Charlie Hebdo Massacre

Daniel Hannan: 'Instead of making documentaries about powerful, shadowy terrorist networks, let's laugh at the numpties'

The British MEP challenges the conservative consensus on terror and Islam.

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Daniel Hannan of England is many American conservatives' favorite Tory: a member of the European Parliament who eloquently critiques the Eurocrats, Britain's domestic bureaucracies, and his own party leaders when they stray too far toward the center. But Hannan hails from the relatively libertarian portion of his party, and at times he endorses ideas that wouldn't earn a lot of cheers on the American talk-radio right. Consider this response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre, which begins with words that Sean Hannity might endorse but then takes the argument in a rather different direction:

Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling, from glen to glen, and down the mountain side. The summer's gone, and all the flowers are dying. 'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide.

To argue that the Paris murders were unrelated to Islam would be silly. The terrorists shouted "God is great" on their way in to the Charlie Hebdo offices, and "The Prophet is avenged" on their way out. Amedy Coulibaly, who murdered the hostages in the kosher deli, was praying when the police made their move. Like other Western-born extremists, the Paris gunmen believed they had found something in Islam that justified their pathological tendencies—something that other religions don't seem to offer to the same degree. You don't find many Anglicans, say, making their way to Nigeria to take up arms alongside their beleaguered co-religionists.

Still, it's essential to understand the precise nature of the relationship. The diagnosis has to be right before we move to the prescription. Scriptural exegesis takes us only so far. Some Quranic verses seem to justify violence, others seem to extol peace. Like other revealed religions, Islam can be understood in more than one way—necessarily, since it seeks to express transcendent truths in earthly language.

But textual analysis is the wrong tool when exploring the motives of youths with limited religious knowledge. Two jihadi wannabes from Birmingham, Yusuf Sarwar and Mohammed Ahmed, recently pleaded guilty to terrorism after being detained on their way to Syria. At their trial, it emerged that the last books they had ordered from Amazon for the journey were "Islam for Dummies" and "The Koran for Dummies".

"The experience of many ages proves that men may be ready to fight to the death, and to persecute without pity, for a religion whose creed they do not understand, and whose precepts they habitually disobey," wrote Macaulay in 1840 and, as usual, he was spot on. The profiles of Saïd and Chérif Kouachi hardly suggest religious devotion. Theirs, rather, was the standard terrorist background: young, male, vain, angry, a history of petty crime and drug abuse, a yearning to be part of something bigger….Islamist gunmen, in terms of character, are not so very different from, say, Red Brigaders or Baader-Meinhof gangsters. We see the same traits again and again: narcissism, alienation, violent proclivities, a belief that you can see things more clearly than anyone else.

After adding more details to the argument—assessments from social scientists, a leaked briefing from MI5, etc.—Hannan turns to "the implications for public policy":

If we're dealing with what a former MI6 director calls "pathetic figures" rather than religious zealots, how should we respond? Repudiation by the wider Muslim community is of limited importance: extremists regard mainstream Muslims as traitors; indeed, in numerical terms, Muslims are by far their most common victims. Nor is theological refutation of much use when dealing with men whose religious identity is at the level of "Islam for Dummies".

So what should we do? Well, for a start, we can stop taking these saddoes at their own estimation. Let's treat them, not as soldiers, but as common criminals. Instead of making documentaries about powerful, shadowy terrorist networks, let's laugh at the numpties who end up in our courts.

Read the rest here. Reason.tv's interview with Hannan is here.

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  1. So what should we do? Well, for a start, we can stop taking these saddoes at their own estimation. Let’s treat them, not as soldiers, but as common criminals. Instead of making documentaries about powerful, shadowy terrorist networks, let’s laugh at the numpties who end up in our courts.

    Yes, a million times.

    1. Can you imagine how much better off we’d be if the government had treated 9/11 as a criminal act rather than an act of war?

      1. I wasted an enormous amount of time on H&R trying to make that point way back then.

        1. I wasted an enormous amount of time on H&R…

          Any added modifier is just redundant.

      2. The addition of a third jurisprudence (terrorist law) has done little to make us safer. These wannabes are not military, they are criminals.

      3. Well, what the government did that was more in the “criminal” category rather than the “war” category hasn’t exactly been a big benefit.

        PATRIOT ACT, anyone?

        Maybe the way to look at this is: the government did everything it could to treat it as a criminal matter, and we bitch endlessly about the results.

        It also “fought” (kinda) a war.

        This was the worst of both worlds, no question. As an exercise in alternate reality, I wonder which of the alternatives (criminal-only, or war-only) would have been preferable?

        1. what the government did that was more in the “criminal” category

          What the government did was elevate “normal” crime to the level of international espionage. So that the government can spy on anyone and everyone for any fucking reason because “terrorism, dude”.

        2. R C: good insight. We didn’t really treat terrorism as a war.

  2. “The experience of many ages proves that men may be ready to fight to the death, and to persecute without pity, for a religion whose creed they do not understand, and whose precepts they habitually disobey,”

    Yup. Islam isn’t the problem. The problem is that there are a lot of young men who are poor and disenfranchised and fucking angry about it, which makes them easy targets for cynical old men with powerboners to use the language of culture, religion, or patriotism to harness that rage and turn them into cannon fodder.

    1. “The problem is that there are a lot of young men who are poor and disenfranchised and fucking angry about it, which makes them easy targets for cynical old men with powerboners to use the language of culture, religion, or patriotism to harness that rage and turn them into cannon fodder.”

      And it’s just a coincidence that those ‘cynical old men’ are usually Muslims, that they send these young men off to fight in civil wars largely started by Muslims, and that every Arab Muslim country with the possible exceptions of Tunisia and Jordan are among the most autocratic on Earth.

      If it were just ‘a lot of young men who are poor and disenfranchised’ you’d expect them to take up a number of different causes or join a number of different cults. Yet they all seem to join the same cult.

      Why is that? And why is it that when an ‘angry young man’ in Ohio (who happened to be a white American) decided that he wanted to go kill a bunch of congressmen recently, he chose to convert to Islam and use that as his justification?

      It’s always the same religion they join, so to claim it’s not about Islam is simply not true.

      1. Sure it is. The ones that don’t want to convert to Islam just become cops.

      2. It is about Islam. But, only a variant of Islam. I think most of us know most Muslims are decent enough sorts who just want to get along. But, yeah, pretending the connection between terrorism and Islam only confuses the matter.

        1. “I think most of us know most Muslims are decent enough sorts who just want to get along.”

          I agree that most Muslims in America are decent sorts. Globally I’m not so sure.

          Go look at some polling numbers from England following the 7/7 attacks. Something like 25% of Muslims in Britain thought those attacks were justified.

          Now if 1/4th hold views that vile, then surely a large proportion hold views that are pretty terrible but not quite so extreme.

          What do you think the average British Muslim thinks about gay people? How about apostasy?

          http://www.macleans.ca/news/ca…..h-dignity/

          In a Toronto public school, they let an Imam come in before school to lead Muslim kids in a prayer in the cafeteria. He separated the women who were menstruating from the rest of the group because they were ‘unclean.’

          If this is the guy they got to come to a public school in Toronto, how many Canadian Muslims do you suspect have similar views?

          I have nothing but respect for Muslims like the mayor of Rotterdam who actually are secularists, I just suspect a distressingly high portion of Western Muslims aren’t.

          1. It’s not a conflict between secularists and serious believers. As the essay above said, these terrorists are often the kind of people who read “Islam for Dummies.”

            In other words, just because a Muslim takes his (or her) religion seriously, prays to Mecca, makes his hajj, etc., doesn’t mean he’s just a ticking time bomb yearning to blow everyone up.

            In fact, the kind of people who read “Islam for dummies” strike me as a wee bit secular.

      3. To a certain degree, you are correct. However, remember that there are/were also things like the IRA and ETA, who also are mainly composed of thugs and gangsters who have the same psychological profile as the thugs and killers who convert to Islam and shoot cartoonists. The Muslim world is a hell of a lot bigger than Ireland or the Basque regions of Spain and France, so it’s going to have more asshole groups for assholes to join and be assholes with.

        What does it mean? I think mostly it means that violent assholes are going to find something to join to really express their violence and narcissism, and militant Islam is a very prominent candidate for that, so it gets a lot of them.

        1. I think mostly it means that violent assholes are going to find something to join to really express their violence and narcissism, and militant Islam is a very prominent candidate for that, so it gets a lot of them.

          Hear! Hear!

        2. “I think mostly it means that violent assholes are going to find something to join to really express their violence and narcissism, and militant Islam is a very prominent candidate for that, so it gets a lot of them.”

          Yes, but the problem isn’t only ‘militant’ Islam. A large portion of the problem is non-militant Muslims who have views we would find abhorrent if a Christian had the same ideas, but get excused because we grade Muslims on a curve. Basically, if you don’t advocate actual murder, you get to declare yourself a moderate Muslim, even if a Christian with the exact same views would be an evil right-winger.

          Then you’ve got this other group of Muslims of the Zaid Jilani sort who spend hour after endless hour bitching about people who dare to say anything mean about Islam, yet has shockingly few things to say against Islamic radicalism. Jilani may be a ‘moderate’ himself, but people like him who view “Islamophobia” as somehow worse than Islamic terrorism run interference for the radicals by drawing a false equivalence between criticism of Islam and those who murder in its name.

          1. Yes, and each of those people who do these things are assholes. If someone’s views are abhorrent, they’re abhorrent. If I encounter a supposedly moderate Muslim who thinks that menstruating women are unclean, I’m going to think that person is a reprehensible asshole. Then I’d ask them how anyone can trust something that bleeds for five days and doesn’t die.

            The point is, you’ve got to deal with each person individually, because you just don’t know what their beliefs are until they tell you. Even if a much higher percentage of Muslim believe disgusting things, some of them still don’t and you can’t know until you talk to them.

            1. No. You don’t just murder all of them. But you don’t coddle them either. If people want to believe crazy shit, that in itself shouldn’t be a crime. Our society, however, ought to be confident enough to make believing such crazy shit really suck. You are right Episiarch. The solution to the person is to tell them they are an asshole and have nothing to do with them. Make the price of believing such shit becoming an object of scorn and ridicule. Do that and people will decide believing those things isn’t a good idea.

              That is not what we do. Instead, thinking that way gives you victim creed and gets a whole bunch of people to run out and tell you how understanding they are and how evil people like you who object to their views are. Doing that just encourages and emboldens it.

              1. Kinda shitkicking for its own sake here, but don’t you generally oppose precisely the type of social ostracization you’re suggesting when the targets are, say, conservative Christian business owners standing in the way of right-thinking people vis-a-vis, say, gay rights?

                1. Sure I do PM. And frankly if Christians start behaving like Muslims, I will be happy to kick them too. Moreover, I don’t want to shun all Muslims, just ones who believe crazy shit. Indeed, there are some Christians out there I would put on the “fuck them they are nuts list too”.

                  Most importantly, I am not saying the government should do this. I don’t’ think it should be a crime to be a crazy Christian or a crazy Muslim. I am just saying being such should not be something that makes you sympathetic or gets you anywhere.

                  1. I get what you’re saying, but I don’t think it’s very different from those who would say “I don’t want to shun all Christians, just ones who believe crazy shit.” One person’s “crazy shit” might be advocating terrorism, another person’s “crazy shit” might be refusing to cater a gay wedding or accommodate gay guests at a B&B. I’m not saying there’s a moral equivalence between terrorism and homophobia, but there’s plenty of people who would say so, and your only counter-argument to them is basically this.

                    My only real point being (aside from general shitkicking), you have to be careful with that type of thing because it’s easy to slip right down a “first you, then me” slope.

                    1. Yes PM you do. But such is life. Sometimes you have to step on the slope because circumstances force you to. I am all for tolerance and leaving people alone. But some people won’t leave me alone and that is a problem that can’t be ignored.

                    2. Perhaps the dividing line should have more to do with the violence (or lack thereof) which would be required in implementing said “crazy shit”.

                      A lot of Christian “crazy shit” falls into the non-violent category. For example, believing in creationism is stupid and crazy but does not in and of itself entail violence. Same with a moral opposition to homosexuality. Though this category is perhaps more ambiguous given the recent legal state of homosexuality, there is nothing in this view which requires violence, either.

                      In contrast, being a crazy Christian dominianist type definitely requires violence — first against non-believers, and then against dissenting believers. They would be a good example to disassociate from.

                      Muslims whose beliefs fit into the former category seem a lot better of a fit for our society than those who fit in the latter category. And since sharia law + jihad are more fundamental in a way that is less true of Christianity, the number of Muslims who fit in group #2 is a hell of a lot bigger than it is in Christianity, unfortunately.

                    3. Trouser. The line is not so much violence as it is when the belief requires everyone else’ assent to it. No one is harmed by Christians believing in strict seven day creationism. It is no different than people who believe in ghosts or crystals or UFOs or whatever. The problem arises when a belief, no matter what it is, demands that everyone else respect it. That is when the belief becomes incomparable with a free society.

                      It is perfectly fine to think drawing Muhammad is a sin and doing so puts your soul in jeopardy. What is not fine is thinking that everyone must respect your view such that the government should step into stop someone from doing it or you are obligated to commit acts of violence if they don’t.

              2. A Muslim who in any way merely sympathizes with the Charlie Hebdo murderers (as in, “I don’t agree with murdering them, but they had it coming”) should be treated in the same way as a Southerner who sympathized with the 16th Street Baptist Church bombers back in 1963 (as in, “I don’t agree with bombing churches, but they had it coming”) or, more recently, anti-government types who sympathized with Timothy McVeigh, anti-abortion types who sympathized with Eric Rudolph, and anti-cop types who celebrate when a cop is murdered.

                A decent person does not associate with people who sympathize with murderers.

      4. I doubt that many US politicians and military commanders are Muslims, but they manage to recruit thousands of poor and powerless young men every year with promises of good jobs and respect using the language of honor and patriotism, even though those young men also face the very real prospect of dying for nothing but someone elses political legacy.

        1. You rarely see the “all servicemen are uneducated bumpkins” and the “all servicemen are sociopaths”/terrorist moral equivalence together in the same space. Mega bonus points there, Hugh.

          1. You never go full Ted Rall.

      5. Some angry men use Islam as their justification, some don’t. That Ohio man used Islam; Elliot Rodger did not.

        What exactly is your point? What is to be done about Islam’s involvement, and how is it different than what Hannan has said?

    2. Some of them have turned out to not be that poor.

      1. My understanding is that most of them aren’t poor.

        1. Your international sorts are generally not poor.

          Your idiot “militia” members, I suspect, mostly are.

          It doesn’t matter, though. Being poor does not excuse bad behavior.

    3. Islam isn’t the problem. The problem is that there are a lot of young men who are poor and disenfranchised and fucking angry about it, which makes them easy targets for cynical old men with powerboners to use the language of culture, religion, or patriotism to harness that rage and turn them into cannon fodder.

      It’s both. There have always been stupid, angry young men; in most societies this does not result in a group of internationally-oriented terrorists who plot acts of violence targeting civilians.

      The examples which exist (19th-century anarchists would be another example) are the result of ideology which condones, justifies, and mandates such violence from its followers. Islam is one such ideology.

  3. …let’s laugh at the numpties who end up in our courts.

    Try that and you end up opening another can of worms entirely. Probably more than one.

    This guy peaked after playing the mermaid in Splash.

    1. Dude, Kill Bill, I mean come on.

  4. The profiles of Sa?d and Ch?rif Kouachi hardly suggest religious devotion. Theirs, rather, was the standard terrorist background: young, male, vain, angry, a history of petty crime and drug abuse, a yearning to be part of something bigger….Islamist gunmen, in terms of character, are not so very different from, say, Red Brigaders or Baader-Meinhof gangsters. We see the same traits again and again: narcissism, alienation, violent proclivities, a belief that you can see things more clearly than anyone else.

    Stupid, angry, young men do bad things all the time. Islam is only one of the excuses they use to justify their bad acts.

    1. Radical Islam, though, provides an avenue from petty stupidity to mass murder. That’s a problem.

      1. Yes, radical Islam searches for stupid, angry, young men and uses them to kill innocent people. But it’s the “radical” that is the problem, not the “Islam”.

  5. Hey, there’s nothing funny about satire, bub.

  6. Instead of making documentaries about powerful, shadowy terrorist networks, let’s laugh at the numpties who end up in our courts.

    I think there’s a lot to this. To a large extent the culture reinforces their delusions of being “fierce Muslim warriors”. By portraying them as this existential threat, we’ve afforded them orders of magnitude more credence than they deserve. Alternately, portraying them as poor victims lashing out also legitimizes their sense of grievance. Instead, let’s call these guys what they are – losers.

    1. I can agree with that. Mohamed Atta was by no means poor or disenfranchised. He certainly was a loser.

  7. Someone ought to grab a video of a pickup full of militants rolling into a city to start fighting and set it to the old Benny Hill music. Then maybe air a couple episodes of World’s Dumbest Terrorists on TruTV.

    1. Then maybe air a couple episodes of World’s Dumbest Terrorists on TruTV.

      Like this?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0H7UYLcTxog

      1. Ya know, a google for “stupid terrorists” is quite productive and amusing.

      2. From the comments: “That’s quite a statement. A million dollar missile takes out a fifty cent piece of shit flag.”

  8. “let’s laugh at the numpties who end up in our courts.”

    Charlie Hebdo did that. How’d that work out for them?

    1. Exactly.

    2. The difference between CH and say Ann Barnhardt or, well, me, is that Charlie wasn’t able to mount armed self-defense; whereas, Ms. Barnhardt and myself can and will.

    3. It is easy to laugh when it is not you and yours getting murdered.

      When Hannan and Walker can make jokes at these people when they threaten to murder you for doing so, I can buy this strategy a bit more. However, Reason staff has proved their lack of backbone before.

      1. First you laugh at them, then you murder the ones who don’t get the message. It is a two pronged attack.

        People need to understand that there are a good number of these people who are so committed that killing them is the only solution. You have to hunt down and kill the hard core ones while laughing and ridiculing the rest such that they decide to do something different.

        1. I shocked one of my squishy-liberal co-workers the other day by observing that there really are a fair number of people in this world who just need killing. Can’t recall the context.

          1. If Muslims don’t stop doing this, there are going to be a lot more people, liberal and conservative alike, who are going to agree with her.

            1. I’m thinking you meant, agree with me?

        2. Hannan wants to treat them as common criminals, so I don’t think he is down with step 2, and I know Reason is not down with step 1 when it might mean danger.

          1. You treat them like criminals and they will not yield and give you an excuse to shoot them. And if they do yield, stick them in a cage for the rest of their lives and forget they ever existed.

  9. This guy is dead on. The more we glamorize these losers as some kind of arch criminals, the more attractive becoming a terrorist is to other losers. The US response to the Boston bombing is almost a textbook example of how not to respond to that kind of attack. First we had all of the bullshit “Boston Strong” moaning and whining that did nothing but tell everyone in the world how badly those clowns hurt us and how big of a deal what they did was. This did nothing but tell every loser in the world the way to become a big cheese was to do what they did. I so wish the response would have been “well that sucks but 8 people died in car crashes this weekend too, big fucking deal” instead of what it was. Then of course the retards at Rolling Stone put the one little bastard on its cover. That was real helpful. Lets make it so being a terrorist also makes you a celebrity.

    De-glamorize these assholes. Make fun of them. Make being a radical Muslim a laughing stock. That means religious Muslims have to come off the Prog “oppressed people” list. Stop coddling this shit. If you want to wear a Burka or run around and preach the jihad, fine, have fun but understand you are a complete loser that no one in society will have any use for or view you as anything but a complete loser.

    1. There’s really no winning, because ostracization also feeds their persecution complex. There’s still neo Nazis running around for exactly that reason. Now consider how many more Muslims there are in the world than neo Nazis.

      1. Sure it would with a few. But you can handle a few. The white supremacist Christian nuts who live on compounds out in Utah rightfully have a real persecution complex. Big deal. There are not enough of them to matter. They are only a problem if their views are glamorous and widespread.

        1. Sure it would with a few. But you can handle a few.

          2 billion-ish Muslims in the world. Even if only 1% are susceptible to radicalism, you’re still talking about a pretty big number. And the persecution complex is way worse with religious types than other ideologies. The concept of religious martyrdom has no real secular equivalent. When ostracization, internalized as persecution by “the world”, only reinforces your perception of self-righteousness it’s not very effective. Christianity got to be one of the world’s dominant religions almost entirely on the back of that thinking.

          1. You make valid points PM. It may be that Muslims are incapable of not believing crazy offensive shit while still remaining Muslims. If that is true, and it might be, it is a real problem for us and especially for Muslims.

            Clearly coddling them and appeasing them is not working. Moreover, I don’t know how you can even do that consistent with a free society. These people want criticizing Muhammad made illegal and think that our not doing that is persecuting them.

            The bottom line is we can’t have a free society where people are not free to criticize religion or worse are free to criticize all regions except Islam. So Muslims either need to give up on the idea that no one should be allowed to lampoon Muhammad or get the fuck out of our society. It is that simple. And if they won’t give up that idea and won’t leave and continue to do things like they did in Paris, then we are going to have to forcibly evict them if we want to maintain our freedoms.

            Religious Muslims seem to be making their presence in your society incompatible with freedom. And if that continues to be the case, then it will either be them or our freedoms. I am taking freedom.

            1. I agree with you on the general point. Islam is about 500 years overdue for its own enlightenment. I’m just saying that ostracization may not be an effective tactic against radicalism, because radicalism, particularly of the religious variety, tends to feed off it. These are people that already have an “us against the world” viewpoint, which they believe sets them apart as god’s own special snowflakes.

              1. I don’t think it feeds off of ostracism. I think it feeds off of glamor. Being ostracized can make it seem glamorous. Everyone loves an underdog. So you don’t just ostracize it. You ridicule it and take away its glamor and appeal.

                1. That’s true, but I guess the problem is that it’s hard to control how those types of people are going to perceive it.

      2. There’s really no winning, because ostracization also feeds their persecution complex. There’s still neo Nazis running around for exactly that reason.

        Actually, I suspect that the ostracization works exactly the other way. Yes, if you’re already a neo-Nazi, you’ll probably be offended and feel persecuted. On the other hand, we have to wonder how many people would be neo-Nazis if being one didn’t automatically identify you as a fucking loser.

        1. On the other hand, we have to wonder how many people would be neo-Nazis if being one didn’t automatically identify you as a fucking loser.

          A hell of a lot more. Contrast the number of people who claim to be communists with the number who claim to be Nazis. Saying you are a communist doesn’t brand you as a loser, although it should. So more people do it.

        2. The results of WWII had a lot to do with that as well though. What I’m saying is that your urbanite wayward white youth who decides to become a skinhead does so precisely because it feeds a victim complex and gives him a sense of identity. And every attempt to marginalize him just serves as further evidence of his persecution and reinforces his ideology. Fringe groups thrive off of that shit. Even mainstream groups capitalize on the phenomenon by casting themselves as victimized underdogs, as anyone who has even been subscribed to a major-party mailing list could tell you.

          1. But PM, couldn’t you say that about any ideology no matter how loathsome? The reality is anyone who thinks that women should be covered from head to toe in public and that it is okay to murder anyone who criticizes or satirizes Muhammad is a crazy fuck. I am not seeing how it is a good idea to refuse to point that out to him and treating him accordingly out of fear he might not like us. He already hates us. Appeasing him is likely just to embolden him.

            1. Oh don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with the tactic per se, I just don’t think it would necessarily be that effective in combating radicalism. It’s kind of a catch 22.

              1. It is just another reason why these people suck so bad. They force us to be assholes. You should be tolerant of people’s religious beliefs. At the same time, those beliefs should at some level be tolerant of you too. They don’t have to like you but they at least have to respect your right to not drink the kool-aide.

          2. I think you’re assuming membership in the group to start with, where I’m not. Yes, ostracization probably does reinforce the ideology of existing members. On the other hand, it makes joining that group a much more expensive proposition. Using political rhetoric as an example, do political pitches recruiting for membership talk about how much the group sucks? Or do they talk about how popular they are and all the awesome people who are members?

            1. On the other hand, it makes joining that group a much more expensive proposition.

              That’s true, but it can have the effect of making the group even more radical by attracting the worst types, which I guess is what I was getting at. Which isn’t that big of a deal if there’s not very many of them, but if they get any kind of numbers…

              Using political rhetoric as an example, do political pitches recruiting for membership talk about how much the group sucks?

              Of course not, but they do use persecution language. “Don’t let the Democrats steal your marginalized voice! Stand with us to protect innocent, unborn life!”

              “Don’t let the Republicans steal your marginalized voice! Stand with us to protect innocent women’s rights!”

              And as I said above, it’s even worse when your religion fetishizes persecution and elevates martyrdom to holiness.

      3. Let’s not overlook the fact that many radical Muslims ARE (effectively) neo-Nazis. I’m foggy on the details, but I seem to recall that some of the radical organizations can trace some pretty solid connections to actual goose-stepping German Nazism.

        1. The Nazis supported a lot of radical Muslim organizations in the war as a way to turn the Arabs against the British.

        2. the radical organizations can trace some pretty solid connections to actual goose-stepping German Nazism.

          Oh yes! Before they became pariahs, the Nazis were at the forefront of fascism, which was considered the future by many in the intelligentsia in the west. Lots of people who ran fascist organizations were happy to work with and learn from the Nazis in building the ideology, resulting in lots of connections, intercourse and alliances.

          After the war started, a whole bunch of people started burying the history of these interactions in the memory hole.

      4. I wonder if there isn’t a scaling problem with ostracizing people.

        If you ostracize them from “mainstream” society, but their corner of society doesn’t really go along and is big enough that they don’t feel isolated, then you probably haven’t accomplished anything. For neo-nazis in this country, there isn’t a big enough community that will tolerate/accept them. For radical Muslims, its not clear to me that this is true in Europe at least, and certainly not in the ME.

        IOW, if a big enough percentage of your population doesn’t ostracize them, you may be reinforcing, rather than undermining, their belief system.

        1. I guess this is kind of what I was going for.

        2. If you ostracize them from “mainstream” society, but their corner of society doesn’t really go along and is big enough that they don’t feel isolated, then you probably haven’t accomplished anything[…] IOW, if a big enough percentage of your population doesn’t ostracize them, you may be reinforcing, rather than undermining, their belief system.

          This would favor restrictionist immigration and aggressive assimilation attitudes, methinks.

  10. ‘Instead of making documentaries about powerful, shadowy terrorist networks, let’s laugh at the numpties’

    It’s already been done. Plus there’s a lot of money in documentaries about powerful, shadowy terrorist networks.

  11. at times he endorses ideas that wouldn’t earn a lot of cheers on the American talk-radio right. Consider this response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre, which begins with words that Sean Hannity might endorse but then takes the argument in a rather different direction:

    Hannan makes most of his US media appearances on rightwing talk radio. Hannity has him on quite regularly.

  12. Well, this was so well said, I really don’t think there’s anything to add.

  13. Ummm, isn’t “laughing at the numpties” precisely what Charlie Hebdo was doing, that directly led to a bunch of them being attacked and killed?

    1. Yeah. I don’t think radical Muslims would be sated by any reaction other than “Praise Allah”.

  14. Wow. Hannan’s comments are very thought provoking – I have to admit I had never seen the situation quite that way before.

    One thing that occurred to me is that there are a lot of parllels between this “Islamic radicalization of youths” and the “Climate Change warriors”.

    In both cases, you have a lot of young people :
    “disenfranchised and fucking angry about it, which makes them easy targets for cynical old men with powerboners to use the language of culture, religion, or patriotism to harness that rage and turn them into cannon fodder.”

    Any thoughts?

    1. That is an apt comparison. Radical Islam in its current form really isn’t that old and it frankly isn’t that Islamic. It is mostly a leftist, utopian anti colonial movement that took on the Muslim garb. It is just fascism with a beard and a Koran.

      In fairness to the AGW cult, they haven’t started killing people, yet. The better comparison is between say ISIS and the Khmar Rouge. Think about those two organizations and you will see what I am talking about and a good example of the point you are making.

      1. In fairness to the AGW cult, they haven’t started killing people, yet.

        They are working their way up to it though.

        REmember a few years back when I linked to what I called a maoist training program?

        Now it looks like they are starting a high school in Colorado.

        The objective is to prepare the members in myriad ways for the extreme challenges that lay in store for them. In its own way, the Trailblazers Training & Screening Program is set to be as rigorous as the training programs of special operations forces (e.g. Navy SEALs) of the military.
        The training program (Boulder, CO area) is going to be a combination of total nature immersion, rigorous academic studies, character-building experiences, and the honing of one’s thinking and organizational skills. In participation of eminent experts from around the world, this unique training program aims to turn the participants into effective global leaders and warriors in the service of humanity and the planet at large.
        The bulk of the training will be conducted in a classroom setting and will also include some substantial outdoor and experiential components.

        1. I don’t yet see marksmanship, combatives or improvised explosives on the curriculum. So, I wish them luck.

          1. Once they are thoroughly brainwashed with an all-consuming fervid desire to set the world alight with revolution, teaching them that stuff will be nothing.

  15. The better comparison is between say ISIS and the Khmar Rouge

    We have a winner!

  16. While I agree with the mockery of “Islam for Dummies” terrorists, I think it’s a mistake to dismiss them all as “common criminals.” It really is a long, slow, asymmetric religious war, regardless of the mockable aspects. The Muslim radicals really do have the Koran on their side. Contra John above, this is not some 20th century heresy dreamed up by anti-colonial Marxists. That’s part of what fueled it, but Islam is inherently totalitarian and world-conquering. The Koran is supposedly the direct, unaltered, perfect, final word of Allah. It’s hard to have a Reformation when there’s so little room for textual interpretation.

    The Marxists in Russia pre-1917, and Nazis in the ’20s, were also mocked and dismissed as “criminals” and “small minorities without widespread support.”

    1. It is not totally 20th Century, but it is definitely a hybrid. Muslims have never been suicide bombers until recently. None of the evils of the Ottoman Turks or Moguls or other Islamic conquers even comes close to the kind of insanity that is occurring under ISIS and the Taliban and in Nigeria.

      The Muslims didn’t murder and enslave every non Muslim in the places they conquered and even the most powerful Muslim empires of the past were always great powers who could be dealt with. They were not generally genocidal lunatics.

      The genocide and nihilism is new and it is straight out of 20th Century fascism. This is new and different.

      And they were right to mock the communists and Nazis. The communists and nazis took power because thy had guns and will and no one else did, not because they were mocked. The mocking was good. It just wasn’t sufficient alone.

      1. Muslims were pretty good at murdering and enslaving before the 20th century. True, there’s an extra level of insanity these days, but totalitarian and apocalyptic thinking have deep roots in Islam. That’s why the terrorists have such widespread support among Muslims in general (12-80%+ depending on the country and the survey). And worse yet, the “non-terrorist” but anti-libertarian aspects like sharia law, death for apostasy, etc., have even greater support.

        Come on, the Czar and the Weimar Republic had plenty of guns. That wasn’t the problem.

        1. Come on, the Czar and the Weimar Republic had plenty of guns. That wasn’t the problem.

          The problem was they were not willing to use them and the Nazis were. The public didn’t have guns, the government did. Both the Communists and the Nazis took over using the same tactics. You bully the government to stand aside while you engage in violence and terrorize your political enemies. Had either the Russian or German Public been armed, they would have left the Nazis in a greasy spot. They were not, so the mob tactics worked and the majority stood by and let them take over.

          Muslims were pretty good at murdering and enslaving before the 20th century.

          So were the Europeans. But the kind of enslavement and brutality that went on in even the middle ages is not the same as what is happening now. This is something new and much worse and it is the result of Western leftism fusing with Islam.

          And sure it is popular. But so was communism and fascism in the west. Violent people can be popular when the other side allows them to look like winners.

    2. Beyond mocking, you also fight this the same way we have the other forms of fascism; an armed society. Fascism has never and never will take root in this country because it is armed. There were plenty of fascists runing around America in the 20s and 30s. They just didn’t get anywhere because the country was too violent and too well armed for their tactics to work. A bunch of brown shirts could show up and terrorize a German town. They ever tried that in America and they would have gotten their heads blown off.

      The same is true here. If these assholes want to wage the Holy War in the US, I wish them luck. Americans are still armed and thankfully still pretty violent. They won’t stand a chance here and will find killing armed Americans is no where near as fun as killing unarmed Frenchman.

      1. I think we also need some memetic warfare to discredit the Koran. The message should be that it’s not the perfect word of Allah, but the work of men who may have been inspired by Allah, but were flawed men and got things wrong. That would allow Muslims to treat it like most Christians treat the Bible: a self-help book that contains some good but a lot you should ignore. Few Christians want to stone adulterers any more.

        1. It would be nice to put out an alternative to the current version of Islam. I do not think, however, non Muslims will have much luck doing that. Is Islam is going to reform, it will have to come from the inside. If it doesn’t reform and figure out a way to coexist in the modern world, the modern world will do to it what it has done to every other group and ideology that couldn’t co-exist, exterminate it.

          We are not going back to another dark ages. Technology is too far along and weapons too deadly for that. So the people who demand that we do will either give up that demand or die. Sounds terrible to say but it is true.

          They haven’t really hurt us yet and people already hate them. Imagine if some Islamic terrorists or a Islamic country manages to nuke the US or Europe or launch a really deadly bio attack. What would we do then? My guess is that if the bomb went off in the US, every Muslim in America would have to leave the country since no amount of government protection could save them from the mob. And if the government didn’t respond to the attack with something close to outright genocide against the area or country deemed responsible, the public would replace the government with someone who would.

          We are very close to things getting very ugly and it won’t be the US or the West on the receiving end of most of it.

          1. If an Islamic nuke goes off in the US, the media will go into hysterics about the “real” danger: a backlash against Muslims. But I think you’re right, that in that case there would be a real backlash.

            I think that the US and Israel should say, quietly, to the Saudis that if a Muslim nuke goes off in the US or Israel, Mecca and Medina will become glow-in-the-dark parking lots. I won’t be “fair,” and it would mean worldwide religious war, but I am not sure they think this is serious enough. Or they think they can forever get away with what they’ve been getting away with.

  17. “So what should we do?”

    It’s funny to me how a lot of Reason writers seem to forget their mistrust in our criminal justice system the second they start talking about what to do with terrorists. That, or “well, we just need MORE freedom of speech”, which ignores the one right that ensures your freedom to continue to do anything: self defense.

    Bottom line: unless we’re going to take drastic military measures, which I don’t think anyone is down with, self defense is the only thing that will protect anyone from people who don’t give a shit about your freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is important, but it doesn’t defend itself. That’s why anyone who cares or knows anything says that the second amendment should be the first one.

    1. Yes. See my post above in response to PapayaSF. This is nothing but fascism. And the way you deal with fascism is first and foremost have an armed public than can defend itself against the terrorist tactics that fascism depends upon for power.

      1. It would be pretty cool if we elected a pro-2nd amendment president whose anti-terrorism strategy was actively encouraging and promoting a well-armed populace. Democrats would hate it so much.

        1. Conceal and carry permits allowed on planes. No more TSA, just armed passengers and crews and xrays of all bags to ensure no one puts a bomb on the plane.

          1. But think of how many bureaucrats would be out of work. You monster!

  18. Unfortunately, it looks like Shiite Iranian proxies may now be on the verge of overthrowing the Yemeni government.

    That would be very, very bad indeed for the U.S. and the west if it were to happen.

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