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More on Mecca-on-the-Hudson from your humble MC Sir Make-Salat. Placed under the Carnival so as not to interfere with real scholarship.
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I wish I could get paid to peddle ignorance.  (Hush, you.)  Seriously.  Douthat wants American Muslims to recognize that to fit into the American Protestant religious model,  they must reject radicalism in favor of bland assimilationist piety consonant with Western values.

I have an idea!  Maybe one of those moderate imams, you know, the trusted sort that Bush’s administration could consult with after 9/11, one of the good guys, should start a, what should we call it, maybe a Muslim Knights of Columbus or YMMA, a-a-a cultural center!  and put it in a modest, nondescript building in a major metropolitan area.  That would be a good way to show willing.  And they shouldn’t name it something foreign-sounding, but maybe pick an easy-to-pronounce Western name that evokes a place where scholars from all religions could come and work and learn together.

(I wonder where Opus Dei’s NYC offices are.  Christ on a cracker.)

Update: To be clear, the problem with this is that it’s pig-ignorance wrapped in delicate language:

During the great waves of 19th-century immigration, the insistence that new arrivals adapt to Anglo-Saxon culture — and the threat of discrimination if they didn’t — was crucial to their swift assimilation.

Of course, one can’t write the simplified version and be published in the paper of record as a nuanced conservative:

Many immigrants to the U.S. in the 19th century were met with violence and legal discrimination.   That is what is missing from our treatment of Muslims today.

Douthat’s whitewashing the past and ignoring that what allowed immigrants to assimilate despite horrid treatment was the very commitment to liberal ideals that he sets to the side in his first paragraph.   Does he think that Little Italy and Chinatown are there because it was really convenient to put all the restaurants together?

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As apo at unfogged notes, a poll of conservative bloggers answers the burning question, Who is American history’s greatest monster? Oddly, there’s not a conservative blogger on the list! Really, it’s sad how boring and predictable the results are, with FDR, Barack Obama, and Jimmy Carter occupying the top spots. Still, credit where credit is due: Saul Alinsky? Not bad, conservative bloggers. You surprise me with your latent antisemitism attention to detail! Then there’s Woodrow Wilson. Wait, what? Woodrow Wilson? Because of internationalism, I guess. But where’s Eugene Debs? Or Big Bill Haywood? Or any of the big-government-loving Federalists? These bloggers have no sense of history, I tell you.

It probably goes without saying that if we were to use some sort of inverse felicific calculus — to find the person responsible for visiting the greatest harm on the greatest number of people in the nation’s history — I’d offer pride of place to one of the Andrews, Johnson or Jackson, atop my list. Or maybe Roger Taney.

Which may not be a high bar to clear, but still. From Present at the Creation, p. 71.
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Will Wilkinson presents what can be described fairly as a non-xenophobic argument for the repeal of the fourteenth Amendment.  He paints a reasonably attractive vision of an economically unified Canada, America, and Mexico, where workers could move about freely, but who would have access to social services and other goodies based on their citizenship.  In such a world, he concludes, it would be very important for other political reasons that citizenship be tied to more than mere perinatal location, and so birthright citizenship would need to be replaced by something else, and he suggests that the various laws employed by various European nations might be good alternatives.  After all, giving someone special rights just because they were born somewhere is the height of moral luck, and hardly cosmopolitan.  Thus, we should work to repeal the 14th Amendment, on liberal cosmopolitan grounds.

What follows is a long way of saying that I think his proposal is seriously deluded.

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OMA, has it been a year already? Only on the Hijra calendar! Ramadan mubarak to all brothers and sisters. Fasting time is between about 5 am and 8 pm hereabouts, and it’s hot out there, so be careful. Meanwhile enjoy a nice recitation of Surah al-Fatiha.

Oh, don’t even bother.
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Deadline for the next Military History Carnival is coming up on August 15th. Send potential entries here with the subject header “Military History Carnival Submission.”

The Cordoba House site is “at” Ground Zero in the sense that it is within two blocks or so of Ground Zero. I am therefore licensed to tell you that when I lived in New York, I lived at 145 Central Park West. Damn, Bono was an annoying neighbor.

Via Leiter, I see that some people are wrong on the internet:

Perhaps you already observed it on Friday, since that was the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. But today, the anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing, is an equally fitting date. Certainly the image above – the aftermath of Fat Man’s explosion over Nagasaki – is a fitting symbol for consequentialism. Perhaps consequentialist ethicists should consider putting it on the covers of their books, or wear little mushroom cloud pins when they meet up at philosophical conferences. For one thing, since the consequentialist case for the bombings – that they would save more lives than an invasion of Japan would – carried the day with the Truman administration (and with defenders of the bombings ever since), it may be the most consequential piece of consequentialist reasoning ever formulated. For another, the bombings give a pretty good idea of what a world consistently run on consequentialist principles might look like.

But don’t put the party hats on yet, because there’s one little hitch: Consequentialism is, as David Oderberg has put it, “downright false and dangerous, an evil doctrine that should be avoided by all right-thinking people.” And the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were, accordingly, as evil as consequentialism is. So, maybe Consequentialism Day is not a good idea after all, except perhaps as a reminder of the scale of evil that can be and has been done in the name of “good intentions” and “rationality.”

Jimmy Akin offers us a helpful reminder of why the bombings must be considered gravely immoral from the point of view of natural law theory and Catholic moral theology. It is only fair to acknowledge that many consequentialists would no doubt also condemn the bombings, arguing that better consequences would result overall and in the long run from respect for a rule that forbade such actions. Whatever. What matters is that any consequentialist must allow that it is at least in principle legitimate intentionally to kill the innocent for the sake of a “greater good.” And from the point of view of us reactionary, bigoted, unprogressive natural law theorists and Catholics, that is enough to make consequentialism a depraved doctrine. For it is never, never permissible to do what is intrinsically evil that good may come – not even if you’d feel much happier if you did it, not even if you’ve got some deeply ingrained tendency to want to do it, not even if it will shorten a war and save thousands of lives. Never.

(I actually have a little “fat man” bomb-shaped pin that I got at the Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas. Almost as fun as the Liberace museum! But that’s not important right now.)

Clayton Littlejohn has a go at a response in comments. To his sensible points, I’d add the following fairly obvious ones:

(i) first, it’s not at all clear that Truman et al. actually gave any thought to consequentialism in thinking about the bomb. Nor is this relevant, in itself. What we’re interested in is the question of consequentialism’s truth, not the reasoning of the Man from Independence.

(ii) There’s another reason it’s misleading to say that “the consequentialist case for the bombings…carried the day with the Truman administration.” Paradigmatic versions of consequentialism weight outcomes for all affected parties equally. That is, the evaluation of the goodness of consequences considers all affected, not a subgroup. Though I’m no historian, I’m willing to bet that decisionmakers weighed American lives (American levels of well-being, pleasure, whatever…) over Japanese lives. Complication: I would classify moral theories that examine effects on only a group or single individual (“group chauvinism” or egoism) as consequentialist, kinda sorta, but they’re a limiting case and the classical versions build in the “all for one, none for more than one” commitment.

(iii) Consider this:

What matters is that any consequentialist must allow that it is at least in principle legitimate intentionally to kill the innocent for the sake of a “greater good.” And from the point of view of us reactionary, bigoted, unprogressive natural law theorists and Catholics, that is enough to make consequentialism a depraved doctrine

Here, let me shorten it. “Natural law and consequentialism are very different moral theories and they disagree about many actions.” If you think NL is right, you’re not a Cist, and vice versa; of course adherents of one theory think the adherents of another are wrong about morality.

(iv) And this:

For it is never, never permissible to do what is intrinsically evil that good may come – not even if you’d feel much happier if you did it, not even if you’ve got some deeply ingrained tendency to want to do it, not even if it will shorten a war and save thousands of lives.

The consequentialist disagrees, of course, though “if you’d feel much happier” and “if you’ve got some deeply ingrained tendency…” are not going to be relevant in most cases. “If you could save thousands…” is more likely– but if you really could save thousands by murdering one innocent, it’s not so obvious that the murder is wrong, etc. Cue phil 101 discussion.

Via Berube, a nice Got Medieval post on “Cordoba.” More specifically, on Newt Gingrich’s claim that

some of the Mosque’s backers insist this term is being used to “symbolize interfaith cooperation” when, in fact, every Islamist in the world recognizes Cordoba as a symbol of Islamic conquest. It is a sign of their contempt for Americans and their confidence in our historic ignorance that they would deliberately insult us this way.

To the surprise of no one, this turns out to be stupid. GM:

So it’s easy to see why a group of Muslims creating a community center in the heart of a majority Christian country in a city known for its large Jewish population might name it “The Cordoba House” They’re not, as Gingrich hopes we would believe, discreetly laughing at us because “Cordoba” is some double-secret Islamist code for “conquest”; rather, they’re hoping to associate themselves with a particular time in medieval history when the largest library in Western Europe was to be found in Cordoba, a city in which scholars of all three major Abrahamic religions were free to study side-by-side.

Read the whole thing, and you’ll know much more about this than Gingrich does.

I suppose I shouldn’t feel too bad that Joe Queenan, who has “made a career out of being extremely unpleasant about people in print,” has been unpleasant about me, or at least my book, in print in the NYTBR this week. Jack Rakove tells me about his father receiving a pan in the Times and having the owner of Kroch’s and Brentano’s say, “Milt, did they spell your name right? If they did, then nothing else matters.”
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Adam Serwer on how the New Deal is holding Sharia at bay.

Well, on its way out.

The well that tormented the nation has flatlined. Federal officials green-lighted the cementing of the well, already jammed with mud, late Wednesday. Federal waters are reopening gradually to fishing. The oil slick, the once-horrific expanse of red-orange mousse and silver sheen, has largely disappeared, federal scientists said Wednesday, even though the amount of oil left is more than four times that dumped by the Exxon Valdez.

The Obama administration breathed a sigh of relief, holding a midday news conference featuring top officials who claimed credit for guiding BP in getting the well under control. Officials hastened to remind the public that Macondo won’t be incontrovertibly dead until a relief well drills into it near its base and plugs it with cement. But even the cautious retired Adm. Thad Allen, national incident coordinator, called the static kill a “fairly consequential” event and a “very significant step.”

About three-quarters of the nearly 5 million barrels of oil that escaped Macondo has evaporated, dissolved or been dispersed by chemicals, skimmed by boats, burned, weathered and, most important, devoured by the Gulf of Mexico’s permanent oil-eating microbial workforce, according to a study released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Interior Department.

“Mother Nature is assisting here considerably,” said NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco.

This should terminate, once and for all, the more apocalyptic scenarios for the demise of the gulf and the spread of oil to Atlantic shores. There is no sign that the oil is going to ride the Loop Current onto the beaches of South Florida, the Outer Banks, Bermuda, Ireland and so on.

Please resume your normally scheduled shrimping and drilling.

From my inbox this morning (all-caps in original, emphasis mine):

GREETINGS TO YOU MY NAME IS PAUL GILBERT ANDERSON (PVT) AN AMERICAN SOLDIER SERVING IN THE MILITARY WITH THE USA ARMY 3RD INFANTRY DIVISION OPERATING IN IRAQ. WITH A VERY URGENT NEED OF ASSISTANCE I HAVE SUMMED UP COURAGE TO CONTACT YOU. I FOUND YOUR CONTACT PARTICULARS IN AN ELECTRONIC ADDRESS JOURNAL. I AM SEEKING YOUR KIND ASSISTANCE TO ASSIST ME TO CLAIM THE SUM OF ($28 MILLION USD) TWENTY EIGHT MILLION UNITED STATED DOLLARS THAT I HAVE SUCCESSFULLY AND SAFELY MOVED OUT OF IRAQ TO A SAFE COUNTRY. BEFORE I WILL GIVE YOU DETAILS OF WHERE THE FUND IS, YOU MUST ASSURE ME THAT MY SHARE WILL BE SAFE IN YOUR CARE. AS YOU CAN SEE WE ARE ALREADY PREPARING TO LEAVE IRAQ. I WISH THERE IS RISK INVOLVED I WILL NOT DO IT SO I WANT TO ASSURE YOU THAT THERE IS NO RISK INVOLVED IN THIS PROJECT BECAUSE THE FUND HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFULLY DELIVERED TO THE SAFE DESTINATION WITHOUT TRACE OF THE ORIGIN. LET ME HAVE YOUR FULL NAME, ADDRESS, AND PHONE NUMBER.

Always good to see email scammers keeping up to date on current affairs.

Modern Republicans can’t possibly oppose both the Dred Scott decision and the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment, which reverses it.

Will Clayton claimed he did not work harder to thwart the Smoot-Hawley act because he thought the Republicans were “not stupid enough” to pass it.1

1Gregory Fossedal, Our Finest Hour (Hoover Institution Press, 1993), 59.

How would you bomb Japan? Just in time, of course, for the regrettable annual atomic bomb observation, comes an online version of “the straightforward poll of Compton and Daniels which asked 250 scientists at the Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory arm of the Manhattan Project in pre-Trinity July, 1945” how they should use “any new weapons.”

(FWIW, as of this writing the most popular answer among poll respondents was the same as the most popular answer among scientists in July 1945.)

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