Placing government power under the rule of law

Writes Evan Bernick in a review of Tara Smith’s book “Judicial Review in an Objective Legal System”:

…How judges evaluate assertions of government power matters to real people.

A philosopher at the University of Texas who also teaches at the law school, Smith articulates an approach to judicial review that is designed to place government power under the rule of law—to ensure that the government only exercises its power for constitutionally proper reasons and that mere will does not trump individual rights. While there is no shortage of books on judicial review, Smith’s stands out in a crowded field, owing to its focus on the role of epistemology and political philosophy—the Constitution’s political philosophy—in constitutional interpretation and her incisive criticism of the jurisprudential status quo. Smith’s approach holds the promise of equipping judges to gain accurate knowledge of what the law is and to consistently hold the government to the terms of our Founding document. [Taming the Law’s Coercion – Online Library of Law & Liberty]

The entire review is well worth the read.

Islam is Guilty of Bigotry; Not Its Critics

By Dr. Michael Hurd

We keep hearing that Muslims are the greatest victims of hate crimes and prejudice.

But the FBI’s own statistics state just the opposite.

Of the 1,149 anti-religious hate crimes reported in the United States in 2014, only 16.1% were directed against Muslims, according to the FBI. By contrast, over half of all anti-religious hate crimes were directed against Jews – 56.8%. The fewest, 8.6% of anti-religious hate crimes, were directed against Christians (Protestants and Catholics).

My concern is with individuals more than groups. However, the politically correct – including the current U.S. President and his Attorney General – have repeatedly expressed grave concern over an epidemic of “hate crimes” and prejudice against Muslims, contrary to the evidence of their very own FBI.

They will argue that since the events of Paris and San Bernardino, it’s getting worse. This may be their fear; but shouldn’t their fear first be supported by facts? Or are facts irrelevant when it comes to pushing a particular, politically correct point-of-view?

It gets worse. Eighty-two leading Democrats have cosponsored a House Resolution (H.Res. 569), “Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States”.

The Resolution was introduced in the House of Representatives by Democrat Donald S. Beyer (Virginia) on December 17, 2015 — a mere 15 days after Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook gunned down 14 innocent Americans and wounded 23 in an ISIS-inspired terror attack at a Christmas party in San Bernardino, California.

The House Resolution states, “The victims of anti-Muslim hate crimes and rhetoric have faced physical, verbal, and emotional abuse because they were Muslim or believed to be Muslim,” and the House of Representatives “expresses its condolences for the victims of anti-Muslim hate crimes.”

Given that Jews experience 3.5 the number of hate crimes as Muslims, shouldn’t the House of Representatives be advancing a resolution in defense of Jews? It will never happen.

Keep in mind that House Resolutions, while not binding as law, are often introduced as a “trial balloon” for future legislation.

What kind of legislation do the advocates of this resolution have in mind? What would a law against anti-Muslim bigotry even look like?

“Bigotry,” when rationally and objectively defined, is an ugly thing. The basic error of bigotry involves lumping people as a group while evading their individual identities, in order to support or advance an irrationally based prejudice.

By this definition, Islam is a notorious form of bigotry, every bit as bad (if not even worse) than Nazism. The fact that not all Muslims practice it consistently does not alter the nature of the ideology.

However, even when bigotry is rationally defined, it should not be against the law. People are entitled to hold whatever bigoted views they wish, and to express those views on their own private property, airwaves, or websites to any willing or interested parties.

“Stop making it about us versus them.” Those who criticize Islam in any way, shape or form are labeled bigots. Yet what about the advocates of Islam who call anyone who disagrees with them infidels deserving of slavery or death?

People who call you “racist” for challenging the rationality of Islam presume Islam is a racial characteristic. It’s not. It’s a social-political-religious ideology. Islam’s central purpose is to merge church and state according to barbaric and mind-numbingly conservative values about sex, gender, and practices of daily living. These are things leftist progressives claim to oppose, but when it comes to Islam, they sure change their tune.

The only way to fight militant Islam is by championing the causes of freedom, individualism and strict separation of church and state. If we defended these ideals with even one-tenth the intensity with which Muslims attack them, the world would be a much safer and better place right now.

You can follow Dr. Hurd on Facebook. Search under “Michael  Hurd” (Rehoboth Beach DE). Get up-to-the-minute postings, recommended articles and links, and engage in back-and-forth discussion with Dr. Hurd on topics of interest. Also follow Dr. Hurd on Twitter at @MichaelJHurd1

Putting Islam’s Apologists on The Defensive

By Dr. Michael Hurd

Maybe you’re tired of hearing about the Paris attacks, ISIS and all the rest. If so, save this for when – not if, but when – the next Islamic-inspired attack against civilians in Europe or America occurs.

I keep hearing that Islam does not hold a monopoly on religious brutality. “Look at the Crusades and the Christians. They’re no better.”

OK, then. Let’s say the Crusades were happening today. Let’s say thousands of Christians rose up and declared war on anyone who’s not a Christian, and any government which refuses to enforce Christian rules and beliefs by force.

Which of the following approaches would you take, in response?

Approach # 1: Do absolutely nothing, while condemning as barbaric, medieval and racist anyone who says a critical thing about Christianity. In the meantime, the barbaric Christian Crusaders gradually overrun the world, terrorizing peaceful people and reducing civilization to a shambles. Elect a moronic president, and send him overseas to tell the world that the real problem is not the killing of innocents in the name of religion, but man’s refusal to stop using fossil fuels.

Approach # 2: Blast Christian crusaders, as well as their governments (the equivalent of Iran and ISIS), to Kingdom Come, pulverizing them until there’s nothing left for them to do but start over with their Crusades (at which time we’ll blast them again). Also, along with the entirely justified use of physical force against these barbaric Christian crusaders, challenge their belief system at its core, demanding to know why a religion of brotherly love is engaged in so much brutality against those who do not share the same point-of-view.

This is the problem with the argument, “Christians did it in the Crusades.” It puts Christians on the defensive. They get sidetracked about historical details. But the people who should be on the defensive are the ones engaged in the violence and brutality now, not the ones who did it 1,000 or more years ago.

The fact of the matter is that Christians, regardless of what you claim is historically the case, eventually submitted to the separation of church and state. The most dramatic example of this was the United States of America. Thousands of Christians came to the U.S., often to escape religious persecution, and willingly agreed to live in a country where no religion (their own, or anyone else’s religion) was the rule of the land. Some submit to separation of church and state more willingly than others, and debates remain about matters such as abortion and gay marriage. But while important, those matters are marginal compared to the lethal and unyielding opposition Islam presently poses to separation of church and state on principle. If you don’t believe me, simply read the headlines about the last Islamic-inspired terrorist bombing – or the next one. (It may have happened by the time you read this.)

I’m not aware of any Christian movement dedicated, on a worldwide and ruthlessly, savagely violent scale, to decimating everyone who disagrees with them. If there were such a Christian, or Jewish, or any other sort of movement on the scale of present-day Islam, then believe me, I would oppose it with the same strength and for the same reasons as I oppose Islam’s quest to take over the world.

People keep saying, “You can’t criticize someone for their religion.” Why not? At least when the primary (or only) leaders of that religion favor annihilating innocent people who do not agree with them? Nazism was a form of religion, in the sense of being an ideology with a call to action – brutal, rights-violating action. Ditto for Communism. If someone is a Nazi or Communist, it’s reasonable to ask them, “What’s wrong with you for endorsing such a twisted, evil viewpoint?”

It really does not matter whether a movement violates the rights of individuals in the name of Allah, God, Jesus, the State, the Public Good or “The Man” (e.g., Hitler, or Mao); the end result is always the same.

The moral and physical force with which we should oppose all such movements should be the same. Which kind of force, and when or how to use it, can be a matter of reasonable debate; but the principle that we must fight back with all our ability cannot be in question.

There’s no reason Islam should get a free pass for this any more than Communism or Nazism did. Yet Islam does get a free pass from our highest officials, and that’s why terrorists – ISIS, Iran, as well as less organized Muslim fanatics – are presently winning.

I’m not aware of a Christian regime talking openly about wiping Israel off the map. I do not know of a Christian or Jewish organization training suicide bombers, strapping bombs to children and indoctrinating those children to hate anyone of a different religion to the point of murdering them. Some level of such irrationality is found in all religions, to be sure; but Islam is the one who is best at it, at least right now.

The world has not, quite frankly, seen anything of this magnitude since Hitler’s attempt to impose his ideology on everyone. Incredibly, those who draw the parallel of today’s Islamic militants to Hitler’s Nazis are the ones called hateful, racist Nazis. This takes blaming the victim to almost inconceivable and absurd levels.

It’s time to stop putting Christians, or others, on the defensive for what they wrongly did 1,000 or 1,500 years ago. Call evil what it is, whenever it happened. But the Christian Crusades are not what’s threatening rational civilization and political liberty today; the worldwide Islamic jihad is. Face reality, people!

Instead of Christians, Jews, atheists and agnostics constantly being on the defensive for “not being nice about Islam,” we have to put Islam’s apologists on the defensive. People like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and others maintain that we are doing enough to fight back against this threat, when we’re doing absolutely nothing worth mentioning militarily. Anyone suggesting otherwise is lectured at like a child.

Those of you who scream “racist” and all the other labels when anyone suggests we should take a stronger military and verbal stand against militant Islam … what is it you’re really defending? Who or what are you protecting?

It cannot be tolerance and diversity. Islam is the ultimate “religious right wing.” I don’t care if there are moderates; the ones running the show are the militants, and the moderates are silent.

Most of you who defend Obama’s refusal to fight (or even name) the Islamic enemy are secular, agnostic progressive leftists. You favor abortion rights, gay marriage, feminism and things that could not be more at odds with the edicts and attitudes of Islam. I know it’s not the religious beliefs of Islam – even the alleged moderates – that you progressive/liberal types are endorsing. It cannot be tolerance or diversity, because Islam is more against tolerance and diversity than any ideological movement ever known to man. So what is it you’re protecting?

Instead of bringing up the Christian Crusades, why don’t you explain and defend your hero Obama’s claim that Islam’s brutal (and serious) call for Jihad is not about religion? You are the ones requiring that we say and do nothing in response to events like 9/11, the recent ISIS attacks on Paris, everything in between and everything yet to come. What would YOU do, if not respond militarily with everything we have to respond? I suppose Obama’s policy is your answer. Do nothing, and lecture Americans about being nice to Muslims, and to stop using fossil fuels.

If Islam is not the problem, then what is? And if we are not at war with Islam, then how in the world are we supposed to respond to religious warriors who most certainly are at war with us?

When Hitler declared war on America and the entire world, the world did not reply, “We’re not at war with Hitler. We’re not at war with the Germans. We won’t harm a single German person. Targeted bombings at most – if that. Not a single civilian will die. In fact, we will do everything we can to embrace and show love and respect for German culture, even if Hitler’s armies proceed to invade and take over Europe.”

This would have been suicidal insanity.

And if you’d like to draw the parallel with the Christian Crusades, how would you respond to Christian violence and terrorism today against gays, women or anyone else who was not following the rules they want them to follow? Why would you rightly condemn hatred and violence when proposed by Christian fundamentalists, but not when proposed by Muslims? Christians may have done these things; it’s Muslims who are actually doing it now.

I’m still waiting for an answer from these Obama-loving progressives who claim to support separation of church and state. They will have to come up with something better than “racist” and “hater.” These terms are tacit admissions of having no rational answer. You better believe I’m a hater – of anyone who wants to destroy me. How sad that you don’t value your own lives as much. Why should the rest of us – who do want to go on living – have to endure the pathetic, morally anemic response of someone like Barack Obama, or Hillary Clinton?

I don’t claim to know what the ultimate outcome of all this will be. I honestly have no idea. America has been on the brink before, and has always come around, in the end, to victory over its enemies. On our present course, we will certainly go down. Even if we go down, it will happen with some us still fighting. At least so long as we have free speech.

It’s sad that so many Americans remain passive, helpless and clueless about Islam, not to mention all the other reckless and irresponsible things our federal government does every day. As Islam advances its holy war across the world, the President of the United States tells us to use less oil, hunker down, be humble and sacrifice – something he and his most ardent supporters will never do, by the way.

In the end, you have to blame the people who tolerate and keep electing such “leadership” in a time of crisis. They must really loathe their country and even themselves, probably more than we realize. But many of us do not loathe America or ourselves.

If we do go down – and we do not have to – then let’s at least go down fighting.

You can follow Dr. Hurd on Facebook. Search under “Michael  Hurd” (Rehoboth Beach DE). Get up-to-the-minute postings, recommended articles and links, and engage in back-and-forth discussion with Dr. Hurd on topics of interest. Also follow Dr. Hurd on Twitter at @MichaelJHurd1

The Islamic State is Very Islamic

A very insightful read on the relation between Islamic terrorists and Islam.

From  What ISIS Really Wants – The Atlantic

The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.

Charlie Hebdo, the West and the Need to Ridicule Religion

Attacks like the one on January 7, 2015, against the newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris are becoming all too common. Threats by Islamic terrorists and dictatorial regimes have been happening since Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989. In this talk, Ayn Rand Institute senior fellow Onkar Ghate discusses how to defend freedom of speech in the face of religious attacks. This talk was recorded on Saturday, July 4, 2015, at the Objectivist Summer Conference 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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