Saturday, December 03, 2005

Vertical Church of the Perpetual Bob Scrapped

When I first began writing One Cosmos Under God, I thought I might have to invent a new religion in order to convey my ideas about spirituality. This would have meant becoming a guru, corralling a bunch of fawning disciples, or "bobbleheads", soliciting constant love offerings (i.e., cash) from my flock, and deputizing Petey to be my official spokesperson.

However, as I immersed myself in Higher Things, I happily discovered that all of the available "big box" religions are perfectly capable of taking you just as far as you want to go in the realm of Spirit. These things aren't necessarily advertised to the masses. Rather, you have to go deep into your tradition, way past the mere Words department, so that you may forego the pastorized milk in favor of drinking directly from the sacred cow.

Christianity is a case in point. If you're anything like me, then it is likely that you internalized a dysfunctional version of Christianity as a child, warping your ability to see it as anything other than a bunch of quaint fairy tales for the slack-jawed masses. From my earliest exposure to Christianity in Sunday school as a child, I had some real problems with it--not because of Christianity, but because of the people presenting it. Something is wrong if religion is conveyed by an adult to a six year-old in such a way that the child thinks to himself, "Geez, what an idiot. Does he really believe this stuff?" It is fair to say that I struggled with some version of this smug and misguided six year-old attitude for the subsequent thirty years or so, which is what undoubtedly prompted me to initially seek metaphysical nourishment elsewhere, in eastern religions. I'm sure this is a common pattern.

As I say in my book, I see spiritual reality as a sort of invisible topology with innumerable "springs" dotting the landscape and bubbling forth vertically from another dimension. Fortunately for me, in the course of writing my book, I stumbled upon one of these springs that allowed me to appreciate the great beauty, power and truth of Christianity. I look at the different religions--real religions--as analogous to, say, telescopes or microscopes in the realm of science. Just as the scientist uses a microscope to enlarge invisible entities so that they may be seen, we "look through" the great religions in order to see another kind of invisible reality that normally cannot be detected. I used to think that you only practiced a religion if you believed in God. Now I understand that you practice a religion in order to know God.

If you are using your religion as a successful macroscope, then it will awaken hidden layers of the soul, which in turn will provide you with the means necessary to see more deeply into the Divine. As this happens, you will experience a compelling influx of new ideas, capacities, sentiments, and aspirations that cannot be explained in any other way. Religions are full of "secret" knowledge that is inaccessible to those who do not take the time to practice one.

In order to allow the things above to be reflected in the things below, you must create a mirror that is clean and stable: "The perfect man employs his mind as a mirror; it grasps nothing; it refuses nothing; it receives, but does not keep" (Chuang Tzu). Effort is required, but effort alone is insufficient. And it is an unusual kind of effort, because it is actually more like a "non-effort." That is, one must first learn to silence the mind and unknow one's thoughts. There is a reversal of figure and ground, so that silence becomes the context out of which thoughts arise and pass away. Effortless silence is anterior to spiritual knowing, but it is a concentrated and expectant silence, a foreknowledge of as yet undiscovered things.

Thankfully, the cosmos is not a closed circle, but an open circle with an entrance and exit. An unknown Christian friend says that the key to reconciling personal effort and spiritual reality is to master concentration without effort and transform work into play. This is why I say that my eight month old is my new spiritual advisor. With single-minded playfulness, he busies himself along that vast shoreline where the infinite sea washes up to the edge of our finite shore, where this world ends and another begins. There is no other moment than this one, and never has been. It just gets deeper.

Friday, December 02, 2005

How I Cured Myself of Leftism

Yesterday, reader Julian asked an excellent question: "How is that I used to be a liberal but then changed? Why are some of the smart people I know still wedded to the Kool-aid, but others not? Is it some sort of blend of inertia and fear of the unknown?"

The first thought that comes to mind is that I knew this would happen once people started tinkering with the definition of marriage. Soon enough, people would be wedding Kool-aid.

Seriously, I used to think this was a purely psychological question, but it can't be that simple. Like you--like almost everyone--I also began as a leftist. I guess I'll have to start with analyzing my own awakening, and then determine if it has any general applicability to others.

At this point in time, I am more inclined to think of leftism as an intellectual pathology rather than a psychological one (although there is clearly considerable overlap). What I mean is that it is impossible to maintain a priori that a conservative person is healthier or more emotionally mature than a liberal. There are plenty of liberals who believe crazy things but are wonderful people, and plenty of conservatives who have the right ideas but are rotten people. However, this may be begging the question, for it is still puzzling why people hold beliefs that are demonstrably untrue or at the very least unwise.

One of the problems is with our elites. We are wrong to think that the difficulty lies in the uneducated and unsophisticated masses--as if inadequate education, in and of itself, is the problem. As a matter of fact, no one is more prone to illusions than the intellectual. It has been said that philosophy is simply personal error on a grandiose scale. Complicating matters is the fact that intellectuals are hardly immune to a deep emotional investment in their ideas, no less than the religious individual. The word "belief" is etymologically linked to the word "beloved," and it is easy to see how certain ideas, no matter how dysfunctional--for example, some of the undeniably appealing ideas underpinning contemporary liberalism--are beloved by those who believe them. Thus, many liberal ideas are believed not because they are true, but because they are beautiful. Then, the intellectual simply marshals their intelligence in service of legitimizing the beliefs that they already hold. It has long been understood by psychoanalysts that for most people, reason is the slave of the passions.

Underneath the intellectual's attachment to the dysfunctional idea is a more insidious fear that their entire intellectual cathedral, carefully constructed over a lifetime, will collapse in ruins. Religious people are not as prone to this same fear, because they accept it that their religion is ultimately based on a leap of faith. One can see how this is playing out, for example, in the intellgent design debate that has philosophical materialists frothing at the mouth. Intellectuals live under the illusion that their system is based solely on facts and logic, which is easily disproved, even with regard to mathematical knowledge (for example, Godel's theorems prove that there is no formal system that does not contain assumptions unwarranted and unproveable by the system). For most intellectuals, understanding actually precedes knowledge. In other words, they have a certain feeling about the world, and then only pay attention to knowledge that confirms that feeling-based view.

That liberalism is a new pseudo-religion seems quite obvious to me. While it is true that the conservative intellectual movement includes religious groups, it has been my experience that conservatism actually maintains a far clearer separation of religious and political impulses than liberalism, simply because it acknowledges a sharp difference between the two. Since leftism denies the existence of spirit, it ends up conflating politics and gnostic spirituality into a single ideology that is neither politics nor religion, but a monstrous hybrid of the two.

As Jonah Goldberg has observed, "Like many spiritual movements, liberalism emphasizes deeds and ideals over ideas. As a result, when liberals gather there’s a revivalist spirit in the air, with plenty of talk about fighting the forces of evil and testifying about good deeds done." The philosopher Eric Voegelin coined the phrase “immanentizing the eschaton” to describe the messianic liberal impulse to remake mankind and to create heaven on earth. Goldberg cites several examples, such as "the spiritual nature of the environmental movement; the quasi-messianic treatment of Martin Luther King Jr.; Bill Clinton’s invocation of 'covenants' with the American people; Hillary Clinton’s 'politics of meaning,' which claimed to redefine what it meant to be a human being in the postmodern world — all of these are examples of what Voegelin would describe as the neo-Gnostic effort to make the hereafter simply here." Similarly, "It should be no surprise that Hillary Clinton justified her Senate candidacy on the claim that she was more 'concerned' about the issues than her opponent. And of course her husband won the presidency by arguing he was better at 'feeling' pain."

At the same time, for the person who is not under the hypnotic psycho-spiritual spell of contemporary liberalism, it is strikingly devoid of actual religious wisdom or real ideas. As such, it is driven by vague, spiritually infused ideals and feelings, such as "sticking up for the little guy," or "war is not the answer." On the other hand, conservatism is not so much based on ideas, but on simply observing what works, and then generalizing from there. It is actually refreshingly free of dogma, and full of dynamic tension. For example, at the heart of conservatism is an ongoing, unresolvable dialectic between freedom and virtue. In other words, there is a bedrock belief in the idea that free markets are the best way to allocate scarce resources and to create wealth and prosperity for all, but a frank acknowledgment that, without a virtuous populace, the system may produce a self-centered, materialistic citizenry living in a sort of degenerate, "pitiable comfort." Thus, there is an ongoing, unresolvable tension between the libertarian and traditional wings of the movement.

There is no such dynamic tension in liberalism. Rather, it is a top-down dogma that is not dictated by what works, but by how liberals would like reality to be. This is why liberalism must be enforced with the mechanism of political correctness, in order to preempt or punish those who deviate from liberal dogma, and see what they are not supposed to see.

Consider this recent piece of work by that older piece of work, Howard Dean. He recently posted this summary of liberal beliefs and achievements on the DNC website. See if you can detect any substantive thought whatsoever. At the same time, note the crypto-religious, messianic tone:

--"Our leaders in the House and Senate... continue to pressure the administration for the truth about manipulating prewar intelligence, sending a strong message that Democrats will fight for what is right."

--"The DNC, the Democratic House and Senate leadership and Democratic mayors and governors are sitting at the same table to create policies and strategies for restoring honest government and fiscal responsibility to America."

--"We need to continue to work together on judicial nominations, environmental legislation, trade and jobs to send effectively the message that we are again ready to lead the American people with purpose and in a fundamentally new direction."

--"The key to winning is running a national campaign based on our different vision and the themes that Democrats around the country have put forward."

--"We will offer real ethics reform and election reform so that the Government Accountability Office can report in three years that we can have confidence in our voting machines."

--"We will offer a program for American jobs that stay in America... "

--"We will offer Americans real security. We all agree that 2006 must be a transition year in Iraq."

--"We will offer the American people a government that is honest in preparing for any deployment of American troops and honor their sacrifice when they come home."

--"Americans believe that using issues to divide us as a country to win elections is bad for America. We will restore America’s sense of community."

--"Most important, we will talk about Democratic values, which are America’s values."

--"Americans believe it is immoral that not everyone has some kind of health insurance. We agree."

--"The vast majority of Americans believe it is immoral to lets kids go hungry. We agree. The other party cuts school lunches (they just can’t seem to leave that one alone.)"

As an aside, have you noticed that leftists always believe they are "speaking truth to power" when they are actually "speaking lies to the powerless"? It occurs to me that Dean works so closely with the a-holes at, that after his chairmanship is over he'll be able to switch his specialty to proctology. With that last wisecrack about conservatives having a value system that places a priority on making sure that children go hungry, what can you say but: Physician F**k Thyself. Immediately.

Where was I, anyway? Oh yes. I was about to describe my journey from the darkness of contemporary liberalism to modern conservatism. Next post, I guess.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Conscience, Superego, and Huk al Berri

The psychoanalyst W.R. Bion developed a model of the mind that was a radical departure from previous psychoanalytic models, centering around the importance of truth as opposed to drives, repression, aggression, sexuality, etc. He did not conceptualize the mind in mechanistic terms, but more like an organism whose function is to metabolize and synthesize its fragmented elements into a coherent whole. It was his belief that the mind grew through exposure to truth. For him, therapy consisted of investigating the various ways in which truth either evolves or is blocked. People and groups evade truth for a variety of reasons, usually to avoid pain. And when they do, the consequences, both individual and collective, are catastrophic.

One area where Bion differed with Freud was over the nature and function of the superego, the part of ourselves that Freud believed was responsible for our morality. The problem with Freud's conception is that the superego will reflect the particular family in which one grew up and the particular society in which one lives. As such, the superego is not necessarily moral at all. It is essentially amoral, in that it may well punish the individual for morally good behavior and reward him for morally bad behavior, depending on the culture.

Here we can understand why the emphasis on truth is so vital. For in the Arab Muslim world, they are so inundated with vicious lies about America and Israel that it would be immoral for them not to hate us. In a racist or anti-Semitic society, the superego will actually demand that its members be racist and anti-Semitic. For example, the nazi movement in Germany was animated by extremely high ideals, without which they could not have engaged in their project to exterminate the Jews. Once the lie is established as truth, then the superego takes over, impelling the individual to act in a "moral" way, consistent with the implications of the lie.

Clearly, a casual survey of history will establish the fact that most of what people have believed down through the centuries has been untrue. We see case after case of corrupt superegos that sanction and condone slavery, witch hunts, racism, anti-Semitism, jihads, all based on one vital lie or another. All the superego does is enforce consistency between beliefs and actions. If the beliefs are false, then the actions will likely be immoral. People rarely believe they are evil, no matter how evil they are. You can be assured that bin Laden feels morally superior to you or I, which is what permits him to murder in the name of his "truth."

I believe that the conscience is not identical to the supergo. Rather, the conscience is nonlocal and universal, while the superego is local and particular. The superego is simply a mechanism we evolved in order to get along in small groups. In reality, morality is universal and transcendent, applicable at all times and in all places, such as "thou shalt not murder."

In his book Freud, Women and Morality: The Psychology of Good and Evil, Eli Sagan uses a wonderfully illuminating example from Huckleberry Finn, in which Huck is in the midst of a moral dilemma between what his superego wants him to do--return the slave Jim to his master, Miss Watson--and what his conscience is telling him--that Jim is a human being just like him, and that it would be evil for him to assist in re-enslaving him. First we hear Huck dealing with an attack from his superego as he considers returning Jim:

"The more I studied about this the more my conscience [actually, the superego] went to grinding me, and the more wicked and low-down ornery I got to feeling. And at last, when it hit me all of a sudden that here was the plain hand of Providence slapping me in the face and letting me know my wickedness was being watched all the time from up there in heaven, whilst I was stealing a poor old woman's nigger that hadn't done me no harm, and now was showing me there's One that's always on the lookout, and ain't a-going to allow no such miserable doings to go only just so fur and no further, I most dropped in my tracks I was so scared."

Clearly, Huck is under assault by his tyrannical superego for violating the racist ethic of his culture. The omniscient superego ("watching all the time") slaps him in the face, accuses him of wickedness, and causes him to become immobilized with fear. He proceeds to write a letter telling Miss Watson where Jim can be found. But as he does so, his conscience--not superego--begins to nag him. He lays the letter down and "set there thinking":

"And went on thinking.... and I see Jim before me all the time... we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn't seem to strike no places to harden me against him.... I'd see him standing my watch on top of his'n, 'stead of calling me... and see how glad he was when I came back out of the fog.... and would always call me honey and pet me, and how good he always was... and he said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world... and then I happened to look around and see that paper."

Caught between guilt from doing something at variance with what the superego is demanding, and an awakened conscience telling him to do the right thing, what will Huck do?

"I was a-trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied it a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: 'All right, then, I'll go to hell'--and tore it up."

Huck revokes the lie, stands up to the superego, and makes the decision to do wrong, to "take up wickedness again" by helping to free Jim.

One can only wonder. How many in the Arab Muslim world are ready to give themselves over to sin by making peace with Israel? How many are prepared to bear the guilty attacks from the superego for treating women equally? How many will stop confusing the lies of the imam with the truth of God? How many will "go the whole hog" and toss a brick at al Jazeera?

Me? I done tore up my New York Times four years ago and been takin' to wickedness ever since. And it ain't been no easy road. Fact, if'n it waren't for old shrinkwrapped, I'd a-never knowed any lowdown evil headshrinkers, 'cept'n my own poor self.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Why Do They Hate Us?

The other day Chris Matthews gave a college speech in which he asked the question that always puzzles liberals, that is, "why do they -- our millions of enemies in the Muslim world -- hate us?" Matthews made it clear that he was concerned not just with outright terrorists, but with rank-and-file Muslims throughout the Arab world.

It is odd that the only people who ask this question are suffering from the same logopathology that causes us to be hated in the Arab Muslim world: Quite simply, they hate us because they believe lies about us. Just as Palestinians hate Jews because they believe terrible lies -- delusions, really -- about them, leftists hate President Bush because they believe lies about him.

In this regard, it doesn't really matter if the hatred engenders the lie, or the lie fosters the hatred. (More on that tomorrow.) The end result is the same: banishment to a negative psychological space, a parallel universe ruled by lies and hatred instead of love and truth, and where emotional and intellectual growth are impossible. The Arab Muslim world is immersed in a sea of lies about almost everything you could imagine (as catalogued by, which is the real source of their spiritual sickness.

In order to grow, the mind requires truth. Similarly, a culture or nation that is deprived of truth will literally become spiritually ill. The mind, although it is not a physical entity, nevertheless has a function, just like any other organ. Your heart functions to pump blood. Your lungs function to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide with the environment. And the mind functions to metabolize truth so that it may grow.

A mind nourished on lies will still grow, but it will grow in a monstrous way analogous to a tumor. Rather than being a unity, it will be an agglomeration. It will be riven by contradiction, and there will be no true synthesis of its elements.

Indeed, this is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to argue with a leftist. Such an individual will freely believe all kinds of mutually contradictory things, such as "our soldiers are engaged in a genocidal war based on lies, and I support the troops," or "President Bush lied about WMD, and President Clinton was telling the truth about them," or "we should have prevented North Korea from obtaining nukes, and Saddam was not a threat to obtain them."

At the same time, the leftist will unconsciously "attack" the connecting links in your own psyche, giving you the subjective experience of what it must be like to be them.

It is almost impossible to read a leftist editorial without these kinds of irreconcilable contradictions. Yesterday, for example, Tom Friedman's editorial argued that Bush is arguably the worst president in US history, but that "we [we!] are about to produce the most legitimate government ever in the Arab world." He notes that it is "appalling to watch Bush and Cheney act like two Rove attack dogs" (that is, to have the audacity to respond to slanderous charges against them), but that the much harsher Democratic attacks on the President must be overlooked because "they are not in power." (Apparently, power is absolute. The left and the New York Times are utterly powerless today, just as the Republican party was powerless during the Clinton presidency. Right.)

Friedman claims that to "accuse anyone of lacking seriousness on Iraq is disgusting," but that President Bush has disgustingly "fought this war on the cheap, always putting politics before policy." Always. Of course, Friedman doesn't explain why President Bush would want to cynically pursue a policy he doesn't believe in just to garner a 30% approval rating, but it doesn't matter. Friedman is smarter than you or I. He has an important job at the New York Times.

Friedman's thinking is so chaotic and contradictory, one hardly knows where to begin. Plus, it's all wrapped in an aura of intellectual superiority which is the real message of the article.

That is, if you are a therapist, you don't listen just to the meaning of the words, but the emotional tone that is being conveyed. In Friedman's case, the message he wishes to convey is of moral and intellectual superiority, the conviction that all badness may be located outside himself and in President Bush and his corrupt cronies, and that he (Friedman) is not, I said NOT an immature and childish thinker taking pot-shots at the grownups. (In the same article he asks, "Where are the adults?," unconsciously referring to himself.)

But all of these assertions are self-refuting, in that they are reactions to a deeper, painful truth that Friedman unKnows but is unwilling to face. Editorials this passionately disjointed are painful to read, but that's part of the process. Through the process of projective identification, we must bear the pain he cannot. It is left to us to try to put together his broken fragments of emotion-driven thought and make sense of them, just as one would do with a child or patient. Like Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman or the persecuted hosts of Air America, his emotions are obviously quite serious, even urgent. That much is clear. Just don't take his thoughts seriously.

More tomorrow on the relationship between lies, hatred, emotional growth, and the conscience.

UPDATE--via Shrinkwrapped, a very helpful guide to the techniques of propaganda posted at For example, in Friedman's editorial alone, I counted seventeen out of twenty two propaganda techniques: Guilt By Association, Backstroke, Misinformation, Over Humanization, Name Calling, He Said, She Said, Unproven "Facts," Lying, Subtle Inaccuracies/Dismissive Tone, One-One Punch, Volume, Coordination, Preemptive Strike, Framing the Debate, Token Equal Time, Interpreting, and Withholding Information. No wonder these guys can only publish a couple of short editorials a week. It takes a lot of time and effort to squeeze in all those techniqes and be concise about it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Hard Bigotry of No Expectations has a story about The Dubliner, which claims to be "widely regarded as the definitive guide to Irish culture", publishing an op-ed piece that "not only disputes Israel's right to exist but also denigrates Jewish history and culture at the same time":

"In the immediate aftermath of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's call to 'wipe Israel from the face of the map', this magazine's November issue publishes an opinion piece alluding to the same idea by former Irish Labor Minister Justin Keating. While couched in less violent terms than Ahmadinejad, Keating claims 'the Zionists have absolutely no right in what they call Israel, that they have built their state not beside but on top of the Palestinian people, and that there can be no peace as long as contemporary Israel retains its present form.'

Keating not only takes issue with Israel's right to exist but, unlike any serious historian, also questions the entire Jewish historical and religious connection to the land, asking. 'Did the Jews of the Old Testament come from what is now Israel? The answer is No.' .... Keating portrays the Jews as 'people who occupied some land two thousand years ago for a historically brief period, to the detriment of those who have been there since.' .... Keating even states that the UN Resolution of 1947 did not give Israel the right to exist as a sovereign state, claiming 'they [the Zionists] have continuously and relentlessly violated that resolution for more than half a century, so that any tatters that now remain are void, by their action.'"

Ever wonder why the United States and Israel are the most hated countries on earth, or why Judaism and Christianity are the most despised religions? If you listen to the American or European left, they feel absolutely no compunction or hesitation to spew the most vile and bigoted rhetoric about America, about President Bush, or about our history of "genocide" and "imperialism." Since anyone with a shred of common sense or historical perspective can see that this is nonsense, one has to ask, "what is going on?" It's not that these critics are stupid, or uneducated, or necessarily even bad-intentioned. And yet, they believe things that are not only untrue, but cannot possibly be true.

As I may have mentioned before, as a psychologist looking at history, I am not particularly interested in ignorance, which, after all, is perfectly understandable and can afflict anyone. It simply means that you don't know something. What is far more interesting from a psychological standpoint is what I call motivated stupidity, that is, the promulgation of some patently false belief based on underlying emotional need.

Every day we hear about the horrors perpetrated in the name of Islam, and yet, the left ignores them. Or, if they do pay attention to them, they try to explain the horrors as having been warranted by something we must have done to them. This happened just the other day, when Chris Matthews made some particularly idiotic statements during a college speech about how we must try to understand "why our enemies hate us."

You will notice the reverse is never true. It never occurred to Matthews to say that Islamists must look within and ask themselves why we might have some hostility toward them. No one on the left asks, "Gee, I wonder what Saddam must have done to deserve getting toppled by President Bush?," Or, "I wonder why Israel needs to build that big fence?" There is a sort of barrier to natural curiosity, a rigid psychic defense that curtails rational thought and says STOP! DON'T GO THERE!

This leftist attitude actually betrays more than a "soft bigotry of low expectations" toward Islam. Rather, it is a hard bigotry of no expectations toward the Muslim world.

For example, I believe the Palestinians receive no criticism from the left (and the world community at large), not because they think so highly of them, but because they have think so badly about them -- in fact, they actually have no expectations whatsoever about them.

In other words, it is not because the Palestinians are so wonderful that they are immune from criticism, but because everyone knows that it would be absurd to hold Muslims to the same standards as Christians, or Jews, or Zen Buddhists -- to any standards of decency at all, really. No one is shocked at the barbarity of the Islamic world, whether it is committed by terrorists, or perpetrated in the name of the Saudi or Iranian governments.

For example, if a single Christian soldier in Iraq went nuts and killed a single Muslim, there would be riots and protests all over the world. Why? Because we expect certain behaviors from Americans and from Christians.

So in a perverse way, the more we are hated by the left, the more it is a kind of tribute to us. Imagine being foolish enough to have any moral expectations of the Chinese, or the Palestinians, or the Saudis, or the North Koreans. We expect them to behave barbarously. And they never fail us. And when they do behave in their predictably bestial way, it is never their fault. It is either overlooked completely, or blamed on some provocation, some "underlying cause." But it would be ludicrous to think that a leftist would ever look for an exculpatory "root cause" of Israel's behavior toward their bloodthirsty Arab neighbors.

You will notice how this plays out in the U.S. When an idiot like Pat Robertson makes one of his predictably foolish statements, he is lambasted by comedians, and rightfully so. But why are there no jokes about someone who was not just a moron, but truly evil, like Yasser Arafat? Likewise, Christianity is fair game -- note, for example, all of the jokes about the Catholic church's homosexual priest problem. (Correction -- because of the dictates of victimology, that scandal had to be fraudulently changed into a "pedophile priest" problem to make it acceptable for ridicule.)

Why is there a blackout on jokes about Palestinians, who are so eminently jokeworthy? Most of my attempts at good-natured humor on this site would never be considered acceptable to the MSM, who go out of their way to treat Islam not just the same as other religions, but better than other religions (and yet, somehow more fragile at the same time).

This is so ironic, because it obviously has nothing to do with the secular left's affinity for religion, which they otherwise despise. In other words, Islam is not a protected species because it is a religion. It is protected because it is anti-Western, because its adherents tend to have slightly darker skin than caucasians, and because it has been granted victim status. Therefore it is untouchable.

The fact that we don't mercilessly make fun of our enemies is part of the same syndrome that has prevented Hollywood from making any movies about the war on terror, for fear of insulting Muslims (and, of course, because they don't want to show our military engaged in a heroic struggle against evil). We live in a morally upside down world, in which making fun of the Islamist ideology is forbidden, but committing mass murder in the name of Islam is explained away.

So if I ridicule Palestinians, it is because, despite all evidence to the contrary, I still have some expectations of them. This is unlike the bigots of the left -- bigots like Juan Cole, who heap scorn on the United States but make every excuse imaginable for the moral failings of Islam. We will know that Muslims have come a long way when they can start making fun of themselves in the same way that Americans have always made fun of themselves, their institutions, their politicians, and their religion.

Oh well. What can you do but laugh about the situation?

Do you remember when Arafat died, how his wife, Suha, rushed from Paris to be by his side? Turns out that was actually part of the pre-nup: they had agreed to be together over his dead body.

Jeopardy answer: "Thuggery, buggery, and skulduggery."
Question: "What were Yasser Arafat's favorite activities?"

At least they have a right to medical care in the Palestinian territories. One lady brought her 13 year old to a psychiatrist, worried that he had become obsessed with not killing himself. And they're trying to do something to rid their classrooms of the psychotic anti-Semitism. I don't know if I like that idea. It means their children will have to learn bits and pieces of genocidal ideology from each other, instead of from an expert.

They keep saying that the problem is that Islam has just been "hijacked" by the terrorists. I don't know about that, but maybe Israel needs to Lojack the Palestinians, so they know where they are at all times.

But anti-Semites have it so easy. If you want to boycott the Palestinians, what are you supposed to do, put off purchasing that new suicide belt?

And now the Palestinians even use teenage girls for suicide bombers. In fact, the girls don't actually use suicide belts. Rather, they call them "chastity belts," because it's the only way to be certain they'll never be seen holding hands with a Christian boy.

Bottom line: in Palestine, it's every parents' nightmare to die before their children.

But I give the Palestinians credit. They've evolved from primitive kinship structures to barbarous gang affiliations. With luck, they can eventually became a racket, and then perhaps a crime syndicate. Evolution doesn't happen over night.

Now the Palestinians are complaining that it's unfair for us to withhold funds until Abbas institutes some meaningful reforms. I guess they have a point. It's like we're biting the hand that steals from us.

At least with Abbas, they finally have a moderate in there. Sure, he's a Holocaust denier, but at least he's a moderate holocaust denier. That is, he believes that six million Jews were inconvenienced in WWII.

So much conversion to the Nation of Islam goes on in American prisons, it's more accurate to call it them "Islamic gated communities."

It's making some judges a little concerned. One guy was sentenced to eleven years behind bars, double that for good Muslim behavior. And Farrakhan insists that they have their own chaplains in prison. They bow their heads and say, "Let us prey.... on Jews and other infidels."

But we need to be fair. According to CAIR, when Muslims give money to charity that ends up in the hands of terrorists, it's no different than when charitable donations end up in the hands of the military wing of the Salvation Army.

On the positive side, CAIR has issued a strongly worded statement that unambiguously condemns sawing off heads by either side in Iraq.

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