Sunday, May 20, 2018

What's wrong with our society? An answer... maybe...

In "What motivates mass murderers?", WWW 19/5/18, I said that I didn't understand what's wrong with Western society -- American society in particular -- that we produce a shockingly large number of psychotics who, for some reason or for no reason, go out and kill shockingly large numbers of innocent people. What's wrong with those people, I asked [rather indirectly. Ed.]. What motivates them? I just don't understand...

Thinking about it some more, I remembered an exchange with Agent 9, who educated me on the distinction between antinomianism (from the Greek: ἀντί, "against" + νόμος, "law"): any view which rejects laws or legalism and is against moral, religious, or social norms) and anomie: a condition in which society provides little moral guidance to individuals.

I don't know if Nikolas Cruz and Dimitrios Pagourtzis are antinomians or not. I rather think not, as having a thought-out and thought-through view of anything implies having given the idea (whatever it is) some thought. But I do think both young men may have been affected by the anomie which has been prevalent in our society ever since the hippy-dippy 60s.

Anomie is the breakdown of social bonds between an individual and the community, resulting in fragmentation of social identity and rejection of self-regulatory values. The concept was described by French sociologist Émile Durkheim in his 1897 book Suicide. (Early reports from Santa Fe suggest that Mr Pagourtzis wanted to commit suicide, chickening out and surrendering to the cops after he had killed ten people.)

Durkheim describes anomie as "derangement" -- craziness -- and "an insatiable will". Anomie, he wrote, arises from a mismatch between personal or group standards and wider social standards, or from the lack of a social ethic, which produces moral deregulation and an absence of legitimate aspirations.

Compare those words with this passage from Bobos in Paradise, by David Brooks (Simon & Schuster, 2000), sent to me yesterday by Agent 3:

In 1995 [actually 1994. Ed.] George Gilder wrote, "Bohemian values have come to prevail over bourgeois virtue in sexual morals and family roles, arts and letters, bureaucracies and universities, popular culture and public life. As a result, culture and family life are widely in chaos, cities seethe with venereal plagues, schools and colleges fall to obscurantism and propaganda, the courts are a carnival of pettifoggery."

In 1996, Robert Bork's bestseller Slouching Towards Gomorrah argued that the forces of the sixties have spread cultural rot across mainstream America. In 1999 William Bennett argued, "Our culture celebrates self-gratification, the crossing of all moral barriers, and now the breaking of all social taboos."

Aha! Lots of further reading there, and I think we may be close to an answer to my headline question. I have long maintained that the year in which the wheels started to come off our society can be pinpointed, based on empirical evidence, as 1964 -- 1965 at the latest. I'm off to the library to find whatever I can written by George Gilder, once described by Time as "male chauvinist pig of the year". Sounds like my kind of guy!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Walt's Crappy Journalism Award - Canadian division

I have an intense dislike for the Toronto Star (aka "Toronto Red Star"), the newspaper that's so politically correct that it makes the New York Times and WaPo look like Republican rags. It used to boast of the largest circulation of any Canadian newspaper. Then it tried a paywall, which it quickly abandoned because, errr, nobody's willing to pay for a steady drip-drip-drip of "progressive" editorials disguised as reportage, written by the kind of people to whom Canada's Prime Minister is forever apologizing.

However... I've entered the Star in the latest round of my Crappy Journalism sweepstakes not for its incessant propaganda for liberalism, but for the dismal quality of its editing and proofreading. And I'm making the assumption that they do still have people, or maybe one person, somewhere in the basement of 1 Yonge Street, who actually looks over articles before they're posted or printed. I could be wrong about that, as witness this remarkable "Correction" from today's fishwrap.

Royal Family celebrates Prince Harry's wedding

What motivates mass murderers?

Even leaving aside the almost daily attacks by Islamic jihadis, mass murders have been much in the news lately.

A couple of days ago, a Canadian aviation "expert" said he was "100% certain" that the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 -- still undiscovered somewhere at the bottom of the Indian Ocean -- was an extreme case of murder-suicide, perpetrated by the plane's pilot. Last month, 10 people were killed and 16 wounded by a young Toronto man who for some reason decided to drive a rented man down the sidewalk of a busy main street.

And in the USA, there are "school shootings", not in the ghettos of Los Angeles, Chicago, or Detroit, but in white(ish) locales in states like Florida (Parkland) and Texas (Santa Fe). The massacre at Columbine happened just over 19 years ago. Since then, there have been hundreds, hundreds of similar "incidents".

Why do people kill dozens, scores or even hundreds of innocent people? What is their motivation for mass murder? These are questions I ask myself every time something like this happens. It seems to me that only two reasons are possible. Someone who would commit such an atrocity must either be:

A - a fanatical follower of the Religion of Peace (read: Islam) or some other extremist religious and/or political group; or

B - someone whose cheese has slipped off his cracker (read: a psychotic individual).

In "Toronto killer of 10 'seemed a little off'... that's all", the perpetrator of the recent massacre in Canada's Proudly Diverse City is described as "kind of a loner, kept to himself, and 'seemed a little off'." Later it emerged that he identified himself as an "incel" -- "involuntarily celibate" -- someone who couldn't score with women and so decided to take his frustration out on the world.

The Santa Fe TX high school student who allegedly opened fire on his classmates on yesterday has been described as "a quiet and unassuming teenager who enjoys sports and showed few if any warning signs of violent behaviour." He was a member of a dance group at a local Greek Orthodox church and an avid videogame player, known among his classmates mostly for playing on the school's junior varsity football team. A teammate told a Houston TV station, "He stuck to himself. He had a few friends but never really talked to many people. For him to do something like this, it's crazy."

Exactly! But how did those young men -- they are always young men -- become "crazy"? And how are we supposed to protect ourselves and our communities against the crazy behaviour that kills?

To guard against Islamic terrorists, the authorities tell us "If you see something, say something!" But that doesn't work in the case of people like Deimitrios Pagourtzis, the Sante Fe High School killer. The only odd thing that people noticed about him was that he liked to wear a trench coat, even in the Texas heat. What are you gonna do, call 9-1-1 and tell them "my classmate keeps coming to school in a trenchcoat!"?

For that very reason, stricter gun controls won't work, unless America can be turned into some kind of liberal Utopia in which no-one, absolutely no-one has a gun, which seems highly unlikely, to put it mildly. And if that were so, what is to stop a crazy man [or woman! Ed.] from finding another weapon... like a rental van. If you have a good answer to my question, something that doesn't involve locking up every oddball and eccentric in the land, please tell the world... quick!!!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Christian convicted of aiding Muslim jihadis

Interesting report a couple of days ago in the Washington Times under the headline "Three Florida men sentenced for providing material to support to ISIS".

Way back in July of 2016, government agents at Miami International Airport stopped ex-Marine Gregory Hubbard, 54, who was attempting to get on a plane bound for Syria, where he intended to join ISIS. Apparently Mr Hubbard was impressed by the example of Cassius Clay (aka Muhammad Ali) and converted to the Religion of Peace some years ago, without, however, changing his name to something more Islamic. By 2016 he had become convinced that the sure way to Paradise (and the services of 72 virgins) was to join the jihad against infidels.

The Justice Department announced this week that Mr Hubbard would be spending the next 12 years as the guest of the state, i.e. in prison. But he won't be alone. Two co-defendants, also converts to Islam and, like Mr Hubbard, sometime residents of Palm Beach County FL, were convicted of plotting to provide guns and other help to the Islamic State, and received lesser sentences. One of them was Darren Arness Jackson, 52, who got four years. The other, who received a sentence of eight years, was 33-year-old Dayne Christian.

Walt's Crappy Journalism Award - African division

Walt enjoys reading articles from the Zimbabwean press, not just for the unusual content -- men copulating with donkeys or chucking spears at cattle poachers -- but for the thrill of seeing self-styled reporters losing their tenuous grip on the English languge. Sometimes, though, it's just what passes for "reporting" that makes me LOL. Here is part of an interview with a spokesthingy for the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, posted today on the Zimbabwe NewsDay website.

NewsDay (ND) business reporter, Mthandazo Nyoni caught up with CAAZ general manager, David Chawota (DC) [like he was trying to run away and hide? Walt] on the state of Zimbabwe’s civil aviation industry among other issues. Below are the excerpts of the interview:

ND: Government is in the process of unbundling CAAZ into two entities. One entity will be responsible for regulatory issues while the other will be in charge of commercial operations. How are these entities going to operate?

DC: Yes, CAAZ is going to be unbundled into two entities, one entity will be responsible for regulatory issues while the other will be responsible for commercial operations.

That brilliant Q&A puts Mr Nyoni in the lead for this year's Crappy Journalism Award (African division). Thanks to Agent 3 for passing it along.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Indonesia: 4 more Musllim extremists sent to Paradise

Remember the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indian Jones pulls out a revolver and calmly shoots dead a huge Arab threatening him with a scimitar? Things like that don't actually happen, do they? Oh yes, they do, even in this day and age. Just today, in fact, Indonesian cops sent to Paradise not one but four sword-wielding Muslims who attacked a police headquarters in Sumatra.

In the latest in a spate of Islamic militant attacks across the Muslim-majority country -- see "The family that prays together slays together" and "'Allahu akbar!' - another Muslim family, another terrorist attack" -- a spokesthingy for the national police said four men attacked officers after driving a minivan into Riau province's police headquarters. The driver of the vehicle was arrested trying to escape. One officer, who was hit by the minivan, died and two were injured.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statements carried by its Aamaq news agency. Police identified the group as "members of an IS-affiliated group of NII," referring to Negara Islam Indonesia, also known as Darul Islam, an Islamic group that aims to establish an Islamic state in Indonesia.

As reported on WWW (see links above), suicide bombings Sunday and Monday in Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city, killed 26 people, including 13 attackers. Two families carried out the attacks, using children as young as 7. Earlier this month, six officers at a high-security detention centre on the outskirts of Jakarta were killed by Islamic militant inmates who took control of part of the prison and held hostages until being overwhelmed by police.

The flurry of attacks, and the tactic of using children as suicide bombers, has shocked Indonesians, who fear that IS has inspired a new wave of violent extremism in the country of more than 260 million. Contrary to what the (((controlled media))) would have you believe, ISIS is not finished, and its activites are not confined to the Middle East or Asia. Atrocities such as these could happen anywhere. Maybe even in your country... in your city... in your neighbourhood. Just because the "progressives" have declared Islamophobia a "hate crime" doesn't mean the jihadis aren't out to get ya!