Perserverando

2001-11-02

How many Muslims live in the U.S.? Widely-quoted "guesstimates" have put the number as high as 8 million. But Daniel Pipes reports that two recent, and seemingly objective, studies put the number around 1.8 million.

Speaking of Muslims, Robert Tracinski is calling for a war on Islam. I certainly question his assertion that "dogmatism and religious tyranny are endemic to Islamic culture". Having studied a bit of history, I know that from about 500 CE to 1600 CE, the Islamic world was quite intellectually open, and maintained and extended the knowledge of the ancient Greeks, especially in the sciences. At the same time that Christian Europe was enduring almost 1000 years of near-barbarism, Muslims had the most open society on earth. If it had not been for Islamic culture, the West would not be where it is today because the Renaissance would have had an extreme paucity of materials to work from. So I am far from convinced that Islam is by nature any more bloodthirsty than Christianity, although it does seem that at this time in history Islamic culture is facing a crisis of confidence, and is deeply infected by the notion that it is a victim of the West when in fact its problems are mostly self-caused.

On a related theme, here's a new perspective on the Crusades. Thomas F. Madden argues that the Crusades were actually a great success for the Islamic World. Food for thought.

Jon Basil Utley argues that the war on terrorism is a certain loser and that the best strategy is to stop intervening in Middle Eastern politics.

It certainly seems that civil liberties are going by the boards. Here's a story about a British journalist who was arrested in Munich for trying to board a plane while carrying a book by Karl Marx!

Meanwhile, over at Antiwar.com, Justin Raimondo exposes Bin Laden's connections to Bosnia and Kosovo. Could it be that bombing the hell out of the Serbs directly helped the cause of Islamic terrorists allied with or under the tutelage of Bin Laden? Crazy.

Despite the insanity of U.S. foreign policy past and present, I still can't agree with those who put the blame for the September 11th attacks on the USA. The responsibility lies squarely with the terrorists.

Today's quote from Victor Hugo: "That which separates man from the brute is the notion of good and evil.... Hence that great and twofold sentiment in man of his liberty and his responsibility. He can be good or he can be wicked. That is an account he will have to settle. He can be guilty; and that -- it is a striking fact, and one upon which I insist -- is his greatness." (Napolean-le-Petit, VI.7)

Speaking of greatness, albeit in a strictly delimited realm, how about those Yankees? The last two games have been unreal. To take one game by tying it with two outs in the ninth and then winning it in extra innings is incredible enough, but to do so two nights in a row is simply unreal. They still have to win one game in Arizona against either Randy Johnson or Curt Schilling, though, so the famous Yogi-ism applies: it ain't over till it's over. Even if you hate the Yankees (perish the thought!), you still have to admire the fact that they never give in.

Which reminds me of another Victor Hugo quote: "Nearly the whole secret of great hearts lies in this word, perseverando. Perseverance is to courage what the wheel is to the lever, it is the perpetual renewing of the fulcrum." (The Toilers of the Sea, II.2.iv)


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