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The War of Civilizations: Back to the Future (A)

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If there is one clear observation when analyzing Islamic onslaught/encroachment to occupy and to rule the world, it is elaborated by the Power Vacuum Theory. Ayn Rand has put it so succinctly: The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum. Whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise with evil on basic principles.

From its emergence until today Islam works incessantly and relentlessly to impose its socio-political regime and its culture over the Free World, and to make its religion the only legitimate one. The means used were always the same three arms with their many manifestations: Jihad (violence, war, and terrorism); Da’wah (the diplomacy of deceit) and Hijrah (huge immigration to the occupied territories). These were operated in combined processes and according to the circumstances and opportunities.

The Islamic onslaught/encroachment is analyzed on the continuum of Power Vacuum Theory as a recurrent “weakness-containment syndrome.” When the Free world weakens, whether from internal or external reasons, Islam marches on in an offensive onslaught and encroachment to conquer, to occupy, to butcher and to enslave. However, when the Free World is strong enough or when it wakes up and sobers up and fights for its life, it succeeds to contain Islamic aggression and to bring Islam at bay and under control. This was the process of power politics of the War of Civilizations that was conducted for 1400 years, in three rounds or stages.

The first round of the War of Civilizations started in year 630 and ended in year 732. The reason for the emergence of Islam to power was the weakness of the Sassanid Empire in Persia, in the east, and the deterioration of the Byzantines Empire, in the west. During that period of time Muslim armies had occupied vast territories, in the Middle East and North Africa to Andalusia in the West, and from Persia to India and North Western China, in the East. The main motivation of the Muslim armies in these territories were Islamization and Arabization of the occupied territories, while slaughtering, butchering, enslaving and converting its indigenous populations. This imperialist and colonialist onslaught/encroachment has ended at the Battle of Tours, near Paris, in October 732. The Christian Franks headed by Charles Martel were victorious, and the Muslim army of Abd al-Rahman was defeated.

This first War of Civilizations at the Battle of Tours has been a decisive turning point in the struggle against Islam, a landmark battle that signalized the high tide of the Muslim advance into Europe. This was one of the most important epochs in the history of Europe that preserved Christianity as the religion in Europeans, and saved Europe from the miserable situation the occupied territories by the Muslim represent. The Free World used its military power and put the Islamic onslaught/encroachment at bay, as a long process of containment.

The second round of the War of Civilizations started with the rise of the Ottoman Empire, in 1299 and the fall of Constantinople in May 1453. The reason for the re-emergence of Islam by the Ottoman Empire was the political and military weakness, in fact the decline of the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire). Until the middle of the 17th century the Ottomans gained control over Anatolia, the Balkans, and the Caucasus, and deepened its control in the Middle East, North Africa, and India.

This period was marked as of political stability and success referred to as Pax Ottomana. The Ottomans main occupation was the Islamization of the occupied territories mainly in the Balkans and Eastern Europe while conducting a second round of black and white mass enslavement. This imperialist and colonialist Islamic onslaught and encroachment has ended with the Battle of Vienna, September 11, 1683, after two months of siege.

The defeat of the Ottoman Empire marked the turning-point of the 300-year struggle in the Ottoman-Habsburg wars, and it was culminated with the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699, between the Ottoman Empire and Austria, Poland and Venice. Following, was the Treaty of Constantinople in July 1700 that ended the Russo-Turkish war of 1686-1700. These defeats marked a new period in European life: the Ottoman Empire ceased to be a menace to the Christian world. The Free World used its military power and put the Islamic onslaught/encroachment at bay for the second time.

Now the Free World is at the very midst of the third round of War of Civilizations. The Islamic push to dominate all other cultures, religions, and regimes has never stopped, and for the first time it is world-wide. There is not even one state in the world that is not under Islamic encroachment, either by Jihad or Da’wah or Hijrah. The question left is if and when the Free World sobers up and wakes up to understand the menace of this reality and evaluate the prices of fighting back. The last round of appeasement was introduced by the Free world to Nazi Germany. Not only its downfall was alarming, but not surprisingly it was precisely Nazi Germany that opened the war by invading Poland. This is indeed the price of defeatism and appeasement.

Douglas MacArthur claimed that the appeasing defeatism breeds more difficult and cruel wars, that there is not even one case in human history that defeatism has brought peace. It was Jan Masaryk, the former Czechoslovakian Foreign Minister once said that a nation with a broken back is doomed, even each and every one of its inhabitants has a tank in his yard and a warplane on his roof. Power ceases when there is no national honor and no commitment to protect the national interests.

It was Sigmund Freud who has stated that when it comes to misconceptions human beings are geniuses. Indeed, as Winston Churchill has noted, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.

The Free World does not understand that political culture makes the whole difference; that there are different cultures that shape the behavior and conduct of their followers. In its mirror image misconceptions, it visualizes that we are all the same; that it is the “mac-world,” the Global Village” of Marshall McLuhan, and the English language that determine. We do not understand, we have no clue to comprehend the Arab-Islamic political culture and what motivates it. History teaches us that more appeasement leads to much higher aggressiveness; more tolerance breeds more violence; more disregard, oblivion, and shutting one’s eyes bring more impudence in demands and imposing submissiveness; more financial support and economic aid yield more corruption, poverty and misery.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn has put it correctly: let us not forget that violence does not and cannot flourish by itself; it is inevitably intertwined with LYING. Between them there is the closest, the most profound and natural bond: nothing screens violence except lies, and the only way lies can hold out is by violence. Whoever has once announced violence as his METHOD must inexorably choose lying as his PRINCIPLE. Indeed, as Ayn Rand said: You can ignore reality; but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality. That is why George Orwell referred to the fact that the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.          

Modern Islamic Salafī-Jihādi (Jihad based on the Islamic ancestors’ roots) demands that Muslims must solely live by the Qur’an tenets, and at the same time they renounce popular sovereignty and every other sovereignty besides that of Allah and the Sunnah. However, the winning movement today is the Salafī-Takfīrī (Jihad based on accusing the other with infidelity for deviating from the ancestors’ roots and strictly abiding by the articles of the Sharī’ah) led by ICS.

The Islamic situation is so dynamic that the extremists of yesterday, the Salafi-Jihadī al-Qaeda, are losing the battle to the more extremists of today, the Salafī-Takfīrī Islamic Caliphate State. Its members look at themselves as al-Tā’ifah al-Mansûrah, the saved or the winning sect, and at their predecessors as Ahl al-Tāghût, the people of mistake and deviation. The interesting thing is that those extremists of the past, the Muslim Brotherhood are now considered as ‘moderate’ and ‘conservative,’ Salafī-Taqlīdī.

These contemporary three layers or stages represent in fact the Islamic extremist framework configuration. More important, one has to understand that Salafī-Takfīrī groups are not the last manifestation of Islamic extremism. As long as ICS is considered a winner, it will lead the movement and continues to be the hero model and attracts followers. However, behind the corner there await new groups that will represent a new layer or stage in Islamic millennialism. It is waiting for the right moment and/or opportunity to emerge. They even might renounce ICS as Ahl al-Tāghût and lead the Islamic agenda to a higher extreme stage that will bring humanity to the verge of existence, perhaps with nuclear or chemical-biological terrorism, or by destroying the technological society by employing cyber terrorism.

The emergence of a “more extreme” Islamic movement that marks a higher stage will occur when ICS stops representing the Islamic role hero model and a new ambitious brutal leader emerges. In the past we have seen this process as follows: Sayyid Qutb has challenged his mentor, Hasan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, and led the way to the emergence of Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, and to a new extreme stage. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi challenges Ayman al-Zawahiri, his mentor, and has led the way to the emergence of ICS from within al-Qaeda, to mark a new more extreme stage. The only question left is who will challenge al-Baghdadi and when, not If.

However, this cyclical process of Islamic extremism was marked and continue to be shaped not by Islamic millennialism, but exactly by the Free World’s reaction or better say ill-reaction. As long as the Free World continues its policy of weakness, appeasement, ignorance and cowardice; as long as the Free World continues with its mirror image and mental blindness misconceptions; as long as the Free World continues with its empty ideologies of multiculturalism and political correctness and such – Islamic millennialism will step more and more forward with higher brutality and devotion to impose its Islamic values on humanity in its entirety.

This is the history of Islam from its beginning, and just because we continue to ignore the reality of Islam and make artificial and detached from logic differentiations, it does not mean that the reality of Islam will continue to ignore us. In fact, Islam has never ignored its mission to the world nor the ignorance, submissiveness, cowardice, appeasement and irresponsibility of the Free World leaderships and cultural elites – to spread and flourish. The price, when waken up, will be paid with a huge amount of blood unprecedented in history.

It must be put bluntly and straightforward. The origin of the Arabs is from Arabia, mainly its eastern part called Hijaz. The Arabs were part of tribes and clans, and except of Mecca, their main occupation was raiding (Ghazawat) and taking booty (Ghana’em). When they conquered vast territories under the Islamic religious motivational inspiration they were doing the same. This was their main occupation in history. That is exactly what they are doing today, now under Jihad and Hijrah, with the assistance of Da’wah as a propagation, a diplomacy of deceit, a means to mislead and confuse world public opinion.        

And still the Free World is in a deep state of denial and confusion. Indeed, one of the great wonders is how people translate information into knowledge. History proves that lack of knowledge stems from mental blindness and selective hearing, not from lack of information. Only politicians, intellectuals and the media could ignore, evade, and deny what Islam really is. When a society declares boldly, ‘we have to fight Nazism,’ and ‘Nazism is evil,’ and at the same time afraid to relate these words to Islam, it is no longer a free society. -Enemies can be understood within the context of their declared strategic doctrine. Just as we ignored Mein Kampf prior to World War II, so we now ignore what is clearly written in the Sharī’ah.

Since the 9/11 attack and mid-2015 there have been more than 28,000 terrorist attacks worldwide, all of which were perpetrated by Muslims, in the name of Islam and for the sake of Allah. That is about 5 terrorist attacks every day, in which millions of people have been killed. The tragic fact is that over 95 percent of world terrorism and 70 percent of world violence are Islamic, and these figures are on the rise. Literally, all peoples of the world, in all states were infected and influenced by Islamic aggressive advances, by Jihad, by Da’wah and by Hijrah.

At the same time, the cowardice reaction even beyond politically correctness and ignorance of the attacked leaders is reiterated and replayed as to become a ritual. The narrative never changes: “the terrorist acts are not part of Islam;” “the terrorists are not Muslims but in fact are against Islamic teachings;” “Islam is a religion of peace and compassion,” and such oblivion sickening reactions. It is confusing and embarrassing since the unequivocal assertion of the terrorists themselves they are motivated by the teachings of the Qur’an and the examples of their prophet.

Immediately after the terrorist attack has taken place, the president or the prime minister of the Western country declares that this attack had nothing to do with Islam and that the terrorists are evil, while Islam is good and peaceful. This is followed in agreement by other Western leaders, while condemning the terrorist attack, continue the line of rehabilitating Islam being a religion of peace and compassion.

The media joins this lamented horrific situation by Western political leaders and immediately brings an on duty Muslim spokesperson, who emphasizes that Islam does not condone violence and it is totally and absolutely against killing innocent people. The media also interviews the murderers’ families who grieve in sorrow and declare how great and peaceful their children were, and that they are Shuhadā’ and therefore residing in heaven.

The academic experts are called to declare that we should look at the root cause of the issue, as the terrorists are in fact the poor, the alienated and the wretched, and that we have to understand their motives. They also remind us that the terrorists are a small group of fanatics who actually act against the ordinances of Islam. What the terrorist themselves say we should ignore, as it has nothing to do with the Islamic Sharī’ah. They also explain that the core issues are the injustices done to Muslims by the past Western imperialism and colonialism, so mainly we have to blame ourselves for their desperate acts. The academic experts also emphasize that extremists exist in all religions and the Islamic terrorist acts are part of the pervasive violent situation.

Then comes the psychologist or the social worker who concludes that Christian and Jewish emblems and other religious symbols hurt the religious sentiment of Muslims and they should be removed from public institutions, malls and schools. One cannot insult the religion of Islam and defame its prophet. It is not only not polite but we must be very considerate about the sensibilities of the Muslims. At the same time, Muslims should be given permission to act according to their traditional and religious values and their culture, so that their Sharī’ah must be implemented. If all these are fulfilled, the Muslims will become an integral part of our society.  

Professional Muslim groups and organization that employ Da’wah, the diplomacy of deceit, to mislead the infidels, join this line by declaring their condemnation of the terrorist act, but immediately step forward to blame the infidels as the core cause of the problem. They call the police to take all the needed measures to protect Muslim communities from any backlash reprisal. They also call to hold meetings and debates of political and religious leaders concerned to stop violence and endorse peace in the spirit of integration and community cohesion.

To compensate and to facilitate the dire situation they demand for more money to be given to the Muslim neighbourhoods that will bring more cooperation and good mutual spirit in the name of peace. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the second world largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations, immediately resumes its call to the UN to criminalize “blasphemy” against Islam, as “defamation of religions.”

However, as an immediate answer to these flawed declarations, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has once again reiterated in a new audio message: “Islam was never a religion of peace; Islam is a religion of fighting… all Muslims wherever they are, must fight for the Islamic Caliphate.” He has urged all Muslims to take up arms and fight on behalf of the Islamic State as to resurrect the Caliphate.

There is another perspective to analyze the Power Vacuum Theory. In October 2006, Mark Steyn said bluntly: The future belongs to Islam. The Muslim world has youth, numbers and global ambitions. The West is growing old and enfeebled, and lacks the will to rebuff those who would supplant it. It’s the end of the world as we’ve known it. One might formulate it as follows: Age + Welfare = Disaster for you; Youth + Will = Disaster for whoever gets in your way. Where is the problem? Islam has youth and will, Europe has age and welfare. What’s happening in the undeveloped world is one of the fastest demographic evolutions in history. The median age in the Gaza Strip is 15.8 years. It is UN-supervised European-funded death cult. Demographic decline and the unsustainability of the social democratic state are closely related. The state has gradually annexed all human responsibilities: health care, child care, elderly care, to the point where it effectively severed its citizens from primal survival instincts. The salient feature of Europe, Canada, Japan and Russia is that they’re running out of babies. Greece has a fertility rate hovering just below 1.3 births per couple, which is the “lowest-low” fertility from which no human society has ever recovered. And Greece’s fertility is the healthiest in Mediterranean Europe: Italy has a fertility rate of 1.2, Spain 1.1. By 2050, 60 per cent of Italians will have no brothers, no sisters, no cousins, no aunts, and no uncles.

By “will,” Steyn means the metaphorical spine of a culture. Africa also has plenty of young people, their primary identity is pure tribal without religious political ambitions of global reach as Muslims have. The Western world is too mired in cultural relativism to understand what’s at stake. There is a correlation between the structural weaknesses of the social democratic state and the rise of a globalized Islam. If one thinks the UN and other international organizations are antipathetic to America now, wait a few years and see what kind of support you get from a semi-Islamified Europe.

The Norwegian imam Mullah Krekar told the Oslo newspaper Dagbladet in 2006: “We’re the ones who will change you. Just look at the development within Europe, where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes. Every Western woman in the EU is producing an average of 1.4 children. Every Muslim woman in the same countries is producing 3.5 children… Our way of thinking will prove more powerful than yours.” It was Qadhdhafi who said back in 1976: there are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe — without swords, without guns, without conquests. The fifty million Muslims of Europe will turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades.

The question is, as Ali Sina puts, if international laws would be banning cartoons, does it stop there, or continue to all kind of free speech materials? The grand irony is that banning on the basis that Western free speech defame Islam, than it would also, by logical extension, have to ban the entire religion of Islam itself, being the only religion whose core texts actively and unequivocally defame other religions. Yet, the OIC and other Muslim organization do not seem to bother, as they do believe this is the correct natural situation, Islam being the only legitimate religion.

However, the folly of hedonism and appeasement prevails and hypocrisy combined with ignorance and political correctness, runs rampant: indeed, there are extreme verses as much as there are mild in the Qur’an, and this duality is found in every religion; indeed, there are radicals among the Muslims just as in all societies, but they are just a minority, even weeds. The majority is different.

This is the problem with all of its severity. The relevant questions are accordingly:

If that is the true situation – how do we know this? Are there any corroborating studies and data to substantiate this view? Or we only think this is the reality?

Even if a different peace-loving majority exists, is its voice heard? Does it influence policy and decision-making processes? Or is it only in our mirror imaged personality?

Where is public opinion voice, the political parties, the media, which prove there are other tendencies and voices? Or we just assume this is the situation?

How many peace movements, demonstrations marching in the streets rolling for peace and against terrorist perpetrators can be identified? Was any terrorist attack stopped even denounced by the so-called majority? Do the Arab and Muslim states condemn these atrocities and act against? Or is it our imagination alone?

How many pressure and interest groups are there in the Muslim world which actively function against Islamic fanaticism and Jihad terrorism? And if they do, to what extent do they influence? Or we just ignore reality out of ignorance?

How many NGO’s are there acting against the terrorists and preventing aid from their reach? Do they even try to stop terrorism and convince it is act against humanity? Or we just want to believe, we terribly wish that there are such?

If there are moderate peace-loving political leaders, where are they? What influence do they have? Is their voice heard? What do they declare after the horrible acts of terrorism perpetuated, except of blaming the US and Israel? Or is it all our mental blindness and denial?

Indeed, there are Muslim intellectuals and liberals, but unfortunately they are very few. They condemn the atrocious terrorist acts; they plead for openness and democratization; they wish for integration and assimilation. However, not only they have no influence on the events, not only they are persecuted and alienated, but above all, they are a very small minority. The reality is, the questions that should be asked, who controls the Islamic communities and in the streets? Which voice is heard and is written in the communication Media? Who is more influential and admired by the youth; in the Madāris, in mosques and in the media? Who are the heroes of the masses? Who leads the way? And the biggest wonder of all: why do we always supply excuses and explanations to the horrific phenomenon we do not understand culturally and ignorant religiously? Or we just have a death wish?

This is amazing. How can we explain the Free World reactions? Is it appeasement alone? Is it hedonism of living the good life? Is it the Petro-dollar power of Saudi Arabia and Qatar? Is it the guilt remorse of “imperialist-colonialist past?” Or it is just political correctness? Or it is our twisted mirror image? Or it is our ignorance? It is as if we don’t want to wake up. We are in a deep state of denial, in a slumber, as if we are on the Titanic and the orchestra continues to play.

However, the uppermost is surely because we are frightened; we are horrified; we are terrorized; because we are cowardice in front of the ruffians, the villains and the savages, and we want to come back to our sanity out of this madness by running away; by giving in; by clothing our eyes in visual amnesia; by paying “protection money,” and by appeasing and subduing.

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Multicultural Mecca

Jennifer Richmond

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Strength lies in differences, not in similarities. Stephen Covey

I remember him sitting after work in his olive-green Air Force flight suit at a high-top stool at our kitchen counter in Beavercreek, Ohio. My dadlooked down at me as I sobbed, trying to find ways to console me. You know, he said, Burma has tigers.

After coming home to tell us that he was taking the Air Force Attaché position in Rangoon, I thought my comfortable little world was crumbling. But hold up, tigers? Perhaps Burma wouldn’t be that bad after all.

As it turns out, it was the watershed event in my life.

In a country ruled by a military junta, what we were allowed to do and see was highly curated. At the time, I thought the constant presence of military guards meant we were special. VIPs. In a country that strictly limited tourism in the 1980s, we were special, but in hindsight, I know they were there, in part, to dictate our experience.

And even so, what we saw and experienced, was mind-blowing. But it wasn’t just the men who walked on coals or hung suspended with hooks in their flesh at the Hindu festivals – although those memories will forever be seared in my brain – literally and figuratively, it was the people. The day-to-day lives.

We had a Buddhist, Muslim, Christian and Hindu that intermingled in our house daily. The education I received in their presence was richer than any in the hallowed halls of academia.

In Burma (now called Myanmar), you quickly learn the squat. Even when stools and chairs were available most people would choose to squat. Gathered for an informal meal, you squat. Waiting for a bus, you squat. Taking a break to have a little conversation, you squat. I never really mastered the squat. Onebalmy day as our Hindu friendsquatted in the doorway trying to catch the elusive cool breeze, I went and playfully sat on his back. Given my awkwardness with the squat, I thought this arrangement preferable; I was just being a goofy kid.

That was the day I learned that in the East, and especially in Hinduism, body parts have a hierarchy. I cried all through the stern lecture on how I thoroughly disgraced my friend. Although I don’t remember the exact words, it pretty much came down to this – in what universe did you think it was ok to put your dirty bum anywhere near my heavenly head?

Ummm… I’m pretty sure that same fanny was dangerously close to my dad’snogginwhen he’d carry me on his shoulders. The idea of possible desecration was truly foreign.

These and many other similar lessons were my first real introduction to culture. It involved more tears (yes, I’m a big crier), but through all of these experiences, I became fascinated. Similar to Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I quickly realized I wasn’t in Kansas (or Ohio) any more.

I returned to the United States with a new love of culture and diversity. And, a new respect for America, which I had previously taken for granted.

In comparison to many other countries we are a Multicultural Mecca. From my perspective, this is what makes us exceptional.

Unlike other countries that are struggling with immigration and diversity, we have a unique advantage. We are, after all, a “settler nation”. As Peter Zeihan explained in a recent conversation, almost every other country in the world was a government created by a specific ethnicity. The United States, as a settler state, didn’t have a dominant clan. This is unique. Our identity is not rooted in a singular ethnicity.

However, between WWI and WWII our state became more centralized. It had to be. These wars shaped a national identity. National institutions proliferated and mediating institutions – family, religious organizations and labor unions – created cohesion, and homogeneity, despite our diverse histories. Solidarity became a national virtue.

The statism that existed during this time, while it provided more cohesion, dampened diversity and individuality. All of this began to unwind mid-century and really started to pick up steam in the 1970s, as the pendulum swung the opposite direction. In many ways the Cold War, and the fight against the communist collective, helped to progress the mantra of individualism.

Individualism also shaped our economy.There were waves of deregulation, labor unions declined, and big state corporations gave way to more flexible, smaller private companies.The mid-century labor unions and large state corporations lead to the growth of the middle class. Once these disappeared, income inequality emerged more predominately, even as basic social equalities and civil rights were energized.

Meanwhile, mediating institutions responsible for, in large part, social cohesion – family, community and religious organizations – were also on the decline as individualism gathered momentum. The internet age was introduced in this new environment, and ironically, with social connections and a national identity already in decay, it divided us into smaller more homogenous groups – what we today call echo chambers.

This increasing polarization has a grave impact on policy-making. As Yuval Levin notes,

administrative centralization often accompanies cultural and economic individualism. As the national government grows more centralized, and takes over the work preformed by mediating institutions – from families and communities to local governments and charities – individuals become increasingly atomized; and as individuals grow apart from one another, the need for centralized government provision seems to grow.

As all of this is happening, our immigration rates have been on the rise. Although illegal immigration has been in decline recently, despite the uptick in the past few months, we witnessed a new wave of immigration started in the 1970s, that mirrored pre-war immigration levels.

However, without the same national solidarity that defined mid-century America, these immigrants weren’t enveloped into a national identity. Individualism diminishedthe national identity of solidarity. Further, low-skilled immigrant labor has fallen into the growing income gap in a divide that has already affected American workers as income inequality becomes more pronounced.

While our current employment rate is strong, what is masked in these impressive numbers is the number of American men and women who are dropping out of the labor force at a surprising rate, most acutely among those without a college education.

If you’ve ever traveled to the beaches on the East Coast in the summer, you may have noted retail employees have a strange accent. Last year, I bought an ice-cream cone from a Russian student in Cape May, NJ. And,I’m currently working with Vietnamese students who want to come to the United States for hospitality internships. Foreign students are coming in on J-1 visas to provide relief to retailers and the hospitality industry that is often painfully understaffed, especially during peak times.

If you talk to anyone in the agriculture business, you know they are hurting. As I traveled around Texas and Colorado looking for a meat packing plant to export beef to China, the options were limited. Outside of the big players, many smaller packers have shut their doors. For the ones still in operation, the primary language is Spanish.

Add to all of this, our demographics are in decline.Americans aren’t having more babies, and the only reason that we aren’t suffering the same fate as the “graying” population in Japan, and even Russia and China, is immigration.

Economic growth needs a workforce. Both high and low skilled labor is in demand, but I’m only going to touch on low-skilled labor as this is what is fueling the current immigration debate in America.

Despite the need for immigration, there are several problems that our embattled Congress has yet to address.

First, it has been shown nationally that unauthorized immigration has had a small net positive impact on our economy, but this doesn’t always play out at the state and local levels.

As income inequality is already an existing phenomenon in the United States, with the disparity seen most clearly between those with an education and those without, low-skilled immigration causes concern.While the United States is in need of low-skilled labor, our current economic situation has bifurcated, with the lower echelons in more need of some sort of state or federal support just to hover at the poverty level.

Second, while we’re trying to figure out solutions to growing inequality and immigration, we also need to keep in mind that our economyis, yet again, rapidly changing. With the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI), a lot of jobs may soon become obsolete especially in low-skilled sectors such as retail. While we are not quite there yet, the trend is inevitable and will exacerbate income inequality as low-skilled labor is slowly pushed out of the market. This could have two related outcomes –the current demand for low-skilled labor diminishes, while those in these sectors are in increasing need for a social safety net.

Sadly, in this era of extreme polarization, hate and racism has taken the place of sane debate and policy-making. As David Brooks recently lamented in a New York Times piece, our administration is not populated with conservatives, but “anti-liberal trolls”.Similarly, the #resistance movement has become so entrenched as to make compromise or dialogue impossible. Just resist. It’s no longer about the people, it’s about winning at all costs.Too often, the pawns are innocent children – children inhumanely separated from their parents on the border, and children in the inner cities, on the brink of homelessness.

The Left is right to be concerned that part of the anti-immigration trend is a push-back from white America, as white America is soon to become a minority. A recent National Geographic issue on race illustrates, in less that two years, white children under 18 will no longer be the majority.

While it is right to resist racisttrends, we must not do so at the expense of understanding complex economic issues. The news cycle is constantly in search of the next topic we can use to beat each other over the heads. Meanwhile, as the mid-terms loom, our politicians are consumed with the next policy issue they can use to ensure re-election, at the expense of making a real difference.

The United States has the ability to harness its immigrant history and multiculturalism to a great global advantage, more so than perhaps any other country. However, in our individualistic society, we remain tigers locked in cages of our own construction, separated from competing realities that promote understanding and compromise.

While we need to address immediate emergency issues on the border, the discussion doesn’t stop there. We must agree on a flexible immigration policy that is constantly reviewed against our changing economic dynamics.A more robust guest-worker visa is perhaps a start – the number of visas evaluated each year depending on the economic climate, with adequate enforcement.Better education for both new immigrants and citizens in poverty-stricken areas that allows economic mobility and a growing middle-class. A new national identity that embraces diversity, but finds novel ways to generate social connection and cohesion amidst the reality of individualism.

Without these discussions, we fail to Make America Great (Again). While I think we should lock politicians in cages to fight it out until sanity and rationality is regained, it is incumbent on us ordinary citizens to join together in (diverse) community to model these necessary discussions in every day life. To #resist the insanity, and break the cages that have imprisoned our country and our lives.

To read more follow us at www.truthinbetween.com or on Medium at www.medium.com/truth-in-between, and on Twitter @truth_inbetween.

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The Unreal, the Real and the Vaccine Scare

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

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In a few weeks time, school will resume in many countries, and quite a few parents now worry about the dangers of vaccination.  Are they real or false?  What are the facts?

First, a word on what we can believe to be real.  Some might remember Ripley’s Believe It or Not?  We are all fascinated by the odd, the unusual, even more so when science with its mundane explanations takes away the mysteries of life.  So it is that reasonable people begin to believe in the incredible.  We want to.

Take the case of chemtrails — a theory that trails left by jet airplanes high in the sky are chemical  sprays.  Why would anyone do that?  The reasons vary.  They want to change the climate, control our minds, lower life expectancy, reduce fertility or cause sterilization for population control, spread aluminum that causes Alzheimer’s but Monsanto profits from a GMO seed designed to grow with it, and so on.

The physics experts tell us it is relatively simple:  Jet engines exhaust water vapor which condenses in the cold of higher altitudes.  Called contrails (a contraction of condensation and trail), an acute observer will note they correspond to the number of engines on the airplane.  Numerous scientists, scientific bodies, the Environmental Protection Agency and independent journalists have investigated and debunked chemtrails without eradicating the idea.

The results of a nationally representative 1000-person poll published last October finds that only 32 percent believe chemtrails are ‘false’.  A good 25% percent are ‘unsure’ and 15 percent, think they are ‘somewhat false’.  The rest consider them somewhat true’ (19 percent) or ‘true’ (9 percent).  Note that just a one-third minority categorically rejects a complete hoax despite the efforts of scientists and government agencies.  Perhaps a natural skepticism of officialdom doesn’t help.  Of course, the blame rests squarely on some internet sites and social media (with its echo chambers) where chemtrail discussion, instead of debunking the idea, favors it and propagates conspiracy theory.

But there is another belief worse than chemtrails germinated by fake science.  It has led to actual harm.  For one reason or another, people known as anti-vaxxers (Trump among them) are refusing vaccinations for their children; thus an alarming global increase in measles — an illness that can cause hearing loss and, in rare cases, even death.

Developing countries have their own unique problems with vaccination.  Pakistan trying to eliminate polio has experienced deadly violence against vaccinators because Taliban leaders have proclaimed it a means of sterilizing Muslims.

But there are problems in developed countries also:  A survey in Australia showed one in three parents having concerns with vaccination.  In response, some health facilities are refusing to treat unvaccinated children.  Australia is not alone; the U.S. too has a vaccine dilemma and Europe is not exempt.

As preparation for the school year often requires vaccination shots, here is a brief review of what we know about vaccines, the origins of the anti-vaxxer movement and the available facts.

The prophet of anti-vaxers is Andrew Wakefield, whose origins are in the U.K.  He is a doctor, who was barred from practicing medicine there following his fake study connecting autism to the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella.  Several later studies have proven Wakefield dead wrong.

A refusal to vaccinate has been a key driver of recent measles cases in the US.  A disease once considered eliminated here has now returned, and in 2014, 667 cases were recorded, though numbers have declined since then.  Often the cause is a holiday trip contact and transmission to someone who has not been vaccinated; appalling to think about when the two-dose vaccination regimen renders 97 percent immunity.

For anti-vaxxers, there are two other troubling reasons:  Some believe the injection of attenuated, that is weakened, viruses can cause harm.  Then also there is anxiety about thimerosal in some vaccines as it carries traces of mercury.  But thimerosal has not been used in child vaccines for nearly two decades.  And while the MMR vaccine uses a combination of attenuated viruses, it has been in use without causing harm since 1971.  It has prevented an estimated 52 million cases of measles and over 5000 fatalities.

Belief and miracles have been a natural companion for humans.  About 2000 years ago, there was a miraculous virgin birth.  Now, some scholars contend it was all a translation error misinterpreting the word for ‘maiden’ as ‘virgin’.  Others argue that ‘maiden’ in the culture of the time automatically implied virginity because unmarried young women were expected to be chaste.  Who is correct?  Heaven knows!

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New Social Compact

Analysis of Alon Confino’s “A World Without Jews: Interpreting The Holocaust”

Nargiz Hajiyeva

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on

Following the period of moderate engagement with the Holocaust between 1945 and 1975, Holocaust perception from the mid-1970s to the present has been characterized by two simultaneous trends. The first trend is prominent in miscellaneous fields such as history, philosophy, the arts, and the literature has involved a strenuous attempt to acknowledge as well as realize the Holocaust and to cope with the difficulty of representing it. The second tendency might appear to stand in opposition to the intense discussion of the limits of Holocaust representation, is manifest in the massive cultural production of the Holocaust in history books, novels, comics, plays, films and other artistic vehicles.  In general, taking into consideration of Nazi policy towards Jewish, there are three overriding notions:

The Holocaust, according to Saul Friedlander, was determined by the centrality of ideological-cultural factors as the prime movers of Nazi policies in tandem with the Jewish issue, depending mainly on circumstances, institutional dynamics, and essentially… on the evolution of the war… The anti-Jewish drive became ever more extreme along with the radicalization of the regime’s goals and then with the extension of the war… The context of the war has been viewed as the breeding ground for the extermination and annihilation of Jews. Germans in occupied Eastern Europe… were living in a context in which the expulsion, even the extermination, of entire peoples was publicly discussed, a readiness to indulge in brutality and fanaticism was ubiquitously demanded, and the actions of individuals were legitimized by history and politics.

The war in general but especially the war on the Eastern Front, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, was fought as a racial ideological struggle for life or death, whose prime enemies were the Bolsheviks and Jews. The barbarization of war on the Eastern Front, a cumulative result of the scale of the fighting, geographical conditions, and ideological indoctrination, led to killing and extermination. The notion of the radicalization of racial ideology has been important for capturing the contingency that ran through the making of the Holocaust. The radicalization is no longer understood as a realization of long-term plans or as inherent in the system, but rather as the outcome of plans for the deportation of the Jews that were always being revised and extended. Holocaust is squarely placed within the context of the regime’s overall racial ideology. The ‘current scholarly consensus, writes Herbert, is that those who organized and carried out the extermination were committed ideologies who wanted to build a better world through genocide. Was there a master plan on the part of Adolf Hitler to launch the Holocaust? Intentionalists argue there was such a plan, while functionalists argue there was not.

Did the initiative for the Holocaust come from above with orders from Adolf Hitler or from below within the ranks of the German bureaucracy? Although neither side disputes the reality of the Holocaust, nor is there a serious dispute over the premise that Hitler (as Führer) was personally responsible for encouraging the anti-Semitism that allowed the Holocaust to take place, intentionalists argue the initiative came from above, while functionalists contend it came from lower ranks within the bureaucracy. Christopher Browning coined the term ‘moderate functionalism’, in which the centrality of Hitler’s belief and the role was recognized, but without an original grand design to kill the Jews. Philippe Burrin’s notion of ‘conditional intentionalism’ recognized the centrality of evolving circumstance during the war but continued to emphasize Hitler’s intention to exterminate the Jews.

“Heimat” idea as a Nazi formula

The Nazis took the Heimat idea, radicalizing and using it for their ideological purposes. It can be argued that here is another example of the hegemony of race. It was perceived as essential to Germanness. The main point rather is that the Nazis identified their sentiment of nationhood, localness, and political legitimacy with the Heimat idea: the revolutionary idea of race was thus built on tradition, and the racialized Heimat idea fitted within the boundaries of the Heimat genre that existed before and after the Third Reich, as the Nazis articulated their Heimat in familiar, traditional rhetoric and images. It is not so much race that made sense of Heimat in the Third Reich, as the Heimat idea that gave meaning to racial sentiments, making them amenable, legitimate, and familiar. There are two main directions towards the Holocaust perception: local and central approach.

The local history of the Holocaust in the hamlets of Eastern Europe is possible once we rethink the interpretative framework of racial ideology, the radicalization of Nazi policy, and the context of war. The former one rearranges these categories in significant ways: it shifts the focus from the war conditions of the Wehrmacht soldiers to the communal relationships between Jews and eastern Europeans; from Nazi racial ideology to In Bartov’s words, ‘the obvious though long-underestimated fact that the Holocaust cannot be understood without tracing its imagery, fantasies, passions, and phobias, as well as practices and legislation, to medieval Europe and centuries of Christian anti-Jewish theology, incitement, and demagogy, from the radicalization of Nazi policies to the dynamic of social, political, economic, and cultural relationship on the local level.

According to the central approach, Germans, in the years following 1933, constructed a moral community based on anti-Semitic fantasies that made the persecution and extermination of the Jews possible by making them conceivable. At this historiographical juncture, we view the Holocaust as a problem of culture: the making of and believing in a moral community of fantasies. Third Reich was revolutionary but not as revolutionary as was argued by contemporaries and current historiography: it was a revolution based on continuities. It was a world made by a fusion of German and Nazi identities in a way that linked Germans in the Third Reich to pre-1933 traditions and forms of belief, and where the extermination of 1941 to 1945 was part of the symbolic universe of Germany between 1933 and 1941.

To sum up, ideology, in particular, racial ideology was a crucial point for Hitler’s Germany. In the case of radicalization of racial ideology, the main step was led to extermination and annihilation of Jews community within the context of war and the Nazi policy in order to reconstruct European society without Jews. Of course, the Holocaust is still a contemporary history. Survivors are still alive and their nightmare will never be over as long as they live. The attempt to exterminate the Jews is and will remain a moral signifier of Judeo-Christian civilization. In this way, we try to consider views of the Holocaust as a European occurrence, as part of a larger Nazi attempt to reorder European civilization, as linked to other Nazi persecutions and genocides, to colonial imagination and dreams of empire. Moreover, ‘cultural history, memories, methods, in particular ideologies in its contemporary sense’ has been a highly important component of Holocaust research from its earliest beginnings.

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