The Split-Level World

It is a rich country with a poor southern neighbor.  Each year countless economic migrants attempt a desperate journey over arid terrain and fearfully cross the border fence in search of better jobs in the north only to add to a burgeoning population of illegal aliens.  In response the authorities have vowed to crack down on these migrants.  Early this year 250,000 illegals were deported.  “Haggard and penniless,” writes the Economist,  they “are being dumped at the dusty and chaotic” border crossings by a government eager to reclaim jobs for its own citizens.


The rich country we are talking about is of course,  Saudi Arabia.

Oman, Yemen’s other neighbor, is also planning a border fence. “Following the conclusion of a secret bidding process, preliminary surveys along the fence line began earlier this year after Oman awarded a contract to an Indian development company, according to border officials. They estimate the construction process will be completed by 2018,” despite protests by environmental activists that the barrier will affect endangered species.

Shorter, but more heavily guarded is the Egypt-Gaza barrier. It’s the one you never hear about when news stories describe ‘conflict in the Middle East’.  But it’s a barrier all the same.

The Egypt–Gaza barrier refers to the steel border barrier along the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. Because it is essentially splitting the city of Rafah, the steel barrier is also referred as a separation wall.

In December 2009, Egypt started with help from the US, the building of a steel wall along the Gaza border. If it is finished, the wall will be 10-11 km (6-7 miles) long and extend 18 metres below the surface. The wall was to be completed in 18 months.[

On 29 October 2014, Egypt had begun demolishing homes along its border with the Gaza Strip as part of a planned 500m buffer zone that is intended to prevent weapons smuggling entering Palestine.

The cabinet of the United Arab Emirates made news the other day by publishing a list of designated terrorist organizations. All of them, going by their names, appear to be “Islamic” organizations.  The first 20 are:

  1. The UAE Muslim Brotherhood.
  2. Al Islah (or Da’wat Al-Islah).
  3. Fatah Al Islam (Lebanon).
  4. Associazione Musulmani Italiani (Association of Italian Muslims).
  5. Khalaya Al Jihad Al Emirati (Emirati Jihadist Cells).
  6. Osbat Al Ansar (the League of the Followers) in Lebanon.
  7. The Finnish Islamic Association (Suomen Islam-seurakunta).
  8. Alkarama organisation.
  9. Al Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM or Tanzim al-Qa‘idah fi Bilad al-Maghrib Al-Islami).
  10. The Muslim Association of Sweden (Sveriges muslimska forbund, SMF)
  11. Hizb Al Ummah (The Ommah Party or Nation’s Party) in the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula
  12. Ansar Al Sharia in Libya (ASL, Partisans of Islamic Law).
  13. The Islamic Council Norway (Islamsk Rad Norge, IRN).
  14. Al Qaeda.
  15. Ansar Al Sharia in Tunisia (AST, Partisans of Sharia) in Tunisia.
  16. Islamic Relief UK.
  17. Daesh (ISIL).
  18. Harakat Al Shabaab Al Mujahideen (HSM) in Somalia (Mujahideen Youth Movement)
  19. The Cordoba Foundation (TCF) in Britain.
  20. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

You can read the entire list for yourself.  It looks at first glance, like an Islamophobic list, which of course it couldn’t be because it was compiled by the UAE. It aroused controversy only because 2 US based groups are included in the list.  “The Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling on the United Arab Emirates to delist it as a terrorist group. The Muslim American Society also said it was “shocked” by the move and would seek U.S. government assistance.”

None of these actions would have escaped the condemnation of the United Nations, or European human rights agencies or NGOs had they been undertaken by a Western government.  Fortunately the perpetrators are non-Western, so it’s OK.

There is a de facto double standard exemplified by the recent Islamic service held at Washington’s National Cathedral.  By contrast, it is illegal to practice Christianity or any non-Muslim religion in Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an Islamic theocratic monarchy in which Sunni Islam is the official state religion. Although no law requires citizens or passport holders to be Muslim, almost all citizens are Muslims. Children born to Muslim fathers are by law deemed Muslim, and conversion from Islam to another religion is considered apostasy and punishable by death. Blasphemy against Sunni Islam is also punishable by death, but the more common penalty is a long prison sentence….

Religious freedom is virtually non-existent. The Government does not provide legal recognition or protection for freedom of religion, and it is severely restricted in practice.

There is no contradiction here.  If you think there is one,then you are a problem.  There are many advantages to being non-Western in today’s world, but the chief one is you don’t have to live in a politically correct world. Being non-Western means never having to say you’re sorry.


Back in 2013, the Chinese authorities released a film called the Silent Contest. In it the Chinese claimed that the American intellectual and media elite were embarked upon a conspiracy to hold China back, hamper its development, and ultimately topple the Chinese Communist Party. Using NGOs and the media it would propagate mindless consumerism, foment race war, obsess the youth with spectator sports, pornography, entertainment, games, crime films, and superstition. The Chinese believed they would “use all resources to destroy China’s traditional values, exterminate and destroy their self-respect and self-confidence, and attack their hardy spirit…”

It argues that if the price of becoming “Western” is to surrender to the Silent Contest, then the ticket of admission is too expensive. China sees dangers in things like the lack of borders or in the National Cathedral event that are perceive by the American elite as strengths.  It may be the only actual official paper in the world to recognize political correctness, ironically a Marxist development, as a national security risk.

The question China doesn’t answer is why the same Kool-Aid, ingested internally by an American population isn’t just as poisonous. Recently the father of Peter Kassig, the American aid worker killed by ISIS, said he needed time to work on forgiveness:

“Please pray for Abdul-Rahman, or Pete if that is how you knew him, at sunset this evening. Pray also for all people held against their will in Syria, Iraq, and around the world. Lastly, please allow our family the time and privacy to mourn, cry — and yes, forgive — and begin to heal.”

I wonder how that will work out in this split-level world? For “civilization” to peacefully co-exist with “barbarism” requires borders. If everyone were “civilized” or everyone were “barbaric” then no borders would be necessary. But when two irreconcilable states wish to remain as they are without merging, a wall of separation is required.


The only wall our current elites appear willing to erect is the barrier between fact and spin.  President Obama’s White House statement on the occasion of Kassig’s death said:

Today we offer our prayers and condolences to the parents and family of Abdul-Rahman Kassig, also known to us as Peter. We cannot begin to imagine their anguish at this painful time.

Abdul-Rahman was taken from us in an act of pure evil by a terrorist group that the world rightly associates with inhumanity. … ISIL’s actions represent no faith, least of all the Muslim faith which Abdul-Rahman adopted as his own. Today we grieve together, yet we also recall that the indomitable spirit of goodness and perseverance that burned so brightly in Abdul-Rahman Kassig, and which binds humanity together, ultimately is the light that will prevail over the darkness of ISIL.

Once upon a time it was the custom to intone prayers over the dead. Today no funeral is complete, at least no beheading is, without the bald-faced White House lie, almost as if in place of a desire to sanctify there is now a duty to defile.

Without a source of energy to maintain the separation, interactions will inevitably occur. In the 19th century James Clerk Maxwell raised the question of whether this could be prevented.

In the philosophy of thermal and statistical physics, Maxwell’s demon is a thought experiment created by the physicist James Clerk Maxwell to “show that the Second Law of Thermodynamics has only a statistical certainty”.It demonstrates Maxwell’s point by hypothetically describing how to violate the Second Law: a container of gas molecules at equilibrium is divided into two parts by an insulated wall, with a door that can be opened and closed by what came to be called “Maxwell’s demon”. The demon opens the door to allow only the faster than average molecules to flow through to a favored side of the chamber, and only the slower than average molecules to the other side, causing the favored side to gradually heat up while the other side cools down, thus decreasing entropy. …

Historian Henry Brooks Adams in his manuscript The Rule of Phase Applied to History attempted to use Maxwell’s demon as a historical metaphor, though he misunderstood and misapplied the original principle. Adams interpreted history as a process moving towards “equilibrium”, but he saw militaristic nations (he felt Germany pre-eminent in this class) as tending to reverse this process, a Maxwell’s demon of history.


But with a source of energy, history need not be regarded as moving toward an equilibrium, but instead as a process of life moving toward greater complexity. One thing’s for sure, attaining peace and harmony isn’t as easy as it sounded. In retrospect the vision of the naive one-worlders was premised on the certainty that others would surrender to their self-evidently superior culture. But maybe it was Kassig who went over. Suppose they don’t want to sing? None of the one worlders had thought of that.

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