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Belmont Club

The Attics of Our Mind

April 19th, 2013 - 2:17 pm

One site explaining the Tsarnaev brother’s homicidal motivations offered this helpful comparison: “al-Qaeda is a form of right-wing Islam”. It’s a phrase almost as good as “dark skinned white American” and together with it exemplies the danger of trying to understand the unknown in terms of familiar tropes. It is like attempting to speak a foreign language by yelling slowly in English.  We think we’re getting it, but we’re not.

Much of what is described as education consists of being loaded down with models. Something comes along in life and the educated think: ‘if you push hard enough, it will fit into one of the models we’ve learned’.

Or as David Sirota put it “I still hope the bomber is a white American.”

When You Wish Upon a Farce

That is the triumph of hope over experience, although it looks like he got his wish but not in the way he wanted.  God’s funny in that way. He often gives us what we ask for — with a twist.  It is too bad that not all of our media-derived mental models carry over into the next knowledge domain, however much we want them to.

Given these problems of cognition  it’s sometimes best to start from first principles. To figure things out from scratch. Let’s forget all our intellectual baggage for a while and just for a moment to try and understand Tsarnaev. Forget critical race theory; forget Third World perspectivism; forget Progressivism. It’s hard but maybe for a few moments we can do it and just focus on the obvious.

Let’s imagine that you observe an ideology dedicated to your personal destruction, funded by billions and preached worldwide over the Internet and in buildings some of which are even built indirectly with government funds. What do you call it? “Right-wing Islam”. No, no no. Try again.

Let’s try calling it the “enemy” and set about distinguishing it from friends — from the guys who are just running the kebab store on the corner. It can be done by comparatively uneducated people. Our grandfathers distinguished between German Americans and Nazis back in the day.

They could probably do it because most of them had a high school education.

But once you arrive at the concept of the enemy — knowing who they are — you can proceed to the next step: dismantling them. The best means of doing this should be a matter for debate, but the strategic aim should not. The question is simple: do you want to survive or don’t you?

Once you get the strategy correct it is amazing how little force need be used in the tactics. You don’t have to drone people endlessly in other parts of the planet. Most of the action against the enemy can be civil and nonviolent. Defund them. Denounce their doctrine at every opportunity. Rival their faith with an appeal to patriotism. And only for the comparative few who take up arms should coercion be reserved.

War on them by all means intellectual and financial. And leave the mopping up to the military when all else fails.

Internationally it is the same. Identify the enemy. Adopt an energy policy that will  beggar them. Oppose the construction of their organs of propaganda at every turn instead of building them at Ground Zero. Unless this is done, you will have to drone them all over the world and hunt them down through Boston, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco, New York and every house in every street in every city.  Yet in the words of Willard Mitt Romney, “we can’t kill our way out of trouble.”

We have to wise up. Why have we not until now? Because we have forgotten common sense; unlearned the idea that to win means waging mental strife so that the sword can sleep in your hand. That we can’t fight the enemy by “law enforcement”. Why did we miss something so plain?  Because it required the recovery of old idea: if you are trying to kill me then you are my enemy. And if you are my enemy I will fight you.

But we are so beyond that. We want to feel other people’s pain. We want to demonstrate how enlightened, tolerant and progressive we are. We want to do everything except face the facts. And that’s why we won’t ever stop having to drone people all over the map and hunt them down house to house.

The process of opposition stops when then enemy gives up trying to harm you. Then you have have what is called peace. And the world turns again. In the coming weeks the Internet will be deluged with long and involved tracts purporting to explain things.  It will offer new perspectives, new insights, new … but perhaps that is not half so important as the need to remember the old things; and to unlumber the attics of our mind.

Such an insight


The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99

Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99

No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99

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Top Rated Comments   
We focus on things because it is prohibited to focus on people. The TSA looks for things -- scissors, liquids, shoes, etc -- but it doesn't stop the underwear bomber. People now want to blame "access to guns" for the Tsarnaevs. But it would be uncouth to ask after what they heard from their imam or their teachers.

This is in contrast to the "El Al" system of screening. They look at the man first. 'Who are you?' is in many ways more important than 'How long are your scissors?' But since we can't inquire into the man, might as well look into the scissors.

It is already being reported that he had social media playlists like "I give my life to the Jihad". As time passes more and more acquaintances will come forward saying, "well come to think of it he did say this and that and this ..."

It will transpire that many knew. Many suspected. But no one came forward. Why? Because we do things. We don't do people. We don't do mental strife. But hey, we've got really nifty swords. Armored vehicles, dogs, drones, thermal scanners, .50 cal sniper rifles. Heck there might even be a minigun or two out there. Betcha they work real good too. Pity they might have to be used in Watertown or Belmont or Cambridge.

The day we focus on the man and on his ideology we will win the war on terror. But first we will have to recover our senses, and I am not holding my breath.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (33)
All Comments   (33)
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Well, of course Wretchard is right, but as Saul Bellow once said, "A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep."

If you're whole world view is left-multiculti you will go to incredble lengths to not do what Wretchard says, for multiple reasons.

I am surprised that apparently no one has noticed that the younger brother became a naturalized citizen in Sept, 2012, during the 3rd quadrennial incumbent Democratic administration campaign to naturalize as many potential Dem voters as possible before an election, and cutting corners on background checks and, indeed, just about everything else. They did it in 1996, again in 2000 and now in 2012. No one seems to have noticed this, even as a new immigration bill is rolled out.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
These guys have managed to set a dangerous precedent. A couple of under-the-radar (arguably) Jihadis have managed to hit a major sporting event, grab global headlines, dominate the news cycle for almost a week, mobilize thousands of law enforcement officers, put Blackhawk helicopters in the sky, and shut down a major American city. They have provided the blueprint and inspiration for the low-budget/high impact attack model.

They were identified by behavioral profiling done after the fact. ie. review photos and video and then discern "who's actions are incongruous?" " who is going against the grain?", " who seems to be acting in concert?" The system worked, AFTER the fact. This is exactly the method El Al employs BEFORE the fact - certain behavior throws up a flag and you are standing before the man answering additional questions before you board the plane, or maybe you don't board the plane. This is tried and true in an environment that requires this kind of vigilance.

Could anything like this ever be implemented in the US? Not in this political environment. But listen, what is that faint sound?... could it be the sound of the Obama administration's Terrorism narrative being folded up and tucked away in the bottom drawer? It just might be.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Exactly W, sanity and limits to violence begins by recognizing - intelligently differentiating and treating - friends and enemies.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
A is A. A is not Not A. B is not A. A is not B.
Completion left to reader.

On learning and applying the models I have some thoughts. Part of American Exceptionalism is our heritage of the English Common Law as opposed to the European Roman or Civil Law. In a Civil Law system boxes and categories are everything. It sounds very Aristotelian but it is very confining. If something has been done then precedent is everything. Once there is a box to put a problem in you use it and presto the answer comes out. Facts are examined by a Magistrate, who has the interests of the State foremost, with the aid of lawyers, one of whom hopefully has to some degree the interest of the person who hired him, to determine the correct box but principles are not debated by equal antagonists before an impartial judge.

The pressure to adopt narratives and press facts into predetermined categories is a European and Socialist cultural exercise hostile to the nature of the American experiment.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
You're right Wretchard. We can dig out the foot soldiers for the next hundred years, but they will keep coming unless we stop the money flow and go after the imams and madrassas.

I agree that much of this can be done by being open about our intentions. Tell them we don't have a beef with them, but will not stand by whille they keep sending killers against us. We know who most of the radical imams are. We know where they live. They operate under a banner of freedom of religion. A religion that teaches killing of all non-believers is not something we can tolerate. They are our enemy and must be acknowledged as such. Mocking them and exposing them is one way to go. Black ops is another.

Cutting off the money is more difficult. We have interdicted many of their banking operations. The hawala system is still hard to interdict and some of the money is transferred by couriers - even harder to interdict. However, there must be ways to make these flows of funds more difficult. Driving the price of oil down and turning OPEC into a toothless relic would be a good way to slow the money flow. But it will take time and a government that encourages oil production.

Where are the men with the understanding of what needs to be done?
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
"We want to do everything except face the facts."

Cogent and to the point as always wretchard. As a culture we have forgotten how to be discriminatory =

discriminatory [dɪˈskrɪmɪnətərɪ -trɪ], discriminative [dɪˈskrɪmɪnətɪv]
adj
- capable of making fine distinctions

The "if it feels good, do it.." trope taken to extremes gives us the dysfunction the country now operates under as policy and practice but is essentially and practically insane.

G-d help us....
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Somewhere DIA and FBI agents are pissed that they couldn't take the hostage alive. Imagine the potential Intel that will die with the kid if he is dead. I imagined when he revealed himself that there would be 2 shots followed by a second and a final shot. I thought he was dead and now I hear,,, just this second second, he is in custody. Thank LE and GOD.

I saw some photos of the deceased Suspect #1, multiple shots around the 10 ring. The Boston police are rightfully pissed.

Lets see if a little interrogation will give up some information.

52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
F the little bastard. Why must we give these people, their parents for the love of god said they do no believe in the FBI. why.. do we import these people, what is is about foreign murderers that support diversity, which is an academic word for murderers?
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
and as long as we are on the topic, I find it disturbing that the US Sovietologists couldn't see themselves clear to supporting the Russians against the Chechen insurrection. The bottom line is we have, as a nation, supported Islamic terrorists as freedom fighters. What a charlie foxtrot!
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hell, we are so good with them that we offer them asylum. Really?
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Suspect in custody as of 8:40 p.m. EDT
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
BPD is saying they have a suspect in custody and requesting a medic.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
Some questioned why they released the infidel from his stolen SUV with the iconic COEXIST bumper sticker.

Now it's turning out that he was planted with disinformation: Led to believe that the Chechen duo had planted additional pressure cookers all over the local area ready to be triggered by cell phone.

Consequently, the authorities HAD to massively mobilize, shut down the cell phone system, and be circumspect about everything they did.

As for the exit plan -- it seems that it was cribbed from Die Hard: With a Vengeance.

In that flick the villains use misdirection and watercraft.

========

This reign of terror will give Buraq and Putin something to talk about when they meet up.

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52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
And here I thought they just didn't want to deal with some wailing lib with a pantload of poo...
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
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