

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Huh?”

            For you I need to be much more explicit: “I have no problem with reasonable disagreements.”

            How’s that?

          • Nixys

            Mark Twain was in the anti-Imperialist league and was opposed to the Spanish-American war.

            This is what he had to say:

            http://home.comcast.net/~vincep312/marktwain.html

          • hiernonymous

            Yes. Some here will no doubt fail to catch the fact that this piece is, in fact, a criticism of the war.

          • defcon 4

            But you have nothing to say about islam0nazi ethnic cleansing of the najjis kuffar in the here and now — and i don’t have to wonder why Hajji.

          • hiernonymous

            “…and i don’t have to wonder why Hajji.”

            More accurately, you don’t have the capacity to wonder why.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “More accurately, you don’t have the capacity to wonder why.”

            That’s dehumanizing. What makes you think you can judge his capacities simply by his choices as to how much time he’s willing to spend expressing his views?

          • hiernonymous

            “That’s dehumanizing.”

            It’s interesting that you view it that way. It certainly casts your recent use of the term “dummy” in a light that would never have occurred to me before.

            “What makes you think you can judge his capacities simply by his choices as to how much time he’s willing to spend expressing his views?”

            Not a thing. What makes you think I did so?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “It’s interesting that you view it that way. It certainly casts your recent use of the term “dummy” in a light that would never have occurred to me before.”

            How is “dummy” dehumanizing? It’s some times a term of endearment.

          • hiernonymous

            “How is “dummy” dehumanizing?”

            I didn’t think it was until your last post. It’s a judgment of capacity – and you just informed me that such a judgment is dehumanizing.

            “It’s some times a term of endearment.”

            I hadn’t realized you so intended it. I withdraw my objection, and further apologize for mistaking the entire tenor of that post. I’d thought you attempting to be insulting, and here you were ingratiating yourself to me. How awkward.

          • Mally

            You go hiernonymous! You are so good. I love it.

          • defcon 4

            LOL, why don’t we talk about what muslime Filipinos are doing in the Philippines today rather than a century old atrocity?

          • hiernonymous

            Primarily because I was responding to a comment that characterized the Philippine war as defensive in nature, and your suggested turn of conversation would have been a non-sequitur. Interesting that you characterize the Philippine Insurrection as an atrocity, though.

          • defcon 4

            Yeah when muslimes in the Philippines lop off the heads of defenseless Christians schoolgirls it isn’t an atrocity — because in your twisted muslime mind it’s all justifiable, it’s all allah’s will.

          • hiernonymous

            “Yeah when muslimes in the Philippines lop off the heads of defenseless Christians schoolgirls it isn’t an atrocity –”

            It isn’t? Is that your opinion, or are you responding to the voices in your head?

            “…because in your twisted muslime mind it’s all justifiable, it’s all allah’s will.”

            Ah, it’s not voices, I see – you’re a mind reader! It’s a useful talent, no doubt, but your aim seems to deteriorate at a distance, and you must have been reading someone else’s mind.

          • defcon 4

            The muslimes of the Philippines are also engaged in ethnic cleansing — of the najjis kaffir, a commonplace traditional activity of musl0-nazis like you everywhere.

          • hiernonymous

            What, exactly, do you believe you are saying by “najjis kaffir?”

          • Fritz

            The Philippines was a Spanish colony that the Americans ended up with after the Spanish-American war around the turn of the last century. Then it was invaded by the Japanese in 1942, who were thrown out by the Americans in 1944. It was not an independent state until after WW2.

          • hiernonymous

            The Filipinos were fighting a war of independence against the Spanish. The U.S. went to war against Spain, and defeated the Spanish military in the Philippines. We then had the choice of granting the Philippines the independence they’d been fighting for, or adopting Spain’s role as colonial masters. We chose the latter, defeated Aguinaldo’s army, and spent the next several years fighting a counter-insurgency in order to “end up with” the Philippines.

          • Drakken

            You forgot to mention that it was Moro muslims that we were fighting, how interesting.

          • hiernonymous

            That’s because it wasn’t just Moro Muslims that we were fighting. You must have skipped the bit about Aguinaldo’s army…

          • kikorikid

            “it wasn’t just Moro Muslims that we were fighting.”
            So! “It wasn’t just” somehow justifies you
            excluding them altogether. I would call that “Cherry Picking” facts to support an ideological argument.

          • hiernonymous

            You’re not making any kind of sense here. I’ve made no effort to enumerate all of the various Filipino groups we fought over the course of the Insurrection, nor was there any reason to do so.

            The war began as a conflict primarily between the U.S. and Aguinaldo’s army; we came into conflict with the Moros only as we defeated other Filipino groups and extended our operations further into territory traditionally populated by Muslims. It’s not clear what sort of significance you attach to that.

          • kikorikid

            Now there are too many to list? I’m just pointing
            out your method of argument construction.
            Pick-Limit the facts and start counter argument
            with a personal attack. You said you are not
            muslim so that leaves the “Progressive”
            label for you. Are you “OK” with Sodomy yet?
            Your buddies, when not raping little girls,
            always fall back on sodomy.

          • hiernonymous

            “Now there are too many to list? I’m just pointing
            out your method of argument construction.”

            Actually, you’re not. You’re asking an irrelevant question. There was never a reason to list any of the constituent elements: the original argument was that the Philippine Insurrection was not a defensive war, and the relevant information there was not the religion of the insurgents, but the way in which the conflict began – which had nothing at all to do with the Moros. As I pointed out in the last post, the Moros were part of the opposition we encountered later in the war after we’d defeated the largely Catholic opposition under Aguinaldo. You were attempting to portray the lack of some sort of a list as a flaw or sign of bias in an argument that did not call for or require the enumeration of the various insurgent groups. If you’re going to critique someone’s argument construction, you first have to follow their argument.

            “You said you are not muslim so that leaves the “Progressive” label for you.”

            I must be one of the two, eh? Is that an example of your argument construction?

            “Your buddies, when not raping little girls,
            always fall back on sodomy.”

            I don’t know what kind of company you keep, but none of my Muslim friends do either, to the best of my knowledge.

          • kikorikid

            Sodomy is part and parcel to ancient and modern Arab
            culture. Was that Arabic I saw in your earlier post?

          • hiernonymous

            “Sodomy is part and parcel to ancient and modern Arab
            culture.”

            Sodomy occurs in every culture; do you have extensive experience of Arab culture, and discovered for yourself that sodomy is unusually widespread? Do you consider sodomy a particularly damning indictment of a country?

            Not sure what your obsession with sodomy is about, but last I checked, it seemed more widespread in the U.S., where gay marriage is legal in many states, and where even that conservative bastion West Point performed a gay marriage.

            “Was that Arabic I saw in your earlier post?”

            Yes, it was. Why do you ask?

          • kikorikid

            So, sodomy is “unusually widespread” in the Arabic
            Culture. That conforms to my informants information.
            “Do you consider sodomy a particularly damning
            indictment of a country” Where in hell did you come up with that? I NEVER mentioned “country”! I was very
            clear in stating “ARAB CULTURE”. You tell me,
            where is the Country of “ARAB”?
            Face it, you really made that statement so
            you could follow in your next paragraph with
            an slander attack on the U.S. . Yes, you are
            a Taqiyya Master-sodomite Arab.

          • N. Wasse

            And speaking of wars and genocides your Muslim masters that invaded India murdered enslaved and raped millions of Hindus and Buddhists over a period of 500 years of terror in the name of your so called Allah
            Charity starts at home Mr Arab wannabe

    • N. Wasse

      Another terrorist supporter shame on you

    • objectivefactsmatter

      More considerate of Islamic colonialism. We know.

  • Muhammad

    well-informed article but the fact is that the only country which has used nuclear weapons is US and the only country which launches war in every few years is US.

    • kikorikid

      Over 21,000 acts of lethal Islamist terror committed since 9-11-01.

      • Muhammad

        proof?

        • N. Wasse

          Proof of what? that you are a terrorists supporter Mr Arab wannabe? we know that already

          • defcon 4

            Did not the holiest and most perfect man in islam, the last and final prophet of islam, say that he had been made victorious through terror?

          • N. Wasse

            Oh no you forgot that no other than Allah (or is it prophet Mo) also says in Q8:60 that Muslims must terrorize non Muslims even the Muslim Ulama called it the terrorism verse!
            Oh Allah the best deceiver (this is what Allah calls himself in the book of ignorance)!

        • objectivefactsmatter
    • N. Wasse

      And your point is Mr terrorists supporter?

    • kikorikid

      Yes, Well informed. As I am. I’ve read your”quran” ,an accepted translation,
      and Sayyid Qubts ,”milestones”, and need no further information
      about your ideology. Mohammed was a criminal brigand that
      murdered Jewish Tribes,wholesale, and raided caravans for booty.
      If he,the Mo guy, were in a maximum security prison here in the
      U.S.A., he would be murdered for raping a 9 year old child.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      Correct. We used them rationally to end a war. We’re the only ones that can be trusted because of our form of government.

      However you also miss the point that we are using our power to reduce arms. We’re not using it to take over territory and unjustly attack anyone.

      Your standards of justice might be different, so stay out of the way then.

      I think it’s also funny how you will say that the US “launches” wars when others just sort of sit there and wait for us to decide who to attack unjustly? So who started the war in Afghanistan? Who started the war in Iraq? It wasn’t us. We just made it bigger in order to end it, and 5th columnists rose up and caused a big mess. But the root causes were jihad and regional belligerence.

      • defcon 4

        Yes, islamic, “standards of justice” do seem to be a tad different than those which encompass concepts like freedom, liberty and equality.

        • objectivefactsmatter

          A little.

    • Drakken

      You should always keep that in mind muslim, but then again, you bloody savages will continue to push us at your own demise and peril.

  • defcon 4

    The title of this article implies that there is something OTHER than fundamental islam? But where? I’m not noticing reformed or conservative mosques. I’m not noticing a protestant movement in islam.

    • kikorikid

      ANYONE who has ever uttered a word about it has had their throat slit.