Dave Sim's blogandmail #157 (February 15th, 2007)
And the comic strip on the cover of Dave Sim Collected Letters Volume 2. It doesn't make any $%#@ sense!
"Yeah, but what's it going to be about?" "I'm also thinking of using a cute picture of three teenaged girls from an ad in the newspaper this morning…" "sigh. I know what Chester's thinking. But…maybe if the last panel shows us laughing uproariously…"
So, not only is this #@$% Dave Sim running these amputated excerpts (JUST to #$%@ me off) he's got a comic strip on the cover that makes absolutely no $#@%
Always good to start with Larry Hart of Arlington Heights, Illinois as he and I continue to tumble through my Luddite Space-Time Continuum. This time I have a letter from him dated December 21 which I am just getting around to answering January 30 and which will be on the Blog & Mail (God willing) sometime in the middle of February. Larry writes:
Think of this as a P.S. to yesterday's letter.
I find it perplexing that you consider the United States Republican Party to be "your team" despite the fact that you don't participate in the government of the United States. I'm not denying your conservative leanings, but it seems to me that in your conservative days, you give the party of the right a free pass from the political scrutiny that the old pre-1997 Dave Sim would have turned mercilessly upon anyone (right or left) who seemed to deserve it.
This quote of Thomas Jefferson's pertains:
"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all" – Thomas Jefferson to Francis Hopkinson
Again, I would never suggest you should be a leftist or a Democrat. I'm simply wondering what the Republicans did to merit your allegiance, when they're the party who spouts "forward thinking ideas" such as this from GOP Congressman Virgil Goode to a constituent that's been getting a lot of attention recently:
Thank you for your recent communication. When I raise my hand to take the oath on Swearing In Day, I will have the Bible in my other hand. I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration, there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran. We need to stop illegal immigration totally and reduce legal immigration and end the diversity visas policy pushed hard by President Clinton and allowing many persons from the Middle East to come to this country. I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped.
The Ten Commandments and "In God We Trust" are on the wall in my office. A Muslim student came by the office and asked why I did not have anything on my wall about the Koran. My response was clear, "As long as I have the honor of representing the citizens of the 5th District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives, The Koran is not going to be on the wall of my office." Thank you again for your email and thoughts.
Virgil H. Goode, Jr.
70 East Court Street
Rocky Mount, Virginia
Me (Larry) here again, Dave. This guy really merits the designation of being on your team?
No need to be confused, Lar. Let me work backwards through your letter and see if I can't clarify things. Starting with the Muslim student, to me this falls into the category of compulsion in religion which is forbidden in The Koran and which I believe has no place in a democratic society. If Representative Goode believes in The Koran and feels compelled to put a quote from The Koran on his wall, then I think that's the right thing for him to do. If Representative Goode doesn't believe in The Koran then I don't think any authority in heaven or earth should try to compel him to put a quote from The Koran on his wall. Simple?
On the subject of immigration from the Middle East, this is something that the European Union is much further along in (i.e. up to their eyeballs in) than is presently the case in the United States and Canada. But it seems to me that the Conservatives in Canada and the Republicans in the United States are much further along in understanding that there is an inherent problem with trying to treat Extremist Muslims the same way you treat any other ethnic or religious group. The term for that treatment is Multiculturalism and what the countries of Europe are finding (unfortunately, very late in the day) is that Multiculturalism works with virtually every ethnic and religious group except extremist Muslims. Extremist Muslims are not—as the core beliefs of Multiculturalism hold—willing to trade tolerance and accommodation for tolerance and accommodation (even though it is repeated often in The Koran "You to your religion and me to mine"). Their belief demands that they make war on the Infidel wherever he is found ("Strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip as well") and hold that the Infidel is anyone who is a non-Muslim. They further believe in the eradication of Israel and its entire population and the killing of Americans in any context. It seems to me that if what Representative Goode is discussing when he mentions "the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America" is the fact that the Great Republic is founded on religious freedom and religious tolerance, then he is, in my view, quite right in perceiving that there is a problem with not demanding of those seeking to settle in the United States an adherence to those core underlying beliefs in tolerance and accommodation of the views of those who hold beliefs different from your own. i.e. if you believe in the Koran and not the Bible, that's one thing—an honest disagreement between monotheists—but if you believe in the eradication of the country of Israel as an inherent good and a thing devoutly to be wished then you are not—and, in my view, SHOULD not be—welcome in the United States of America and its territories and you must be viewed as an enemy of the United States of America and everything it stands for. In most major European cities there are large enclaves of extremist Muslims who are adamant in refusing to assimilate themselves into the context of a democratic country. What you end up with is whole enclaves in, say, most of the suburbs of Paris which are, for all intents and purposes, Extremist Muslim mini-states which regularly erupt in rioting and mass car-bombings whenever it is perceived that a Muslim has been maltreated. They are, for the most part, unilingual Arabic speaking individuals who believe in the pre-eminence of Sharia Law as defined by their imams over the central tenets of democratic government and the eradication of the House of War (non-Muslim countries and their citizens) and a good portion of their populations are—all the while—subsisting on the overly generous Multicultural (read, socialist) welfare programs of their host countries. I assume that this is what Representative Goode is discussing when he suggests that the resources of the United States could be "swamped" without an appropriate course correction. It's almost too late in the day for France and England and other countries which have had open-door Multicultural policies for decades to make such a course correction which, to me, demonstrates the inevitability of having to face the problem and the pressing need to do so sooner rather than later. I'm not sure what the solution is to the problem, but yes, I feel a greater affinity for Republicans who at least recognize that there IS a problem than I do with Democrats who not only won't acknowledge that there is a problem but who want to censor and shun and vilify anyone for saying out loud that there is a problem with unrestricted immigration for extremist Muslims. The break point, to me, is that you either believe in Freedom of Religion as a core reciprocal belief in a democratic society or you don't. But the key term is reciprocal. And if you don't believe in Freedom of Religion as a core reciprocal belief then I think it only makes sense to find ways to keep you from settling in a democratic society. Freedom of Religion is a minimal civilized standard in my view and a hard line needs to be drawn in the sand on the basis of it. "This far and no further." Period.
As to the Thomas Jefferson quote, like many people I have a lot of problems with Jefferson's contradictions. It's hard to nail down to what extent he was a total or partial atheist. I mean, the man rewrote the Bible to exclude all references to Christ's miracles, therefore pioneering the idea of a completely un-miraculous Jesus. It seems to me that his reference here to heaven could, on the basis of that contradiction, be construed as a purely rhetorical device. That is, if you don't believe in Christ's miracles what are the odds that you actually believe that there's a heaven? I certainly agree with not throwing in your entire lot with any given political party. I disagree with any number of Republican ideologies. I would, as an example, like very much to know who talked them into buying into the loopy UN idea of setting aside x number of legislature seats for women in Iraq. I mean, that is so undemocratic it verges on totalitarian socialism. But when it comes to the broad sweep of history as it is unfolding before our eyes, I will definitely trust a clear-eyed party with a specific sense of moral guidelines and principles over a party which favours ideas that are based on appeasement and capitulation and burying your head in the sand. That's how I see the Democrats. They just want to cut and run and hope that that appeases extremist Islam. "Sorry we stormed into your nice Muslim country here. We'll be leaving now." There is just no way to do that without having extremist Islam see it as weakness and a failure of will which (I can pretty much guarantee) would be seen by extremist Islam as an advantage to press wherever they saw an opening to do so. Every time Israel withdraws from anywhere the entire area gets overrun with Extremist Muslim violence and they start sending suicide bombers into civilian centers again. It's the reality of the situation, Larry. Extremist Muslims traffic only in "weak" or "strong". So you don't want to do anything that will make them mistake the one for the other.
No, I don't participate in the government of the United States. I'm a Canadian. But because the United States is the only country in the world with a modern military worthy of the name, the United States is the only country worth talking about when it comes to actually taking action against extremist Islam rather than gradually capitulating to extremist Islam one suburb at a time as the countries of the EU have chosen to do for the most part. And there I stand 100% with President George W. Bush and Representative Virgil Goode. The United States has to take the fight to the enemy on the enemy's ground and the United States has to find a way to keep what's happening in Europe from happening in the United States. I'm pleased that Canada under Prime Minister Stephen Harper finally seems to understand what is at stake and has become a good ally in the War on Terror. It may not last forever (liberal appeasement tendencies run deep in this country) but any right action against the forces of evil (which extremist Islam epitomizes) has to count heavily in the big picture of which way the globe is going to go over the next decades: whether events tilt in favour of democracy or whether they tilt in favour of extremist Islam. Take a look at Europe, Larry. It's either/or and no two ways about it as far as I can see.
Tomorrow: Say, Don't You Get Any Non-Controversial Letters, Dave? (Well, no not from Larry Hart anyway) (but let me dig down in the old mailbag and see what I can come up with) (oh, and "c.c." a copy of this posting to Rep. Goode, would you, Dave?) (Can do, chief!)
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