Do we need *more* radical Islam?

Here is the latest report:

The man behind the Nice truck attack drank alcohol, beat his wife and has been described as “not a Muslim but a shit”.

Furthermore about a third of the dead from the attack were Muslims (NYT).

One form of radical Islam is Sufism, many strains of which are pacifist in nature.  It was not too long ago that Amjad Sabri, of Sabri brothers fame, was shot dead in Pakistan by terrorists.  Was he the radical or were they?  And which do we want more of?

Recently I had a long lunch with a researcher in Brussels who was studying terrorism in the city.  He was very much of the view that most of the terrorists and terrorist-candidates are not very religious, although most did end up latching onto Islam as an identity marker and source of group support.

In other words, they are not “radical Islam.”  Here is a Vox piece on why the term “radical Islam” is not always productive.

In general, I am suspicious when someone dismisses a view for being “radical” or “extreme.”  There is usually sloppy thinking behind that designation.  Why not just say what is wrong with the view?  How for instance are we supposed to feel about “radical Christianity”?  Good or bad?  Does it mean Origen or Ted Cruz or something altogether different?  Can’t we just debate the question itself?

The same is true in politics.  Let’s say someone favors free trade and the First Amendment.  Is that “radical”?  Or is it mainstream and thus non-radical?  Does labeling it radical further the debate on whether or not those are the correct positions?

For similar reasons, don’t be too quick to call someone or someone’s views “divisive.”  If the status quo is problematic, a good reform might be divisive in some critical regards.  Arguably the modern world is specializing in “non-divisive” means of creating an ultimately divisive state of affairs.

More generally, when that term “radical” or “extreme” is introduced, there is a presupposition  that no external argument or perspective can be so strong to counter what one’s own swarmy group takes for granted.


Quibbling on the word radical brings no illumination. How about militant.

You obviously hate America because you won't say radicalized islamic terrorism, click your heels three times, and say "take America back, take America back, take America back".

If Islam is an effective tool for preventing the formation of "shits" or for their subsequent reform, that would seem to be a mark in favor of it. But if we look at the over-representation of people from North Africa and the Middle East in French prisons, for example, that would seem to call into question Islam's utility in that regard, no?

Maybe it's just a problem natural to Arabs, despite their religion.

Jeff R.

"If Islam is an effective tool for preventing the formation of “shits” or for their subsequent reform, that would seem to be a mark in favor of it."


"But if we look at the over-representation of people from North Africa and the Middle East in French prisons, for example, that would seem to call into question Islam’s utility in that regard, no?"

Actually not. A solid majority of the people in France's prisons are from North Africa and the Middle East (directly or indirectly). The same is true in every other country in Europe (or so I have read). However, these folks weren't typically devout Muslims when they were arrested and prosecuted.

As I (and others) have noted several times, the dominant immigrant youth culture isn't Islam or radical Islam, but "hip hop" and "gansta". Traditional (conservative) Islamic culture would be a vast improvement over street life in the banlieues. That said, radical Islam would be worse. Forget (for a moment) Nice. ISIS has embraced slavery (literally, not figuratively), kidnapping, mass murder, etc. If a significant fraction (even 1%) of MENA immigrants took up radical Islam (not traditional Islam), France would have an immediate civil war.

Fair points, PS.

Assume everything in this article is correct. So what? This guy drank alcohol, so the attack isn't a big deal? Muslims died, so those deaths don't count?

And Cowen needs to really think through the consequences of his proposition. If the talking heads stop saying "radical Islam," you know what the most likely replacement is? Just plain "Islam." I don't think that's a helpful direction for this dialogue to take.

From a prior post of mine...

“There is an incredible amount of discrimination against muslim immigrants though”

This is the standard left-liberal mythology. However, it almost certainly is not true. Asians immigrate to France and thrive. The idea that the French are pervasively racist is absurd. You have to believe that the French tolerate and embrace non-white Asians while rejecting non-white Muslims. That’s not plausible.

A more useful perspective is that young French Muslims are (generally, but not universally) hostile towards the French and the French respond accordingly. The problem isn’t Islam (at least directly, see below), but more realistically a rejection of traditional, conservative Islam. See “Gangsta, in French” by David Brooks (of all people).

The core street culture in ghetto France isn’t traditional (conservative) Islam, but American hip-hop. Needless to say, American ghetto culture isn’t a positive force in work, family life, education, assimilation, success, etc. As stated above, traditional Muslims disdain and oppose ghetto culture in the Banlieues. As a group, they strongly oppose the criminality, drugs, and sexual brutality of street life.

While all of the above is true, it is also true that Islam provides a perverse inspiration for France’s (and Europe’s) alienated immigrant youth. Islam teaches that believers are superior to non-believers. That’s a very destructive mindset for people living at the bottom of European society. Islam has a quite protective attitude towards Muslim women (mostly a good thing). However, Islam treats non-Muslim women as booty that Muslims are entitled to (yes, there is more to this point). That is a deeply destructive message.

A good summary, is that Muslim young people are uninterested in the jobs they are qualified for (with both Gangsta culture and presumptions of superiority playing a role) and unqualified for the (white collar) jobs they want. Rhetoric about “racism” is commonplace in France, Europe, and the USA. The truth is otherwise. If Muslim immigrants behaved like Asian immigrants, their religion would be a footnote (for society as a whole, not for the Muslims). Of course, the facts are opposite.

I do not care about this discussion except to point out that this is wrong:

> You have to believe that the French tolerate and embrace non-white Asians while rejecting non-white Muslims. That’s not plausible.

That seems completely plausible to me. There are certainly differing attitudes towards immigrants from various places. Perhaps because immigrants from various places vary in how much they adopt the culture of their new home.

And of course "Asian" denotes an area of origin and "Muslim" denotes a religious belief, so it's not exactly clear how to compare the two.

You compare them by looking at the experiences of Asian Muslims. Are those experiences more like Asian non-Muslims, more like non-Asian Muslims, or unlike both?


"You compare them by looking at the experiences of Asian Muslims. Are those experiences more like Asian non-Muslims, more like non-Asian Muslims, or unlike both?"

Finding Asian Muslims isn't going to be easy. In this context, "Asian" means East-Asian (China, Japan, Korea, etc.). China provides some useful data points. China has several groups of Muslims. Some are ethnically Chinese but religiously Islamic. Apparently, this group is quite radical, but supportive of the Chinese government and well tolerated. The Uyghurs are also Muslim, but not Chinese at all. They are definitely in conflict with the Chinese government.

The Chinese experience (and the European experience as well) should caution folks from viewing these issues as matters of religion. Religion is involved. However, much of the conflict is ethnic, cultural, etc.

"In this context, “Asian” means East-Asian (China, Japan, Korea, etc.). "

East Asia? Huh? The countries with the largest total Muslim populations are not in the Middle East or North Africa. They are Indonesia, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. South Asia.


"In this context" means the context of my remarks. Of course, there are very large Muslims populations in South Asia. I was referring to east Asia.


"Perhaps because immigrants from various places vary in how much they adopt the culture of their new home"

I wrote

"The truth is otherwise. If Muslim immigrants behaved like Asian immigrants, their religion would be a footnote (for society as a whole, not for the Muslims). Of course, the facts are opposite."

The problem isn't with the French.

Asian and Muslim are not the same kind of thing. However, Muslim in France means MENA (Middle-Eastern, North African).

good post +1

"You have to believe that the French tolerate and embrace non-white Asians while rejecting non-white Muslims. That’s not plausible."
It's rather plausible to accept one different race and not accept a different race.

Haven't you heard something of the order "It's ok if my daughter doesn't marry an Italian (or whatever the father's race) as long as it he isn't a (....)

I heard a story where Black Americans had an extended stay in France and they were treated worse when their French improved presumably because at first they known as American from speech, but later they taken as immigrants from a former colony.

All Americans (black or otherwise) get treated worse when their French improves. This is an interesting phenomenon, noted by many.

It may be that they get treated badly all the time but only notice it when they become more aware of their environment (when they understand what is said to them or in their presence).

Me I think that foreigners are "cute" and nonthreatening, so they are treated well. When they can walk on their own, that sympathy evaporates and they get treated the way you expect French people to treat Americans.


Cliches like "I have lots of ... friends, but I wouldn't want my daughter to marry one" were commonplace in the USA at one time. However, the dots didn't mean Black. They meant Italians, Polish, Greeks, Jews, etc. Of course, those groups weren't welcome in exclusive country clubs and were banned by restrictive covenants (overturned in 1948) from living in many neighborhoods and towns.

Did this system of discrimination prevent the ethnic groups in question from being successful in the USA? Not exactly. Did much more intense discrimination against Asians (notably Japanese immigrants) prevent them from being successful? Not exactly.

The key distinction(s) are how each group acts in response to the larger society. Hostile groups that adopt an adversarial culture are going to elicit an unfriendly response from the French. The reverse is also true.

"You have to believe that the French tolerate and embrace non-white Asians while rejecting non-white Muslims. That’s not plausible."

Prhaps not plausible but that's exactly what Claire Adida and alii showed in some of there papers!


You are presuming that the research show irrational bias, rather than a reaction to how (some) immigrants treat the French. Let me quote from a few Americans for some insight.

Jesse Jackson

“There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps... then turn around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”

Cornel West

"I left my car-- a rather elegant one--in a safe parking lot"

West was unwilling to risk his own car to the poor neighborhoods of New York City.

Unless you want to claim that Jesse Jackson and Cornel West are "racists", you need to consider the possibility that the non-immigrant French are reacting to how some immigrants behave towards them.

I presume nothing. I just report that at least some research show exactly what you deem "not plausible." The French do French do tolerate and embrace black christian while rejecting black Muslims.

From a prior post by asdf

A good summary. The problem isn’t necessarily “radical Islam” so much as the fact that clannish low IQ people can’t assimilate into Western society. They lack the human capital to get jobs. Their behavior, culture, and nature are fundamentally at odds with the native culture (more then just IQ, all sorts of traits). You can see this in the fact that some terrorism is carried out by relatively successful high IQ Muslims (engineers, etc). They can get jobs, but they are still alienated and have failing social systems.

One reason the 2nd and 3rd generations radicalize is because their own Islamic culture breaks down. As you noted, traditional Islam does a lot to curb destructive human impulses and form successful social systems. This is especially true as regards family formation and community norms. When these start to weaken in subsequent generations the result is they adopt something like ghetto black underclass culture in America. When this lifestyle leads to dysfunction and failure they do what broken men have been doing since time immemorial, they turn to their traditional culture/religion.

Moreover, they are more likely to turn to a radicalized version, which is typically what happens when someone swings from non-religion to religion. As fewer Muslims are involved in more organic religious life expect to have more of these radicalized whiplash converts. At that point one has to confront an ugly truth. While the same thing happens with Christians, the simplest way to get a radical reading from the Bible is to life like the early Christians (a bunch of pacifists). The simplest way to get a radical reading from the Koran is to live like Mohammad (a child raping desert bandit). So you see some ISIS stuff online, there is a community of other alienated young men around to make a bunch of “I’m the best Muslim” boasts to, and eventually you pump each other up until you commit and act of terrorism. This also explains why many of these young men often has rather thin or confused religious backgrounds.

Thing is though, while everyone agrees “we need to do more to integrate these people”, the left doesn’t have any realistic ideas to do so. In fairness, it is probably impossible. There is just too much genetic distance to expect these people to ever integrate into the west. It was a mistake to bring them here.

One wonders what the hope ever was. Even if we could shut down radical Islam, the likely result of a bunch of clannish low IQ people is that they adopt the outcomes of Americas ghetto blacks. We can see this in the lives of the 99.9% of Muslims that don’t become terrorists? Is this a success story? Is this the “trillion dollar bill” on the sidewalk always talked about?

Probably the nicest way of viewing the opposition is that they believe in human neurological uniformity, and therefore they don’t see permanent ghettos as the likely outcome. However, that still raises the question of why believe in human neurological conformity when there is such an unbelievable amount of evidence against it. Eventually ignorance becomes a choice, not a condition.

I would think that HBD people like I assume you are would recommend the Western countries recruit the most high IQ low aggressiveness Muslims and Africans to immigrate and marry into the existing Muslims and African populations in order to bring the group up.

Also I would think that you should recruit all the east Asians that you can get.

I think the immigration policy of East Asia makes the most sense. A quick general overview:

1) Don't allow any NAMs to immigrate.

2) Allow some whites to live in your country, but generally on a temporary non-citizen basis. For instance, Japan runs an extensive program allowing American college grads (mostly people falling in the +1-2SD bucket) to live in Japan teaching English. However, they are expected to eventually go back home.

3) If someone is a true exceptional individual (+3SD, successful, etc) then allow permanent immigration. This is a pretty small slice of the world population though.

This makes sense to me.

From "Torching Utopia" by Tino Sanandaji

"While immigrant unemployment is high, recent unrest can hardly be blamed on austerity. Successive governments have poured billions into problem areas in public investments, with limited success. In addition to free health care and other services, a family of four in Sweden is entitled to around $3,000 in welfare benefits each month. Last year, every middle-school pupil in one of Husby’s public schools received a brand-new iPad. (A total of 2,300 tablets have been distributed to local schools.)

Nor is Islam the cause of the riots. Radical Islamism is a problem, but it’s not related to this unrest. Most rioters appeared to be secular, even atheist. Some were Christian Assyrians. Frankly, most young immigrants in Sweden today do not care much about Islam. A far more potent influence than Islam on the Swedish ghetto is American gangster rap."

"Economic factors tell only half the story, however. Multiculturalism itself is an even bigger impediment to integration. Multiculturalism teaches that natives have no moral right to impose their culture on immigrants. Instead, immigrants are encouraged to cling to the culture of their home country. This approach impedes integration into both the Swedish way of life and the Swedish economy. The Swedish establishment has embraced multiculturalism perhaps more wholeheartedly than any other country has.

Multiculturalism may be well-intentioned, but it has disastrous consequences. It is simply not true that Afghan culture equips one for success in the West as much as Swedish culture does. Some integration naturally occurs despite multiculturalism, but the overall failure is hard to deny. Even second-generation immigrants do not fully integrate, if we measure in terms of fundamental cultural traits such as interpersonal trust.

Making matters worse, multiculturalism morally privileges Third World cultures over Western culture. It preaches a modern version of original sin, damning Western civilization for historical crimes such as colonialism and racism. Much of public discourse today is devoted to endlessly reciting the historic crimes of the West. The problem with this discourse is not that the West is innocent of these crimes; it is not. The problem is that the blame-the-West interpretation of world history is one-sided. Endlessly recounting Western crimes against humanity while ignoring similar crimes committed by non-Westerners creates a dark and biased image of Western civilization. Meanwhile, the West’s contributions to humanity — such as democracy, the scientific revolution, human rights, and the industrial revolution — are downplayed or falsely credited to other cultures.

Resentment toward the West makes integration harder. Immigrants learn — and make use of — the message of victimhood, which fosters hostility toward their host society. And claiming victim status is appealing from a psychological perspective, as it confers moral superiority. Immigrants who wish to integrate and adopt a Swedish identity are accused of “acting white” or being “an Uncle Tom.” The latter is not a translation from Swedish; the American phrase “Uncle Tom” is the actual term of abuse.

In the face of this litany of crimes, Swedes have developed a deep sense of collective guilt and consequently lack the cultural self-confidence to integrate immigrants. The former leader of the Social Democratic opposition famously stated: “I believe that this is why Swedes are jealous of immigrants. You have a culture, an identity, a history, something that binds you together. What do we have? We have Midsummer’s Eve and other lame things.” Not to be outdone in the department of self-abasement, the current right-of-center prime minister added: “The fundamentally Swedish is merely barbarism. The rest of development has come from outside.” Note that this fierce hostility toward Swedish culture does not originate with Muslim immigrants; it comes from Swedish elites, including liberals to the left and libertarians to the right (there are no conservatives in Sweden). Swedish libertarians are, if possible, even more militantly hostile toward Sweden as a nation-state and to the very notion of patriotism.

Cultural self-confidence is essential for integration, since integrating immigrants inevitably involves some willingness to assert majority culture. Furthermore, the gravitational force of a strong and identifiable national identity in fact facilitates integration, since no one can integrate into nothingness. In Sweden today, there is no roadmap to integration for immigrants, no social contract wherein Swedes accept immigrants as one of their own once certain obligations are fulfilled.

It is this contradiction between reality and elite ideology that is tearing Sweden apart. The political and media elites may love or at least pretend to love the new multiculturalist society, but polls show that the Swedish public was never particularly enthusiastic about it. A recent study found that most native Swedes never socialize with immigrants or do so only rarely. Elites can dictate policy, but they cannot force ordinary Swedes to accept immigrants who have not integrated into their culture."

The above quotes are excerpts from the original article. Read it all.

I was under the impression that France never really embraced multiculturalism. The French are proud of being French, immigrants learn to speak French rather than having bilingual education, and even religious headgarb is banned.


The above quote was from Tino Sanandaji about Sweden. However, France has definitely embraced multiculturalism in many respects. Type 'France Multiculturalism' into Google and you will get a variety of hit. Some assert that France has rejected multiculturalism. Others make the reverse claim. A typical headline from the New Republic reads "Multiculturalism Can Work in France. President Hollande Already Showed Us How.". The date was 1/12/2015.

Most sources agree that France is less multiculturalist than Sweden or the UK. The fact that MENA immigration has failed in all three countries (and everywhere else in Europe) is the real point.

France used to have a policy of assimilation. In other words, they indeed rejected multiculturalism, in contrast with Britain (where different groups are encouraged to assert their identity) and Germany (where Turks were ignored as they were seen as guest-workers who would eventually go home when not needed anymore).

That policy of assimilation, in practice, was a strict denial of racial or ethnic differences. You can be French or not French, but you can't be Algerian-French or Lebanese-French, or Senegalese-French, etc. No law or regulation contained any reference to ethnicity. But the laws forbade external signs of religion, such as crosses or yarmulke or, yes, "le voile", including hijabs or burkas or niqabs.

But that policy was perceived as a failure. It didn't prevent Algerian immigrants from becoming unemployed or criminals. And the French Left (as everywhere else) continually criticized the policy as racist. It was seen as stamping out signs of Islam or foreign culture (and indeed it was).

So gradually, France has been adopting multiculturalism. (For example in education.)

Another factor was that the Muslim population itself rejected the previous assimilation policy.

I agree with you (Peter Schaeffer) that religion alone doesn't explain why that particular population is unruly. But it is a factor. Lebanese Christians don't become terrorists. Algerian Jews (of which there are many in France) don't become terrorists. The simple truth is that Islam alone doesn't describe the entire culture of Muslim MENA immigrants.

And that culture (of which Islam is one important component) is the reason for the failure of these communities, their resentment, and their hostile reactions against the host country and culture.

In particular, that culture promotes values that are not compatible with Western Civilization and Western values. It is anti-modernity, anti-science, anti-democracy, anti-individuality, etc. It promotes violence, physical force, hierarchies, clannish behaviors, intuition over reason, emotions over rationality. It promotes a culture of honor, of conquest, of dominance (Islam means "submission", but that is submission to God and dominance over men), of forced conversions, etc.

It is not racism that keeps these population down. Lebanese Christians are indistinguishable from other MENAs but they are typically successful in France (doctors, engineers, etc.). Same with Jews (who are mostly sephardic in France). It is really a set of behaviors, expectations, entitlements, nostalgia for past glory, etc., in a word: culture.

Too Late,


Too Late,

Years ago, France was suffering from all sorts of Banlieue riots (some things don't change). Back then, I read an article (probably in the WSJ) about a successful Algerian immigrant in France. It was the usual sort of pro-immigration WSJ propaganda amounting to "Algerian immigrants can be a net positive in France".

The details made the story quite interesting. The Algerian immigrant had joined the French police force after arriving in France. Overall, he had a productive career in the French police. On one occasion he was severely injured in the line of duty. He was able to return to work after one year of rehabilitation (as I remember the story).

Basically, a quite positive tale of immigration assimilation and success in France. Towards the end I noticed an important detail. The immigrant in question was Jewish.

We're inclined to frame our investigations very narrowly, even if we don't have a political incentive to do so. Here's an interesting paper arguing for attention to the obvious complexities:

I think Sam Harris deals with this cogently.

You beat me to it. As Harris says, the nature of the ideology matters. His favorite example is that the more extremist a follower of the Jain faith, the less the rest of us have to fear from him. Needless to say, that isn't the case with Islam.

To an unemployed youth, attaching oneself to Islam simultaneously boosts one's ego (Islam being this great world-conquering religion and all that) and engenders a victim mentality (the West has been out to get Islam since the Crusades.) A very dangerous combination. Come to think of it, it's a lot like the various flavors of right-wing populism on exhibit today, though nationalism provides the ego-boost rather than religion there.

15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi nationals, all 19 followed the Wahhabi version of Islam as practiced in Saudi Arabia. ISIS teaches out of Saudi textbooks. The Saudi clergy provides the ideological support for terrorism. ISIS quotes them in their videos.

Bill Maher said that if all the bad apples are coming from one orchard, maybe there's something wrong with the orchard. He was right in one sense, wrong in another. What if all the bad apples are coming from one stand of trees from within that orchard? There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. If they wanted you dead, you'd be dead already. As it stands, only a few million out of the Saudi populace and those they can indoctrinate in the West are the cause of all this terrorism.

This is the problem. This thing I've termed "masking by generalization". Pretending this is a Muslim problem instead of a Saudi problem, in order to protect the Saudis. All in the interests of maintaining control over Saudi oil. Spook the Saudis and they turf the Americans out and bring in the Chinese. Oil will then sell in yuan. Hence, the reason for the coverup.

By the way, I am a Sufi.

But the Saudis are our allies ?

It's never the Saudis but rather those mysterious "wealthy Saudi donors".

First a quote about waterboarding:
"According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaeda's toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess."

Here's an idea. You know those schoolmasters that run those madrassas in Pakistan funded by the above mentioned wealthy Saudi donors that produce those suicide bombers. How about waterboarding one of those guys, you know, enhanced interrogation techniques. 14 seconds later, you have the names of their donors and get the Saudis to hand them over. Or they won't. One way or another, things become clear.

You have to ask yourself, why this wasn't done?

hast it been demonstrated that "confessions" under interrogation are quite frequently lies, or at least significant exagerations

All right, finally TC develops some spine to address these problems. Ahmed, there are so many questions I would ask you. I'm tabling the issue of the House of Saud (screw em, I don't know any american that supports it) for now. Definitely an issue that needs addressed, but I cannot believe it is the only one.

1) In Christianity, we tend to get our nutballs from the so-called Non-Denominational Churches, whose belief structure is based largely on preacher's interpretation of the Bible. This lends itself well to a cult of personality and creative interpretation. There also is no hierarchy beyond individual preacher in these churches, no Pope or Council ruling over them. It appears to me that all mosques are essentially Non-Denominational Mosques. How true is this?

2) I'm sorry, but I find the Koran to be an extremely bad document to model life after. TC said "The man behind the Nice truck attack drank alcohol, BEAT HIS WIFE", which I would counter with 4:34 which endorses wife-beating. To be fair, Christians and Jews have Deuteronomy. However, the Christians do have a tradition of not requiring revelation (ie, the holy book) for belief. Philosophers such as CS Lewis, Descartes teach a lot about the spiritual world without touching the Bible. It's why Paul's recommendation for women to cover their heads and be silent in church is generally not heeded (except in nondenominationals). My question is this: How much do the various branches of Islam require the Koran?

3) Is it possible to separate, forever, the political aspects of Islam (I'll just say the parts of Islam that apply to nonbelievers, the jizya tax on dhimmis, etc) from the rest of it? I actually LIKE the tradition of Ramadan and the exercise of prayer, but any religion goes too far when it starts prescribing how others should behave. The Jewish law applies to Jews, the Christian law to the Christians, but everyone is subject in Islamic law.

I'm off to work, but THANK YOU for your time. I want to understand this stuff but censorship gives me only one option: assume the worst, hope for the best. But assume the worst.

You tell a nice story, but tons of non-denoms are council-lead. I've been involved with ~5 and only one was not.

The general point is how useful is having a hierarchy of accountability, or a council, in moderating a religion. Did your council-organized non-denoms keep the crazies to a minimum, at least compared to your solitary exception?

If so, then a useful reform for Islam could simply be a restructuring of their org chart. You have the Islamic Plorpe in charge of 11 Cadirnals, and each Cadirnal oversees a number of Imams. Simple lawsuits and liability charges might be all it takes to fix things up. I'm not sure, but it's an idea.

"parts of Islam that apply to nonbelievers, the jizya tax on dhimmis"

Not unbelievers, but People of the Book, i.e., Christians and Jews. The jizya is a payment in lieu of military service. Because non-Muslims would not be involved in the protection of the state. This is no different than the way you pay taxes to support your military. You are in effect, already paying a jizya.

Like scutage for vassal states. I believe that Muslims should be involved in the protection of the US, and that non-Muslims should be involved in the protection of the US as well. As in, your religion does not factor into your obligations to the state. Everyone gets taxed and treated equally under the law. I do not like how my taxes are allocated, but the comparison to our tax structure to the jizya is thin. In any case, could I convert to Norse Paganism? Odin the Allfather will sacrifice himself on Yggdrasil on the day of Ragnorak, and I can get behind a god that sacrifices itself for humanity.

We do have an exception in the US for the Amish, I believe. It's a powerless and poor fraction of the population, but I don't see why they have exemptions either.

It's important not to conflate wars fought in defense and wars fought for the sake of religion. I would not expect Christians and Jews should have to take to the battlefield to defend against an attack against the Muslim community, hence the exemption. These were religious wars.

Also, bear in mind that these time of things applied in a certain time and place. Extremists are pulling passages out of context from the Qur'an to justify their actions.

By the way, did you know that if you rape a Yazidi girl ten times she becomes a Muslim. It must be true because "Caliph" Baghdadi said so. He even put it in writing. They read the letters out to the girls just before they rape them.

They just make this stuff up as they go.

I am debating this in good faith, and I often switch sides when debating with friends. Your answers are in fact listened to.

"I am debating this in good faith..."

Yes, I know.

By the way, here is an example of what true Muslims are like. This is in 1492, with the Alhambra Decree and Jews fleeing Spain under threat of death if they didn't convert to Christianity. True Muslims protect the People of the Book, not kill them.

"Many Spanish Jews also fled to the Ottoman Empire, where they were given refuge. Sultan Bayezid II of the Ottoman Empire, learning about the expulsion of Jews from Spain, dispatched the Ottoman Navy to bring the Jews safely to Ottoman lands, mainly to the cities of Thessaloniki (currently in Greece) and İzmir (currently in Turkey).[13] Many of these Jews also settled in other parts of the Balkans ruled by the Ottomans such as the areas that are now Bulgaria, Serbia and Bosnia." —source: Wikipedia

I'm still curious about the organizational structure that you use. Is it essentially like how I described non-denominationals, or is there a more fixed hierarchy like in the Catholic, or a council and official interpretation/official stances like in say Methodism? I'd of course expect the Sunni/Shia split to have different structures.

"Radical" might be an ask that a Group ostracize some of its apparent members.

When an act is perpetrated by someone who self-identifies as part of a Group, how does the out-group invite the in-group to self-regulate better?

What is the difference between an islamic radical's beliefs from non-radical muslims? Not much. The term radical is used to distinguish how a person puts their faith into action. When a muslim radicalizes, he gives up his life killing infidels. When a catholic radicalizes, he gives up his life to join a monastery.

"When a catholic radicalizes, he gives up his life to join a monastery."

So are Protestants who defend theocratic rule, but are too coward to blow themselves up (for example, the creator of Ron Paul's homeschool curriculum) radical or not? Is there any difference between their beliefs and other Christians' beliefs? Why, say, radical Jews sell secrets to Israel or kill Israeli Prime Ministers instead of joining a kibbutz or whatever the equivalent of joining a monastery may be?

John L. not comfortable with the radical Muslim v radical Catholic contrast. But it's good.

I have nothing against Catholics who radicalize and joins a monastery, but I have a lot against Protestants who radicalize and call for the elimination of non-Protestants (how much time until Fox News created a storn if the Ron Paul curriculum had been designed by a Muslim who preached killing non-Muslims? What's the difference between such a guy and the radical imams who also don't blow themselves up, just preach blowing up infidels) or Jews who radicalize and betray their country or shoot their leaders. Maybe because I am more concerned with moral behavior than with race and keeping those swarthy guys out regardless of what the individuals believe or how they behave. I don't believe in collective guilt, Stalin and Hitler did, though.

What you are claiming is not the product of rational and reasoned thought but the product of an intellectual cowardice. A cowardice which causes you to shrink from anything that may challenge your foundational faith in moral and cultural relativism. You are incapable of having this conversation and you are personally responsible for Donald Trump. Have a nice life.

Real Moral Relativism is: Saudi sponsors of Sunni terrorism, our allies; Shia governments, bad. Radical Jews selling secrets and Republican Protestants calling for stoning homosexuals and atheists, wonderful; one billion Muslims hurting no one at all and minding their own business, let's start a Holy War against them-- they are mostly swarthy!

Jonathan Pollard is a scumbag willing to sell secrets to basically anybody, including Pakistan. He's not a radical, patriot, or ideologue, but entirely self-interested.

Tell the Israeli Regime, they will tell you otherwise, he is their hero.

Do you believe Mexican gangs as Islamic?

That Mexicans are 99% Muslim?

Was the Lord's Resistance Army Islamic?

Is and was Rwanda Muslim?

Was Andrew Jackson and his followers Muslim? Or the native people he was killing and driving out and then took last stands and fought back Muslim?

Were the Japanese who marched pows on the Bataan Death March Muslims?

Were FDR, Churchill, Stalin Muslims given the mass murder they collectively unleashed?

Was Nazi Germany Muslim?

Were the first 1400 years of Christianity really less violent than 1400 years of Islam?

But more important, what of Christianity in years 1400 to 2000?

Wiping out American civilizations, including intentionally destroying their historic records to ensure no one considers them much more than animals. That's equivalent to the destruction of antiquities in the Fertile Cresent and surrounding region being done by Islamic State.

Wiping them out in most of the US? That's like Islamic State killing Yazidis.

Or the widespread slavery in the US including rape of women and girls?

The court in the Hague ruled Dutch peacekeepers were responsible for death of 300 Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica by turning them over to the Christian Bosnian Serb army led by General Ratko Mladic.

What of the KKK and their ilk? They had no qualms about lynching blacks and Jews.

Half the people who came to the Americas from 1500 to 1700 were fleeing one version of Christian killing Christian or another.

How about we concern ourselves with this century?


-- And reasonable people.

Reasonable people must accept that Islamic terrorism today is morally and ethically acceptable because at given periods of time, decades or centuries in the past, white people did bad things. - Morons

Hey, some Ukrainians and Soviet Muslims allied to Hitler, let's purgue them. And will you deny there are bad Jwews? Let God tell them apart, to the death camp with them, right? I really love how Fascists twist themselves into knots to make the Gospel according to Stalin, chapter colective guilt, kosher so to speak.

John, all we are talking about is openly discussing Islamic terrorism and limiting immigration from countries with known Islamic terrorism problems. The only fascist here is you. I'm quite certain giving your emotional antifa fear-mongering, that you are at least sympathetic to physically attacking people based on their political beliefs. Given your antifa beliefs it is no wonder that you support Islamic terrorism, which you almost certainly see as nothing more than settling the score. Another shooting today John, and we have you to thank for that.

I fail to see how your list of atrocities makes historic or contemporary Islamic jihad any better, especially from the point of view of its victims.

Unless you believe in reincarnation AND transfer of guilt across lives, the "infidels" killed and persecuted by jihadis were innocent.

Imagine your loved one tortured to death in Bataclan. Are you ready to unleash your words above on yourself?

So this is the game... How many Chinese civilians must we nuke for the Korean War? You know what, all in all, German Civilians got out easy, we not even nuked them...

"Unless you believe in reincarnation AND transfer of guilt across lives, the “infidels” killed and persecuted by jihadis were innocent."
They are, so is every single Muslim your sick concept of collective guilt wants to blame for the crimes of a handful. Sorry, I don't think some innocents are more innocets than other ones based on skin color-- but I freely admit it is a very popular idea among certain people, look no further than Trump's success.

Banning immigration from certain countries is equivalent to nuking a billion people. This line of unreasoning is no surprise coming from the type of loser that thinks hurting feelings should be criminalized.

I really love how racists want to bring Stalin's doctrine of collective guilt and punishment to America. I guess the Chinese would call it Stalinism with American characteristics. Who cares about right or wrong, I can see their skins (will we ban Americans from converting too?), it is enough!

I think fewer Jews may have been lynched in the US than Italians. Leo Frank is the most notable one who was, and the Klan wasn't revived until after he was killed.

Were the first 1400 years of Christianity really less violent than 1400 years of Islam?

Well, you see, this is one of those interesting choices of time period. Because it's very, very clear that the first 700 years of Christianity were far, far less violent than the first 700 years of Islam. The idea of waging war in the name of God to convert the infidel seems to never have occurred to Christians until after half of Christendom was conquered by Muslims waging war in the name of God to convert the infidel. But after Muslims invented the idea, yeah, sure, some Christians did adopt it -- especially the Christians of Iberia, who lived under Muslim rule for centuries.

It was cunning to name "Catholics" because they aren't the Christians killing themselves and others in America. At this time.

But obviously others do radicalize, become extremists, put themselves beyond reason, blow things up, shoot people.

I think it's worth looking at Iran and why the population (not the government) is so *relatively* irreligious and "liberal" given its GDP/Capita and in stark contrast to its Arab neighbors.

Maybe Islam (like Mongol rule) is just a thin veil over Persian culture....

Arab culture is synonymous with Islam. They were barbarian sand tribes before Mohammed. Persians have a rich history and many sources of identity that do not involve religion.

When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging.

We have been riding a dead horse in quite a deep hole in a room with a 500lb gorilla for some time already, and yet our chattering classes still refuse to see.

It will probably take an armed attack by the new established Turkey Caliphate armored Janissaries to change.

You sound like a fan of Jerry Pournelle.

My father lives in Svilengrad, directly on the Bulgarian-Turkish border.

The plausibility of armed aggression of Erdogans Turkey against the Balkans looks "different" from there than it does from NYC.

But there is no such thing as a "hole" there is simply land that seems lower than surrounding land which is artificialy depressed by a history of institutional white christian privilege and colonial oppression.

If those who call themselves not in holes jus realize that and generously fund a number of foundations headed by progressive souls (comme moi) then we will see that the "holes" disappear.

- cliff arroyo, Ph.D. Candidate in Post-Hole Studies

I despair to see that after all those years and events, intelligent people still delude themselves about existence of some pure, nonviolent, benign Islam.

Peaceful Sufis are considered dirty heretics and their faith is far from mainstream.

Radical Muslim is just Muslim who follows the example of Muhammad, the legendary destroyer of tribes and nations.

Or Moses or Joshua or any other legendary destroyer of tribes and nations, but we need our aircraft carrier in the Middle East, so let's pretend its sailors don't worship legendary figures every bit as bloodthirsty as Muhammad ever was.

Position of Moses or Joshua in the Christian canon is not even remotely comparable to that of Muhammad in the Islamic canon. Muhammad is for Muslims the perfect man, ideal of the entire Mankind.

There were times when religious zeal in Western Christendom was comparable to that of Islam, but they are long gone. Perhaps some parts of Africa still apply, but the crusading spirit is simply not present in contemporary Europe. If any ideology stands up to Islamic expansion in the near future, it will be secular nationalism, not Christianity.

I am talking about Israel, our good ally.
"Position of Moses or Joshua in the Christian canon is not even remotely comparable to that of Muhammad in the Islamic canon."

Their actions, even the most cruel ones, specially the most cruel ones, were dictated by Almighty God Himself (or so we are told). It is a prominent enough position for me.

Weren't the Jews and Canaanites Moses murdered Semites too? I guess dead people don't fund lobbies...

Isn't this just a bit reversed, on re-reading? - 'More generally, when that term “radical” or “extreme” is introduced, there is a presupposition that no external argument or perspective can be so strong to counter what one’s own swarmy group takes for granted.'

But aren't radicals and extremists often self-defined? Daesh is barbaric, and apparently proudly so - though radical may not apply to a group that yearns for dreams of centuries past, they certainly consider themselves extremist. And as proud extremists, they certainly believe that no external argument or perspective can be so strong to counter what they take for granted.

To use an older example, Khomeini operated in similar fashion. In other words, such people take for granted they are extremists, and do not consider being called such as an epithet, but a proud declaration of their goals.

The problem with the meaning comes with 'swarmy.' One possible explanation for such an odd adjective is that 'smarmy' was misspelled (or swarmy is something of an updated spelling of smarmy, at least in some cases), and the idea of the sentence is that those that call a different perspective radical or extreme are part of a smarmy group trying to dismiss that perspective.

Because the idea that a group of people swarm to extremist beliefs beyond argument seems to belie the point of the preceding text, attempting to discuss the idea that radicals and extremists are defined externally, not internally by those holding such beliefs.

And because it seems irresistible, how does one parse this quote in light of the post's final sentence - '“I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice!”' It isn't as if everyone is scared of being considered an extremist, or advocating extremism, after all.

The word "radical" refers to roots, so a radical change would be to get at the root of things. In that sense, harkening back centuries to the past could indeed be considered "radical".

While we're on the subject of quibbling over labels, can I mention 'progressive'?

It's a leftish term, presumably meaning that they want progress. I'm not sure where that leaves others. And when it comes - to take one example - to reforming public sector institutions in a country like Britain, the Leftish voices tend to be very against any changes. The teaching unions are particularly against any form of what could be construed as progress.

Daft term.

"Daft term." So is "Conservative" to people who actually want to change things to what they were decades ago and/or change some things and keep others.

The ancient Greeks had an apt saying on this topic: (in Latin letters, phonetically): 'Pan Metron Ariston' --> "nothing in extreme", or, , "all good things in moderation"

I have little experience with radical Islam. But I have lots of experience with radical / fundamentalist Christianity, and I would argue that nearly all of it is indeed bad, in the sense of being counter to civil society and mutual progress. Even though most fundamentalist Christians are kind and generous people.

In fact I see the refusal to "consider external arguments or perspectives" - i.e. the sacredness of beliefs - as the defining features of radical / fundamentalist religion. Closed-mindedness may have certain positive side effects, but it's not something we should champion, or even defend.

Tyler, you might be interested in this recent paper of mine:

So we are not to use the euphemism "Islamic terrorist" and use the simpler "Muslim terrorist"?

"Recently I had a long lunch with a researcher in Brussels who was studying terrorism in the city. He was very much of the view that most of the terrorists and terrorist-candidates are not very religious"
Those "researchers" are just laughable. When you are dying and killing in the name of your religion you must strongly believe that your God will reward your efforts. You can't be more religious than that.

"beat his wife"
What kind of joke is that? It's allowed in most forms of Islam to beat you wife.

I believe that view is that there are men (and it is mostly them, the San Bernadino wife is unusual) who sometimes snap and kills lots of people. In Malaysia they used the term "amok" to describe this. We sometimes see it with mass shooters in the US who aren't muslim. This view is that men prone to running amok can use islam as an excuse, but weren't particularly religious before doing so.

Someone that's properly described as running amok is spontaneous and random. The attacks prompting this discussion have been planned and targeted.

The attacker in Nice didn't just get angry and run over some people. He planned for months, communicated with accomplices, loaded up the vehicle with weapons on the holiday, parked at the site for hours in preparation, then attempted to kill as many people as possible.

The Nice attack (and Belgian and November and most other French atacks) can be traced to a particular profile.

Young men of north african descent who are under-educated and prone to crime (and known to police for that reason).

My interpretation is that life as a petty criminals seems pretty cool to young north african immigrants to europe . Without any backing from home (their parents are ill equipped to help them succeed in school even if they wanted to) they blow off their education for a shot at the thug life and end up not mastering anything that could help them get a legitimate job. By the time they become disillusioned with this life path (if they do) they realize they have no way of ever being anything more than a petty crook or unskilled labor in an economy that needs less of that by the year.

Radical islamic witch doctors offer them a way to give their wasted lives meaning and they jump to it before cooler heads can prevail.

Within the banlieus ethno-racial solidarity prevails (or simple anti-French/Belgian/whatever feelings prevail) and the "community" is loathe to cooperate with outsiders to clean up the problem (remember lots of people in Molenbeek knew who the terrorists were and where they were and none saw fit to share that information with the police).

The men aged 15 to 25 years old usually most of the crimes in any society. The Nice driver was 31, which puts him out of the typical range.


The problem is mostly genetic. How could an 85 IQ with all the clannishness from 1000 years of cousin fucking ever integrate into western society. There is no outreach program or education that can fix that.

Barbaric religions are appropriate solutions for barbaric people. They really need the guardrails. It's not all that different from how schools in the inner city benefit more from school uniforms and harsh discipline then do affluent suburban schools. The higher orders are so detached from the lower orders they have absolutely no clue what their lives are like.

Most radicalization seems to happen in the 2nd/3rd+ generation. That's because the Islam of the 1st generation has melted away. So you get broken families, alcohol, and thug life. "Radical" religion tends to be the realm of converts, especially sudden converts after hitting rock bottom. Instead of something organic tied into community, family, and tradition you get something untethered. It's easier to take things literally, and if you've actually read the Koran taking it literally does mean killing infidels. That's not radical, its what the religion is. Most people who practice organic religion don't really practice it to the letter though, its mixed in with all sorts of other social bonds and traditions.

Shutting down "radical islam" wouldn't matter much in this case. If you could somehow introduce a police state to stop terrorist attacks, you'd still have to deal with the banlieus, petty crime, social dysfunction, and thug life.

I'm not sure what progressives have planed here. The progressive life script doesn't even work that well for progressives, it surely isn't going to work for 85 IQs (it doesn't even work for white 85 IQs). Even the more intelligent Muslims that can get jobs still don't feel a sense of belonging (genetics is more then IQ), and they too join in Jihad when they become alienated (see the number of engineers involved in terrorism).

The modern West doesn't get religion, mostly because it doesn't get sociology, psychology, or culture which are pretty tied up in religion. The west can't even diagnose its own problems, lord knows its not going to figure out how to integrate a radically different people. The obviously best solution is simply not to let them immigrate in the first place.

"Let the Turk believe and live as he will, just as one lets the papacy and other false Christians live." I just wonder if an Islamic analogue to Luther or Calvin has already been born.

I think that this is what the Reform of Islam actually looks like. Look at what christian Europe looked like when a prominent Imam was a young man, compared to today. It is an extraordinary change. Outside of the cosmopolitan cities the churches held sway, had real power and influence over people. It taught their children, was a center of all the important mileposts of people's lives. It was the basis of the military strength of the nations, for God and Country.

In Quebec, the Catholic Church went from having a seat in the halls of power to being a symbol of shame, this in about 30 years. When I left the province, people would say they were catholic, nominally or non practicing, and those who practices were viewed with respect. A decade later those who practiced were viewed with disdain.

This hasn't been lost on the Imams and centers of Islamic thought. They know what reform in the western sense looks like; it simply means their irrelevance and probably a rather nasty rendering of accounts. So they reformed Islam to look like it is today; a vigorous movement driven by youth and energy. The most powerful institutions on the planet are forced to reckon with it's power. The US military can't deal with it, the fearless purveyors of truth and justice in the media huddle in fear before it. Governments all over are tripping over themselves to curry favor; after one of the recent Islamic atrocities the Prime Minister of Canada went to a Mosque to show support. Who knows for what. The President of the US imagines himself as an Islamic scholar pronouncing on what Islam really means.

It is truly bizarre to see the Left which systematically dismantled the political Catholicism in Quebec take on the mantle of defenders of Islamic subjugation of women, the narrowing of thought, the barbaric cultural practices. Frankly to their shame.

I just wonder if an Islamic analogue to Luther or Calvin has already been born.

Yes, his name was Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and he was born in 1703. Also long dead by now.


Sorry, I get what you were trying to ask for. I kinda doubt it, because for an Islamic thought leader to believe in mutual co-existence, he will have to put the nation-state above Islam. I think that might have been possible in the Islamic golden age, but not now when most Muslim countries are doing so badly today.

Yes, in that Luther quote there's a reference to acknowledge co-existence. I like to think that came from being tired of the Pope asking troops to allies. Today, Islamic armies are bit more disorganized but there's a religious leader calling for war. I don't know if there's schism in Islam that says "f*ck war, if we have to fight is just to defend ourselves but there's no point on imposing beliefs on other people". That's what I mean by "Reformation". Luther was an idealist, because it took a few more centuries of war until Catholics and Reformed stopped killing each other, but.....the peace has to start at least as a crazy dream.

Luther was a vicious Jew hater.

One quote on religious tolerance does not mean he was religiously tolerant.

"Yes, his name was Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and he was born in 1703."

Islam already had its "Reform". Reform in modern usage has a positive connotation but all it really means is "improve" or "make better". Islam's reformation was different than the West's in that it "improved" Islam by making it more strident, less tolerant.

I believe the word you're looking for is "Wahhabi".

"Young men of north african descent who are under-educated and prone to crime (and known to police for that reason)."

People like Abdelhamid Abaaoud are nothing like that. He wasn't under-educated at all. His parents got a clothing store and saved their money to send him to one of the best (catholic) private schools in Brussels. He had all the possibilities you can imagine. He also wasn't a criminal before his career as a terrorist. Similar stories apply to people like Osama bin Laden (and the whole 9-11 crew basically) and also the guy who commited the Wurzburg train attack recently, just to name a few more examples.

"He (Abaaou) also wasn’t a criminal before his career as a terrorist"

according to wikipedia....

"arrested during December 2010 for attempting to break into a parking garage, ....had spent time in at least three prisons, and had a number of arrests for assault, and other crimes"

Oh yeah, he was a real choirboy.....

Of course, economics has many of the same characteristics as religion; and as in religion, economics has its share of "radicals" and "extremists". Indeed, in our secular world, "true believer" is more descriptive of adherents to a certain economic philosophy or "school" than it is of adherents to a certain religion. And no less than Islam and Christianity, economics is highly sectarian; Keynes is no less a heretic than Origen. Cowen is (consciously or subconsciously) defending the "radicals" and "extremists" within his own profession. He's a clever Straussian, I suppose.

I chose not to identify the quick but only the dead as heretics; I'll let the presidential candidates identify the former.

There is some serious equivocation here. Islam is a religion, yes, but it is also a political system and a culture (heavily influenced by arab and other middle eastern cultures). This "but they weren't super-devout" argument misses the point. Some of the most hardcore Palestinian terrorists weren't muslim at all, but christian. They weren't muslim religiously, but they were arab culturally, and that was what mattered. There's a lot sociologically that plays in here, anti-colonialism, racism, religious supremacy, cultural inferiority complex, a love of conspiracy theories. This is how they think the holocaust didn't happen, but should have, and that 9/11 was simultaneously a triumph of the soldiers of allah, and a mossad false-flag operation. Above all, it is a heroic narrative of a poor oppressed people who get to fight the evil foreign forces. As such, it is a way of achieving cultural acceptance for those who might be marginal at best. In game theory terms, it makes sense for most terrorists to be not-that-devout. That's why they are terrorists. Martyrdom is a whitewash, they can do anything they want beforehand.

How about Political Islam. The radicalism of the project is the political nature, where Islamic concepts are imposed.

Who would have thought that the majority of "serious" people, including our host, would support legal sanction against those who insult the prophet? That is an extraordinarily radical act, yet it is either official or defacto policy in much of the western world. It is promulgated by people who are anything but radical; well educated, well spoken people.

What is happening in France is a political act, and it will shake the foundations of the Republic. The fact that some drunk carried out the act is immaterial, and the fact being source of confusion simply confirms the fecklessness of those who can't see what is happening.

By the way, I lived in and saw the final decade of Political Catholicism in Quebec. The year I was born mobs would form to intimidate those who dared question the Virgin in Quebec. The cozy political relationship between the Church and the provincial government was essentially that the Church would provide the votes and constituency in exchange for it's interests being cared for, and it worked for a long time.

Maybe if they were truly devout Catholics they wouldn't have screwed their daughters and nieces and sisters.

The main driver of jihadism in France is the fall of religion that affects Christians and Muslims. People who declare themselves with no religion has gone from 10% in 1990 to 35% in 2016 in France (see stats in Wikipedia page for example). The countries most affected by jihadism (France, Belgium, Denmark,...) are the most advanced countries in terms of faith loss. I think there is no turn back, and all the other countries will eventually follow the same path. The 21st century will be the century of the faith loss.

Here some stats:éligion_en_France

"Radical" and "extreme" are used when a position seems beyond the range of reason. It might be intellectually glamorous to say we should put ourselves inside the logic of such .. madness. But no, it is not really useful.

Better to stick to the high ground, in this case the moderation and reason of a few billion peaceful Muslims and Christians, than to chase the logic of madmen.

Vox will only use radical in reference to republicans- with the intellectual firepower of Ezra you can't deviate from DNC orthodoxy-after all he thinks the Constitution is 100 yrs old.

It fact and reason are in evidence, radical or extreme is a faul call IMO.

We can say that they act beyond the range of reason, but can we also admit that they are inhumanly rational? Actually it is the madness of the Rational Choice Theory.

Should we have done a better job understanding Jim Jones*, or a better job arresting him?

* - radical Christian

Jim Jones was more of a Marxist than a Christian.

If I'm not mistaken, Jones had abandoned any Christian profession before he'd moved his crew to San Francisco, much less Guyana.

We use the term "radical Islam" because we can't admit that the problem is just "Islam." We've been lying to ourselves for nearly two decades now, and we wonder why all our plans based on lies don't work.

Perhaps you are an extremist, if the reality of a billion peaceful Muslims doesn't matter to you.

Isn't the problem that many of that 1+ billion hold views sympathetic to (?indistinguishable from) radical Islam-Ior as I prefer jihadism?
Many=a significant minority not a couple of %

The data are that a majority oppose terrorism. The question is how we relate to that majority.

Perhaps too how best to build a stronger majority.

BUT the word "majority" provides little comfort when one is talking about the intersection of billion or so persons and willingness to support or commit terrorism.

You don't understand, anon. He can't be extremist. He's not muslim.


It is simply a proven fact that the most dangerous people in the world are white male christians. On average white men have enslaved all black people in America and killed all the indigenous people, half of each year since the first American colony. The muslims have a lot of catching up to do. On the brightside, think of all the white male rapists that are killed each time a brave muslim attacks the colonialists?

I really love how desperate the Fascists are getting. Is Trump sliding on the polls or something?

They're not peaceful. They espouse a totalitarian system that oppresses women and non believers. Only 2 of predominantly Muslim countries are democratic ( Tunisia/Turkey) and we know where Turkey is going. The majority support Sharia law. A lot of them think suicide bombing is OK to defend Islam.

Honor killings are OK in Pakistan according to the law if the family pardons the killer. There was just a well publicized one. Some clerics went on TV to defend the killing.

There was just the Wirzburg incident in Germany. In France two days ago a Moroccan man stabbed a woman and her 3 daughters because, they were not modestly dressed.

Does the Middle East look peaceful to you ?
Islam is a virus of the mind, immoral, anti-science, anti-progress, anti West

The good news is that deaths by violence continue to decline on a global scale.

Despite Terrorism, Violence Is on the Decline, Pinker Says

Why the World Is Better Than You Think in 10 Powerful Charts

We can certainly spot terrible things, like the Aurora shooting and it's copycats, but they are not the trend. They are the sad, sad, variations on the trend.

I believe he is right, but I don't think Islam is contributing to that trend. It's the rest of the world that is getting better. And stats on violence don't measure oppression and freedom. If an 11 year old girl is married to a 40 year old man in Afghanistan, it's not counted.

He mentions that our “better angels” include facets of human emotion such as self-control, empathy, moral sense and reason. It seems to me that Islam emphasizes the first one only ( self control)

@ stephan
So "Judaism" changed in the last 70 years old? They wrote another Torah? I don't get it how Islam is this monolithic, unchangeable monster, which allows racists to impose collective guilt upon the innocent, but lighter-skinned people are those complex beings who must actually be judged by their individual behavior at the moment.

"Does the Middle East look peaceful to you ? Islam is a virus of the mind, immoral, anti-science, anti-progress, anti West"

I see, but the King David Hotel bombing proves Judaism is a peaceful religion. Why not, right? As far as we keep our aircraft carrier strategically placed among the oil fields...

And Islam is no more anti-science than the Fundamentalist voters Republicans shamelessly court. If they get their way all the way (as the non-stop whining about not being able to enforce their "values" over the rest of the society shows), we would have theocratic rule. Most of them, including Ron Paul's followers, are to coward to blow themselves? So are most Muslims.

@John. The KDH bombing was 70 years ago. Where are the Jewish suicide bombers today . do you see any ? Any fundamentalists Christians driving trucks through crowds and attacking gay clubs ?. Ironic that just as you post, there is yet another attack in Europe. I bet they shouted "Allahu Akbar". But wait ,nothing to do with Islam right ?. The terrorists will be found unhinged, depressed, alcohol drinkers, not good muslims, etc..,and Islam again will be declared the religion of Peace.

The American Republican voters want to lower taxation and by extension the programs that give helpless young blacks and Muslims money to live in This Racist world and they also want to eliminate affirmative action. If this isn't violence then I don't know what is. Terrorist attacks in response to this sort of hateful violence from American Republicans like Donald Trump is nothing but self-defense. Americans who aren't fascists need to defend affirmative action by any means necessary which includes killing fascists.

Huh? The King David Hotel was the headquarters of the British military mission (and, if I'm not mistaken, the Irgun attempted a warning phone call to clear the building out). While we're at it, the Revisionist movement of which the Irgun and the Stern Gang were manifestations was not a religious movement. There was a corps of religious Zionists in Mandatory Palestine (and non-Zionist Orthodox Jews as well), but they were not affiliated with the Irgun &c.

Imagine for ten seconds the Iranians doing it to American soldiers in territory the international community considers under American responsability. All the whining about how terrorism is so more uncivilized than just making death raining from the skies...

"The American Republican voters want to lower taxation and by extension the programs that give helpless young blacks and Muslims money to live in This Racist world and they also want to eliminate affirmative action. If this isn’t violence then I don’t know what is. "

Cutting money to government programs is not violence. That's a moronic equivalency.

This weird idea that we must fight Islam is both ill-informed and counter-productive.

For years we have had the majority on our side in fighting terrorism. Look at the original list of Islamic countries condemning the 9/11 attacks. And then look at the dedication some Americans have had ever since to throw that advantage away.

"The General-Secretariat of the League of Arab States shares with the people and government of the United States of America the feelings of revulsion, horror and shock over the terrorist attacks that ripped through the World Trade Centre and Pentagon, inflicting heavy damage and killing and wounding thousands of many nationalities."

If that doesn't matter to you, and you just want to hate on Muslims, you are a radical and extremist by my definition. You are beyond reason.

There is a difference between fighting Islam and fighting muslims. Islam is an ideology. You can't bomb ideas. Tanks can't hit them. You can talk about them, which is why I think the Baghdad Bob approach of Everything Is Fine, Nothing To See Here peddled (and bought) by a significant portion of the West is so... damaging. Being able to openly talk about these things is what cut the Catholic Church down to size, the evangelicals down to size, and it should be pretty easy to cut down a philosophy from a pedophilic warlord down to size. It's only an issue if free speech is threatened.

I don't know if we got any positive result from our misadventures in the middle-east. I have no grudge against any particular muslim (save for the Orlando, Nice, Bernadino, etc - but they already have their reward). If we were to bomb the middle-east with anything, it should be with porno mags, beer, and bacon bits. Offensive, yes, but far less so than destroying a hospital... and it might change a young Iraqi's mind about what he's told.

I think Islam "vs" Muslims is kind of the high school debate trick of the week.

No matter how you slice it, the League of Arab States was on our side. Someone who just wanted to win would say "I can work with that."

But to turn it, as some actually did (and continue today on this page), into Christians v Muslims, was not a plan to win. It was an irrational need to fight even more people, even people who offered friendship and support.

That is a sadly human story.

No matter how you slice it, the League of Arab States was on our side

Yeah, why did France throw all that away by invading Iraq?

Distinction needs to be made between the government and the governed, also. Hosni Mubarak might have been on "our side." The Muslim Brotherhood...not so much.

Speaking of debate tricks, how about your insistence that the lack of majority support for terrorism among Muslims is in any way significant. Huge portions of muslims in every country support anything from Shariah law to FGM to suicide bombings. If 20% of the police force supported (and admitted to supporting) killing all BLM sympathizers and most of the remaining 80% shrugged, I imagine you wouldn't be so understanding.

I say this compassionately,

I think that some look at minority support for terrorism and say "easier to fear them all" because it reduces the mental burden.

It's as if you've never heard of hypocrisy, Anon. Or, if you don't like to go that far, what about "social niceties"? Some of those govts and officials had to say something to their US counterparts. They could not say nothing.

First of all, "I deny evidence" is a weak opening to an argument. There is a lot of evidence, far more than just the League.

But let's say you did suspect that some of these answers were "politics," what would still be the best strategy? To say "cool, we can use your help" or to say "forget that, we want to fight you!"

You are simply dishonest. You are at once conflating a religious ideology, a political ideology, the adherents of either or both ideologies, and the governments of the countries in which these ideologies are prevalent as Islam. Additionally, you are conflating open discussion, political opposition, counterterrorism, economic sanctions, targeted strikes, and Total War as 'fighting'. To top it all off, you're doing a motte and bailey argument where you get to argue for batshit insane things like blasphemy laws (call it hate speech) and increased third world Muslim immigration, and when you are challenged you retreat to the absurd, " are you going to kill 1.6 billion people" or another of its variants.

The Arab League made a statement! A statement!

Liberals are such easy marks.

What did the Arab League or any of its members do? Not say, do.

Did they go to the Taliban and get them to turn over Bin Laden? That would have been a tangible benefit to us. We would have never invaded Afghanistan then.

George Bush went out of his way to avoid making it a War against Muslims. Iraq was two years afterwards so the Arab League had plenty of time to help us.

What did they do? Be specific.

This guy Bob next door says he's my friend, but since he has never DONE anything for me, I'll just punch him in the face.

Sociopathy as policy?

"This guy Bob next door says he’s my friend, but since he has never DONE anything for me, I’ll just punch him in the face."

Friends help each other, not just make boilerplate statements to fool rubes.

They had plenty of time to help.

Well, when you have leftist groups like "by any means necessary", which is ran by public school teacher in Berkeley, which claim that it's self-defense to preemptively attack neo-nazis, I suppose your argument is valid. According to the new left, the regressive left, words are physical violence.

Calling for violence is certainly a good tell for radical extremism.

"Calling for violence is certainly a good tell for radical extremism."

Essentially every American President has been a radical extremist?

TV, there are real life trolley problems. And sadly some Presidents have presented choices as that binary, when they were not.

Cowen is on target when he suggests that using labels like "radical" and "extremist" effectively shuts down the inquiry or discussion, as does labeling an entire nation as part of the "Axis of Evil"; indeed, listening to the speeches at the RNC one would conclude that it's Iran that has been supporting ISIS and al Qaeda, that it was Iran that supported the 9/11 attack on America. Since labels like "radical" and "extremist" and "Axis of Evil" actually deceive rather than inform, does it follow that Cowen (or I) supports politically correct speech, that he (and I) oppose Trump's use of derogatory labels when identifying an entire culture or race? By the same token, does expressing one thing while meaning something very different (even the opposite of what is expressed!) deceive or inform? Should someone who gave a speech at the RNC last night and meant the opposite of the words that he used be praised or called to account for deception?

The trick is proper categorization. There are dangerous radicals and extremists, but labeling doesn't make someone into one. They do it themselves, by rejecting fact and reason, preferring fantasy and madness.

Robert Lewis Dear, Jr., was a dangerous radical, extremist.

On Trump it is fair to ask if his central claim, that America is in a moment of critical danger, is fact or fantasy.

If it is fantasy (and I think it is) he might indeed be attempting to radicalize the election.

Paul Graham has a list of the words used to shut down conversation he wrote in 2004. Those are on it, of course.

If we should discard those two words in order to have a better conversation, sure. You need most people to agree to discard the words and why we are, though. It may turn out that the only reason people use "radical" is because they get attacked with other words on that list otherwise.

Would you apply these same general maxims to discussions about Nazi Germany if you were living circa 1942?

Because one of the Axis of Evil members, North Korea, really does commit atrocities on the scale of Nazi Germany. If North Korea doesn't deserve the label "evil", then there are scant few in human history that do.

Nor should we forget that Iraq under Saddam literally killed hundreds of thousands of his own people.

It probably wasn't worth the US's effort to stop these ongoing atrocities, but there's no doubt that they happened.

We need to address several problems. The first is that a large percentage of ordinary, non-radicalized Muslims hate the United States and the West. Even those from the moderate countries like Jordan. This has been proven time after time, in poll after poll. We do not just have a .01% Muslim problem, we have a Muslim problem full stop. The second is the tight coupling of church and state in most of these Muslim countries, making Muslimism as practiced in these countries much more dangerous as a monopoly source of state dogma. The third is the wildly reactionary social and political beliefs of a majority of Muslims even in moderate Muslim countries. Finally, the ultimate problem is the empowerment and encouragement of violent, radicalized extremists by the atmosphere is created by the above. However I agree it is more accurate to blame it more broadly on the failure of the Muslim world to modernize, although I am sure this is not the point of this silly post. The idea that the violent, organized terrorist Muslims are somehow party boys gone wrong is insane.

Follow-up question, Why can't Islam allow for more vice in their countries and communities? With Confession, Christians can at least pray and confess their sins. Muslims, on the other hand, don't have a release. To absolve himself, the Nice terrorist had to drive a truck through a crowd and run over school girls buying ice cream, and then call it a jihad. Why not create something like confession or some sort of soft Jihad.

Christians are dealing with their social collapse by getting high on Oxy and then blowing their brains out. A slight improvement over driving a truck into a crowd, but not exactly a sign of a society that understands or is dealing with its problems.

That statement is completely detached from reality. You have some very obvious bigotry issues.

Christians are dealing with their social collapse by getting high on Oxy and then blowing their brains out.

There is no secular trend in suicide rates in this country. Since 1950, the suicide rate has bounced around a set point of 11 per 100,000. The one notable change in that time has been the age distribution of suicides. The frequency of suicide among the elderly has been cut in half while it's doubled among the adolescent and young adult population. This change was already manifest in 1980, 'ere anyone had ever heard of Oxycontin.

This was a radically stupid post. No, we are not going to make the world's muslims Sufis. The problem with Islam is that virtually all adherents -- Salafis, non-Salafi Sunnis, Shia -- are fundamentalists who believe the Koran is literally the word of Allah, straight from the Archangel Gabriel's mouth to the Prophet's ears so these "radical" interpretations of Jihad are plausible to virtually everyone. We just need fewer fundamentalists, which is to say fewer radicals.

I love that you think wife-beating is incompatible with Islam. Apparently it's fine to stone her to death if she gets raped, but hitting her in anger is completely out of the question.

That's belligerent stupidity on your part.

4:34 is the relevant verse in question about wife beating. There is no doubt that some hideously vile things are acceptable in the Koran. But so too in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. That being said, Christianity and Judaism resolve this conflict of secular law and scriptural law well, and Islam does not.

Real intelligence is manifested in reading comprehension. The part that immediately preceded the bit about wife-beating was, "The man behind the Nice truck attack drank alcohol, beat his wife... [emphasis added]"

Ricardo, so you're saying that the only relevant clause is drinking alcohol?

If that's the clause that makes him a poor Muslim, then you're implying that beating your wife doesn't make you a bad Muslim. So effectively you are agreeing with TOJ.

The higher orders don't quite get the totally raw sexuality of the lower orders. They have little idea that without religion and strong social controls they tend to revert to the most primitive sexual patterns.

What 'primitive sexual patterns'? Anti-gnostic is not participating in this thread, so we're all spared the r-selected k-selected hoo ha.

Of course there is no problem with Islam in general, and not even with radical Islam. There is a problem with an ideology,
the ideology of Dash and of Al-Qaeda (they are exactly the same, they only differ on practice), which is a continuation of an ideology that matured across the Arab world during the last 50 years. The main point of this ideology is the nostalgia for the period of the first caliphate, where the Arab people conquered in a few generations an enormous territory, from Morocco to Iraq, and was the uncontested master of an even larger (and fast-growing) muslim world. Islam is now for these people as it was at the time of the first caliphate: an attempt of mora justification and a veil on a very banal thirst for domination.

This is dead wrong. A large part of the problem is taking an ancient and retrograde religious text and building all aspects of society around it - religious, political, cultural, educational. This problem exists in the Islamic world to an extent that is orders of magnitude more dangerous than the admitted legacies of these types of ideas in the West, Russia or China for example.

Yes, "they are the devil" becomes at once a justification for hatred, and an explanation of why they do so well. Why is America so rich and powerful? For some "Satan" is a convenient answer.

BTW, why does HRC have such wealth and power?

Are drinking and wife beating positively correlated with terrorism?

There may well be a correlation between domestic violence and willingness to commit certain acts of mass slaughter, including terrorism. They share the common trait of being relatively cowardly forms of violence in that both are committed against people who can't necessarily fight back under the circumstances.

People add radical because they will be called bigots if they just talk about Islam being a problem.

Western Liberalism has spent centuries fighting and taming Christianity. Why treat Islam differently?

Goofy people with a tendency toward fanaticism might tend to be influenced by what their culture or faith holds up as a Great Man.
Perhaps making the greatest man in your faith an expansionistic warlord has a different impact on some people's behavior than making the greatest man someone who peacefully sacrifices their life to redeem mankind.

You bring up a good point. The HBD (Steve Sailer) folks might point out that Arabs seem to do much better in Saudi Arabia with strict laws than in Belgium. That we in the west have dress codes for women and men and they are different even here for men and women and so it is a matter of degree.

On the other hand I am against legalism (which is what divides Islam from Christianity as far as way of life) and I do see problems with Islam. Grace,

I agree about radicalism, radicalism is as radicalism does.
Mother Teresa was a very radical Christian as were Roger Williams (one of the greatest Americans), John Wesley, Martin Luther, Johnathan Huss etc. Was John Brown a nut or just radically devoted to a good cause?

The bad thing about being radical Islam is that mohammed was a tough politician leader and warrior along with being a religious leader.

Also it could be seen as akin to Edward Glaeser view of riots the aggressive mean people take advantage of certain situations to do there evil deeds. Like the Christan church in the last 100 years has argued that it is not devout Christians who persecute homosexual but aggressive mean people use it as a cover to attack those out of favor.

How Riots Start, and How They Can Be Stopped: Edward Glaeser

Of course the left blames the church for making it OK, but it is the same with Black Lives Matter and the Bernie Sanders folks rioting at Trump events. You cannot blame all the BLM or Bernie fans for those who take advantage of the situation.

One more point: Democrats like to religions is fine but it is fundamentalism that is bad, but I think it matters which fundamentals one believes in grace and mercy are good fundamentals of faith.

"Fundamentalism" is a pretty imprecise term. I think most people who use it have in mind things like apocalyptic beliefs or the notion that religious texts written centuries ago should be interpreted literally. There is a pretty good argument that both of these categories of belief are harmful.

"There is a pretty good argument that both of these categories of belief are harmful."

Maybe, but I'm not overly concerned about the one's that are harmful to themselves. An apocalyptic church that poisons themselves is bad, but radicals Muslims flying planes into skyscrapers is far worse.

I think that might also pooint to a behavioral aspect that lends itself to the mindest of those looking for the outlet ISIS and it's like offer. Lacking the personal disipline to contront tempation or to deal with one's personal failings the choice is towards imposting the same constrainted upon all in order to make those same constraints easier to follow personally.

I find that type thinking from any of the monotheistic religions a bit ironic as all seem to also share the fundamental belief that all humans were created with free-will. In none of the religions does the all powerful god ever override any person's will (might suggest or even try setting up some type incentive via conscience). Yet the very goal of many of these (and I'd lump more religions than Islam in that boat) people is in fact to expressly impost their will upon others to make them conform to what we think this god is demanding fmo us.

What is interesting is among many 'lone wolf' terrorists we do not have people that are very good Muslims. Even 'militant' seems like a stretch for someone who doesn't even have a brief 'conversion' who then starts 'walking the walk' before he kills himself in an attack. What does not seem to be happening in many of these cases is a 'Malcolm X' narrative of a petty criminal type who for one reason or another starts studying theological/philosophical arguments and texts and transforms himself into a radical willing to take a radical stand for some principle.

Instead what I see is essentially a suicide cluster colored by cultural background. Losers who are depressed decide to kill themselves and do so in a way that they think is the way you do it for their cultural background.

Consider it wasn't that long ago among white teenage boys the US had a series of school shootings where some kid shows up at school and starts shooting until someone takes him out or he takes himself out (Columbine was the most famous of course but there were many others and many, many more cases of students caught in the 'planning' stage).

What's interesting about school shooting cases was that we had endless amounts of pop psychology trying to answer why (bullies, The Matrix, video games) but what was often missed were their remarkable demographics. All the shooters were white males. Plenty of black teens saw the Matrix, plenty of Hispanic kids played Call of Duty, yet young white guys somehow got it in their head that the thing to do is go into school (or a movie theatre or whatnot) and shoot as many as possible until you get killed.

The simple explanation here probably is the best. People role model themselves based on what other people like them do. Previous attacks in 'terrorist style' by disgruntled losers with a Muslim background will spawn future attacks in that style. School shootings by disgruntled loser white kids from middle America will spawn future shootings.

"What is interesting is among many ‘lone wolf’ terrorists we do not have people that are very good Muslims. "

Well I think you make some good points. But the critical phrase is 'lone wolf' terrorist. There are plenty of radical Muslim attacks that aren't 'lone wolf' attacks.

Indeed, the attacks in France haven't been. Even the recent attack in Nice, France was apparently the work of multiple people with a solo assailant.

Fair enough although I think the jury is still out on Nice.

But one point remains, even if you do allow a 'conversion experience' the question remains why aren't more 'lone wolves' better Muslims? Malcolm X was an example of someone who wasn't much of anyone other than a criminal who became a major leader in the Nation of Islam....most other leaders in the Nation of Islam had been there for decades. Why are so many attacks by johnny-come-latelies to ISIS rather than those who've spent years being serious about their Islam (radical or not)?

The much-derided-around-here Malcolm Gladwell wrote a great deal about exactly this idea in The Tipping Point, and then fleshed it out in a 2015 New Yorker essay:

How about this framing:

There is a distribution of potential fanaticism within every human population. Most people, most of the time, won't be too fanatical about anything. But there is a minority of the population that will tend towards fanaticism, and they will latch onto whatever is available to them within their cultural framework. We could call these people "Radicals."

Cultures and ideologies should be judged not only by the impact they have on the less fanatical majority, but also on how they affect these people at the Radical end of the human fanaticism spectrum. Arguably, a culture might have a relatively greater impact on the life path taken by these Radicals than it does over the less-radical majority.

So the issue isn't "Radical Islam." Rather, the issue is "For people of a Radical tendency, does Islam (or whatever culture/faith/ideology we are discussing) provide more fertile ground for developing into a violent fanatic than an alternative faith or culture?" I would suggest, again, that the heroes of an Ideology or Faith can have an important exemplary influence on such people. If your culture considers the greatest man in history to have been a violent warlord, that may influence the direction that a Radical's fanaticism takes.

And of course there are sub-cultures. Certain variants of Islam (or any ideology) may be relatively more fertile ground for turning Radicals into violent fanatics, while others may be less so.

So we can take a deep dive into sub-cultures and judge them in this manner. But I think we can also look at them broadly, and say "This general framework is more/less likely to turn Radicals into violent fanatics," or "This general framework is highly conducive to creating sub-cultures that are more/less likely to turn Radicals into violent fanatics."

But if there is a certain amount of "potential fanaticism within every human population" that should get expressed as an element of every human culture. After all, every human culture was created by, humans.

So no matter what one's culture, if one is inclined to fanaticism one would be able to mine one's cultural heritage to find examples that would be applicable.

I am saying that the form the fanaticism takes will vary, depending on the cultural heritage. If violence or violent people are celebrated, I would think it would be more likely that the fanatic will turn to violence.

Put another way, I think there will generally be a portion of people who are fanatics/radicals within any culture. That culture then influences the direction the fanaticism takes. Say, whether they become a Social Justice Warrior or an ISIS Warrior.

I agree the form may vary but not the violence.

As I pointed out in the related comment, look at school shootings. These attacks have all come from white teen boys. Why? Why not Hispanic or Black? Because at least in terms of pop culture this is already out there as a meme for white teen boys. A teen boy with a Muslim background might pull from the ISIS type attacks if he is going down that road.

There is, IMO, no actual culture out there where all the memes, legends, styles, fashions, fantasies etc. are so positive that fanatics will be happily channeled into only positive directions like 'social justice warrior'.

"There is, IMO, no actual culture out there where all the memes, legends, styles, fashions, fantasies etc. are so positive that fanatics will be happily channeled into only positive directions like ‘social justice warrior’."

Sure, but it doesn't have to be absolute to be a useful channeling. The issue to me is: do some cultures do a better job of channeling a portion of their fanatics into less destructive forms of fanaticism than others? If 5% of people are fanatics across societies, but in some societies 0.5% turn to violence and in others 1% turn to violence, that would be an interesting and useful difference to understand. I think the difference exists.

I think the answer is no, but some cultures channel into areas where you don't notice them.

For example, whites have a suicide rate that is higher than blacks. A lot higher in fact. Freakonomics had an episode about this and they asked an academic what she thought, her answer "it shows up in the violent death rate". Since suicide is less of an 'acceptable meme' for blacks, I'm going to guess that some of the violent deaths that show up in the stats for African Americans are actually suicides just as there are many solo driver car crashes that are really suicides that end up listed as accidents.

Organized mass school shootings tend to have a beta-male rage aspect to them. They involve a lot of planning, which blacks don't do (if they want to shoot someone they just do it, it tends to be a localized and impulsive affair). What's typical is some outcast who feels bullycided and often has difficulty with girls/broken family life.

They also involve Asians out of proportion to their size of the population. Which fits into the "middle or higher IQ beta male wanting to take revenge on society" narrative.

When high IQ people with the impulse control to plan something decide to shoot a bunch of people, it tends to be one of these mass affairs. The same is true with Muslims. Who pulled off 9/11 and other sophisticated attacks. A lot of those people were high IQ, engineers and such, and of course they were trying to make more of a statement then the NICE guy.

Things like NICE are much more low IQ dude does something impulsive that doesn't take a ton of planning. If he were an American black he would probably just be involved in a drive-by the ghetto. Chicago has the equivalent of several NICEs every month, but its just random small scale killings in the ghetto that add up.

BTW, on the topic of school shootings I really liked Michael Moore's movie. It's not about gun control (which you might think) but about psychology and sociology.


Sounds like a lot of special pleading there. Blacks don't plan? Let's talk pure street level drug dealers do no planning? Does applying for gov't benefits require no planning? Running a gang requires no planning?

And do mass killing require that much planning? Aside from acquiring guns and practicing with them, which a lot of people do who aren't planning mass shootings, what is the planning? Assuming one already has gun(s) and ammo, it seems quite easy to do a mass shooting without much planning at all.

Now a gang shooting, on the other hand, does seem to require a measure of planning both before and after.

"When high IQ people with the impulse control to plan something decide to shoot a bunch of people, it tends to be one of these mass affairs. "

OK so when a person plans to shoot a lot of people, it tends to be a mass shooting. Thanks for that insight.

"They involve a lot of planning, which blacks don’t do..."

If you are going to be politically incorrect, at least try to be factually correct. Perhaps you are too young to remember the 1993 mass shooting on a Long Island Rail Road train by Colin Ferguson. The shooting was indeed planned in advance and the circumstances are very similar to other mass shootings committed by unbalanced white people. He was a middle class Jamaican immigrant who had fallen in status, become unemployed and sought revenge against all the sinister forces supposedly keeping him down.

What strikes one about low level street and gang violence in the ghetto is poorly planned it all is. The idea of the master criminal is pretty much an illusion. Most crime is done by dumb people with poor impulse control.

As a simple example, some thugs stole a car from the garage of my building. They videotaped the whole affair. Let that sink in for a minute. They created the very evidence that would be used to convict them. They didn't even drive far away or try to fence the car. They took it for a joyride, and the cops were able to find them because they weren't far from the scene later that day.

If most gang bangers had the ability to plan and show impulse control they wouldn't be gang bangers. You're average gang banger makes $3/hour and risks death. It's really fucking stupid. The kind of violence they get involved in is also really fucking stupid. Even black people get how fucking stupid it is.

What strikes one about low level street and gang violence in the ghetto is poorly planned it all is. The idea of the master criminal is pretty much an illusion. Most crime is done by dumb people with poor impulse control.....As a simple example, some thugs stole a car from the garage of my building.

Confirmation bias. You are observing what is essentially impulsive crime (robbing a car on lark, breaking a window, getting into a fight) and noting it isn't planned. In terms of criminal acts, most crime is not caught and very well planned.

Consider dealing drugs. For every street level drug dealer arrested, there are hundreds of acts of dealing per day that go unarrested. These acts are conducted by a sophisticated organization that operates with a division of labor, multi-level marketing, packaging, branding, even advertising and even competitive intelligence and specialists. You, of course, will find 'gang bangers' making fools of themselves on Youtube and think you understand how it works but you are only scratching the surface.

"If you are going to be politically incorrect,"

LOL, he went right past politically incorrect directly to racism.

I've met one drug dealer in my life. And he wasn't a ghetto banger, but some white mediocrity selling pot to some middle class person. He didn't strike me as intelligent or sophisticated. In fact he was trying to get out of the pot business because it didn't pay well. He wanted to become a claims adjuster. It paid more then selling pot to middle class whites, which is a higher end job then street dealer in the ghetto.

There have been a lot of studies on what street level drug operations are like. As I mentioned, the average street level dealer makes about $3/hour. Maybe minimum wage if your lucky.

"These acts are conducted by a sophisticated organization that operates with a division of labor, multi-level marketing, packaging, branding, even advertising and even competitive intelligence and specialists."

People who can do all these things get real jobs. They don't risk getting shot for peanuts.


Yes you meet a front line dealer and you weren't impressed. I did Taco Bell last night and I wasn't very impressed by their line people making tacos (although the one woman was an amazingly fast wrapper). But clearly the organization itself has a lot more planning and sophistication than I see on the front lines. In fact the unimpressive people you see on the front lines are part of the plan. Low level dealers are low skilled, high turnover and considered very disposable.

Great comments Turkey Vulture. You are consistently one of the most insightful posters on this site.

This piece convincingly refutes your position, and even predicted the lazy arguments you are making before they were written.

Oh well, that makes everything all better. If a third of the dead were Muslims than no worries, right?

I know you're being facetious, and I'm on your side on this, but *no one deserves to die like that*. I even look at the Orlando shooter/Nice killer as victims in a fashion, to live and die with such hate and evil, to have nothing better to aspire to than to destroy. This is why, Anon, I make the distinction between Islam and Muslims. It may be high-school level thinking, but so is algebra, and they're both useful.

I thought of a question: when was the last time you heard an "angry moderate" call for violence?

There are moderates in all nations, all cultures, all religions. When we become immoderate we lean toward radicalism and extremism. ?

"when was the last time you heard an “angry moderate” call for violence?"

Whenever Obama most recently authorized a drone strike?

If drone strike are done in anger, that would be a sign that they were not moderate, were chosen with deliberation.

To be "moderate" or "pragmatic" the sad calculus would have to be that they reduce total harm, are the lesser evil, than say an ISIS resurgence or incursion.

Don't worry guys, just moderately inflicting moderate violence on you. I've thought about this carefully, and I've decided to blow you up using a moderately-sized drone.

You have put yourself in a small corner, arguing that state violence is never necessary.

I have argued no such thing. I am pointing out that "moderates" regularly engage in violence (needless violence too - the Iraq War had bipartisan political and massive popular support at its inception; I have to believe that included a lot of "moderates"), and that the recipient of violence is just as dead whether the killing was done out of anger or out of cold calculation.

But I do think a moral framework that says no violence is ever necessary or justified is completely reasonable. I don't buy it myself because I'm not willing to turn the other cheek like its most famous proponent.

I think what really happened was that I talked about angry moderates and non-state violence, criminal violence. You transitioned to state violence, and I was willing to follow, because "is violence justified" is a fair question.

Your no, yes, maybe close is not super convincing on any front.

"because I’m not willing to turn the other cheek like its most famous proponent."

Except for the disorderly conduct incident he initiated against the moneychangers in Herod's temple, which resulted in his arrest.

The vast majority of violence in the US is inflicted by people who are essentially apolitical. If you're saying that moderates don't commit violence that is both (a) non-state-sanctioned and (b) politically motivated, you're probably right. But that's a fairly limited claim.

Drone strikes do not strike me as a great explanation for 'lone wolf' terrorist attacks in the West.

First the deaths from drone strikes are pretty low, especially relative to the total amount of death in the areas where strikes often happen. If you're trying to raise a family in Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria, the risks to your family are much greater than drone strikes.

Second, the people doing the attacks do not live where strikes happen, do not come from there, have little indication that they care greatly about innocents killed by drone strikes.

Third, attacks seem highly opportunistic. Guy has a truck, he plows into a bunch of people in Nice. If the issue was drone strikes, however, wouldn't the targets be a bit more thought out? A NATO base perhaps? Or an American embassy? Even a newspaper that supports military operations in the Middle East?

Terrorists are generally not seriously religious or into theology, they are fighting tribal wars where Islam is just a tribal group marking of extended race/ethnicity/culture. In France, white secular/Christian Europeans are the convenient tribal enemy.

France should be more aggressive about excluding demographics are likely to harbor or adopt tribal group hatred of secular/christian Europeans.

With the Nice attacker, my superficial profile is a guy who had love for his Arab Muslim ancestry and low level hostility for rival secular/christian Europeans, but moved for completely genuine economic reasons to build a better life in France. His normal life fell apart, he hit divorce, money trouble, and career troubles. And while lots of people face similar circumstances and get depressed or maybe even suicidal, he felt a suicidal mass casualty terror attack gave the end of his life more purpose and satisfaction.

" he felt a suicidal mass casualty terror attack gave the end of his life more purpose and satisfaction"

because it's part of the teachings of Islam. Kill non believers and you will go to paradise.

Not really and suicide is actually pretty tricky theologically in Islam. It requires a lot of theological gymnastics to try to pretend a suicide bomber is not actually violating Islamic rules against suicide.

Then again the Bible doesn't really support charging or accepting interest yet try to find a Christian from less than 1000 years ago who is against interest bearing savings accounts. All successful religions end up with doctrines that can be morphed into the message that is desired at the present moment.

Given that about 6% of the population of France (per Pew) is muslim, I'd be very skeptical that 1/3 of the dead were muslim, most particularly given that it was a Bastille day celebration.

Lots of comments here, and I don't have time to closely read them all. If my haste has led me to duplicate another's remarks, then I apologize.

Mr. Cowen is obviously correct in arguing that the word "radical" should be applied with greater care, but we need to remind ourselves of what recently seemed obvious to everybody. The phrase "radical Islam" came to be used to describe the doctrine of those who would happily murder thousands of innocent people. It was thought that such people surely couldn't be ordinary Muslims. Since 2001, there's been a great deal of argument about this issue, but I think that it still represents the common-sense view. If Mr. Cowen wants us to start calling such people something other than "radical", then lets hear a list of suggestions. I'm sure that there will be problems with all of the alternatives.

And please, we need to stop romanticizing peaceful Sufism. While living in the Mideast, I never met a Sufi. In fact, I never met anybody who'd ever met one. Most people there have only the faintest idea of what Sufism even is, although they assume that it's some kind of Islam. In India and Pakistan, there are small numbers of Sufis, but they have little influence. I've never been to sub-Saharan Africa, but I've read that the region also has a small population of Sufis -- again with little influence. We also shouldn't forget that most Sufis are not pacifists, or even particularly peaceful. The founder of the Muslim Brotherhood was a Sufi. If we reach back further into an era when Sufis were more common in Arabia and North Africa, then we find that many of the major jihads were led by Sufis. Historically, Sufi mysticism has often been closely tied to blood and sword.

I agree about Sufism.

" “radical Islam” came to be used to describe the doctrine of those who would happily murder thousands of innocent people."

This presupposes though that an attacker has adopted some doctrine. What is starting to be clear is at least a large portion of 'lone wolf' attackers are not Malcolm X types who begin as petty criminals and party boys who through some type of ideological or religious experience suddenly have a change of heart and begin expounding some doctrine which justifies suicide and attacks on civilians via theological gymnastics....and usually a convert tends to really 'geek out' on the doctrine. We see some attackers who don't even seem to know if they are fighting for Al Qaeda or ISIS, which are two entities that are at war with each other. While that does sometimes happen we are seeing little or no evidence that some of the recent attackers ever bothered with a 'doctrine' and if any ideological change happened the time between it happening and the attacker getting himself killed appears to be pretty slim.

IMO this implies at least some of these attacks are better modelled on a suicide cluster than as an organization or even an ideology.


First, thanks for taking the time to read my comment.

Second, you've written:
"IMO this implies at least some of these attacks are better modelled on a suicide cluster than as an organization or even an ideology."

So what then should we call such people? Suicide cluster fuckers? Sorry, as I get older, I'm showing signs of what the medicos like to call "disinhibition."

More seriously, Mr. Cowen's original post implies support of Obama's dictum that we not use the phrase "radical Islam." Each time there's an incident, we must puzzle over its uniqueness. My lying eyes and all that. These people are obviously Muslims, and obviously also not entirely typical Muslims. Is that all we can say? So far, I have to admit that I'm less worried by the phrase "radical Islam" than I am by what Mr. Cowen seems to imply. As a regular reader of this blog, I've become accustomed to more thoughtful blog posts. Maybe I've entirely missed his point. I'm left with nothing but the hope that Mr. Cowen has cleverly obscured a meaning too subtle for the ordinary (zero marginal product) being.

These people are obviously Muslims,...

My puzzlement though is why are they not very good Muslims? Or why are not more very serious Muslims doing Western terrorism?

Consider Bin Laden. OK as a teen he briefly hung out in Europe for a bit but no one ever mistook him as not being very serious about Islam. He was very serious about religion for his entire life and that lead him to radical/fanatical conclusions which led him to deduce that he should start planning and executing terrorist attacks against the US. There are some other examples if this inside the US...for example the US clerk Anwar al-Awlaki (good book Objective Troy about his life and death BTW).

But we have a different type and it seems to be more common these days. Essentially 'party boy' types who spend most of their lives not being very serious about religion, doing lots of things that would be the opposite of what someone who believes in strict Islam would do who then rather quickly goes down in a 'blaze of glory' killing as many random people as they can.

If this was just an ideology story then it might make sense. Unserious people are reached by more serious people and converted. But then were are the serious people? They doesn't seem to be any leaders, although there are a few people who act as accomplices.

IMO there aren't any leaders and there's no ideology going on here. The 'meme' is out there and people are doing it but it isn't organized. ISIS really isn't doing much of anything except 'taking credit' whenever someone goes nuts. If ISIS was gone tomorrow, though, how exactly would that stop anything?

This is possibly the lowest quality and most pointless post Tyler has ever written.

So has it occurred to anyone that this post maybe has nothing to do with islam? The Straussian reading is really in the time stamp. I know that Tyler probably disagreed with the entirety of Trump's speech, but perhaps he found the social media response by his critics to be counter-productive and this post is really a commentary in that.
I would agree with this opinion so maybe I'm just projecting my own biases, but I think this reading merits consideration.

A Straussian put it (in the mouth of someone else, of course) better than TC: "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!"

radical islam is an easy label. In fact it's now more like a perfect logo- instantly recognisable and understandable by millions around the world.
As soon as those two words appear in the news, ears prick up and hatred is lifted another couple of notches.

It leads to discussions on how to prevent radicalisation and how to spot radicalisation. If everybody insists on acting and reacting like a load of nervous sheep then we can all soon look forward to the thought police scrutinising us and everything we say,do,think.
We live in very dangerous times. Turkey and France both operate a state of emergency. Middle east in turmoil. South America turning sour.

I myself have come to the conclusion that terrorism is mostly, like may be 98% a result of low quality politicians meddling in things they do not really understand.

Radical islam is only a symptom of the problem. It's not the problem itself.

Look at the past actions of "the west" over the last 200 years, invasions , colonies, puppet dictators installed as democratically elected leaders are ousted. military bases, assassinations, propaganda , supporting moderate rebels, manipulation by military or financial means. The list is endless. All the information is out there, in internet land. Go and read it.
When you've read it you might just realise that it's carried out by crap politicians and leaders on your behalf.

Interesting point here- Most of the "crap politicians" i refer to are christians.
So the problem of terrorism (98%) is perpetrated by radical christianity- whatever that is?

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