Sunday, February 19, 2006

Oiling the squeaky wheel

Dr Helen, aka the InstaWife, draws a very prescient connection between welfare and Muslim misbehavior in Denmark:

You would think that governments as well as people in general would understand that appeasing and rewarding negative behavior doesn't work. It's basic psychology 101--but one that not even most psychology professors understand or put to use. And apparently, this concept is foreign to many of the politically correct persuasion outside the classroom as well--for them, their feeling of moral "superiority" trumps human nature and causes liberals to turn a blind eye to justice and acts of violence.

In Bruce Bawer's new book, While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within,the side effects of the appeasement of Muslims by the Danish government are clear--as their government pumps more and more welfare money into the pockets of disgruntled Muslims, the rate of violence against "infidels" there increases.

Bawer points out that in Denmark, Muslims make up only 5% of the population but receive 40% of welfare outlays. Many of these immigrants are told by their leaders that Muslim law gives them the right to "cheat and lie in the countries that harbor them." They are told to view the benefits they receive as jizya--the tributes that "the infidel natives of Muslim-occupied countries are obliged to pay to Muslims in order to preserve their lives." And the welfare offices in Denmark can be the setting for violence--termed "culture clashes" by Danish journalists. "Some clients lay waste to social security offices and hit social workers--not out of frustration but because they've learned that bullying gets them what they want. The Danish government is not repressive; welfare workers tend to be sympathetic and eager to help. Many immigrants perceive this as weakness, and exploit it, 'tyrannizing' the social workers." The Danish solution? More PC behavior--get translators to translate not only between languages but between cultures. Yeah, that will work.

Illusions die hard. Hopefully not as hard as freedoms.


Blogger Peter Burnet said...

So it's welfare, not Islam?

February 19, 2006 3:48 PM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

I'm reminded about the welfare reform laws of the late 90's.

No one, or near as darnnit, on the left figured out that the best way to encourage bad choices is to pay for them.

What is amazing is the complete lack of humility attending their predictions' complete repudiation.


How about welfare, and human nature, and race, and Islam?

Three at once is bad enough. Nothing good can come of adding a fourth to the mix.

February 19, 2006 4:10 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

No, it's Islam, Peter.

I had just been visiting a roundup of links to the Nigerian rioting.

It's been a few weeks now, probably none of the Christians in Nigeria even know where Denmark is, certainly they haven't seen the cartoons, and likely never heard of them.

We will know, by this evening, exactly how many moderate Muslims there are in this world, because we will be able to count them protesting the Nigerian Islamic atrocities. (Actually, mild by Nigerian standards. A couple years ago, in Jos, they murdered 500 Christians because two women walked by a mosque on a Friday.)

I predict zero.

As The Islamic Policeman ( notes, the Islamic Conference has called an emergency meeting, to discuss the hundreds of thousands of dead in Darfur . . . no, of course not, ha, ha, to discuss the cartoons and demand that western countries change their laws.


My mother, when she was teaching English at a community college in the early '80s, ran into the intimidating welfare client.

Completing the course with a C was a requirement of continuing with benefits -- getting ready for the workforce, see? -- but the welfare students didn't bother to make any effort.

But that didn't stop them from demanding a C.

One difference: they didn't destroy Mom's classroom or slap her around.

Muslims really are not like us.

February 20, 2006 11:13 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

I read today that some 40% of British Muslims want parts of England to be under Sharia Law.

Like it has worked so wonderfully everywhere else it has been tried.

February 20, 2006 1:52 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

The unreliable Steyn has for years been quoting some poll that put the UK Muslim pro-sharia faction at 60%. In any event, this gives the lie to the notion that only a tiny minority are disaffected from civilized ideas.

My own nominee for the 21st exemplar of the capitalist selling the rope to the communist that will be used to hang him is NPR, which has fallen in love with Rami Khoury, a Lebanese Muslim editor with a mellifluous and fluent English.

Khoury is a sort of Ribbentrop -- a madman and a killer but wears clothes well and very suitable to be used as a front man for presentation to those who a dying (literally) to be deceived.

Khoury, the voice of moderate Islam for that largish fraction of American liberal opinion that depends on NPR the way my father's generation depended on Time, memorably opined recently that 'there is nothing wrong with Islamic law.'

Muslims really are not like us.

February 20, 2006 4:30 PM  
Blogger Brit said...


I saw that poll too. I'd like to know more about that figure - which Muslims were polled? And in the current climate?

Even so, note that 99% think that suicide bombers are wrong. I bet you'd get more than 1% in favour among leftie white college kids.

February 21, 2006 1:20 AM  
Blogger Peter Burnet said...


Typecasting and prejudice born of ignorance is troublesome enough, but it really does get scary when it comes in the name of historical scholarship and rational analysis.

Sharia may be a bogeyman word for us, but it isn't for them. They may have trouble separating church and state, but they argue incessantly about what sharia is and what it means. If you can't see the word as signifying anything other than the rule of the Taliban, that is your problem, not theirs.

What do you think the results would be of a general poll in the States as to whether people believed the law should reflect Christian morality? Would you assume that all who said yes would want Calvin's Geneva or the Inquisition?

Think, man!

February 21, 2006 2:16 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...


Before reading this sentence, please go back to my previous post and re-read it. Carefully.

Para 1: Observation of an apparent fact.

Para 2: wry note that the practical experience of Sharia law seems rather like that of Communism. Great in theory, rather less so in practice.

So before you accuse me of typecasting and prejudice, it really does pay to think about the experience of Sharia law. A short list of place names should suffice: Iran. Saudi Arabia. Afghanistan. Sudan.

I'm sure there are more, but that list is certainly representative.

What has been the experience of Sharia law wherever it has been tried?

What do you think the results would be of a general poll in the States as to whether people believed the law should reflect Christian morality?

Nearly 100%. Practicall all of whom would be confusing the contemporary US civil religion for Christian morality.

It isn't.

Because of that, save for the 2-3% who really do want the Inquisition, the balance are indicating they are pretty much happy with is, rather than any particular desire for ought.

So I am thinking. I'm trying really hard to discover which part of Sharia law (or scriptural Christian Morality, for that matter) is consistent with freedom of conscience. And I'm coming up goose eggs.

Muslims, as with Christian Reconstructionists, are perfectly free to live their own lives in the lights of their Scriptures. For those Muslims who wish for areas of Sharia law, their true desire, as with Christian Reconstructionists, is to impose their respective scriptures upon those who do not volunteer their obeisance.

In some sense, it is possible to have some sympathy for Reconstructionists. After all, they don't have a scripturally correct Christian nation to which they can move.

Muslims do. If they find Sharia law so important, perhaps they should avail themselves of one of the other freedoms so important in the West: the ability to leave.


I agree, I'd like to know a little more too. Even an error bar would be nice.

Like you, I thought it a good thing that only 1% thought the suicide bombers were right.

But rather less so that 20% understood the bombers' motivations.

February 21, 2006 4:41 AM  
Blogger Brit said...

Some other findings from this survey:

Forty per cent of the British Muslims surveyed said they backed introducing sharia in parts of Britain, while 41 per cent opposed it. Twenty per cent felt sympathy with the July 7 bombers' motives, and 75 per cent did not. One per cent felt the attacks were "right".

Nearly two thirds thought the video images shown last week of British troops beating Iraqi youths were symptomatic of a wider problem in Iraq. Half did not think the soldiers would be "appropriately punished".

However, four in five say they still want to live in and accept Western society. More than nine in 10 say they feel personally "loyal" to Britain.

..."The results on the sharia law question reflect the degree of importance that many British Muslims attach to living by an Islamic code of ethics and morality.

"It should be seen in the context of one of the other findings of the poll, which shows that while over 80 per cent of Muslims believe that Western society is not perfect, they should seek to make the best of it."

Who does think Western society is perfect?

The only thing you can really conclude is that the picture is muddied. The backdrop is the unpopular Iraq war and the 'debate' about Islam and the West that keeps getting ignited.

Given the overwhelming condemnation of violence and the fact that more than 9 out of 10 feel loyal to Britain, it is not beyond the realms of possibility than many of the 40% think Sharia Law - which as Peter points out is not clearly defined, other than as the 'path Muslims must follow' - would be the best way of preventing extremism.

Of course, the MSM couldn't lead the story with "99% of Muslims condemn suicide bombers", or "8 out of 10 want to make the best of the West"; or "Over 90% feel loyal to Britain."

They'd rather just keep driving that wedge.

February 21, 2006 4:49 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

My prediction of zero came true.

To say that there are different interpretations of sharia is a laugh.

There are four competing, different but equal versions of it. As a practical matter, being for sharia law in Britain, or anywhere else, is a recipe for disaster.

Skipper is right to question the sanity of people living in a free society who yearn to live in a place governed like Egypt.

The headline could have said, '4 in 10 UK Muslims stark, raving mad'

February 21, 2006 10:12 AM  
Blogger David said...

Take a poll asking Americans whether our law should be based on the Ten Commandments. Or, more to the point, try to find anyone who doesn't post here who says, "no."

February 21, 2006 5:25 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Not parallel. Besides, our laws are not based on the Ten Commandments, whether everybody thinks they should be or not.

(Were I not unwilling to wear out my welcome, I'd dig out my column that points out that only 3 of the 10 can be found in our laws, and post it here.)

I wonder whether the sharia enthusiasts know what's in it. Apparently not, given the odd construction about imposing it in mainly Muslim areas.

That does NOT mean on Muslims in areas where almost everybody is Muslim. That means everybody.

There may be some room for disagreement about just how revolting sharia is, but none of the four kinds does not impose legal unpersonhood on infidels, and none allows Muslims to apostatize.

It is NOT a law for Muslims only to share among themselves.

I wonder how Brit thinks it would work to have sharia in, say, Bradford. Say, again, that a Muslim man marries a Christian woman, they have children, and he decides to divorce.

Sharia lets him, with minimal fuss and only a requirement to provide for his ex-wife and children; to what level is not stated.

Don't tell me this is workable.

February 21, 2006 6:29 PM  
Blogger Brit said...

Of course it's not workable, and nor is it ever going to happen.

If only four out of ten British Muslims are stark raving mad, then they're considerably saner than the national average.

Harry, I think you're being too literal in your thinking about what these people want.

I'd like to know how the question is framed. A question framed "Do you think more British Muslims should obey sharia law" is much more open to interpretation than say, "Were the 7/7 suicide bombers right?"

You're assuming that (1) all the 4 out of 10 took the poll seriously; and (2) that all of them interpreted the sharia question in its most extreme, Taliban-style meaning, based on their logical rigour and in-depth religious knowledge.

I doubt both of these things. You could poll another sector of British society and ask, "Should we go back to old-fashioned Victorian values?" and get much more than 40% saying 'yes', but not many would want to reintroduce the poor house and retract women's suffrage.

The figures that strike me in the Muslim poll are the universal condemnation of violence, and the overwhelming sense of loyalty to Britain.

February 22, 2006 2:59 AM  
Blogger Duck said...

A more revealing poll would ask Muslims who approve of Sharia law what they think would change in the every day lives of Britons if it were imposed. In effect, you have to dig out which cultural practices they wish to have imposed. It may be dress codes for women, or repression of homosexuals, but depending on how long they've lived in Britain and how acculturated they are the answers may be all over the map. Some acculturated Muslims may not see the need to change much.

But I would think that in general, the 40% would want significant changes to the cultural practices in Britain.

February 22, 2006 5:57 AM  
Blogger Brit said...

Ah, now we're approaching a sensible viewpoint on this.

If we err on the side of caution and assume they all took the poll seriously, about 40% of 3% of the British population might prefer significant cultural changes to Britain.

Given that we have freedom of conscience in this country, they are perfectly entitled to want what they want, so long as they don't break the law.

Forgive me if I don't quake in my boots because the Muslims are coming to get us!

February 22, 2006 6:40 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

From what I hear, there are places in Britain already, though, where Victorian values are in conflict with Muslim values, with Muslim winning.

I think Duck nailed that: in some sense nearly half of Muslims in Britain do not accept British values, whatever those are.

The same could have been said of the Irish in, say, 1798.

A prescient Englishman in 1798 might not have shrugged and said, 'So what?'

February 22, 2006 10:18 AM  
Blogger David said...

Harry: I may be missing something, but that seems to make the comparison exact. If you polled Americans and asked our laws should be based on the Ten Commandments, you'd get 70 or 80 percent agreement.

February 22, 2006 11:13 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...


My comment preceding Harry's applies equally to a poll about whether the law should be based upon the 10 Commandments (ignoring for the moment which version):

What do you think the results would be of a general poll in the States as to whether people believed the law should reflect Christian morality?

Nearly 100%. Practically all of whom would be confusing the contemporary US civil religion for Christian morality.

It isn't.

Because of that, save for the 2-3% who really do want the Inquisition, the balance are indicating they are pretty much happy with is, rather than any particular desire for ought.

February 22, 2006 2:07 PM  
Blogger Brit said...

What isn't a threat to traditional British values? They've been under threat since before they were invented.

Current threats to traditional British values in order of seriousness:

1) Gradual yielding of sovereignty to the EU
2) Too much sovereignty for Blair and his nannying party
3) American-style 'compensation culture'
4) Black youth 'gangsta' culture
5) White youth 'gangsta' culture
6) Asian youth 'gangsta' culture
7) The divorce rate
8) Decline of discipline in schools
9) Decline of the traditional working class community
10) Outsourcing of service jobs to India
11) Rise of the TV dinner
12) Collapse of the university grant
13) Collapse of the Anglican church community
14) Cheating foreigners taking over our national game of football
15) Townies

999) Sharia law.

February 23, 2006 1:29 AM  
Blogger David said...

Skipper: That's fine and I mostly agree. But why do Americans get the benefit of a sophisticated, subtle, sympathetic reading of the poll results, and not British Muslims?

Why do we get to assume that this one bland question means that 40% of British Muslims are eager to cut the hands off thieves, stone adulteresses and push walls over onto homosexuals? Sharia law includes a robust right of self-defense. At least to that extent, I think that Britain should adopt Sharia law.

February 23, 2006 6:54 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Brit, it's notable that 'the servant problem' has dropped out of the Top 10.

Perhaps there's hope for Albion yet.

I don't believe in polls, usually, so it is not my practice to overanalyze them.

Facts, however, are stubborn things.

Perhaps most Americans think our laws already are based on the Ten Commandments. They could be, if 100% of a democracy wanted it. But the fact is, they aren't.

It's a fact that UK law is not based on Sharia (the anthropologist from Mars might not be able to say so certainly about Scottish law, however). That some largish fraction of the US Muslim sector rejects western law ought to be worrisome, even if there is some uncertainty about just what it is they would replace it with.

The stubborn fact is, they would replace it.

February 23, 2006 11:03 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...


Skipper: That's fine and I mostly agree. But why do Americans get the benefit of a sophisticated, subtle, sympathetic reading of the poll results, and not British Muslims?

Because Americans would be responding to the poll question asserting, however mistakenly, that is and Scritural ought are largely the same.

In reality, Americans are in large agreement with a tautology: is as ought.

The Muslims desiring Sharia law do not see it remotely like that. First, they see Sharia law as divinely ordained as ascendant.

And second, they see a huge gulf between is and ought.

Which is fine, they are certainly capable of bringing those two terms as close as they like in their own lives.

What I can't figure out is where they get off thinking they are entitled to impose it upon those who fail to volunteer.

Oh. Sorry. Never mind. Allah told them to.

So it must be OK.

As far as self defense goes, until fairly recently, violent crime was practically unheard of in England.

In the 80s, there was serious debate as to whether the police should be armed. By American standards at the time, and even now, the need for self defense in England is vanishingly small.

February 23, 2006 6:31 PM  
Blogger Brit said...

Yes, I prefer facts to polls too.

Unless we're going to start monitoring thoughtcrime or making answering surveys incorrectly a specific offence, I'll judge Muslims on their actions.

According to Government stats, Asians (which includes the Muslims) are by far the least criminal ethnic group.

If we're going to convict people on their theoretical dissatisfaction with British law, we're going to have to build more prisons just to house the LibDems. 100% of them want to change nearly everything.

February 24, 2006 1:44 AM  
Blogger Duck said...

14) Cheating foreigners taking over our national game of football

Brit, I would have thought you would have put this one higher on the list.

February 24, 2006 7:41 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

I find this today at Tim Blair's place, from Kofi Annan:

'The offensive caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad were first published in a European country which has recently acquired a significant Muslim population, and is not yet sure how to adjust to it.'

Please pass the cheese.

February 27, 2006 11:16 AM  
Blogger Oroborous said...

Indeed. The point is that the Muslim immigrants ought to be adjusting to Europe, not the other way 'round.

They're not just switching geographical locations, they're switching societies and cultures as well, and it's idiotic of them to expect to be able to transplant the failed cultures that they're fleeing, into Western Euro soil.

February 27, 2006 4:37 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

As an immigrant into a new culture, I consider myself privileged to be able to adopt those aspects of it that are admirable -- aloha, for example.

And obliged to reject those that are not admirable -- aristocracy, for one.

But I'm not about to throw bombs at the Hawaiians who volunteer to be oppressed by kings. (I personally know four kings of Hawaii, and there are others I have not met.)

Certainly, given the past experience of America, we would be adopting some of the positive aspects of Muslim and/or Arab culture by now, if they had any. The fact that we have not is, in its way, the conclusive proof that Muslims are, indeed, not like us.

February 28, 2006 11:11 AM  

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