Thursday, November 29, 2012

When criticism of Islam becomes Islamophobia

Sometime during the last decade the term Islamophobia managed to sneak its way into mainstream political discourse and since then it has become a highly effective instrument in restricting free speech on matters such as Islam and multiculturalism. It is a tailor-made word designed to inflict maximum emotional impact on a mostly leftwing academia and to help further the cause of the Islamists whose ultimate goal is to subjugate the western world with their undemocratic political system. It is important to keep in mind that the term Islamophobia is an oxymoron whose main purpose is to attain preferential treatment and concessions from those in charge. The term can be invoked in any situation where devout Muslims have a grievance and wish to get the upper hand, and in many cases the mere utterance of the pernicious word is enough to sway the outcome of a dispute, whether it is a perceived one or real one.  The term has supplanted the more archaic and well used word racism which in the last couple of decades has lost much of its emotional clout and ability to suppress criticism due to excessive usage.

The vast majority of western liberal intellectuals these days seem to equate islamophobia with intense hatred of Muslims as individuals who for the most part happens to be non Caucasians and hence worthy of their pity. It would have been a noble gesture if this was true, but unfortunately for them it’s not. What they incorrectly see as hatred towards individuals and which they so easily label islamophobia, is in fact a very rational fear of Islam as a political system whose ultimate goal, according to the Muslims’ own holy book the Koran, is to establish a worldwide Caliphate governed by Islamic principles and Islamic law i.e. to overthrow secular western democracies and to force barbaric Islamic rule upon the indigenous populations.  

The reason why we are faced with this problem is a direct result of the failure of those in power to see Islam in a truthful light. They have failed to recognize that Islam is much more than a religion. In our part of the world religion is seen as a spiritual and very personal relationship between the practitioner and God. This isn’t the case in Islam where faith and devotion is a public matter that involves everybody in society. Everything is built around Islam and a political and judicial system with strict codes of conduct and often barbaric punishment methods are employed. Islam is a governing system whose purpose is to completely control every facet of life, no matter how minor and insignificant. Its ultimate goal as prescribed by Mohammad himself is for Islam to spread to all corners of the world by any means necessary, including brute force.

One could say that the main issue with Islam, and the reason why so many people all over the world resist it is so vehemently is that it demands  that non-Muslims who want nothing to do with it are forced to conform or suffer the consequences, which in many cases means death or a life in serfdom.  Surely this knowledge begs for some important philosophical questions to be asked such as, should political ideologies enjoy special privileges, and if so why?  Is it reasonable that a political ideology should be exempt from criticism and ridicule considering that western politics is all about ridiculing and insulting opposing political parties and candidates?

What people need to realize is that today’s criticism of Islam is first and foremost political based as it focuses solely on the violent actions which are often supported and embraced by Islamic doctrines. Very few people criticize Islam for its spiritual aspects, such as praying five times a day, fasting, believing in Allah and believing that Mohammad is his messenger. The criticism focuses solely on the undemocratic nature of the religion/political system and the fact that so many of its adherents are unwilling to respect other religions, cultural practises and political beliefs. This is what it all boils down to. Unfortunately western liberals fail to grasp this or decide to deliberately ignore this. The criticism is merely opposition to a political ideology that is hostile to traditional western values, nothing more and nothing less.

It is also a paradox that the most devoted supporters of Islam in western academia have never actually bothered to read the Koran or the sunnah. Yet they claim to know more about Islam than those who have studied the religion in great detail. Consequently they fail to see the obvious which should be right in front of their eyes, namely that Islamic doctrines espouse views that are far worse than anything they accuse the so-called islamophobes of. Modern western liberals are stuck in a rut which they seem quite content to be trapped in. Many of them display the very same characteristics that were so prevalent among the academics involved in the nurture vs. nature debate that was raging in Norway a couple of years ago where the sociologists interviewed maintained that pretty much everything in life is determined by environmental factors and completely chose to ignore the genetic aspect of the question.

It seems incredulous that anyone can assess Islam as a religion without acknowledging or taking into account its violent doctrines. How is it possibly to understand the underlying factors that motivate a devout Muslim if one doesn’t understand the religious principles that formed him? One could actually refer to the Koran as the genetic component of Islam. Remove it from the equation all together and one will be unable to come up with any meaningful answers or any valuable explanations as to Islam’s true nature. Which brings us to the heart of the matter. Why should anyone feel compelled to embrace and tolerate a political system that is hostile towards those that fail to show it sufficient respect? Another question is of course whether political ideologies really need constitutional protection? Yes, certain political principles should be enshrined in a constitution, but political agendas or ideologies should not. On the contrary ideologies should always be challenged and questioned. 

It is important that people understand that Islam also applies to them as non Muslims. It’s not just practising Muslims that are made to suffer under Islamic rule, every non Muslim will, according to the Koran be treated as a second class citizen and in worst case scenario be killed and these are principles that are practised today in many areas of the Islamic world. The obvious question that everybody should ask themselves is why we should be forced to respect a system that wants to seriously punish those that fail to respect it. It is highly unlikely that anyone would support a law that would legally compel them to respect a political party and ban them from ridiculing it. Islam is unfortunately such an ideology and it has already been given preferential status in many western nations. It’s imperative that people understand this, and in order to do so it is essential to study the Islamic doctrines and get a proper overall picture of Islam as a religion, political and judicial system, and not to be afraid of what one might discover.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

The right to bear arms is a no-brainer

I’ve been meaning to write about the right to bear arms for a while now. The issue of weapon legislation has received renewed media attention in Norway following the terrorist attacks in 2011, where the terrorist Anders Behring Breivik gunned down 69 innocent people in cold blood on the island of Utøya. Many people in Norway claim that this terrorist attack is the best argument for further restricting private gun ownership; I would say that this unfortunate incident is the best argument for allowing law abiding citizens to bear arms and to legally be able to use them to defend themselves. There is no denying that Anders Behring Breivik could have been eliminated with relative ease if any of the victims on the island that terrible day had been armed. But even if we for arguments sake accept that Utøya is a valid argument for further restricting private gun ownership, then it should also be accepted that there are thousands of other episodes from Norway that strongly suggest that the right to bear arms is the only logical way to go. Unfortunately in Norway and in many other countries in Europe the subject of private gun ownership has taken on ideological overtones where people who express pro-gun views are branded as morally corrupt and evil.

One thing that I find rather perplexing is the amount of people that seem to equate Americans' constitutional right to bear arms with the right to literally shoot others at will. This is of course ludicrous and it couldn’t be further from the truth. This very typical European way of looking at the issue is misguided and very simplistic and on the border of being downright naive. The right to bear arms is more about the right to defend rather than the right to cause harm. To get a better understanding of the rationale behind the right to bear arms we need to take a look at the issue from a slightly different angle and by doing so it should become evident that this right makes perfect sense.

I maintain that every law abiding human being on this earth have an inalienable right to not be physically harmed by others. This means that no individual have the moral right to indiscriminately or premeditatedly attack or in any other way inflict pain upon an innocent person, and by innocent I mean someone that hasn’t physically hurt others or violated criminal laws that are based on sound democratic doctrines. This is also a principle that is steeped in traditional western philosophy and which is deeply rooted in our psyche. Now, if we accept this assertion then we also have to accept that a person being physically attacked have a legitimate and moral right to defend himself against the aggressor or aggressors.  To arrive at any other conclusion would be logical fallacy as one cannot possibly agree with one and not the other. To dismiss this logical train of thought would be the equivalent of claiming that the earth is both round and flat at the same time, which of course doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

So if we agree that no one has the moral right to physically harm innocent individuals then we also have to concede that innocent individuals have a moral right to resist and fight back when attacked. And if we maintain that people have a moral right to defend themselves then that would invariably mean that we have to make sure that they have the means and possibilities to exercise this right, if not the principle of right to self defence becomes nothing but a hollow shell without any substance. It is therefore difficult to understand the strong moral aversion that some display when debating whether law-abiding citizens should have the right to defend themselves with weapons against intruders or assailants attacking them for no apparent reason. I am also amazed that opponents of the right to bear arms find the use of force as a method to prevent an innocent person from becoming a victim of a crime so utterly reprehensible. Does this strong aversion imply that they believe it to be morally preferable to see an innocent victim harmed rather than to have a violent perpetrator neutralized?

Another question worth asking is why is it morally justifiable for a police officer to use force in such a scenario and inexcusable for a private individual? Surely the action of both the police officer and the ordinary citizen will have the same outcome. A bullet from a police officer’s gun will cause the exact same amount of damage as the bullet fired from the gun of an ordinary citizen, and considering that both incidents would have to be reviewed by a judicial panel to determine whether a wrongful death had occurred or not and that appropriate judicial steps would have to be taken to punish the perpetrator if this was the case there simply isn’t any difference at all between these two hypothetical scenarios. Shouldn’t the main focus be on the wellbeing of the potential victim in such circumstances, because surely it’s the criminal who is committing a crime and not the victim? What is worse, attacking someone for no justifiable reason or stopping the person that is carrying out the attack?

Another thing worth noting is that people have the right to feel safe. I would maintain that it’s akin to psychological terror to ignore the legitimate safety concerns of law abiding citizens, especially in crime ridden areas. People have the right to be able to walk down the street without having to fear getting mugged or assaulted. They have the right to go to sleep at night without having to worry about intruders trying to break into their homes and hurt them. Likewise women have the right to move around freely without having to live in a state of constant fear of being raped. Stripping individuals of these rights is the equivalent of mental torture that could over time severely affect their mental health. This is particularly applicable to Norway where crime has skyrocketed over the last few decades and where the police have shown that they are incapable of dealing properly with the problem. And on top of that the police in Norway are unarmed.

One could of course argue that if guns are made more readily available people would start using them more frequently and that this would result in disastrous consequences. Personally I don’t believe that there is much substance to that particular argument. Kitchen knives, axes, baseball bats etc are already easily available and can be purchased without any special permit and these items can quite easily be used to take someone life. But there is no evidence that would tend to suggest that people kill each other at an unprecedented scale simply because they own any of these items. If someone is intent on taking another person’s life then they are going to achieve this regardless of whether they have access to guns or not. It’s simply wrong to claim that guns kill, because they don’t. It is the people holding the guns squeezing the trigger that kill and this is very important to keep in mind.

 It’s also worth noting that the US military has conducted studies that show that most normal people would be incapable of shooting someone that they’ve never met before and who hasn’t done anything wrong to them or their families. The act of killing is a skill which has to be taught and it is something that armies around the world constantly have to strive to instil in their soldiers. To take the life of an innocent person goes against pretty much everything we’ve been taught and giving someone a gun doesn’t change this. A person’s moral compass doesn’t miraculously perform a 180 degree turn the instant a person grabs hold of a gun, nor is a person’s mental boundaries wiped clean as a result of it.

The strongest argument for allowing people to bear arms however is of course the fact that the police are incapable of preventing every single crime. This is a logical and inescapable conclusion that even the most diehard opponents of the right to bear arms accept. Even the most effective police force in the world won’t be able to show up straight away and prevent a crime that’s in progress. There will always be a delay from the time the crime is called in and until the police arrive at the scene and can start actively dealing with it. And in many cases the only thing they can do is to investigate. The sad truth is that we will never be able to completely stamp out crime from our societies. We can give it our best shot, but we will never be a hundred percent successful at it.  Nor will we ever be able to prevent Illegal guns from ending up in the hands of hardened criminals. It doesn’t matter how hard the law enforcement agencies work, we will never get there. Thus there will always be armed criminals threatening to commit and committing violence with guns. In a perfect world there wouldn’t be a need for guns but the world isn’t perfect, never has been and never will be. This is something we need to keep in mind when we debate this issue. It is wrong to take a life, but it isn’t necessarily wrong to take a life if the purpose of doing so is to protect your own life or that of others. Most people with a level-headed view of the world realize this.

So would criminals be more violent if they knew that people had a legal right to fire at them if they engage in certain criminal activities? Maybe it would, but then again it would probably also make them think twice about committing crimes in the first place. If committing certain criminal activities becomes just as risky as a game of Russian roulette the odds are that many criminals would seriously contemplate their career options and decide that it makes more sense to stay on the straight and narrow. Another point is that if governments take away people’s rights to bear arms they’re basically playing into the hands of the criminals. There is nothing that hardened criminals want more than victims that can’t defend themselves and a police force that is stretched beyond capacity and incapable of providing them with any meaningful resistance.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The institution of political asylum needs to be scrapped

Is a nation morally obliged to honour current refugee conventions set out by international organizations such as the UN? When considering the consequences of these policies and the severe repercussions they are having on the affected nations the answer has to be a resounding no. No nation should be made to uphold laws and conventions that severely weaken their ability to uphold an orderly society and subsequently surrenders their national sovereignty. To religiously and uncritically follow the recommendations of unelected international organizations without giving the slightest considerations as to whether the recommendations offered by these are beneficial or not cannot be labelled as sound practice and should therefore be rejected on a moral basis. Before any important decision is made in any matter the consequences should always be weighed up against one another. If the benefits exceed the disadvantages then it stands to reason that the decision is a healthy one and vice versa. Unfortunately this principle is no longer held in high regard in the western world. Today important political decisions are largely dictated by emotions rather than reason unlike a couple decades ago when logic was a much more prevalent feature.

Recommendations and laws should always be subjected to strict scrutiny before they are applied in order to avoid undesirable consequences. The current conventions on refugees have become a straitjacket that has been forced upon the nations of the west and one which they seem unable to extricate themselves from. Even hinting about the validity of the laws is equated to racism and is condemned in the strongest of terms. In Europe, the cradle of democracy, new laws have even been introduced to limit and discourage criticism of such politically correct doctrines. We are now at a stage where swift sanctions will be implemented against those countries that are tempted to violate what has been dictated to them by these unelected and highly undemocratic international organizations. The conventions have successfully removed the right of western nations to stake out their own future and thus the right to decide their own fate which flies in the face of the universal declaration of human rights drafted by the UN in the aftermath of WW2. International treaties have become the almighty deity which the righteous elites worship and which cannot under any circumstances be question. It has almost taken on a religious form.

In the western world the principle of offering a safe haven to those who are persecuted for their political beliefs is a noble one which most rational people would agree with. The practice of bestowing indisputable rights to any person entering the west claiming to be persecuted however is not. The reluctance to take on board this simple fact has resulted in the hijacking of these conventions by economic migrants and the organized criminal gangs that make billions aiding them. The conventions have become the most important cog in the economic redistribution machinery in which poor people from the third world are allowed to resettle in the more affluent west at an enormous financial cost to the host nations and with the overhanging threat of severe sanctions against those countries that don’t comply. The refugee conventions have morphed into a system that rewards those on the lower rungs of the social ladder and not those it was intended to help i.e. the ones fleeing political persecution. It’s a system which grants immense rights to the poor at the expense of the middle and working classes.

There is also a racial aspect to it which is largely ignored, as the laws cater solely to ethnic and religious minorities. It’s a paradox that nations claiming to abhor racial discrimination grant political asylum to individuals from Afghanistan with all the financial benefits this entails on the basis that they are poor, but on the other hand vehemently refuse to extend the same favour to poor people from other western nations. It comes across as a discriminatory policy when considering that the element of political persecution has been completely removed from the equation. The system is in fact so flawed that we have now reached the stage where criminals that commit heinous crimes in their native countries cannot be deported on the basis that it’s a violation of their human rights. Even in those cases where they commit violent crimes in their host nations and constitute a real danger for the indigenous population the laws that dictate these matters are so strict that they cannot be deported. The act of granting political asylum to hardened criminals can never be justified morally, nor can it be justified that the act of evading justice has become a criterion for political asylum. If the aim of the conventions was to prevent criminals from being executed one might as well introduce a scheme in which inmates on death row in the third world were allowed to come to the west in order to prevent such penalties. The policy of harbouring fugitives and enabling them to prey upon the law-abiding can never be justified morally.

The current refugee conventions are flawed because they don’t acknowledge that the interest of the nation states has to take precedent and not the interest of the refugees. No one has the moral right to dictate to other nations how they should govern their countries as long as they don’t engage in genocidal policies or in other ways actively engage in brutal persecution of their own citizens. Just as no human has the right to dictate to others what they can and cannot believe in, or to dictate how they should conduct their lives. If a nation refuses to accept asylum seekers, both genuine and bogus, then that’s for them to decide. One can feel morally appalled about such a decision, but the world community should not have the right to force or use sanctions against those nations until they change their ways. If the world community is upset about grave human rights violation then the world community should rather intervene militarily in the country where the alleged abuses are taking place and not punish innocent countries that play no part in such human rights violations. To force a free and democratic nation to accept ideologically driven policies is just as immoral as the decision to refuse to offer a safe harbour for someone who is politically persecuted.

One could also maintain that it is morally unacceptable for asylum seekers to conceal their true identity from the authorities in their host nations in order to receive political asylum. One could easily describe such activities as immoral and criminal. One could also claim that the act of deliberately misleading the authorities in order to receive benefits one isn’t legally entitled to is fraud. Genuine political refugees are individuals who have taken part in activities which aim to democratize the political system in their native countries. Genuine political refugees don’t travel half way across the globe bypassing several democratic countries in the process based on selfish financial considerations which is the case today. Genuine refugees want to return to their native countries when the opportunity arises, unlike today’s asylum seekers whose overriding goal is to relocate permanently to the west based solely on financial considerations. Nor do genuine refugees import undemocratic principles espoused by the regimes they had to flee from, unlike the majority of today’s bogus asylum seekers which overwhelmingly embrace the norms and values of their native countries.  

It’s also a paradox that western governments support and sponsor highly undemocratic regimes, but at the same time acknowledge that asylum seekers fleeing from these regimes are entitled to our protection. How can a government justify granting political asylum to someone who is fleeing from a regime that they are investing huge resources in propping up as is the case with the Afghan regime? It is not immoral to assert that a society has the moral right to stake out its own political path and decide its own future, nor is it immoral to assert that a government has the right to take extraordinary steps to ensure the safety of its citizens. Any international law or treaty that removes this right is a flawed one. The decision has to be made by the nation itself and none other. One could of course dismiss this argument with the assertion that it would be a violation of current international refugee conventions and leave it at that, but one could also try to delve a little bit deeper into the matter and analyse it in a rational way. Unfortunately it’s political incorrect to talk about the very severe repercussions the policies are having for the host nations in the western world. The willingness to uphold the interest of one’s own nation seems to be a thing of the past. It seems that the lack of a tangible external enemy such as the Soviet Union, which was the case during the cold war, have inhibited the west’s ability to see clearly and reject policies that are detrimental to the stability of our societies. It is important that we challenge the political leadership of the west whenever they try to convince us that their hands are tied in these matters and claim that the final decision rest solely with international organizations such as the UN. The refugee conventions are only convenient tools for left leaning governments to implement their own policies which aim to create multicultural societies in the western world, and that is why they should be rejected. Humans are granted inalienable rights maybe it’s time to grant similar rights to nation states too?